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The New Bosses 2022: Lewis Wilde, DICE

The 15th edition of IQ Magazine’s New Bosses was published in IQ 114 this month, revealing 20 of the most promising 30-and-unders in the international live music business.

To get to know this year’s cohort a little better, IQ conducted interviews with each one of 2022’s New Bosses, discovering their greatest inspirations and pinpointing the reasons for their success.

Catch up on the previous New Bosess 2022 interview with Kathryn Dryburgh, agent’s assistant at ATC Live in the UK. The series continues with Lewis Wilde, head of music partnerships at DICE (UK).

Born and raised in Bradford, Wilde and a friend started an online music blog in 2011. In 2013, whilst working in Brighton as a support worker and bar-backing (having dropped out of university in London after six months), the music blog caught the attention of Phil Hutcheon, the founder and CEO of DICE.

Hutcheon had been running the music management company Deadly, and was just launching DICE, where Wilde landed an internship in 2014. Starting out as an assistant (to pretty much everything) in the early days, Wilde ended up working toward the position of venue and promoter partnerships, which he took on in 2016. In 2021, he was promoted to head of music partnerships.

 


Having dropped out of uni, how have you still ended up in your dream job, and can you talk a little about the passion for music that prompted you to take the risk of dropping out to do something you love?
It was shocking. Advertising and marketing at London Met. I took a year out after sixth form and just panicked and thought “I need to go to uni now because all my mates have gone,” so I picked any course, pretty much. I thought by being in London I could worm my way into a ‘music’ job. You’re a lot less risk-averse when you’re younger, so at the time it didn’t feel like a big decision. Mum hit the roof though.

It sounds like the start of your career was quite tough – having to work bar jobs to fund your blog exploits. What advice would you give to anyone trying to break into the music industry?
I loved all those jobs, to be fair. I think everyone needs to do a stint in hospitality and deal with the public at some point in their life. Character building. And working as a support worker helps shape your perspective massively. My advice would be to get in early – take in as much experience as you can and put yourself about. Everything else will come from that.

What was your music blog about, and what made it different from others to the extent that you caught the attention of your future boss?
It was just anything me and Leo – who I ran it with – loved. We’d support local parties in the north; push new music, anything from UK rap to techno; interview artists we liked; then DJ off the back of it and ended up throwing a few parties around Europe. It was class looking back. Our main thing was to keep the quality high so people will come back to it. Maybe the curation element got Phil’s attention. I’ll ask him.

“Relationships are the key. Focus on building those where you’re most passionate – the rest will fall into place”

We’ve all just been through an unprecedented couple of years, but you managed to get promoted. Tell us a bit about your pandemic experience – what you were up to, and how the promotion came about?
It was obviously pretty rough at the time. Everyone just mucked in to get through, you’d be working on everything; artist streams, fan support, helping venues with funding, and just checking in to see how people were coping. It’s amazing to be on the other side of it. Thankfully we’re back hiring again. Then, personally, I drank loads and Strava’d everything I did, like everyone else.

What has been your biggest career highlight to date?
Seeing DICE go from a 15 to 400 person company over eight years has been pretty mad. Also, it might be stuck in my head because I saw it in full flow last week – but New Century partnering with DICE is really up there for me. It’s an amazing 1,000-cap venue in Manchester with an unreal team behind it – it’s my new favourite venue in the UK. Watching it come to life last week for the launch was pretty special. Everyone needs to go.

How would you encourage the next generation to choose the live music sector for their chosen career path?
Relationships are the key. Focus on building those where you’re most passionate – the rest will fall into place.

IQ 114 is available now. To subscribe, and get access to our latest issue and all of our content, click here.

 


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The New Bosses: Introducing the class of 2022

The 15th edition of IQ Magazine‘s New Bosses can now be revealed, highlighting 20 of the most promising 30-and-unders in the international live music business.

New Bosses 2022 inspired the most engaged voting process to date, with hundreds of people taking the time to submit nominations. The final 20 comprises executives working across agencies, promoters, ticketing companies, charities and venues in 12 different countries.

