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Crypto.com currency ‘up 70%’ after LA arena deal

Crypto.com’s currency, CRO token, surged almost 70% in the wake of the platform’s naming rights deal for AEG’s Staples Center, according to a new report.

The 20-year deal with the Singapore-based cryptocurrency company is reportedly worth US$700 million (€622m), with all of the 20,000-cap venue’s external signage to be replaced by June 2022.

However, Forbes reports the coin’s value has risen 69.9% since last week’s announcement that the 20,000-cap Los Angeles venue is to be renamed the Crypto.com Arena from 25 December following an agreement brokered by AEG Global Partnerships. The news prompted Meltem Demirors, chief strategy officer at CoinShares International, to say the deal had already paid for itself more than a dozen times.

The deal paid for itself – 13x over

“Crypto.com put $700M into a 20 year sponsorship, and the resulting PR doubled its token price and led to a $9B run-up in market cap the deal paid for itself –13x over,” she tweeted, “difficult to untangle token distribution and who benefited, but smart token marketing strategy!”

The new relationship will result in the first name change in the venue’s 22-year history and will also see Crypto.com featured prominently across the venue with large-scale, premium branding and signage.

“We’re very excited about partnering with AEG and investing long term in this city, starting with Crypto.com Arena in the heart of downtown, and using our platform in new and creative ways so that cryptocurrency can power the future of world class sports, entertainment and technology for fans in LA and around the world,” said Crypto.com co-founder and CEO, Kris Marszalek.

Opening its doors in 1999, the downtown Los Angeles arena is home to the NBA’s LA Lakers and LA Clippers and the NHL’s LA Kings and LA Sparks and hosts over 240 major high-profile events a year, including 19 of the last 21 Grammy Awards shows. Upcoming concerts include Enrique Iglesias & Ricky Martin, Bad Bunny, Justin Bieber, Imagine Dragons and the Bud Light Super Bowl Music Fest series.

Earlier this year, Crypto.com became the first crypto platform to partner with an F1 team (Aston Martin), the first to partner with an NHL team (Montreal Canadiens), and the first to partner with a professional sports league (Lega Serie A).

 


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Bud Light Super Bowl Music Fest line-up revealed

Halsey, Miley Cyrus and Green Day are among the headliners revealed for the Bud Light Super Bowl Music Fest.

The three-night festival will run from 10-12 February 2022 at the 20,000-cap Staples Center (soon to be the Crypto.com Arena) in Los Angeles, kicking off with performances from both Halsey and Machine Gun Kelly on night one.

Night two will feature Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani with Mickey Guyton, while the final night Super Bowl Eve concert line-up is topped by Green Day and Miley Cyrus.

Now in its third year, the event serves as a precursor to the Super Bowl and its coveted Halftime Show, which in 2022 will star Dr Dre, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, Mary J Blige and Snoop Dogg at the 100,000-cap SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California on Sunday, 13 February.

The Bruno Mars and Cardi B concert in 2019 was the highest-grossing event in State Farm Arena’s 20-year history

“Staples Center and LA Live are incredibly excited and honoured to host three amazing nights of music as part of Super Bowl Music Fest,” says Lee Zeidman, president of Staples Center, Microsoft Theater and LA Live. “We look forward to welcoming music and football fans to downtown as part of Super Bowl week in Los Angeles.”

The Bud Light Super Bowl Music Fest has previously featured unique and never-before-paired line-ups with artists including Bruno Mars and Cardi B, Post Malone and Aerosmith, Maroon 5 and Dan + Shay with a surprise performance from Demi Lovato, and a night with Guns N’ Roses and special guest Snoop Dogg.

The 2019 and 2020 festivals were held at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia and the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida, respectively. The Bruno Mars and Cardi B concert in 2019 was reportedly the highest-grossing event in State Farm Arena’s 20-year history, generating $6.473 million.

 


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LA’s Staples Center to be renamed Crypto.com Arena

AEG’s Staples Center in Los Angeles is to be renamed the Crypto.com Arena as part of a new 20-year naming rights deal.

