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Ticketmaster global COO Amy Howe to step down

Ticketmaster’s global chief operating officer Amy Howe has announced plans to leave the company next year and has already begun transitioning to a consulting role ahead of her departure.

Howe has served as global COO of the Live Nation-owned ticketing giant since August, when she was promoted from the firm’s president of North America.

She was appointed alongside now-Ticketmaster global chairman Jared Smith and global president Mark Yovich.

Howe has been with Ticketmaster and Live Nation since 2015, when she started as chief strategy officer. She has represented the company in its dealings with the US government and most recently testified before the Senate’s subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on Energy in February.

Howe was appointed alongside now-Ticketmaster global chairman Jared Smith and global president Mark Yovich

Howe will depart after Smith who, in October, announced plans to step down from his role at the company at the end of this year, when Yovich will take over his position.

Smith, who has been with Ticketmaster for more than 17 years and previously served as the company’s president of North America, and COO, said his departure will help Ticketmaster to bring in new leadership for the post-Covid-19 era.

“The company deserves to have the person who’s going to be here long-term making the decisions right now of what it should look like,” Smith told Sportico.

Ticketmaster has seen a number of staffing changes in 2020. In late October, the company announced that Marla Ostroff had been promoted to managing director, Ticketmaster, North America; Trevor Allin had been promoted to EVP, business and commercial operations, North America; and Maura Gibson joined in a new role as EVP, client solutions and strategy, North America.

 


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Ticketmaster promotes Mark Yovich to global president

Ticketmaster’s international president, Mark Yovich, has been promoted to president of global business as part of the company’s shift to combine North American and international business operations, according to Billboard.

Elsewhere in the company, Jared Smith is being promoted from president to global chairman and will oversee Ticketmaster’s business across 31 international markets including North America.

While chief operating officer and president Amy Howe will step up into the role of global chief operating officer.

Ticketmaster’s promotions are part of its global expansion which recently saw the company establish a presence in Asia. In February the company launched Ticketmaster Singapore and acquired Taiwanese ticketing platform Tixcraft, bringing the company’s operations to 32 countries worldwide.

“There is tremendous opportunity for continued growth on a global basis”

“By acquiring market leaders Tixcraft in Taiwan and launching in Singapore, we have established two great bases with talented teams to support the bourgeoning live entertainment scene in Asia,” said Yovich, last year.

Last year the company’s international division sold 115 million tickets and sees “tremendous opportunity for continued growth on a global basis, particularly in the 15 markets where we promote concerts but do not yet have a substantial ticketing operation,” according to the company’s 2019 earnings report.

Ticketmaster’s shift comes as parent company, Live Nation, revealed a tough second quarter due to this year’s coronavirus crisis. The entertainment group reported a 98% drop in revenue and US$665m loss but CEO Michael Rapino remains optimistic about the future, predicting the business will return “stronger than ever”.

The loss includes refunds issued by Ticketmaster, which reimbursed money for 11m tickets across 42,000 shows and generated a loss of approximately $79m.

However, Live Nation’s share price has been on a steady incline since the end of June, increasing from $42.64 to its current value of $47.64.

 


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Ticketmaster expands to Singapore, Taiwan

Ticketing giant Ticketmaster is expanding into Asia, establishing a presence in Taiwan and Singapore.

The move, which sees Ticketmaster acquire Taiwanese ticketer Tixcraft and open a Singaporean branch, brings the company’s operations to 32 countries worldwide.

As a result of the expansion, Chad Phillips, former managing director for ApacTic, has been appointed to the newly created role of managing director of Ticketmaster Asia.

The launch of Ticketmaster Singapore following the company’s selection as one of three ticketing partners for Singaporean sports and entertainment complex, Sports Hub, late last year, along with TEG’s Ticketek and Sistic.

Sports Hub incorporates the 55,000 capacity National Stadium and a 12,000 capacity indoor stadium, which serve as the main venues for concerts in Singapore, hosting acts including U2 and Mayday, along with a 3,000 capacity arena and other facilities.

In Taiwan, Ticketmaster takes control of concert ticketing platform Tixcraft, which works with promoters such as Live Nation Taiwan, B’in and iMe Taiwan. Tixcraft founder and managing director KT Chiu will stay on at the company, serving as Ticketmaster Taiwan MD.

“The live entertainment industry across Asia has seen some immense growth and right now is the perfect time to welcome Ticketmaster to Taiwan and Singapore”

“By acquiring market leaders Tixcraft in Taiwan and launching in Singapore, we have established two great bases with talented teams to support the bourgeoning live entertainment scene in Asia,” comments Ticketmaster International president Mark Yovich.

“We are introducing greater levels of service and choice to event organisers across the region and can now provide fans with seamless access to our worldwide marketplace of events.”

Ticketmaster Asia MD Phillips adds: “Over recent years, the live entertainment industry across Asia has seen some immense growth and right now is the perfect time to welcome Ticketmaster to Taiwan and Singapore. I’m hugely excited to be joining the team and look forward to managing the rollout of the world’s most innovative ticketing marketplace.”

