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Shazam integrates Bandsintown for concert discovery

Shazam, the Apple-owned music identification app, is leveraging concert data from Bandsintown to help users across the world discover upcoming concerts. The partnership will enable users to find information and tickets for nearby concerts by ‘Shazaming’ a song or searching for it in the app or on the website.

Users can also launch a Shazam Artist page to explore dates, times and locations of upcoming live shows, tap on any concert to view additional tour information, share show details, and add events to their calendar.

“With the re-emergence of live music, we’re excited to give Shazam users access to concerts”

“Shazam has a long history of innovation in music discovery and connecting artists and fans,” says Oliver Schusser, Apple’s vice president of Apple Music and Beats. “With the re-emergence of live music, we’re excited to give Shazam users access to concerts and bring even more discoverability to artists.”

Fabrice Sergent, managing partner of Bandsintown, adds: “As live music returns, we’re on a mission to help artists get more visibility for their shows. Pent-up demand from fans eager to go back to concerts is being met by an unprecedented level of live shows from artists on tour.”

Bandsintown currently serves over 68 million music fans and 560,000 artists, managers, labels and booking agents. Meanwhile, Shazam counts over 225 million monthly active users, with more than 1 billion song recognitions per month and over 50 billion total since its inception.

Shazam previously partnered with WMG-owned concert discovery platform, Songkick, to integrate gig listings on the platform.

 


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Songkick promotes Sarah Jones to GM

Concert discovery service Songkick has elevated Sarah Jones to general manager.

Based out of Songkick’s London HQ, Jones will succeed MD Bill Ashton, who will be leaving the business at the end of March.

Jones will oversee the launch of Songkick Campaigns, a “first of its kind” marketing service that allows for direct and bespoke fan messaging and also enables tour marketers to control how to activate marketing campaigns and promote tours directly to fans.

Recorded music giant Warner Music Group (WMG), one of the ‘big three’ record labels, acquired “selected assets” from Songkick in 2017, including its concert-discovery app, website and the Songkick trademark.

“I’m elated to have the opportunity to take up this role at Songkick,” says Jones. “After a long hiatus, live music is finally back in a big way and we’re already seeing a 50% increase in fans indicating their intent to attend concerts, in comparison to pre-Covid times. Our teams are more ready than ever before to support fans and artists, wherever they are in the world, as they venture back to the live music experience once again.”

Jones joined Songkick in 2018 as commercial director, before being promoted to VP, commercial in 2021. Previously, she spent 14 years with the BBC, where she headed up its global partnership strategy across its video and podcast portfolio.

“When live music ground to a halt, Sarah and Bill were central to the business pivoting and finding new ways to engage our audiences and artists”

“Sarah’s track record is incredible and I can’t think of a better person to take the reins of Songkick,” adds Benjamin Blank, president of WMG’s media business. “I’m sad to see Bill leave, and I want to thank him for all he’s done and for leaving the business on such a high.

“When live music ground to a halt, Sarah and Bill were central to the business pivoting and finding new ways to engage our audiences and artists. I’m excited to see Sarah and the team accelerate the Songkick mission of enabling artists to strengthen and deepen their relationship with a growing global audience of passionate engaged fans”

More than 19 million music fans worldwide use Songkick to track their favourite artists, discover concerts and buy tickets. Its Songkick Tourbox feature, meanwhile, provides tools for artist teams to manage and promote tour dates globally.

Elsewhere, Simon McCabe, who joined Songkick in 2021, has been promoted to VP, technology, WMX Media, WMG’s next generation services division.

 


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Spotify debuts virtual concert listings

Spotify has announced it will start integrating virtual concert listings into its music streaming platform.

In a Spotify for Artists blog post yesterday (15 September), the streaming giant said it has partnered with Songkick and Ticketmaster to introduce virtual event listings for individual artist profiles, as well as its main concerts page.

“With many tours postponed until 2021, the necessity for these virtual events is set to continue, and we want to make it easy for Spotify listeners to learn about virtual events for the artists they love, as well as artists they’re discovering for the very first time,” reads the post. “In light of this, we’ve leveraged our partnership[s] with Songkick – the livestream concert discovery app – and Ticketmaster to make it happen.”

