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Download festival 2021 cancelled

There will be no Download festival in the UK this summer, promoter Festival Republic confirmed today (1 March).

Iron Maiden, Kiss and Biffy Clyro will headline the 2022 edition of the 110,000-capacity rock and metal festival, which returns to Donington Park in Leicestershire next 10–12 June. Tickets for Download 2022 go on sale this Friday (5 March) at 10am GMT, priced from £250 for a standard weekend camping pass.

Download, which would have taken place from 4 to 6 June 2021, is the first of Live Nation-owned Festival Republic’s events to announce it will be unable to go ahead for a second consecutive year, with the likes of Wireless (2–4 July) and Latitude (22–25 July) still on for now and Reading and Leeds (27–29 August) having already sold out.

Download Australia, which would have debuted in 2020, is on hiatus, as are Download Madrid and Download France in Paris (both of which last took place in 2019).

“Ware determined to make the show one hell of a party and the greatest homecoming ever”

“Downloaders, your 2022 headliners are here,” comments Download booker Andy Copping. “Rock’n’roll legends Kiss will be kicking off Friday in style, Iron Maiden will return, bringing with them mascot Eddie and more fire than we can handle, and what better way to end the festival than with Biffy, who will leave us awestruck with their energy. I’m counting down the days already.”

“Like everyone, we were all hugely disappointed when the global pandemic forced the cancellation of Download 2020, which would have been Maiden’s seventh time headlining here,” says Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson, “so we are delighted to be invited back and fulfil our ambition of playing Donington Park in every decade since the 1980s.

“As most people know, this festival is hallowed ground for us – and Eddie – and our fans’ vocal support and enthusiasm is always phenomenal and much appreciated. We can’t wait to see everyone again, and are determined to make the show one hell of a party and the greatest homecoming ever.”

Further Download 2022 artists will be announced in the coming months.

 


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K2 joins forces with Y Entertainment Group’s AGI

UK-based international booking agency K2, which represents the likes of Metallica, Iron Maiden and Slayer, has announced a joint venture with investment firm Yucaipa’s umbrella of companies.

Under the new partnership, K2 joins the Yucaipa-owned international booking agency Artist Group International (AGI) in the Y Entertainment Group.

Yucaipa’s existing interests in the music industry also include a joint venture with Paradigm Talent Agency, a minority stake in Primavera Sound and Primavera Pro and an acquisition of US promoter Danny Wimmer Presents (DWP).

“I have had the pleasure of collaborating with [AGI chairman] Dennis and the team at AGI for many years,” says K2 founder and renowned music agent John Jackson.

“Not only is there mutual respect between us, but we share a similar philosophy and work ethic when it comes to our artists, agents and staff. As such, joining forces is the perfect fit and an opportunity to flourish on the global stage.”

K2 agency was launched in 2004 and in recent years has acquired UK companies EGO Agency and Factory Music Management and Agency.

“Joining forces is the perfect fit and an opportunity to flourish”

Founder of Factory Music Management and Agency, Sharon Richardson, brought to K2 her roster of over 20 rock and metal artists, which include Delain, Sabaton, Steve Harris’s British Lion and Metal Allegiance. The acquisition of EGO brought over company founder Jim Morewood, agent Yerry Stetter, and EGO’s largely heavy metal-focused roster.

Chairman Dennis Arfa says, “John runs one of the best agencies in the world. We’re thrilled to be working with him and his K2 team. We share many clients including Metallica, Ghost, and Volbeat and over the years have developed a natural synergy. We are pleased that our ownership has staunchly facilitated and supported our expansion efforts.”

AGI was founded in 1986 and represents artists such as Billy Joel, Metallica, Def Leppard, Rod Stewart and Motley Crue.

It was acquired by The Yucaipa Companies in 2011, with an eye towards expanding its reach in the live entertainment space through strategic acquisitions and organic growth.

The companies say plans for collaboration, expansion and diversification will be further revealed in the coming months.

 


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Black Gold: How metal became a cultural phenomenon

Last year, Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson was bestowed with two very unique honours.

