x

The latest industry news to your inbox.


I'd like to hear about marketing opportunities

    

I accept IQ Magazine's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

Wembley Stadium prepped for historic summer season

Wembley Stadium programming manager Matt Owen has spoken to IQ ahead of the launch of one of the venue’s “biggest summer seasons ever” this weekend.

The 90,000-cap national stadium will host more than 1.2 million visitors over the next 10 weeks, beginning this Saturday (16 June) with the Capital’s Summertime Ball. The annual pop curtain-raiser will feature acts such as David Guetta, Sabrina Carpenter, Raye, Becky Hill, Jak Jones, Sugababes, Perrie, Meghan Trainor and Aitch.

Much of the attention, however, will be focused on Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour‘s eight-night run (21-23 June and 15-17 & 19-20 August), which will see her crowned as the biggest-selling female artist to ever perform at the London venue, in addition to setting a new record for the longest residency of a solo artist at Wembley.

“Hosting eight nights of the highest grossing music tour ever is huge,” says Owen. “We are very excited to be part of this piece of live music history. The eight performances are the most at any one venue throughout the entire tour. It is a huge privilege for Wembley Stadium to have that honour.

“The shows will no doubt go down in Wembley history, and we can’t wait to welcome all the fans to share in that moment. It promises to be one of the biggest summer seasons ever and we can’t wait to get started.”

In addition, the stadium’s summer calendar includes concerts by Green Day (29 June), AC/DC (3 & 7 July) and Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band (25 & 27 July), as well as the return of All Elite Wrestling’s (AEW) All In spectacular on 25 August.

“The demand for major, live shows is huge at present. All our summer shows sold out months ago and that is a great sign for the industry”

“The demand for major, live shows is huge at present,” Owen tells IQ. “All our summer shows sold out months ago and that is a great sign for the industry. People still want to come and see these huge shows. They are more than just a performance; they are experiences that last the whole day and create memories that will last a lifetime.”

Last year saw shows by artists including Harry Styles, Blur and The Weeknd, and Owen says live music is a “big priority” for the multi-purpose venue has hosted several major sporting events already this year, including the Carabao Cup Final, the men’s and women’s FA Cup Finals and the 2024 UEFA Champions League Final.

“Non-sport events make up a huge chunk of our calendar and we are very conscious of the history of live music at Wembley Stadium,” he says. “Today’s Wembley Stadium is all about providing different options for different audiences. Everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy that experience under the arch.

“We continually invest heavily in a variety of projects to enable us to deliver more concerts, and to make the fan, promoter and artist experience best-in-class. We have improved our audio systems, along with investments into our lighting and digital infrastructure.

“The goosebump feeling of an artist coming out on stage at Wembley and hearing that roar of the crowd is electric. Wembley is, and always has been, one of the most iconic multi-purpose venues in the world.”

Owen suggests the trend for booking stadium shows further in advance has largely continued, post-pandemic.

“Stadium shows at this level and scale are always going to need a long lead-time”

“We’re certainly seeing shows locked in 12-18 months beforehand, but at the same time we’re also seeing things come in on a shorter time frame,” he notes. “Stadium shows at this level and scale are always going to need a long lead-time. The sheer size of some of the tours we’re seeing now need to be planned much further in advance.”

And despite huge competition in the London stadium sector from rivals such as Emirates Stadium, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London Stadium and Twickenham, as well as outdoor sites such as Hyde Park, Owen is confident Wembley holds a few aces up its sleeve.

“I think Wembley retains an edge for two reasons,” he says. “One, the delivery team is one of the best in the business. All our promoter partners know that they’re putting concerts into a best-in-class venue, with a best-in-class delivery team who are so passionate about live music, where fans and artists alike are going to have an incredible time.

“Two, our mantra is ‘It Matters More at Wembley’. Artists and fans want to experience shows at one of the most historic and iconic multi-purpose venues in the world. When you come to Wembley, you’re aware of the history surrounding that stage, who has played here, how many millions of fans have gathered here to see their favourite artist hit that peak. It’s an intoxicating feeling, you’re part of history.”

He finishes: “Those two factors certainly help, but it it’s important we never sit still or rest on our laurels. As a team we are always striving to be best-in-class and continually review, analyse and improve our offering. We’re all aware of the expectations that are attached to Wembley, be it as an artist or a fan, and we take pride in continually innovating to make sure Wembley retains its edge.

