fbpx

PROFILE

MY SUBSCRIPTION

LOGOUT

x

The latest industry news to your inbox.

    

I'd like to hear about marketing opportunities

    

I accept IQ Magazine's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

Canada to host ‘first major event using rapid screening’

The Ontario Festival Industry Taskforce (OFIT) is spearheading the organisation of a concert that is said to be the first major event in Canada to use rapid screening.

The event, dubbed The Long Road Back, is due to take place this month at the Casino Lac-Leamy Plaza at Lansdowne Park, Ottawa, with a performance from local Motown tribute band, The Commotions.

Attendance will be limited to 100 participants, and all spectators as well as staff, musicians and crew must prove they’ve tested negative for Covid-19 within 48 hours before the band performs.

Once at the event, attendees will be seated at tables and will be required to wear masks and adhere to social distancing throughout the event.

According to the organisers, tickets – which were priced at CA$25 and could only be purchased in groups of four – sold out in under an hour.

“As we look ahead to the summer of 2021 and beyond, establishing best practices for live music events now is critical”

“As we look ahead to the summer of 2021 and beyond, establishing best practices for live music events now is critical,” says OFIT chair Mark Monahan. “In order to produce summer and fall events, rapid Covid-19 antigen screening is needed to demonstrate live concerts can happen safely.”

The concert was originally slated for 27 March but has now been postponed after the city’s chief medical officer of health said the city will likely limit outdoor public gatherings to 25 people next week.

The organisers say the event will be rescheduled “for the earliest possible date” should restrictions be tightened.

The concert is produced in conjunction with local promoter Live DNA, the team behind Ottawa Bluesfest, the Canadian Live Music Association, Ottawa Festivals Network, and the National Arts Centre. The organisers are producing the event under the guidance of Rapid Test & Trace Canada.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Eventbrite pledges refunds amid Roxodus controversy

Eventbrite, the ticketing partner for Canadian rock festival Roxodus, is refunding all those who bought tickets to the event following its cancellation last week.

Roxodus organisers MF Live cancelled the festival, which was scheduled to take place from 11 to 14 July at Edenvale Airport in Ontario, due to “tremendous rainy weather” which “impacted our ability to produce the festival”.

Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Kid Rock, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Nickelback, Billy Idol and Blondie were among the acts featuring on the Roxodus bill.

“After multiple attempts to communicate and secure funds back from the abruptly-cancelled Roxodus Music Fest in Ontario, Canada, the organisers have provided no indication that they will refund ticket holders,” reads a statement issued by Eventbrite on Sunday (7 July).

“We believe attendees deserve to get their money back now, so we have set up an Eventbrite-funded Fan Relief Program [sic] to make all Roxodus ticket holders whole while we continue to aggressively pursue the return of funds from the festival’s creators.”

Eventbrite’s statement follows an announcement from MF Live co-founder Mike Dunphy, in which the Roxodus organiser denied all responsibility for refunds.

“My role at MF Live was that of talent buyer/operations. I did not sign contracts, issue cheques or control funds received from ticket sales,” wrote Dunphy.

“After multiple attempts to communicate and secure funds back from the abruptly-cancelled Roxodus Music Fest, the organisers have provided no indication that they will refund ticket holders”

“Eventbrite is the ticketing partner with whom Roxodus sold tickets. They alone have all purchaser information. Since I am not in control of financial items regarding Roxodus, I cannot communicate plans for refunds.”

Dunphy, who stated he had no involvement in decisions relating to the cancellation of the festival, also denied that he had “stolen monies as widely rumoured on social media.”

Reports state that local police had been investigating a former employee of MF Live prior to Roxodus’ cancellation. It is unclear whether the investigation has any relation to the festival.

Fellow MF Live co-founder, Fab Loranger, told reporters at Global News: “Our specific role in the entire project was to provide the funding. We invested millions of dollars. We relied on Mr Dunphy, his representations and his advice, to ensure everything was properly taken care of. It obviously wasn’t. We lost it all.”

Dunphy rejected Loranger’s statement, which he termed “incorrect”.

Ticketholders will receive refunds from Eventbrite within seven business days from 7 July. Tickets for Roxodus started at CA$129 (US$99), with camping packages costing between $219 (US$168) and $1,600 (US$1,225).

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

‘The envy of the world’: How public funds boost Canadian music

Agent Jack Ross, the newly appointed co-head of APA in Canada, has hailed Canadian authorities’ support for music businesses as being key to the health of its thriving live music industry.

