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Anghami acquires concerts firm Spotlight Events

Anghami, the largest music streaming service in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), has acquired Dubai-based event management company Spotlight Events.

Aiming to unlock synergies and opportunities between the physical and digital worlds, the partnership will see Spotlight Events become Lebanon-based Anghami’s concerts arm, including for offline activities and activations.

Anghami’s technology will provide access to exclusive concerts through its live video streaming capabilities, as well as via creating immersive experiences through AR and VR. Fans will be offered exclusive access to private concerts, VIP lounges, meet and greets and backstage access, in addition to attending concerts either offline or streamed through their devices. Traditional and virtual concerts will be accessible either through tickets or sponsored by brands.

“Our vision is to expand from music streaming to a fully integrated entertainment platform”

“Our vision is to expand from music streaming to a fully integrated entertainment platform that meets our goal of building our own unique category that no other provider can compete with,” says Eddy Maroun, Anghami co-founder and CEO.

“This partnership will allow us to deliver unique experiences to our users while giving artists a stage to perform and reach their fans physically and virtually. Spotlight and Anghami Lab are among a number of initiatives we plan to develop as new business extensions to accelerate our growth and improve our margins while widening the gap with our competitors.”

Launched in 2005, Spotlight is headquartered in Dubai and has six affiliate offices in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco.

“Maher [Khawkhaji, Spotlight founder/CEO] has built a great business on solid economics and has proven that live concerts and events are a scalable and profitable business,” adds Maroun.

“Our offline expertise, complemented by Anghami’s reach, data and technical capabilities, is the perfect recipe for success”

Spotlight Events has recently confirmed its programme of upcoming concerts and events in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Paris, Cairo and Riyadh, including seven-concert festival Beat the Heat, organised in collaboration with the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing – Dubai (DTCM).

Six concerts are planned for the rest of the year in Abu Dhabi and will be announced at a later date. The schedule also includes a live concert by Wael Kfoury in Paris. Spotlight will also be executing all of Anghami’s events, including Amr Diab Live.

“Anghami is the largest music platform in the MENA region with an incredible number of users and a unique network of partnerships that, once connected to Spotlight, will open doors to amazing opportunities,” says Khawkhaji. “Our offline expertise, complemented by Anghami’s reach, data and technical capabilities, is the perfect recipe for success.

“We look forward to being part of this dynamic team and unleashing the incredible potential to bring the best to music fans, artists and brands and take entertainment to the next level.”

The announcement follows Anghami’s recent IPO on Nasdaq as the first Arab tech company to list on the US stock market.

Last year, the company announced plans to open music venues in Dubai, Riyadh and several other Middle Eastern cities, as well as in the UK and North America.

 


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Deezer to livestream sold-out stadium concert

French streaming service Deezer is to host a global in-app and web livestream of Jul’s hometown stadium show on Saturday (4 June).

The sold-out 60,000-cap concert will be broadcast from Marseille Orange Vélodrome Stadium from 9pm in “the first large-scale livestream of its kind” on the platform.

The event will take place the day after the French rapper – consistently the most-streamed artist on Deezer – releases his new album Extraterrestre.

“Jul is a superstar, not only in France and his hometown of Marseille, but around the world,” says Nigel Harding, Deezer’s VP of artist relations. “We’re thrilled to be part of bringing this unique experience to an international fanbase.

“This livestream is the first of its kind for Deezer, but there will be many more to come”

“This livestream is the first of its kind for Deezer, but there will be many more to come as we continue to explore ways of bringing artists and fans together.”

The gig will be livestreamed in its entirety in HD quality on the Deezer app and on Deezer.com.

Jul has regularly collaborated with the streaming platform in the past, including on two exclusive shows leading up to the 2020 release of the album 13’Organisé.

 


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Criticism over Sir Lucian Grainge’s 2021 earnings

Music industry bodies, artists and MPs have hit out after it was reported that Universal Music Group (UMG) boss Sir Lucian Grainge’s 2021 earnings will exceed what all UK songwriters combined made from streams and sales of their music in 2019.

One-off cash bonuses totalling £123 million following UMG’s flotation on the stock market in September and the sale of an additional 10% stake in the company to China’s Tencent could see Grainge’s pay packet top £150m this year, according to the Guardian.