The launch of Ticketmaster in Taiwan and Singapore complements Live Nation’s existing concert promotions business across Asia Pacific.

In 2019, the company acquired Singaporean promoter One Production and PR Worldwide in Malaysia, while also making senior appointments to its growing business in China. In December last year, Live Nation Asia launched Live Nation Connects, a new creative marketing agency to connect brands to fans across Asia.

Read IQ’s analysis on consolidation within the ticketing sector here.

Major moves: consolidation sweeps the ticketing sector


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The Crystal Ball: Predictions for 2019

IQ: Panellists, what do you anticipate being next year’s greatest challenges, both for you and for the wider industry?

Emma Bownes, vice-president of programming, AEG Europe: I think most of the industry is concerned about the impact of Brexit on the music industry – will it lead to restrictions on travel for British acts?

The government have to make sure that musicians, particularly smaller ones, can continue to tour the EU easily without the need for visas – and similarly for European artists – while they develop as artists and build their fan-bases and careers.

Beverley Whitrick, strategic director, Music Venue Trust: So much attention is being focused on Brexit that it makes it even more difficult to advance with the changes needed to protect the grassroots of the music industry. Not surprisingly, enormous and necessary energy is being spent trying to safeguard international touring and ensuring that the UK continues to be a leader in music.

Trying to reconcile what is needed at home with these global concerns poses the greatest challenge for 2019.

Stephan Thanscheidt, managing director, FKP Scorpio: A challenge faced by both the touring and festival sectors is the rising costs in all areas, such as personnel, production, administrative expenses and, especially, artist fees. Of course, ticket prices cannot – and should not – be scaled limitlessly, so we need to find ways to optimise and allocate these expenses.

Okan Tombulca, managing director, eps: I think our biggest challenge will be the same as for the rest of the industry: labour. Europe-wide, there is a huge problem with the availability of staff – security, stagehands, event co-ordinators – as well as equipment.

“Europe-wide, there is a huge problem with the availability of staff”

Kim Bloem, vice-head promoter, Mojo Concerts: The biggest issue over the last two years is the lack of personnel and materials for the number of events taking place from May to September. The number of shows, festivals and special events is rapidly increasing in this period, and therefore building crew, technicians, riggers, security personnel, etc., get exhausted because they’re working crazy hours.

We need to make sure live music remains a safe working place for everybody, but getting the number of people needed is very challenging.

Okan Tombulca: I think 2019 will be the biggest year in 20 years in terms of the number of events going on.

Jules de Lattre, senior agent, United Talent Agency: The issue of ticket pricing, both on the primary and secondary markets. Although significant progress was made in 2018, how to combat illicit secondary-ticketing practices will continue to be an issue we deal with on a daily basis.

As the secondary market becomes more regulated but not fully eradicated, will a more widely used and accepted model of dynamic pricing on the primary market emerge?

IQ: How about the biggest opportunities?

Jules de Lattre: As music consumption on ISPs explodes, there will be increasing opportunities for fans to fully connect with artists in the live space.

Mark Yovich, president, Ticketmaster InternationalThere are more opportunities than ever before to empower artists to connect with their fans and harness their live experience. Whether that’s through digital tickets or facial recognition, we are continuing to innovate in a wide range of products that are changing the landscape of the live business.

“Hopefully, 2019 will see further action to ensure that live music is accessible to the widest possible audience”

Emma Bownes: This year saw a great deal of progress made in terms of restricting the ability of professional ticket resellers to acquire and resell large amounts of tickets with a huge mark-up. The British government introduced new legislation to ban resellers from using bots to purchase tickets in bulk, secondary ticketing sites Get Me In! and Seatwave are closing down, and the O2 and the SSE Arena, Wembley, both introduced a digital ticketing system featuring a dynamically changing barcode system that ensures tickets cannot be copied or shared on secondary sites.

Hopefully, 2019 will see further action to ensure that live music is accessible to the widest possible audience.

IQ: Can you identify any key market trends you expect to see emerging next year?

Stephan Thanscheidt: Concentration of power. Next to the continuously evolving activities of FKP Scorpio in Germany and abroad, as well as the strategic partnership with AEG, the live sector of [FKP majority owner] CTS Eventim is growing further due to purchases in Italy and Spain. The same can, of course, be observed at Live Nation and other international companies.

Beverley Whitrick: More grassroots music venues will close unless people who claim to be supportive actually start demonstrating that support through their actions.

Stephan Thanscheidt: Another observation is the formation of investors and investment groups who don’t have a background as a promoter buying up festivals all over Europe.

“Apart from music and comedy, we see the market for speaking events growing”

Mark Yovich: One word: mobile. We’ve been saying it for years, but 2018 saw a huge spike in the percentage of mobile traffic and, more importantly, mobile ticket sales. We think mobile-first with everything we do, from how fans discover events through to digital methods of entry.

Beverley Whitrick: Local activism and campaigns to support music will grow. Both artists and audiences are getting more vocal about the value of live music to communities, local economies, and health and wellbeing.

