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Live music community rallies for Covid-19 relief

High-profile acts from around the world are taking part in a number of upcoming virtual events to raise money and awareness for Covid-19 relief funds, as the live music community continues to pull its weight in the fight against the disease.

Virtual benefit events have been a feature of lockdown from the very beginning, with the Lady Gaga-curated, Global Citizen-organised One World: Together at Home an early pioneer of the space. The mammoth livestreamed benefit event raised almost US$128 million for the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Covid-19 solidarity response fund, setting a new a record for the most money generated by a remote music festival.

Now Global Citizen is teaming up with the European Commission for Global Goal: Unite for our Future, a campaign seeking to raise funds for the development and distribution of Covid-19 testing, treatments and vaccines.

On 27 June, high-profile artists including Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Shakira, Coldplay and J Balvin will join philanthropists and world leaders in an international pledging summit to call on governments to commit to the funding needed to ensure fair access to Covid-19 treatment.

Music industry giants including Live Nation, Scooter Braun and SB Projects, Adam Leber (Maverick), Jay Brown (Roc Nation) and Michele Anthony (Universal Music Group) are involved in producing the event.

Exclusive experiences, including a virtual happy hour with Adam Lambert and virtual concerts from Chloe X Halle and Fher Olvera, lead singer of Mexican rock band Maná, also form part of the campaign.

Global Citizen is teaming up with the European Commission for Global Goal: Unite for our Future

Independent LA-based electronic music companies Brownies & Lemonade and Proximity yesterday (28 May) announced the second edition of their Digital Mirage festival, set to take place from 5 to 7 June.

The first outing of the event, which saw performances from Alsion Wonderland, Tokimonsta and Sofi Tukker, raised over $300,000 for the Sweet Musicians Relief Fund. Digital Mirage 2 will feature acts including A Trak, Baauer, Boys Noize and Hot Chip, with all proceeds going to Plus1’s fund for Covid-19 relief.

Fans can register for the event here.

Eschewing the virtual world for the real thing, French DJ David Guetta is set to make his second rooftop performance in New York on Saturday, following on from a similarly distanced performance in Miami last month. The Miami show raised $750,000 for Feeding South Florida, Feeding America, World Health Organisation and Fondation Hôpitaux de Paris.

The New York concert will raise money for the Mayor’s fund to advance New York city, as well as the international organisations that benefited from Guetta’s first show.

Elsewhere in the US, acts including Pearl Jam, Macklemore and Dave Matthews are participating in the virtual All in WA event on 10 June to raise money for Covid-19 relief efforts across Washington state. The concert, which will air on the local NBC affiliates, can be streamed on Amazon’s Twitch channel, and will be available on Amazon Prime after it airs.

Photo: Photo © Raph_PH on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

 


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More high-profile acts join Lady Gaga-curated benefit gig

A host of new artists have joined the line-up for One World: Together at Home, a livestreamed benefit concert co-curated by Lady Gaga in celebration of health workers and in support of the World Health Organisation’s Covid-19 solidarity response fund.

Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lopez, Christine and the Queens, the Killers, Sam Smith, Alicia Keys, Usher and Celine Dion join previously announced acts Stevie Wonder, Billie Eilish, Elton John, Lizzo, John Legend, Paul McCartney, J Balvin and many more for the mega charity concert, which is taking place on Saturday 18 April from 8 p.m. (EDT).

First announcing the event last week, Gaga revealed she had helped to raise $35 million for the WHO fund, which is dedicated to funding protective equipment for health workers and efforts to find a Covid-19 vaccine.

On Monday, the singer called on world leaders including Canada’s Justin Trudeau, France’s Emmanuel Macron and EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen to contribute funds to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (Cepi) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, organisations seeking to find a vaccine for the Covid-19 coronavirus.

As part as the One World: Together at Home initiative, Global Citizen, the social action platform that has partnered with the WHO to produce the event, is calling on individuals, philanthropists, investors and business to support global health efforts.

“We are incredibly grateful for the continued support from the artist community to make One World: Together At Home a moment of global unity”

“We are grateful to the private sector who have listened to the public’s call for action and come together to support the global response to Covid-19,” says Hugh Evans, co-founder and CEO of Global Citizen. “This pandemic is too large for governments to tackle alone.

