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UTA invests in livestreaming service Moment House

Moment House has received US$12 million in new funding from investors including UTA Ventures, the investment arm of United Talent Agency, artists Halsey and Kaytranada, and Max Cutler, founder of podcast studio Parcast and head of new content for Spotify.

The series-A funding round, led by venture-capital firm Forerunner Ventures, also includes design firm Ideo, actors Whitney Cummings and Tom Felton, artist manager William Robillard-Cole, and YouTuber and comedian Noel Miller.

LA-based Moment House, which powers ticketed livestreamed ‘Moments’ for leading musicians and entertainers, has processed more than million tickets across 168 countries since its launch in 2019. It has worked with artists including Tame Impala, KSI, Halsey, St Vincent, Kygo, Kaytranada, Brockhampton, Grouplove, Yungblud and Justin Bieber.

The new investors join existing backers including high-profile artist managers Troy Carter, Scooter Braun, Myles Shear (Kygo), Austin Rosen (Post Malone), as well as actor Jared Leto, UnitedMasters’ Steve Stoute, Patreon CEO Jack Conte and ex-TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer.

“This fundraising round allows us to execute on our ambitious product roadmap”

“We’re excited to welcome more top tech and entertainment leaders to Moment House as we continue empowering creators to deliver special live experiences to their worldwide communities digitally,” says Moment House co-founder and CEO Arjun Mehta.

“This fundraising round allows us to execute on our ambitious product roadmap, which involves deepening the consumer social experience, and on the supply side, opening up the platform so that any creator in the world can easily make a Moment.

“Everything we have done so far is just step one of a much bigger plan to help build the ‘metaverse’.”

Upcoming shows for Moment House, which recent made a string of senior hires, include Halsey, Tinashe, Michelle Branch, Louis the Child, the Tiny Meat Gang Podcast, the Small Town Murder podcast and more.

 


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WME investor GIC buys Eventbrite stake

Singaporean sovereign-wealth fund GIC has acquired a 5% stake in Eventbrite.

According to a recent filing with the US’s Securities and Exchange Commission, the self-service ticketing firm has sold 3,813,791 shares, or 5.05% of the its class-A common stock, to GIC (Government of Singapore Investment Corporation), which is wholly owned by the sate of Singapore.

GIC joined forces with the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board in 2017 to invest a combined US$1 billion in WME-IMG (now Endeavor), acquiring roughly 8% of the agency group’s shares, while another Singaporean government-owned fund, Temasek, owns a stake in CAA.

“As restrictions on in-person gatherings eased during Q2 2021, Eventbrite’s creators and their audiences re-emerged in force”

According to the filing, which is signed by GIC senior vice-presidents Celine Loh Sze Ling and Diane Liang, 3,738,791 of the shares acquired by GIC have sole voting power, while the remaining 75,000 have shared voting power with the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

Eventbrite’s share price fell slightly, to $17.69, on news of the transaction, on 13 August, though it remains up around $8 year on year.

Earlier in August, Eventbrite reported a second-quarter net loss of $20.54 million, narrowing from -$38.59 million in Q2 2020. While it continues to face a “significant impact” from the coronavirus pandemic, paid ticket volume is picking up, the company said in its most recent earnings statement. “As restrictions on in-person gatherings eased during the second quarter of 2021, Eventbrite’s creators and their audiences re-emerged in force,” according to Eventbrite CEO Julia Hartz.

 


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Silver Lake, Roc Nation invest in merch company Fanatics

Sports merchandise company Fanatics has raised US$325 million from investors including Jay-Z and his company Roc Nation, a joint venture with Live Nation, and private-equity company Silver Lake Partners, which owns shares in TEG, WME, Oak View Group and Madison Square Garden Company.

Headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, and with international offices in Tokyo and Manchester, UK, e-commerce giant Fanatics sells officially licensed products for the National Football League, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, Nascar and more, and also operates several bricks-and-mortar shops.

The new funding will be put towards launching a non-merchandising division focusing on ticketing, gaming, media and sports betting, according to the Wall Street Journal. The company recently launched a company focusing on NFTs (non-fungible tokens), Candy Digital, and also has a partnership with leading esports competition Overwatch League.

