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Live Nation & Luger launch ‘The Shuffle Ticket’

Live Nation and its Luger subsidiary have launched The Shuffle Ticket, a scratchcard-style promotion offering fans tickets to a randomly selected concert in Sweden.

For 300 SEK (€27), fans will receive two tickets to an event in Stockholm, Gothenburg or Malmö between February and September 2023, but will not discover what show they will be seeing until scratching off their ticket post-purchase.

“When you buy the ticket at shuffleticket.se, a physical ticket is sent to your home,” fans are advised. “Scratch it, and you’ll find a link to your digital tickets.”

The promotion features more than 100 shows of all sizes, including gigs by artists such as Bruce Springsteen, The Weeknd, Arctic Monkeys, Coldplay, First Aid Kit, Louis Tomlinson and The Chats, as well as festivals including Lollapalooza Stockholm, Way Out West, Summerburst and Melodifestivalen.

Designed in collaboration with creative collective Forsman & Bodenfors, the initiative is mainly aimed at younger music fans.

“We hope The Shuffle Ticket will give young people the chance to discover new music in an exciting way”

“We hope The Shuffle Ticket will give young people the chance to discover new music in an exciting way,” says Luger project manager Christa Murley, as per Little Black Book.

“During 2022, ticket sales went up again after two years of a negative trend caused by the pandemic,” notes Live Nation Sweden CEO Mattias Behrer. “People are eager to hear live music again. Our new ticket encourages young people to be a part of a new concert experience.”

The first ticket drop took place yesterday (25 January) and sold out in minutes, with further sales to take place on 1 February and 8 February.

Emilie Olsson Lignell, project and campaign manager at Live Nation Sweden, adds: “Putting a playlist on shuffle is a great way to discover new favourites, so why not do the same with live shows? We hope many young people will find their new favourite artists.”

 


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All Things Live adds Swedish festival to portfolio

All Things Live is continuing its acquisition spree with the purchase of Sweden’s Amaze Festival.

Founded in 2018, the two-day festival takes place on the picturesque island of Smögen, on the west coast of Sweden, with both international and domestic acts.

Previous headliners include Veronica Maggio, Salvatore Ganacci, Newkid, Otto Knows, Sebastian Ingrosso and Molly Sandén.

The next edition of Amaze Festival is scheduled for 28 July with pop group Bolaget as the first confirmed artist.

“It’s incredibly exciting to take this step together” says Henrik Berndtson, CEO of All Things Live Sweden. “Great live experiences have a home in every corner of our country, we fully share that philosophy. Can’t wait to see what kind of magic we will create together.”

Christian Öster, co-founder of Amaze Festival adds: “Partnering up with All Things Live is a dream come true for us. Our combined passion and experience is a match made in heaven.

“We’ll be able to max out the experience for everyone involved, and us joining forces makes it possible to keep welcoming some of the best artists to Smögen for years to come.”

“Our combined passion and experience is a match made in heaven”

The Stockholm-headquartered All Things Live Sweden represents more than 80 domestic artists, and owns festivals including BigSlap, Summer On and The Sabaton Open Air.

In the last 12 months, the All Things Live group has acquired Dutch independent Agents After All, Antwerp-based management company Musickness and Italian promoter and agency Radar Concerti – which yesterday announced its first new festival since the ATL acquisition.

Since the Nordic group was founded by Waterland Private Equity in 2018, it has expanded to seven European countries and 19 companies, with offices in Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Brussels, Milan and Amsterdam.

The company’s portfolio ranges from musical productions to music festivals and standup events to stadium concerts, with The Rolling Stones, Eminem, Katy Perry and Rammstein among its clients.

The group, which largely consists of promoters, also includes ICO Concerts and ICO Management & Touring (Denmark), Friction, Atomic Soul Booking and Stand Up Norge (Norway), Maloney Concerts, Monkfish and ROA (Sweden) and Busker Agency in Belgium.

 


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Sweden’s Friends Arena marks first decade

Friends’ Arena’s Andreas Sand has spoken to IQ about the venue’s transformative impact on the Stockholm music scene as it celebrates its 10-year anniversary.

Sweden’s national stadium has attracted global megastars such as Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, the Rolling Stones, Beyoncé, AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses, Eminem, Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga to the country since its launch a decade ago.

“It makes you nostalgic to think back over those 10 years,” says Sand, CEO Stockholm Live, ASM Global Sweden. “On one hand, it feels like ages ago since some of those events, milestones and fantastic moments in the venue and on the other hand, it feels like yesterday. It’s almost like when you celebrate your kids’ birthdays: you’re being nostalgic and you reflect on the past, and you’re also thinking about the years to come.

“Stockholm, to this day, doesn’t have another stadium with this type of capacity. We now also have Tele2 Arena, which is a stadium with lower capacity, but the big stadium tours wouldn’t have played in Stockholm if it wasn’t for a venue like Friends Arena.”

