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Ed Sheeran planning to tour in an electric campervan

Ed Sheeran says that he’s planning on touring in an electric campervan for his + – = ÷ x (mathematics) stadium tour, which kicks off in the spring.

Speaking last weekend as a guest on Today’s Sunday Sitdown, Sheeran said his ambition is to be “as electric as possible” in regards to his travel.

“We’re going to try and [travel] on the train or I’m talking to VW about an electric campervan,” he said. “I want to travel to every show as electric as possible.”

Sheeran also recently talked to BBC Radio London about his commitment to environmentalism and plans to “rewild as much of the UK as I can”.

“I feel like I am going to get my head bitten off anytime I say that, as my job is not a hugely sustainable job as I go and play in cities, but I am trying my best,” he added.

“I want to travel to every show as electric as possible.”

The mathematics tour, which kicks off in April next year, will see Sheeran play shows across the UK, Ireland, Central Europe and Scandinavia.

Dates for Asia, Australia and America will be announced in due course, according to a recent IQ interview with Sheeran’s live agent, Jon Ollier of One Fiinix Live.

Sheeran is the latest superstar act to discuss greener touring plans after Coldplay announced a groundbreaking eco-friendly stadium tour. The band’s agent, Josh Javor of X-Ray Touring, told IQ he hopes the tour will become a blueprint for other artists of the same calibre.

 


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FKP Scorpio and Ed Sheeran triumph over Viagogo again

FKP Scorpio has won an injunction preventing Viagogo from offering ‘worthless’ tickets for Ed Sheeran concerts.

The Hamburg-based concert and festival promoter, which is co-organising Sheeran’s upcoming Mathematics Tour, is using specially developed mobile ticketing technology for all concerts on the tour that makes unauthorised resale impossible.

Tickets can only be purchased through the official provider, Eventim, or its resale platform Fansale. And, since all tickets are personalised and digital-only, it is not possible for them to be resold outside of the Fansale platform.

Subsequently, the district court of Hamburg has banned Switzerland-based Viagogo from offering Ed Sheeran tickets or allowing them to be sold without making it clear that buyers will not be granted entry to the concerts. FKP Scorpio and Ed Sheeran won a similar case against Viagogo in 2019.

“We are pleased about this success in court, which puts further obstacles in the way of unfair business models at the expense of consumers,” says Inga Esseling, promoter at FKP Scorpio.

“[This ruling] puts further obstacles in the way of unfair business models at the expense of consumers”

“In addition to containing such offers, legal steps are also necessary to draw public attention to the issue. This is the only way we can reach and protect fans early enough. FKP Scorpio will continue to be supported by the law firm Schütz Rechtsanwälte from Karlsruhe, which has already successfully taken action against Viagogo several times.”

Attorney Dr Markus Schütz comments: “The transfer within the framework of the applicable rules of the game and at fair prices is not the problem. It becomes problematic when tickets are bought with the intention of making money from the start. One can only advise the fans not to run the risk of buying invalid or counterfeit tickets at exorbitant prices on the black market and especially at Viagogo. We will continue to systematically fight resales at inflated prices.”

Sheeran’s agent Jon Ollier of One Fiinix Live recently said he believes digital-only ticketing is the future. “There is no reason why in a world full of technology, that we can’t lean on technology a little bit more,” he told IQ.

“We hope that this time [the battle against unauthorised resale sites] is going to feel a lot more like it’s all happening in the background. Last time around, it had to play out in the media because no one was listening. But people are listening now, people are aware and at the table, trying to change laws, trying to move things forward,” he said. Read the full interview with Ollier here.

 


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Ed Sheeran announces global livestreamed concert

Ed Sheeran is partnering with Amazon Music for a global livestreamed concert from London’s Alexandra Palace (cap. 10, 400).

The singer-songwriter will showcase his new album ‘=’ during The Equals Live Experience, which will be broadcast worldwide via Amazon Music on 5 December at 20:00 GMT.

Five fans – including one guest each – are being offered the chance to attend the 90-minute “stunning visual performance” in person.