The new investment values the company at more than $18 billion, the WSJ reports. The company expects to make $3.4bn in revenues in 2021.

Last week, the company hired Dan Goldberg, formerly of Warner Music Group, as senior vice-president for music and entertainment development, signalling its intention to branch out beyond sports apparel into music merchandise.

 


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Ben Lovett, IE Music invest in new D2F platform

Planet, a new direct-to-fan (D2F) live music platform, launches today (26 July) with investment from Ben Lovett, member of Mumford & Sons, co-founder of Communion and CEO of Venue Group, and IE Ventures, the investment arm of artist management company IE Music (Robbie Williams, Passenger, Cher Lloyd).

Founded in early 2020 by James Morrison, former senior director of global partnerships for AEG, Planet enables artists to sell tickets, products and fans directly to fans, who in turn can influence “everything from tour locations to support acts”, according to the company, which describes itself as a “crowd-powered community where artists and fans come together as a collective”.

“Now is the moment to put fans back at the beating heart of live music” says Lovett, whose Venue Group added its latest property, the Social in London, late last year.  “Planet has been designed to bring music fans and artists closer together, providing a platform for artists to build a deeper understanding of their fans wants and needs.”

The new company’s website, planet.fans, is powered by an insights engine dubbed the Beat, which gathers and interprets data on consumer behaviour to provide artists with a greater understanding of their fans.

“As we emerge from lockdown … the opportunity for artists to reinvent and rewire their relationship with their biggest fans grows stronger”

Accoring to Morrison, the Beat engine helps artists plan what to ‘drop’, when to do it, and who to drop it to, “enabling artists to connect with fans more effectively and more directly in the biggest moments”.

“The more fans participate the better chance they have of getting more of what they want, like great-value tickets, backstage access and first-release drops, straight from the artist,” he explains. “As we emerge from lockdown and live events return, the demand of the crowd beats louder and the opportunity for artists to reinvent and rewire their relationship with their biggest fans grows stronger.”

The platform is starting to power artists’ early release presales from September 2021.

“We have long supported artists going directly to their fans”, says Stephen O’Reilly, managing director of IE Ventures, “largely because it improves the experience and creates new value from already captive audiences, and there’s none more so than live music fans right now, so we are looking forward to working with James and the team to understand the levels of demand for our artists as things open up.”

 


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TicketSwap raises $10m in first funding round

Price-capped ‘ethical’ ticket marketplace TicketSwap has raised US$10 million in new funding from Amsterdam-based venture-capital firm Million Monkeys.

TicketSwap, also headquartered in Amsterdam, will put the money towards expanding into new countries while reinforcing its presence in existing markets, the company says. TicketSwap has ticket resale partnerships with more than 6,000 events worldwide, including DGTL (Amsterdam), Sziget (Budapest) and Hellfest (Clisson, France).

“We are delighted with our first funding in the existence of TicketSwap”, says founder and CEO Hans Ober. “Instead of having to take a step back due to Covid-19, we can now accelerate our growth.

“We are expanding to new markets and improving the quality of our service. Million Monkeys has a lot of experience in building marketplaces like ours.”

“Million Monkeys has a lot of experience in building marketplaces like ours”

The funding will also allow TicketSwap to accelerate the development of new features, continues Ober –for example, new ways to handle scarce tickets for high-demand events, to which end TicketSwap is trialling a raffle technology that would allow more people to have a chance to enter and an increased chance to get a ticket.

It is also building technology to understand fans’ needs better, allowing them to recommend personalised events. “We want TicketSwap to become more than a marketplace for tickets”, says Ober. “It will be a part of the anticipation for an event or day trip. TicketSwap will develop into an app that people like to use regularly to discover new artists and shows, not just when they are looking to buy tickets.”

Over five million fans have used TicketSwap, which caps the resale price at 20% above face value, to buy and sell spare tickets since the company’s launch in 2012.

 


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Promoters buy into Oz ticket marketplace Tixel

Australian ticket marketplace Tixel has raised A$1.5m ($1.2m) in a funding round that includes a number of leading concert businesses and music investors.

