CAA signs AI tech and content firm Futureverse
Talent giant Creative Artists Agency (CAA) has signed AI and metaverse technology and content company Futureverse.
Deadline reports that the businesses will collaborate to create new opportunities for talent and IP, “spanning web3, the metaverse, virtual games, worlds and experiences, AI, and beyond”.
The strategic partnership will enable Futureverse to “bolster its strategic entertainment efforts to accelerate the creation of technology experiences in collaboration with well-known IP”.
“We are thrilled to be working with Futureverse, who are establishing themselves as leaders in the technology and entertainment space,” says Phil Quist of CAA. “This relationship is not just a meeting of minds, but a fusion of capabilities that will accelerate our shared vision for a smarter, more connected world.”
Co-founded by Shara Senderoff and Aaron McDonald, Futureverse announced the close of a $54 million Series A funding round in July 2023, led by 10T Holdings, LLC, and including participation from Ripple.
“Futureverse’s strategic collaboration with CAA has forged a strong alignment in fostering the development of mutually beneficial business models”
In the last year, Futureverse has linked up with the likes of Warner Music Group, FIFA, Authentic Brands Group (ABG), Mastercard, Wimbledon, Death Row Records, Wētā Workshop, Snoop Dogg, Timbaland, Keanu Reeves and Alexandra Grant. It launched AI-powered game AI League in cooperation with FIFA on iOS and Android and has partnered with ABG, IP Rights holders of the Muhammad Ali Enterprises, to release the first AI-powered boxing game, Muhammad Ali – The Next Legends.
In August meanwhile, it announced the publication of research in the advancement of music AI with the launch of JEN 1, an “unprecedented universal high-fidelity model for text-to-music generation”.
“At a substantial moment in the evolution of technology, it’s critical to architect a thoughtful and creative approach to the integration of both talent and IP into the dynamic landscape of innovation,” says Senderoff. “Futureverse’s strategic collaboration with CAA has forged a strong alignment in fostering the development of mutually beneficial business models that empower creators with groundbreaking tools and lucrative revenue opportunities.
“As pioneers in AI, web3 and metaverse infrastructure, driven by a deep appreciation for art and humanity, we see an incredibly bright future for the world of entertainment. Joining forces with CAA amplifies and accelerates the dialogue and partnerships that reinforce and expand our shared vision.”
Artémis, an investment firm led by billionaire French businessman Francois-Henri Pinault, acquired a majority stake in CAA in September this year.
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TagMix to expand to 40 festivals in 2024
Software solution TagMix is expanding to cover up to 40 festivals across Europe next summer following a successful season.
TagMix’s technology allows clips from live performances – captured on any phone or video device – to be merged with professional audio direct from the sound desk. High-quality content can be instantly posted online, even while performances are ongoing, without traditional editing or poor audio quality.
UK festivals including Creamfields, Isle of Wight, 2000 Trees, El Dorado, The Big Feastival and Lakefest reported a significant increase in social media reach and engagement from TagMix-enhanced content. Both views and likes were 300% higher on average than content posted by the same events whose audio had not been enhanced by the service.
“The data from this summer shows conclusively that, if only 1% of the new, highly targeted fans delivered by TagMix convert to ticket sales, festivals can anticipate an average revenue bump of £290,000 each, per year,” says Steve Jenner, TagMix’s director of festivals.
The Chemical Brothers utilised TagMix at their Isle Of Wight headline appearance to preview new single Live Again on Instagram
“It also presents an avenue for festivals to shift towards a more robust, year-round, data-driven business model and for brand partners to engage audiences much more effectively and measurably.”
The Chemical Brothers utilised TagMix at their Isle Of Wight headline appearance to preview new single Live Again on Instagram, while a clip of Craig Charles’ DJ set at Cambridge Club Festival achieved over 10.5 million views on Facebook.
Agreements with the major labels ensures automatic rights clearance for the majority of acts, with data from this year’s Independent Venue Week highlighting that 71% of artists tagged in a TagMix-enhanced post would share it to their own audiences.
“Artists greatly appreciated our presence at the festivals, as it allowed their live festival moments to shine online, capturing the true essence of their sound rather than the usual poor reflections they’re used to from phone-captured audio, or an overdubbed studio recording,” says TagMix founder and CEO Andy Dean.
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D.Live launches new tech division
German venue operator D.Live is launching a new division offering digital and software solutions developed in-house over the last five years.
D.Tech offers “tailor-made and tried-and-tested software solutions for venue operators, event organisers and other companies,” according to a release.
The programmes promise comprehensive solutions for all workflows in the event industry, and to streamline and digitalise companies’ internal processes.
The D.Tech suite includes an ERP/event management tool, a booking calendar, a Computer-Aided Facility Management, accreditation software, intranet software and a closed committee board.
“Since our founding five years ago, we have continuously worked on solutions to improve our business operations”
“The launch of D.Tech is a groundbreaking step for us and underlines our commitment to making technology accessible to our industry. Since our founding five years ago, we have continuously worked on solutions to improve our business operations. Now we are going one step further and offering our proven IT solutions to other companies and event organisers,” says Michael Brill, CEO of D.Live .