In April, he was made an honorary citizen of Sarajevo in recognition of a concert his solo band Skunkworks played there in 1994, during a prolonged siege of the Bosnian capital. Presenting the award, mayor Abdulah Skaka said: “The arrival of Mr Dickinson in Sarajevo, in 1994, was one of those moments that made us realise that we will survive.”

The other accolade was bestowed upon Dickinson by Dr Cristina Rheims, a Brazilian biologist and metal fan who gave a newly discovered species of spider the name Extraordinarius brucedickonsoni.

If these honours anecdotally demonstrate metal’s soft power, its global reach and the deep devotion of its fans, then the fact that Amon Amarth, a melodic death metal band whose principal lyrical inspiration is Viking folklore, will shake the fields of Wacken Open Air festival with 75,000 roaring fans this summer should be considered testament to metal’s undaunted commercial clout.

“It feels like there’s a cultural movement happening where, if you’re in the metal game and you’re good at what you do, you have a specific brand and you put on a great live show, things are moving,” enthuses Justin Arcangel, president of 5B Artist Management and Touring, who represent Amon Amarth, Babymetal, Slipknot and more.

“All our data – streaming numbers, ticket numbers, merch sales, whatever – are all bigger in 2020 than in 2019. The funny thing is when you speak to some people that don’t work in this genre, they have no idea. Metal is, to this day, outsider music, but let me tell you, it’s a major cultural thing, especially in Europe.”

“What we’ve witnessed across our events is metal is really a community – this outlaw feeling that unites us”

Summer knights
“Some of our hardcore audience think maybe metal is too mainstream now, because in Germany there’s a lot in the charts,” chuckles Thomas Jensen, CEO of International Concert Services and Wacken co-founder, pondering the sea change since he first staged the festival in the German village’s gravel pit in 1990.

Now in its third decade, with all 75,000 tickets for 2020’s edition snapped up in an astonishing 21 hours, Wacken is a major force, with good company in France’s Hellfest (55,000-capacity), Belgium’s Graspop (50,000-cap.), plus the UK’s Bloodstock Open Air (20,000-cap.) and Download, which attracts 110,000 fans over the weekend – a “heavy music summer,” as Jensen calls it. Which is not even to dig into the boom in boutique festivals offering bespoke experiences, such as Italy’s Rock the Castle or the Netherlands’ Roadburn, whose reputation as a tastemaker event means 75% of its 4,000 attendees travel from abroad.

“What we’ve witnessed across Wacken events is that metal is really a community, this outlaw feeling that unites us,” says Jensen. “Our music is a live experience and the whole festival circuit allows bands to survive. For international acts, it’s easier to put a festival run together than it was in the 90s, and you see bands working their way up the bill each year.”

“I’ve only ever seen the metal market over the years grow,” agrees Vicky Hungerford, co-director at Bloodstock, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year with headline spots from Polish black metallers Behemoth and the UK’s Judas Priest. As well as fostering new talent with their popular Metal to the Masses series of regional shows, where unsigned bands compete to play the festival, Bloodstock strongly believes in paving the way for tomorrow’s monsters of rock.

 


Continue reading this feature in the digital edition of IQ 88, or subscribe to the magazine here.


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The decade in live: 2017

The start of a new year and, perhaps more significantly, a new decade is fast approaching – and while many may be thinking ahead to New Year’s Eve plans and well-meaning 2020 resolutions, IQ is casting its mind back to the most pivotal industry moments of the last ten years.

The memories of a turbulent 2016 were left far behind in 2017, as the concert business enjoyed a record-breaking twelve months, as the year’s gross revenue and number of tickets sold saw 2013 finally knocked off the top spot.

The success of the live business in 2017, however, was somewhat overshadowed by a number of devastating terror attacks, with the Manchester Arena bombing, the shootings at Route 91 Harvest and BPM Festival, the Reina nightclub shooting and other incidents targeting music fans.

