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India stakes its claim as global entertainment hub

India is enhancing its claim as a global entertainment hub as it entices a growing number of international stars and festival brands to the country.

50 Cent, Westlife, Deep Purple, Goo Goo Dolls, Bastille and Kodaline are among the big-name acts set to perform before the end of the year, while Ed Sheeran last week announced his + – = ÷ x (Mathematics) tour will visit Mumbai in 2024.

The concert at Mahalaxmi Racecourse on 16 March will be the first time Sheeran has played in India since 2017. According to BookMyShow Live, which is co-promoting the concert with AEG Presents, the gig will feature a 360° circular and revolving stage – a first for India.

“The future of events in India is on the cusp of a remarkable transformation,” says Owen Roncon, BookMyShow’s chief of business, live entertainment.

“Our endeavour at BookMyShow Live is to consistently push the boundaries of how live entertainment is experienced here at par with global standards. In line with that, we are thrilled to bring this ground-breaking, production wonder with the 360-degree circular, revolving stage to the Indian audience for the Ed Sheeran: + – = ÷ x Tour (Mathematics Tour).

“The future of events in India is on the cusp of a remarkable transformation”

“With this innovative production, auditory experience and the technological integration, the tour comes to India as a work of art where technology waltzes with creativity, weaving an enchanting blend of visuals and sound; ensuring in fact that it truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

India has already enjoyed a bumper 2023 calendar, with concerts from the likes of Backstreet Boys, John Legend and Bonobo, and festivals including Vh1 Supersonic, Mahindra Blues Festival and Lollapalooza drawing yet more household names.

Live Nation and BookMyShow teamed up on the very first Lollapalooza India at Mumbai’s Mahalaxmi Racecourse, featuring Imagine Dragons, The Strokes, and Diplo alongside Indian-born rapper AP Dhillon, Delhi-based singer-songwriter Prateek Kuhad and others. The event drew 60,000 fans over two days, with 40 artists performing across four stages on a 50-acre site.

James Craven, Live Nation president, Middle East, says Lollapalooza coming to Mumbai is a great example of the market’s growing importance.

“It’s really exciting to see global markets open up to music and artists from the Indian sub-continent, as well as seeing how the Indian market continues to open up for international acts,” says Craven in the IQ’s Global Promoters Report. “Expanding global touring routes for artists is key to their growth and that of the industry, and India will play a key role in that going forwards.”

“Our endeavour is to consistently push the boundaries of how live is experienced here at par with global standards”

Lollapalooza isn’t the only global festival brand to plant a flag in India. Palm Tree Festival, an event founded by renowned Norwegian producer Kygo and his manager Myles Shear, will debut in Mumbai this November.

The festival will bring the likes of Kungs (FR), Sam Felt (NL) and Kidnap (GB) to the Mahalaxmi Racecourse between 3–5 November. Palm Tree has also taken place in The Hamptons (US), Cabo San Lucas (MX) and Pag Island (HR).

Elsewhere in the festival market, pre-existing brands have hailed new milestones. India’s biggest metal festival Bangalore Open Air sold out for the first time in its 10-year history.

The 3,000-capacity event, which is produced in partnership with Germany’s marquee metal festival Wacken Open Air, saw acts including Mayhem, Pestilence, Kryptos, Godless, Born of Osiris, Dying Embrace and Amorphia perform at Royal Orchid Resorts at Yelahanka.

Closing out the year, Percept Live’s Sunburn festival will return to Goa in December, with international artists such as Alesso (SE), Charlotte De Witte (BE) and Timmy Trumpet (AU).

“India’s music landscape has witnessed meteoric growth in the past few years,” says Kunal Khambhat, head of live events & IP at BookMyShow, said in the most recent Global Promoters Report.

“Slowly but steadily, the country has set the stage to become a keystone for some of the biggest music performances and markets in the world – from hosting acclaimed international and Indian independent artists at large concerts to smaller formats that are gradually shaping the music landscape in the country.”


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40+ smartphones stolen during DJ Snake India gig

More than 40 “high end” mobile phones were stolen from revellers during a performance by French producer DJ Snake in Mumbai, India.

Police have made a series of arrests after examining CCTV footage from the “jam-packed” concert, which took place last night (27 November) at the MMRDA Grounds in the Bandra-Kurla Complex.

