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170,000 UK live music jobs lost by end of 2020

More than 26,000 permanent jobs will be lost in the live music industry before the end of the year if government support is withdrawn, new research published today (21 October) reveals.

In addition, 144,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) roles, including self-employed and freelance workers, will have effectively ceased to exist by the end of 2020, the new report, UK live music: At a cliff edge, shows.

Revenue into the industry has been almost zero since March, with a fall of 81% in 2020 compared to 2019 – four times the national UK average, where reductions across industries run at around 20%.

At a cliff edge – conducted by Chris Carey and Tim Chambers for Media Insight Consulting on behalf of LIVE (Live music Industry Venues and Entertainment), an umbrella group representing the UK live music industry – also reveals the positive contribution made by the Culture Recovery Fund, which has offered a lifeline to a range of businesses, but whose impact is tempered by 80% of employees still being reliant on the furlough scheme, which ends this month.

The report’s findings include:

“This research shows clearly that the entire ecosystem is being decimated”

Following the lockdown in March, and the ongoing government restrictions on venues and events, many of those working within the live music sector have received no income at all. The new tier-two and three restrictions put further limitations on the sector reopening, while the sector is currently excluded from the government’s extended Job Support Scheme.

With recent indications from the prime minister that severe restrictions could be in place for a further six months, meaning a full year with next-to-no live music or revenues, the associations represented by Live – including the Entertainment Agents’ Association, Association for Electronic Music (AFEM), Association of Festival Organisers (AFO), Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), Concert Promoters Association (CPA), Music Managers Forum (MMF), National Arenas Association (NAA), Production Services Association (PSA) and Music Venue Trust (MVT) – are calling on the government to ensure the live business can benefit from new support measures.

Phil Bowdery, CPA chair, comments: “We were one of the first sectors to close and we will be one of the last to reopen. We are currently caught in a catch 22, where we are unable to operate due to government restrictions but are excluded from the extended Job Support Scheme as the furlough comes to an end. If businesses can’t access that support soon, then the majority of our specialist, highly trained workforce will be gone.”

“Those who have often found themselves overlooked and left behind throughout the last six months are the freelancers and self-employed – the people up and do the country that we rely on to bring us the live experiences we love,” adds PSA general manager Andy Lenthall. “Things are becoming increasingly desperate for a great many people in the industry and government needs to recognise that these crucial individuals need support.”

““Things are becoming increasingly desperate for a great many people in the industry”

Economist Chris Carey, who co-authored the report, says: “From the artists on stage, to the venues and the many specialist roles and occupations that make live music happen, this research shows clearly that the entire ecosystem is being decimated.”

The report includes sector-specific data on artists, managers, promoters, booking agents, venues, festivals, ticketing companies and technical suppliers, as well as case studies from some of those affected and comment from industry leaders.

“The Culture Recovery Fund is a help, especially to grassroots music venues,” continues Carey. “However, larger companies are going to be hit harder, and without ongoing government investment in protecting this industry, the UK will lose its place as a cultural leader in live entertainment.

“Moreover, the skills we lose in this time will significantly hinder the sector’s ability to recover and return to driving economic growth and supplying UK jobs.”

Download the report here.


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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Chris Carey joins TicketSwap as head of intl marketing

Ethical secondary ticketer TicketSwap has appointed music industry analyst Chris Carey as head of international marketing.

As the founder and CEO of London-based Media Insight Consulting, Carey has worked with clients including Spotify, Sony and the O2 Arena. Prior to starting the consultancy firm, he served as global insight director at EMI Music and Universal Records.

In 2015, Carey founded the future-focused FastForward Music Conference in Amsterdam, later launching editions in London and Sydney.

Carey will bring experience in marketing, research, data analysis and consumer insights to aid TicketSwap’s marketing and growth strategy.

“I’m excited to bring my background and industry insights to TicketSwap and bridge the gap between talent, events and the secondary ticketing marketplace,” says Carey.

“I’m excited to bring my background and industry insights to TicketSwap and bridge the gap between talent, events and the secondary ticketing marketplace”

“TicketSwap’s marketplace offers the best fan experience and is rapidly growing internationally, and I am thrilled to be a part of that success story.”

“We have been on a steep growth journey since we started six years ago and I’m proud to add Chris to our team as we continue to professionalise and expand even further,” adds Hans Ober, CEO of TicketSwap.

“I’m excited to see how the combination of his data-driven methodology and international experience will fuel our marketing strategies in 2020 and beyond.”