“Last year we spent more than £5 million improving the stadium from a fan perspective, and we will continue to invest in new ideas to maintain industry leading facilities that attract world-class events.”

Wembley Stadium elevated Paul Smyth, previously head of event operations, to the role of general manager in late 2023. His promotion coincided with the departure of stadium director Liam Boylan, who has since been appointed CEO of Academy Music Group.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Swift’s Euro trek collects attendance records

The European leg of the Eras Tour is off to a record-breaking start, with Taylor Swift smashing attendance records in France and Sweden.

The 34-year-old kicked off the European jaunt on 9 May with four dates at La Défense Arena in Paris, France, which drew a total of 180,000 fans.

This turnout set a new record for the arena, which had increased its capacity from 40,000 to 45,000 per show.

The AEG Presents-promoted outing continued to Sweden, where the superstar rewrote the history books at Friends Arena in Stockholm.

On 17 May, the star set a new record for the highest number of tickets sold for an event at the arena, which was trumped the following night and the one after, resulting in a new attendance record for a single concert at Friends Arena with 60,243 people.

The 34-year-old kicked off the European jaunt on 9 May with four dates at La Défense Arena in Paris

Across the three Stockholm dates, which were promoted by MTG, AEG Presents and All Things Live Sweden, Swift drew 178,679 people and smashed the previous audience record for a single artist.

The record sees Swift unseat Bruce Springsteen who attracted 167,160 people to his three concerts at the arena in 2013.

Swift’s record-breaking streak in European venues is expected to continue, with AEG being granted permission to extend capacities on various venues.

Edinburgh’s Murrayfield has already announced that the Eras Tour concerts will be Scotland’s biggest-selling stadium shows after the city’s council agreed to increase Murrayfield’s capacity by 8.73% from 67,130 to 72,990.

The concerts will see Swift unseat previous record holder Harry Styles, who performed to more than 65,000 fans at the same venue in 2023. Prior to that, Styles’ band One Direction held the title for selling 64,000 tickets there in 2014.

The Eras Tour, the highest-grossing tour of all time, is set to continue tonight (24 May) at Estádio Da Luz in Portugal.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Eventim warning after hackers target Eras tickets

Eventim has temporarily postponed the resale for the German dates of Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour after hackers attempted to steal digital tickets for the concerts.

Swift will visit Germany this summer for sold-out concerts at Gelsenkirchen’s Veltins-Arena (17-19 July), Volksparkstadion in Hamburg (23-24 July) and Munich’s Olympic Stadium (27-28 July). Her European tour launches in France tomorrow (9 May) with the first of four shows at Paris La Défense Arena.

According to Heise, cyber criminals are believed to have gained access to user accounts by trying out usernames and passwords from data dumps on the darknet, known as “credential stuffing”, before offering the tickets for resale on Eventim’s FanSale platform.

Eventim, which contacted the police over the matter, says the number of unauthorised resales was in “the low double-digit range”, while the transactions identified as fraudulent have since reversed, and the buyers refunded.

“By using Eventim.Pass with exclusively digital tickets, on the one hand, the identified, abusive transactions were reversed,” a company spokesperson tells Watson. “On the other hand, the funds of the buyers of the stolen tickets were secured from being forwarded so that they can be refunded.”

Eventim says it has reset the “passwords of accounts that we classify as potentially at risk”

It has reset the “passwords of accounts that we classify as potentially at risk”, and is encouraging other users to follow suit.

“As email and password data was used that has very likely been in circulation for some time, we recommend that users first change their email password and then the password for their customer account,” advises the firm.

Elsewhere in Europe, it was reported last month that UK Swifties are estimated to have lost over £1 million (€1.2m) in a wave of online scams since tickets went on sale for the European leg of The Eras Tour last July, according to data from Lloyds Bank.

Meanwhile, a so-called Taylor Swift bill has been signed into law in Minnesota, US, to offer online ticket buyers more transparency and protection. AP reports the law, which will apply for concerts or other live events held in the state, will require sellers to disclose all fees upfront and ban resellers from selling more than one copy of a ticket, among other measures.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Swiss promoter hails Eras Tour’s ‘economic factor’

Swiss live music pioneer André Béchir has praised the economic impact of Taylor Swift’s forthcoming Zurich concerts, revealing that thousands of fans are travelling from outside Switzerland to attend the shows.