Burkhard Hintzsche, chairman of the D.LIVE supervisory board, adds: “Thanks to new technologies, for example, the company has succeeded in an exemplary manner in optimising the information situation and communication with us as the supervisory board – information asymmetries have since become a thing of the past.”
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Ticketmaster rolls out SafeTix tech to festivals
Ticketmaster has launched SafeTix, its anti-counterfeit ticketing technology, at festivals for the first time.
Following the March rollout in venues in the UK and Ireland, SafeTix launched this summer at festivals including Isle of Wight, Parklife, BBC Radio 1’s Biggest Weekend and TRNSMT.
The technology links a fan’s digital ticket to their Ticketmaster account through an encrypted barcode that automatically refreshes every few seconds, preventing resellers from exploiting screenshots or photocopies of tickets to sell them multiple times.
The tickets also include NFC (Near Field Communication) technology that allows fans to enter venues through a simple “tap and go” experience at venue entrances.
“We used to have so many fans turn up with fake tickets they purchased at ridiculous prices from unofficial secondary sites”
Four million SafeTix have been scanned at numerous festivals and in 100 venues across the UK and Ireland since March.
“We used Ticketmaster’s SafeTix at our sell-out Arctic Monkeys and Muse shows with great success,” says Geoff Ellis, CEO of DF Concerts.
“We used to have so many fans turn up with fake tickets they purchased at ridiculous prices from unofficial secondary sites, only to be turned away. The SafeTix technology has completely eliminated this issue, with a barcode that constantly updates and cannot be screenshot.”
SafeTix was initially launched in North American venues in 2019 and has since been rolled out in Australia, New Zealand and Mexico. Globally, Ticketmaster scanned more than 20 million SafeTix in July alone.
IQ 117 out now: Lewis Capaldi, Schueremans, France
IQ 117, the latest issue of the international live music industry’s favourite magazine, is available to read online now.
The March 2023 issue sees Belgian promoter Herman Schueremans look back on 50 years in the live music industry, while Lewis Capaldi’s team discuss what made the singer’s latest tour such a success.
Elsewhere, the full agenda for the 35th edition of the International Live Music Conference is revealed and the New Tech panel is previewed.
Plus, IQ editor James Hanley examines the current state of the live event insurance market and Adam Woods puts the French business under le microscope.
For this edition’s double header of columns and comments, Marcel Hunziker talks up the benefits of developing a presence on TikTok and Sheryl Pinckney-Maas outlines the reasons to consider crowdsourced data to enhance event security.
In addition, Joe Hastings highlights the work of Help Musicians in tackling mental health issues in the music industry and Chris Bray explains how the ILMC scheme to introduce young professionals to the conference fits with ASM Global’s own future leadership plans.
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 from just £6.25 a month – or check out what you’re missing out on with the limited preview below:
Chapter and Metaverse
Technology companies around the world are investing incredible amounts of money to develop engaging virtual reality worlds in the metaverse, and many have identified live music performance as integral to their plans. Here, IQ profiles 20 companies to keep an eye on as live concerts in the metaverse become more common.
Touting itself as “the first fully decentralised virtual world,” Decentraland’s remit from day one was to hand over control to the people who create and play in its virtual space. Through its DAO (Decentralised Autonomous Organisation), users are in control of the policies created to determine how this VR world behaves: for example, what kinds of wearable items are allowed, moderation of content, land policy and auctions, among others. The organisation has a calendar of music events, including the DCL Music Metaverse Festival on 10 November.
AmazeVR claims to be “ushering in the next stage of music.” Through its proprietary camera technology and software, the company produces virtual reality (VR) concerts, creating entirely new musical experiences that bring fans closer to artists than ever before.
Most fans of music don’t have the luxury of seeing their favourite artists in concert for a myriad of reasons – schedule conflicts, geographic location, or financial burden, to name a few. However, AmazeVR concerts offer the immersive experience of seeing your favourite artist up close and personal, even from home. The company’s goal is to allow fans to be able to experience their favourite artists anytime, anywhere.
The platform captivated fans earlier this year with the first-ever VR concert tour featuring Megan Thee Stallion in her Enter Thee Hottieverse tour across 15 major cities in the US with over 15,000 concertgoers. Moving forward, these VR concerts will be accessible online, and the developers envision them be- coming a key component of all artists’ release strategies and album rollouts, setting a new paradigm for both artists and their fans beyond the existing live, in-person concerts.
With the VR market topping nearly 15 million active users in the Meta Quest ecosystem alone, artists can expect even more diverse opportunities to reach their fans via VR and the metaverse and build their brand through exclusive online interactive events, digital merchandising, and revenue sharing from VR app marketplace activity.
AmazeVR is preparing to launch its music metaverse service across all major VR app stores in the first half of 2023 with a line-up of established and emerging artists, both from the US and Korea (through the company’s joint venture with K-pop giant SM Entertainment), including, again, Megan Thee Stallion.
