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Driift celebrates success with livestream concerts

UK-based virtual producer and promoter Driift is announcing a slate of ticketed livestream concerts after successful online events with Laura Marling, Lianne La Havas and Dermot Kennedy.

The company, founded by ATC Management’s Ric Salmon and Brian Message, trialled the pay-per-view livestream concerts with a performance from Laura Marling at the Union Chapel in London in June.

“Ticketed live streaming is currently a space that no one controls, and we believe there is a long-term and commercially viable business here. It’s incredibly exciting” says Salmon.

Capitalising on the success of Marling’s show, Driift has since produced livestream shows for Lianne La Havas at the Roundhouse and Dermot Kennedy at the Natural History Museum.

Kennedy’s livestream show, which took place last Thursday (30 June) and featured Normal People’s Paul Mescal, sold over 30,000 tickets worldwide and was broadcast live over four different time zones.

“It strikes me that this is just the beginning of an exciting opportunity for artists and their teams to create new art that many will choose to pay for,” says Message. “If we get this right, ticketed livestream productions, whether live shows or something not yet dreamt of, can comfortably sit alongside promotional videos, traditional live shows and other ways fans and artists relate.”

This is not a replacement for live, this is a coming of age for livestreaming

Now, with investment from shareholders Beggars Group, Driift is producing more high profile livestream shows including a one-off worldwide performance from Biffy Clyro on 15 August from an iconic Glasgow venue and a performance from Sleaford Mods at the 100 club on 12 September.

“We’ve felt for a long time that livestreaming has been undervalued,” says Ruth Barlow, director of live at Beggars Group.

“We’re excited about the creative and commercial opportunities for the business, the artists and their fans; who no longer have to be in a particular city at a particular time to experience unique live music events.

“This is not a replacement for live, this is a coming of age for livestreaming.”

Driift will oversee ticketing, production, licensing, rights management and digital marketing for the livestream concerts – allowing artists to rebuild live music into their release campaigns and overall strategies.

Having collaborated with live industry giants such as CAA, Dice, Universe/Ticketmaster, YouTube, Pulse Films and Jackshoot, Driift is expanding its offering outside of the UK, with a number of shows being set up in North America.

 


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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Arthur Awards 2020: All the winners

The 26th annual Arthur Awards, the live music industry’s equivalent of the Oscars, took place at London’s Sheraton Grand Park Lane hotel last night. The awards, which take place as part of the ongoing International Live Music Conference (ILMC), honoured the industry’s best and brightest across 11 awards categories.

The prizes were handed out during the Arthur Awards Winners’ Dinner, hosted by CAA’s Emma Banks, who took to the stage in a full hazmat suit and gas mask emblazoned with the letters CAA across her back in hazard warning tape.

As the evening culminated with The Bottle Award, the unique industry achievement gong, Emma was invited back on stage to receive it, to loud applause and a standing ovation. “If I should say anything, it’s that we should all pick up the phone more,” she said. “You can’t have a relationship via text message or Whatsapp. We need to speak to each, to be more nice to each other.”

It was a successful night all round for CAA, as Summer Marshall won the Second Least Offensive Agent award.

The prizes were handed out during the Arthur Awards Winners’ Dinner, hosted by CAA’s Emma Banks

Elsewhere, Live Nation’s Kelly Chappel took the best promoter gong, French festival Eurockéennes was crowned best festival, All Points East won best new event, London’s Roundhouse received the best venue award and Charly Beedell-Tuck from Solo Agency won the Tomorrow’s New Boss award, which recognises the industry’s most promising new business talent.

Notably, all Arthurs for individuals – the prizes for best assistant, professional services, new business talent, agent and promoter, as well as the Bottle award – went to women.