Swift will perform at the city’s Letzigrund Stadium on 9-10 July, promoted by AEG Presents, TAKK, Gadget abc Entertainment Group and Taylor Swift Touring, as part of the European leg of The Eras Tour.

“With an entourage of around 200 people, Taylor Swift is on the road with the largest tour group in the world,” Béchir tells Blick. “Around 100,000 fans will come to her two concerts. Well over 10,000 are traveling from abroad, as we can see from the ticket sales.”

Béchir leads CTS Eventim-backed TAKK ab Entertainment AG, which was established last year, alongside TAKK Productions founder Sebastien Vuignier and IQ New Bosses alumnus Théo Quiblier. Béchir’s abc Production was amalgamated with Gadget and Wepromote by CTS shortly before the pandemic hit.

“Taylor Swift’s importance for Zurich is totally underestimated,” adds Béchir. “After we announced it, hotel room prices were on average a hundred francs more expensive the next day.

“We are assuming that the fans will arrive early, which will be an unprecedented challenge for traffic and the corresponding security measures. The authorities involved and the stadium have been informed accordingly. It still doesn’t seem to be clear in the minds of those responsible here that Taylor Swift is not just a concert, but an economic factor.”

“Concerts of this magnitude are of great importance for local businesses and suppliers, the hotel industry and the catering industry”

“Concerts of this magnitude are of great importance for local businesses and suppliers, the hotel industry and the catering industry,” says the City of Zurich’s communications department. “Since the ‘Swifties’ are considered particularly committed, just a single photo of the superstar from Switzerland on social media can have a huge advertising effect.”

Swift’s 17-19 May concerts at Sweden’s Friends Arena (cap. 50,000) are also expected to be a “real hit” for Stockholm’s economy. According to calculations by the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC) and Friends Arena, Swifties attending the concerts are expected to spend half a billion kroner (€43.6m).

According to the SCC, almost half of the 150,000 fans attending Swift’s Stockholm concerts will come from abroad, with people from 132 countries, including USA, Finland and Australia, set to flock to the shows in the Swedish capital.

Meanwhile, the opening leg of The Eras Tour, which ran to 50+ dates from March to August 2023, reputedly contributed $5.7 billion to the US economy. The Washington Post reported that her SoFi Stadium residency in Inglewood, California, brought an estimated $320 million alone to the Los Angeles economy.

Swift and other A-list stars have also been credited with helping to rejuvenate tourism in Singapore after the country secured a much-debated exclusivity deal with the star.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

UK Swifties ‘lose £1m’ to Eras Tour ticket scams

UK Taylor Swift fans are estimated to have lost over £1 million (€1.2m) in a wave of online scams since tickets went on sale for the European leg of The Eras Tour last July, according to fresh data.

Analysis by Lloyds Bank of scam reports made by its own customers found a surge in fraud cases from those buying tickets for Swift’s upcoming UK stadium dates.

More than 600 customers have come forward to report being scammed – significantly more than for any other music artist. The average amount lost by each victim was £332, although in some cases it was more than £1,000.

As the figures are based solely on Lloyds’ own customer data, it estimates that across the UK there are likely to have been at least 3,000 victims since tickets went on sale, with over £1m being lost to fraudsters so far.

“For her legion of dedicated Swifties, the excitement is building ahead of Taylor’s Eras Tour finally touching down in the UK this summer,” says Liz Ziegler, fraud prevention director at Lloyds Bank. “However, cruel fraudsters have wasted no time in targeting her most loyal fans as they rush to pick up tickets for her must-see concerts.”

“Buying directly from reputable, authorised platforms is the only way to guarantee you’re paying for a genuine ticket”

The record-shattering Eras Tour lands in the UK and Ireland in June with special guests Paramore for stops at Edinburgh’s Murrayfield Stadium (7-9 June), Liverpool’s Anfield Stadium (13-15 June), Principality Stadium in Cardiff (18 June), London’s Wembley Stadium (21-23 June & 15-20 August) and Aviva Stadium, Dublin (23-30 June).