In comparison, government body the Intellectual Property Office calculated that UK composers and lyricists earned £150m in 2019 from streaming, downloads and sales.

Crispin Hunt, chair of songwriters’ association The Ivors Academy, slams the “imbalance” in remuneration as “just plain wrong”.

“Nobody’s against success being rewarded, but not if that success is at the expense of those who create the value,” says the former Longpigs frontman. “This is evidence of a business which is completely out of control. For songwriters who are struggling to make a living, there’s only one word for it – obscene.”

There is no other industry anywhere in the world that would tolerate this gross unfairness

Gomez musician Tom Gray, founder of the #BrokenRecord campaign, tweets: “To earn the same amount as the CEO of Universal this year, a solo artist on a standard contract would require 180,000,000,000 streams,” tweets musician Tom Gray, founder of the #BrokenRecord campaign. “That’s right, 180 billion! And people think it isn’t a #BrokenRecord industry.”

Musicians’ Union general Horace Trubridge adds: “To the best of my knowledge Sir Lucian has never played or written as much as a note of music. No one buys his records or queues for his gigs, yet he enjoys rewards and riches beyond the wildest dreams of even our most popular artists and writers.

“There is no other industry anywhere in the world that would tolerate this gross unfairness and it has to stop now.”

Grainge has not commented on criticism of his pay.

Earlier this year, the UK government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) called for a “complete reset” of the market in its report into the economics of music streaming, following a wide-ranging inquiry.

It concluded that “comprehensive reform of legislation and further regulation is needed, not only to redress the balance for songwriters, performers and composers, but to tackle fundamental problems within the recorded music industry”.

Conservative MP Esther McVey says: “It’s shocking that record label owners are earning more out of artists’ works than the artists themselves”. Labour MP Jo Stevens, shadow secretary of state for DCMS, adds: “Artists get a pitiful amount while streaming sites and record companies cash in.”

Labour MP Kevin Brennan’s Copyright (Rights And Remuneration Of Musicians etc) Bill, which seeks to “create a new right to fair remuneration for musicians when their work is played on streaming platforms” will receive its second reading in parliament on 3 December.

 


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Iceland Airwaves announces streaming festival

The team behind Iceland Airwaves has announced a two-day streaming festival, Live from Reykjavík, taking place on 13–14 November.

The brand’s flagship festival was due to take place in Iceland’s capital this November but was postponed until next year due to the pandemic.

Instead, the festival will assemble some of the country’s most established artists including Of Monsters and Men, Ólafur Arnalds, Ásgeir, Daði Freyr and Júníus Meyvant, for performances in iconic Airwaves venues such as Iðnó, Gamla Bío and Art Museum Reykjavík.

“We wanted to find a way to shine a spotlight on the vast talent of the music scene here in Iceland, as well as support the larger industry and show some innovation,” says festival director Ísleifur Þórhallsson.

“To have all these artists in Iceland at the same time is a ‘lighting strikes once’ moment and we wanted to seize it”

“To have all these artists in Iceland at the same time is a ‘lighting strikes once’ moment, and we wanted to seize it with both hands.”

Performances will be broadcast domestically on TV, radio and online; streamed in the UK and Europe from 19:30 pm GMT, and then across optimised time zones on Nov 13 and 14.

Tickets range from £15 for a standalone show to £30 for a one-day pass and £40 for a two-day pass.

Iceland Airwaves has moved to 3–6 November 2021.

 


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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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Major streaming services to branch into virtual events

Spotify is developing a feature that will alert fans to an artist’s upcoming virtual events, according to a tweet by reverse engineer Jane Manchun Wong.

The streaming service ordinarily lists an artist’s live events on their profile page, but according to Wong (via TechCrunch), it is now transforming that feature into virtual events discovery.

The platform already works with ticketing partners including Ticketmaster, Songkick, Resident Advisor, Eventbrite, AXS and Japan’s eplus, and therefore virtual event listings wouldn’t be difficult to implement.

The feature isn’t yet available in the public-facing version of the Spotify app.

Elsewhere, Jay-Z’s streaming service Tidal has spent US$7 million on tokens issued by the company behind Sensorium Galaxy, a new VR “social metaspace” in which users can attend alternative-world concerts, nightclubs and festivals through a VR headset.

