Campaigners back landmark ticket resale ruling
Campaigners against ticket touting have backed the European Parliament’s decision to approve new laws strengthening regulation around online marketplaces, including ticket resale sites.
The landmark Digital Services Act (DSA), which was passed by 539 votes to 54, includes measures to ensure professional sellers are identifiable, prevent certain manipulative sales tactics, and require regular reporting to improve transparency for consumers.
Crucially, online marketplaces will now be required to obtain essential information about third party professional sellers before traders are allowed to list tickets on the platform.
Resale platforms must also make it clear throughout the buying process that the tickets listed are provided by a third party, while dark patterns – user interfaces designed in such a way as to trick users into making certain decisions, such as “pop-ups” or giving prominence to specific choices – will be banned.
“The introduction of the Digital Services Act is a key moment for the live events sector in the UK, as well as across Europe”
The development follows two years of lobbying by the Face-value European Alliance for Ticketing (FEAT), which culminated in arranging an open letter signed by more than 130 representatives from across Europe’s live sector, calling for the EU to introduce tougher laws to combat online ticket touting. However, FEAT argues the text could have gone further and will continue to campaign for tougher rules.
“The introduction of the Digital Services Act is a key moment for the live events sector in the UK, as well as across Europe,” says FEAT director Sam Shemtob. “The new legislation regulating online marketplaces will see EU countries catch up with the UK in terms of stricter rules for verifying professional sellers and making sure fans know who they’re buying from. This will directly impact all UK artists who tour Europe, as well as make it harder for UK touts to operate under the guise of anonymity on European ticket resale sites.”
“This is an important step towards increasing accountability and to prevent scams, which will contribute towards a healthier European touring industry”
The DSA will now go through the formal adoption procedures by the European Council before it is published in the EU Official Journal. It will enter into force 20 days after its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union, and its provisions will mainly apply 15 months after entry into force or from 1 January 2024, whichever comes later.
Per Kviman, CEO of Versity Music and chair of the European Music Managers Alliance (EMMA), which represents 1,800 music managers in 10 European countries, adds: “EMMA is very pleased to see new rules which protect both artists and the ticket-buying public have been approved by the European Parliament. This is an important step towards increasing accountability and to prevent scams, which will contribute towards a healthier European touring industry.”
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Yvonne Stausbøll joins EMMA as exec director
The European Music Managers Alliance (EMMA) has appointed Yvonne Stausbøll to the newly created position of executive director.
Stausbøll will be based in Brussels, from where she will be responsible for the general management of EMMA and the organisation’s engagement on policy issues in Europe and internationally. With over 25 years’ experience working in public affairs in Brussels, Stausbøll brings extensive knowledge of the European public policy environment – including 15 years combined in the European Commission and European Parliament – to the organisation, according to EMMA.
Formerly head of energy sector trade association UPEI, Stausbøll has in recent years been working with music and culture organisations including Freemuse and Music Without Borders.
“Yvonne’s extensive experience will … ensure music managers have representation at the heart of European policy discussions”
Commenting on the appointment, Per Kviman, chair of EMMA, says: “I am delighted to welcome Yvonne as our new executive director and look forward to working with her.
“This is a significant step for EMMA. Yvonne’s extensive experience will help take our organisation forward, ensuring music managers have representation at the heart of European policy discussions and expanding our engagement with other music-based organisations.”
EMMA brings together Music Managers Forums (MMF) in Belgium, Finland, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the UK, and has links to allied organisations in Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Its members represent more than 1,200 artist managers in Europe.
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EMMA: PROs must consult artist reps on livestreaming rates
The European Music Managers Alliance (Emma) has called on the continent’s copyright collection societies to involve artists and their representatives in any discussions about how to set new licensing rates for livestreamed concerts.
The umbrella organisation, which represents Music Managers Forums in the UK, France, Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway and Poland, warns that if performance rights organisation (PRO) tariffs are levied at too steep a rate, this could kill off this growing format by making the majority of live streams financially unviable.
According to Emma, the actions of “certain PROs and major music publishers” – which have unilaterally decided live streams are akin to a music stream, rather than a live show, and so subject to much higher digital audio tariff – “are threatening the viability of ticketed livestreams across Europe”. The estimated size of these digital audio-based payments is “is so high that it would make the majority of livestreams unviable”, the association warns.
