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KISS close $300m deal with ABBA Voyage investors

Rock icons Kiss have sold the rights to their name, music, image and likeness, in a deal valued upward of US$300 million, with an avatar show confirmed for 2027.

Pophouse Entertainment, the Swedish entertainment firm that helped bring ABBA Voyage to life, has acquired the rights to the band’s logo, famed character makeup design, recording royalties and trademarks. The Associated Press and Bloomberg valued the deal at over $300 million, though Pophouse has not disclosed details.

“Our mission is to fulfil the band’s vision to become immortal, and to let new generations discover and be part of the KISS journey and carry it forward,” says Johan Lagerlöf, head of investment at Pophouse. “With the help of the fans’ energy, the band, our expertise, and creativity – we will make that vision happen.”

As part of the deal, the firm has confirmed plans for an avatar show in 2027, along with a biopic and themed experience. Pophouse, which ABBA’s Björn Ulvaeus co-founded, said the deal would “unlock new audiences and revenue streams”.

“It’s an eternal symphony of rock ‘n’ roll immortality”

“We will safeguard and enrich this legacy through future global endeavours, by breathing new life into their characters and personas while also leveraging and elevating the visual world of KISS,” says Pophouse CEO Per Sundin.

The eight-foot-tall avatars of Demon, Starchild, Catman and Spaceman were introduced at the band’s final show at New York’s Madison Square Garden last December, with vocalist Paul Stanley saying today that the decision ushers in an “eternal symphony of rock ‘n’ roll immortality”.

“Our journey with Pophouse is fuelled by the desire to eternally resonate across diverse facets of global culture. As we embark on this venture, we aim to weave our legacy into the tapestry of different worlds, ensuring that the KISS experience continues to captivate both our devoted fans and those yet to discover the thrill,” says Stanley.

The London-based, renowned ABBA Voyage virtual concert — which has sold over two million tickets — reportedly grosses more than $2 million (€1.6m) per week. A smash-hit success, the show’s producer hinted at plans for global expansion earlier this year.


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Metaverse firm Everyrealm closes $60m funding round

Artist-backed metaverse firm Everyrealm has closed a US$60 million funding round.

The company (rebranded from Republic Realm) describes itself as “one of the most active investors in and developers of the metaverse ecosystem”.

The Series A funding round was led by Andreessen Horowitz, and individual investors in the platform include stars like Nas, Gunna, Baby Keem, Gene Simmons and Lil Baby.

The firm, led by CEO Janine Yorio was co-founded by TJ Kawamura, Julia Schwartz, Jesse Stein, and Kostas Ketikidis. According to the company, this investment marks one of the largest Series A rounds for a company led by a female CEO.

Founded in 2021, Everyrealm says that it has real estate holdings in 25 metaverse platforms, and that it has developed more than 100 metaverse real-estate projects. It also owns over 3,000 NFTs and manages an e-sports gaming guild.

Everyrealm’s metaverse real estate development projects include Fantasy Islands, an “ultra-luxury master-planned community” within the Sandbox platform which sold an associated NFT megayacht for 150 ETH (approximately $650,000).

The firm’s other projects include Metajuku, a shopping district in Decentraland; Realm Academy, an online educational campus in the metaverse, which is located in Somnium Space; and the GFT Shoppe, a multi-metaverse retail concept that sells NFTs “inspired by cult brands like Atari”.

“We are building the gateway to the metaverse”

According to data, sales of real estate in the metaverse topped $500 million last year and could double this year, according to investors and analytics firms.

Janine Yorio, CEO of Everyrealm, says: “Metaverse real estate development is all about placemaking.

“Everyrealm creates innovative and addictive social spaces that are futuristic and interactive like video games but still familiar to a mainstream audience, by invoking real-world architecture, culture and events.”

Yorio added: “Everyrealm is developing this interactive content across many genres, including sports, education, fashion, gaming, art and social experiences–all designed to draw users to the metaverse.

“We are also creating the infrastructure required to distribute that interactive content to a global, mainstream audience.

“We are building the gateway to the metaverse, to do for the metaverse what Coinbase did for crypto, what Netflix did for streaming entertainment, and what Google did for the internet.”


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Politics overshadows successful 64th Eurovision

The 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest wrapped up on Saturday at Expo Tel Aviv’s Pavilion 2 (10,000-cap.), Israel, in a contest that has seen the music industry divided on political, rather than musical, issues.

The Netherlands won Eurovision 2019 with singer-songwriter Duncan Laurence’s performance of piano ballad ‘Arcade’. The Dutch artist received 492 points, followed by Italy’s Mahmood with 465 and Russia’s Sergey Lazarev with 369. The UK’s Michael Rice placed last, with a total of 16 points, for his rendition of ‘Bigger Than Us’.