In response to the tragedies, the live industry united and made a positive impact, in the form of the One Love Manchester and We are Manchester charity concerts and candlelit vigils and fundraising for victims of the Route 91 Harvest attack.

Elsewhere, the booking agency world continued to consolidate through 2017, with a number of acquisitions, mergers and partnerships while Live Nation welcomed several more promoters, festivals, ticketing agencies and venues to its fast-growing family.

 


2017 in numbers

The live music business reached new heights in 2017, with the top 100 tours worldwide generating a record US$5.65 billion, up almost 16% from the previous year.

The number of tickets sold throughout the year also saw a notable increase from the year before, climbing 10.4% to 66.8 million, at an average price of almost $4 more per ticket than in 2016, at $84.60.

Eleven tours surpassed the $100m mark in 2017, with U2 topping the year-end charts having generated $316m on their Joshua Tree tour. Guns N’ Roses narrowly missed out on $300m, grossing $292.5m on the Not in this Lifetime tour.

Coldplay came in next, as the band’s A Head Full of Dreams tour made $238m. Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic tour was also successful, grossing just over $200m, whereas Metallica’s WorldWired tour generated $152.8m.

Depeche Mode, Paul McCartney, Ed Sheeran, the Rolling Stones, Garth Brooks and Celine Dion were the other acts whose 2017 tour earnings exceeded $100m.

 


2017 in brief

January
A lone gunman attacks New Year’s revellers at the Reina nightclub in Istanbul, resulting in the death of 39 people and injuries to a further 70. Two weeks later, four are killed and 12 injured during a shooting at the BPM Festival in the coastal resort of Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

AM Only and The Windish Agency rebrand as Paradigm Talent Agency, signalling the next phase of their joint ventures, launched in 2012 and 2015, respectively.

Global asset management firm Providence Equity Partners acquires a 70% stake in Sziget Festival and reveals plans to launch eight to ten branded festivals, with James Barton, former president of electronic music for Live Nation, leading the international expansion.

AEG Live finalises negotiations to acquire New York-based promoter/venue operator The Bowery Presents.

February
Ticketbis, the multinational resale operation acquired by eBay in May 2016, is rebranded as StubHub, bringing to an end the Ticketbis name across Europe, Asia and Latin America.

Live Nation enters the Middle East’s biggest touring market with the acquisition of a majority stake in Bluestone Entertainment, one of Israel’s leading promoters.

March
Iron Maiden’s decision to use paperless tickets on the UK leg of The Book of Souls arena tour helps reduce the number of tickets appearing on secondary sites by more than 95%, according to promoter Live Nation.

Live Nation acquires a controlling stake in the UK’s Isle of Wight Festival.

The Australian leg of Adele’s Live 2017 tour makes concert history after playing to more than 600,000 people over eight stadium dates.

The decade in live: 2017

Sziget Festival 2017 © László Mudra/Rockstar Photographers

April
In the biggest primary deal so far for the world’s largest secondary ticketing site, StubHub is named the official ticket seller for Rock in Rio 2017.

Creative Artists Agency increases its investment in the Chinese market via a new alliance with private equity firm CMC Capital Partners.

May
Luxury Ja Rule-backed boutique event, Fyre Festival, descends into chaos on its first day, with visitors to the Bahamas site comparing conditions to a refugee camp.

22 people, including children, lose their lives after a suicide bombing at Manchester Arena, for which Islamic State terror claims responsibility. The attack targets people leaving the 21,000-cap. venue at the end of an Ariana Grande concert.

June
Pandora Media announces the sale of Ticketfly to Eventbrite. Despite purchasing the company for $450m less than two years ago, it sells for a package worth $200m.

AEG invests in Immortals, one of the world’s leading esports teams, with professional players in the North American League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Super Smash Bros, Overwatch and Vainglory leagues. The team will now play their Los Angeles tournaments and matches at AEG’s LA Live entertainment district.

The organisers of ILMC announce the launch of the Event Safety and Security Summit (E3S), a one-day meeting focusing on security at live events.