“We want to make it easy for Spotify listeners to learn about virtual events”

The announcement confirms earlier rumours that Spotify was working on a virtual event discovery feature to build on its existing concert listings.

Artists are encouraged to list future livestreams through concert discovery platform Songkick, as they will populate artist pages automatically. “Select” Ticketmaster events will also be automatically listed.

Spotify will also mail users recommendations for virtual concerts, which can be staged on any platform – including Twitch, Instagram Live and YouTube – as long as they are listed through Songkick or Ticketmaster.

 


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Warner Music Group files for IPO

Label giant Warner Music Group (WMG), which owns a number of live assets in addition to its recorded music interests, has announced plans for an initial public offering (IPO).

The number of shares of common stock to be offered and the price of the offering have not yet been disclosed.

The announcement signals WMG’s return to the stock market, where it traded until 2011, before being bought by British billionaire Len Blavatnik through his company Access Industries for US$3.3 billion.

The news comes after the recent valuation of rival Universal Music Group at over US$30 billion, following Chinese entertainment giant Tencent’s acquisition of a 10% stake in the company.

The announcement signals WMG’s return to the stock market, where it traded until 2011

The Warner Music Group includes the records labels Warner, Atlantic, Elektra and Parlophone, publishing and global music distribution arms and is home to artists including Ed Sheeran, Cardi B, Dua Lipa and Bruno Mars.

WMG’s live music interests include concert discovery platform Songkick, Finnish promoter Warner Music Live and management company Umbrella Artists Productions, which it owns with promoter FKP Scorpio.

Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs are managing the flotation.

WMG’s filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commissions (SEC) can be read here.

 


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Songkick appoints new managing directors

Aaron Randall and Bill Ashton have been appointed joint managing directors of concert discovery platform Songkick.

Randall was formerly Songkick’s chief technology officer, while Ashton moves into the role from parent company Warner Music Group, where he was senior vice-president of artist services. Outgoing CEO Mark McIntyre will remain with Songkick in an advisory capacity while also working on other Warner projects.

London-based Songkick has seen strong growth since coming under Warner Music ownership, with 2019 seeing record uplift in audience, traffic and revenue figures, according to the record label group. The platform is now used by 15 million fans worldwide to discover concerts and track their favourite artists.

Warner acquired Songkick’s live music discovery business in mid-2017, while the Songkick ticketing platform was wound up after being absorbed into Live Nation following the settling of their long-running lawsuit.

“Together, they’re the perfect choice to take the lead”

In a joint statement, Randall and Ashton – who will report to Emmy Lovell, EVP of WEA Europe – say: “This is a hugely exciting time for Songkick. We’ve got ambitious expansion plans and we’re delighted to lead the team as we set about implementing them.

“Building connections between fans and artists is what really excites us and that ethos is at the heart of Songkick’s business. We want to keep developing our technology and products so we can super-serve and further grow our community of passionate, engaged users.”

“Bill was instrumental in helping bring Songkick into Warner Music and aligning its strategy with ours, while Aaron has developed its unbeatable tech that makes it such a user friendly experience,” adds Lovell.

“Together, they’re the perfect choice to take the lead as we seek to further accelerate Songkick’s growth.”

 


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Marshmello ticket searches spike after Fortnite concert

Concert discovery platform Songkick has released data revealing a vast increase in fans searching for real-life Marshmello tickets, following the electronic dance music star’s virtual concert on online video game Fortnite.

Marshmello’s in-game Fortnite concert on Saturday attracted over ten million fans, in the best attended “concert” ever. This popularity is now manifesting itself in real-life ticket sales.

Marshmello is now the most-visited artist on the Songkick platform. Since Saturday, the DJ received twice as many pages views as K-pop band BTS, voted the most popular live attraction of 2018 by Ticketmaster customers.

According to Songkick, Marshmello’s pageviews spiked 3,000% on Saturday, an increase which is yet to diminish.

On Sunday, the day after the Fortnite concert, more fans searched for Marshmello tickets on the Songkick platform than ever before.

The DJ received twice as many page views as K-pop band BTS, Ticketmaster’s most popular live attraction of 2018

The search interest is enough “to fill out an entire US sports stadium”, according to the concert discovery site.

Marshmello’s varied touring schedule includes dates in India, Thailand, Australia and Japan over the next two months, before the electronic music producer embarks on a European tour in May.