Over four million fans have used TicketSwap to buy and sell tickets since its 2012 inauguration. The platform caps the price of resold tickets at 20% above face value, working with over 300 partners to help venues and promoters to take more control of secondary ticketing.


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FastForward London adds to 2018 speakers

FastForward London today announced the second line-up of speakers for its sophomore event, taking place at the British Library on 28 September.

Delegates from Warner Chappell (Eric Mackay, EVP of digital strategy), Lewis Silkin (partner Cliff Fluet), Abbey Road Studios (head of audio products Mirek Styles), ATC Live (agent Matt Hanner), War Child (Rich Clark, head of music and entertainment) and Kilimanjaro Live (Karma Bertelsen, marketing manager) join the likes of Sony Music, Global Radio, AWAL, Ferocious Talent and Sony/ATV Music Publishing as speakers for the future-focused conference, which is aimed at, but not exclusive to, under-35s.

Chris Carey, CEO of Media Insight Consulting and founder of FastForward, says: “We are hugely excited to return to London this year. Whether you’re an artist looking to bring together a team to release your record, an executive at a record label or a promoter, FastForward is the perfect platform to meet and learn from the most progressive thinkers in our industry.”

“FastForward is the perfect platform to meet and learn from the most progressive thinkers in our industry”

Panel and keynote topics in 2018 include the art of songwriting, how to sell out shows, the future of music and technology, the relationship between data and A&R, video strategy and radio and an insight into how music can effect positive change in tackling poverty and international violence.

“We’re proud to bring together a brilliant network of music lovers who are delivering relevant and practical insights to foster a more effective and future-proofed music industry,” adds Carey.

Tickets are priced at £135 until 31 August. For more information, visit fastforward.xyz or universe.com/fastforward-london.

FastForward debuted in Amsterdam in 2016, and now comprises five conferences in Amsterdam, London and Sydney.


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Inaugural FastForward London reveals full agenda

Music industry conference FastForward has finalised the speaker line-up for its debut London event.

Held at the British Library on Friday 15 September, FastForward London will offer a combination of keynote speeches, panel discussions and ‘FastFifteen’ rapid-fire solo presentations, complementing the flagship FastForward event in Amsterdam.

New speaker additions include Sophie Crosby, SVP of marketing at Ticketmaster International, who will give a keynote on Reaching the Changing Consumer; Dusko Justic, VP of international marketing at Sony Music; and Australian singer-songwriter Chiara Hunter. They join previously announced speakers and panellists including DHP Family’s Kenny Bennaton, artist manager Ellie Giles, Bandsquare’s Chloé Julien and Spotify head of content insights Samantha Mandel-Dallal.

Full details can be found at the FastForward website.

The flagship FastForward event has taken place in Amsterdam for the past two years; IQ news editor Jon Chapple moderated the Future of Ticketing panel at the 2017 conference in February.



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ILMC, MIC launch Live Data Agency

The teams behind Media Insight Consulting (MIC) and the International Live Music Conference (ILMC) and IQ Magazine today announced the launch of the Live Data Agency (LDA), a joint venture specialising in big data analysis, consumer research and economic modelling for the live music business.

LDA is headed by music business economist and MIC founder Chris Carey, who was formerly global insight director at Universal Music Group and senior economist at PRS for Music. “With an overwhelming amount of information available to the live music business, the challenge is knowing where to start,” he says. “Our aim is to help companies use the data that they already have, or collaborate with them to create new data points, to gain valuable insight into their business.”

Having already completed projects for The O2 Arena, Eventbrite, Spotify and IQ, Carey says LDA has the tools to offer unique insight in the space. “The advantage of specialising in live is that we already know where some of the demons are hiding, so can avoid analytical mistakes people from outside live might struggle with,” he adds.

“Twinning the economic expertise of Chris and his team with the research and content capabilities of IQ gives LDA a unique position in the live music space”

Team members working alongside Carey at the agency include former UK Festival Awards MD James Drury, insight directors Claire Buckle and Michael Deacon and IQ news editor Jon Chapple.

“Twinning the economic expertise of Chris and his team with the research and content capabilities of IQ Magazine gives LDA a very unique position in the live music space,” comments ILMC head Greg Parmley. “I would encourage anyone looking at new markets or projects, or wanting to make more use of their pre-existing data, to get in touch with Chris and the team.”

Further details about LDA can be found at www.livedata.agency or by emailing [email protected].