Dot Big Bang
With over 2m plays on its main hub and incredible performance in just a browser, dot big bang offers artists a chance to reach fans from across the globe – no matter the technology they own. As long as fans have a browser and an Internet connection, they are able to be a part of dot big bang’s online world and take part in an artist’s performance.
Promoting accessibility above all else, dot big bang offers players an experience they can have anywhere, anytime.
dot big bang is the chosen collaborative platform for 13.4m subscriber YouTuber PrestonPlayz, who has successfully hosted a number of sessions, with his audience jumping into custom games by clicking a link on his social channels. dot big bang offers instant engagement and collaboration all through the click of a link – and no sign-up is required, meaning fans and performers can quickly host and join an event whenever they want.
As a game development platform as well as a collaborative gaming platform, dot big bang can be used to create the perfect venue experience for fans, thanks to its accessible development tools.
Epic Games’ Fortnite
With first-of-its-kind music experiences such as Travis Scott’s Astronomical and the Rift Tour Featuring Ariana Grande, Fortnite remains a pioneer in bringing interactive experiences to the virtual space. Since its beginnings, Fortnite has become a coalescence of popular culture – amassing over 400m registered accounts globally – and has continued to expand its reach into music alongside film, fashion, and beyond.
Working with a series of international artists through the Soundwaves Series (finishing this impressive musical line-up with French-Malian singer Aya Nakamura), Fortnite has introduced its worldwide audience of millions to a variety of music from across the globe. Each experience is carefully crafted for each artist through Fortnite’s impressive creative toolset, which places the experience-building capabilities in the hands of any creator or brand that wants to realise their own unique virtual experience.
Fortnite also offers additional ways to discover music through its in-game car radio, playable character outfits (e.g. Silk Sonic and Coachella Cosmetic Sets), Emotes, and Lobby Tracks. UK’s easy life and O2 experience gave fans a brand-new song, exclusively made as an in-game Lobby Track.
Fortnite is available on console, PC, Android, and cloud-based game-streaming services, making it easily accessible to the core fan or casual audience.
So confident was Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg about the prospects for the metaverse, that he last year rebranded the company as Meta to highlight its shift in direction.
The corporation is investing billions of dollars in the development of the metaverse and has already recognised music as central to engaging users. In addition to launching its own platform for virtual gigs – Horizon Venues – Meta has acquired music VR operations Beat Games and Supernatural, as it looks to secure market share in the environment.
The company recently rolled out its new Meta Quest Pro VR headset, to mixed reviews, while another new function is its Avatar Store, which could have interesting possibilities for virtual merchandise for any artists that choose to use the platform.
While there are no historic VR gigs on the Napster platform, the company recently hired Roblox music chief Jon Vlassopulos as its CEO and disclosed it has raised an eight-figure sum in new financing, which it will use to fund acquisitions in the Web3 sector, as it looks to follow the Roblox pathway into hosting live music content. Indeed, Vlassopulos has stated that he hopes to make music as popular as Web3 gaming within the next 24 to 36 months.
Niantic is the developer of the world’s most successful mobile AR game, Pokémon Go, and is expanding its reach into the live music sector. It’s already run a project with Ed Sheeran in late 2021, while its Lightship software development kit has been used by the likes of Coachella Festival and Warner Music Group. Niantic has also reportedly invested in Pixelynx – another early adopter of Lightship.
Pixelynx is a new venture that is focussed on blurring the lines between music, blockchain, and gaming.
Founded by a number of electronic music luminaries, including artists Richie Hawtin (Plastikman) and Joel Zimmerman (deadmau5), Pixelynx is “building technology and acquiring equity in a range of start-ups that will form the foundation of how music is experienced in the metaverse”.
The company says it is building a global network of artists, visionaries, and start-ups that are passionate about re-imagining how the music industry evolves through Web3 and the metaverse. Its goal is to establish a transparent alternative to the metaverse services that are being developed by the “monolithic giants that control the current network of platforms that musicians, fans, and gamers rely on.”
Ristband is a music metaverse platform where events taking place in the real world can have a digital twin of the physical world happening in real time, combining the excitement of a live event with the power and reach of digital social experiences.
The Ristband team includes artist Roman Rappack as its chief creative officer. His band, Miro Shot, has experimented extensively with AR, VR, and mixed-reality technology at its concerts for a number of years.
The company is the recipient of a grant from Epic Games, which it is using to help create a metaverse that can be used by independent artists, rather than just the A-list acts that dominate charts and airwaves.
Spearheaded by former global head of music Jon Vlassopulos, gaming platform Roblox has leveraged its global appeal to facilitate a number of album launches and virtual performances, with the likes of Lil Nas X, Tai Verdes, Twenty One Pilots, David Guetta, George Ezra, Charlie XCX, and Lizzo, to name but a few, enjoying various degrees of success with their events.
Roblox has also been embraced by the likes of The Grammys and the BRIT Awards to attract a different audience, while Electric Daisy Carnival pioneered the way for festivals to become involved.
Built on the blockchain, The Sandbox offers a wide range of exploration across its metaverse, consisting of 166,464 unique pieces of LAND, each belonging to a user. Founded in 2011, it is a community driven platform where creators can monetise Voxel assets and gaming experiences.