In no particular order, the New Bosses 2022 are:

Benji Fritzenschaft, DreamHaus (DE).
Clara Cullen, Music Venue Trust (UK).
Dan Rais, CAA (CO).
David Nguyen, Rock The People (CZ).
Daytona Häusermann, Gadget ABC (CH).
Grant Hall, ASM Global (US).
James Craigie, Goldenvoice (UK).
Kathryn Dryburgh, ATC Live (UK).
Resi Scheurmann, Konzertbüro Schoneberg (DE).
Seny Kassaye, Fort Agency (CA).
Agustina Cabo, Move Concerts (AR).
Sönke Schal, Karsten Janke Konzertdirektion (DE).
Steel Hanf, Proxy Agency (US).
Steff James, Live Nation (UK).
Stella Scocco, Södra Teatern (SE).
Vegard Storaas, Live Nation (NO).
Lewis Wilde, DICE (UK).
Zoe Williamson, UTA (US).
Jonathan Hou, Live Nation (US).
Maciej Korczak, Follow The Step (PL).

Subscribers can read shortened profiles of each of the 2022 New Bosses in issue 114 of IQ Magazine, which is out now. Full-length Q&As will appear on IQ in the coming days and weeks.

Click here to subscribe to IQ for just £7.99 a month – or check out what you’re missing out on with the limited preview below:

 


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Dice expands partnership with Germany’s Goodlive

Ticketing and discovery platform Dice has expanded its partnership with Germany’s Goodlive Artists.

Dice formally launched in the German market in May, teaming with Goodlive Artists to deliver sold-out shows with the likes of Fred Again, Marc Rebillet and PinkPantheress.

Now, it is extending its link-up with Goodlive to cover all of the German promoter’s festivals. The new agreement makes Dice the official and exclusive ticketing and sales platform for Melt, Splash!, Full Force and Heroes Festival, as well as the main ticket provider for Superbloom Festival.

“Dice meets our ideas of modern ticketing, and we have been missing such a platform on the German market so far”

“Dice has been successful in international ticketing for many years and is already popular with fans,” says Goodlive MD Marko Hegner. “We were pleased to be the official partner for the launch of Dice in Germany this year – after Goodlive Artists, and now also with our festivals. Dice convinces us on the one hand with its mobile-first concept, which also prevents resale on the secondary market, and on the other hand with its fair and transparent pricing. Dice meets our ideas of modern ticketing, and we have been missing such a platform on the German market so far.”

The official pre-sale for the festivals splash!, Full Force and Melt 2023 is already underway via Dice. If the festivals sell out, tickets can be returned via the Waiting List within the secure framework of the app and resold at fair prices.

“We’re delighted with how fans and the live industry are reacting to our roll out in Germany,” adds Andrew Foggin, global head of music at Dice. “We’ve already had some great success stories with Goodlive Artists and to expand the partnership with the festivals was a natural next step. Their festival portfolio is exceptional, from globally recognised brands like Splash! and Melt through to more recent properties like Superbloom, fans of all genres are catered for.”

 


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The LGBTIQ+ List 2022: Nix Corporan, DICE

The LGBTIQ+ List 2022 – IQ Magazine’s second annual celebration of queer professionals who make an immense impact in the international live music business – was published in the Pride edition (issue 112) last month.

The July 2022 issue, which is available to read now, was made possible thanks to support from Ticketmaster. 

To get to know this year’s queer pioneers a little better, we interviewed each individual on their challenges, triumphs, advice and more.

Throughout the next month, IQ will publish a new interview each day. Catch up on the previous interview with Natalie Rudland, senior promotions assistant at Live Nation UK.

The series continues with Nix Corporan (they/them/theirs), fan support team lead at DICE in the US.


Tell us about a personal triumph in your career.
A triumph in my career… honestly? Getting this job in the first place is still insane to me. I’ve always wanted to work in the music industry since I was a kid but was always told I couldn’t make it or that a career in music wouldn’t be sustainable. One thing about me is that I don’t like being told what to do (in typical Aquarian fashion) and I kept being persistent. It took fou years of customer service experience and a global pandemic to get here, but DICE was the third application I put into the ether as live entertainment was starting to revamp last year. One year later, I’m over the moon enamoured by our fans, my team – especially our global Fan Support team (hi pals!) – and I got on a neat little magazine spread. Ha, take that, haters!

What advice could you give to young queer professionals?
Marsha P Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, two of our local pioneers, were some of the gender non-conforming individuals to cast the first stone for Pride. Basic human rights weren’t just handed to them, so my advice to professionals is to not be afraid to ruffle some feathers. Fight for your seat in the boardroom, and don’t lose sight of the end goal. If it’s not meant for you now, it doesn’t mean it’s not meant for you forever so my second piece of advice is to let go and let god (for the spiritually inclined) take course. Finally, and most importantly… drink water.

