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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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Decade’s End: Neil Warnock on the challenges ahead

As we enter the new decade, IQ caught up with leaders from the global live music business to reflect upon the development of the industry over the past ten years, as well as looking forward to what we can expect in the 2020s.

In the near future we’ll share the insights of execs including CAA’s Emma Banks, Frontier Touring’s Michael Gudinski, Oak View Group’s Tim Leiweke, AEG’s Jay Marciano and more. In the hot seat, first, though, is Neil Warnock MBE, global head of touring for United Talent Agency, who talks global touring’s ups and downs, the importance of fan experience and his personal decade highlights…

 


IQ: The role that agents play in artists’ careers has undoubtedly changed over the last ten years. Considering the advent of global touring, and the various new income streams available to artists, how do you see this role evolving?

NW: Global touring is not a new phenomenon. It has been in place one way or another since before Michael Cohl became the promoter of the Rolling Stones. Elvis Presley, although he did not come to Europe, signed a global touring deal.

Global touring has its advantages and disadvantages. I always want my artists to play to their strengths for the promoters they are working with. In confirming global deals, it’s essential that the strength of each promoter in each market is evaluated, not only financially which can be an issue, but also ensuring that venues and marketing are strategically considered so that an artist can be taken forward in their aspirations.

Streaming has become a more sophisticated marketing tool along with all other social elements available to each artist, but essentially these should be viewed as extra add-ons available to artists, and not the be-all and end-all of making touring decisions. Our UTA IQ department is extremely useful when it comes to evaluating the data available to our artists.

In confirming global deals, it’s essential that the strength of each promoter in each market is evaluated

Consolidation has been a constant theme of this decade. Looking ahead, how do you see the balance between the industry’s key corporations and the remaining independent players?

Consolidation in the industry is interesting. When we see labels, agencies, managers consolidate, it also throws up a number of independents. My view is that it’s great to have both.

Consolidated companies give managers what they want but some managers like to have an independent view over the lives and professional status of an artist.

What more could the constituent parts of the music industry be doing to deliver a better proposition to both artists and fans?

The constituent parts of the music business being live, recording, publishing, merchandise, branding – all these elements should be fused together by good management and we should all work together so that our artists are getting the best service from each area. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always happen.

Topics such as inclusion, diversity and mental health are commonly discussed these days. How is the live business shaping up compared to other sectors?

The fact that these topics are out in the open and are being discussed is fantastic and we are now seeing that the industry is working hard to continue to drive awareness to these areas.

Consolidated companies give managers what they want, but some managers like to have an independent view

UTA is a company that believes that diversity and inclusion are fundamental to our success as a business. This year we launched our employee-led, company-funded Employee Inclusion Groups (UTA Proud, Unity, Wellness and Women’s Interest). Two of our last three board appointments, Blair Kohan and Tracey Jacobs, have been women, and we are the first major talent agency ever to name a woman, Lyndsay Harding, as our CFO.

Looking ahead, what do you perceive will be the biggest challenges for the live music sector in the 2020s?

In my opinion, the touring outlook for artists is looking good. The challenges are to ensure artists give value for money to customers, and to ensure that the fan experience is outstanding so that a customer will want to come back and see that artist for another show.

What are your own personal highlights from the last decade?

I have many highlights from over the years, but from the last decade I would have to say the highlight that jumps immediately to mind is Dolly Parton live at Glastonbury in 2014.

Additionally, the tremendous steps that Nordoff Robbins have made as a charity and on a personal note, being awarded an MBE was tremendous for myself and my family.

 


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Streaming companies up live presence with new concerts

Apple and Amazon, whose Apple Music and Amazon Music platforms are respectively the second and third most popular music streaming services worldwide, have announced plans for new live events this summer.

Ecommerce giant Amazon will expand this year’s Prime Day – a Black Friday-like discount day for members of its Prime loyalty programme – with a new entertainment component: a Prime Day concert headlined by Taylor Swift.