The full list of winners is below:

Venue (First Venue To Come Into Your Head)
Roundhouse, UK

Promoter (The Promoters’ Promoter)
Kelly Chappel, Live Nation

Festival (Liggers’ Favourite Festival)
Eurockéennes, France

Agent (Second Least Offensive Agent)
Summer Marshall, CAA

Production Services (Services Above and Beyond)
Showsec

Professional Services (Most Professional Professional)
Tina Richard, T&S Immigration Services

New Gig on the Block (New Event)
All Points East, UK

Assistant (The People’s Assistant)
San Phillips, Kilimanjaro Live

Ticketing (The Golden Ticket)
Ticketmaster

New Business Talent (Tomorrow’s New Boss)
Charly Beedell-Tuck, Solo

The Bottle Award
Emma Banks, CAA

Prior to the Arthurs, ILMC head Greg Parmley presented two special ILMC Medal of Honour awards for longstanding service to the organisation. Production manager Bill Martin and agenda consultant Allan McGowan were both invited to the stage. “Bill is nothing short of a magician,” Parmley said,  “He juggles set design, lighting, stands, stages, and a hundred other elements to make the conference and this dinner happen every year.”

And speaking of McGowan, he said, “Across two decades, Allan has been a central figure in all of ILMC’s panels, putting hundreds of them together. And for ten years, his role as associate editor on IQ was instrumental in the magazine’s growth.”

 


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Lucy Wood joins Roundhouse as head of music

Former Festival Republic booker Lucy Wood has joined iconic London venue the Roundhouse (1,700-seat) as head of music, effective from the end of March.

Wood succeeds Jane Beese in the role, who left the Roundhouse at the end of last year to take up the position as head of music at Manchester International Festival (MIF) after five years at the venue.

Having previously led the music programming for Latitude Festival, which last year saw performances from Lana Del Rey, George Ezra, Snow Patrol, Loyle Carner and Primal Scream, Wood will now head up the music team at the Roundhouse, which hosts over 100 shows a year, as well as in-house festivals In the Round and Roundhouse Rising.

With 15 years’ experience in the music industry, Wood has previously held roles at 19 Entertainment, Warp Records and Eat Your Own Ears, working on festivals such as Field Day and promoting shows by Grimes, the xx and Four Tet.

As part of her Roundhouse role, Wood will help expand the venue’s onsite music programme for 11 to 25 year olds, developing the current site with a new talent development centre.

“We are really looking forward to welcoming Lucy to the team at such an exciting time for the Roundhouse”

“We are really looking forward to welcoming Lucy to the team at such an exciting time for the Roundhouse,” says the Roundhouse programmes director Delia Barker.

“She has a great track record and is well respected across the industry and will bring an incredible energy to support our emerging artists – all whilst programming some of the biggest names in the world on our iconic stage.”

Wood comments: “I’ve had a brilliant three years working with amazing music from across the spectrum of genres at Latitude, as part of Festival Republic – building on my time promoting at London’s cherished Eat Your Own Ears.

“I’m thrilled to be joining the team at the Roundhouse, a world-class arts institution with incredible history, and to be supporting its exceptional work with young people.”

Upcoming acts playing at the Roundhouse include Sigala and the Growlers, as well as shows by Sports Team, Michael Kiwanuka, Kate Tempest and Roisin Murphy as part of the 6 Music Festival. The Strokes performed a special, intimate show at the venue last night (19 February).

 


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Jane Beese exits the Roundhouse for MIF

Manchester International Festival (MIF) has announced the appointment of Jane Beese, currently of London venue the Roundhouse, as head of music.

Beese is currently head of music at the 1,700-seat Roundhouse, in Camden, which she joined from the Southbank Centre/Meltdown Festival in 2015.

She joins MIF as it prepares to move to the Factory, a new arts venue being built in Manchester, which in addition to the festival will host around 80 music events annually.

Beese will work with external companies and the Factory’s artistic team to commission, present and co-promote a range of musical events, including both larger commissioned/interdisciplinary work and projects focused on emerging talent.

John McGrath, artistic director and chief executive of MIF and the Factory, says: “We’re delighted that Jane is joining the team as we get ready for the Factory. She has a fantastic track record that includes some of the most memorable live events of the last decade and relationships across the music industry, which will ensure the Factory is able to create a strong and distinctive music programme that will add to Manchester’s reputation as one of the greatest music cities in the world.”