Snapchat’s parent company has teamed up with Live Nation to launch AR experiences for the likes of Lollapalooza, Wireless Festival, Rolling Loud, and Electric Daisy Carnival. Say no more.
Stageverse is attempting to attract artists and bands to create their own unique virtual environments in the metaverse, providing ‘Stage’ land plots for interested parties that will represent their address in the metaverse. Each individual plot of land has specific coordinates and a listing on the Stage map.
“Stage land plots act primarily as gateways to other expansive spaces via portals, and landowners can personalise and build on their plot in many different ways to promote the ‘front-door’ to their expansive world,” explains the company.
Among the first acts to partner with Stageverse were Muse, who used footage from a 2019 concert to offer fans different viewpoints, as well as various items of virtual merch.
In addition to its investment in Wave, music stream- ing monolith Tencent rolled out a virtual festival called TMELAND last new year. Tapping into the popularity of its karaoke business, the company also announced it was developing a metaverse feature that would give users their own individual rooms where they could invite friends to meet and interact.
The company has also teased the possibility of establishing virtual showrooms that artists could use for the likes of album launches. Tencent has more than 600m users.
While there appear to be no plans for the video-hosting service to develop a metaverse platform, Chinese parent corporation ByteDance has dipped its toe into the market with the 2021 acquisition of VR headset manufacturer, Pico. Watch this space…
A games industry stalwart, Unity is marketing its development platform as an ideal toolkit to create music experiences and earlier this year revealed it had inked a partnership with Insomniac Events, whose festivals include Electric Daisy Carnival and Wonderland. The new partners are apparently working on “a brand-new, persistent metaverse world” specifically for live music.
Vatom has been helping artists and brands make their metaverse dreams come true since 2015, and has hosted concerts and meet & greets for artists including Mary J Blige, Macklemore, Ellie Goulding, and Silverstein, as well as global events for brands such as Volvo, and always-on workspaces including Arup Associates.
While most people hear the term ‘metaverse’ and immediately think of a handful of people using avatars to interact in a gaming environment, the Vatom philosophy is different. At Vatom, online gatherings are not just about high-fidelity, they are part of a feature complete ecosystem that is fully scalable to support events with more than 10k attendees. Vatom ‘Spaces’ support digital collectibles, custom avatars, spatial audio, and have a full team of Vatom experts on hand to help your event run smoothly from the box office to the main stage.
Whether you are looking to host your first event and rent one of the venues in Vatom’s Soundtown – everything from the rooftop pool to the recreation of legendary Los Angeles jazz bar, Harvelles – or want to take the next step and build out your own always-on global lounge for your festival, Vatom has your back. If you want to add Smart NFTs, and a custom marketplace to drop virtual merch, they do that, too.
Volta is a self-serve XR creation platform that gives artists and creators the ability to design and broadcast experiential content that goes beyond the 2D screen and reaches into the metaverse. Volta integrates seamlessly into artists existing workflows, allowing them to build new immersive worlds that were previously unimaginable. What once required a state-of-the-art production studio and a six-figure budget, is now free.
In the coming months, Volta will be introducing a feature that will enable new forms of engagement and revenue for artists. The company has already built the ability to let fans have an impact on visual content via the chat window in several streaming platforms (Twitch, YouTube, etc.). Fans type in keywords of an artist, choosing to enable one-to-one interactions (“boom” = a futuristic explosion of light); many-to-one interactions (the more people that type “boom” the bigger the explosion when the beat drops); and unified interactions (eg fans can literally play tug of war with the virtual camera angles).
These interactions can be gated by keywords, as well as things like Twitch Bits, YouTube Superchat, etc. So, whether your artists are livestreaming or using Volta on an LED wall at a gig in real life, they can give their fans control of the visual 3D world they are performing in from anywhere on the planet, earning money in the process.
Volta has worked with acts such as Bonobo, Jamie Jones, Nero, Archie Hamilton, Sasha, Patrice Bäumel, TSHA, and DJ Yoda, and it is planning tours with iann dior and Richie Hawtin to name a few.
Originally known as WaveVR, the company rebranded in 2019 when it became apparent that it would not solely use virtual reality as the lure for fans to enjoy its events.
Wave shows enable artists and fans to collaborate in, what it refers to as “the creation of the most interactive live performance experiences in the world.”
Waves are live, interactive, and immersive shows it promises are unlike any virtual concert that fans have ever experienced – combining the best of live music, gaming, and broadcast technology to transform the live entertainment environment.
The shows can be livestreamed globally on wave.watch, as well as across popular social and gaming platforms including YouTube, Twitter, Twitch, TikTok, Facebook and Roblox.
Chinese online giant Tencent Music is an investor, while artists who have used the platform include The Weeknd, John Legend, Lindsey Stirling, and Justin Bieber.