Five fans are being offered the chance to attend the 90-minute “stunning visual performance” in person

Those tuning in from home can do so through the Amazon Music app, the Amazon Music channel on Twitch, and Prime Video.

News of the live stream comes after Sheeran delivered a virtual performance from within the Pokémon Go app yesterday (22 November). A video of the show is available to view for eight days, until next Tuesday (30 November).

Sheeran’s other 2021 livestreamed concerts include fundraising event We for India and the record-breaking TikTok live stream which garnered more than 5.5 million unique viewers.

While Alexandra Palace previously hosted livestreamed events such as Nick Cave’s Idiot Prayer and the Melody VR-produced Wireless Connect.

 


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Pokémon GO announces Ed Sheeran concert

Pokémon Go has announced an exclusive performance from Ed Sheeran, slated to appear in the AR mobile game next week.

Sheeran’s pre-recorded set, which includes hits such as ‘Bad Habits’ and ‘Thinking Out Loud’, will be available in the News section of the app from 22–30 November.

The singer’s favourite Pokémon, Squirtle, will also appear in the game, along with branded ‘=’ sweatshirts that players can dress their avatar in.

In-game events have proved to be big business for Niantic, with this year’s Go Fest event reportedly bringing in $21m

In-game events have proved to be big business for Pokémon Go developer Niantic, with this year’s Go Fest event reportedly bringing in around $21 million in revenue over the course of two days, according to analytics firm Sensor Tower.

With the Ed Sheeran event, Niantic appears to be moving in the same direction as Fortnite and Roblox, which have been leading the way for in-game music events.

Pokémon’s previous in-game music events include a virtual concert headlined by Post Malone, which was part of the franchise’s 25th-anniversary celebrations.

 


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Sheeran sales fill European promoters with optimism

Ed Sheeran’s recently announced ‘blockbuster’ tour has filled promoters with optimism about the industry’s post-pandemic recovery.

Tickets for the first leg of Sheeran’s + – = ÷ x (‘mathematics’) stadium tour went on sale last Saturday (25 September), with extra dates added due to demand.

The tour, which kicks off in April next year, will see Sheeran play shows across the UK, Ireland, Central Europe and Scandinavia.

The UK leg, which now includes five dates at London’s Wembley Stadium (cap. 90,000), will be largely be staged by Kilimanjaro and FKP Scorpio – both of which say that the demand is a positive sign for the industry’s recovery.

“We’re absolutely delighted with the ticket sales we’ve done on next year’s tour; so much so that we’ve been able to add extra shows everywhere including fourth and fifth nights at London’s Wembley Stadium,” Kilimanjaro’s Steve Tilley tells IQ.

“I know I speak on behalf of both Kilimanjaro and FKP when I say that we’re over the moon to see the strength of the market especially coming out of what’s been a terrible 18 months for the live music industry and associated ecosystem.’’

“This should provide us all with optimism that our industry can recover and even become bigger than ever”

FKP Scorpio UK’s managing director and longtime Sheeran co-promoter, Daniel Ealam, tells IQ: “We are so pleased with the sales on these shows. It not only proves the magnetism of Ed after the incredible success of the [previous] Divide Tour but also shows that blockbuster tours can still sell huge numbers, as we begin to come through the pandemic. This should provide us all with optimism that our industry can recover and even become bigger than ever.”

FKP Scorpio CEO Folkert Koopmans told Germany’s Musik Woche that he was “very satisfied” with ticket sales for ‘+ – = ÷ x’ so far.

According to Musik Woche, a few hours after the start of advance sales, FKP Scorpio had already sold more than a million tickets for the 31 European concerts it is involved with. German shows in Munich, Gelsenkirchen and Frankfurt account for 200,000 of the total.

“We are very satisfied with this result so shortly after the start of advance sales – and more than nine months before the first concert,” Koopmans told the publication.

“Of course, the expectations of a mega-star like EdSheeran are high, but especially with a view to Covid and the resulting uncertainty among concert-goers, more than a million tickets sold within a very short time are a great result and an expression of the unbridled lust of people to finally experience live music again. ”

Sheeran’s agent, Jon Ollier from One Finiix Live, told IQ that dates in Asia, Australia, America and other territories will be announced “as things roll out”. Read the full interview with Ollier here.