Through the purchase, Tidal has acquired access to broadcast their content within Sensorium Galaxy, which is due to launch publicly in early 2021.

Sensorium says that its “Social VR technology” is poised to “provide unprecedented ways for artists”

Lior Tibon, COO of Tidal, says: “Our relationship with Sensorium provides Tidal with the opportunity to gain exclusive rights for its stellar artist roster to have their shows and music broadcast exclusively within Sensorium’s themed virtual entertainment worlds.

“The Sensorium Galaxy is a next-generation platform for entertainment consumption which will elevate the connection fans have with their favourite artists, and bring artists’ vision to life in a new and exciting way.”

Sensorium says that its “social VR technology” is poised to “provide unprecedented ways for artists, performance venues, game publishers, and virtual influencers to entertain and engage fans globally across interactive environments”.

Alongside Jay-Z, Tidal’s artist co-owners include Lil Wayne, Rihanna, Calvin Harris, Daft Punk and Coldplay’s Chris Martin.

Earlier this week, it was announced earlier this week that streaming service Napster will be acquired by live music virtual reality platform MelodyVR.

The US$70 million acquisition will eventually combine Napster’s library of over 90 million audio tracks and Melody VR’s catalogue of virtual live music shows, to create a platform where users can stream music and experience immersive live performances.

 


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Streaming scams target live music fans

A host of new streaming scams have cropped up in the past few months, with fraudsters setting up phoney Facebook pages and listing non-existent live streams in a bid to access personal information.

Streaming – be it of live performances, recorded music, films or television shows – has been an important part of accessing entertainment during lockdown, as music venues and cinemas remain shuttered and festivals are cancelled.

Criminals have capitalised on the increased time spent online, as well as the novelty of the accessing content in this way for many, and the uncertainty that has come with the Covid-19 crisis in general, to successfully target consumers across all sectors of society.

Major streaming services, including Netflix and Spotify, have been targeted by fraudsters, who have sent official-looking emails asking users to update their payment information.

Live music fans are also being targeted, with some scammers directing traffic away from legitimate live streams to their own page, in a bid to pocket “donations” or “tips” given to performers, and others posting false listings of livestreamed gigs and festivals to get hold of personal information.

Two such pages, one posing as Universal Music Group (@GroupMusicUniversal) and the other going under the name of Live Concert Music, list upcoming live streams for Rolling Loud Portugal, Michael Kiwanuka and Jill Scott, Cage the Elephant, Montreux Jazz Festival, Nickelback, Robbie Williams, Brad Paisley and Dave Matthews Band, among others.

Almost all streams are listed as happening on the same day, with links landing on pages for sites called Eventflix and Stream Concert. A section below the supposed streams show comments from “fans” – almost identical for each one – discussing the lack of lag, commending the quality of the stream and recommending the service to others.

“There is more opportunity for criminals to try and trick people into parting with their money at a time when they are anxious and uncertain about the future”

Viewers are encouraged to register for free in order to view the content, leading to a page asking for contact details and other information.

Another kind of streaming scam has seen hackers hijack YouTube channels to impersonate Elon Musk’s SpaceX channel, generating around $150,000 in Bitcoins.

The creation of unofficial event pages on Facebook is not a new phenomenon in the live events world. In 2018, IQ reported on a trend which saw phoney pages set up to drive fans to secondary ticketing sites, rather than official sellers. Email scams have also targeted fans, agents, promoters, festival organisers, artists and others for years.

The increase in streaming scams responds directly to the current climate, as more and more turn to online services – many for the first time – to experience live events.

“As more people stay indoors and work from computers and laptops at home, there is more opportunity for criminals to try and trick people into parting with their money at a time when they are anxious and uncertain about the future,” City of London police commander Karen Baxter, national co-ordinator of economic crime warned consumers at the end of March, just weeks into the coronavirus lockdown.

“It is important that we continue to raise awareness of fraud and protect ourselves, and the vulnerable people in our communities, the best we can.”

A further warning was issued by the National Trading Standards in the UK today, as the easing of lockdown measures is expected to bring on a surge of scam telephone calls in particular.