Founded in 2020 by the former CEO of tech specialists HTC, Peter Chou, XRSpace has already brought a 5G VR headset (XRSpace Manova) to the market and launched its own virtual reality headset called the XRSpace Mova. One of the virtual worlds it has created to provide content for that headset is PartyOn – a music event metaverse that offers opportunities from karaoke parties to VR concerts.
Driift’s Ric Salmon on what’s next for livestreaming
Livestreaming will play a supporting role in the live industry’s return to touring, according to Driift CEO Ric Salmon.
In an interview with IQ magazine, Salmon said Driift is getting a “steady” level of inquiries for livestream events in 2022.
“Managers and artists are rightly focused on getting their businesses back up and running, and that, of course, means looking at all types of activity,” explains Salmon.
“But the words ‘live stream’ have quickly become part of the common lexicon, and we’re seeing people come to us talking about album campaigns and tours happening in 9-12 months and wanting to do a live stream within that window.
“I think the question has to be: why wouldn’t you add this type of activity to your plans alongside traditional shows, releases, and promo?” he adds.
The UK-based livestreaming company was founded in August 2020 by Salmon and Brian Message and has since sold more than 600,000 tickets for livestreamed gigs with acts including Nick Cave, Niall Horan, Kylie Minogue, Biffy Clyro, Andrea Bocelli, Laura Marling, Dermot Kennedy, Courtney Barnett and Sheryl Crow.
Its previous partners include the UK’s Glastonbury Festival where the company conceptualised, created and produced the ‘Live At Worthy Farm’ event, which featured artists including Coldplay, Haim, Jorja Smith, Idles, Wolf Alice, Michael Kiwanuka, Damon Albarn and The Smile.
“At Driift, we’ve taken a really high level of curation and artistry to the shows we’ve produced and delivered over the last 18 months, and, ultimately, I think that’s what’s driven our momentum and success,” says Salmon.
“”Technology will have a large part to do with ensuring people remain engaged in this new format”
“Technology will have a large part to do with ensuring people remain engaged in this new format, but perhaps more importantly it comes down to artistry and creativity. Frankly, we’ve seen too many shows that just aren’t good enough. These events, these online experiences, can be so much more.”
Off the back of an impressive 18 months, Driift has attracted investment from Paris-based global streaming company Deezer, and launched additional operations in New York in US and Perth in Australia.
Going into 2022, Salmon says that the company is “well setup for whatever the coming years have to throw at us”.
“Broadly speaking, like all of us, I want to see our industry bounce back and thrive. And largely, I believe it will but with a few more bumps in the road. It’s hugely important that businesses, large or small, push themselves, innovate, diversify, and grow. At our group of companies (ATC/Driift), we’re coming out of the last 18 months a more diverse, more exciting, and better-organised business.”
Upcoming shows for Driift include a series live stream with new band The Smile, comprising Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood and Sons Of Kemet’s Tom Skinner.
The Smile will play three consecutive live shows within 24 hours on 29 and 30 January at Magazine London which will be broadcast live in real time.
ASM Global acquires AV tech specialist AJP
ASM Global has acquired a controlling interest in AV technology specialist Anthony James Partners (AJP).
AJP’s experience and knowledge of the industry will be used to help inform ASM’s strategic decisions on major investments into complex technology and integration solutions.
The partnership will bolster the venue giant’s technological capabilities through the strategic deployment of digital signage networks; LED displays; broadcast production facilities; audio and sports/entertainment lighting; along with “core integration and infrastructure requirements” for ASM arenas, stadiums and convention centres.
“Demand for cutting-edge technology solutions for our vast network of facilities has been steadily increasing,” says Ron Bension, ASM Global president and CEO. “AJP and their excellent leadership team are best in class. A trusted resource, they provide unique services and employ a proven process that will protect the best interests of our clients. Our partnership with AJP further solidifies our position as the premier provider in live-entertainment services, content and technology.”
“ASM’s leadership and management expertise will support new opportunities for AJP to expand our value offering and services across a global footprint”
AJP recently participated in an $8 million (€7m) facility upgrade project for the ASM-managed KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky, and AV design for El Distrito in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
“ASM and AJP have been great working partners for many years, and we’re honoured to be part of the ASM Global family,” says Michael Rowe, AJP CEO and a founding partner. “ASM’s leadership and management expertise will support new opportunities for AJP to expand our value offering and services across a global footprint.”
“Technology is evolving at an exponential rate,” adds Frank Moraski, AJP COO and a founding partner. “Together, ASM and AJP have the unique opportunity to fundamentally change the way technology-based projects are being imagined and implemented. We’re excited to get to work.”
AJP provides technical and design management services for venues such as Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee, Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona and Cintas Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Ticketek integrates mobile tickets with Covid apps
Ticketek has simplified entry for Australian live events by integrating mobile tickets with Covid check-in and vaccination status apps.
In what the TEG-owned firm is hailing as a global first for the live entertainment industry, the digital technology will enable fans to check in to venues directly from their mobile ticket and verify their vaccination status in just a few taps on their phone.
Ticketek has partnered with the Victorian government on the innovative scheme, which will be available to fans at Ticketek venues in the state from this week.