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One Fiinix Live’s Jon Ollier talks Ed Sheeran tour

Ed Sheeran’s agent Jon Ollier has spoken to IQ about the sequel to the biggest concert tour of all time.

Sheeran’s 255 show ÷ (Divide) run from 2017-19 surpassed U2’s 360° as the highest-grossing tour ever, with a gross of US$776.2 million. It also set a new record for total attendance, at 8,796,567, according to Pollstar data.

Tickets go on sale tomorrow (September 25) for the first leg of the follow-up + – = ÷ x stadium tour (pronounced |mathematics”), which kicks off in April next year.

The tour will see Sheeran play shows across the UK, Ireland, Central Europe and Scandinavia, but Ollier said breaking further records was low on the team’s list of priorities.

“Coming out of the pandemic, I think everyone would be very happy with just following it with excellence and keeping the fans happy,” the One Fiinix Live boss tells IQ.

“I think everyone would be very happy with just following [the ÷ tour] with excellence and keeping the fans happy”

“We’ve frozen the ticket prices from last time, because of everything the world’s been through, so we’re not really looking at our ambitions as much as just trying to do the best we can.

“Genuinely, the things that we are focusing on at this point in the process is getting the tickets into the hands of real fans, making sure people aren’t getting ripped off, making sure that we’re delivering excellence in everything that we do, and trying to deliver a great tour. And then everything else follows.”

The UK dates will be staged by Kilimanjaro Live, AEG Presents and FKP Scorpio, which hired longtime Sheeran co-promoter Daniel Ealam from DHP Family last year alongside Scott O’Neill.

“We had to go into arenas first on ÷ because we needed to understand the market and understand that everything was there for the taking in the way that it was, create the heat and create the demand,” explains Ollier. “But we’re at a place now where we need to satisfy the market rather than stoke the fire.”

The new tour is in support of Sheeran’s new album =, which will be released on October 29 through Asylum/Atlantic. The campaign is expected to run for three years and will include another LP before the end of 2024.

“They’ve changed up the [production] offering, so that it’s not just re-touring the old show with new songs”

“We’ll be announcing Asia, Australia, America, etc, as things roll out and I know that Ed would love to get to some new places, so I’m sure that’s on the horizon,” adds Ollier.

“We all hope that we are coming back to a market that is buoyant enough to support the level of business that will keep us running for a period of time that would allow us to get done what we usually get done. I think Ed said, ‘Right, here’s my tour, this is me now for the next three years,’ so that’s where his head’s at with it.

“And we’ll find out tomorrow when we go on sale, but we would love to be coming back to a market that feels buoyant enough for us to be able to do something like that.”

The concerts will also feature a new production set-up with Sheeran’s staging in the round, surrounded by the crowd in each stadium, potentially upping capacities. Previous tours have seen Sheeran perform solo with a loop pedal.

“They’ve changed up the offering, so there’s definitely a feeling that they’re doing something different, that it’s not just re-touring the old show with new songs,” says Ollier. “So there is definitely going to be a progression in production.”

“This time, we’ve made our ticketing 100% digital, which we think is going to be the future”

The ÷ tour was also notable for its aggressive campaign against the secondary market, and the upcoming tour will use specially developed mobile digital ticketing technology, which have safeguards in place “to ensure genuine fans are buying genuine tickets and to stop unofficial secondary ticketing sites, and unofficial ticket sellers, from being able to resell tickets at inflated prices and rip off fans”.

“This time, we’ve made our ticketing 100% digital, which we think is going to be the future,” says Ollier. “The ticketing companies have been fantastic in working with us – we’ve put quite a lot of pressure on them during a pandemic to develop their apps and the mechanisms that we need in place.

“We hope that this time [the battle against unauthorised resale sites] is going to feel a lot more like it’s all happening in the background. Last time around, it had to play out in the media because no one was listening. But people are listening now, people are aware and at the table, trying to change laws, trying to move things forward.