More than ten million people are believed to have attended the concert in the popular free-to-play game, Fortnite, on Saturday. The number of players that tuned in for the performance greatly surpassed the game’s previous 8.3 million concurrent player record.

The Marshmello x Fortnite concert comes following Fire Festival, a virtual music festival hosted inside Minecraft, as the concept of in-game live music events grows.

Marshmello Fortnite concert most attended in history

 


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Songkick 2.0 partners with ticket-seller Fnac

Concert discovery platform Songkick – last month relieved of the last of its ticketing infrastructure by former legal adversary Live Nation, following the shuttering of its ticket sales division in October – has partnered with French ticketing giant Fnac.

According to the International Ticketing Yearbook 2017, Fnac – which owns France Billet, Carrefour Spectacles and its own ticket agency, Fnac Spectacles – is the market leader in France, selling nearly 14m tickets annually through its online platform and its network of more than 1,200 physical shops, including its Fnac music retail stores.

Songkick, now owned by Warner Music Group, simultaneously announced a deal with Facebook to add concerts from its listings onto the social network.

The new partnerships follow deals with internet radio/streaming service Pandora and music video platform Vevo.

“Our team is growing, and our plans for the years ahead are more ambitious than ever”

“We have tapped into Warner’s global infrastructure and existing fan base to accelerate growth and solidify Songkick’s status as the best concert discovery tool in the market,” says Tony Harlow, president of WMG’s label services division, WEA. “We know that Songkick users are highly engaged passionate music fans and we strive to provide them more content, access and rewards for their enthusiasm.”

“Since we joined forces with Tony and his amazing team at WEA, we’ve been in growth mode, striking a series of deals with distribution and ticketing partners aimed at expanding our global presence,” adds Songkick’s CTO, Mark McIntyre. “Our team is growing, and our plans for the years ahead are more ambitious than ever. We’re off to a great start and are looking forward to building on this exciting partnership.”

 


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Live Nation acquires Songkick assets, settles suit

Live Nation today announced the acquisition of much of the remaining assets of the company formerly known as Songkick, Complete Entertainment Resources Group (CERG), settling out of court a costly legal dispute set to go to trial later this month.

Songkick’s concert discovery platform was acquired by Warner Music Group last July – an acquisition that specifically excluded its ticketing business, formerly known as Crowdsurge, and the “pending litigation” associated with it. As of October, a “skeleton crew” of around a dozen ticketing staff had been retained to work full time on the court case.

Live Nation’s acquisitions include Songkick’s ticketing platform, anti-touting algorithm, API applications and portfolio of patents, all of which it acquired for an undisclosed sum.

“We are pleased that we were able to resolve this dispute and avoid protracted and costly legal proceedings”

A source close to the situation tells IQ Songkick additionally accepted a US$110m settlement offer to avoid the suit – which centred on alleged abuses of the Live Nation’s “monopoly power” to stifle competition in the US ticketing market – going to trial.

“We are pleased that we were able to resolve this dispute and avoid protracted and costly legal proceedings, while also acquiring valuable assets,” says Joe Berchtold, president of Live Nation.

Matt Jones, CERG’s CEO, adds: “We are glad to have resolved this litigation and thank all the employees, artists and industry partners who contributed so much to our many successes over the last decade.”

 


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Eventim: “We will not accept” anti-exclusive contract ruling

CTS Eventim is to take to the courts in a bid to overturn a surprise ban, announced today, on its use of exclusivity agreements with promoters and box offices in Germany.

The new ruling, by the Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt), prohibits the Munich-based ticketing giant – which, with a 50–70% marketshare, is by far the German market leader, according to the International Ticketing Yearbook 2017 – of requiring partners to “only sell tickets exclusively or to a considerable extent via CTS’s eventim.net ticket sales system” – something it claims is an abuse of the company’s dominant market position.

According to the Bundeskartellamt, these “abusive exclusivity contracts with event organisers and advance booking offices” are shutting out competing ticketers and “encouraging a general trends towards further monopolisation” in Germany. Under today’s judgment, Eventim partners must have the option of selling at least 20% of their inventory annually via other ticket agencies, if their deal with the company is longer than two years. CTS has been given four months to comply with the ruling.