The deal with the Singapore-based cryptocurrency platform, reportedly worth US$700 million (€618m), according to the FT, was brokered by AEG Global Partnerships and comes into effect from 25 December, with all of the 20,000-cap venue’s external signage to be replaced by June 2022.

“This partnership represents the fastest-growing cryptocurrency platform and the biggest sports and live entertainment company in the world converging to drive the future of sports and live entertainment as well as the incredible legacy of this arena for decades to come,” says Todd Goldstein, chief revenue officer of AEG.

“It marks an exciting new chapter in the history of our company and our respective industries, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to have such a visionary partner like Crypto.com supporting our global fan base and local community.”

As exclusive naming rights partner, Crypto.com plans to engage fans through premium branded areas of the arena including a 3,300 sq. ft activation space at the building’s entrance, as well as dedicated activation areas on the main concourse and throughout the adjacent LA Live campus.

The new relationship, which will result in the first name change in the venue’s 22-year history, will also see Crypto.com featured prominently across the venue with large-scale, premium branding and signage throughout the interior and exterior.

This partnership is about the future

“This partnership is about the future,” adds Dan Beckerman, AEG president and CEO. “AEG and Crypto.com not only share a vision about innovation and the future of sports and entertainment, but we also have a shared commitment to our communities where we work and live. We look forward to partnering with Crypto.com to create meaningful initiatives to bring that vision to life in the years to come.”

Crypto.com has committed to becoming carbon negative by the end of 2022 by offsetting more carbon than is generated by all activities across the organisation. Earlier this year, the company became the first crypto platform to partner with an F1 team (Aston Martin), the first to partner with an NHL team (Montreal Canadiens), and the first to partner with a professional sports league (Lega Serie A).

Opening its doors in 1999, the downtown Los Angeles arena is home to the NBA’s LA Lakers and LA Clippers and the NHL’s LA Kings and LA Sparks and hosts over 240 major high-profile events a year, including 19 of the last 21 Grammy Awards shows. Upcoming concerts include Enrique Iglesias & Ricky Martin, Bad Bunny, Justin Bieber, Imagine Dragons and the Bud Light Super Bowl Music Fest series.

 


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WME freed from Virgin Fest lawsuit over artist deposits

WME has been freed from Virgin Fest Los Angeles’ lawsuit seeking to recover prepaid deposits from the event’s cancelled 2020 edition.

VFLA Eventco LLC – Virgin Fest’s organiser and the music festival arm of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group – filed a lawsuit against the agency in July 2020, as well as artists Lizzo, Ellie Goulding and Kali Uchis, saying the parties had agreed to return deposits in the event of cancellation due to “an uncontrollable factor”.

The acts had been scheduled to play the debut outing of the festival at the Banc of California Stadium (22,000-cap.) and Exposition Park (160-acre) in LA on 6 and 7 June 2020 before it was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

VFLA argued that because the government prevented the festival from proceeding, the artists were obliged to return monies they had been advanced when they were booked to play.

The judge did allow a breach of contract claim to move forward against the artists’ touring companies

However, Lizzo, Goulding and their agents argued that they could keep those payments because they were still “ready, willing and able to perform”, despite the festival being called off. Uchis’ company did not file a demurrer but did file a notice of joinder to the other defendants’ demurrers.

According to VFLA, all other agencies have returned, or agreed to return, the full amount of the prepaid deposits for the performances.

On Friday (12 March), at the LA Superior Court, Judge Mark H. Epstein issued an order that said the agreements the parties signed protected WME from being sued for what is essentially a dispute between the artists and the promoter.

According to Law360, Epstein said the court “agrees with the plaintiff that the contract does not protect WME from liability for its own wrongs. It only protects WME from being sued for what is essentially a dispute between the artists and the promoter. But that is essentially what is at issue here.”