“Don’t be afraid to ruffle some feathers. Fight for your seat in the boardroom, and don’t lose sight of the end goal”

What’s the best mistake you’ve ever made?
Back when I was a customer service agent, I unintentionally sent a customer “Hi (insert name)” and nothing else on the ticket besides my signature. It literally read “Hi so and so, Best, Nix” and I still think about that to this day. I made sure never to do that again and made sure to train everyone under me never to do that.

Tell us about a professional challenge you’ve come across as a queer person in the industry.
I bought a ticket on DICE for a friend to see Kaytranada last year. As their preferred name doesn’t match the name on their ID, they needed to submit their legal name when registering their account. I never felt more embarrassed, especially as a trans, non-binary person, to tell my friend to provide their legal name in the event they need to show ID. Immediately after this exchange, I scheduled time with someone on our team to see what can be done about this. We’re still trying to find a better solution that’s inclusive to all, but that was a challenge that struck home.

“I never felt more embarrassed to tell my friend to provide their legal name in the event they need to show ID”

One thing the live industry could do to be a more inclusive place?
I think safety is a subject the live industry could use improvement in. DICE’s mission is to get everyone outside, and my personal mission is to get everyone outside and back home. Training our staff and security on how to search people without making it creepy, how to incorporate more inclusive language and maybe allow small defence weapons in certain venues would be cool. While I understand, logistically, it wouldn’t be wise to let pepper sprays and tasers in the building – at the end of the day, we get hurt coming back home from these events and I think we can use improvement on all forms of security in nightlife.

A cause you support
Besides the local queer community, I’m a huge mental health advocate. Publicly speaking on mental health can be frowned upon, especially in POC (people of colour) households but it’s okay to admit that you’re not okay. At work, I do “vibe checks” with my team on days they have lower productivity so they’re able to be vulnerable with me and let me know what’s going on with them. At the end of the day, it’ll reflect in their work and I’d rather them be transparent with me and let it be addressed before I find out something happened after the fact.

“DICE’s mission is to get everyone outside, and my personal mission is to get everyone outside and back home”

The queer act you’re itching to see live this year
I was itching feverishly to see Rina Sawayama live and I got to see her at Terminal 5 back in May. It was a borderline religious experience and I would 10000% see her again!

Your favourite queer space
One of my favourite queer spaces is actually a party that I love in New York – Papi Juice! Papi Juice is a collective formed by queer POC people in New York, and they typically have a monthly party hosted at Elsewhere in Brooklyn. Nothing beats seeing the sea of diverse bodies of all sizes, colours, and walks of life. They often do varying sets in multiple rooms so you have a change of pace in each room.

 


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LGBTIQ+ List 2022: This year’s queer pioneers revealed

IQ Magazine has revealed this year’s LGBTIQ+ List – the second annual celebration of queer professionals who make an immense impact in the international live music business.

The landmark list is the centrepiece of IQs second Pride edition, which will be available for subscribers online and in print, in the coming days.

The 20 individuals comprising the LGBTIQ+ List 2022 – as nominated by our readers and verified by our esteemed steering committee – are individuals that have gone above and beyond to wave the flag for an industry that we can all be proud of.

The sophomore class comprises agents, promoters, CFOs, CIOs, tour managers, marketing managers and more – all of whom identify as LGBTIQ+ and, in the face of adversity, have made enormous contributions to their respective sectors.

In alphabetical order, the LGBTIQ+ List 2022 is:

Alexander Rastén Rydberg, head of diversity and talent management, Dansk Live (DK)
Alexandra Ampofo, promoter, Metropolis Music (UK)
Can Büyükcinar, head of operations, Wizard Promotions Konzertagentur (DE)
Cloe Gregson, senior events manager, Manchester Pride (UK)
David Davies, founder and head of live, Double D Live (UK, IE)
David Jones, chief information officer, AEG Global Technology (UK)
Georgie Lanfranchi, tour manager for Years & Years, Only Helix (UK)
Hatice Arıcı, promoting director/ artist agent, Charmenko (TR)
James Fleury, marketing lead, Ticket Swap (NL)
Jill Wheeler, director of booking, Red Mountain Entertainment (US)
Joel Siviour, director & booking agent, Seismic Talent Agency (AU)
Jonas Sjödén, CFO, Live Nation Sweden (SE)
Natalie Rudland, senior promotions assistant, Live Nation (UK)
Nikos Kazoleas, agent, UTA (UK)
Nix Corporan, fan support team lead, DICE (US)
Patrick Erhardt, senior manager content & creation, Goodlive (DE)
Patrick Janssen, marketing manager, Live Nation Germany (DE)
Paul Bonham, director of professional development, MMF (UK)
Peter Taylor, promoter, Cuffe and Taylor (UK)
Troy Suda, chief product officer, Ticketmaster (UK)