“We are also incredibly grateful for the continued support from the artist community to make One World: Together At Home a moment of global unity,” continues Evans. “Our hope for the special is that everyone will come away believing that we, as a shared humanity, can emerge from this moment forever grateful for the work of doctors, nurses, teachers, grocery store workers, and all those who are the backbone of our communities.”

One World: Together at Home, which will be hosted by US talk show hosts Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert, will be broadcast live across US television networks ABC, CBS and NBC, as well as being streamed online.

Internationally, the UK’s BBC One will show an adapted version of the concert the following day from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. (BST), including exclusive performances from UK artists and interviews with frontline health workers. Additional international broadcasters include AXS TV, beIN Media Group, IMDb, MultiChoice Group, and RTE.

There will also be a globally curated digital show beginning at 2 p.m. EDT/6 p.m. GMT. Streaming partners include Alibaba, Amazon Prime Video, Apple, Facebook, Instagram, LiveXLive, Tencent, Tencent Music Entertainment Group, TIDAL, TuneIn, Twitch, Twitter, Yahoo, and YouTube.

Photo: proacguy1/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0) (cropped)

 


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Grammy performances yield 480% sales gain for artists

Songs performed at Saturday’s 61st Grammy Awards by Lady Gaga, Kacey Musgraves, Bradi Carlile, H.E.R. and others, collectively contributed to a 480% increase in digital download sales, according to Nielsen Music.

The songs performed at the awards ceremony, including H.E.R.’s ‘Hard Place’ (up 102,000%), Kacey Musgraves’ ‘Rainbow’ (up 9,430%), Brandi Carlile’s ‘The Joke’ (up 2,771%) and Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s ‘Shallow’ (up 229%), collectively sold 71,000 downloads on the day of the show, 12,000 more than on the day before the awards.

‘Shallow’, winner of best pop duo/ group performance, was the biggest seller of all Grammy-performed songs, selling 14,000 downloads on the day of the awards. The song lost out to Childish Gambino’s ‘This is America’ in the record of the year category, a win predicted by artificial intelligence platform, DataRobot.

Musgraves’ Golden Hour, winner of album of the year and best country album at the Grammys, also saw a vast increase in sales, selling over 3,000 copies on Saturday, up from less than 1,000.

Songs performed at the awards ceremony collectively sold 71,000 downloads on the day of the show, 12,000 more than the day before

Songs featuring in a Dolly Parton tribute performed by Musgraves, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus and Parton herself, among others, also registered sales increases. The original Parton versions of the five songs performed in the medley sold 6,000 downloads collectively, up 718% in comparison to the previous day’s 1,000 downloads.

The sum includes Parton’s renditions of ‘Here You Come Again’, ‘Jolene’, ‘Red Shoes’ and ‘9 to 5’, along with her version of Neil Young’s ‘After the Gold Rush’.

This year’s Grammy Awards, held at Staples Center in Los Angeles, saw other notable performances from awards host Alicia Keys, Janelle Monae, Shawn Mendes, Cardi B, and St Vincent and Dua Lipa, winner of best new artist.

See the full list of winners at the Recording Academy website.

 


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Ex-Spotify exec Troy Carter signs with UTA

United Talent Agency (UTA) has announced the signing of music industry veteran Troy Carter. The leading global talent company will focus on supporting Carter in the development of projects in areas including film, television and theatre.

Carter joins UTA following a two year stint as global head of creator services at Spotify. He continues to work with the music streaming giant in an advisory capacity, after stepping down in September.

In 2007, Carter founded talent management company Atom Factory, having previously working for the record label, Bad Boy Entertainment, and talent agency, Erving Wonder. As a manager, Carter handled globally renowned acts including Lady Gaga, John Legend, Eve and Nelly.

Carter received an Emmy nomination for “Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special,” for his work on HBO’s Lady Gaga Presents the Monster Ball Tour: At Madison Square Garden. He currently has projects in development at Netflix, Universal Pictures and Apple.