The judge did allow a breach of contract claim to move forward against the artists’ touring companies and also said that VFLA can amend its complaint against WME, which the agency objected to.

 


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CAA to lay off 90 agents, execs

Creative Artists Agency (CAA) is preparing to lay off 90 agents and executives, as well as furloughing approximately 275 assistants, Variety has reported.

The staff cuts, effective this week, will be enacted across offices in London, Los Angeles, Nashville and New York.

According to sources close to the situation, the music and sports divisions are expected to be among the hardest hit.

“Effective this week, approximately 90 agents and executives from departments across the agency will be leaving,” says a CAA spokesperson.

“In addition, we are furloughing approximately 275 assistants and other staff. The company will continue to fully pay the health plan premiums for those being furloughed.

“This is a painful and unprecedented moment, and words are insufficient”

“This is a painful and unprecedented moment, and words are insufficient. Today, we simply say that we extend our sincere appreciation and deepest gratitude to our departing colleagues.”

CAA was among agencies and other live businesses to announce company-wide pay cuts in response to the coronavirus crisis, in the hope of “keep[ing] all employees financially whole through the end of our fiscal year, 30 September, 2020”.

The agency states it has honoured that commitment, including for those impacted by the announcement.

CAA had so far avoided reducing its workforce but now joins many across the live industry to do so, including fellow agencies WME and Paradigm, ticketers Eventbrite and TicketSwap and, most recently, AEG.

IQ has contacted CAA for further comment.

Photo: Minnaert/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0) (cropped)

 


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Virgin Fest sues WME, artists in bid to recover deposits

The organisers of Virgin Fest, which was set to have its debut outing this June, have filed a lawsuit against agency William Morris Endeavor (WME) and artists Lizzo, Kali Uchis and Ellie Goulding, in an attempt to recover deposits from the event’s cancelled 2020 edition.

The acts had all been scheduled to play in the festival at the Banc of California Stadium (22,000-cap.) and Exposition Park (160-acre) in Los Angeles on 6 and 7 June before it was cancelled – along with the vast majority of this year’s event calendar – due to the coronavirus pandemic.

VFLA Eventco LLC – Virgin Fest’s organiser and the music festival arm of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group – has now levied a complaint against WME, as well as Ellie Goulding’s Starry US Touring, Lizzo’s Big Grrrl Big Touring and Kali Uchis Touring, saying the parties had agreed to return deposits in the event of cancellation due to “an uncontrollable factor”.

“After the government prevented the festival from proceeding, VFLA invoked the force majeure provision and demanded the return in full of the prepaid deposits”

According to VFLA, all other agencies have returned, or agreed to return, the full amount of the prepaid deposits for the performances, but WME argues that deposits do not need to be returned as the artists were “otherwise ready, willing and able to perform.”

“[WME] refused to return the deposits and insisted that the artists it represents are entitled to keep the deposits — even if the Covid-19 pandemic constituted a force majeure event, even if the governmental orders prevented the festival from proceeding, and even if those orders likewise made it unlawful for their artists to perform on the dates and at the times and places specified in their agreements with VFLA,” reads the complaint, as published by Law 360.

“After the government prevented the festival from proceeding, VFLA invoked the force majeure provision of the artists’ performance agreements and demanded the return in full of the prepaid deposits made in connection with those agreements.”

VFLA is seeking a court order forcing WME to return the deposit money, as well as damages. From the three touring companies, the Virgin fest organiser wants additional damages for breach of contract and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.

IQ has contacted WME for comment.

Photo: Andy Witchger/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) (cropped)

 


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MelodyVR announces LA gig as Wireless prep gets underway

Music-focused virtual reality (VR) company MelodyVR has announced hip-hop act Cypress Hill will perform live via its platform this Friday, as the VR pioneer begins filming for the digital edition of Wireless Festival in London.

Working in partnership with Festival Republic, Melody VR is helping to produce Wireless Connect, the virtual reimagination of this year’s Wireless, which will be aired from 3 to 5 July.