“This is a strong music market and the appetite for live entertainment here is huge”

Earlier this week, ASM Global announced the city’s Kägelbanan venue will be reopening under the operation of Stockholm Live after a three-year closure, further boosting the Swedish capital’s live music network.

“Stockholm is one of the music capitals of the world. It has venues that start at 200 capacity going up close to 60,000 capacity,” says Sand. “We are starting to see more local acts play bigger and bigger venues, and that has probably been helped by the pandemic. It used to be only the top international content that could sell out the big venues, but we have started to see that change and that would be a fantastic addition to our possible headliners.

“This is a strong music market and the appetite for live entertainment here is huge. We’re much more than a summer festival stop; we have really good venues of different sizes – with Friends Arena being the jewel in the crown.”

Homegrown heroes including Agnes Carlsson, The Hives, Icona Pop, Loreen, First Aid Kit and Roxette performed during the stadium’s opening ceremony in October 2012, with Swedish House Mafia playing three sold-out gig the following month. However, arguably the most memorable show was the Avicii Tribute Concert on 5 December 2019, which featured the likes of David Guetta, Kygo and Rita Ora and drew the venue’s record attendance of 58,163.

“The stadium has a retractable roof, which means we can use it 365 days a year”

“It was a special night and to this day it’s probably my favourite moment in the venue and maybe going to a concert overall,” reflects Sand. “The atmosphere was spectacular. You felt this love: there was definitely joy and happiness – people were dancing and celebrating Avicii – but of course there were a lot of tears as well, so emotions were at a maximum.”

Friends Arena, which is the home ground of football club AIK and the Swedish men’s national team, has concerts confirmed for 2023 by Ozzy Osbourne (5 May), Depeche Mode (23 May) and Celine Dion (30 September), while it also hosts the final of the annual Melodifestivalen song contest, which determines Sweden’s Eurovision representative.

“The stadium has a retractable roof, which means we can use it 365 days a year,” explains Sand. “That is the only way to have such a stadium in a country like Sweden where we’re so far up north that it’s tough up here with the weather gods. If you want to build a modern world class venue like Friends Arena, you need to be able to use it 12 months of the year and you can’t be that dependent on the weather.

“We are able to bring in and out events with quick turnarounds. It is a football stadium and we’re proud of that. But it is a football stadium that can be used for so much more. On average, 27% of our attendance comes by car. Some US venues hit the high 90%, so it is quite unique that people walk here or take a bike and so on.”

“I’d love to see festivals at the arena, using the main bowl, but also other areas that we have adjacent to the venue”

The venue has a sponsorship deal with banking group Swedbank, which donated the naming rights to Friends, a not-for-profit anti-bullying organisation.

“That is something that we’re proud of,” adds Sand. “We take our responsibility seriously to do what we can to make this society a better place. We see that the awareness of these types of matters have increased over these 10 years and that is an aspect of the venue that is part of our history and our legacy and it gives us a deeper sense of purpose.”

And switching his focus to the decade ahead, Sand feels the stadium is well placed to maintain its status, despite the many challenges facing the venue sector.

“There’s always some crisis that we need to fight and the energy one is a tough one,” he notes. “We’re in a fairly good spot with this stadium, as is Sweden overall, energy-wise. We’re not dependent on gas, as an example, and in the long run, this energy crisis too shall pass.

“Looking forward, we have this fantastic hybrid of sports and music in our venue. We want to continue to attract the big tours and complement that with some other types of shows and entertainment, like Monster Jam, which we have coming back to the venue in ’23. I’d love to see festivals at the arena, using the main bowl, but also other areas that we have adjacent to the venue. I think it would be a good spot to host a festival type of content. So we’re excited for the next 10 years.”

 


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Promoter TADC Sweden files for bankruptcy

Promoter TADC Sweden has cancelled its remaining 2022 events and filed for bankruptcy, citing “lingering effects from the pandemic”, increased costs and reduced ticket sales.

The Gothenburg-headquartered company typically staged more than 300 concerts a year in Scandinavia, as well as festivals such as Gefle Metal Festival and Atlas Rock in Gävle and the summer series Rock På Skansen in Stockholm.

Formed in 2015 by the merger of Edward Janson’s Triffid Productions and Chris Rotenius’ Danger Music & Media, the firm was known as Triffid and Danger Concerts before rebranding to TADC and opening offices in Norway and Denmark last year.

“We are very sorry to have to announce that TADC Sweden AB will be declared bankrupt,” says a statement on its website. “The last few days have been very tough both for us and other players in the concert industry. Due to lingering effects from the pandemic and sharply increased costs in combination with reduced ticket sales, the situation has finally become unsustainable.

“For that reason, unfortunately, the remaining events in 2022 will be cancelled. We are trying to find solutions for the events in the next year and will return with information about it and about possible repurchases of tickets.”

“TADC has for many years worked hard to be able to deliver concerts to the Nordic audience and our visitors have always been important to us”

Chaoszine reports TADC had upcoming Scandinavian concerts planned by acts including Trivium, Alestorm, Lamb Of God, W.A.S.P., Helloween and Accept.