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4 ways blockchain can disrupt the live industry

While much has been made of the potential for blockchain – the technology behind cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin – to revolutionise the recorded music industry, the same isn’t true in the live sector.

Articles by the major tech and business publications (ForbesFortuneTechCrunch et al.) have largely focused on implications for the online streaming of recorded music, citing the benefits of ‘smart contracts’ wherein the owner(s) of songs will be paid automatically for their usage. However, while wider adoption of blockchain may, as Imogen Heap suggests, throw a much-needed lifeline to musicians struggling with paltry Spotify pay-outs, it could also radically transform the (comparatively more lucrative) live industry…


Tout-proof ticketing
In the same way blockchain databases monitor where a music recording has been used, the technology can be used to track the ownership of a paperless concert ticket.

Chris Carey, founder of Media Insight Consulting and the recent FastForward conference (at which IQ news editor Jon Chapple chaired a ticketing panel), suggests blockchain can facilitate the “legitimate resale of tickets by having a clear chain”. Speaking to IQ’s Eamonn Forde, Carey says by tracking secondary sales, ticket agencies could provide artists and promoters with a cut of each resale: “Tracking the ticket through its journey could actually create revenue at different steps. There is an argument to say that if you can monitor transactions through technology, the artist could get a share of the upside at every step of the way.”

Several yet-to-launch start-ups, including Amsterdam-based GUTS and the UK’s Lava, are already using the technology to bolster the both the data-gathering and anti-touting capabilities of paperless tickets.

GUTS Tickets founder Maarten Bloemers echoes Carey’s suggestion that blockchain can be used by artists to track ownership of a ticket, saying the technology “makes it possible to follow the lifecycle of a ticket from A to Z”. He tells Dutch paper De Telegraaf he had the idea for the company after hearing a discussion about black-market tickets on a radio programme. “Someone [on the show] said no one can guarantee the authenticity of tickets,” he explains, “and I immediately thought of blockchain.”

“We’re looking at a world where knowing the complete provenance of the ticket is a good thing,” adds Benji Rogers, co-founder and CEO of dotBlockchain Music (dotBC). “Unless, of course, you’re trying to hide something…”


Levelling the PROing field
Perhaps the most important live application of blockchain could be to give PROs a shot in the arm at a time when an increasing number of rightsholders are choosing to bypass collective licensing altogether in favour of collecting public performance royalties directly.

Rogers – unlike, for example, Mark Knopfler – believes there is “still a place for PROs to make large deals on behalf of artists”, but says they face the challenge of “not [being] competitive today”. (Little surprise, perhaps, when many are more than a century old: the UK’s Performing Right Society was founded in 1914.)

“They’re using tech not built for the size and scale of what’s coming at them,” he explains.

The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (Socan) recently became the first PRO to partner with dotBC. Eric Baptiste, the CEO of Socan – which represents more than 135,000 rightsholders and recently saw collections from live performances grow to a record high – said last month: “We are convinced that it is possible to address payment and rights inefficiencies […] that have been a drag on the entire ecosystem for far too long.” He added: “The encouraging work of dotBC has the potential to unlock enormous value for our members”.

Rogers says PROs making use of blockchain technology will be able to compete more effectively by offering a better service to their membership. Comparing PROs to trains running on different gauges of track, he prophesies that in future collection societies will “need to work on a common rail”: “If we build the perfect sound format [.bc], we build the rail and everyone can ride on same track.”

DotBlockchain Music, then, “allows [PROs] to work together while remaining competitive,” says Rogers. “They can then compete based on how good their accounting is, how good their data side is…

“We’re looking at a world where knowing the complete provenance of the ticket is a good thing”


Safe streaming
Another potential application of blockchain in the live space is to enable artists and promoters to broadcast their shows live safe in the knowledge copyright owners are being paid.

Writing in IQ last year, Sziget Festival’s András Berta was enthusiastic about live streaming as a way to reach more fans, but said there are concerns about the complexities involved in licensing live streams. “In 2016, I think we still face a grey [area] when it comes to clearing streaming rights,” he wrote, “simply because the industry is far from being homogeneous. Different players hold different cards, and this can result in a losing hand in many cases.”

By using dotBC’s codec (.bc), which binds writer metadata to the track, for music files, Rogers explains festivals like Sziget will be free to live-stream on sites such as Facebook and YouTube – and artists able to sell recordings straight after the show – with the writers receiving owed royalties automatically.