Emma’s intervention follows controversy over the decision by PRS for Music, the UK PRO, to impose without consultation a new tariff of up to 17% on livestreamed shows, in a move criticised by the UK Music Managers Forum, among others. PRS today (16 February) announced a consultation, or “call for views”, on the tariff, which runs until 12 March.
“Set licensing rates too high, and the costs of producing livestream shows simply won’t stack up”
Emma says while it agrees songwriters must be fairly compensated when their songs are performed in a live stream, European PROs should instead apply their standard live tariffs to ticketed livestreamed events until a new livestream rate is agreed with artists and managers.
“Everyone wants live shows to return as soon as it’s safe for audiences to come back. In the meantime, livestreaming has provided one of the few alternatives for artists to perform before an audience, build a fanbase, and generate revenues through ticket sales,” comments Emma chair Per Kviman (MMF Sweden).
“Emma is urging PROs across Europe to be sensitive to these facts, and that the imposition of any new licensing tariffs should involve full and open consultation – including with artists and their representatives.
“Get the balance right, and we could nurture a vibrant new format that complements live events and provides artists and songwriters with a valuable source of revenue. But set licensing rates too high, and the costs of producing livestream shows simply won’t stack up.”
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Industry urges action on touting via EU’s DSA
In response to the launch of the European Union’s Digital Services Act (DSA), the Face-Value European Alliance for Ticketing (FEAT) has published new recommendations for the future of online ticket resale.
The pan-European anti-touting group, established early last year, has issued further proposals to protect fans from “harmful” secondary ticketing and reduce illegal ticket resale across the EU, following the FEAT-backed ban on ticket bots introduced in April 2019.
Its recommendations are backed by a host of industry associations, including the Spanish Association of Music Promoters (APM), Germany’s BDKV, the Association for Electronic Music, Pearle* and the European Music Managers Alliance (EMMA), and broadly supported by Waterson report author Prof Michael Waterson.
The joint action – which follows more than 50 court cases and initiatives to try and curb secondary across 11 EU member states FEAT surveyed – comes after European commissioners approved initial proposals for the DSA, which aims to offer better protection for online consumers, late on Tuesday (20 October).
“EU action is necessary through to put control of tickets back into the hands of those putting on the shows”
FEAT’s recommendations, which are outlined in a position paper published today (22 Oct), include:
- Clear liability for online marketplaces, with rules stating when they are responsible for misleading information or guarantees, and illegal or delisted tickets
- Verification processes to vet sellers and their tickets, to prevent tickets being listed unlawfully
- More transparency measures for online marketplaces, with clear information about tickets (including face value) and the identity of sellers
- Better reporting and take-down for tickets not permitted for resale
- Oversight, enforcement and public performance rating from a European agency empowered to ensure the DSA’s provisions are implemented
- Rules must apply to marketplaces trading within the EU, but based outside
Austrian MEP Hannes Heide, who sits on the European parliament’s culture committee, is supporting the FEAT proposals. He comments: “Ticket resale platforms like Viagogo list and advertise mostly overpriced tickets for sporting or cultural events, usually being sold by commercial traders rather than consumers. They enable the sale of speculative tickets, which the seller does not even own, and sales that contravene the lawful terms and conditions of the ticket. This harms consumers, artists, event organisers and honest ticket sellers.
“In several countries, such as Austria, Viagogo has been legally obliged to disclose the identity of the ticket sellers, which enables defrauded consumers to take action against the seller. In addition, the platform must inform buyers of the ticket’s original face-value price and whether the tickets are personalised.
“While this is a partial victory, it is not enough. The platforms must comply with all requirements of EU law and the authorities of the member states must work together to ensure compliance.”
“European consumers are long overdue secondary ticketing marketplaces they can rely on”
Per Kviman, chair of EMMA, adds: “The growth in ticket resale across Europe through sites like Viagogo and StubHub has undermined the ability of artists to sell their tickets to fans at a fair price they determine. Instead, brokers/touts buy up large volumes of tickets to the most popular shows, falsely inflating prices and limiting access for consumers.