Available to view from 9pm EST (1am GMT) next Wednesday (11 July) on Amazon’s Prime Video service, the concert’s all-female line-up also includes Dua Lipa, SZA and Becky, as well as actor Jane Lynch, who will host the event.

“We can’t wait to celebrate Prime Day with an extraordinary night of unforgettable performances, for members around the globe,” says Steve Boom, VP of Amazon Music. “Prime Day brings members the best of both entertainment and shopping. To celebrate, we’ve curated a line-up across multiple genres with performances from artists our customers love.

“We’re looking forward to celebrating Prime Day with this can’t-miss, one-of-a-kind event.”

Amazon previous organised a series of shows in the UK, dubbed Prime Live Events, though these were wound up in early 2018 following the shutdown of its Amazon Tickets business.

“We’re looking forward to celebrating Prime Day with this can’t-miss, one-of-a-kind event”

Apple, meanwhile, is taking Apple Music’s Up Next programme and playlist, which focuses on emerging artists, to retail stores across Europe and the US under the banner Up Next Live.

Up Next artists, including Bad Bunny, Daniel Caesar, Khalid, Ashley McBryde, King Princess, Lewis Capaldi and Jessie Reyez, will each play an intimate show in Apple shops in Italy, France, London and the US, starting with Latin star Bad Bunny at Apple Piazza Liberty in Milan on 9 July.

Apple operated its own music festival, Apple Music Festival (formerly the iTunes Festival), in London from 2007 until its cancellation in 2017, and has also sponsored select tours.

Commenting on his involvement with the Up Next initiative, Puerto Rican-born Bad Bunny says: “The impact [of being part of Up Next] can be seen in everything, in numbers, in plays, in shows. There are a lot of fans that, when I go out in the street in the US, people who do not speak Spanish, I think they will not know me and they stop me, they ask me for pictures and they sing my songs…

“It helped me very much to make myself known in a market different from mine, not only the US, but in places where Spanish is not spoken or where perhaps Latin music does not dominate, exposing my music and giving people the opportunity to get to know what I do.”

Streaming market leader Spotify has also taken its playlists on the road, including the Latin-led ¡Viva Latino! Live, grime-focused Who We Be Live and US hip hop-orientated RapCaviar Live.

 


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Spotify targets “underserved markets” with FB’s Libra crypto

Spotify has said it plans to accelerate its push into emerging markets by joining the Libra Association, the not-for-profit organisation behind Facebook’s much-hyped new cryptocurrency, Libra (≋).

Officially unveiled today by Facebook’s new head of Calibra (the subsidiary overseeing Libra products), David Marcus, Libra will allow Facebook’s nearly 2.4 billion active users to send money across the globe, using what the association’s members hope will become the go-to protocol for financial transactions online.

While the launch of Libra is predicted to drive a welcome uplift in Nasdaq-listed Facebook (FB)’s profits, Marcus says by the time the coin becomes available in 2020, “Facebook will have no special rights, and will be one member among many of the Libra Association”, which also includes the likes of eBay, PayPal, Mastercard, Uber, Lyft, Vodafone, Stripe and Spotify.

“I realise that such an endeavour that started at Facebook might be met with some deserved scepticism,” continues Marcus. “But my ask is that you take the time to truly make an opinion for yourselves by looking into how the Libra network and its governance have been set up from the ground up.”

“One challenge for Spotify and its users … has been the lack of easily accessible payment systems”

Spotify, the world’s largest subscription music streaming service, is attracted to Libra’s mission to facilitate simple, fast payments globally – particularly for the 1.7bn people worldwide without access to a bank account or payment card – says the company’s chief premium business officer, Alex Norström.

“One challenge for Spotify and its users around the world has been the lack of easily accessible payment systems, especially for those in financially underserved markets,” explains Alex Norström. “This creates an enormous barrier to the bonds we work to foster between creators and their fans.

“In joining the Libra Association, there is an opportunity to better reach Spotify’s total addressable market, eliminate friction and enable payments in mass scale.”

Spotify is available in 79 countries, including developing markets such as Vietnam, the Philippines, Bolivia, the Palestinian territories and, most recently, India.

 


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