“There is no reason why in a world full of technology, that we can’t lean on technology a little bit more so we will have all of the failsafes and backdrops that you’d expect us to have. But it’s all going to be delivered through a digital platform, through an app, which will make sure that people enter the venue with legitimate tickets.”

Ollier began his career at Helter Skelter, moving to Free Trade Agency in 2008, when he first began working with Sheeran. He moved to CAA as a senior agent in 2015 before launching One Fiinix in November 2020, taking with him a roster of acts including Sheeran, Anne-Marie, JC Stewart, Lauv and 2Cellos.

 


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We for India benefit show raises $5m for Covid relief

We for India, a livestreamed fundraising event featuring performances from Ed Sheeran, Nile Rodgers, Annie Lennox and AR Rahman, raised more than US$5 million for the India Covid Response Fund, organisers have announced.

Held on Sunday 15 August 2021, India’s 75th independence day, the show featured more than 100 musicians, actors, film directors, TV stars and other celebrities and was broadcast to a global audience on Facebook. Other participants included Steven Spielberg, Mick Jagger and Indian film stars Ajay Devgan, Hrithik Roshan, Nagarjuna and Arjun Kapoor.

Shibasish Sarkar, group CEO of Reliance Entertainment, which organised We for India in association with GiveIndia, Facebook and the UN platform The World We Want, says: “The honest and sincere effort of our team and our partners is the reason behind the great success of this event. I would like to extend my gratitude to all the talent, artists, philanthropists and everyone who supported this fundraiser. It is our humble contribution to our nation’s ongoing battle against the invisible enemy.”

“I would like to extend my gratitude to all the talent, artists, philanthropists and everyone who supported this fundraiser”

The money, around 370m rupees, was raised from a combination of corporate partners, philanthropic foundations and individual donors, reports IANS. It follows a similar event, I for India, which raised $7m in May 2020.

Atul Satija, CEO of GiveIndia, comments: “We are grateful for all the support we have received from each and everyone who donated and came together to make We For India such an impactful journey. Thank you for making it a success and contributing to our India Covid Response Fund. We all know that the pandemic and the suffering it has caused is far from over. We for India is a great, timely initiative to remind us of the need to continue to provide humanitarian aid and strengthen our health infrastructure.”

“The great success of this initiative is the result of the collective efforts of so many people, and truly epitomises the power of communities,” Manish Chopra, director and head of partnerships for Facebook India, adds. “As Facebook, we are proud to have supported the voice of leading artists from all over the world and partnered Give India and Reliance Entertainment in this laudable effort towards Covid relief.”

 


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Ed Sheeran smashes TikTok livestreaming record

Ed Sheeran has set a new record for the most-watched live music performance on the viral short-form video app TikTok.

The record-breaking live stream took place last Friday (25 June) at Sheeran’s home football ground of Portman Road, Ipswich Town, UK, as part of TikTok’s partnership with UEFA (The Union of European Football Associations) during the Euro 2020 tournament.

More than 5.5 million unique viewers tuned in to the singer’s hour-long TikTok live stream (dubbed the TikTok UEFA EURO 2020 Show) and the two replays the following day.

According to the platform, the show was the biggest-ever live music performance on TikTok, surpassing the 4 million people who tuned in for Justin Bieber’s Valentine’s Day TikTok live stream in February.

“The bar for what is possible within the livestreaming format has been creatively raised”

The spectator-free show, directed by Emil Nava and Hamish Hamilton, incorporated special effects, augmented reality and prominent TikTok stars. It also marked the live premiere of Sheeran’s new single ‘Bad Habits’.

“The TikTok UEFA 2020 Show was an incredible moment for our community around the world and a turning point for live music streaming,” says Paul Hourican, head of music operations UK TikTok. “The bar for what is possible within the livestreaming format has been creatively raised and it has been shown how big and ambitious TikTok can be for artists.”

Ed Howard, co-president of Sheeran’s record label, Atlantic Records, added: “For Ed, Grumpy Old Management and Atlantic, uniting and reaching their global fan base was imperative for the launch of their new campaign, as well as our close partnership with Paul and the entire TikTok team enabled us to achieve this goal in a uniquely creative way.”