Throughout the next month, IQ will be publishing full-length profiles of each person on the LGBTIQ+ List 2022.

“We work in an industry that aims to entertain the entire population. And that population is made up of extremely diverse audiences,” says Ticketmaster’s Troy Suda in his profile.

Joel Siviour, Seismic Talent Agency, adds: “I’ve witnessed plenty of virtue-signaling from within our industry, but when push comes to shove there are companies whose actions don’t align with the values they claim to hold.”

Check out last year’s cohort of queer pioneers here.

 


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Spotify launches Live Events Feed

Streaming giant Spotify has launched the Live Events Feed, an in-app destination that allows users to discover concerts in their local area via personalised listings.

The innovation replaces the previous Concert Hub feature, and introduces a number of updates to help fans find shows by their favourite artists.

Listings are sourced from the platform’s ticketing partners including Ticketmaster, AXS, Dice, Eventbrite and See Tickets.

“We’d love to be a part of helping the live music industry recover”

“With shows coming back, and listeners excited to see their favourite artists perform live again, we think this is the perfect time to explore new ways that Spotify can further support the industry,” says René Volker, Spotify’s senior director of live events.

“Thanks to partnerships with leading ticketers like Ticketmaster, AXS, Dice, Eventbrite, See Tickets, and others, Spotify now has most of the world’s concerts listed on-platform in our major markets. Users can now check out those listings on the Live Events Feed. They’ll be excited to see personalised recommendations for upcoming shows based upon their unique taste profile.

“Ultimately, our goal is to ensure that fans are aware of all of the upcoming events by the creators they love and creators they may come to love. We believe if we get that right, then we can get more fans to more shows and help artists and venues have better-filled rooms. We’d love to be a part of helping the live music industry recover and, even more importantly to us, helping to grow it in the years to come.”

“We spent about two years studying the industry, its products and its users”

Sam Sheridan, Spotify’s product manager for live events discovery, explains the Live Events Feed was two years in the making.

“We spent about two years studying the industry, its products and its users,” he says. “One of the key behaviours we see is that fans engage with artists on-platform, but then they leave to search for listings online or to even follow artists on social media for the sole purpose of staying on top of their events. We think the Live Events Feed is an opportunity to help close this loop. This helps ease the burden on fans, reduces the competition artists need to contend with to stand out, and creates new efficiencies around marketing.

“Another core learning was how sticky the discovery pathways are that lead with the artist, which you can see manifest in the design that leans into rich artist imagery, helping fans feel more connected and better informed about their favourite artists. We also included a new way to represent and celebrate the full body of the artist’s touring offering.”

He continues: “In addition, we built a new messaging tool to provide fans with personalised recommendations for upcoming live events based on their listening habits. And we’re putting fans in control of how they want to be communicated with by giving them tools to set their notification preferences, and offering them more information about our different ticketing partners. This, in turn, is helping these partners to find audiences.”

 


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Ticketing firm Dice rolls into Miami

Ticketing and event discovery platform Dice has officially launched in Miami as it continues its expansion in major cities across the US.

Coinciding with the launch, the company has announced an exclusive ticketing deal with renowned Miami venue Club Space.

The 2,000-cap nightclub will utilise Dice’s mobile platform for upcoming shows by acts such as Wade, Pawsa, Loco Dice, Green Velvet, Bonobo and Hocus Pocus.

“Miami’s wonderfully diverse music scene, from Latin to House, has always been on our mind as we bring our connected event discovery and ticketing experience to more fans across the US,” says Dice president Russ Tannen. “Our launch partners at Club Space have cultivated an institution in the Miami scene for over two decades that is now globally recognised as one of the world’s best clubs.”