A successful entrepreneur, Carter has over 80 holdings in companies including Uber, Spotify, Dropbox, Lyft, Slack and Gimlet Media.

“Carter’s unique vision for the future will touch every area of UTA and we look forward to exploring new avenues of business with him”

“Troy Carter has achieved success in everything he’s done,” says UTA chief executive, Jeremy Zimmer. “He’s not only one of today’s most innovative, self-made leaders in music and tech, he’s broken ground as a creator, an executive and investor.”

“His unique vision for the future will touch every area of UTA and we look forward to exploring new avenues of business with him.”

Carter comments that UTA “is becoming a creative hub at the intersection of music and art culture.”

“Jeremy Zimmer and his team are passionate, hungry and have shown exemplary taste when presenting me with projects. I look forward to working with them on this next chapter and bringing inspiring stories to the world,” he says.

The announcement follows yesterday’s acquisition of influencer agency Digital Brand Architects, as UTA expands its range and diversity of talent.

 


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R. Kelly concert permit denied amid “security concerns”

Illinois State has rejected plans for a spring break concert that would have been headlined by R. Kelly. The organisers of Spring Break Jam planned to hold the concert at Illinois State Fairgrounds in April, but officials have denied the application, citing security issues.

Controversial R&B star R. Kelly was to host the proposed event on 6 April in Springfield, Illinois. The line-up also included Yella Beezy, Young Lloyd and Dre Madison. Tickets for the event cost between US$75 and $150, according to previously released promotional material. Such material, including the event page on Eventbrite, has since been taken down.

“Unfortunately, we cannot control when organisers start promoting an event – there was never a signed agreement to host the event at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, only an application,” says Denise Albert, a spokesperson for the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA), reports the Chicago Tribune.

R. Kelly has faced allegations of sexual abuse throughout his career. Criticism of the artist has spiked following the airing of the Lifetime documentary series Surviving R. Kelly earlier this month. The documentary exposed detailed accounts of the singer’s alleged physical, sexual and emotional abuse of women, as well as claims that he ran an “abusive cult”.

“We cannot control when organisers start promoting an event – there was never a signed agreement to host the event”

The documentary has prompted many industry figures to denounce R. Kelly. Lady Gaga has since removed her duet with the artist from streaming services, apologising for having collaborated with the singer.

The IDOA claims that the cancellation is down to security concerns spurred by protests against the artist, and not in direct response to the documentary. The proposed event failed to meet the following criteria:

The IDOA have stated that they could reconsider and approve the concert, but only in the event that R. Kelly will not appear on the bill.

 


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Gaga’s Vegas residency is the Strip’s hottest ticket

It might not have started yet, but Lady Gaga’s upcoming Las Vegas residency, Enigma, is already the hottest ticket in Sin City.

Enigma, the star’s first-ever concert residency, kicks off on 28 December 2018 at the 5,200-capacity Park Theatre, at the Park MGM on the Las Vegas Strip. Announced in August, it is produced and promoted by Live Nation and comprises two distinct shows: Lady Gaga Enigma, showcasing Gaga’s pop hits, and Lady Gaga Jazz & Piano, featuring stripped-back versions of her songs and music from the Great American Songbook.

The show will run for a minimum of two years, with 28 dates announced so far.

Gaga is pulling in more sales for a single performance than all scheduled shows of Spears

According to Ticket Club data, the show is dominating its competition, with sale grosses outstripping Celine Dion’s eight-year residency, which closes in June 2019, and Britney Spears’s Domination show, with Gaga “pulling in more sales for a single performance than all scheduled shows of Spears”, according to the US resale site.

While Lady Gaga is currently riding high on the success of the film A Star is Born – for which she is tipped for an Oscar nomination alongside co-star Bradley Cooper – the show’s sales success is skewed by its high ticket price, with tickets for the 28–31 December shows selling for an average of US$535 on the secondary market, compared to around $330 for Spears, $277 for Dion.

Tickets for Gwen Stefani’s residency at Planet Hollywood, meanwhile, are selling for $248 apiece, with Mariah Carey’s the Butterfly Returns show pulling in $160 per ticket.