Promoters Unified Music Group and I Oh You, labels Rose Avenue and Future Classic and investment firms Alberts and Galileo Ventures are among those who participated in the round, with Alberts CEO David Albert also set to join Tixel’s board of directors.

The funding will be put towards growing the Tixel platform and expand its product suite for event organisers, the Melbourne-based company says.

Launched in 2018, Tixel offers a ‘fair-price’ marketplace (capped at 10% above face value) for fans to buy and sell tickets to events. Most of the company’s inventory is currently in Australia and New Zealand, though it expects growth in the UK and US as in-person events return outside Australasia.

“The entire music and live entertainment industry has suffered beyond measure this last year, and our team is incredibly grateful to have been able to weather the storm,” says Zac Leigh, co-founder and CEO of Tixel. “We’re feeling optimistic about the steep uptick in demand we’re seeing on Tixel from fans wanting to see their favourite musicians, artists, comedians and sports stars.

“Our investment partners … know that a safe and honest place for fans to buy and to resell tickets is a critical need”

“Our investment partners share this optimism and know that a safe and honest place for fans to buy and to resell tickets is a critical need both today, as our plan-making remains fluid, and into the future.”

“At the heart of every investment we make is the goal to back pioneers who share our vision for a better tomorrow,” comments Albert. “A core pillar of our impact thesis is contributing to a vibrant culture. Tixel is a great example of this and sits within our arts, music and entertainment theme. It helps to bring fairness to a market that can attract exorbitant pricing, and safety to transactions that have the potential to be fraudulent.

“Having an independent ethical ticket resale marketplace in Australia can mean more fans at shows, more bar and merch sales for our venues and, importantly, an all-round better experience for everyone involved.”

Other capped-price ticket resale services active in Australia include UK-based Twickets, which launched there in 2017, and Ticketek Marketplace, which allows Ticketek customers to resell unwanted tickets.

 


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Live Nation invests in canned-water company Liquid Death

Live Nation has invested in Liquid Death, a drinks company packaging water in recyclable ‘tallboy’ cans, and selected the firm as its exclusive water vendor at more than 120 of its US venues and festivals.

The promoter was a participant in the company’s recent US$15 million series-C funding round, which also included celebrity investors Wiz Khalifa, Machine Gun Kelly, Steve Aoki, Tony Hawk and Kelly Campbell.

“We’ve always run Liquid Death like it’s a band, so getting to partner with Live Nation is a huge milestone and honour for us,” says Mike Cessario, co-founder and CEO of Liquid Death. “Music has been a huge part of our DNA since the beginning. We can’t wait to get back to live shows, support our favourite artists and help kill plastic water bottles at concerts.”

As part of Live Nation’s Green Nation sustainability charter, launched in 2019, the company is aiming to phase out the sale of single-use plastics at all owned and operated venues and events.

“We’ve found the perfect partner in Liquid Death”

“We’re all ready to be back at live events, and as we return we want to continue taking steps to be more sustainable,” says Michael Rapino, president and CEO of Live Nation Entertainment.

“We’ve found the perfect partner in Liquid Death, whose passion for music and protecting the planet will feed seamlessly into Live Nation’s future plans and events.”

According to Liquid Death, the company opted for aluminium cans because they are “infinitely recyclable”, with over 75% of the aluminium produced since 1888 still in use, unlike plastic, of which just 10% has been recycled.

Recent Live Nation research revealed 82% of its customers say they strive to maintain an environmentally sustainable lifestyle, with many looking to brands to play a bigger role in the live music industry to help protect the planet.

 


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Germany’s DEAG raises €6m for acquisitions

Berlin-based live entertainment group DEAG has raised more than €6 million to fund future acquisitions in “key markets”, it announced today (5 May).

The company recently delisted from the stock market after 23 years as a listed company, with CEO Peter Schwenkow telling IQ that DEAG (Deutsche Entertainment AG) could raise more funds as a private company than on the financial markets.

To raise the new funding – €6.06m in total – DEAG will increase its share capital by 1,962,597 new shares, or approximately 10%, with the support of its largest individual shareholder, Apeiron Investment Group, which subscribed to the capital increase through its ‘Live Opportunities Fund’.