“Their platform offers phenomenal technology and programming in line with our vision of the future”

Dice’s mobile technology includes features such as upfront pricing with the intention of bringing fairness to fans attending live events, while its Waiting List is designed protects fans from the excesses of the resale market. Concert-goers can also utilise the platform’s ‘Discovery’ tool, which enables fans to connect with one another and find live shows directly through the app.

“I am delighted to be partnering with Dice,” adds Club Space co-owner Coloma Kaboomsky. “They are a safe and fun way for the members of our community to get tickets to our events. Their platform offers phenomenal technology and programming in line with our vision of the future and for the present what is most important, 24/7 customer service.”

Launching in the United States in 2019, Dice also operates in key markets including New York and Los Angeles, with Dice founder Phil Hutcheon revealing to IQ that the US was now its biggest market.

The company, which raised up to US$122 million in Series C funding last autumn, which it said would enable it to expand into every market, recently grew its operations across Europe, landing in Germany after previous successful launches in the UK, France, Italy and Spain.

 


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Dice: ‘We got a lot bigger during the pandemic’

Dice founder and CEO Phil Hutcheon has told IQ how the company was able to continue its growth during the pandemic.

The UK-based mobile ticketing and discovery platform for live events and livestreams, which is already live in the UK, US, France, Italy and Spain, last week confirmed its entrance into the German market.

Launched in 2014, the firm announced last autumn that it had raised up to US$122 million in Series C funding, led by new investor SoftBank, which it said would enable it to expand into every market.

“Weirdly, we got a lot bigger during the pandemic,” Hutcheon tells IQ. “The pandemic was a real opportunity for a lot of people who are super-busy – partners, venues, promoters and artists – to see what Dice is, have plenty of time to assess it and go, ‘Actually, this is great,’ and sign up to it.

“The US is now Dice’s biggest market. What we’ve seen in New York is incredible – 1.2 million people in New York used Dice last month – and the engine just works. Our thing is to remove what we call the ‘Facebook/Instagram/Google tax,’ and help venues invest in their spaces and performances instead of buying ticket ads on social media. That was one of the reasons we started.”

“We actually worked harder than ever during the pandemic – we were relentless”

In April 2020, shortly after the onset of Covid-19, Dice ventured into livestreams and has since partnered on exclusive livestreams with the likes of Laura Marling, Lewis Capaldi, Nick Cave, Kylie Minogue, Little Mix, The Smile and Bjork.

“We did 6,500 ticketed livestreams,” notes Hutcheon. “But we also took it as an opportunity for a breather, because you’re growing super fast, you’re rolling out into different market and, you’ve got all these new features going up, so the engineering team focused on building software that whole time.

“There was no ‘business as usual’, so we were like, ‘Let’s use this time to get these massive pieces of development done.’ We actually worked harder than ever during the pandemic – we were relentless.”

Dice now has more than 350 shows available in-app in Germany, where it has launched a new Berlin office and plans to recruit more team members over the coming months, with 60 in place by the end of the year. It has already partnered with artists, promoters and venues across the country, including Goodlive Artists, Zart Agency and Hamburg’s Uebel & Gefährlich to support its growth.

“We don’t go into a market and build from the ground up, we like to work with a really good partner to set things off”

“We always wanted to launch in Berlin, but we needed to wait for the right time,” says Hutcheon. “We started everything towards the end of last year and now, with a team and the first deals in place, we’re super-excited.

“We don’t go into a market and build from the ground up, we like to work with a really good partner to set things off – that’s how we typically initiate a new market. It’s showing them what the product is, how it’s worked in other cities and the benefits, because Dice is two products: you’ve got the consumer app, but also the enterprise software that runs all of the events.

“It’s also about making sure that we’ve got enough events. We have hundreds of events in Germany, whereas if it launched and there were only six events on day one, then it’s not going to have much of an impact.”

Dice also rolled out its app in India in 2020, starting with exclusive livestreams from international and local artists including retroFuture, Pabllo Vittar, Anushka Manchanda (Nuka) and Raghav Meattle.

“That market is obviously going to be a big investment for us as it reopens,” says Hutcheon. “I think that could be special for us. We have very high hopes for India.”

While reluctant to go into detail on future expansion plans, Hutcheon suggests a common thread runs through the territories it has entered so far in terms of venue infrastructure.

“Where Dice really works is for venues between 250/300-cap to 10,000-cap,” he suggests.

“I’m heartened that TV subscriptions are going down – I think that spend will go back into seeing people perform”

Hutcheon also shares his belief that there could be a positive legacy from the live shutdown and various lockdowns.