“Ticketek is proud to support the Victorian government in helping Victoria reopen using our Australian-built, world-first technology, which will allow fans to return faster and safer to venues to watch their favourite artists and sporting events,” says Geoff Jones, CEO of Ticketek’s parent company TEG. “We are thrilled to help Victorians enjoy the magic of live sport and entertainment again.”
We have transformed the ticket from just a means to gain access to venues into a rich communication platform
Concert-goers will be able to check in directly from their mobile ticket through a deep-link into the Service Victoria App, then verify their check-in and vaccination status at bag check by switching between the government app and their mobile ticket in a single tap.
Cameron Hoy, MD of Ticketek, adds: “Innovation is at the heart of everything we do, and our team has consistently led the world in digital ticketing technology. We have transformed the ticket from just a means to gain access to venues into a rich communication platform to promote Covid-safe measures and enable other engagement opportunities for our partners. We are excited to be partnering with the Andrews Labor Government in their efforts to make the return of crowds as safe as possible.”
The digital ticketing check-in solution will be rolled out across Ticketek venues in other Australian states in the coming weeks.
PULSE: Highlights from ILMC’s new tech event
PULSE is an all-new platform that sits at the intersection of technology and live entertainment. A collaboration between ILMC, senior booking agent Mike Malak (Paradigm), and digital entertainment expert Yvan Boudillet (TheLynk), the first PULSE event took place at ILMC today (3 March), welcoming leading figures from both industries for a full day of discussion and debate.
Tickets for ILMC 33, which include all panels, including PULSE, available to watch back until 5 April 2021, are still available. Click here for more information.
The final Pulse session of the day, The Business of Live Tech, brought together industry heads to discuss emerging business models and new deals around tech and music.
One of the panel’s most interesting discourses was about the perceived fan-appetite for livestreaming before, during and after the pandemic.
Steve Hancock, Melody VR/Napster (UK) points out that fans’ demand for livestreaming was strong before the pandemic and will continue to be a valuable complementary offering to live.
“Just exclusively VR, we moved on to mobile smartphone and tablet in 2019, where we launched our real-time live technology at Wireless with Live Nation in Finsbury Park. We did all three days, multi-stage, multi-cam jumps and had 250,000 people coming through the app on the first weekend at that festival and it showed everyone that appetite was there.
“And as we introduced paywalls, as the market progressed, people were good with it. Livestreaming will never replace live but I think a hybrid, and marriage, of physical and digital attendance is, in my opinion, the way forward,” said Hancock.
Olenik ventured that the way to keep fans interested in livestreaming events post-pandemic is to offer bonus features
Lesley Olenik, Live Nation (US), ventured that the way to keep fans interested in livestreaming events post-pandemic is to offer bonus features for those watching at home.
“If you have a world tour that you’re planning and if the artist is open to it, giving people access to maybe like the rehearsals or the soundcheck and doing some sort of virtual meet and greet could appeal to fans around the world. Billie Eilish did a really cool video that was shown before her live stream with her crew and how they all work together to bring this show to life and like what an undertaking is and fans loved it,” said Olenik.
Justin Lubliner, Darkroom (US), agreed and warned that without features tailored specifically for at-home livestreaming, fans’ interest could waiver.
“Billie’s show was an amazing live stream experience: I think the differentiating factor between the one that we did [with Billie] and the one that I’ve seen from other artists was that it was created specifically to be watched behind a computer and a TV. Not to offend anyone but personally, I am less bullish about the general virtual concert space,” he said.
Cheryl Paglierani, United Talent Agency (US), echoed that thought: “There is going to be ways for us to create virtual balconies or virtual meet and greet experiences if they’re already doing you can add, you know more and maybe it’s through zoom or whatever platform so you know it helps the artist generate more revenue, as opposed to you know just the bodies that are in the building, that’s what people are discussing right now and trying to find the best solutions for, but I do think people will be willing to pay for it for sure.”
— The World Jam (@_Angela_Gil) March 3, 2021
Asking how to keep the fan at the centre of new virtual performance spaces, The New Fan Experience welcomed Sheri Bryant from virtual events platform Sansar, who spoke of the importance of connecting fans with performers while avoiding trying to compete with the live experience.
Livestreaming, said Driift’s Ric Salmon, is the “holy grail” for artists. “It’s a direct-to-fan format,” he said. “The ecosystem between the artist and the fan is complicated and there are a lot of mouths to feed in that process – [livestreaming] provides us with an opportunity to realign that relationship.
When choosing a platform, said Tommas Arnby (Locomotion), “you want to go where the fans are”. Streaming, he said, is about “creat[ing] scarce, unique moments. You want to really make something that blows the fans away – give them something they didn’t expect.”
Where the sector goes next, suggested Brandon Goodman of Best Friends Music “depends on the artist. It’s important for the creative to make sense with the artist – I don’t think artists should necessarily do what Billie [Eilish] did. For exampled, I loved the Dermot Kennedy stream – but I don’t think Dermot Kennedy in an XR world, like Billie, would be very on-brand for an artist like him.”
