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Ariana Grande to headline Fortnite’s Rift Tour

Ariana Grande will be the next artist to perform an in-game concert for the hugely popular multiplayer video game, Fortnite.

The Grammy award-winning artist is set to headline the forthcoming Rift Tour, a virtual ‘musical experience’ that will take place within the online game.

The Rift Tour comprises five shows in early August: Friday 6 August at 18:00 ET, Saturday 7 August at 14:00 ET and Sunday 6 August at 00:00 ET, 10:00 ET and 18:00 ET.

“Working with Epic and the Fortnite team to bring my music to life inside the game has been so fun and such an honour,” says Grande. “I can’t wait to join my fans and see all of your reactions to such an unforgettable, magical journey to new realities.”

“Fortnite is a place for the imagination and the impossible”

Fortnite is a place for the imagination and the impossible. With the Rift Tour, we’re bringing a musical journey to life that players can experience, feel, and join alongside their friends,” says Phil Rampulla, head of brand for Fortnite developer Epic Games.

“We’re so grateful to have an iconic superstar like Ariana Grande and her team join us for a musical experience at metaverse scale, and for players and fans alike to experience the Rift Tour!”

Republic Records-signed Ariana Grande is the latest artist to perform within Fortnite, after the likes of Marshmello, Travis Scott, Steve Aoki, Deadmau5, Easy Life and J. Balvin.

The singer’s performance follows a virtual show at the in-game O2 in June, which was performed by the UK act Easy Life.

The iconic London venue became the first real-world arena to get its own venue in Fortnite. 

Watch a teaser for Ariana Grande’s appearance on the Rift Tour below.


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Super Bowl party organisers slammed for unsafe gigs

Rapper 50 Cent and DJ Steve Aoki both performed at Super Bowl parties during the weekend where there were no masks or social distancing.

The ‘In Da Club’ rapper celebrated the annual championship game of the NFL (National Football League) with a performance in an airport hangar in St Petersburg, Florida, with a crowd of maskless fans who had paid between $85 and $7,000, according to TMZ.

The concert was slammed by St Petersburg mayor, Rick Kriseman, who tweeted: “This isn’t how we should be celebrating the Super Bowl. It’s not safe or smart. It’s stupid. We’re going to take a very close look at this, and it may end up costing someone a lot more than 50 cent.”

Aoki, meanwhile, played a gig at WTR Tampa Pool inside the Godfrey Waterfront Hotel, at which he shared a bottle of champagne with a few fans in the huge, maskless crowd.

The Tampa Police Department said: “Scenes from WTR last night and a few other clubs were incredibly disappointing. The city spent the better part of a year educating residents on precautions due to the pandemic and have recently put a mask order in place for both the entertainment and event zones to ensure the safety of our residents and visitors to our great city.

“We’re going to take a very close look at this, and it may end up costing someone a lot more than 50 cent”

“When the governor lifted the capacity restrictions and opened bars, we turned to the tight-knit hospitality community to reopen safe and sound but there’s a level of personal responsibility that must be followed or risk getting shut down.”

The event organiser, Michael Piper, says the concert was in a 40,000 square-foot outdoor space with sanitation stations throughout and Covid-symptom detectors at the entrance – adding, “It’s the best we can do”.

“I’m not sure what else [we could do],” said Piper. “We expanded the area. We encourage masks. We clean. We put up the machines that can help identify someone who maybe didn’t know they had it.”

Dr Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to US president Joe Biden, had urged Americans to watch the Super Bowl within their immediate households due to the coronavirus pandemic, saying large events could become “mini super spreader” events.

Around 25,000 people were in attendance at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, to see the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Kansas City Chiefs for the Super Bowl 2021.

 


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IMS: Covid-19 set to cost electronic sector $4bn

After slight growth in 2019, the value of the global electronic music industry is estimated to fall by 56% this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the latest edition of the annual International Music Summit (IMS) business report has revealed.

The yearly report, which is usually presented at the IMS conference in Ibiza, this year cancelled due to the pandemic, states the value of the electronic is sector is set to fall from $7.3 billion to $3.3bn this year, with dance and electronic clubs and festivals set to lose 75% of their income, equivalent to $3.3bn.

By 20 April, around 350 electronic music festivals had been cancelled or postponed, the majority in Germany, with almost 9 million fans unable to attend. According to event discovery and ticketing platform Skiddle, around 4,000 electronic music events in total have been affected by Covid-19 so far.