“Before the pandemic, everyone was like, ‘I wonder what’s gonna be like when we all live virtually: we’re all going to have 3D headsets on, sitting at home and doing all these things in the metaverse,'” he reflects. “Well, we’ve just spent a year and a half living fully digital, and it wasn’t very good, so seeing people out again is amazing.

“We’re so happy with our mission of getting people to go out even more often and we’re really going to invest in the community this year. It’s super-easy to find out what’s going on on Dice because of all the algorithms. And if you’ve got no one to go with, well, pretty soon you’re going to be able to meet new people through Dice.

“The biggest thing that Dice has an impact on is getting people to go out more often. I’m heartened that TV subscriptions are going down because I think that spend will go back into seeing people perform.”

Dice recently bolstered its leadership team with the appointments of Falko Mortiboys as VP of fan experience, Ali McCloud as VP of partner relations, Antony Jackson as head of expansion, Europe and Leon Sherman as head of artist partnerships, UK & Europe.

 


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Ticketing platform Dice expands to Germany

Ticketing and discovery platform Dice has announced its expansion to Germany.

Dice now has more than 350 shows now available in-app in Germany, including concerts with Bicep, Little Simz, Years & Years and Marc Rebillet.

To support its growth, Dice will partner with artists, promoters and venues across the country, including Goodlive Artists, Zart Agency and Hamburg’s Uebel & Gefährlich.

“We invest heavily in making it easy for fans to buy tickets, discover more amazing events and invite their friends,” says Dice founder and CEO Phil Hutcheon. “Our mission is to get people out more and I’m proud that Dice is partnering with the brilliant Goodlive Artists and Zart from launch.”

Dice has become the primary ticketing partner for hundreds of Goodlive Artists’ events across major cities like Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg and Munich, already teaming on sold-out shows with PinkPantheress, Fred Again.. and Marc Rebillet.

It’s all about bringing artists and fans together as well as bringing new fans to artists”

Dice will also work with Berlin-based music promoter Zart Agency, promoter for acts such as Sam Fender and Ben Howard, ono events such as the Sacred Ground Festival.

“The love for music, technology and innovation is what excites us most about Dice,” say Max Wentzler, managing partner, and Hauke Steinhof, MD at Zart Agency. “It’s all about bringing artists and fans together as well as bringing new fans to artists. The Dice team has the same spirit that Zart Agency has. The Waiting List is the best answer against the secondary ticket market we’ve ever seen.”

In addition, upcoming concerts at Hamburg’s 900/200-cap Uebel & Gefahrlich by the likes of Animal Collective, Ibeyi and Ben Klock are now available via the Dice app.

“Life is about creating memories and nothing beats the energy you get from a live show”

Germany is Dice’s sixth global market, following successful launches in the UK, France, Italy, Spain and the US.

With Germany being a key market for growth, the company has opened its new office in Berlin with four senior individuals focusing on venues and promoter partnerships. It plans to recruit more team members over the coming months, with 60 in place by the end of the year.

“People have asked for years what would it be like if everyone lived their lives digitally,” adds Hutcheon. “Well, with the pandemic, we just experienced it and it’s not good. Life is about creating memories and nothing beats the energy you get from a live show. We make it easy to get people away from screens and into shows.”

Dice recently bolstered its leadership team with the appointments of Falko Mortiboys as VP of fan experience, Ali McCloud as VP of partner relations, Antony Jackson as head of expansion, Europe and Leon Sherman as head of artist partnerships, UK & Europe.

 


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ILMC 34: Inside ticketing’s new normal

International ticketing executives have given a mixed picture on live music markets around the world as the business bids to pick up where it left off pre-pandemic.

ILMC’s Ticketing: All change please! session heard from Ticketmaster UK’s Sarah Slater, Marcia Titley of Eventim Norway & Sweden, John Talbot of AXS Europe, Dice’s Amy Oldham and TicketSwap’s James Fleury, with Michael Hosking of Singapore-based Midas Promotions offering a promoter’s perspective.

Quizzed on the state of play by chair Richard Howle of The Ticket Factory, the panel reported contrasting fortunes to date.

“In Scandinavia, restrictions were lifted in December in Denmark, in January in Norway, and February in Sweden, so we’re about three, four months in,” noted Titley. “When the restrictions were lifted, ticket sales jumped, which was great, we were all thrilled. And then they kind of plateaued.”