The decade in live: 2017

The reality of Fyre Festival © Here_Comes_the_Kingz/Reddit

July
Helsinki-based Fullsteam Agency acquires Rähinä Live, whose roster includes some of Finland’s biggest hip-hop and pop artists.

Oak View Group, which counts Irving Azoff and Tim Leiweke among its founders, completes its acquisition of Pollstar, adding the US-based concert business magazine to its portfolio of trade titles.

August
Madison Square Garden Company makes a significant move into the esports sector by acquiring a controlling stake in Counter Logic Gaming.

Paradigm Talent Agency acquires Chicago- and California-based agency Monterey International, including its 14 agents and 200 acts.

Live Nation launches in Brazil with former Time for Fun (T4F) chief entertainment officer Alexandre Faria Fernandes at the helm.

September
Three quarters of staff at Function(x), the online business founded by former SFX Entertainment CEO Robert Sillerman, are effectively laid off, with the company telling investors it lacks the funds to pay them.

A sovereign wealth fund controlled by the government of Saudi Arabia, says it is forming a new SR10 billion ($2.7bn) investment vehicle in a bid to kick-start the kingdom’s entertainment sector.

Music returns to Manchester Arena as a capacity crowd turn out for We are Manchester, a benefit concert that raises funds for a memorial to the victims of the 22nd of May bombing.

The decade in live: 2017

The We are Manchester charity concert drew a full-capacity crowd at the 21,000-cap. arena © Showsec

October
A gunman kills 58 people and injures a further 546 at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival in Las Vegas. Local resident Stephen Paddock targeted the concertgoers from the 32nd floor of the nearby Mandalay Bay hotel.

WME-IMG rebrands as Endeavor, with company assets that include martial- arts promoter, UFC; ad agency, Droga5; Professional Bull Riders; the Miss Universe Organization; Frieze Art Fair; management companies, Dixon Talent and The Wall Group; and joint ventures such as Euroleague Basketball and esports championship ELEAGUE.

November
Ticketmaster confirms its long-rumoured expansion into Italy. The launch of Ticketmaster Italia, headquartered in Milan, follows the end of the exclusive long-term online partnership in Italy between Ticketmaster’s parent company, Live Nation, and CTS Eventim-owned TicketOne.

After 11 years in East London’s Victoria Park – now exclusive to AEG – Eat Your Own Ears’ Field Day Festival will head to Brockwell Park in South London. Live Nation’s Lovebox and Citadel are also rumoured to be moving to Brockwell Park.

Secondary ticketing websites will, from January 2018, be subject to stringent restrictions on their use of Google AdWords, as the search-engine giant cracks down on ticket resellers’ controversial use of its online advertising platform.

December
Leading self-service ticketer Eventbrite announces a series of new partnerships, rolling out integrations with events guide The List, festival package provider Festicket, word-of-mouth ticket sales platform Verve, and brand ambassador software Ticketrunner.

Michael Rapino, CEO of Live Nation Entertainment since 2010, will remain in his role until at least 2022 after signing a new five-year contract worth up to $9m per annum. Also re-upping are leading execs Kathy Willard, Michael Rowles and Joe Berchtold.


The decade in live: 2017

Primary Talent’s Dave Chumbley (1960-2017) picks up his Platinum Endurance Arthur Award at ILMC 25 © ILMC

 

Who we lost

Peter Rieger, founder of German promoter Peter Rieger Konzertagentur (PRK); Joseph Rascoff, business manager to the Stones, David Bowie, U2, Sting and more; ILMC’s long-time producer Alia Dann Swift; ShowSec International Ltd founder Mick Upton; Dave Chumbley, Primary Talent International director; Mary Cleary, former booker and tour manager; American singer-songwriter Tom Petty; pioneering concert promoter Shmuel Zemach, founder of Zemach Promotions; Australian country music promoter, agent and artist, Rob Potts; Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington; Reading festival founder Harold Pendelton; Washington, DC, promoter Jack Boyle; Live Nation Belgium booker Marianne Dekimpe; rock and roll pioneer Chuck Berry.