“This is a situation that we really would have preferred not to find ourselves in,” adds the promoter. “TADC has for many years worked hard to be able to deliver concerts to the Nordic audience and our visitors have always been important to us.

“We understand that many people are affected and that this causes problems for those of you who planned to attend one of the concerts. We apologise profusely for this. As soon as there is more information, we will get back to you.”

IQ has reached out to the company for clarification on the status of its TADC’s Norway and Denmark businesses. Tickets remain on sale for shows promoted by both firms. The Norwegian office was initially run alongside Live Wire Concerts’ Jon Enger, who later resigned as CEO and was replaced by Rotenius.

 


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The New Bosses 2022: Stella Scocco, Södra Teatern

The 15th edition of IQ Magazine’s New Bosses was published in IQ 114 this month, revealing 20 of the most promising 30-and-unders in the international live music business.

To get to know this year’s cohort a little better, IQ conducted interviews with each one of 2022’s New Bosses, discovering their greatest inspirations and pinpointing the reasons for their success.

Catch up on the previous New Bosess 2022 interview with Steff James, international tour booker at Live Nation (UK). The series continues with Stella Scocco, club and entertainment manager of Södra Teatern in Sweden.

With a genuine passion for culture and music, Scocco started her career as a restaurant manager as a 20 year old, with aspirations of enhancing the link between the Stockholm music and restaurant industries.

As the entertainment manager at the award-winning bar and restaurant Mishumashu, she focused on embedding art and live music to the culinary experience. She continued her career as head of entertainment at the exclusive club Moon Motel, but when Södra Teatern, Stockholm’s most famous concert and club venue and a part of ASM global, was re-conceptualising their brand, Scocco was asked to lead the process. The ambition was to create a dynamic place where old meets new, respecting the institution of Södra Teatern and its history, whilst remaining relevant and in constant motion. Since then, the venue has hosted several of the most emerging artists in Sweden, as well as international electronic music acts on its old theatre stage.

As the club and entertainment manager of Södra Teatern, Scocco’s team has recently added three additional bookers, and 2023 is looking bright.

In addition, she is in the process of finishing a Masters in law at Stockholm University. She also has a background in business, macroeconomics, and economic history.

 


You are studying for a law degree. How do you think this will help in your career and your day-to-day activities?
I think everyone would benefit from some law studies! Perhaps a whole degree was pushing it… Law and economics are a big part of the music industry, as it is in almost every industry. When you study law, you study our common set of rules and in that sense the conditions to do something. For a venue to be successful and run in a sustainable way it takes more than me and my colleagues booking amazing artists. We need bartenders and they need to have a good work environment, that’s labour law. We need to create an environment free from sexual harassment for our guests and employees, that’s discrimination legislation. We need to work with agents and booking companies, that’s contract law. The list goes on!

The link between music and hospitality seems obvious, but do you think it’s something that needs more investment and better strategies across the industry?
I think the link seems obvious as well but it is my experience that you are an expert on one or the other. I have worked in restaurants doing live shows but we always struggled with the technical parts; as well as the economy, live is expensive and margins are often tight for small companies. This answer will naturally be mostly based on the Swedish scene, and when I look at the jazz scene in New York or the bar scene in London, I find myself missing small music venues in Stockholm. I would love to see more support from the music industry in creating these small stages; making live music a part of Stockholmers’ daily life.

What has been your biggest career highlight to date?
That’s a hard one! I think my favourite feeling overall is watching someone do an amazing debut show; club venues are a great place to do such shows! Sometimes you see an artist take the stage for the first time and both you and the crowd just know instantly that it’s exactly where they are supposed to be. I never feel more privileged to have my job than in moments like that.

“If you as a booker feel you lack the competence to book female or PoC artists, it’s your responsibility to get that knowledge”

As a new boss, what one thing would you change to make the live entertainment industry a better place?
You will get two things whether you like it or not! Equality and more fair deals for younger artists! We need representation in every part of the industry, and we need to work a lot harder to achieve it. If you as a booker feel you lack the competence to book female artists or PoC artists, it’s your responsibility to get that knowledge, and in my opinion, the best way to do so is to have a broad representation in every office.

I also think we need to look into the deals younger artists get. The power imbalance between an unknown artist and a major booking company will always be the root of unfair deals. The Swedish labour market is based on collective bargaining, and I think we need to support the young artist to do just so, setting some new industry standards for various deals.

Your team at Södra Teatern has really grown under your leadership. How many events are you hosting and what kind of capacities are we talking about?
Södra Teatern, as a whole, hosts around 230 live concerts a year and 100 club nights with occasional live acts. We have four stages varying in capacity from 250 to 1,500 people. The club has a capacity of 1,200 people, three dance floors, and four bars. It’s a big house!

