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Major streaming services to branch into virtual events

Spotify is developing a feature that will alert fans to an artist’s upcoming virtual events, according to a tweet by reverse engineer Jane Manchun Wong.

The streaming service ordinarily lists an artist’s live events on their profile page, but according to Wong (via TechCrunch), it is now transforming that feature into virtual events discovery.

The platform already works with ticketing partners including Ticketmaster, Songkick, Resident Advisor, Eventbrite, AXS and Japan’s eplus, and therefore virtual event listings wouldn’t be difficult to implement.

The feature isn’t yet available in the public-facing version of the Spotify app.

Elsewhere, Jay-Z’s streaming service Tidal has spent US$7 million on tokens issued by the company behind Sensorium Galaxy, a new VR “social metaspace” in which users can attend alternative-world concerts, nightclubs and festivals through a VR headset.

Through the purchase, Tidal has acquired access to broadcast their content within Sensorium Galaxy, which is due to launch publicly in early 2021.

Sensorium says that its “Social VR technology” is poised to “provide unprecedented ways for artists”

Lior Tibon, COO of Tidal, says: “Our relationship with Sensorium provides Tidal with the opportunity to gain exclusive rights for its stellar artist roster to have their shows and music broadcast exclusively within Sensorium’s themed virtual entertainment worlds.

“The Sensorium Galaxy is a next-generation platform for entertainment consumption which will elevate the connection fans have with their favourite artists, and bring artists’ vision to life in a new and exciting way.”

Sensorium says that its “social VR technology” is poised to “provide unprecedented ways for artists, performance venues, game publishers, and virtual influencers to entertain and engage fans globally across interactive environments”.

Alongside Jay-Z, Tidal’s artist co-owners include Lil Wayne, Rihanna, Calvin Harris, Daft Punk and Coldplay’s Chris Martin.

Earlier this week, it was announced earlier this week that streaming service Napster will be acquired by live music virtual reality platform MelodyVR.

The US$70 million acquisition will eventually combine Napster’s library of over 90 million audio tracks and Melody VR’s catalogue of virtual live music shows, to create a platform where users can stream music and experience immersive live performances.

 


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Philadelphia mayor: Made in America must relocate

Jay-Z‘s Made in America festival has faced prolonged issues this week, after comments from the Philadelphia mayor’s office said the open air event will from 2019 need to relocate away from the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, it’s home since 2012.

Citing cost issues, congestion in the city brought on by the event and a growth in tourism, a representative for Mayor Jim Kenney’s office told local media, “the need for an event of this scale at this location may no longer be necessary.”

The decision not to let the event go ahead at its long-term home in 2019 appears to have been made without the input of Jay-Z or Roc Nation. Comments to local media from the mayor’s office therefore provoked an angry response from organisers and Jay-Z himself, with the rapper penning a passionate op-ed in the Philadelphia Enquirer

“We are disappointed that the mayor of the city of Philadelphia would evict us from the heart of the city, through a media outlet, without a sit-down meeting, notice, dialogue, or proper communication,” the rapper writes.

“It signifies zero appreciation for what Made In America has built alongside the phenomenal citizens of this city.”

“How do you think that tourism grew, Mayor Kenny?”

The mayor’s office originally cited an increase in tourism as one of the reasons the event, which last year welcomed 130,000 concertgoers across Labor Day weekend, need not go ahead in its current location. To this, the rapper responded by saying his event was largely part of the reason the city had seen this success, asking: “How do you think that tourism grew, Mayor Kenny?”

Officials have suggested the event may happen at a different Philadelphian location, but it seems the site of Benjamin Franklin Parkway is of particular importance to organisers. In his op-ed, Jay-Z writes that the Parkway, “captures the freedom and spirit of inclusivity that drew us to the City of Brotherly Love.”

Variety reported yesterday that Desiree Perez, chief operating officer of Roc Nation, stated that Made in America will take place at Benjamin Franklin Parkway or it will move out of Philadelphia altogether. Perez went on to call the Mayor’s actions a “bullying tactic.”

Made in America promoter Live Nation has since weighed in on the matter, siding wholly with Roc Nation. “We have yet to hear a compelling or plausible explanation for why the festival cannot return to the site where it has successfully been housed for six years and generated $102.8M in positive economic impact to the city,” Live Nation says in a statement.

“By handicapping Made In America’s ability to bring the best show possible to the best site possible, this administration makes a statement about how it values the arts and plans to protect and expand the city’s vibrant musical heritage.”

Performing this year at Made in America (1 and 2 September) at the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, potentially for the last time, are artists including Nicki Minaj, Post Malone and Diplo.

 


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Jay Z confirms new 10-year touring deal with LN

As expected, Jay Z has signed a new touring contract with Live Nation, giving the world’s largest promoter a decade-long extension on its exclusive deal to promote and produce his shows worldwide.

The two parties signed a US$150m, ten-year ‘360’ deal in 2008, creating a new joint venture, Roc Nation, comprising recording, management, publishing, concert promotion and TV/film production divisions. It emerged last month that Jay Z (Shawn Carter) was seeking new investors for the non-live side of the business, with Live Nation now solely interested in touring.

It is believed Carter (pictured) and Live Nation will remain equity partners in Roc Nation, with the latter making no mention of any change in the company’s structure when announcing the new deal, reportedly worth around $200 million.