According to Times Now, backpacks, handbags and other baggage were not allowed inside the venue, and concert-goers were allowed to enter only after verifying their ID cards.

The Hindustan Times reports that six people were taken in for questioning and 15 phones were recovered.

“Three accused are in our custody. The case is currently under investigation and we are probing them further”

“Three accused are in our custody,” says Dikshit Gedam, deputy commissioner of police, zone 8. “The case is currently under investigation and we are probing them further. We are using all technical help to solve the case and make arrests.”

The concert was part of DJ Snake’s India tour, which also took in cities such as Ahmedabad, Delhi NCR, Hyderabad Pune and Bengaluru.

Real name William Sami Étienne Grigahcine, the artist is also set to perform at the Soundstorm Festival in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on 1 December, followed by shows in Indonesia and Thailand.

Last month, Netherlands police arrested a suspect caught with dozens of phones thought to have been stolen from the Amsterdam Music Festival at the Johan Cruijff Arena on 22 October.


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India sees live events boom in 2019

The number of tickets sold for live events in India increased significantly in 2019, according to new data from ticketing platform BookMyShow.

The number of events listed on BookMyShow – valued at US$1 billion and “easily the dominant force in Indian ticketing”, according to the International Ticketing Yearbook 2019 – jumped 23% last year, to more than 17,500, with concerts the second-biggest attraction after ever-popular cricket.

Live events “wholly executed by” (ie sold only via) BookMyShow, meanwhile, increased 156% in 2019, reports India’s Moneycontrol.

Among the most popular live events were Sunburn festival U2’s first Indian show

Among the most popular live music events in India, a market of some 1.4bn people, last year were the 2019 edition of the Sunburn EDM festival in Goa, which was attended by 300,000 fans, and U2’s first-ever Indian show – of which more than a quarter of those who attended were first-time attendees to a live event in Mumbai (Bombay).

Elsewhere, the CEO of BookMyShow’s chief rival, Alibaba-backed Paytm, Shreyas Srinivasan, says it sold more than 7.5 million tickets in 2019, with a 25% increase in the number of events ticketed.

While live events contribute an estimated 50% of India’s online ticketing revenues, it remains films which are doing the biggest business: Avengers: Endgame was BookMyShow’s biggest event of 2019, according to the Eastern Mirror, with 8.6 million tickets sold.


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Believe buys Indian event production company Entco

French digital music distributor and artist services startup Believe has acquired Mumbai-based live event production company Entco, as the Parisian business strengthens its foothold in India.

Entco creates live events for brands and consumers across India, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and the United States. The acquisition aims to align Entco’s events with Believe’s growing artist services operations, music distribution and label services.

The acquired company, which will continue to be based in Mumbai, will be rebranded as Believe Entertainment. The company’s founders, Subramanian Iyer and Warren de Sylva, will stay on to lead operations.

“This strategic move will bring our artists and brands unprecedented access to the expertise and scale of Believe’s 44 global offices and more than 1,000 professionals,” says Iyer, co-founder and managing director of Entco.

“Our vision is to inspire audiences through extraordinary live music experiences and this new step is the perfect opportunity for us to scale up and expand our offering,” adds Entco creative director De Sylva.

“We have been growing quickly to a leadership position in the Indian market and with Entco’s expertise, Believe will have unparalleled ability to help creators in India”

“Believe will amplify what we’re able to provide through the power of one of the true global leaders bringing together technology and services to connect audiences with music.”

Denis Ladegaillerie, chief executive of Believe comments that, “Subramanian and Warren have uniquely brought live music experiences that bring artists, brands and consumers together.

“We have been growing quickly to a leadership position in the Indian market and with Entco’s expertise, Believe will have unparalleled ability to help creators in India build audiences, careers and revenue opportunities.”

According to figures supplied to IQ by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the live music industry was worth US$100 million in 2018, with a projected value of $110m for 2019. PwC estimates that the live market will continue to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.74% from 2018 to 2023, to $145m.

Read IQ’s analysis of the PwC figures here.

Pictured (l to r): Believe India director Vivek Raina, Believe Entertainment CCO Warren De Sylva, APAC-LATAM Believe director Sylvain Delange, Believe Entertainment CEO Subramanian Iyer.


