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LN-owned Secret Sounds buys Kicks Entertainment

Secret Sounds, the Live Nation-owned promoter behind Australian festivals Splendour in the Grass and Falls Festival, has acquired Kicks Entertainment.

Kicks is a premier Australian event management company which founded Foreshore Festival, Warehouse Festival and flagship festival Spilt Milk. The latter has sold out within minutes every year since its 2016 debut and has since expanded to three locations, Canberra, Ballarat and Gold Coast.

Financial terms of the deal between Secret Sounds and Kick Entertainment have not been disclosed.

“As festival and music fans ourselves, it’s exciting for us to have new partners that share our vision for event experiences that are fan-focused,” say Kicks Entertainment co-owners Jeff Drake and Ryan Sabet. “This partnership will evolve our conversations with artists and provide opportunities to activate venues and festivals that can house them. It will strengthen our ability to produce festival tours that deliver on our vision of ensuring quality over quantity.”

“[This] will strengthen our ability to produce festival tours that deliver on our vision of ensuring quality over quantity”

“Partnering with Secret Sounds and Live Nation is a natural step towards securing the future of new events and cementing those currently in the roster. The majority stake acquisition is also a boost for our loyal, local team. It brings new opportunities to enhance the already exceptional Kicks offerings and provides resources at an important time when fan experience is paramount.”

Secret Sounds co-CEOs Jessica Ducrou and Paul Piticco, add: “We’ve admired Jeff and Ryan’s work for a long time, they are brilliant entrepreneurs and the next generation of Australian promoters.

“We’ve been super impressed with the way they deliver their events and the consistent growth they’ve achieved with Spilt Milk, including the addition of a Gold Coast show which promptly sold out within days. We are very excited about this partnership and we’re looking forward to combining all of our skillsets and knowledge to support Spilt Milk’s further growth in the future.”

Secret Sounds is enjoying a bountiful return to live events, with a sold-out Splendour in the Grass (cap 50,000), the ‘biggest Falls line-up ever’ featuring Lil Nas X and Arctic Monkeys, and a slate of sold-out tours including Gorillaz, The Strokes and Jack Harlow.

Live Nation bought a majority stake in the New South Wales-based company in 2016, acquiring a 51% stake in Splendour and Falls, as well as its touring, sponsorship, PR, artist management and agency divisions.

 


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DEAG acquires majority stake in Airbeat One festival

DEAG has acquired a majority stake in Airbeat One, an electronic music festival which takes place annually in northern Germany.

Founded in 2002 by Music Eggert, the festival typically attracts around 60,000 visitors to Neustadt-Glewe in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern each year.

According to DEAG, Airbeat One is now the largest electronic music festival in northern Germany and one of the largest in Germany.

Following the acquisition, Sebastian Eggert from Music Eggert becomes managing director of Airbeat One GmbH, the new organiser of Airbeat One.

With his team, which will remain entirely with the festival, he will continue to run the event in the long term.

DEAG says it expects the takeover to create “synergy effects in the live entertainment business as well as positive impulses for the ticketing business, especially for DEAG Group company I-Motion”– organiser of electronic music festivals Nature One, Mayday, Syndicate, Toxicator and Ruhr-in-Love.

DEAG says it expects the takeover to create “synergy effects in the live entertainment business”

In addition, the company hopes the acquisition will result in “significant cost synergies as well as added values in purchasing and artist acquisition, among other areas”.

Oliver Vordemvenne, MD of I-Motion, says: “We are all delighted about the partnership and the co-operation with Sebastian and the whole team, who have built up one of the biggest electro music festivals in Germany and inspire thousands of fans from all over the world every year.

“Airbeat One is an excellent addition to DEAG’s portfolio. With Airbeat One, we unite two of the most successful electro music festivals in Germany under one roof and are excellently positioned in this field with now a total of six electro music festivals with over 200,000 visitors annually. With the acquisition of Airbeat One, we have also created very good conditions for the further expansion of our business activities.”

Sebastian Eggert, MD of Airbeat One, adds: “We are all very pleased to have DEAG as a strong partner for the further development of Airbeat One. We share the same vision for the festival with a clear focus on the visitors and want to continue to offer them an exceptional customer experience in the future. We are strongly rooted in the region of northern Germany and will stay here for the long term and drive our growth together with DEAG.”