Rogers, also a musician, relates an anecdote about his experience licensing live recordings. Following a concert in which his band played two covers (The Cars and Gram Parsons), he paid the Harry Fox Agency to purchase the rights to distribute a recording of the show. “We said we’d sell maybe 1,000,” he explains. “We gave them $2,500 and never heard anything else.”

There was, he says, “no itemisation or monetisation” on the bill – theoretically, the band could have sold 10,000 copies and Harry Fox might never have known. With blockchain, conversely, there is a “bulletproof digital asset” that ensures ownership of songs is always “anchored back to the writers”.


A new rights reality
Like live streaming, filming and distributing shows in virtual reality (VR) is being tipped as a new revenue stream for the promoters of the future, with recent research finding early VR adopters outspend the average American 2:1 on live events.

However, Rogers says VR is also currently a licensing nightmare, with a traditional sync licence – which grants the licensee the rights to synchronise music with visual media – insufficient for a live VR gig, where the setlist is liable to change.

“How do I license a VR concert,” asks Rogers, “if I don’t know what songs are going to be played?”

Rogers says that, “right now, sound recordings” – master recordings, typically owned by labels, as opposed to the copyrights to the compositions themselves, usually administered by a publisher – “hold supremacy”, but in future “PROs [performance rights organisations] are going to have to do a deal with the publishing side of things” to offer more flexible licences for new experiences like VR shows.

One company leveraging the blockchain to do just that – again backed by Imogen Heap – is Ujo Music, which aims to provide a “shared infrastructure for all music services”, independent of the traditional label/publisher/licensing axis.

“If we build a common language for music, we can scale the business infinitely”


While blockchain offers tremendous opportunities for promoters, artists, ticketing companies and PROs, Gregor Pryor, co-chair of the global entertainment and media industry group at legal firm Reed Smith, told IQ in issue 62 its actual take-up in live may stymied by the fact most people at the top end the top end of the concert business are actually making money.

“Live has probably been the place that artists have been running to when their digital revenues have been dropping,” he said in late 2015. “The live industry has been nowhere near as disrupted by digital as the record industry has – in fact, it has probably benefited. There has to be a reason for them to adopt it [blockchain].

“In the world of streaming royalty payments,” Pryor suggests, “there is much more of an incentive and impetus to adopt change. There is not any driving force behind change in live.”

However, as underlined above, much has changed since then. With growing unease around the state of the secondary ticket market, and the emergence of direct licensing and new, non-traditional PROs – such as Germany’s GWVR, which gives concert promoters a cut of the royalties from recordings – technology, as in so many other walks of life, may indeed provide the answer.

As it stands, music has “no common language,” concludes Rogers. “Email has POP3, Skype runs on VoIP [voice over IP]… If we build a common language for music – the perfect sound format – we can scale the business infinitely.”


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FastForward announces 2017 dates, speakers

Millennial music industry conference FastForward, which launched earlier this year, will return to Amsterdam for its second edition next February.

Presented by Media Insight Consulting and sponsored by 7digital, the conference – aimed at under-35s working in the music industry – features keynote speeches, panel discussions and quick-fire ‘FastFifteen’ sessions exploring trends in music and technology and will once again be held at the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, on 23 and 24 February 2017.

Topics to be covered include the future of radio, the future of making music, the evolution of the ticketing market, lessons from the gaming sector, developments in music marketing and changes in music and technology.

The conference has so far announced 19 participants – among them IQ news editor Jon Chapple, Ticketmaster’s director of business development, Sarah Slater, StubHub senior product manager Sam Flamand-Gloyne, Rocket Music artist manager Jazz Sherman and Media Insight CEO and FastFoward founder Chris Carey – with a further 20 to be confirmed before the event.

“I’m excited to … deliver another event where innovative voices come together to talk about the big opportunities for the music industry in the coming months and years”

Carey says: “I was very proud of the debut event. We brought people together from across the globe for a dynamic conversation about the future of the music industry.

“By keeping the event small we have been able to cultivate an environment where everyone felt they could talk to everyone, with a number of these conversations leading to closer connections between different industry sectors and deals being done.

“I’m excited to build on this foundation to deliver another event where innovative voices come together to talk about the big opportunities for the music industry in the coming months and years.”

Tickets are, as with this year, limited to 150, to “allow for deeper networking and discussion”, with delegate passes available from www.fastforward.tickets.

Read IQ’s coverage of the FastForward 2016 ‘The Future of Live Music’ panel here.


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