“I think social media in many ways democratised the music industry”

As a young venue manager and promoter, are there any particular events or forums that you visit to try to discover the next big act or where you can grow your network of business contacts?
I learn mostly from my amazing team that constantly sends me new acts they found browsing the Internet or social media. I think social media in many ways democratised the music industry in that way! It’s great that we share knowledge about new talent with peers in the industry but it also risks creating a problematic “if you’re in, you’re in” situation.

Are there any particular events or shows you are looking forward to this year or next?
So many! Next week one of my favourite Swedish musicians, Markus Krunegård, is playing at our big summer terrace, and First Aid Kit is doing an arena tour, and Elton John is coming to Stockholm! But I think that my best show of 2022 will be some show we book for the club on a whim after hearing a debut single and falling in love with it. Last year, I helped a new artist put a band together after hearing his debut single, and within three weeks after releasing it he did his first-ever live show and it was one of the best shows I have ever seen! This summer he played Way Out West (Sweden’s biggest music festival), only half a year after that show!

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
If someone asked me that question five years ago, I would never in my life have answered that I would be doing this interview. I think that’s the best part of life – you never know what comes your way. So, my answer will be: no idea but I’m looking very much forward to finding out!

See the full list of 2022 New Bosses in IQ 114, which is available now. To subscribe, and get access to our latest issue and all of our content, click here.

 


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The New Bosses: Introducing the class of 2022

The 15th edition of IQ Magazine‘s New Bosses can now be revealed, highlighting 20 of the most promising 30-and-unders in the international live music business.

New Bosses 2022 inspired the most engaged voting process to date, with hundreds of people taking the time to submit nominations. The final 20 comprises executives working across agencies, promoters, ticketing companies, charities and venues in 12 different countries.

In no particular order, the New Bosses 2022 are:

Benji Fritzenschaft, DreamHaus (DE).
Clara Cullen, Music Venue Trust (UK).
Dan Rais, CAA (CO).
David Nguyen, Rock The People (CZ).
Daytona Häusermann, Gadget ABC (CH).
Grant Hall, ASM Global (US).
James Craigie, Goldenvoice (UK).
Kathryn Dryburgh, ATC Live (UK).
Resi Scheurmann, Konzertbüro Schoneberg (DE).
Seny Kassaye, Fort Agency (CA).
Agustina Cabo, Move Concerts (AR).
Sönke Schal, Karsten Janke Konzertdirektion (DE).
Steel Hanf, Proxy Agency (US).
Steff James, Live Nation (UK).
Stella Scocco, Södra Teatern (SE).
Vegard Storaas, Live Nation (NO).
Lewis Wilde, DICE (UK).
Zoe Williamson, UTA (US).
Jonathan Hou, Live Nation (US).
Maciej Korczak, Follow The Step (PL).

Subscribers can read shortened profiles of each of the 2022 New Bosses in issue 114 of IQ Magazine, which is out now. Full-length Q&As will appear on IQ in the coming days and weeks.

Click here to subscribe to IQ for just £7.99 a month – or check out what you’re missing out on with the limited preview below:

 


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Swede Sensation: Sweden Market Report

When arena-dwelling Swedish metal band Sabaton attempted to get back out on the road again in early 2022, the challenges of late-pandemic international travel soon scuppered the plan. So it was replaced with another: a tour of just about everywhere in Sweden.

“We did 30 dates and sold 40,000 tickets,” says promoter David Maloney of All Things Live Sweden. “It was unique because no one has done a tour like that, ever, in Sweden. We played markets where we sold 2,000 tickets in a town where 4,000 people live.

“They are an arena band – they have a show next year at the [former] Globe in Stockholm, and they’ve sold 10,000 tickets for that. But rather than sitting at home complaining, they said, ‘Fuck this shit, we’ll go out on tour. If there’s a stage and a roof, we’ll play there.’ And we played places in Sweden I had never even been to.”

Maybe we’re not on the brink of a world in which every band has to rip up small Swedish towns like Mölnlycke, Ålmhult, or Ronneby to make a living, but Maloney still believes there is a lesson here.

“In one sense, that’s the way it has to be in future,” he says. “If you want to play for an audience maybe you have to change your whole way of thinking. Especially for local bands. There’s a limited amount of big stages, a limited amount of festivals, a limited number of people.”

With its sturdy and experienced promoters, its plentiful festivals, and its smallish population, it is true that Sweden is not an easy place in which to innovate, and it is hard to find pockets of demand that aren’t being catered for by someone.

“We are quite a mature and well-developed and well-exploited market,” says FKP Scorpio partner and promoter Niklas Lundell. “If you want to develop a new concept and you think you are going to be on your own,” he notes wryly, “maybe Scandinavia is not your priority market if you know what I mean.”

“We are quite a mature and well-developed and well-exploited market”

With the exception of some small clubs in Stockholm where rents have rendered the grassroots business model inadequate, Sweden has more or less everything it needs. World-class venues? Check. Well-heeled audiences? Definitely.

A spot on every serious European touring schedule. No problem. Big, loud festivals and cool boutique ones? No need to ask twice.

