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Sharp increase in neo-Nazi concerts in Germany

Underground neo-Nazi live music events are on the rise in Germany, according to the country’s interior ministry, with 98 concerts by right-wing extremists having taken place in the first six months of this year – an increase of over 55% on the first half of 2015.

Responding to a request from The Left party, the Federal Ministry of the Interior (Bundesministerium des Innern, BMI) revealed there were at least 40 far-right concerts and 49 smaller liederabende (recitals), which usually feature a singer-songwriter with a guitar, from January to June 2016, compared to 63 in the same period last year.

“After years of decline in the far-right scene, it now seems to be an increase again,” Andreas Bühl, a member of the Thuringian parliament, tells Die Welt. Bühl criticises what he sees as a “safe haven” for neo-Nazis in the central German state of Thuringia, where on Saturday around 1,000 people attended the anti-migrant Rock gegen Überfremdung festival – roughly ‘Rock Against Foreign Infiltration’ – which saw far-right bands including Frontfeuer und Uwocaust and representatives of neo-Nazi parties NPD and the Third Way descend on the tiny village of Kirchheim.

“After years of decline in the far-right scene, it now seems to be an increase again”

“There is a risk that Thuringia will become a safe haven for all types of extremists, since they must feel less exposed to persecution here,” he tells the paper.

In 2015 the German security agency, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz, BfV), warned the number of right-wing extremist music events were approaching a high not seen since 2012, and it looks as if the total will be even higher this year. BfV says such concerts serve as a “means of self-expression” for neo-Nazis and offer a “feeling of belonging” for younger members of the subculture.

According to Die Welt, Rock Against Foreign Infiltration will probably be the last major far-right event of this year’s festival season. Police were on the doors looking for “swastikas, [neo-Nazi] CDs and weapons”, although “the visitors know the procedure. Hardly anyone will be caught.”

 


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Is Apple going to disable iPhone cameras at gigs?

Apple has been granted a patent that could allow it to block filming or taking photos on iPhones at concerts.

US patent 9,380,225, first applied for 2011, relates to the detection of an infrared signal by the phone’s camera, and concerns itself primarily with potential applications for augmented reality – for example, using infrared transmitters at museums to beam information to iPhone users photographing a particular exhibit.

However, the patent also describes a secondary application that will be particularly interesting for venues, stating that “[infrared] transmitter[s] can be located in areas where capturing pictures and videos is prohibited (eg a concert or a classified facility) and the transmitters can generate infrared signals with encoded data that includes commands temporarily disabling recording functions”, and even includes a handy diagram showing how it could work:

Apple iPhone patent 9,380,225, fig. 5

IQ earlier this month reported on a study by MIDiA Research which revealed digital and mobile now dominate event discovery, ticket buying and sharing and opined that: “The use of smartphones in events is an invaluable form of brand promotion and can be leveraged to build engaged future attendee lists through tactics such as image competitions on social platforms.”

Clearly someone at Apple disagrees – although the California-based company has not announced any plans to include the functionality in its next model, the iPhone 7. Apple has sold well in excess of 700 million iPhones worldwide since the phone’s introduction in 2007.

 


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Live goes digital—and why phones aren’t the enemy

Nearly every aspect of discovering and attending a live event – bar, of course, the event itself – is now chiefly a digital one, with the finding of events, ticket purchase and the sharing of experiences with friends all primarily driven by digital channels.

That’s the conclusion of Decoding the Live Event Consumer, a new report by Mark Mulligan’s MIDiA Research which analysed the findings of a See Tickets/Schlesinger Associates survey of US consumers to deliver a comprehensive overview of the buying, discovery and sharing habits of eventgoers in 2015.

Advertising is, unsurprisingly, still the main way promoters get the word out about their events, with 78% of respondees saying they’d heard about a concert or other live event via a TV, radio, print or online ad. Online is by far the most heavily relied-upon platform – 63% found out about an event through an internet advertisement – with local radio in a distant second, at 14%.

However, social media – Facebook is by far the most popular – has leapfrogged recommendations from family and friends to make it to second place (58%, compared to the latter’s 57%), with mail from a band/sports team or festival in third (46%) and mail from ticketing companies and browsing a venue’s website in joint fifth (both 39%).

Online is by far the most heavily relied-upon platform for event discovery – and social media is now in second place

When it comes to buying, “search is the first step”, says the report, with half of eventgoers heading straight to a search engine to find out more about an event after they first hear about it.

While 57% ask others if they want to go before they buy tickets, a more impulsive 35% buy more than one ticket immediately without a clear idea of who they’ll take.

Over half of respondees said they compare ticket prices on price comparison sites, with 61% eventually buying tickets from ticketing companies’ websites and 58% from venues’ sites.

The tickets themselves are also becoming increasingly digital: 39% of eventgoers print e-tickets, and 29% use them as-is on their smartphones. Over half of physical ticketholders, however, keep them as a memento “for at least five years”.

Attitudes towards smartphones – “once seen as the bane of live events, and even viewed as threats to copyright and other intellectual property”, says MIDiA – are apparently changing, with 87% of live eventgoers using their phones to take photos and over half (55%) to shoot videos. “Creating a digital record of being at an event is now a default consumer experience,” says the report. “It is the digital extension of being physically present and watching a live music performance.”

“Creating a digital record of being at an event is now a default consumer experience. It is the digital extension of being physically present and watching a live music performance”

Seventy-six out of every 100 eventgoers post photos or other content on social media when at concerts and other events, and 65% use social notifications to let people know they are attending. The figure of 76% is higher among younger audiences and vice versa: under-36s are most likely to post (84%), compared to 64% of those over 36.

MIDiA offers a number of recommendations for marketing and selling live events to digitally native consumers, “especially millennials who have grown up on social media and instant access to services”, including:

The report can be purchased in full from the MiDIA Research website.

 


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