In Ibiza alone, 2m club tickets were sold last year, with clubbers spending €260m and contributing €500m to the local economy. Bigger clubs and mid-sized venues (over 300-cap.) on the island are to remain shut this season.

DJ and artist income is predicted to fall by as much as 61%, from $1.1bn in 2019 to $400m in 2020. Earnings of the top-ten electronic artists had increased 4% year-on-year in 2019, with the Chainsmokers ($46m) and Marshmello (40m) coming in as the highest earners.

Despite a bleak outlook for 2020, the IMS report notes that the positive trends that led to growth in 2019 – the first since 2016 – “should help fuel a strong recovery in the coming years”.

“The value of the global electronic music industry is estimated to fall be 56% this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic”

The report also details the sector’s livestreaming success. It it predicted that streaming will grow by 18% in 2020, with continued growth expected to generate around $100m in additional revenue for the dance and electronic sector this year.

In May 2020, seven of the ten most watched music streamers on Twitch were electronic focused, totalling 6m viewer hours. EDM promoter Insomniac racked up 2.6m viewers hours by running virtual versions of their events, including the Electric Daisy Carnival rave-a-thon. The promoter is putting on digital editions of Secret Project, Peekaboo and Awakening festivals later this month.

The IMS report also shows that DJs who performed in the video game Fortnite, following the initial success of Marshmello, saw their Instagram followers grow by ten times during and after the event.

Dillon Francis, Steve Aoki and Deadmau5 played the launch of the game’s virtual hang-out Party Royale mode, adding a collective 55,000 to their Instagram followers in four days.

Overall, however, it is believed that livestreamed events, as well as other alternatives including drive-in shows and socially distanced club nights, are “unlikely to be commercially viable, with live streams serving predominantly to raise money for good causes and capacities art physical shows greatly reduced.

Some platforms have started to adapt to paid-for models, the report notes, with Soundcloud introudincing a ‘support link’ button for fan contributions; TikTok launching ‘donation stickers’ for good causes; and Festicket allowing the sale of merchandise. Brands including Coca-Cola, Amazon and Henieken have also sponsored DJ live streams.

The full report is available to download here.

 


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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Fortnite launches Party Royale with Steve Aoki, Deadmau5 shows

Epic Games, developer of Fortnite, has announced another in-game concert, this time featuring dance music DJs Dillon Francis, Steve Aoki and Deadmau5.

The Party Royale Premiere event, which celebrates the launch of a new mode of the same name, will take place today (Friday  8 May) at 9pm ET (1am GMT), with a rebroadcast at 2pm (7pm GMT) on Saturday.

Party Royale is set on a new violence-free map with no weapons allowed, and comes as Epic seeks to increase the number of music events in Fortnite and grow the game as a space for online meet-ups, following Travis Scott’s record-breaking pre-recorded performance last month.

After the show, players on the Party Royale island will be able to “try aerial obstacle courses at Skydive Rift, participate in boat races at Fishsticks’ Boat Race and grab new items in the Plaza”, the BBC reports.

 


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MDL Beast festival to debut in Saudi Arabia

David Guetta, Martin Garrix and Steve Aoki are among acts confirmed for electronic dance music (EDM) festival MDL Beast, the latest addition to Saudi Arabia’s flourishing festival scene.

The inaugural MDL Beast festival is taking place from 19 to 21 December 2019 in Riyadh, home to the 70,000-capacity King Fahd Stadium which recently hosted k-pop stars BTS.

The multi-stage festival will feature 18 international headliners and 28 global dance acts including Afrojack, Camelphat, J Balvin and Tiësto, as well as 24 local and regional performers, such as EDM DJ Cosmicat and local DJ duo Dish Dash.

Steve Aoki, who this summer performed at Roqu Media’s Jeddah World Fest – the first, major, ticketed music festival in the country – comments: “When I got the offer to play at the three-day MDL Beast festival, I was thrilled to become part of it and be back in the region again. It’s go[ing to] be an incredible event with tons of acts and lots of new names.”

“We’re confident MDL Beast will be like nothing seen before and we cannot wait to experience this transformative musical milestone”

Ahmad Alammary, DJ and member of the festival team, adds: “More than just a music festival, MDL Beast is also a platform with multiple [projects] including ongoing seasonal local and global events, online and radio channels, recording studios, and a non-profit foundation promoting music education and therapy.

