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French Touch tour to raise money for artists and crew

Live Nation France has announced the French Touch tour, a new series of livestreamed concerts designed to raise funds, and provide work, for French artists and crew.

The shows, presented by investment bank Bpifrance and airing on Canal+’s Canal VOD website, begin this Thursday (25 March) with a show by genre-bending pop trio LEJ, and continue on a weekly basis for the next 15 weeks.

Other artists taking part include Jérémy Frérot, Sofiane Pamart, Skip the Use, Marina Kaye, Kimberose, Joé Dwèt Filé, Marie-Laure Garnier and Yusan, who will perform at venues including La Cigale, Le Duc des Lombards and Salle Gaveau (Paris), Olympia (Arcachon) and the Atabal (Biarritz).

Tickets for the French Touch tour concerts are priced at €4.99 each and are available from the Canal+ website, with all proceeds going to the performers and technical team.

“More than 1,500 artists and technicians will be able to work again and practice their skills.”

“This digital tour aims to support” the entire “sector to revive the cultural and creative industries,” say Live Nation, Canal+ and Bpifrance in a statement announcing the tour. “The partners are joining forces to get all the behind-the-scenes jobs back on track, so that all the players in French culture and live performance can return to the stage.”

“Thanks to this tour,” they add, “more than 1,500 artists and technicians will be able to work again and practice their skills.”

At the time of writing, France is back in partial lockdown, with new restrictions on meeting indoors designed to slow the spread of coronavirus.

 


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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Four sentenced over Madonna stage collapse

Four professionals including the former head of operations for Live Nation France have been sentenced, following the collapse of a stage in France in 2009 that killed two people.

Technicians had been setting up the stage at the Velodrome stadium in Marseille for a Madonna concert when the partially-built roof fell in, bringing down a crane.

Charles Criscenzo, a 52-year-old French worker, and Charles Prow, a 23-year-old Briton, were killed while eight other workers sustained injuries in the accident. One of the injured workers took his own life two years later.

Yesterday (17 February), the magistrates of the court of Marseille (south), where the concert was to be held in 2009, convicted four defendants of manslaughter and involuntary damages, and acquitted three other defendants.

Live Nation France was ordered to pay a €150,000 fine, and Tour Concept €50,000

After a decade-long investigation, Jacqueline Bitton, at the time head of the French operations for Live Nation, received the most severe sentence: a suspended two-year prison term and a fine of €20,000.

Tim Norman, head of the British firm Edwin Shirley Group (ESG) which owned the stage, received a suspended two-year term as well as a €15,000 fine.

A manager at a French subcontractor hired by ESG, Tour Concept France, was given a suspended 18-month sentence and a €10,000 fine, while a British foreman hired for the job by ESG got an 18-month suspended sentence.

Live Nation France was ordered to pay a €150,000 fine, and Tour Concept €50,000.

After the concert was cancelled, Madonna said she was “shocked” by what happened and sent her condolences to the families of the victims. She did not appear at the trial.

The 60,000-seater Velodrome is France’s second-biggest sports arena and home to the Olympique de Marseille football club.

 


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Macron dedicates €225m to French cultural sector

French president Emmanuel Macron has pledged to create a €225 million public fund to benefit creative companies in the country, as he warns against growing US and Chinese dominance in the sector.

Macron announced the fund to a crowd of 130 cultural industry executives at the Elysée Palace. The funding was one of the recommendations made in a report concerning the private financing of film and audiovisual production in France by film producer Dominique Boutonnat.

The fund will be operated by the Public Investment Bank (banque publique d’investissement).

The French president also warned the executives against the dominance of US companies such as Netflix, Disney and Apple, as well as emerging Chinese competitors.

“I truly believe that if we do not organise ourselves, the battle is lost,” stated Macron at the Elysée Palace meeting, highlighting the need for collective action to combat US and Chinese tech giants.

“I truly believe that if we do not organise ourselves, the battle is lost”

A collective action plan will be outlined by the French Ministry of Culture in cooperation with the cultural industry sector by the end of the year.

This is the second time this month that the French president has called upon the EU to pool resources in the name of culture. In the aftermath of the devastating fire at Notre Dame cathedral on 15 April, Macron called for collective action to safeguard historical sites and protect “European heritage”.

US cultural sector dominance has been criticised by French politicians in the past. In 2017, former French culture minister Jack Lang denounced Live Nation’s inaugural Lollapalooza Paris festival as an “invasion of the musical life of France by American multinationals”.

The Paris edition of Lollapalooza returns for its third year in July, featuring headline performances from Twenty One Pilots and the Strokes.

 


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Ticketmaster appoints new head of music in France

Ticketmaster France has hired Charlotte Broutin, formerly of rival operation France Billet, as head of music.

According to head of comms Cédric Blondel, Broutin’s arrival at Ticketmaster France (formerly Ticketnet) comes as the company increases its share of the French ticketing market, where it is in competition with Fnac’s France Billet and Vivendi’s Digitick.

“This is a moment of great transformation and opportunity in the ticketing industry in France,” comments Broutin (pictured). “I look forward to working with the team to help shape the future of Ticketmaster in France, and I am extremely excited to join the leading global player in ticketing and entertainment.”