“I have been so delighted with this year’s competition and we have all been very impressed with the wonderful talented artists who have taken part this year,” says Jon Ola Sand, the European Boradcating Union’s (EBU) head of live events and the executive supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest.

“I would like to thank them for the hard work and dedication they have given us. Each artist has brought something unique to the contest and embodied what this contest is about,” adds Sand.

However, music was not the main topic of conversation surrounding Eurovision 2019. Following the win of Israeli act Netta Barzilai last year, the 2019 competition took place in Tel Aviv, sparking controversy due to the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Despite calls to boycott the event, Madonna performed at the grand final on Saturday night. The singer opened her performance with a call for unity, declaring: “Let’s never underestimate the power of music to bring people together.”

Madonna’s rendition of her new single ‘Future’ featured two dancers who displayed Israeli and Palestinian flags on their backs, walking arm-in-arm.

“Each artist has brought something unique to the contest and embodied what this contest is about”

Icelandic act Hatari, who finished in tenth place, also displayed Palestinian flags during the contest.

The EBU states that both sets of artists violate its rules, which designate Eurovision as a “non-political event”.

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel denounced what it called the “fig-leaf gestures of solidarity from international artists”.

Ticket sales for this year’s Eurovision were lower than expected. According to Israeli paper Globes, between 5,000 and 7,000 foreign guests visited the country for Eurovision, including the participating artists’ delegations and journalists. Previous predictions expected the competition to attract between 20,000 and 30,000 tourists.

Local media puts the low numbers down to high hotel rates and steep ticket prices. Tickets to Saturday’s final set fans back £373 for prime seats and £252 for standard seats. Tickets for last year’s final, held at the Altice Arena in Lisbon, Portugal, cost between £31 and £262.

Calls for a boycott may have also have affected ticket sales.

“Let’s never underestimate the power of music to bring people together”

The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, an initiative working to “pressure Israel to comply with international law”, initiated the call for a boycott of Eurovision 2019. BDS claims that more than 150,000 people responded to its call, including artists and music-related organisations.

Musicians including Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, Wolf Alice and Brian Eno urged a boycott of the event, due to Israel’s “grave, decades-old violations of Palestinian human rights”.

The Musicians’ Union of Ireland similarly supported the boycott, calling on its members to attend protests in support of sidelining the contest.

Entertainment industry non-profit organisation, the Creative Community For Peace (CCFP), established a movement to oppose the boycott, stating that music “transcends boundaries and brings people together”.

The CCFP initiative has more than 35,000 signatories, including Sharon Osbourne, Gene Simmons and Justin Bieber manager Scooter Braun, as well as individuals from the Madison Square Garden Company, the Recording Academy/ Grammys and AEG Presents.


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Simmons abandons devil’s horns trademark bid

To the surprise of absolutely no one, Gene Simmons has dropped his bid to trademark the ‘devil’s horns’ gesture for use on stage.

Simmons (pictured) filed an application with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) earlier this month to register “a hand gesture with the index and small fingers extended upward and the thumb extended perpendicular” for “entertainment, namely live, performances by a musical artist.”

The Kiss frontman claimed he was the first to use the sign of the horns – which is also “I love you” in American sign language – as far back as November 1974.

However, the application has now been withdrawn after USPTO received a “letter of express abandonment” on 20 June.

Most legal experts considered his bid to trademark the gesture to have little chance of success, with the gesture most associated with the late Ronnie James Dio.

Simmons’ Gene Simmons Company has owned a total of 173 trademarks, including the ‘money bag’ symbol with a dollar sign and the phrases “$#it girls say” and “I want to marry a millionaire” for use on clothing.


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Gene Simmons tries to trademark devil’s horns

It’s a hand gesture familiar to metalheads across the world – but if Gene Simmons has his way, the sign of the horns could soon his trademark.

In a new application to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the Kiss frontman is seeking to register “a hand gesture with the index and small fingers extended upward and the thumb extended perpendicular” for “entertainment, namely live, performances by a musical artist.”

The would-be trademark is pictured below:

Gene Simmons devil's horns trademark diagram

The trademark application, serial number 87482739, was filed on 9 June and accepted on Tuesday. It is expected to be assigned to an examiner within three months of filing.

Various musicians claim to have invented the sign of the horns (or devil’s horns), with the late Ronnie James Dio usually credited for popularising the gesture.

The application says Simmons (real name Chaim Witz) has been throwing the horns since “at least as early as 14 November 1974” – a date that corresponds with Kiss’s Hotter than Hell tour – although use of the gesture by figures as diverse as John Lennon (on the Yellow Submarine cover), Black Sabbath’s Geezer Butler, Frank Zappa, George Clinton and Gautama Buddha all predate Simmons’s claim (the Buddha’s by quite some time).


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