Sweden is a model of a compact, modern market, with three very viable touring cities in Stockholm, Malmö, and Gothenburg. And at the mass-market end of the scale, at least, the post-pandemic boom has been a thoroughly fulfilling experience.

“It’s doing very well,” says Thomas Johansson, father of the Swedish live business and Live Nation’s chairman of international music and Nordics.

“We have just finished a bunch of outdoor shows: Iron Maiden, Rolling Stones, Lady Gaga all sold out stadiums. Then, we had a lot of other shows that have done very well all over Scandinavia, so I would say the business is good.”

As with any prosperous market, Sweden in the first year after the pandemic gives every appearance of being in the form of its life, but as always, the glory of the packed-out arenas and stadiums does not necessarily reflect right across the business.

“The shows that are suffering most from poor ticket sales in the post-Covid period are the ones that would usually sell 700-2,000 tickets,” says Edward Janson of increasingly diversified rock and metal specialist TADC, formerly Triffid And Danger Concerts.

“The big shows are doing well but it’s rather difficult in the middle segment these days”

“The smaller club shows are doing okay, and the big shows are doing well. But it’s rather difficult in the middle segment these days,” he adds, noting that ticket sales are currently around 25 to 30% down.

Johansson notes a similar trend when it comes to artists a little further down the scale. “Generally, the big artists are doing very well, whether they are local or international,” he says. “The mid-range artists are a little softer, the smaller club acts, too. Basically, it’s because there are so many tickets on sale. A lot of people were sitting with tickets for 2020, and then all of a sudden they were sitting with tickets for 2021, and when 2022 came around they already had five or six tickets booked.”

Certainly, there are challenges, even for an affluent market like Sweden. “There is huge competition now, since almost all artists are touring at the same time,” says Janson. “And inflation is rising, and the Swedish krona is getting weaker compared to the dollar and the euro. With that said, during the upcoming winter, I’m sure that it will stabilise and that ticket sales will go back to where they were before the pandemic.”

Svensk Live, the local live music body that gathers together clubs, festivals, promoters, and agents, recently launched its Life is Live campaign with performing arts group Svensk Scenkonst, aimed at encouraging fans to return to live events at all levels. Operations manager Joppe Pihlgren says there is a strong sense of industry cohesion around such initiatives.

“We have 270 members in Svensk Live,” he says. “We have the big companies, but they also understand that if you don’t have the grassroots then ultimately everything else suffers. We had that kind of [indie vs corporate] struggle a little bit more in the past, but we have got all these people very much together now.

“We have a youth organisation where [Live Nation] bring in volunteers to work for Lollapalooza. And we have a climate project as part of Way Out West – though we also do things with FKP Scorpio.”

“There is huge competition now, since almost all artists are touring at the same time”

And while Sweden may be a highly mature market, with plenty of corporate interest, it is also a major global pop and rock producer with plenty of self-esteem, and one in which local identity remains strong. Pihlgren, himself a home-grown rock star as the frontman of veteran Swedish band Docenterna, is heartened by the rise of local acts to arena and even stadium level.

“Before, it was just Springsteen and the big international artists who could fill up a stadium, but now you have [Gothenburg-born star] Håkan Hellström selling out [four nights in August at Gothenburg’s] Ullevi stadium. Laleh also sold it out in the summer, and we have a lot of smaller acts coming through.”

Promoters
Historically one of Live Nation’s safest markets, Sweden hasn’t got a great deal more perilous for the business’s biggest player lately. As well as taking the lion’s share of the stadium and arena touring business, the corporate owns leading indie and Way Out West founder Luger and holds majority shares in the Summerburst and Sweden Rock festivals, as well as being the local custodian of Lollapalooza since 2019.

As thrill-starved punters all rush to the biggest concerts they can find, the current conditions were made for Live Nation. “This year has been a fantastic vintage,” says Johansson. “And 2023 is shaping up to be yet again an enormous year. We put Bruce Springsteen on sale a month ago – two Copenhagens, two Oslos, and three Gothenburgs – and we sold 400,000 tickets in a day.”

FKP, very much the challenger to Live Nation in the Nordic markets and elsewhere, helped to spearhead the increasingly ubiquitous tendency among Nordic promoters to operate across the region and has had a full set of Scandinavian offices for around five years.

“We are super, super close,” says Lundell. “It has been good to unite our forces and see what we can do jointly, and whoever is best placed to take a lead can basically do it for all four territories.”

“For your own health it’s hard, because ticket sales have picked up really late”

Among its Swedish exploits this year are ten Ullevi stadiums for Ed Sheeran and three for Rammstein; one and four, respectively, for Swedish stars Laleh and Håkan Hellström; shows for Gorillaz; and a new festival, the Rosendal Garden Party, and an older one, Where’s The Music in Norrköping.

“I think there is definitely potential to develop [in the Nordics], but it is also one market, or several markets, that have been dominated by one player,” says Lundell. “So it is about just slowly growing and showing that there’s an alternative and that we can do a good job with both big and small shows and be creative and fast. Showing that there is not a monopoly situation here, that there’s other promoters to speak to.”