The company is filming artists performing live in a recently unveiled, custom-built, 360° studio in London’s Alexandra Palace theatre.

London-based audio specialist is working with the Wireless Connect team to deliver broadcast audio mixes in stereo and immersive formats. Spiritland founders Antony Shaw and Gareth Iles have previously worked with festivals including Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds and Big Weekend.

MelodyVR is filming artists performing live in a recently unveiled, custom-built, 360° studio in London’s Alexandra Palace theatre

In keeping with Covid-19 restrictions, artists and performers remain in isolation for the duration of the performance and do not come into contact with the public, the MelodyVR team or other on-site crew.

Wireless Connect will be accessible to anyone with a smartphone and free to watch, with viewers encouraged to make a charity donation over the course of the weekend. The full line-up will be announced on the Wireless website soon.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, hip-hop legends Cypress Hill are performing as part of Melody VR’s Live from LA series. The show, which will be available to watch in 360° for free via the MelodyVR app and VR headsets, will be broadcast live on 19 June at 6 p.m. PT/3 a.m. (20 June) CET and will be available on demand from 25 June for those who miss the original broadcast.

Other artists to have featured in the series include John Legend, The Score, Katelyn Tarver, DaniLeigh and Zella Day.

Ben Samuels, North America president of MelodyVR, was one of a number of music industry innovators to take part in the IQ Focus Innovation Session last month. All previous IQ Focus sessions can be watched back here.

 


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Event production firms join Covid-19 fight

As touring grinds to a halt and festivals are put on hold, a number of event production suppliers and staging companies are trying their hand at a different kinds of work, delivering emergency supplies and manufacturing disaster relief facilities for those in need.

Event infrastructure suppliers across the world including South Africa’s MGG and Upstaging, Choura Events and Gallagher Staging in the US, are aiding the public health sector as the demand for medical supplies and facilities grows greater by the day.

Mark Gaylard, the managing director of Johannesburg-based company MGG, found himself with 32 idle vehicles, following the implementation of a three-week shutdown of all non-essential businesses in South Africa last week.

After advertising the fleet’s availability to transport goods, MGG’s six full-time drivers and regular freelance staff have found themselves ferrying food, agricultural products, building materials and medical supplies – including much-needed hand sanitising products – from the docks of the coastal city of Durban to Johannesburg.

“I quickly realised that the general transport and freight business is radically different from moving and delivering goods and trucking services in our core entertainment industry world,” says Gaylard.

“What we are working on is to become an instant, rapid solution for hospitals, government agencies and test centres in need of facilities”

“It’s highly competitive and a lot of the work gets outsourced to those who don’t own their own vehicles. It’s definitely not an environment where you can just flip a switch and start moving goods as you might be used to. But it’s been extremely interesting.”

The manufacturing side of company has also kept busy, producing Covid-19 hazard warning signage.

In the United States, Choura Events, which typically builds tents, staging and facilities for events such as Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and South by Southwest, is also maintaining its production line, erecting heavy-duty triage tents and overflow facilities to help hospital handle increasing volume of patients.

“What we are working on is to become an instant, rapid solution for hospitals, government agencies and test centres [in need of facilities],” says Ryan Choura, CEO of Choura Events. “Usually, at this time of the year, we are building Coachella and Stagecoach and Grand Prix, and so many other things, and instead we are working to try and help in any way we can.”

So far, the company has built four “medical villages” in Los Angeles.

Another LA-based firm, Gallagher Staging, has taken a similar approach, offering disaster relief structures to hospitals across the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles. The company is renting out in-house equipment at no cost, charging only for trucking and labour fees.

“When we come through this I think there will be a massive demand. People will still need and enjoy getting together”

Fellow staging company, Chicago-based Upstaging, is manufacturing lightweight room divider panels for make-shift hospitals, face shields and social distancing floor signage, as well as offering trucking services.

Bon Jovi have tweeted their support for Upstaging’s efforts, writing: “Our long-time touring partner and trucking company has pivoted from Rock N Roll to emergency response services. They’re now working to manufacture high quality face shields at their facility outside of Chicago.”