 


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ID&T joins forces with Superstruct Entertainment

Dutch promoter ID&T has signed a partnership agreement with leading live organisation Superstruct Entertainment.

According to today’s announcement, the deal has helped steer ID&T into “a safe haven” after a tough year and a half that saw the company take out a number of loans, slash its workforce, and cancel its festivals.

“By creating this financially sound situation, we have secured the employment of our 100+ employees and are able to move forward with our suppliers who are also struggling at this time,” says Ritty van Straalen, CEO of the ID&T Group.

Financial terms of the partnership have not been disclosed but it has been revealed that the founders and senior management of the ID&T Group have become shareholders in Superstruct.

Providence Equity-backed Superstruct produces a number of major festivals across Europe including Sziget, Elrow, Parookaville, Wacken Open Air, Boardmasters, Sonar and the Dutch festival Zwarte Cross – the company’s first acquisition since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020.

ID&T’s portfolio includes Mysteryland, Defqon.1, Awakenings, and Milkshake – all of which have been cancelled two years in a row due to restrictions.

It is also the parent company of organisations such as Q-dance, ID&T Events, B2S, Monumental (Awakenings), Art of Dance, Platinum Agency, and Headliner Entertainment.

“ID&T is a significant milestone for Superstruct and reflects our deep conviction in the value of experience-focused festivals”

James Barton, chairman of Superstruct Entertainment: “We are very excited to join forces with ID&T, a business that I have long admired. Our partnership with ID&T is a very significant milestone for Superstruct and reflects our deep conviction in the value of experience-focused live music festivals and our excitement about the significant joint growth opportunities that lie ahead as live events return.”

The companies say the deal will provide great opportunities in sharing knowledge and creating synergies between the companies to further improve the fan experience at their festivals.

Ritty van Straalen, CEO of the ID&T Group adds: “ID&T will celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2022. This partnership is an important strategic step in the development of our company, which we already embarked upon in 2019, pre-covid, and was ultimately delayed by 1.5 years.

“The past 19 months have been very tough for us and the entire event industry, but we are excited to see that Superstruct has been able to look through the current environment, recognising the combined potential of these two world-class companies.

“The international live events industry is increasingly consolidating and Superstruct has developed itself into a high quality, market-leading powerhouse in our industry. We are happy to be part of such an experienced group and strongly believe we can reinforce each other in many ways.”

 


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StubHub inks deal with Vox Media

New-media start-up Vox Media – the fast-growing, private equity-backed publisher of websites such as SB Nation, The Verge, Vox and Polygon – has named StubHub its ‘official ticketing partner’ in a deal that sees StubHub event listings integrated into two of its most popular sites.

Readers of sports news site SB Nation and food guide Eater are now able to buy tickets to sporting and food events, respectively: On SB Nation an interactive StubHub widget is be integrated into “more than 300 individual team sites and schedule pages, giving sports fans direct access to their favourite events”, while the new-look Eater “highlights one StubHub venue in each of its 22 featured cities, showcasing upcoming events at that venue and highlighting the best places to eat and drink in the surrounding area”.

The deal will also extend to Vox’s Concert audience data marketplace, which StubHub will utilise to geotarget users and recommend nearby shows and sports matches.

“StubHub believes in connecting people to inspiring event experiences and Vox Media was a natural fit for us: audiences on SB Nation and Eater are already engaged with experience-driven content, like tomorrow’s football game or tonight’s dinner reservation,” says David Pierotti, StubHub’s head of media and distribution. “By integrating StubHub into that content as the official ticketing partner of Vox Media, we’re giving consumers new options to enhance their love for sports and other events and making it easy for them to explore relevant experiences.”

“Now, the millions of people who visit SB Nation and Eater each month have easy access to live events while they’re looking at sports scores or researching restaurants in their city”

Mike Hadgis, vice-president of brand partnerships and revenue at Vox Media, adds: “Vox Media is constantly looking for new ways to elevate our brand partnerships and create custom integrations that align with our audiences’ interests. We worked with StubHub to seamlessly integrate their brand across SB Nation and Eater, adding value for our audiences.

“Now, the millions of people who visit SB Nation and Eater each month have easy access to live events while they’re looking at sports scores or researching restaurants in their city.”

In August broadcast giant NBC Universal invested US$200 million Vox Media, which it valued at more than $1 billion.

 


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