 


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Jon Ollier launches new agency One Fiinix Live

Ed Sheeran agent Jon Ollier has announced details of his new booking agency, launched following his recent departure from CAA.

Headquartered in London, One Fiinix Live aims to offer both a “first-class service” to Ollier’s existing roster – which also includes Anne-Marie, JC Stewart, Lauv and 2Cellos – while also investing in new “strategies to maximise opportunities in a post-Covid-19 world”, according to Ollier.

Ollier will serve as CEO of the new venture, with Emma Davis – who served as Ollier’s assistant at CAA – also joining One Fiinix Live. Ollier left CAA after nearly six years last month, along with his personal roster.

Explaining the reason behind the name, Ollier says: “I have always been interested in spirituality and symbolism. Fiinix is, of course, a play on the word Phoenix and so, therefore, a symbol of rebirth, hope, immortality and resurrection.

“It is a word that has come into relevance for me strongly at huge turning points in my life. We gave our daughter, our first child, the conventional spelling as her middle name. She came into our lives and it was all change, a new chapter in our lives. I think we are in a similar place right now: everything we knew to be true about our lives has been tested and shaken and my response to it has been to embrace the change, have faith in the immortality of music and hope in the rebirth which will come from it.”

Ollier began his career at Helter Skelter, moving to Free Trade Agency in 2008, when he first began working with Sheeran. He moved to CAA as a senior agent in 2015.

“After almost six years at CAA, where I learned a huge amount from some inspirational colleagues, I felt it was time to launch my own venture and realise the vision I had for a forward-thinking, innovative agency that could empower artists and help them reach new audiences,” he comments.

“The idea of starting the company now is to invest in a business that can grow from the bottom of the market”

The past few months have seen a flurry of activity in the agency world on both sides of the Atlantic, with the likes of Route One Booking and Runway Artists in the UK, Arrival ArtistsMint Talent Group and TBA Agency in the US and Rebel Beat Agency in Spain all having launched this autumn following cutbacks at the major agencies.

“It may seem counter intuitive, but I think this is uniquely good time to launch a new business as we enter the next phase for live music,” continues Ollier. “There will be huge opportunities as we create new ways of thinking and I believe One Fiinix Live is poised to play a leading role in that positive disruption.”

Hinting at plans to expand the number of agents at One Fiinix, he adds: “We are keen to turn the current challenges we are all facing into possibilities, and I encourage anyone who feels they have the same kind of mindset to reach out – now is the time to embrace the change.”

He adds: “The idea of starting the company now is to invest in a business that can grow from the bottom of the market and to create a vehicle that can take advantage of the situation we find ourselves in. There are talented people out there who, for a number of reasons, may feel their situation is less secure that it was and the hope is that we can start conversations, employ, go in to ventures or just simply offer support where we can.

“I think the priority for all of us right now needs to be the survival of the ecosystem as a whole and so I think the industry will become naturally more collaborative. It is then just about seeing what opportunities come out of that collaboration.”

 


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Sheeran agent Jon Ollier to launch own company

Jon Ollier has become the latest agent to use 2020 as a springboard to launch his own independent company, after CAA today confirmed he will be leaving the agency within weeks.

Ollier will be taking his biggest client, Ed Sheeran, with him, alongside fellow British stars Anne-Marie and Calum Scott, but at the moment it is unclear who else from his roster might also be part of the new venture.

Ollier was at Free Trade Agency until March 2015, when he joined CAA’s London office. His departure from the company is amicable, with CAA offering their full support for his yet-to-be named new venture.

“Starting my own company has been a dream of mine and I appreciate CAA’s support in this transition”

“CAA has been a wonderful experience and one I am incredibly grateful for,” says Ollier. “It has been an absolute privilege working alongside so many outstanding people who care deeply about their clients and each other.”

He adds, “Starting my own company has been a dream of mine and I appreciate CAA’s support in this transition.”

CAA co-head, Emma Banks tells IQ, “Jon has been a great colleague and friend. We wish him the very best as he pursues an entrepreneurial path, and look forward to working with him in his new role.”

Ollier will be handing over and wrapping up with the company until mid-November and more details about his new company will be released in due course.

 


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