“We’re of course sad to see Jane go, but we are excited for her”

“It’s a huge honour to be accepting the new role of head of music at Manchester International Festival and the Factory,” adds Beese, who moves into her new role next April. “Manchester has been responsible for all my formative music experiences and I’m really happy to be returning to a city that has always inspired me.

“I’ve had an amazing time working at the Roundhouse and I will miss it and the team deeply. But this is an opportunity like no other and I’m really excited to be joining the exceptional team at MIF at this pivotal juncture as we move toward the next Festival in 2021 and the historic opening of the Factory.

“The ethos and ambitions of the MIF are unparallelled, and I am most looking forward to engaging firsthand with the brilliant and visionary music community in Manchester.”

Notable past musical performances at MIF include Kraftwerk performing Tour de France alongside the British cycling team, Massive Attack collaborating with film director Adam Curtis, Kanye West’s first Manchester performance, a seven-day FKA Twigs residency and Gorillaz’s Demon Dayz Live.

Delia Barker, programmes director at the Roundhouse, says the venue will appoint a new head of music in the coming months. “We’re of course sad to see Jane go, but we are excited for her,” she tells IQ. “We’ll be looking to appoint to the role of head of music soon.”

 


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Apple Music Festival axed after a decade

Apple Music Festival (AMF) is no more, Apple has confirmed, bringing to an end its decade-long run bringing arena-sized acts to mid-sized London venues.

The festival previously took place in the last two weeks of September, but a line-up announcement had been conspicuously absent this year, leading to speculation it had been axed. The Roundhouse, the 3,300-cap. venue where AMF had taken place since 2009, had been telling customers the festival was no longer going ahead, and Apple confirmed the cancellation to MBW yesterday.

The annual concert series, which distributed free tickets to competition winners, was first held as iTunes Festival at ICA, moving to Koko for 2008 and the Roundhouse in 2009. It was rebranded Apple Music Festival in 2015.

Apple is still involved in live music, sponsoring various shows, notably Drake’s Summer Sixteen tour and, per MBW, London dates by Haim and Skepta and Brooklyn shows by Arcade Fire.

Artists who played iTunes/Apple Music Festival between 2007 and 2016 include Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, Lady Gaga, Adele, Elton John, Oasis, Britney Spears, One Direction and Take That.

 


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Beese: Balance key for venues promoting own shows

The Roundhouse’s head of music, Jane Beese, has spoken of the challenges involved in venues producing their own shows – and the importance of not “pissing off” promoters in the process.

Beese appeared at ILMC’s new Venue Summit on 9 March, where she was a panellist for the Industry relationships session alongside AEG Ogden’s Tim Horton, Emporium Presents’ Jason Zink, Kilimanjaro Live’s Stuart Galbraith, UTA’s Paul Ryan, Ticketmaster’s Doug Smith and chair Lucy Noble, of the Royal Albert Hall in London.

Noble asked all three venue operators (Beese, Horton and Noble) on the panel whether they promote their own shows – and, if so, how much friction it causes with promoters. Noble said part of her role at the Royal Albert Hall is to develop its own and co-productions, which currently make up around 14% of the venue’s total programming. These shows – although still a relatively small part of its business, so “no one should panic yet!” – are good for the venue as “we can control the brand more, have an input on artistic quality and link in our education and outreach programme,” she continued, “and, being honest, we do quite well financially out of them as well.”

Beese said the north London venue welcomes more than 100 shows a year from external promoters, so “balance is important: balance between promoters coming in, corporate events and our own programming, which also includes circus, spoken-word and performing-arts events.”

“We’ve had steal shows from us – and that’s the last time we’ll work with that venue”

“Promoters are a huge chunk of our business,” she continued, “so it’s not in our interest to be pissing them off.”