Emma Bownes: Alongside the music programming you’d expect to see at both venues, we’re seeing a lot of shows coming through the O2 and The SSE Arena, Wembley, that are aimed at more of a family audience: Hugh Jackman, Cirque du Soleil, NBA, Harlem Globetrotters, Strictly Come Dancing, WWE…

We’re also hosting Superstars of Gymnastics at the O2 – a major new showcase of the sport, featuring Simone Biles and Max Whitlock.

Kim Bloem: My colleague Gideon Karting promoted a show with K-pop band BTS this year, which was huge, so that is definitely something that we expect to see emerging in the market in the next few years.

Also, apart from music and comedy – the latter of which is a genre that sees massive audience interest – we see the market for speaking events growing. This year, Barack Obama did a couple of events, and I hope we can have his wife Michelle come to the Netherlands at some point. We can hopefully embrace this kind of role model and learn from them how we can all contribute to a better world.

“I’d like to see much better communication between all sectors of our industry”

IQ: What are you most looking forward to in 2019?

Mark Yovich: The Sunday night at Reading Festival for Foo Fighters. Their London Stadium gig was amazing and I can’t wait to see them again.

Emma Bownes: Sheffield Wednesday turning things around and making it to the play-offs.

Jules de Lattre: We have a very exciting summer of major international festivals planned for Christine and the Queens in 2019. Considering how strong and unique her live show is, I expect the summer will have a significant impact on this campaign. I’m excited for festivalgoers to see and experience this incredible show.

Mark Yovich: Muse and Fleetwood Mac are some other great stadium shows I’m looking forward to, as well as Billie Eilish at Shepherd’s Bush Empire in early 2019.

Beverley Whitrick: Continuing to meet amazing people whose passion for music makes the work we do worthwhile.

IQ: Finally, what, if anything, could the industry do better together in 2019?

Okan Tombulca: In Germany, we have a twice-yearly meeting of all festival promoters and service companies, to share information about health and safety and develop one set of rules for the whole country. I’d like to see much better communication between all sectors of our industry, to share knowledge, help each other and work better together.

“Anyone in the business should do whatever they can to provide support to those in need”

Kim Bloem: Be a bit nicer to each other, work more closely together, and try to reduce the amount of paperwork and covering our own asses all the time. If we work hard and well, we should be able to trust each other’s judgment.

Jules de Lattre: Conversations about mental health are becoming more commonplace and I hope will continue to do so. Anyone in the business should look around them and do whatever they can to provide reliable health and wellness support to those in need.

Gender diversity and equality in the music industry as a whole – from the presence of female-fronted acts at festivals to gender pay gaps and fairer access to leadership roles in the music industry – will also remain a major talking point in the year to come.

Mark Yovich: Accessibility is a huge issue in our industry and we’re working closely with Attitude is Everything on their Ticketing Without Barriers campaign to make sure more is being done.

There seems to be some great momentum, and now is the time for us all to come together to find solutions to ensure equal access to live entertainment.

Stephan Thanscheidt: We need to stand united against political and societal injustice.

Music is being used by groups who are against democratic values and human rights – so why shouldn’t we do the same for freedom and peace?

 


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Ticketmaster launches in Italy

Ticketmaster has confirmed to IQ its long-rumoured expansion into Italy, with the world’s largest ticketing company today launching in the sixth-biggest live music market.

The launch of Ticketmaster Italia (ticketmaster.it), headquartered in Milan, follows the end of the exclusive long-term online partnership in Italy between Ticketmaster’s parent company, Live Nation, and CTS Eventim-owned TicketOne, which wrapped up this year and was replaced by an ongoing agreement.

According to the International Ticketing Yearbook 2017, Live Nation had already registered the new entity with the Italian chamber of commerce, with an official launch rumoured for this month.

Ticketmaster’s primary-market debut in Italy – it already has a presence in the secondary market with a local version of Seatwave – represents its third new venture in Europe in 2017 alone, following launches in Switzerland (with Tixtec) in August and the Czech Republic (via Ticketpro) in February.

“Italy [is] undoubtedly one of the world’s most vibrant and popular destinations for live entertainment and cultural events”

“We look forward to providing the best ticketing experience for clients, artists and fans across Italy – undoubtedly one of the world’s most vibrant and popular destinations for live entertainment and cultural events,” says Ticketmaster International president Mark Yovich.

“This was an organic move for the business. This is an exciting moment for fans of live music, theatre, sport and cultural events, not just in Italy, but across all our global markets as we continue our strategic expansion.”

In Live Nation Italy festival news, meanwhile, Firenze Rocks today announced Iron Maiden, Foo Fighters, Ozzy Osbourne and Guns N’ Roses as its 2018 headliners. Tickets for each show are on sale on 15, 16, 17 and 18 November, respectively, from ticketmaster.it.

 


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IQTV: Mark Yovich, Ticketmaster Int’l

IQTV returns for its third outing this week with an in-depth interview with Mark Yovich, president of Ticketmaster International.

Continuing our series of interviews commemorating Live Nation’s 10th year in the business, digital native Yovich – who joined the company in 2000, before it even had a web presence – speaks on the shift towards digital marketing and the future evolution of ticketing in the live music business.

Watch the previous episode of IQTV, with Download’s Andy Copping, here.

 


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