“We’re confident MDL Beast will be like nothing seen before and we cannot wait to experience this transformative musical milestone.”

“I’m so proud of the fact that we’re hosting this festival in Saudi; it’s a great reflection of the Saudi audience being able to experience the music they love,” comments Cosmicat. “As one of the first female EDM DJs here, I’m excited to be flying the flag and representing women on the scene.”

As Saudi Arabia continues to boost its live entertainment offering and cement its place on the international touring map, criticism is still levelled at artists who opt to play in the kingdom. Nicki Minaj pulled out of Jeddah World Fest following pressure from human rights organisations and BTS’ appearance in the country sparked a mixed reaction from fans.

Fans can register for tickets to the MDL Beast here.

 


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Spain’s Monegros festival back after 5-year break

The Arnau family, the group behind Spanish promoter Elrow, has announced the return of electronic music event Monegros Desert Festival, which has been on an extended hiatus since 2014.

The last edition of Monegros festival attracted 40,000 fans to dance in the desert to sets by Skrillex, Carl Cox, Steve Aoki and Boys Noize. The 2015 edition, which was to see a reduced capacity of 20,000, was “suddenly suspended” two months prior to the event, according to local media.

After days of teasing, the festival’s return was revealed on Facebook, with the bilingual statement: ¡Monegros ha veulto! Monegros is back!

The 2020 festival, which will include more than 20 hours of music, will take place on 1 August in the eponymous desert in northeast Spain, marking the 21st edition of the event.

“We are not coming back to do something predictable”

“We are not coming back to do something predictable,” says festival owner Juan Arnau. “We want to produce the biggest festival ever seen in the history of Monegros.”

Arnau’s father, Juan Arnau Duran, launched Monegros Groove Parade in 1994, later renaming the event to Monegros Desert Festival. Arnau Duran’s children, Juan and Cruz Arnau, now own and run the event.

The pair are also the current owners and managers of the Elrow brand and the founders of the Elrow parties, which happen at major clubs and festivals worldwide. James Barton-led Superstruct Entertainment invested in the Barcelona-based promoter in 2017.

Acts to have performed at past Monegros festivals include the Prodigy, Underworld, Public Enemy, Justice and Richie Hawtin.

Fans can sign up for pre-sale tickets, which become available on 15 October at 12 p.m. (CET), here. Priority access to tickets is limited to 3,000.

 


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Nicki Minaj pulls out of Saudi music festival

Rapper Nick Minaj has cancelled her upcoming performance at Jeddah World Fest in Saudi Arabia, citing support for women’s rights, the LGBTQ community and freedom of expression.

Minaj was billed to perform alongside EDM artist Steve Aoki and former One Direction member Liam Payne at Saudi Arabia’s largest-ever music festival, which takes place on Thursday 18 July at the 63,241-capacity King Abdullah Sports Stadium in Jeddah.

“After careful reflection I have decided to no longer move forward with my scheduled concert at Jeddah World Fest,” the singer said in a statement.

“While I want nothing more than to bring my show to fans in Saudi Arabia, after better educating myself on the issues, I believe it is important for me to make clear my support for the rights of women, the LGBTQ community and freedom of expression.”

The decision comes after the president of US-based Human Rights Foundation (HRF) penned an open letter to Minaj asking her to cancel the appearance “as a symbol of solidarity with the ongoing suffering of the Saudi people.”

“After better educating myself on the issues, I believe it is important for me to make clear my support for the rights of women, the LGBTQ community and freedom of expression”

HRF president Thor Halvorssen detailed cases of human rights abuses in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which he describes as “one of the most repressive regimes on earth”.

Halvorssen has since praised Minaj’s decision to pull out of the festival, and urged Payne to do the same.

“We are grateful to Nicki Minaj for her inspiring and thoughtful decision to reject the Saudi regime’s transparent attempt at using her for a public relations stunt,” writes the HRF president.

After years of restrictions on entertainment, Jeddah World Fest signifies the next step in Saudi Arabia’s embrace of live music events.

A post on the festival’s Facebook page states that Minaj had cancelled “due to personal reasons”. A second wave performers will be announced later this week.

The kingdom hosted its first mixed gender music festival in December, featuring artists including Jason Derulo, Enrique Iglesias and David Guetta. A US$2.7 billion fund was established in 2017 to kickstart the entertainment sector.