Speaking to IQ for issue 74’s Canada market report, Ross identifies the grants provided by federal, provincial and municipal governments for events where live music is a major component as a significant contributor to the success of Canada’s concert market, which at US$711m (C$907m) is the world’s seventh largest (see PwC figures from the ITY 2017).

“That support,” he says, “really makes the Canadian music business the envy of the world, quite frankly.”

“It’s robust,” agrees Jim Cressman, president of Pentiction, British Columbia-based Invictus Entertainment Group, which books and promotes 500–700 concerts per year at multiple venues. “The right artist at the right price,” says Cressman, “almost always does predictable business.”

Though no national study has yet been done on the live music industry, an economic impact analysis of the business in Ontario – Canada’s most populous province and home to the music hub of Toronto – illustrates how important it is to the Canadian economy.

“The right artist at the right price almost always does predictable business”

The Live Music Measures Up study showed that the industry was responsible for 20,000 full-time equivalent jobs in 2013 and that spending by live music companies and the tourism activity generated by music festivals together contributed just under C$1.2bn to Ontario’s gross domestic product.

While optimism was expressed by most people interviewed for the market report, the Canadian live music industry isn’t without its challenges. These include the secondary ticketing market, which the Ontario government is trying to curtail with new (albeit not universally supported) legislation, and the low value of the Canadian dollar compared to its American counterpart, which can in turn work to the advantage of homegrown artists who get paid in ‘loonies’.

“Every time we put an offer in for a US artist, a dollar is costing us C$1.35,” says Louis Thomas, president and owner of Sonic Entertainment Group, a Halifax, Nova Scotia-based concert promotion and artist management company that also owns a record label and recording studio. “That has a big impact on ticket prices, at the end of the day.”

Read the full market report, which focuses on Canada’s major promoters, venues, festivals and more, here.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

SH blasts neutered Ontario regs as ‘bad for fans’

StubHub’s general manager for concerts and theatre in North America, Jeff Poirier, has penned an “open letter to fans” criticising Ontario’s abandonment of the planned ticket transparency provisions in its new Ticket Sales Act, which passed into law yesterday.

In its current form, the Ticket Sales Act caps the price of resold tickets at 150% of face value, bans ticket bots and requires business selling or reselling tickets to disclose certain information, including the capacity of the venue, the number of tickets on general on-sale and the original face-value ticket price.

It also originally required ticket sellers to disclose how many tickets are available to the public for a given event seven days before they go on sale – a provision abandoned last month following reported opposition from the concert industry. Among those believed to have pushed back against the transparency clause were Live Nation/Ticketmaster Canada and industry association Music Canada Live; according to local media, Ticketmaster’s Canadian COO, Patti-Anne Tarlton, told Ontarian parliamentarians that revealing total ticket numbers “could enable [touts] to better use bots to buy bulk tickets where they’re known to be scarce”.

Poirier disagrees, and in the open letter, published yesterday, says the stripped-back legislation will be remembered for its “unintended consequences” on ordinary ticket buyers – and push the secondary market underground.

“Today, the Ontario Liberals passed their Ticket Sales Act,” he writes. “Consultations were initially approached with the best of intentions: increase transparency on availability of tickets on the market and level the playing field so you have better access and more insight into the ticket buying process. In the end, this legislation will be known more for its unintended consequences than its protection of fans like you.

“The government has maintained proposals that set fans back and stripped important transparency requirements that could have truly benefited you”

“In its original form, the Ticket Sales Act banned the use of bots to procure tickets, required ticket businesses to disclose more information to consumers and capped the resale price of tickets. Yet the government has maintained proposals that set fans back and stripped important transparency requirements that could have truly benefited you.”

While he reiterates StubHub’s previously expressed support for banning ticket bots, Poirier cites the January 2016 study by New York attorney-general Eric Schneiderman – which found that up to 75% of tickets are being held back from the general public – as evidence that “the issues impacting ticket access are broader than just bots”, which many consider to be only a small part of wider structural issues affecting the ticketing sector. This shortage of publicly available tickets, he continues, “is one of the reasons why you see popular shows ‘sell out’ so quickly”.

“The original legislation required ticket sellers to disclose how many tickets were actually being made available for sale – a simple concept that would provide you better insight into the actual availability of tickets,” writes Poirier. “This is the very issue the proposed legislation was trying to solve. Yet, the government chose to remove this critical provision from the legislation, citing pressure from the live entertainment industry as a prevailing reason over establishing transparency for Ontario fans like you.

“At StubHub, we understand transparency is important across the entire ticket industry, not just in the resale market. You should be able to know how many tickets are available for an event, what your seats will look like and how much you’re going to pay for them. Only in that circumstance can you make a purchase that you truly feel good about.”