“Live Nation and I entered unchartered territory in 2008,” says Carter. “Over nine years, we have travelled the world producing historic music experiences. [Live Nation CEO and president] Michael Rapino is an industry visionary, and this renewed partnership is a testament to our longstanding relationship and the talented individuals at Live Nation.

“For the next ten years, we will continue redefining the live event landscape”

“For the next ten years, we will continue redefining the live event landscape.”

“Jay Z is one of the world’s preeminent touring artists,” adds Rapino. “This strengthens the creative and business partnership of someone that continues to expand his touring base and reach.”

Jay Z has not toured since 2014’s On the Run tour, jointly headlined with wife Beyoncé, which made $109.7m and was the fifth highest-grossing of the year. He will, however, play several festivals this summer, including Meadows Festival, Austin City Limits and his own Made in America Festival.

 


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Roc Nation ‘renews touring deal with Live Nation’

Jay Z is reportedly seeking new investors for the recorded side of his Roc Nation business, as the full-service entertainment company’s ten-year ‘360’ deal with Live Nation comes to an end.

Roc Nation was established in 2008 as a subsidiary of Live Nation. The mammoth deal, rumoured to be worth US$152 million, remains one of the biggest of 360 agreements, creating a new company incorporating recording, management, publishing, concert promotion and TV/film production divisions.

According to sources quoted by the New York Post’s Page Six, Live Nation wants out of Roc Nation’s recorded-music business, with Carter reportedly seeking new investment, potentially from Universal Music Group.

“Live Nation is not in the business of buying recorded music any more”

“Jay’s 360 deal with Live Nation is not being extended,” says one ‘insider’. “Live Nation had bought into the artists’ rights and recorded music, but they are not extending any of those relationships. Live Nation is not in the business of buying recorded music any more.

A spokesperson for Live Nation tells Billboard that is indeed the case: “Live Nation has a new long-term deal with Jay Z, and we expect to continue being equity partners in Roc Nation for many years to come.”

Artists signed to Roc Nation include Rihanna, Lil Wayne, Big Sean, J. Cole, Grimes, DJ Khaled and Demi Lovato.

 


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Legal action fails to halt Coldplay India debut

Coldplay’s debut show in India tomorrow will go ahead as planned following the failure of a legal challenge in the High Court of Bombay.

Anti-corruption activists Anjali Damania and Hemant Gavande challenged a decision by the Maharashtra state government waiving entertainment duty on the concert, arguing the British band’s performance at the not-for-profit Global Citizen festival does not count as an educational or charitable activity, as required by the Bombay Entertainments Duty Act 1923.

However, judges Manjula Chellur and MS Sonak found in favour of Global Citizen and acting advocate-general Rohit Deo, who said the festival “is going to be an eight-hour programme, and the concert by Coldplay is just part of it. The festival is to create awareness of three subjects: gender equality, education and clean water,” reports the PTI news agency.

“It is going to be an eight-hour programme, creating awareness of three subjects: gender equality, education and clean water”

Deo said out of the 80,000 tickets, 65,000 will be given free to those who have demonstrated their commitment to positive societal change – as with previous Global Citizen events, tickets can be won by promoting the charity’s work (by, for example, signing petitions and contacting governments to advocate for it) – and “of the remaining, 11,000 will be sold by the organisers [Delhi-based the Global Education & Leadership Foundation (tGELF)] to meet expenditure and 4,000 have been kept for dignitaries.”

The festival takes place at the Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai (Bombay) tomorrow. Also on the bill are Jay-Z, Demi Levato and a host of local acts.

 


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‘Scammed’ Nigerian promoter sues Jay Z

A Nigerian concert promoter is suing Jay Z for allegedly failing to pay back a US$160,000 deposit for a cancelled Rihanna show in Lagos.

The Barbadian singer pulled out of a May 2013 appearance in the Nigerian capital, booked by Chris Ubosi’s Megalectrics via Jay Z-owned label and production company Roc Nation. According to the New York Daily News, Megalectrics and Roc Nation agreed for Rihanna to perform a 65-minute set for $425,000, for which Ubosi made three deposit payments totalling $160,000.

When Rihanna announced she had to postpone, Ubosi says he agreed as long as she listed a rescheduled date in her tour diary and on social media. The new date never surfaced, and Ubosi alleges that Jay Z – real name Shawn Carter – has ignored his repeated requests for a refund.

However, a representative from Roc Nation tells TMZ: “Rihanna, Roc Nation nor anyone associated personally or professionally with either party was in contact with this person. Unfortunately this person was scammed. Rihanna nor Roc Nation collected any money for this event.”

Beyoncé adds seven US dates to Formation tour

Live Nation has announced the addition of seven new American dates to Beyoncé’s Formation world tour, which only earlier this week contributed to a record-breaking first quarter of 2016 for the promoter.

The new leg, which will kick off in Rutherford, New Jersey, on 7 September and conclude with a date in Nashville – replacing yesterday’s postponed show at the Nissan Stadium – on 2 October, will follow Formation‘s European dates, which run from 28 June (at Wembley Stadium in London) to 3 August (Lluís Companys Olympic Stadium, Barcelona).

On 17 February IQ reported that the tour had sold close to a million tickets worldwide, with the number likely much higher over two months later.

The new dates in full are:

Beyoncé’s last headline tour, the 132-date Mrs Carter Show world tour, grossed US$229.7m worldwide from April 2013 to March 2014.

The June–September 2014 On the Run stadium tour, co-headlined with husband Jay-Z, was the fifth-highest grossing tour of the year, earning $109.7m from 21 dates.