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Destination music experiences company Pollen raises $150m

Pollen, the music, travel and experiences start-up, has raised US$150 million in a Series C round.

Founded in 2014 by brothers Callum and Liam Negus-Fancey, the London-headquartered company runs two offerings: Pollen Presents, which curates experiences for customers across travel, music, and more; and Pollen+ which partners with promoters and music festivals to offer customers who book through its platforms perks at events.

The firm says that it uses data and customer insights to create experiences that are exclusive to its platform, and also partners with “the biggest music festivals and brands in the world” to sell their experiences.

Pollen Presents has organised a number of artist-curated weekenders with artists including Justin Bieber in Las Vegas, Diplo in Cabo, Kurupt FM in Amsterdam, J Balvin in Vegas and Bring Me The Horizon in Malta.

Pollen+ has partnered with promoter brands and music festivals including We Are FSTVL, Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo, Electric Zoo and Live Nation.

“People want personalised travel experiences built around what they are passionate about”

The company previously raised over $100m in venture capital funding, from investors including Kindred, Northzone, Sienna Capital, Backed and Draper Spirit.

Backers named in the latest funding announcement include Kindred, Lansdowne Partners, Northzone, Sienna Capital, Backed and Molton Ventures.

Pollen says that its Series C funding comes on the heels of “significant momentum” for the company, after seeing sales increase “more than 300% relative to pre-pandemic levels”.

“People want personalised travel experiences built around what they are passionate about,” says co-founder and CEO Callum Negus-Fancey.

“Pollen is at the forefront of this demand; we use our proprietary data and customer insights to build one-of-a-kind travel experiences with the world’s biggest talent and brands in the best destinations. When people look back after 10 years, and think about their top five memories, we want them to feel like Pollen was responsible for three of them.”

 


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Music industry responds to DotMusic triumph

DotMusic recently announced that it had prevailed in obtaining the rights to the .music top-level domain (TLD) name extension, which it will launch with music-tailored policies to create an exclusive, protected online space for the music industry.

Founder and chief executive of DotMusic, Constantine Roussos, had competition from tech giants Google and Amazon, as well as leading domain registries to win the .music rights. Roussos first submitted an application for the TLD in 2012.

In order to ward off cyber squatters – those who register trademarked domain names to either sell them on or profit from the traffic to the site – the TLD will become available in stages, first to verified trademark holders and then to members of the Music Community Members Organisation (MCMO).

Members of the public will then have access to the domain name, after undergoing a verification process.

“This is a new digital era for the global music community,” says Roussos. “For the first time in internet history, music community members will be able to register their own exclusive, verified, and trusted .music domain name.”

Below are a selection of music industry responses to the plans for the .music domain.

 


Frances Moore, CEO, IFPI
“IFPI congratulates DotMusic on the success of its application to manage the .music domain. As the online marketplace around the world continues to evolve, so too do the challenges the music community faces in preventing music from being made available illegally and ensuring fans have access to licensed services.

“We welcome DotMusic’s commitments to safeguard .music domains against unlawful uses and we look forward to working closely with the DotMusic team in implementing those commitments.”

“As the online marketplace around the world continues to evolve, so too do the challenges the music community faces in preventing music from being made available illegally”

Gadi Oron, director general, Cisac
“As the world’s largest global network for creators, with member societies in over 120 countries, Cisac welcomes the .music domain and the opportunities it can create to develop a stronger and more responsible environment for licensed music.”

David Israelite, president and CEO, NMPA
“The NMPA applauds DotMusic for establishing a critical domain that is tailored for the music creator community. This was a hard-fought and competitive process and we look forward to the great potential of the .music domain for songwriters and music publishers alike who will greatly benefit from its piracy and copyright protections.”

“This was a hard-fought and competitive process and we look forward to the great potential of the .music domain”

Daryl P. Friedman, chief industry, government and relations officer, The Recording Academy / Grammys
“As an organisation of performers, songwriters and studio professionals, the Recording Academy is pleased to see the community-focus for the new .music domain. We look forward to working with the team at DotMusic to ensure creators and intellectual property are respected on all .music sites.”

Helen Smith, executive chair, Impala
“Our mission at Impala is to grow the independent music sector in Europe. In our digital action plan, our aims included effectively tackling infringing websites and giving music consumers the best digital infrastructure in the world based on trust and security.

“It is good news that an application abiding by community commitments prevailed and we look forward to working with the DotMusic team to achieve our mutual objectives and create a safe and innovative ecosystem for global music consumption.”