“EU action is necessary through the Digital Services Act to put control of tickets back into the hands of those putting on the shows and creating powers to take down illegally listed tickets. As European managers we back FEAT’s campaign.”
“So much has changed since the e-Commerce Directive came into effect in 2000, and European consumers are long overdue secondary ticketing marketplaces they can rely on,” comments FEAT campaign lead Katie O’Leary.
“That can only happen through better regulation, enforcement and a public performance rating which will put the onus on marketplaces to make sure the tickets that they’re promoting – and profiting from – are accurately depicted, real and guaranteed to gain fans entry into the event. We welcome the result of this week’s plenary vote, which is a step in the right direction.”
Managers peg October as earliest return for live
The latest IQ Focus session saw a line-up of international artist managers discuss the timeline for reopening, potential changes to artists’ contracts post-Covid-19 and monetisation of live streams.
The session, presented in partnership with the Music Managers Forum (MMF) and hosted by MMF chair Paul Craig, featured Kaiya Milan (Off Balance Group/The Sorority House & Co.), Marc Thomas (Red Light Management/Go Artist Management), Meg Symsyk (eOne Management/MMF Canada) and Per Kviman (Versity Music/MMF Sweden/EMMA).
Thomas compared the constant cancelling and rescheduling of shows in recent weeks to “rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic”, adding that he has been “targeting markets” such as Australia and certain parts of the US, which are likely “to get back to live more quickly”.
Thomas said he has accepted two offers for artists to play in the US in October – the earliest dates he’s looking at – including at “a leading festival”. A caveat in the contract allows the team to reassess 28 days out, in case there is a second spike.
Artists will also need to weigh up whether to take the hit of losing a couple of weeks in quarantine in order to do four weeks of solid touring in countries such as Australia, he said, highlighting the obstacles of a post-coronavirus world.
“I’m not optimistic that these things are going to run smoothly”
“I’m not optimistic that these things are going to run smoothly,” said Milan, referring to events scheduled for the autumn. Managers have been receiving offers with clauses allowing the promoter to cancel at any point, she said, which works out ok for “more established artists” but is a big risk for lesser known acts.
“I’m in a space where I know anything can happen.”
Versity Music manager Kviman agreed that things remain too uncertain for now, saying he is not putting new tours out until September 2021 as “people aren’t ready to buy tickets at this point”. Tours that had already sold lots of tickets prior to the Covid-19 crisis are being rescheduled for May 2021.
Craig asked whether any new opportunities had come out of the crisis for managers and artists, with panellists agreeing that livestreaming had presented a variety of options, if not always significant from a financial point of view.
Symsyk said live streams had, in general, worked more effectively for electronic or hip-hop acts. Bands have tended to face more technical difficulties and have often not been satisfied with the quality of streams. “[For bands, livestreaming] has worked ok for charity events, but hasn’t been worth it from a financial point of view”, she said.
Thomas, who works predominantly with electronic acts, said he has “leant into livestreaming a lot”. One act sold $15,000 in merchandise while playing in a virtual edition of Insomniac’s Electric Daisy Carnival festival.
“You can’t ask fans to pay for a ticket as a live stream doesn’t replace the experience of going to a festival, but you can sell off the back of it”
“You can’t ask fans to pay for a ticket as a live stream doesn’t replace the experience of going to a festival,” he said, “but you can sell off the back of it.”
Milan said there was more opportunity for grassroots artists to make money from paid live streams as audiences want to support them. “Livestreaming is the way people can see to help out and get something in return at the moment”, she said, which “works for a certain level of artist”.
Although the grassroots sector is one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus shutdown, Symsyk noted that the current situation is giving “a window of opportunity to focus on local talent” in Canada.
Turning to when live does return, Thomas stressed the need for “everyone to have a bit more give”.
“The reality is, in this situation, everyone needs to win, and I don’t win by getting the agent to squeeze the promoter so hard he has to pay me half the fee if the show cancels […] and he loses a load of money.
“We need everyone in this system for the system to function.”
Thomas said he accepted, to a certain extent, Live Nation’s recently expressed intention to adjust artists guarantees down for shows in the future.