 


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Lady Gaga announces “spectacular” Vegas residency

Lady Gaga’s upcoming Las Vegas residency will kick off on 28 December, promoter/producer Live Nation announced today, and comprise two distinct shows showcasing the star’s pop and jazz output.

Lady Gaga Enigma, which runs from 28 to 31 December 2018 and then intermittently from 17 January to 8 November 2019, is a “brand-new odyssey of her pop hits built as an experience unlike any other”, while Lady Gaga Jazz & Piano, taking place on 20 January, 3 February and 2 and 9 June 2019, will feature “stripped-down versions of her hits, as well as music from the Great American Songbook”,  made famous by her 2014–15 collaboration with Tony Bennett.

All shows will take place at the 5,200-seat Park MGM, operated by MGM Resorts International.

“What she is planning for Las Vegas audiences is nothing short of spectacular”

Bill Hornbuckle, president of MGM Resorts International, says: “Working with Lady Gaga and her team has been a career highlight for me. What she is planning for Las Vegas audiences is nothing short of spectacular. Welcoming her into our family will firmly position Park MGM as the city’s most exciting new destination.”

“I can’t wait to share Enigma with all of my fans and with Las Vegas,” adds Lady Gaga. “We’re creating a show unlike anything I’ve done before. It will be a celebration of all that is unique and different within us. The challenges of bravery can be overcome with creativity and courage that is grown out of adversity, love and music.”

GA tickets are priced at US$77.90, with VIP options, including meet-and-greets, also available.

Live Nation has produced and promoted all Gaga’s tours since 2009–2011’s the Monster Ball tour, including, most recently, the Joanne world tour.

 


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SIAE in legal blitz against touts, Viagogo

While the new government of Italy has yet to implement its 2017 budget law – and with it the amendment that provides for €180,000 fines for ticket touts – collection society SIAE isn’t hanging around, recently initiating its third court case this year against secondary ticket sellers.

The latest complaint, filed with the Tribunal of Milan on Friday, relates to tickets for Lady Gaga’s recently announced Joanne world tour, which visits Milan’s Mediolanum Forum (12,700-cap.) on 26 September.

Gaetano Blandini, the director-general of SIAE (Società Italiana degli Autori ed Editori, Italian Society of Authors and Publishers), says tickets for the show were being sold on secondary sites for higher than face value “even before the start of the presale on 9 February”. He urges Italian buyers not to purchase secondary-market tickets, and to send evidence of unauthorised resale to [email protected].

On 17 January, SIAE announced it had filed an “urgent petition” with the Civil Court of Rome to address touting of tickets for U2’s shows at the Olympic Stadium next July.

That was followed on 27 January by news it was suing Viagogo for listing tickets for Vasco Rossi’s gig at Modena Park on 1 July – again, before they were even on sale. Rossi last year severed his ties with Live Nation Italy after its managing director, Roberto de Luca, admitted to passing inventory directly to Viagogo.

Switzerland-based Viagogo, meanwhile, is also under fire in the UK, having been accused by FanFair Alliance of “moral repugnance” and “profiteering at the expense of teenage cancer sufferers” by allowing touts to resell tickets for a Teenage Cancer Trust concert at the Royal Albert Hall.

 


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Post-Super Bowl, Lady Gaga announces world tour

Lady Gaga’s triumphant, drone-filled, subtly Trump-bashing comeback show at yesterday’s Super Bowl LI will be followed by a 48-date world tour.

The Joanne world tour, produced by Live Nation’s Global Touring division, kicks off at the Rogers Arena (18,630-cap.) in Vancouver on the 1 August, taking in arenas and stadia in North America and Europe – and a solitary festival date at Rock in Rio in Brazil on 15 September – and wrapping up at Salt Lake City’s Vivint Smart Home Arena (19,911-cap.) on 14 December.

No Asian or Australasian dates have yet been announced. A full list is available on Gaga’s website.

Lady Gaga’s last headlining tour, 2014’s ArtRave: The Artpop Ball, was the seventh highest-grossing of the year. The Cheek to Cheek tour in 2015, co-headlined with Tony Bennett, failed to place in the top 100.

She was then represented in North America by WME, but switched to CAA in January 2016.

 


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