Andreas Mundt, president of the Bundeskartellamt, says: “As the operator of the largest ticketing system in Germany, CTS Eventim holds a dominant position in the market. Under competition law, a company with such a market position has special obligations.

“Where CTS Eventim commits its contract partners to sell tickets exclusively via its own ticketing system, the company is abusing its market power to the detriment of competition. With our decision, substantial ticket quotas will be freed up for sale via competing ticketing systems.”

The case has echoes of Songkick’s legal complaint against Live Nation/Tickmaster, which similarly alleges the US market leader is abusing its “monopoly power”, including exclusivity arrangements with major venues, to stifle competition in that market.

“We regret that the agency has not adequately considered our strong counter-arguments”

In a statement issued today, CTS Eventim says it will seek legal redress, and accuses the Bundeskartellamt of making a biased decision that fails to take into account the changing face of ticketing in Germany.

“The decision of the Federal Cartel Office ignores the fierce competition in the market for ticket services, which is constantly increasing as a result of frequent market entries by digital providers from Germany and abroad,” it reads.

“Against this background, we have to assume that the Cartel Office has gone into this procedure with a preconceived notion that does not adequately reflect this development. All the investigations in the three-year proceedings were apparently aimed at confirming this belief.

“We regret that the agency has not adequately considered our strong counter-arguments, especially as they are supported by current studies and economic expert reports. [If] they had, the investigation would have led to a different outcome.”

“For these reasons,” the statement concludes, “we will not accept the decision of the Federal Cartel Office and [will] engage the courts to correct it.”

The Bundeskartellamt last month blocked CTS Eventim’s acquisition of promoter/agency Four Artists, also on competition grounds.

 


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LN on course for another record year after ‘best Q3 ever’

Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino has praised the ‘resilience’ of the concert business to attacks such as those in Manchester and Las Vegas, as the live music giant posted its best third-quarter results to date.

Speaking to investors yesterday, Rapino said Live Nation has seen “increased ticket sales since September” and “no effect at all on the business” from the shooting at its Route 91 Harvest festival, saying a combination of the “diversity” of Live Nation’s “global business” – and the industry’s collective response to terrorism, with all major players “doing a better job over the last five years of upgrading its on-site [security]” – means the company is still on course for its best year to date.

In Q3, Live Nation’s year-on-year revenue was up 12% to US$3.6bn, with operating income up 5% (to $201m) and adjusted operating income (AOI) up 10% (to $335m); in the nine months ending 30 September, meanwhile, revenue grew 19%, operating income 26% and AOI 16%. All three Live Nation Entertainment divisions – concerts, advertising and ticketing – delivered their strongest quarterly AOI results ever, Rapino said.

Live Nation’s 20,000+ concerts were attended by 65m people – a 16% rise – with revenue climbing 11% to $2.9bn, while revenue from sponsorship/advertising grew 16% to $158m, and ticketing 17% to $532m. Underlying Ticketmaster’s growth, said Rapino, is its “product innovation”, including the roll-out of its Verified Fan platform and moving to solely digital ticketing with the National Football League (NFL).

“We are confident that our strong performance will deliver another year of record top line”

Verified Fan has reportedly reduced the number of tickets finding their way to the secondary market by 90%, with Rapino predicting that, by the end of the year, “we will deliver three million tickets to Verified Fans, saving them $100m relative to buying on secondary sites after bots got the tickets first.” (Live Nation no longer provides separate financial results for its primary and secondary ticketing platforms.)

Live Nation COO Joe Berchtold also touched briefly on the ongoing Songkick lawsuit, telling investor Brandon Ross of BTIG – who asked if the company’s legal fees (included in a loss of $41.3m associated with “other [costs] and eliminations”) would be “something that’s ongoing” – he expects, “hopefully, to get that resolved and move on, but in the near term, there is a bit of costs associated with that.”

Commenting on the results, Rapino says: “As we approach the end of 2017, we are confident that our strong performance will deliver another year of record top line, operating income and AOI.  All of our businesses – concerts, advertising and ticketing – have delivered growth for the nine months, and based on their key operating metrics, we currently expect each to deliver record revenue, operating income and AOI for the full year.

“As we look forward, we see tremendous opportunities to continue global consolidation of our concerts and ticketing businesses, and for further growth in advertising and ticketing from the concerts flywheel.”

 


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