The proceeds, according to a statement from the company, will “be used to take advantage of attractive market opportunities to acquire companies that are identified at short notice. DEAG is thus continuing to pursue its strategy of growth in key markets and extending its value chain.”

Promoter/ticket agency DEAG owns businesses in Germany, Switzerland, the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

 


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Netherlands’ La Nuit Management welcomes new investment

Amsterdam-based artist management firm La Nuit Management has secured investment from Loki Artist Group, a company formed during the Covid-19 pandemic to invest in music companies ahead of the return of touring.

Through the partnership, Loki Artist Group, founded last year by Bob Murray, Zack Dekkaki and Ric Wake, will provide unspecified investment capital – as well as label and touring support and ‘synergies’ with other Loki partners – to La Nuit Management, launched in 2018 by artist manager Robert Tammens.

La Nuit’s roster includes electronic music acts Caius, Paeve, Kid Honda and Aevion, as well as Eauxmar, who recently produced a song for the new Apple Watch campaign.

Prior to starting La Nuit Management, Tammens was part of the A&R/marketing team at Spinnin’ Records, where he worked with acts including Lana Del Rey, Martin Garrix, Afrojack, Tiësto, Don Diablo and Calvin Harris and discovered Oliver Heldens, whose song ‘Gecko (Overdrive)’ hit No1 in the UK.

“La Nuit’s broad roster of clients, along with Robert’s vision, creative edge and entrepreneurial spirit, brings an excitement to our brand”

“As we grow our business internationally, we believe the best future for us remains to be investing in people like Robert and his vision” says Murray, Loki Artists’ CEO. The company also recently invested in Title 9 Productions, an US label, artist management and record production company.

“La Nuit’s broad roster of clients, along with Robert’s vision, creative edge and entrepreneurial spirit, brings an excitement to our brand as we continue to grow,” adds president Dekkaki.

Comments Tammens: “We are looking forward to working with Zack and Bob as we continue to develop our artists and expand our growth opportunities on an international level.

“Their tremendous knowledge, experience and support will give us the ability to really work with the best artists in our industry.”

 


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Roblox valued at $30bn ahead of direct listing

Online videogaming platform Roblox, which recently held its first in-world concert, has raised US$520 million in a new funding round which values the company at $30 billion.

The series-H round sees investment companies Altimeter Capital and Dragoneer Investment Group buy into Roblox at a price of $45 per share. The California-based company announced its intention to go public in November, and said yesterday (6 December) it will proceed with a novel Spotify-style direct listing on the stock market in the near future.

Other investors participating in the funding round are the Investment Group of Santa Barbara and, more interestingly, Warner Music Group, whose artist Ava Max participated in a Roblox album launch event in October.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Altimeter, Dragoneer and the other new investors,” comments David Baszucki, CEO and co-founder of Roblox. “We look forward to working with all of them as we continue our mission to build a human co-experience platform that enables shared experience, from play to work and learning, among billions of users.”

“Roblox has built a unique and imaginative virtual experience with a growing, loyal community”

Brad Gerstner, CEO of Altimeter, says: “While once viewed as a gaming platform, Roblox has emerged as a definitive global community connecting millions of people through communication, entertainment and commerce. And, as the world moves toward a hybrid future – where online and offline community and learning co-exist – we are proud to back a values-driven business that takes seriously its obligation to build an inclusive, creative and positive community.”

“Roblox has built a unique and imaginative virtual experience with a growing, loyal community, and we’re excited to have the opportunity to support the company at this stage of its development,” adds Marc Stad, founder and managing partner of Dragoneer. “We look forward to partnering with the Roblox team as they continue to execute on a compelling growth strategy and capitalise on the substantial opportunities ahead.”

Speaking to IQ shortly after Lil Nas X played Roblox’s first virtual show, the company’s head of music, Jon Vlassopulos, predicted a future where fans will no longer need to “pick real world or virtual [concerts] once lockdowns are over – they can have both.” Read the full, in-depth interview, which also touches on lessons learned from the Lil Nas X show, as well as the future of music and entertainment more broadly, here.

Roblox: “The concert market is going to get a lot bigger”


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