— Martin Myers (@MartinMyers) March 3, 2021
Trivium frontman Matt Heafy opened The Livestreamers’ Guide to Live Music by talking about his following on videogame-focused livestreaming site Twitch, where has more than 200,000 subscribers (many of whom also tuned into the ILMC panel).
While Heafy has been streaming on Twitch for years (including every Trivium show for the past three), “it took up until the pandemic happening for my channel to really take off,” he explained. It’s because of his putting in that groundwork, he added, that, “now that everyone’s stuck at home, they know to come and see what Matt’s been telling us about all this time.”
Julie Bogaert from Facebook spoke of the importance for streamers of having a “presence on as many platforms as possible,” in addition to Facebook and Instagram, “because they all have different audiences”.
For livestreamers, viewer engagement is key, added Heafy. “That’s what separates live from video. That viewer-streamer relationship is the big difference [between a live broadcast and] a video that already exists.
“It’s really that human element that’s important. I’ve heard it described as the Bruce Dickinson effect. Iron Maiden have been playing arenas for 20 years, but what he can do is make even the person in the nosebleed seats feel like the show is all about them.”
Building an audience on a platform like Twitch is “a grind”, admitted Wiktoria Wójcik of esports specialist InStreamly. “You have to prepare to stream to, say, every day, or once a week – you need to have a schedule, and always deliver.”
Livestreaming, she added, “isn’t an easy way to be discovered, because you’re going live for a few hours and then you vanish, as it’s live content only. You have to have a place where you aggregate your fans and them push them towards your live streams.”’
Asian Agent’s Danny Lee, who works with a number of K-pop acts, described the subtle differences between the various platforms. For example, “Instagram Live is very immediate,” he said. “People just go right into it. Whereas on something like V Live, which is a very popular Korean livestreaming app, a streamer may start out by just looking at the camera for five minutes.”
Livestreaming will not replace live, said Wójcik, but act as an add-on in future. “Even when we come out of this, there will still be people who can’t come to see you in person or come to your shows, so streaming will provide a way to connect with those fans.”
— Trish Brown (@Trish_Brown) March 3, 2021
Pulse continued with Sweet Streams – Best in Class, which saw Lars-Oliver Vogt, Live Nation GSA, assemble leaders in the livestreaming space to share best practice and reflect on 2020’s standout events.
James Sutcliffe, LiveNow Global (UK), reflected on the success of Dua Lipa’s first ticketed virtual show, Studio 2054, which took place late last year and garnered more than 500 million views and 300,000 ticket sales.
LiveNow splashed out a whopping $1.5 million in realising the Dua Lipa project but big budgets are part of the company’s business model, said Sutcliffe.
“We’re not afraid to invest and I think it’s important for us to ensure that the quality levels of the content and the product that we’re putting out is high. And by us coming to the table with the willingness to invest and help curate these shows, it gives them the best possible chance of the end product being as good as you’ve just seen.”
Mike Schabel, Kiswe (US), enjoyed similar success with K-pop band BTS and their Map of the Soul On:e pay-per-view live stream, which saw 993,000 people across 193 countries tune in.
“How does livestreaming become more than just a promotional vehicle or novelty for mid-range acts”
Schabel says the most exciting thing about the live stream was “the number of innovations we’ve brought to the table for the audience” including multiple cameras to choose from, multi-language live closed captioning and Bluetooth-enabled light sticks.
However, the “live live” aspect of the shows was “an overwhelming challenge that everybody in this space knows”.
Speaking on the role of an agent in livestreaming, Natasha Gregory, Mother Artists (UK), says that while there’s been little financial gain, there’s been a lot to learn.
“I really wanted to get involved and find out how streaming works and how many tickets you can sell for a rock band, for instance, Idles who sell 2,500 tickets in London, and how that can reflect.”
“[Idles livestream] was at least six weeks of solid work and what you get out of it is minimal. I mean we did 12,000 streams but we did decide to use it more as a marketing tool,” she adds.
“It’s really about what can you do differently [with livestreaming] that makes it actually viable”
However, Tim Westergreen, Sessions Live (US), asked “how does livestreaming become more than just a promotional vehicle or novelty for mid-range acts?”.
“It’s really about what can you do differently that makes it actually viable, so that an average band can take advantage of what should be a great platform. You can do all sorts of different ticketing to offer the ability to connect with a band that the real world doesn’t allow you and unless you until you do that and do that in a scalable way, [livestreaming] will continue to be more elitist.”
Westergreen says that the monetisation of livestreaming for mid-range acts depends on two things: a fan and audience development platform as well as a monetisation mechanism similar to those tried and tested in gaming.
“How do you monetise engagement? That’s what gaming has done for two decades now it’s why, as an industry, it’s been so much more successful than music in the digital era.”
“It has only taken 10 months for fans to accept they have to pay for tickets to a live stream”
Fabrice Sergent, Bandsintown group (US), says: “There’s hope, and not just for the large artists”.
Sergeant says that last year Bandsintown listed 70,000 live streams last year, 75% of which were actually listed by artists of less than 100,000 followers.
Not only that but from July to October, the number of live streams that were ticketed jumped from 2% to 50%.
