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Elton John invests in music tech company Audoo

Elton John and his manager David Furnish have invested in a music technology company that is bidding to “revolutionise” public performance royalties.

The duo have joined the likes of ABBA’s Bjorn Ulvaeus, MPL Ventures, Tileyard and Edinv in backing London-based Adoo, which has secured $5 million (€4.76m) in its latest funding round, taking its total raised to $22m.

The investment round follows key hires at Audoo, including music publishing veteran Nigel Elderton as chair and Melanie Johnson as chief commercial officer.

“Working as a musician can be seen as all glitz and glamour but for the vast majority of artists, especially new and emerging acts, this isn’t the case,” says Elton. “It’s often brutally unfair and this sadly extends into being paid correctly. Right now, artists are not being paid accurately for their plays because the data simply doesn’t exist.

“People have given up on their dreams and we’ve lost talent and future stars because of this disparity. That’s why we’ve invested in Audoo and their world-class technology and data, to help create a more transparent system for everyone, and ultimately to keep the music alive.”

“Being able to draw on the support of artists in our mission to revolutionise the royalty space has been key to Audoo’s success”

Formed in 2018, Audoo’s board includes experts from APRA AMCOS, BMG, Bowers and Wilkins, PRS for Music and Sony Music Publishing. According to the firm, its technology “powers the commitment to improving accuracy, transparency and reporting in quasi-real-time without burden for licensees, PROs and CMOs”.

“Being able to draw on the support of artists in our mission to revolutionise the royalty space has been key to Audoo’s success,” says Audoo founder and CEO Ryan Edwards. “We are proud to welcome more icons to aid the next stage of our journey.

“With Elton and David’s strategic investment, we continue to champion and deliver a fairer and more transparent music industry for creatives to benefit for generations to come. We look forward to welcoming more international partners, licensees and creators to join us on this industry-changing journey.”

Audoo works to provide solutions to the challenges faced in public performance royalty data collection and payment distribution with its Audoo Audio Meter and insights platform that is rolling out across the UK, Europe, Australasia and Africa through industry-first partnerships.

The company says the installation of Audio Meters in businesses worldwide – including cafés, bars, hair salons, restaurants, gyms and retail locations – “sees its small, discreet plug-in solution cut through foreground noise, identify the music, match the song data, and report this usage back to PRO and CMO partners – ultimately improving fair and accurate payments to rights holders with a greater level of accuracy”.


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Total gross revealed for Elton John farewell tour

Elton John’s record-shattering Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour ended with a total gross of US$939.1 million (€837m), according to Billboard Boxscore.

Six million people attended the epic 330-show run, which began at the PPL Center in Allentown Pennsylvania way back in September 2018 and took in five continents before wrapping up in Stockholm with the second of two nights at Tele2 Arena on 8 July this year.

While the trek stopped short of becoming the first $1 billion tour, it comfortably surpassed Ed Sheeran’s 2017-19 ÷ (Divide) Tour – which grossed $776.2m from 255 dates – to be crowned as the highest-grossing concert tour ever.

“To every person who has worked on this tour and my extraordinary crew, the backbone of every show, I cannot begin to express my thanks,” writes Elton on Instagram. “From the lighting wizards to the talented sound and design engineers and costume magicians, tireless drivers and incredible caterers, talented photographer, our brilliant partners at AEG, Marshall Arts and Chugg Entertainment and of course my first-class band, each one of you brings this show to life.

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart for making every performance an unforgettable experience and filling the last five years of the farewell tour with memories I will never forget.”

A special report on the tour appears in the current issue of IQ Magazine, which can be read by subscribers here.

“We knew we would do well, but we didn’t set out to be the highest-grossing tour in history”

“We started having this conversation [about the farewell tour] in 2016/17,” says Rocket Music Entertainment Group’s Keith Bradley, who has been working with Elton for more than 40 years and is the artist’s de facto agent outside of North America, as well as tour director on Farewell Yellow Brick Road.

“David [Furnish, Elton’s manager husband] and I flew to LA to meet with Jay Marciano at AEG, and I gave them an idea of what we were thinking in terms of the number of shows and the amount of money,” adds Bradley. “And everyone thought I’d lost my mind. In my head, it was going to be closer to 400 shows.”

Bradley confirms that, pre-pandemic, the tour was originally set to conclude two years earlier, in 2021, at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, US.

“The tour has outperformed all of our expectations,” adds Rocket Entertainment Group CEO Furnish, speaking to IQ. “We knew we would do well, but we didn’t set out to be the highest-grossing tour in history.

“It’s just been a total team effort. Everybody rose to the occasion because I think they felt that they were part of something very special. Elton sets a very high bar; he goes on stage and thinks every show has to be as good as or better than the last one. He’s really focused and dedicated, and I think everybody feels inspired by that.”

Other new entries in Billboard‘s all-time top 10 are Harry Styles’ ongoing Love on Tour, which checks in at No.4 with $590.3m from 4.7 million ticket sales, while Coldplay’s current Music of the Spheres Tour is at No.6, having grossed $561.2m from 5.8m attendees.


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Elton John stars at UK’s Artist & Manager Awards

Elton John and David Furnish were honoured at the 2021 Artist & Manager Awards (AMAs), which attracted more than 700 artists, managers and music industry professionals to Bloomsbury Big Top in London.

The duo made a final-hour appearance to collect the Artist & Manager Partnership Award at last night’s ceremony, which was organised by the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) and the Music Managers Forum (MMF).

Rina Sawayama, who was also named 2021’s Breakthrough Artist, presented Elton and David with the accolade at the first in-person AMAs since 2019. Other artists recognised on the night included Little Simz (Artist of the Year), Mogwai (Pioneer) and Bicep, who shared their award for Innovation with their management team at This Is Music.

Coming together again with friends and colleagues feels like such a hugely positive and symbolic step forward

“Coming together again with friends and colleagues feels such a hugely positive and symbolic step forward,” said MMF CEO Annabella Coldrick and Featured Artists Coalition CEO David Martin. “Tonight’s Awards was about celebrating music, talent, innovation and camaraderie across the artist and management community – whether that’s individuals at the start of their careers, survivors and legends, or those still standing after decades.”

September Management’s Amy Morgan was crowned Manager of the Year for her work with Glass Animals and Metallic Inc’s Grace Ladoja MBE received the Entrepreneur Award in recognition of her bridge-building between music scenes in the UK and Nigeria. In addition, Kayleigh Thorpe of Little Runaway Management was revealed as the 2021 Breakthrough Manager for her work with Gerry Cinnamon.

The Black Music Coalition were named Industry Champions, while Karma Artists picked up the award for Writer/Producer Manager, and YMU Music Group were presented with the Team Achievement Award in recognition of their groundbreaking inclusion initiatives, including a Mental Health and Well-Being programme for clients and staff.

Presented by Capital FM’s Roman Kemp, the event featured live performances from Wes Nelson & Hardy Caprio, The Anchoress and Lucy McWilliams.


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