 


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K2 Agency acquires Factory Music

K2 Agency, which represents Metallica, Iron Maiden and Slayer, has acquired booking agency Factory Music, it announced today.

Sharon Richardson, who launched UK-based Factory Music Management and Agency in 2004, will join K2 on 1 October, bringing a roster that includes some of the biggest names in metal to John Jackson’s company.

“We have known and worked with Sharon for many years, and when the opportunity arose for her to join I jumped at the chance,” says Jackson, CEO of K2 Agency. “She will be joining the K2 team headed by Jane Miller, who has worked with me since the early ’80s, and Leo Benton, who joined us four years ago from Newcastle University.

“Sharon will be bringing to K2 her roster of over 20 rock and metal artists, which include Delain, Sabaton, Steve Harris’s British Lion and Metal Allegiance. They join the extensive roster of K2 artists [including] Alter Bridge, Ghost, Gojira, Iron Maiden, Mastodon, Metallica [pictured] and Slayer.”

“We have known and worked with Sharon for many years, and when the opportunity arose for her to join I jumped at the chance”

In addition to booking, Factor Music manages Delain and Alex Skolnick of Testament and offers tour production services.

Richardson adds: “We are extremely thrilled at having the opportunity to join and be part of the K2 team after working with and knowing John for many years. It felt that joining the K2 team is more than a positive step forward and we are delighted to be bringing our roster of artists over to K2.

“I am very fortunate to be joining such a respected company, which prides itself on a top-quality service to [its] roster of artists, and I look forward to an exciting and successful future at K2.”

Jackson, formerly of Helter Skelter Agency, formed K2 in 2002. He was also the co-founder with Kili’s Stuart Galbraith of the now-defunct Sonosphere festivals.

 


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Going paperless reduces Maiden touting ‘by 95%’

Proving once more than artists can eliminate touting if they actually want to, Iron Maiden’s decision to go paperless on their The Book of Souls UK arena tour has been credited with reducing the number of tickets appearing on secondary sites by more than 95%.

According to promoter Live Nation, by implementing extensive paperless ticketing – and mandating that all other tickets carry the name of the purchaser, and require their credit card and ID at the door – the number of tickets for sale “at inflated prices on secondary platforms plummeted by over 95% compared with the band’s last UK arena tour, in 2011”.

In 2010, 6,294 tickets appeared overnight on three of the major resale platforms – Viagogo, Seatwave and Get Me In! – on the day of sale. In 2016 this had dropped to 207, all on Viagogo, as Live Nation/Ticketmaster had agreed delist the tour at Iron Maiden’s request.

StubHub also followed suit.

“Iron Maiden and their management should be commended for their innovative approach to tackling touts”

Maiden manager Rod Smallwood comments: “We are delighted that the paperless ticketing system and other measures we instigated here in the UK have proved a massive deterrent to touts and counterfeiters. We want to thank our fans for their enduring support and patience.

“We appreciate that our stringent policy has meant fans having to jump over one more hurdle in the ticket-buying process, but the results speak for themselves, and I think everyone can agree this was well worth it. On the first day of public sale, we sold over 100,000 tickets nationwide direct to genuine fans through the proper legitimate channels. This is an incredible achievement, and a victory for concertgoers – not least as this is a full 12-date UK tour we’re undertaking, not just a couple of dates in the bigger cities.

MP Nigel Adams, a prominent anti-touting campaigner in parliament and chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Music, adds: “Iron Maiden and their management should be commended for their innovative approach to tackling touts. For too long, genuine fans have been fleeced by professional, well organised and greedy large scale touts who use secondary ticketing sites to profiteer. With both industry and government beginning to take action against the touts, I am hopeful we will see a fairer ticketing industry sooner rather than later.”

 


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Virginia del wants ‘right to resell tickets’

While a growing number of high-profile artists, including Coldplay and Adele, have taken to voiding tickets sold on the secondary market as a means of discouraging touting, it may soon be illegal to do so in the US state of Virginia.