“We need everyone in this system for the system to function”
“Promoters are the most exposed out of everybody and they’re not going to put these big guarantees out anymore,” he said, “it’s going to go on the backend.” This kind of “give and take” will be essential from all sides when rebuilding the business.
From a practical point of view, we can expect to see social distancing and other measures in place for a while as “not doing anything is not an option, however unpalatable the measures may be”, said Craig.
Outdoor shows seem to be a much better option than indoor shows, and a lot more scalable too in terms of keeping to distancing rules, said Thomas. Targeting the right age range is also important, as “kids think they’re invincible”.
For Milan, the deciding factor is whether people felt ready to go back into social situations as, “if they are, they will do whatever they have to” to get back to gigs or festivals, no matter how inconvenient the measures are.
Craig agreed, pointing out that we have all become accustomed to things that would have seemed unthinkable six months ago.
“If people want to go to a show, they will do whatever is necessary to go.”
Music managers step up for next IQ Focus
The next in the weekly series of IQ Focus virtual panel discussions features an international line-up of music managers, who will discuss the unique challenges the Covid-19 crisis has posed for their side of the business.
The session, IQ Focus & The MMF: Managing the Crisis, will be streamed live on Facebook and YouTube on Thursday 18 June at 4 p.m. BST/5 p.m. CET.
With the bulk of artists dependent on live music revenue and audience connection, the Covid-19 crisis has decimated livelihoods.
But what does it mean for their managers? The individuals thrown into salvaging campaigns, rescheduling tours, interpreting contractual changes and navigating the most uncertain of futures. How are their own businesses faring? And what do they see as the challenges – and hopefully opportunities – ahead for the live sector, in what we are all optimistically calling the “new normal”.
Drawing on expert global perspectives, and from managers working across multiple genres, Thursday’s session will be moderated by MMF Chair Paul Craig (Nostromo Management) and feature Kaiya Milan (Off Balance Group/The Sorority House & Co.), Marc Thomas (Red Light Management/Go Artist Management), Meg Symsyk (eOne Management/MMF Canada) and Per Kviman (Versity Music/MMF Sweden/EMMA).
‘A dire situation’: EU orgs call for urgent investment
In an unprecedented display of European music-biz unity, a total of 36 industry associations – including festival association Yourope, managers’ bodies IMMF and EMMA, venue associations Live DMA and Liveurope and PRO collective Gesac – have written an open letter calling for urgent emergency aid for the entire EU music industry, which they warn is in crisis due to the continent-wide shutdown.
In the letter, addressed to both national governments and the EU Commission, the 36 warn of a “dire situation”, in which “festivals suspend their activities, performances are cancelled, group activity is stopped, shops close and new releases are put on hold”, threatening the European “music ecosystem”.
The signatories – which also include recording industry bodies IFPI and Impala, the European Talent Exchange Programme (Etep), the International Music Publishers Forum (IMPF), Live Performance Europe/Pearle* and showcase festival network INES – name “artists and their management, performers, composers, songwriters, music educators, conductors, booking agents, record shops, labels, publishers, distributors, promoters, manufacturers, technicians, events managers and event staff” as being among those “whose livelihoods are on the line.”
Funding is available at a national level in many European countries, including, in some territories, specialist aid for creative-sector freelancers. However, the associations urge that a coordinated Europe-wide approach is needed to stave off “profound harm” to the industry that will continue into 2021.
“We call for emergency … structural policies at EU, national, regional and local level to consolidate the music ecosystem”
“[W]e see how important the cultural sectors are in promoting solidarity and in providing rallying points,” they continue. “Within the confines of their homes, artists and DJs have been streaming their own live performances to fight isolation by engaging online communities. Drawing upon the example of Italy, citizens from across Europe gather on their balconies to play music and regain a shared sense of common purpose.
“This reminds us that music is a vehicle to recreate a sense of community. In times of containment and pressure, music builds bridges between individuals and cultures irrespective of social, ethnic, cultural backgrounds. […] As decision-makers reflect on how to address the crisis, culture must be recognised as a priority sector.”
The intervention comes as live music industry associations across Europe lobby to be allowed to offer ticket vouchers, or credit, in lieu of cash refunds, to avert a cashflow crisis, amid widespread cancellations.