“For something that started as a free medium, it has only taken 10 months for fans to accept they have to pay for tickets to a live stream. When you think back to the time when music was pirated on Napster and it took 10 years for fans to finally accept to buy a subscription to music streaming.”
Pulse kicked off with New Technology Pitches, hosted by Steve Machin LiveFrom Events (UK), comprised of quick-fire presentations on the best new tech and innovation in the business.
First up, Arjun Mehta (US) showcased Moment House’s premium digital platform for live creators.
“How do you marry technology with culture? That’s the question at the heart of our approach,” Mehta says.
Mehta explained that Moment House was launched because he felt “a fundamental tool was missing from the internet”.
“This was never meant to be a replacement for a physical concert. We built it from the standpoint of ‘how do we craft the most compelling digital fan experience digitally?’… a brand new unit that’s fully complementary to the physical world.”
“How do you marry technology with culture? That’s the question at the heart of [Moment House’s] approach”
Mehta says Moment House is built on three core principles: “Number one is beautiful design – a beautiful user experience that really prioritises the fan. Number two is our messaging and how we frame Moment House to both the artists and fans as this new independent unit of a moment. The third thing is curating the sorts of artists on the platform…it’s very important to us that we took a top-down approach and brought some of the world’s biggest superstars onto the platform.”
Eight Day Sound then presented its Virtual Live Audience (VLA) technology, which “meaningfully reconnects audiences to the entertainment they love”.
“VLA is cutting edge proprietary technology that allows for seamless communication between presenters and audiences with low latency and high quality remote participants are displayed via video screens on site and the team can customise the layout.”
“The sky is the limit for the number of participants able to join VLA, which means that the audience is no longer limited to the venue, and there are opportunities for scalable ticketing sponsorship, advertising and other revenue-generating streams. You can maximise event profits.”
Next to the stand was Vladic Ravich, who told ILMC delegates how Bramble came to be.
Vladic and co-founder Salimah Ebrahim launched Bramble to offer “a more human way to gather online”
The company behind Bramble, Artery, started as a way to “connect people with cultural experience” by helping users set up secret events in their own homes.
When the pandemic hit, rendering Artery’s business model redundant, Vladic and co-founder Salimah Ebrahim launched Bramble which sought to offer “a more human way to gather online”.
“What makes Bramble a good gathering? The first thing is our proprietary fluid video technology, and if you haven’t seen this kind of spatial video and audio, it’s immediately intuitive.”
Bramble also offers a customisable performance venue that has hosted events including the House of Yes’s Halloween show as well as the Artist and Manager awards.
Next up, Param Kanabar tells ILMC delegates about Noq, a cashless and contactless ordering system that “looks at tackling queue management and issues around queuing at events”.
Noq is “a hybrid blend between a marketplace app as well as a branding solution”
“You just need a QR code specific to a particular event. This could be shared with customers, ahead of the event, whether that be through a website, social media, tickets, newsletters.
“Additionally, at the event, there’ll be multiple touch points, at the entrance, near the food zones. So when customers scan a QR code, they are taken straight to a festival landing page where they’re able to see all the vendors that are around them.
“This is great because there’s a lot of increase in folks being gluten free, vegan and vegetarian. Plus people have food allergies. So, communicating what you want in a busy festival and an event is difficult sometimes. And so from a customer perspective, having this and access to view everything that is around them is important.”
Kanabar says Noq’s unique selling point is that the app is “ultimately a hybrid blend between a marketplace app as well as a branding solution”.
Notetracks founder and CEO Kam Lal was next in line to deliver his pitch on what was dubbed ‘Asana for video and audio’.
Lookport is “the biggest video livestreaming platform in Eastern Europe”
The platform to share music, video, audio projects and gather feedback and notes.
“The problem we aim to solve is working on audio and video files remotely. Currently, you know the tools are very fragmented and there’s a disconnected workflow – it’s not very collaborative. So our solution is one workspace where you could review and collaborate in a seamless environment and gather feedback.”
Lookport’s Alex Wolf was next to the stand to tell delegates about “the biggest video livestreaming platform in Eastern Europe” which has hosted 150 livestreams throughout the pandemic and boasts more than 90 million views.
Wolf said the unique selling point of Lookport is that it provides a full service, from promoting the event, to producing it, to selling tickets, and then streaming the show.
“Lockport is a completely web based solution and you don’t need to then launch any specific application, we created our own web player so users can watch our content from any device. The player can also be embedded into any web page or landing site.”
“It is next to impossible today to receive audience data for an artist or event team all in one place”
Last but by no means least, Aivar took to the virtual stage to pitch FanSifter.
“It is next to impossible today to receive audience data for an artist or event team all in one place, in one format because data is locked into silos both in music and live. To get that data out of the silos is now more important than ever because, with cookie-based targeting and advertising sunsetting, artists and all the partners, management teams, promoters, labels, merch stores, even brands need to collaborate on these first party audience data sets, have to comply to GDPR and other privacy laws. FanSifter exists to solve this with a collaborative and privacy-compliant customer data platform.”