“We’re making progress, but it’s slower than I think we all had hoped”

While observing a week-by-week improvement, she added that Covid has appeared to have triggered a change in purchasing habits, with a shift towards buying tickets later in the day.

“They’re waiting, and I think we can all understand why,” she said. “I think we’re all holding our breath a little bit wondering if some new variant’s going to pop up tomorrow. And shows aren’t selling out, so that sense of urgency isn’t there.

“One thing we’re starting to see in Scandinavia as well is uncertainty if shows and festivals are actually going to happen. Just recently, last week, one of our biggest festivals in Norway had to cancel because of Covid complications… So this has also affected consumer behaviour.

“Also, I think we’re trying to find ways to get people to go back to live. I think people have got a little bit stuck on their couches and we need to try to find a way to get them to remember what live was all about. If we can get them into the shows then we will be able to build up that kind of credibility in the market. We’re making progress, but it’s slower than I think we all had hoped.”

“One of the greatest impacts of Covid is it has made people, generally, quite lethargic”

Citing sold-out stadium shows by Justin Bieber in Singapore and Malaysia, Hosking stressed that demand was visible for certain artists, but returned to the theme of audience lethargy.

“The real test will be maybe the B and C-listers,” he offered. “I think one of the greatest impacts of Covid is it has made people, generally, quite lethargic. The old days of having to do everything immediately seems to have waned. And of course, Asia’s not one country, it is several countries and there are still very different restrictions about touring. But Justin is living proof that if the people want you bad enough they’ll go out and buy tickets.”

Talbot, who joined AXS last summer, said the business had faced an “existential threat” and attempted to put its travails into perspective.

“To use a hospitalisation analogy, we were hit by a truck and now we are in the recovery from that period, and it’s not going to happen overnight. We’ve got a cost of living crisis. People can see the alternatives to going out – because they were denied so long, they’ve got other options and they can entertain themselves in different ways.

“We do need to teach the market that going out, congregating, seeing live events is a really, really important part of our culture and they should come back to it. But those challenges are nowhere near as existential as what we were facing only a matter of months ago, so I think there’s a lot of reason to be very cheerful.”

“Half of our customer services activity at the moment is reuniting customers with the tickets they bought in 2019 and 2020”

He added: “We’re finding that a lot of our best customers are holding four or five tickets to shows that are yet to play off… So how do you sell to the market new events, when they’ve already got commitments, and sometimes they’ve forgotten that they’re holding these tickets?

“Half of our customer services activity at the moment is reuniting customers with the tickets they bought in 2019 and 2020. So when that clog disappears, as it will, I think that’s when we can really start to see new on sales not being buffeted by those market forces.”

Slater and Oldham suggested the state of affairs in the UK was more favourable across the board, in part, due to being able to press ahead with a partial festival season in 2021.

Slater, who received the Golden Ticketer gong at the 2022 Arthur Awards, pointed to Ticketmaster’s stellar business in the final quarter of last year.

“We were really able to capture that pent-up demand that the pandemic brought,” she said. “Q4 was absolutely huge: We had Reading & Leeds sell out; Creamfields sell out; we’ve got new sites for festivals; there are lots of tickets out there, but we’re selling all our tickets as well.

“We’re really positive; we were lucky that we got the summer [2021] in the UK, so we’re in a slightly different position to everyone else.”

“People are demanding to have choice and flexibility now when it comes to buying tickets”

“The market’s certainly buoyant,” added Oldham, Dice’s VP of content, Europe. “We had over a million people go out in London last month, which is extraordinary. The place where it’s the most buzzy is with emerging talent – the waitlist for artists like Fred Again is astronomical. People are buying really early because they’ve got the protection of knowing that they can give their ticket back if they can’t go.”

James Fleury of price-capped ‘ethical’ ticket marketplace TicketSwap said the Amsterdam-based firm had already twice broken company records in the first four months of 2022, and backed up Oldham’s point on flexibility.

“People are demanding to have choice and flexibility now when it comes to buying tickets,” he said. “Buying a ticket anymore isn’t necessarily a commitment to attend that specific event. It is for the top four or five artists that I really love, but for the other artists where we maybe like one single or a couple of tracks… I think it’s important that we also promote that flexibility.

“Our challenge this year as a company is to educate both fans, but also partners – promoters and festivals – about why having that choice and flexibility is important on the fans’ side.”

 


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