Read the 36’s letter in full, as well as the list of 36 signatories, below.
Music is one of the first sectors hit by the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis. It will also be one of the last.
As borders close, venues as well as festivals suspend their activities, performances are cancelled, group activity is stopped, shops close, and new releases are put on hold, the entire creative value chain is stalling. Artists and their management, performers, composers, songwriters, music educators, conductors, booking agents, record shops, labels, publishers, distributors, promoters, manufacturers, technicians, events managers and event staff count among the many actors of the ecosystem whose livelihoods are on the line.
These risks will persist, even after the public health emergency is solved. The stark reality is that profound harm will be felt long into 2021 due to how the music ecosystem operates.
In light of this dire situation, we call for emergency as well as sustainable public support and structural policies at EU, national, regional and local level to consolidate the music ecosystem, and help it thrive again in all its diversity.
The undersigned music organisations urge Member States and the European Commission to take a stance and significantly increase the national and EU budgets dedicated to culture, and within that to music. Secondly, under the EU Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative, it is imperative that each Member State provides Europe’s creative sector with swift and comprehensive access to Structural Funds in order to offset the harm in the shorter term.
The full magnitude of the current turmoil will build for months and the number of casualties will be high. Even when the complete standstill ends, the crisis will continue due to hyper saturation of events and new releases and audiences will be unpredictable.
All this points to a slow recovery, with less job opportunities, less participation in music and less room for artistic risk-taking. Jobs and diversity are at stake.
At the same time, we see how important the cultural sectors are in promoting solidarity and in providing rallying points. Within the confines of their homes, artists and DJs have been streaming their own live performances to fight isolation by engaging online communities. Drawing upon the example of Italy, citizens from across Europe gather on their balconies to play music and regain a shared sense of common purpose.
This reminds us that music is a vehicle to recreate a sense of community. In times of containment and pressure, music builds bridges between individuals and cultures irrespective of social, ethnic, cultural backgrounds.
Music and culture are essential to offer citizens the renewed social and cultural bond that Europe will sorely need.
As decision makers reflect on how to address the crisis, culture must be recognised as a priority sector.
The undersigned organisations
AEC, Association Européenne des Conservatoires, Académies de Musique et Musikhochschulen
CIME/ICEM, International Confederation of Electroacoustic Music
DME, Digital Music Europe
ECA-EC, European Choral Association – Europa Cantat
ECSA, European Composer and Songwriter Alliance
EFNYO, European Federation of National Youth Orchestra
EMC, European Music Council
EMCY, European Union of Music Competitions for Youth
EMEE, European Music Exporters Exchange
EMMA, European Music Managers Alliance
ETEP, European Talent Exchange Programme
EJN, Europe Jazz Network
EVTA, European Voice Teachers Association
FIM, International Federation of Musicians
GESAC, the European Authors Societies
IAMIC, International Association of Music Centres
IAO, International Artist Organisation of Music
ICAS, International Cities of Advanced Sound
ICMP, International Confederation of Music Publishers
ICSM, International Society for Contemporary Music
IFPI, International Federation of the Phonographic Industry
IMMF, International Music Managers Forum
IMPF, Independent Music Publishers International Forum
IMPALA, Independent music compagnies associations
INES, Innovation Network of European Showcases
JMI, Jeunesses Musicales International
JUMP, European Music Market Accelerator
Live DMA, European network for music venues and festivals
Liveurope, the platform for new European Talent
Pearle*, Live Performance Europe
SHAPE, Sound Heterogenous Art and Performance in Europe
REMA, European Early Music Network
We are Europe
Yourope, the European festival Association
EMMA launches EU music managers mentorship scheme
The European Music Managers Alliance (EMMA) announced the launch of the first-ever pan-European mentorship programme for music managers today (20 September), at Hamburg’s Reeperbahn Festival.
The European Music Managers Mentorship Activation (EMMMA – note the extra ‘M’) aims to foster knowledge sharing and increased commercial opportunities by linking managers across the European Union.
The EMMMA programme is spearheaded by pan-European artist managers’ body EMMA, which launched in London last year, comprising managers’ associations from the UK, France, Holland, Norway, Finland, Sweden and Poland. The European Commission’s Music Moves Europe initiative is providing funding for the mentorship scheme.