“It is good news that an application abiding by community commitments prevailed”

Pierre Mossiat, President, IMPF
“IMPF is really pleased for all the team at DotMusic for having prevailed. We are delighted that the .music domain name extension will afford all of us – music publishers, composers, songwriters and our associations – the opportunity to ensure that we can claim and protect our names against cybersquatters.

“It has been a long journey but it is great to see the international music community validated.”

Benoît Machuel, general secretary, Fim

“A vetted .music domain is fully in line with our federation’s goal to protect and further the economic, social and artistic interests of musicians globally.”

“It has been a long journey but it is great to see the international music community validated”

Magdalena Moreno Mujica, executive director, Ifacca

“Ifacca congratulates DotMusic on the success of its campaign to launch a trusted community-based domain for artists, and we particularly welcome its international community approach to tackle this complex issue.

“Ifacca’s vision is a world in which arts and culture thrive and are recognised by governments and peoples for their contribution to society; this initiative promises to help realise this vision, by supporting artists to thrive – not least by protecting their welfare and intellectual property rights – and providing a trusted space for global audiences to engage with and support artists.”

“This initiative promises to help realise [our] vision, by […] providing a trusted space for global audiences to engage with and

Brad Buckles, chief content protection officer, Riaa
“We congratulate the DotMusic team on their successful application. Since the beginning, our hope was that this process would yield a .music domain where proper and effective safeguards would protect the rights of music creators globally and allow them control over their work.

“We look forward to working with DotMusic on implementing this vision to ensure that the internet ecosystem is a safe, vibrant and innovative place where legitimate music creation, access and distribution can thrive.”

“Our hope was that this process would yield a .music domain where proper and effective safeguards would protect the rights of music creators”

Charlie Phillips, COO, WIN
“WIN welcomes the announcement that DotMusic has succeeded in its application to manage the .music top-level-domain. We look forward to working together to ensure this opportunity will benefit the music community by further developing the licensed online music market, and creating another line of defence against piracy.”

Dr. Richard James Burgess, president and CEO, A2IM
“A2IM’s mission to promote growth, awareness and equality of opportunity for independent music through advocacy, education and community, is aligned with .music’s principles. We welcome the launch of the .music domain that addresses the concerns and needs of the music community.”

 


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DotMusic beats Google, Amazon to win .music domain

DotMusic Limited has won an eleven-year legal battle to gain rights to the .music top-level domain (TLD), beating the likes of Google and Amazon, as well as leading domain registries.

DotMusic founder and chief executive Constantine Roussos announced on Friday that his company had won the rights to the TLD, having first submitted an application to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in 2012.

“Excited to announce that after more than a decade, DotMusic has prevailed and will be the .music registry,” says Roussos in a Twitter post.

Roussos plans to launch the .music domain as a protected, exclusive  online space for the global music community and industry. He aims to  combat piracy and domain squatters who register trademarked domain names to profit from the traffic it receives or plan to sell the domain to the trademark owner at inflated prices.

“[I am] excited to announce that after more than a decade, DotMusic has prevailed and will be the .music registry”

“The .music registry will work closely with the global music community and the .music governance board to prepare for the safe, responsible and prudent launch of .music,” says DotMusic.

The company states that it will use “music-tailored policies to ensure that music artists, bands, industry professionals and organisations register a trusted, secure and verified .music domain,” creating domain identities similar to those ending in .edu or .gov.

Domains will become available in three phases. The first phase will make the .music TLD available only to verified trademark holders within the music industry, with a second phase accepting registrations from members of the Music Community Members Organisation (MCMO).

The final phase will open up applications to everyone on a first-come, first-served basis. A strict verification process will be enforced to ensure the security and integrity of the domain.

.music will launch in 2020.

 


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.art, TLD for “world’s creative community”, launches

With seemingly no end in sight to the dispute over the ownership of .music, London-based UK Creative Ideas (UKCI) has launched an an alternative domain name for the arts and cultural sector: .art.

Describes as a top-level domain (TLD) for the “world’s creative community in all its diverse forms”, .art’s early adopters largely consist of art galleries and museums, including Paris’s Centre Pompidou, Tate in London and the Guggenheim Museum in New York, although UKCI says .art “goes way beyond the visual arts to embrace performance, decorative arts, applied arts, literature, film, music, education, collectables, and could even take in cookery and sport”.

“Our mission is to preserve the cultural legacy of the global art world,” says .art founder Ulvi Kasimov. “We are honoured that so many respected institutions from all over the world share our vision and conviction that .art will transform the arts community’s relationship with the internet and help protect their brand’s heritage online.”

.art domain names will be available to register from February 2017.

Similar TLDs include Accent Media’s .tickets and Rightside’s .band.

 


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