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Island of Fyre Festival fame up for sale

Saddleback Cay, the Bahamian island that served as the backdrop for the ill-fated Fyre Festival’s infamous promotional material, has been put up for sale at US$11.8 million.

The 35-acre private island is located in the northernmost section of the Exuma Cays, which contains Great Exuma, the actual setting for the festival.

Saddleback Cay appears in opening of a promotional video for the event, which shows Instagram models and influencers partying in the Bahamas.

Fyre Festival – billed as “the adventure of a lifetime” amid the “beautiful turquoise waters and idyllic beaches” of the Bahamas – spectacularly collapsed on its first day, with festivalgoers arriving on the island to find a half-built festival site and no sign of the luxury accommodation and dining included with their $1,500–$50,000 tickets.

The fallout from the festival and the demise of its fraudulent organiser, has been closely documented, with streaming service Netflix and Hulu each releasing documentaries about the event.

A GoFundMe page, set up for local caterers who were unpaid by organisers, has so far raised $231,754.


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Rival documentaries shed light on Fyre Fest debacle

Almost two years on from the failed event, Fyre Festival and its fraudulent organiser are once again at the forefront of the media. Launched this week, Hulu’s Fyre Fraud and Netflix’s Fyre: The Greatest Party that Never Happened investigate what went on behind the scenes of the infamous festival.

Hulu got the drop on its streaming competitor, releasing Fyre Fraud unannounced on Monday. Hulu’s surprise release came the day Netflix lifted its review embargo, linking the two films in search engine results. Netflix had announced in December that its own Fyre documentary would air today.

Further controversy lies at the heart of the depictions of the ill-fated event. The Hulu documentary criticises its Netflix counterpart for an alleged conflict of interest. Netflix’s film, directed by Chris Smith, is produced in part by Jerry Media and Matte Projects, companies that worked with Fyre Festival organisers to promote the original event.

The streaming giant dismissed the criticism: “We were happy to work with Jerry Media and a number of others on the film. At no time did they, or any others we worked with, request favourable coverage in our film, which would be against our ethics.”

In response, the Netflix director questioned the ethics of a decision by the producers of Hulu’s Fyre Fraud to interview disgraced festival organiser Billy McFarland. The objection lies in the significant remuneration McFarland is believed to have received for his screen time.

“At no time did Jerry Media, or any others we worked with, request favourable coverage in our film, which would be against our ethics”

McFarland received a six year prison sentence and a US$26 million fine for his role in the festival, pleading guilty to defrauding investors and running a fraudulent ticketing scam.

Fans paid between $1,500 and $50,000 to attend the festival billed as “the adventure of a lifetime”, to enjoy luxury accommodation, gourmet food and performances from acts such as Blink-182, Major Lazer, Pusha T and Disclosure. Upon arrival, festivalgoers found half-built tents, insufficient food and a dearth of performers.

A US judge placed Fyre Festival into involuntary bankruptcy in August. Last week, the court issued subpoenas to more than a dozen companies, including major talent agencies Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and International Creative Management (ICM) Partners, in a bid to track down the millions of dollars investors lost through the festival.

CAA and ICM Partners received $250,00 in payments from Fyre Festival, whereas talent agencies Windish Agency and AM Only together received $690,000 for representing acts Major Lazer and Disclosure.

The agencies’ lawyers will have two weeks to respond to the subpoenas, once they are served.

 


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Live Nation teams with Hulu for VR series

The demand for virtual reality in the live business looks set to continue rising throughout 2017 as Live Nation partners with US-based streaming TV brand Hulu for a multi-part virtual reality documentary series, On Stage.

On Stage will feature artist interviews, live and behind-the-scenes footage. An episode with Lil Wayne (pictured) with screen on January 26 with Major Lazer set for later this year. The series will be available on the Hulu VR app across all major VR devices.

“We are confident that virtual reality and immersive content around live music can deepen an artist’s relationship with fans and expand their audience.”

“We are confident that virtual reality and immersive content around live music can deepen an artist’s relationship with fans and expand their audience,” said Kevin Chernett EVP, Global Partnerships & Content Distribution at Live Nation. “Our content series with Hulu lets anyone transcend into an immersive world and feel like they are side by side with the featured artist – a thrilling journey that fans couldn’t otherwise access.”

Earlier this week, co-founder of live VR start-up NextVR, Dave Cole, told Variety he’s gearing up to offer paid events and more subscription content with concerts a natural fit. NextVR struck a deal with Live Nation in May to stream gigs. Towards the end of last year, MelodyVR partnered with Warner to release hundreds of VR recorded and live experiences featuring artists from the company’s roster, while in May, Visual effects (VFX) studio Digital Domain entered a strategic partnership with Warner Music Taiwan to co-produce a series of virtual reality concerts.

Virtual reality isn’t intended to detract from the live experience, rather provide an opportunity for consumers to attend gigs they couldn’t otherwise get to due to demand or location. It also provides the potential for promoters to boost revenue with early adopters of the technology outspending the average American by almost 2:1 on live events, according to a study by Nielsen.

The market research firm found that those interested in using virtual reality aged between 18 and 54 outspend the average consumer on tickets to concerts and live events by 195%, as well as on fast food by 179% and alcoholic beverages by 170%.
 


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