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U2 announce first-ever Indian show

U2’s Live Nation-promoted The Joshua Tree Tour is wrapping up in Mumbai on 15 December, in the band’s first performance in India over their 40-year career.

The Mumbai concert, taking place at the 55,000-capacity DY Patil Stadium, will be produced by Live Nation Global Touring and brought to India by the country’s leading ticketing platform BookMyShow.

The tour will also bring U2 to Singapore, Seoul and Manila for the first time.

The Indian date marks the end of U2’s 2019 The Joshua Tree Tour, a continuation of its record-breaking world tour, which grossed a total of US$316 million in 2017.

The 2019 tour kicks off on 8 November at Auckland, New Zealand’s 30,000-capacity Mt Smart Stadium. The band then head to Australia for dates at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium (52,500-cap.), Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium (53,359-cap.), Adelaide’s Oval (53,500-cap.), Sydney Cricket Ground (46,000-cap.) and Perth’s Optus Stadium (60,000-cap.).

“We have been around the world with The Joshua Tree and we can’t think of a better place to celebrate the end of this tour”

The tour continues to the National Stadium in Singapore (55,000-cap.), Saitama Super Arena (37,000-cap.) in Tokyo, Seoul’s Gocheok Sky Dome (20,000-cap.) and the Phillipine Arena (55,000-cap.) in Manila, before ending in Mumbai.

“We’ve been waiting for this moment for the last 40 years,” U2 frontman Bono told the Times of India, adding that the band “weren’t sure” in the past if there was a “large enough audience” for them in India.

“We have been around the world with The Joshua Tree and we can’t think of a better place to celebrate the end of this tour,” says U2 guitarist the Edge. “Mumbai, India, we’re coming for you, I hope you’re ready!”

Tickets for the Mumbai concert go on sale on Tuesday 1 October at 12 p.m. (IST), via BookMyShow and Live Nation. Presale for U2.com subscribers opens on September 24, with phonePe presale beginning on 26 September. Prices range from INR3,000 ($42) to INR14,000 ($196).

A full list of tour dates can be found here.


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BookMyShow expands esports arm as share sale looms

India’s leading ticketing platform BookMyShow is making moves in the esports sector, as the company’s valuation looks set to surpass $1 billion.

The Indian ticketing company has recently made hires within its new esports category.

BookMyShow’s foray into the fast-growing esports market began in December, when the company provided ticketing for the Mumbai edition of international esports festival Dream Hack.

The ticketer joins a long list of music industry businesses to dip their toes into the esports sector.

Companies that have invested in, or partnered with, major esports competitions and teams in recent years include DEAG, AEG, Creative Artists Agency (CAA), TEG in Australia and Madison Square Garden Company (MSG).

The ticketer joins a long list of music industry businesses to dip their toes into the esports sector

The development comes as BookMyShow prepares to sell a stake which will see its valuation surpass the US$1 billion mark.

The 10 to 12% stake is being eyed up by investors including private equity firm General Atlantic, investment bank Goldman Sachs and Singaporean sovereign wealth fund Temasek, which owns a stake in CAA.

BookMyShow has raised over $220m in funding since 2007, most recently receiving $100m in a round led by CAA majority owner, TPG.

The ticketing giant has established a presence outside India in recent months, signing a five-year partnership with Dubai’s Coca-Cola Arena in May.

BookMyShow is also looking to move into cashless event payments, following an April investment in payment technology firm AtomX.


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Singh: An Indian superstar will ‘open floodgates’

Indian promoter Shailendra Singh, the self-styled ‘entertainment maverick’ best known as the creator of the wildly successful Sunburn EDM brand, this week took the wraps off World’s Biggest Guestlist: a festival franchise with a difference.

Headlined by superstar DJ Hardwell and promoted by Singh’s new nonprofit social enterprise, Guestlist4Good, World’s Biggest Guestlist Festival (WBGLF) has as its goal to educate 100,000 underprivileged children through three days of music, sports and live Bollywood.

The new festival, which Singh tells IQ allows ordinary fans to “experience a world-class show from a [free] guestlist”, follows a previous World’s Biggest Guestlist event in Mumbai (Bombay) in December 2015, also headlined by Hardwell, which was streamed by 10 million people and raised enough through donations to educate 18,000 children.