The Waterland-backed All Things Live was born in 2018 as a pan-Scandinavian operator built from Denmark’s ICO; Norway’s Friction and Atomic Soul; and Sweden’s Blixten & Co and Maloney Concerts, and had scarcely formed when Covid struck.

“It was an exciting time because we actually had a chance to work together as a group,” says Maloney. “And then it was a bit of an odd feeling, that we were ready to go and then nothing. But now it’s all great.”

Coming out of the pandemic, all promoters have had to learn the new language of the market, including highly unpredictable, occasionally heart-stopping sales patterns.

“I have to say that the big shows we are doing, at least, have sold really, really well – although for your own health it’s hard, because ticket sales have picked up really late,” says Maloney. “We did one show with Green Day in June [at Stockholm’s Tele2 Arena], and in the last two weeks sales just exploded. We came to the level we wanted to be, but a month before the show we were thinking, ‘What’s going on?’ It’s a new chapter, you don’t have anything to go on.”

As the Sabaton example shows, Maloney remains passionate about the idea of creative thinking be- tween promoters and artists. “The thing that we want to remain is independent,” says Maloney.

“This year, we had time to try new products such as climate-friendly fuel”

“We want to have artists come first, and that is our whole point. On some occasions, we will make a deal for all four Nordic countries. Sometimes we just do it in Norway or Sweden or Finland or Denmark. But we want to have the flexibility to work with the artist rather than telling them, ‘This is what we need to do, or nothing.’”

TADC, meanwhile, has diversified while maintaining its roots in rock and metal. Upcoming shows include Manowar, Helloween, Uriah Heep, and WASP, but this year it has sold 10,000 tickets for 50 Cent and also staged Simply Red, Don McLean, and The Beach Boys.

“When TADC started in 2015, our focus was mainly on rock and metal,” says Janson. “Still the majority of our shows are within rock and metal, but we have broadened our focus a lot. During 2023 we will do even more shows in other types of music.”

TADC expanded into Norway and Denmark in 2021 and maintains offices in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Oslo, and Copenhagen. “Sweden, Norway, and Denmark are definitely still different markets with different cultures, but we’re in a good position when we can make offers for all three countries,” says Janson.

Festivals
Everyone knows just how much pain festivals, in particular, suffered in 2020 and 2021, as their annual glorious moment was, in most cases, snuffed out not just once but twice. So 2022 has been a major relief for Sweden’s big names, including 30-year-old rock and metal festival Sweden Rock, which returned in June to Norje in southern Sweden for the first time since 2019, with Volbeat, In Flames, and Guns N’ Roses at the top of the bill.

“It was great to be back. Even better than I hoped,” says man-ageing director Jon Bergsjö. “Our visitors, artists, and staff were very positive and enjoyed the festival.” One silver lining of the three-year lay-off was the time to plan, says Bergsjö, with particular emphasis on experience – waiting times, F&B choice, clean toilets – and sustainability.

“We make changes every year to become more sustainable,” he says. “This year, we had time to try new products such as climate-friendly fuel, and we got a lot further in getting all our food stands to make better choices about cutlery, plates, and other single-use products. We even started serving the draft beer and drinks in specialised paper cups.”

“We ended up selling 50,000 tickets in a market like Malmö that has never had this kind of event before”

Luger’s Way Out West was the first Swedish festival to shout about sustainability, and it is now meat-free, milk-free, and climate-trans- parent. It returned in August with Robyn, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Burna Boy, and First Aid Kit.

Elsewhere, in no order of size, Swedish collective Ladieslovehiphop (LLHH) partnered with Live Nation Sweden and Luger on the 2022 Ladieslovehiphop Festival. The boutique festival, which debuted at Trädgården in Stockholm in 2019, returned on 19-20 August at Fållan & Slakthusområdet in Stockholm with an eclectic female-led line-up starring Stefflon Don, Ayra Starr, Ivorian Doll, Baby Tate, Shaybo, and Dreya Mac.

Of the other Live Nation-related festivals, the two-day electronic Summerburst Festival returned to Ullevi in Gothenburg in June, and Lollapalooza Stockholm – the first Lolla in the Nordics – finally got its second edition in July by the water in Gärdet, with Imagine Dragons, The Killers, Pearl Jam, Lorde, and Post Malone on board.

The big event of the year for All Things Live in Sweden is the acquisition of Malmö’s Big Slap Festival. Founded in 2013, the previously one-day event was one of Sweden’s largest electronic dance music festivals, with a daily capacity of around 15,000 attendees. This year, All Things Live bumped Big Slap up to two days, relocated it from Tallriken park to Nyhamnen on the city’s waterfront, got Justin Bieber on board and was vindicated in doing so.

“We ended up selling 50,000 tickets in a market like Malmö that has never had this kind of event before. People talk about Malmö being Sweden’s Miami, and we could see that at Big Slap.”