EMMMA will team up emerging European managers with experienced mentors from each participating country. The programme will provide a combination of face-to-face meetings at MaMA Festival in France, Oslo’s by:Larm, Tallinn Music Week in Estonia and the Great Escape in the UK, with bi-monthly Skype sessions and workshops on areas including live music, touring and taxation, streaming data and making a business out of a band.
After completion of EMMMA, participants will be responsible for providing a one-year business plan for at least one of their artist, songwriter or producer clients.
“This much-needed programme will enable managers to share expertise and build their artists’ careers across borders”
“Diversification and fragmentation of the traditional music industry has undoubtedly elevated the role of music managers, who are now required to be experts in all aspects of their clients’ business – from songwriting and recording deals, to live touring, brand sponsorship, online marketing and a host of other areas,” said Per Kviman, chair Music Managers Forum (MMF) Sweden and chair of EMMA, speaking at the launch at Reeperbahn Festival.
“This much-needed programme will enable managers to share expertise and build their artists’ careers across borders. We hope it will grow over time and help build a strong network of managers across the EU. This is a big win for the future of European music.”
Virpi Immonen, vice chair of EMMA and chair of MMF Finland added: “MMF Finland is proud to be the project coordinator of this groundbreaking pan-European mentoring programme.
“Management can be a tough and stressful gig, in what is often a solitary career, and so our aim with EMMMA, and with support from the European Commission, is to start pooling and sharing the vast knowledge base that exists across the continent, and to help upcoming managers to successfully grow their business. In turn, that will offer even greater opportunities to support the careers of our artists, our songwriters and our composers.”
Applications for EMMMA will open soon. More information about the programme is available here.
New chairman for Dutch music managers forum
The Dutch association of music managers, MMF NL, has appointed Martijn Swier as its new chairman, taking over from former chair Rob Kramer.
MMF NL consists of almost 70 managers who represent artists in the Netherlands.
“I think it is an honour to be the chairman of an association consisting of managers of the best that Dutch pop music has to offer,” says Swier.
“An important ambition of the board is to ensure that we are even better represented in the urban and dance genres in particular, so that is high on the agenda. ”
“An important ambition of the board is to ensure that we are even better represented in the urban and dance genres”
Swier founded Amsterdam-based boutique music management company Endless Music in 2000. He represents artists including symphonic metal band Within Temptation and My Indigo.
MMF NL is a member of the International Music Managers Forum (IMMF) and the newer, pan-European managers’ body, the European Music Managers Alliance (EMMA).
EMMA, chaired by Stevie Wonder manager Jeith Harris, launched in London last year, using a similar format to the long-established IMMF.
Virpi Immonen, Per Kviman to lead EMMA
The new European Music Managers Alliance (EMMA) announced Per Kviman and Virpi Immonen as its first chair and vice-chair, respectively, at the association’s first formal Board meeting at Reeperbahn Festival last week.
Both Kviman, the CEO of Stockholm-based Versity Music and chair of the Music Managers Forum (MMF) Sweden, and Immonen, CEO of Finlandi’s Fullsteam Management, will serve a minimum two-year term. EMMA’s temporary inaugural chair, Keith Harris, stands down with immediate effect.
Speaking to EMMA’s membership, which comprises 50+ artist managers from more than 20 countries, Kviman said: “I am honoured to serve as EMMA’s first chair, and would like to thank Keith Harris in particular for his guidance and expertise. This organisation was established in response to some fundamental changes in our business, and to reflect the plain fact that artists and their representatives must now be at the forefront of discussions about the future of music.
“It’s time to seize our moment and put artist and creator rights at the heart of European music policy”
“It’s time to seize our moment and put artist and creator rights at the heart of European music policy.”
“How inspirational to be elected at Reeperbahn, surrounded by music managers from around Europe and the rest of the world,” added Immonen. “Through EMMA I look forward to building these connections, and ensuring we not only have a powerful unified voice for our artist clients but also a pathway to greater sharing of skills, knowledge and ideas.”
EMMA launched in London in April, bringing managers’ associations across Europe under one umbrella, in a similar format to the long-established International Music Managers Forum (IMMF).