“Although we achieved, and excelled, with our donations goal, we all knew that more could be done,” comments Hardwell, “so it is for this reason we decided to go back to India and make the goal even bigger by aiming to educate 100,000 young children. And this time, I’ll be joined by some of my biggest and best DJ friends who will be helping us achieve this aim.”

Singh discussed the genesis of the project last month in a wide-ranging interview with IQ, explaining how, in contrast to events such as Live Aid in the West, India had never had a benefit concert of its own. He noticed, he explained, how “everyone is driven by commerce; no one is driven by love”.

“It won’t be long before we get that one Indian superstar”

While “driven by commerce” would also be a fair descriptor for Percept joint MD Singh, whose career has included spells in advertising, talent management, sports marketing, film and live entertainment (in addition to its flagship festival, Sunburn hosts smaller shows in 78 cities across India throughout the year), he is also associated with more than 50 charities and describes World’s Biggest Guestlist as his “latest game-changer”.

Percept/Guestlist4Good’s role in WBGLF, which is produced in partnership with Magic Bus, the charity that provides the education, is to attract the talent necessary to get Magic Bus’s work in front of the biggest number of people possible.

Charities, said Singh, are “honest people – they need people from our corrupt, commercial world to make events like this happen.” (He likened it to a Hindi proverb, ‘Who saw a peacock dance in the woods?’, which alludes to the necessity of making good things public in order to be appreciated.)

He adds that the effects of child poverty stretch far outside India’s borders. “India has the youngest population in the world, but 84 million children are under-educated,” he continues. “We also make up one in every seven people in the world, so it’s not just an Indian problem – it’s a global problem.”

Hardwell and other as-yet-unannounced EDM stars will play the third day of WBGLF, held on 3 December at DY Patil Stadium (56,000-cap.) in Mumbai, with the first and second days given over to India’s two other passions: Bollywood and sports.

On EDM (electronic dance music) – which has become a phenomenon among young people in India, packing out stadia and attracting the attention of international heavy-hitters such as Electric Daisy Carnival and Ultra – Singh praised the strength of local scene, saying it’s “only a matter” of time before India produces its own DJ superstar.

“Charities are honest people – they need people from the commercial world to make events like this happen”

While Sunburn headliners are, for the most part, still white and European, Singh said the past few years have seen homegrown DJs “exploding”, becoming global brands in their own right.

“All it needs is one Indian success story to open the floodgates,” he commented. “At Sunburn we now have 40–50% Indian artists… It won’t be long before we get that one Indian superstar.”

While the emergence of dance music in India has seen its fair share of opposition – Sunburn itself moved to Pune after being driven out of Goa amid controversy over its ‘immorality’ – WBGLF should hopefully go some way to changing the minds of those who consider EDM “against Indian culture”.

For Anna Knaup, Hardwell’s manager and agent, WBGLF is an opportunity for the DJ’s United We Are Foundation to “kickstart an educational revolution”.

“During our first trip, we had a chance to connect with the children living in the slums and, later, witness the power of support from not just the local community but the world at large,” she says. “The extremity of the poverty for these children is real and truly heart-breaking. Now we have a chance to make a bigger impact on helping to change their lives for the better.”


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Ultra Worldwide heads for India, Australia

EDM festival franchise Ultra Worldwide has revealed plans for new events in India and Australia.

The Australian event was announced yesterday at Ultra’s flagship Ultra Music Festival in Miami, headlined by dance music giants including Chase & Status, Justice, The Prodigy, Underworld and Major Lazer.



No location has yet been announced, although the first edition of the festival is slated for February 2018.

The Australian live market contracted in 2015, the most recently available data, hit by a string of festival cancellations, including Big Day Out, Soundwave and Future Music. Last April also saw the axing of EDM event Stereosonic, meaning Australian dance music fans should welcome Ultra’s first festival down under.

Ultra is also apparently seeking to capitalise on India’s growing appetite for EDM by following Electric Daisy Carnival to the subcontinent.

In addition to announcing the launch of Ultra Music Festival Australia, the live stream of Ultra Miami also revealed the existence of two new festivals in India – in Delhi and Mumbai (Bombay) – bringing the total number of Ultra events for 2017 to 24.

Ultra launched in Hong Kong last year.


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