TADC has two festivals in Gefle Metal Festival and Atlas Rock, both in Gävle on Sweden’s Baltic Sea coast. “Gefle Metal Festival has grown into an event that fans of extreme metal see as an event that you need to go to,” says Janson. “This is the place where you meet all the other fans of the music and see the bands that don’t play at any of the other festivals.

“This year, we also did the first edition of our new festival Atlas Rock, with acts like Scorpions, Alice Cooper, and Black Label Society. We believe that this also will be an established festival very soon with an audience that keeps returning.”

“The market in Sweden has recovered great from the closedown during the pandemic”

The promoter is also exploring ways of keeping its flagship Gefle Fest active year-round, with a smaller indoor edition in the winter and a Gefle Metal Cruise in the spring. FKP Scorpio’s four-day Rosendal Garden Party launched this year as part of a trio of new festivals also including Loaded in Norway and Syd for Solen in Denmark. It took place on the Djurgården island in central Stockholm, with headliners The Strokes, Florence + The Machine, The National, and Tyler, The Creator, and drew 10-15,000 a day.

“It was a really good first year, and the experience was fantastic,” says Lundell, who also senses a return to old ways of independent creative thinking in the festival market. “Ten to 15 years ago, all the festivals went from being run by a bunch of patient souls out in the nowhere lands to becoming part of a bigger strategy and a new framework,” he says.

“That is maybe going back on itself a little bit. I think people will move away from concentrating on the urban markets, and I think a lot of fantastic new ones will be popping up around the country.”

Venues
ASM Global’s Stockholm Live has the capital’s venue market pretty well cornered. Since 2008, the company (as AEG Facilities) has operated the 6,000-14,500-capacity Avicii Arena (formerly the Ericsson Globe), the 8,100-cap Hovet, and the 3,400-cap Annexet. In 2013, it added the new Tele2 Arena in south Stockholm, with configurations for between 18,000 and 37,000, and in 2017 took over the 30,000-57,000-cap Friends Arena in Solna in Stockholm County, north of the city centre.

Last year, ASM Global signed a long-term lease to manage the Södra Teatern, a theatre venue with a capacity of up to 600, and Mosebacketerrassen, a rooftop terrace that can accommodate around 2,000 people.

“The market in Sweden has recovered great from the closedown during the pandemic, and after being up and running for a couple of months, we do see an increasing demand for live acts again,” Stockholm Live event sales director Jenny Blomqvist told IQ’s Global Arenas Guide.

“The challenge for the industry in Sweden is to get back to its previous strength again, focusing on all the staff rehires we need, at the same time as educating and developing our organisation for the coming months of events – all this while delivering the acts in our arenas today.”

“Today we face a completely new challenge in trying to foresee even the next six months”

And as for everyone, the future is suddenly harder to read, in all kinds of ways. “Today we face a completely new challenge in trying to foresee even the next six months, as the market is not acting as it did before the pandemic,” says Blomqvist. “International shows are released with shorter sales periods than previously – two to five months – so whereas in previous years we would have known by now how the summer of 2023 would be, today we are still releasing shows for 2022. So we have to be even more flexible in our calendars and have tighter deadlines in all we do.”

The change to the name of the venue known as The Globe, or Globen in Swedish, came as a tribute to local DJ and producer Avicii. The iconic building is now also a hub for initiatives focused on young people’s mental health, in cooperation with sponsors [home improvement store] Bauhaus and [insurance company] Trygg-Hansa.

Also new, in a very different vein, is the introduction of AXS’s new AXS Mobile ID ticket across the Stockholm Live venues. The ticket is non-transferable, except through AXS, and is intended as an antidote to the illicit secondary market.

“What we see with Rammstein, Ed Sheeran, and these other big artists is they want personalised tickets; they don’t want their tickets to end up on the secondary market at ten times the price, and this is a way to guarantee that,” says Jay Sietsema, AXS general manager, Sweden.

Other key venues in Sweden include the Malmö Arena, which has a capacity of 13,000 for sports (predominantly ice hockey) and 15,500 for concerts, and, of course, the Ullevi Stadium. The stadium’s all-time crowd remains the 70,144 pulled by local boy Håkan Hellström on 5 June 2016 – beating the old record of 70,091 set the previous night, and comfortably exceeding the 69,349 that came through the turnstiles two days later.

 


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IQ 113 out now: Coldplay, Lucy Dickins and more

IQ 113, the latest issue of the international live music industry’s favourite monthly magazine, is available to read online now.

The August edition sees IQ Magazine editor Gordon Masson go behind the scenes of Coldplay’s Music of the Spheres global tour and explore the band’s record-breaking success.

Elsewhere, he profiles WME’s global head of contemporary music and touring, Lucy Dickins, charting her extraordinary rise through the corporate ranks.

Meanwhile, our metal expert James MacKinnon tracks the genre’s impressive post-pandemic recovery, and Adam Woods learns about the mixed fortunes confronting touring artists and productions in an otherwise buoyant Swedish live music market.