Althought many event production companies have proved their versatility and shown how their skillsets can be applied to other sectors, MGG’s Gaylard believes the switch will only be temporary.

“Live events is a very vibrant sector, and people do love to congregate and enjoy each other’s company, energy and atmosphere,” says the MGG managing director.

“When we come through this I think there will be a massive demand. While there may be some changes in the way we use remote networking technologies, people will still need and enjoy getting together. We will bounce back!”

Do you know of a production company getting creative in the fight against coronavirus? Email anna@iq-mag.net to let us know about other industry efforts.

 


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Morrissey, Blondie to head up new Goldenvoice fest

The inaugural edition of Cruel World festival is taking place in Los Angeles this May, marking the newest addition to the Goldenvoice portfolio.

Morrissey, Blondie, Bauhaus, Devo, Echo and the Bunnymen and the Psychedelic Furs are among acts performing at the one-day event on 2 May at the Grounds at Dignity Health Sports Park (27,000-cap.), LA.

Promoted by AEG’s Goldenvoice, Cruel World adds to the organiser’s stable of California festivals, which includes Coachella, this year headlined by Travis Scott, Frank Ocean and Rage Against the Machine, and country music event Stagecoach Festival.

Goldenvoice also operates multiple venues in Los Angeles and the Bay Area and promotes over 1,400 concerts a year in California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii, Alaska and Canada, in addition to recently promoting a number of North American tours, including dates by K-pop stars Blackpink.

Tickets for Cruel World festival go on sale on Friday 14 February at midday pacific time, with the presale beginning the day before. Prices start from US$135.

 

 


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Lizzo, Billie, Lil Nas X to make Grammys debut

The 62nd annual Grammy Awards are taking place on Sunday (26 January) at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, celebrating artists across 33 categories.

Live performances on the night will come from record of the year nominees Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus, as well as K-pop stars BTS, EDM DJ Diplo and singer Mason Ramsey.

Other nominees including Lizzo, Billie Eilish, Bon Iver, Ariana Grande, H.E.R. and Tyler the Creator will also perform on the night.

Over 173 nominations have been put forward for this year’s awards, which has seen its fair share of controversy this year due to allegations levelled by suspended CEO Deborah Dugan. Using data from Rostr, IQ takes a look at the major trends this year’s Grammys.

 


There are some usual suspects among the nominees for a few of the biggest categories. Last year’s best pop vocal album winner Ariana Grande is up for the prize for a fourth time, going up against Taylor Swift, who is on the lookout for her first win in the category after three nominations.

In the best dance album category, the Chemical Brothers are nominated for the sixth time – including two wins – for No Geography, whereas Flume sees his second nomination, following a win in 2017.

Lizzo is the artist with the highest number of nominations, appearing in eight categories, including best new artist, song of the year, album of the year and record of the year. Billie Eilish and Lil Nas X have also fared well, receiving six nominations apiece. Of the top eight most nominated artists, five are women, with H.E.R, Ariana Grande and Yola also appearing in multiple categories.

Overall, however, fewer than one in three nominated artists are women

Overall, however, fewer than one in three nominated artists are women, with male artists making up almost 60% of nominees and 10% comprising acts with a mix of male and female artists. Two award categories – best rap album and best electronic album – consist of purely male artists.

The best pop vocal album and best new artist categories feature predominantly female nominees, 80% and 70% respectively, with best country album (60%) and album of the year (57%) also weighted towards female artists.

Over the past 20 years, more than twice as many nominations have been for male artists than female, with women outnumbering men in just two categories this century – best new artist and best pop vocal album.

Last year’s Grammy Awards, which saw artificial intelligence correctly predict Childish Gambino’s ‘This is America’ song of the year win, with Kacey Musgraves picking up album of the year, Dua Lipa winning best new artist and Ariana Grande taking best pop vocal album.

Photo: Andy Witchger/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


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