UTA agent Paul Ryan said he “see[s] it from both sides.” “The word ‘balance’ was used – I think that’s a good term,” he explained. “As an agent working across multiple territories, we’ve got to look at what’s good for the artist. Venues like the Royal Albert Hall and Roundhouse are a bit different, but if it’s a standard rock ’n’ roll venue […] there’s got to be a good reason why you’d want to go into a venue directly instead of dealing with a national promoter.”

Noble asked Kilimanjaro CEO Stuart Galbraith if he’d be angry if the Royal Albert Hall bid against him for a one-night show. “Yes!” he replied, to laughs. While “there are a lot of reasons why venues should self-promote in certain circumstances,” Galbraith said going promoter-free only works if the show is a “slam-dunk sell-out. If you’ve got a show that stops at 60% there’s nowhere else to go,” he commented. “That’s where we [the promoter] would make a difference.”

The reason he’d be angry if Kili and a venue both bid on the same show, he added, is because “you’d only bid on shows you think are going to sell out,” leaving the promoter to handle the riskier prospects.

Emporium Presents talent buyer Jason Zink said he’s had venues that have “stolen shows from us – and that’s the last time we’ll work with that venue.”

“Promoters are a huge chunk of our business. It’s not in our interest to be pissing them off”

The discussion also touched on ticketing: specifically the merits and drawbacks of venues operating their own box offices. Ticketmaster’s Doug Smith said it’s up to venues whether they want to ticket their own shows, but by doing so they miss out on Ticketmaster’s “good technology line [and] huge market reach.” “We want to assist you in selling out your venue,” he commented.

Zink said venues have be to sure that if they do go the self-ticketing route, they have the infrastructure in place to deal with demand. “We had a case last year – an arena show – where the website went down for an hour after on-sale,” he said. “That’s not acceptable: if people can’t buy tickets when they want to.”

Beese said the Roundhouse holds on to 70% of ticket inventory, with the remaining 30% going to the promoter. That’s not enough, said Galbraith: “Many venues now are saying you need to give us 60–70%, and then the only tickets that aren’t selling are the venue’s allocation. I have to pay to take them out of the box office, which is wrong. […] Venues are stopping us being able to effectively promote.”

“The proportion held back is sometimes an issue,” agreed Ryan. “As an agent, all I really care about is having those tickets spread as widely as possible.”

 


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Ibis Hotels, Roundhouse launch concert series

Four Roundhouse resident artists will take to the stage at the Ibis London City hotel in Shoreditch, east London, next month for the first ‘Ibis Lates’ session.

The concert series, a joint venture between hotel chain Ibis (owned by French multinational AccorHotels) and 3,300-cap. Camden venue the Roundhouse, will also visit Ibis hotels throughout the UK, including in Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh.

Performing at the Ibis London City (pictured) on Thursday 10 November will be Estée Blu, Jay Johnson, Soma and Nikita Chauhan, all of whom are part of the Roundhouse’s resident artists programme.

“Our partnership with Ibis Hotels gives some of our incredible resident artists the opportunity to perform to audiences beyond the Roundhouse”

Ibis recently became the Roundhouse’s official hotel partner – a partnership “centre[d] on cultivating a collaboration that’s deeply rooted in the brands’ shared passion to provide visitors with the most fulfilling and enjoyable experiences,” says Ibis.

James Wheatcroft, Ibis’s marketing director for budget and economy brands, comments: “We want everyone to feel famous at Ibis, and with Ibis Lates we hope to give everyone a little taste of being VIP backstage with a band. It’s going to be great fun to see our social spaces in Ibis taken over for a late night with some new young talent from The Roundhouse.”

Roundhouse corporate partnerships manager Phil Eacott adds: “Our partnership with Ibis Hotels gives some of our incredible resident artists the opportunity to perform to audiences beyond the Roundhouse. We’re really looking forward to the series of gigs and programming even more of our best young emerging artists.”

 


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Sir Paul backs MVT: ‘We need places to start out’

Following yesterday’s well-received third Venues Day event at the Roundhouse, Sir Paul McCartney has affirmed his support for Music Venue Trust’s efforts to protect the UK’s grassroots music venues.