For this edition’s columns and comments, Professor Chris Kemp examines the changing landscape of crowd behaviour in the post-Covid environment, and Music Support‘s Lynne Maltman provides a sobering reminder of the collective promises we made for our mental health.

As always, the majority of the magazine’s content will appear online in some form in the next four weeks.

However, if you can’t wait for your fix of essential live music industry features, opinion and analysis, click here to subscribe to IQ for just £7.99 a month – or check out what you’re missing out on with the limited preview below:


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Major Scandi festivals hail bumper comebacks

Last week saw some of Scandinavia’s best-known festivals welcome back record numbers of music fans.

Norway’s Øya Festival (Øyafestivalen) reported a total attendance of 88,000 over four days (or 22,000 per day) at this year’s sold-out edition, smashing its previous record of 80,000 in 2019.

The Superstruct-backed festival returned to Oslo’s Tøyen Park last week (9 and 13 August) with headliners Gorillaz, Florence + the Machine and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

“The festival was fantastic,” Jonas Prangerød, press manger for Øya, tells IQ. “Artists, staff, volunteers and, of course, the audience enjoyed Øya finally being back. People came very early to the festival area and there was a good crowd for every band and artist.

“Both new talent and the big, established favourites impressed. I think a lot of people have got a few new favourite acts now. The warm weather suited Øya’s comeback really well. The whole week was as good as we could hope for.”

Sweden’s Way Out West also broke its own attendance record, drawing 50,000 unique visitors over three days (11–13 August) to its 2022 edition.

The Luger-promoted festival once again took over Gothenburg’s Slottsskogen city park, offering performances from the likes of Tame Impala, Beabadoobee and Fontaines D.C.

“The whole week was as good as we could hope for”

“Way Out West 2022 could not have ended up better,” Filip Hiltmann, marketing and communications manager for Way out West, tells IQ.

“After two years of silence, it felt great to finally be back in Slottsskogen doing what we do best. The sun was out the whole weekend (a rare phenomenon in Gothenburg!) and we experienced first-class sets from the likes of Burna Boy, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, First Ait Kit, Fred again… and many more. We can’t wait to be back next year, mark down 10–12 August 2023 in your calendars.”

Elsewhere in Scandinavia, Finland’s Flow Festival celebrated an attendance record of 90,000 over two days (12–14 August) or 30,000 per day.

The Superstruct-backed festival took place in the Finnish capital of Helsinki this past weekend (12–14 August), with performances from more than 160 acts including Jamie xx, Princess Nokia, Bikini Kill, MØ and Fred Again.

Notably, Gorillaz’s performance at Flow was the band’s first-ever appearance in Finland.

Next year’s Flow dates have already been set for 11–13 August, 2023, and a limited number of Super Early Bird tickets went on sale yesterday (15 August).

Other festivals that took place over the weekend, elsewhere in Europe, include Superstruct’s Sziget (Hungary), Follow The Step’s Fest Festival (Poland) and Boomtown Fair (UK).

 


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Spotify tests the waters with new ticketing platform

Spotify has soft-launched a new website to sell tickets directly to its users, instead of redirecting customers to partner ticketing platforms.

The streaming provider premiered its tickets.spotify.com site today (10 August), enabling those with a Spotify account to purchase event tickets via debit or credit card.

Currently, the Spotify Tickets site lists concerts for US artists like Limbeck, Crow, Annie DiRusso, Four Years Strong, and Tokimonsta.

The tickets are taken from those artists’ pre-sale allocations – which will be Spotify Tickets’ focus, rather than general on-sale inventory.

According to the site’s terms and conditions, the company only acts as a ticketing agent and takes a booking fee. It also mentions that the platform can sell on behalf of “third parties which can include venues, event promoters, fan clubs, and artists, as their disclosed ticketing agent”.

“Some of [these tests] end up paving the path for our broader user experience and others serve only as important learnings”

Commenting on the launch of the new site, a spokesperson from Spotify told Tech Crunch: “At Spotify, we routinely test new products and ideas to improve our user experience. Some of those end up paving the path for our broader user experience and others serve only as important learnings. Tickets.spotify.com is our latest test. We have no further news to share on future plans at this time.”

In June, Spotify launched the Live Events Feed, an in-app destination that allows users to discover concerts in their local area via personalised listings sourced from the platform’s affiliate ticketing partners, Ticketmaster, AXS, Dice, Eventbrite and See Tickets.

Though events listed on the Spotify Tickets site are not available on the Live events page, the company’s support page says: “Some tickets listed [on the Live Events page] are available for purchase directly from Spotify.” Tickets directly sold through Spotify are also not currently listed on the artist pages.

Spotify dipped a toe into the ticketing world last year when the company experimented with selling tickets to virtual pre-recorded concerts due to the pandemic.

The launch of Spotify’s ticketing platform comes days after Ticketmaster partnered with TikTok to allow users to discover events and purchase tickets directly through the app. The ticketing giant struck a similar partnership with Snap in February.

 


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