“You should be able to know how many tickets are available for an event, what your seats will look like and how much you’re going to pay for them”

“When it comes to price caps,” he continues, “StubHub joins the industry in opposing this measure. This proposal stands to negatively impact Ontario fans like you and Ontario-based businesses like StubHub as ticket resales are driven off platforms that have robust consumer protections. Ticket resale prices will continue to be driven by supply and demand, not by arbitrarily set price caps. The fact is, if a venue holds 20,000 fans, but 100,000 fans want to attend the performance, ticket prices will reflect that demand. If the established market rate exceeds the 50% cap established by government, those sales won’t stop or adapt to reflect the price caps – they’ll just occur at their true value through channels the government cannot regulate. It will happen on street corners where the risk of counterfeit and fraud is significant, and no guarantees are in place; or it will happen on ticket resale websites located outside of jurisdiction of the Ontario government. Either way, you and businesses that have invested in the province will be hurt.

“Consumers benefit from a competitive ticket market where transactions occur through secure channels that prioritise fans. At the same time, it is important to incentivise and encourage this ecommerce to remain right here, in Ontario.

“We have said from the onset that we believe there is a better way for the industry and for you. It’s our mission at StubHub to connect you to incredible live event experiences, and to do so safely and securely by including money back guarantees and fraud prevention measures. This legislation is a disappointment for the ticketing industry, and a disappointment for fans like you.”

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Ontario drops proposed ticket transparency rules

The Canadian province of Ontario has abandoned plans for legislation that would have required ticket sellers to disclose how many tickets are available to the public for a given event seven days before they go on sale.

The measure was announced last month as part of a consumer protection bill that also provides for capping the price of resold tickets at 150% of face value; banning ticket bots and prohibiting the resale of bot-bought tickets; and requiring business selling or reselling tickets to disclose information including the capacity of the venue, the number of tickets on general on-sale and the original face-value ticket price.

While those measures remain largely uncontroversial, Ontario’s Liberal party government is to drop the transparency clause under pressure from artists and the industry, reveals the Globe and Mail, concluding that the rule “would be a disincentive for musicians, particularly small and medium acts, to tour the province”.

“Revealing ticket numbers could enable touts to better use bots to buy bulk tickets where they’re known to be scarce”

While some argue a lack of transparency around the amount of tickets actually on sale is a symptom of a “broken” ticket market – “The murky nature of how many tickets are ever available to the public makes the secondary resale market an easy scapegoat when fans fail to acquire tickets on regular sale,” argues TicketNews’s Sean Burns, “only to see immediate resale options at substantially higher prices on the secondary market” – promoters and primary ticketers largely disagree, with the abandonment of the transparency measure following a concerted effort by Ticketmaster Canada and promoters’ association Music Canada Live, reports the Globe and Mail.

According to the paper, Ticketmaster’s Canadian COO, Patti-Anne Tarlton, told Ontarian parliamentarians that revealing total ticket numbers “could enable [touts] to better use bots to buy bulk tickets where they’re known to be scarce”.

A different proposal, backed by opposition parties, would force primary sellers to make at least 75% of tickets available to the public – although leaving artists and promoters with just 25% of ticket inventory would make Ontario less appealing to companies based outside the province, so is similarly unlikely to make it into law.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Ontario proposes ticket resale price cap

Building on the potential ticket bot ban announced in October, the Canadian province of Ontario has unveiled legislation that would cap the resale price of tickets at 50% above face value.

The proposed measures on ticket touting form part of a broader bill, the Strengthening Protection for Ontario Consumers Act, and would, if passed, also criminalise the use of ticket bots; bar the sale of tickets purchased using bots; and require business selling or reselling tickets to disclose information including the capacity of the venue, the number of tickets on general on-sale and the original face-value ticket price.

“Stronger rules for buying and selling tickets will help give fans a fair shot”

“Stronger rules for buying and selling tickets will help give fans a fair shot at getting music, sports or theatre tickets,” says Ontario attorney-general Yasir Naqvi. “Our proposed changes will ban bots and excessive mark ups, prevent fraud and provide more information in the ticket industry. We are putting fans first by making the industry more transparent and tickets more affordable.”

“I am pleased to introduce proposed legislation that will provide consumers with the protection they deserve when making significant purchases, like a new home, a dream vacation or concert tickets,” comments Tracy MacCharles (pictured), the province’s minister of government and consumer services. “Building a fair, safe and informed marketplace is a key priority of this government. We are committed to strengthening consumer protection and making it work better for everyone.”