Dave Albo, a Republican member of the Virginia House of Delegates, has introduced a bill to the house that, if passed, would levy fines of up to US$15,000 on promoters and primary ticket agencies which “penalise, discriminate against or deny admission to an event solely on the basis that the person resold a ticket or purchased a resold ticket on a specific internet ticketing platform”.

House Bill (HB) 1825, titled Right to resell tickets; civil penalty, also takes aim at paperless tickets, prohibiting the sale of tickets “solely through a delivery method that substantially prevents the ticket purchaser from reselling the ticket on an internet ticketing platform”.

The bill would levy fines of up to $15,000 on those which “deny admission to an event solely on the basis that the person resold a ticket or purchased a resold ticket on a specific internet ticketing platform”

The bill is currently awaiting assignment to a house committee.

Speaking to the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s Markus Schmidt, Albo says he was inspired to draft the proposed legislation after being unable to resell a ticket to an Iron Maiden show he could no longer attend. (Iron Maiden are also known to be fans of paperless ticketing.)

“I had to eat about $400, and I was pretty angry about that,” he explains.

 


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Maiden arena tour: Everyone welcome, except touts

Iron Maiden are, in partnership with promoter Live Nation and ticket agency Ticketmaster, introducing a series of measures designed to prevent the touting of tickets for their upcoming UK arena tour, the details of which will be announced tomorrow.

Maiden manager Rod Smallwood explains: “We do not want our fans being ripped off either by counterfeit tickets or through costly mark-ups on so called secondary ticketing websites. These problems now affect the UK more than any other country outside of the US.

“We believe the most successful way to prevent this is by implementing paperless ticketing. This proved highly successful in reducing piracy at our previous London shows in 2013 and on our North American tours since 2010. This is a simple procedure and goes a long way to minimising the resale of tickets and reducing fraud by requiring the original cardholder purchaser to be present at entry.

“We have been working with our UK promoter Live Nation and Ticketmaster to ensure that we can operate a paperless ticketing system, in full or in part, at all the UK venues we’ll play in 2017. We are also instigating a number of additional measures which we believe will directly help our fans to access tickets in the fairest, safest way and at the intended price.”

According to Smallwood, those measures are:

Smallwood also highlights that Iron Maiden are signatories to the FanFair Alliance declaration, which “unites music businesses, artists and fans against ticket touting and profiteering in the online secondary market”.

 


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Eddie the Head not welcome in Lithuania

A poster promoting Iron Maiden’s The Book of Souls world tour in Lithuania has been banned over fears it could scare children.

The poster, featuring the band’s mascot, Eddie the Head, has been subject to complaints from residents in the city of Kaunas, says Gražina Ramanauskaitė-Tiumenevienė, Lithuania’s inspector of journalist ethics, and will now be investigated in connection with a law protecting minors from offensive content.

“We received a letter saying that we should stop advertising because it scares children,” says Mindaugas Paukštė, a lawyer for Live Nation Lithuania, tells Russian-language news site Delfi. “At the moment we’re still deciding what to do, but we will most likely have to remove the posters.”

The advertisement, which shows Eddie holding a bloody heart (presumably his own), has been used elsewhere in the world without incident.

Iron Maiden will play the 20,000-capacity indoor Žalgiris Arena in Kaunas (Kovno) next Thursday (23 June).

 


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Take a guided tour of Ed Force One

Aerospace company Boeing, the manufacturer behind Iron Maiden’s jumbo jet, Ed Force One, has released a video offering a rare glimpse inside the aircraft.

Piloted by lead singer Bruce Dickinson (pictured), the Boeing 747 is designed to carry the band, up to 10,000kg (nearly 10 imperial tons) worth of equipment and, as seen in the video, an air crew decked out in Ed Force One-branded uniforms.

The band’s latest tour, The Book of Souls, kicked off in Fort Lauderdale in Florida in February and will conclude at Wacken Open Air in Germany on 4 August. It was very nearly derailed by an accident involving Ed Force One on the ground at Santiago Airport in Chile in May, but the plane was fixed up and in the air again a week later.

Watch the video above.