“This is a moment of great transformation and opportunity in the ticketing industry in France”

François Thominet, president of Ticketmaster France, adds: “Charlotte Broutin’s contribution will enable Ticketmaster France to accelerate the continuous growth of our activities in the concert and festival markets while offering French promoters the best customer support and new services.”

According to the International Ticketing Yearbook 2016, Ticketmaster France/Ticketnet is one third of a “powerhouse trio of ticketing companies in France”, with each having a distinctive strength: “Fnac is the generalist and has historically been the first point of call for concertgoers, with both an online offering and the national Fnac chain of music stores; Digitick is strong in alternative shows, such as electronic and hip hop; [and] Ticketmaster is the choice of the mainstream consumer”.

 


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110,000+ attend homegrown Lollapalooza Paris 2017

The first edition of Lollapalooza Paris, which took place last weekend, has been hailed as a success by promoter Live Nation France, which has praised the festival as a triumph of “local initiative” in the face of criticism by former culture minister Jack Lang.

Lang – a veteran Socialist party politician who served as France’s minister of culture from 1981–86 and 1988–92 – on Saturday attacked the new festival, announced in October, as part of an “invasion of the musical life of France by American multinationals”.

According to Lang, Live Nation is threatening France’s domestic, often public subsidised, festival scene with the “extension of its empire” across the country. (The company’s most recent French acquisition was Nous Productions last August.)

He also took a swipe at AEG, which is believed to be going into partnership with Matthieu Pigasse’s LNEI Live on Rock en Seine, saying the rival promoter is “already scandalously present in [Paris] with AccorHotels Arena”.

“We would have been delighted to welcome Mr Lang to the festival, so that he realises that it is a local initiative, produced by a French company called Live Nation France”

Live Nation France issued a statement in response to Lang’s attack, with deputy GM Matthias Leullier saying he “would have been delighted to welcome Mr Lang to the festival, so that he realises that it is a local initiative, produced by a French company called Live Nation France”. Leullier also notes Live Nation France has 65 permanent employees and hired 1,500 people for Lollapalooza, all of which “are paid, and not by public subsidies.”

According to Le Figaro, no fewer than 110,000 people attended Lollapalooza Paris 2017, held at the Longchamp racecourse – the home of Download Paris, also a Live Nation production – on 22 and 23 July. Headliners were Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Weeknd, Imagine Dragons, Lana Del Rey, London Grammar and DJ Snake.

Lollapalooza, revived in Chicago by Live Nation’s C3 Presents in 2005, is now staged in five other cities worldwide:  Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Berlin, Paris and Chilean capital Santiago.

 


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Carla Bruni added to #NP roster

Italian-French singer-songwriter Carla Bruni has joined #NP, the Live Nation-backed management company established in December by ex-Universal Music France president Pascal Nègre.

Bruni (pictured) – a former first lady of France through her marriage to ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy – has released four studio albums since 2003, the most recent of which, 2013’s Little French Songs, reached no2 on the French albums chart. She last toured in 2014.

“Her lyrics and melodies have made Carla Bruni the most famous French singer in the world,” comments Nègre. “I thank her for choosing #NP and am very proud to work with her.”

 


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All change in France as Nous duo go separate ways

Deep-pocketed French live music powerhouse Fimalac has appointed Arnaud Meersseman as the managing director of its promotion business, Miala, as it seeks to aggressively increase its stake in the international concert and festival sector.

Meersseman earlier this year left Nous Productions, where he served as a booker, promoter and A&R. Nous will next month come under the ownership of Live Nation, with president Salomon Hazot becoming president of Live Nation France (“sharing everything” with managing director Angelo Gopee, he tells IQ).

Meersseman’s remit at Miala, which specialises in indie and electronic acts, is to grow its roster of international acts and export French artists to other territories.

Fimalac’s €2.6 billion investment vehicle includes the 3S Entertainment division, which already owns ten Zenith venues throughout France, 35 casinos and a number of clubs, the jewel of which is Faust on the banks of the Seine. Other Parisian venues include the 2,800-capacity Salle Pleyel, the new Flow (700-cap.) and Le Petit Comedia (300-cap.) clubs and five theatres.

Fimalac is also behind the new €600 million, 82,000-cap. Grand Stade for the French rugby federation in Paris – which will be the largest indoor venue in Europe when it opens in 2019 – and owns ten promoters, including Gilbert Coullier Productions, TS3, Auguri Productions, Encore Productions, Anteprima in addition to Miala.

“It’s an exciting move. Until now Miala has been 100% centred on the French market, but now they want to open up to international acts”

“It’s an exciting move,” Meersseman tells IQ. “Up until now, Miala has been 100% centred on the French market and artists, but now they want to open up to international acts, which is why they’ve turned to me.”

Meersseman promoted numerous international acts for Nous in his six-and-a-half years at the company, and was seriously injured in the attack on the Bataclan during the Eagles of Death Metal gig last November.

In addition to promoting around 400 concerts annually, Miala recently bought the Big Festival in Biarritz (2016 headliners were Pharrell, The Kills, The Chemical Brothers and The Prodigy) and also owns two other electronic events, Platja in Argeles and Kolorz in Carpentras.

“We have a strategy for festival creation and acquisition, so on top of the existing 25 staff that Miala has, I’ll be bringing in some new people who are already familiar with international booking,” says Meersseman.

 


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