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Pub breaks longest livestream record, keeps going

The Earl of Whitchurch, the Canadian pub currently bidding to break the Guinness World Record for the longest concert by multiple artists, has just broken another record in the process: for the longest show live-streamed on the internet.

The pub, in Stouffville, Ontario, breaks a record currently held by Touchdowns Bar and Grill in Mississauga, also in Ontario.

In an email to Alan Cross, Kevin Ker, the organiser of the record attempt, explains:

“Things are fantastic! I feel like I’ve been awake for 10 days straight, fuelled by the incredible energy of this event. Everyone who walks in the door can feel it.

“We have raised close to [C]$50,000 for charity. It’s absolutely mind-blowing. I could’ve have never imagined how successful this would become.

“We surpassed the world record for the longest live-streamed concert on Saturday Morning at 8am. It was a quick announcement, followed by a quick round of high-fives/hugs than back to business as usual.

Every single night has seen a line-up at the door. Stouffville has never seen anything like this. On Saturday, the mayor and his group couldn’t get in as we were at capacity.”

Ker adds that the Earl of Whitchurch’s bid now has an end point – 2 April – following the withdrawal of a rival attempt in Michigan. “The competition with Detroit has ended and we have a clear target,” he explains. “As far as we are understand, they officially stopped at 5pm last night with a text from the organiser that read: ‘Oh, Canada… my fingers are tired.'”

A live broadcast of the event can be viewed on YouTube above.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Canadian artists in longest gig record attempt

Canadian booking agency and label Epidemic Music Group today begins its Guinness World Record attempt for the longest concert held by multiple artists.

The record is currently held by the Rí Rá Irish pub in Las Vegas, which hosted a show lasting 372 hours and ten minutes from 1 October to 17 October 2014.

The new attempt, involving more than 380 bands, runs for 16 days at the Earl of Whitchurch pub (pictured) in Stouffville, Ontario, and is timed to coincide with 150 years since Canadian confederation.

The performers must have an audience of at least ten people at all times for the record to count.

The Stouffville show will raise money for 16 charities, including Sick Kids, the Markham Stouffville Hospital, 360 Kids, North Toronto Cat Rescue, Artscan Circle, Songs 4 Steffi, the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada and the Family Navigation Project, as well as the Gord Downie Fund for Brain Cancer Research, founded by Tragically Hip frontman Downie, who has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Canadian province to outlaw ticket bots

Ontario is to ban ticket bots, its chief legal advisor has revealed.

The proposed legislation, announced yesterday by the Canadian province’s attorney-general, Yasir Naqvi, builds on a private member’s bill introduced earlier this month by Sophie Kiwala, the member of the provincial parliament (MPP) for Kingston and Islands.

“I want to see what kind of solutions we can put in place”

Naqvi (pictured), who is also MPP for Ottawa Centre, tells the Canadian Press he intends to consult with consumer groups, music industry figures and politicians in other territories, such as New York (where attorney-general Eric Schneiderman has taken a tough line on those caught using ticket-buying software), when drawing up the new law.

“I want to see what kind of solutions we can put in place,” he explains. “New York and London are bigger markets than us, and they’re struggling with the same thing.”

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Ontario takes aim at ticket bots

Mirroring similar developments south of the border, a Canadian politician is taking aim at ticket bots with a new private member’s bill aiming to criminalise their use.

If passed, the Ticket Speculation Amendment Act (Purchase and Sale Requirements) 2016 bill – introduced by Sophie Kiwala, a Liberal member of the provincial parliament (MPP) of Ontario – will prohibit the use of software (dubbed “scalper-bots” by Kiwala) to bypass security measures on online ticket outlets in Canada’s most populous province.

It will also require the original face value of the ticket to be disclosed when resold.

“There is simply no way in which human ability can surpass how quickly a bot can purchase a large volume of tickets in only a few moments”

“I have heard my constituents say that their experiences in ticket-buying have left them frustrated and discouraged,” says Kiwala. “There is simply no way in which human ability can surpass how quickly a scalper-bot can purchase a large volume of tickets in only a few moments. This is an issue that extends beyond my riding [constituency] and has affected many consumers looking to purchase tickets for a variety of different events.”

The bill, which Kiwala says is “intended to build upon the Ticket Speculation Act 1990, and the amendments made to the act in 2015“, was presented for its first reading in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario on 22 September.

In a survey of Canadian concertgoers in July, amid controversy over the number of tickets for The Tragically Hip’s farewell tour that found their way to the secondary market, 87% of respondents said they would support prison terms for resellers caught using ticket bots.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.