Members of the public are encouraged to protect themselves against scams by joining Friends Against Scams, a free online initiative that provides training to help people take a stand against scams.

 


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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Musicians lobby Spotify as Bandcamp shows support

Artists are asking Spotify to triple the amount it pays out per stream, as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to put the brakes on live events.

An online petition initiated by US musician Evan Greer demands that Spotify triple its royalty rates permanently “to put urgently needed cash into artists’ pockets”. The campaign also calls on the streaming giant to make a $500,000 donation to the Sweet Relief Covid-19 fund, which is dedicated to providing financial support to musicians.

The pressure on Spotify comes as online music marketplace and discovery platform Bandcamp waives its revenue share on sales for 24 hours until midnight (PT) on 21 March, dedicating 100% of proceeds from music and merch to artists. The site, which has generated $10.3 million for artists in the past 30 days, typically takes a cut of between 15% and 10% on all sales.

“Many artists have found merch and digital sales to be a last remaining financial lifeline”

“With the Covid-19 pandemic decimating live music and shuttering record shops, many artists have found merch and digital sales to be a last remaining financial lifeline as they confront a very real threat to their livelihoods,” reads a statement on Bandcamp’s website.

“It’s more important than ever for fans to support musicians by purchasing from them directly.”

Artists are using the platform to see exclusive merchandise from cancelled tours and make surprise releases, whereas labels are dedicating revenue from sales on the site to food banks, public health charities and musician relief funds.

 


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Spotify makes latest move in live with RA deal

Streaming giant Spotify has strengthened its links with the live music scene, partnering with Resident Advisor, an event discovery platform for electronic music.

In a week that saw Deezer launch a live events series based on popular playlists and Apple Music announce Brit Award-winner Dave as the first act for its Agenda playlist live series, the Spotify-Resident Advisor deal further highlights streaming’s desire to capitalise on live.

The partnership directly connects Spotify users to shows by artists they listen to via localised event listings promoted within the application.

Although Spotify already notifies users of concerts based on their listening habits, pushing them to ticketing platforms such as AXS, Eventbrite, and Ticketmaster, as well as discovery platforms Bandsintown, Songkick and Facebook, the Resident Advisor deal looks to provide more support to local venues and independent promoters, who more typically list on the platform.

“The vitality of local scenes is essential for the sustainability and creativity of the global electronic music community”

“The vitality of local scenes is essential for the sustainability and creativity of the global electronic music community,” comments Resident Advisor co-founder Nick Sabine.

“Our collaboration with Spotify is a brilliant evolution of the work we have been doing for almost two decades to support the work of the independent artists, venues and promoters which act as the pillars of those scenes.”

Founded in 2001, online music magazine and event discovery platform Resident Advisor provides event listings and sells tickets to events across the dance music ecosystem in over 50 countries.

Spotify’s other live music ventures includes partnering with festival booking portal Festicket and staging its own playlist-based shows, most notably the hip hop-focused Who We Be show, which featured acts such as Dizzee Rascal, Giggs, Cardi B, J Hus and Stefflon Don, and RapCaviar Live concerts.

 


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Deezer expands into Live shows

Deezer has become the latest music streaming service to branch out into organising its own concerts, announcing the launch of ‘Live’, a live music series based on its popular playlists.

The Paris-based company is using three of its biggest genre-based playlist brands – Rocket, Popstar and Certified – to host intimate live shows (or ‘playlist parties’) in venues in France, which will be recorded as a ‘Deezer session’, available exclusively on the streaming platform.

Rival service Spotify has successful staged its own playlist-based shows, most successfully the hip hop-focused Who We Be and RapCaviar, while Apple (which has its own streaming platform, Apple Music) last summer launched a series of events based on its Up Next initiative, focusing on emerging artists.

“Fans can get closer to the artists they love, from the playlists they love, in a live setting”

The Deezer Live brand launches tonight (19 February) in Paris with Rocket Live, featuring Circa Waves (pictured) and Twin Atlantic, according to MBW.

Nigel Harding, Deezer’s VP of artist marketing, says: “Our editors make playlists to perfectly suit fans’ tastes and moods.

“For the first time, we’re bringing these hand-picked selections to life in a really cool party atmosphere. Fans can get closer to the artists they love, from the playlists they love, all in a live setting.”

 


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