The ex-Beatle, who on Saturday played the second and final weekend of the Desert Trip ‘megafestival’ in California, says: “Throughout my career I’ve been lucky enough to play in venues of all different shapes and sizes, from tiny clubs to massive stadiums all over the world. Without grassroots clubs, pubs and music venues my career could have been very different.

“I support Music Venue Trust because artists need places to start out, develop and work on their craft, and small venues have been the cornerstone for this. If we don’t support live music at this level then the future of music in general is in danger.”

“Without grassroots clubs, pubs and music venues, my career could have been very different”

Also throwing their weight behind MVT’s mission are writer, comedian and ‘national treasure’ Stephen Fry, Jeremy Pritchard of Everything Everything and Public Service Broadcasting’s J. Willgoose, Esq. (the latter two of whom performed at the post-Venues Day #Fightback show).

Fry comments: “Are you fed up with our music venues being closed down by greedy and short-sighted developers and people with no sense of culture? Let’s club together and #Fightback.”

Willgoose adds: “”We’re firmly behind  Music Venue Trust and its support for grassroots venues across the country. Too many venues have been lost in recent years and those that survive are under unprecedented pressure from unscrupulous developers, with little protection offered to them by the government, be it national or local.”

 


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MVT announces Fightback fundraiser

Music Venue Trust (MVT) has announced a one-off concert to raise money for a new emergency fund for small venues facing closure.

Taking place at the Roundhouse in London on Tuesday 18 October, Fightback has, says MVT’s Mark Davyd, “no artists booked and no infrastructure confirmed, because this is urgent. What’s happening to our music venues is an emergency which should concern every music fan, every musician and everybody working in the music industry in the UK.

“As of 9am this morning we genuinely don’t know who is playing. It might be me with a ukulele and a bass drum tied to my back, or it might be the biggest artist in the world. We’re asking music fans from across London to please join us for just one night to say loudly and clearly that we’ve all had enough of music venue closures and we aren’t going to put up with it any more.”

Davyd tells IQ the decision to launch the initiative so soon after the closure of Fabric is “timely, as there’s a lot of attention” on the club, but that a “lack of the best legal advice and expert opinion” is an ongoing issue that’s the “key factor closing music venues across the UK”.

“A lack of the best legal advice and expert opinion accounts for more than 50% of all the issues that come across our desk”

“To be exact, it accounts for more than 50% of all the issues that come across our desk,” he explains. “The venues don’t have the money or the information to get good advice, so they either do nothing – which is terrible – or they do the wrong thing – which is even worse – and then we find out about it and, by then, it’s already a massive problem.

“We changed the National Planning Framework to protect music venues in January 2015. The number of times this has been referenced by local lawyers or anybody else objecting to a planning application is almost exactly zero. So we need to put in place a national team who know this issue inside out and make it available to everyone.”

Tickets for Fightback will be available from Monday from the Roundhouse website, with early-bird tickets priced at £10. The price will increase as artists are confirmed.

 


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TicketWeb signs up as second Venues Day sponsor

TicketWeb has been announced as the second headline sponsor for Venues Day 2016.

The company, a Ticketmaster UK-owned ticketing platform for independent live music, shares Venues Day organiser Music Venue Trust (MVT)’s “ambition to help protect, preserve and improve the UK’s grassroots music venues”, says MVT, and joins UK Music – announced as the first headline sponsor in April – as the second confirmed partner of the event.

Sam Isles, managing director of TicketWeb, says: “Independent live music is what we’re all about, and grassroots music venues are the backbone of the industry. With these venues emerging acts have a place to shine, and fans have a place to discover amazing new music.

“Independent live music is what we’re all about, and grassroots music venues are the backbone of the industry”

“This is why we passionately support Music Venue Trust and look forward to sponsoring Venues Day.”

Venues Day, aimed at those who own or operate small and medium independent music venues in the UK, this year takes place at a new venue, the Roundhouse in Camden, on 18 October.

TicketWeb earlier this week revealed plans to partner with independent British concert promoters to showcase local talent, starting with Brighton-based CloseUp Promotions.

 


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