 


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Nicki Minaj to headline Saudi Arabia’s first major music fest

After hosting its first-ever gender-integrated concert series at the Formula E ePrix last December, the rapidly liberalising kingdom of Saudi Arabia is preparing for its first major music festival, which debuts this month.

Part of the Jeddah Season festival, Jeddah World Fest, organised by Ireland-based Roqu Media International, will take place at King Abdullah Sports Stadium (63,241-cap.) in Jeddah on Thursday 18 July, and feature international performers including Nicki Minaj, Steve Aoki and former One Direction member Liam Payne.

It is the latest and most significant move by Saudi Arabia’s rulers to open up the conservative Islamic kingdom – which until recently considered secular music haram, or sinful – to touring live entertainment, and comes nearly two years after the General Authority for Entertainment (GEA), the body tasked with driving growth in the entertainment sector, announced a US$2.7 billion fund to attract international partners.

Commenting on the line-up, Roqu’s Robert Quirke says Minaj (pictured) is “an absolute global icon. She has 130 million followers on Instagram, she is considered one of the top 10 female performers of all time, she’s had multiple awards and she’ll have her new album come out this year.

“She is going to get a lot of attention for Jeddah in the most positive way you can imagine. She’s going to be actively on her social media, she’ll be posting right from the stage in Jeddah and at her hotel in Jeddah. Everyone is going to know that Nicki Minaj has landed in Saudi Arabia.”

“Everyone is going to know that Nicki Minaj has landed in Saudi Arabia”

Other performers include Ministry of Sound-signed DJs R3wire and Varski, who “will make sure that the crowd stays absolutely pumped” between artist sets, adds Quirke.

The event will also be streamed live internationally, according to Raed Abuzinadah, the director-general of Jeddah Season, who says Jeddah World Fest is set to be “the largest musical festival of its kind in the region, that will be broadcast to a global audience in more than 100 countries,” reports Gulf News.

“There is a stereotype of the kingdom all over the world, and today it is disappearing,” Abuzinadah told reporters recently. “In its place is a new picture of the kingdom that accepts everyone. “This is the first global music festival of this scale in [Saudi Arabia] and is sure to absolutely wow the lucky audience in Jeddah like never before.”

Tickets are being sold via the website of Sharek, Saudi Arabia’s new e-visa system.

 


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Electroland to return in 2018 after ‘magical’ debut

Electroland, the one-day EDM festival which took place for the first time at Disneyland Paris (yes, that Disneyland Paris) on Saturday, will return next year after getting off to a “magical start”, say organisers.

Electroland 2017 – which featured music from DJs Steve Aoki, Nervo, Richard Orlinski and Michael Calfan – was jointly produced by Disney Business Solutions, the events arm of Disneyland Paris, and My Love Affair, the production company run by French promoter (and former wife of DJ David) Cathy Guetta.

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, the famous drop ride found at Disney parks across the world, was lit up with video mapping and served as a backdrop for the festival stage, and festivalgoers could also access the park’s other attractions by night.

Headliner Aoki, meanwhile, included a nod to Disney in his set, dropping the song ‘Circle of Life’ from The Lion King (as well as, for some reason, Titanic’s ‘My Heart Will Go On’).

No dates have yet been announced for 2018, although promoters say to “watch this space” for further details.

 


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15 injured in ceiling collapse at Steve Aoki show

At least 15 people were injured in a ceiling collapse at Oslo music venue Sentrum Scene last night.

The 1,750-capacity venue was hosting a show by American DJ Steve Aoki – part of a freshers’ week event organised by the BI Norwegian Business School – when a roughly 1sqm (10.7sqft) part of the ceiling came away, showering students in chunks of plaster and concrete.

Police believe the collapse was caused by the lighting rig making contact with the ceiling, reports Norwegian tabloid Verdens Gang, although a spokeswoman declined to confirm or deny the reports, telling IQ the venue is “still awaiting more information on what happened and why”.

She adds that, “as far as we know, no one was seriously hurt, thankfully”.

Daglabet video shows the damage to the ceiling and rubble on the floor:

In a statement, Sentrum Scene said it is “terribly sorry” for the accident and offered its thoughts to those “touched by the accident and to the students who where attending what was supposed to be a nice and positive event”.

Yngve Kveine, BI’s communications director, says the university is “relieved that the damage was not more serious”.

 


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