Lloyds says that more than 90% of reported cases start with fake adverts or posts on Facebook, where dozens of unofficial groups have been set up specifically for people looking to buy and sell tickets for Swift’s concerts. Likewise, Facebook Marketplace has various listings for tickets at venues all over the country.

“It’s easy to let our emotions get the better of us when we find out our favourite artist is going to be performing live, but it’s important not to let those feelings cloud our judgement when trying to get hold of tickets,” adds Ziegler.

“Buying directly from reputable, authorised platforms is the only way to guarantee you’re paying for a genuine ticket. Even then, always pay by debit or credit card for the greatest protection. If you’re being asked to pay by bank transfer, particularly from a seller you’ve found on social media, that should immediately set alarm bells ringing.”

UK Swifties are not alone in being targeted by con artists around the tour. Australian Taylor Swift fans reportedly lost in excess of A$260,000 (€157,000) in a fake ticket scam for the singer’s February concerts in the country, while Inside Retail reports that Singapore-based recommerce platform Carousell suspended the sale of tickets in all of its six markets to prevent scams ahead of Swift’s Singapore dates in March.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Swifties expected to spend half a billion in Stockholm

Taylor Swift’s upcoming concerts in Stockholm are expected to be a “real hit” for the city’s economy, according to a new report.

The superstar is due to play three Eras Tour concerts between 17–19 May at Friends Arena (cap. 50,000), marking her only stop in the Nordic countries.

According to calculations by the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce and Friends Arena, Swifties attending the concerts are expected to spend half a billion kroner (€43.6m).

“When the Friends arena is filled with visitors, it also means significant revenue for hotels, restaurants and shops. Taylor Swift’s visit is therefore a real hit for Stockholm’s economy,” says Carl Bergkvist, chief economist at the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC), in a press release.

“We have calculated what the visitors can spend on accommodation, food, SL [public transport] tickets and additional tourism, perhaps a guided tour of the old town. The concert tickets and trips to Stockholm are not included.”

“Taylor Swift’s visit is a real hit for Stockholm’s economy”

Of the 150,000 fans attending Swift’s Stockholm concerts, almost half will come from abroad, according to the SCC.

Fans from 132 countries, including USA, Finland and Australia, will attend the shows in Sweden’s capital city.

Swift and other A-list stars have also been credited with helping to rejuvenate tourism in Singapore after the country secured a much-debated exclusivity deal with the star.

At the end of last year, Swift’s planet-conquering Eras Tour officially became the first tour in history to surpass $1 billion in revenue.

Weeks later it was announced that the Eras Tour concert film also made history, becoming the highest-grossing concert/documentary film in box office history with more than US$261.6 million earned globally.

The blockbuster tour will resume in May with the European leg, which kicks off at LA Défense Arena in Paris.

In the meantime, Swift’s next album, The Tortured Poets Department, is due out on 19 April.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Philippine rep criticises Singapore-Swift deal

A lawmaker in the Philippines has criticised Singapore for its reported exclusivity deal with Taylor Swift to make the island nation her only Eras tour stop in south-east Asia.

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) authorised a grant for Swift to perform at the 55,000-cap Singapore National Stadium next month, allegedly on the condition she would not play any other countries in the region.

The Straits Times reports that representative Joey Salceda has asked the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to formally protest against the grant.

“[This] isn’t what good neighbours do,” said Salceda. “Our countries are good friends. That’s why actions like that hurt.”

It follows a claim from Thai PM Srettha Thavisin, who alleged the Singapore government offered $2 million to $3m (€1.4m to €2.1m) per show for exclusive rights, after enquiring why the tour would not be stopping in Thailand.

“[Promoter AEG] didn’t tell me the exact figure but they said the Singapore government offers subsidies of between $2m and $3m,” said Srettha. “But the Singaporean government is clever. They told [organisers] not to hold any other shows in [south-east] Asia.”

“It is likely to generate significant benefits to the Singapore economy, especially to tourism activities such as hospitality, retail, travel and dining”

In a joint statement, the culture ministry and the STB admitted working directly with concert organisers, but declined to confirm either the amount of the grant or the existence of an exclusivity deal.

“It is likely to generate significant benefits to the Singapore economy, especially to tourism activities such as hospitality, retail, travel and dining, as has happened in other cities in which Taylor Swift has performed,” they said.

Singaporean hotels and airlines tell CNA that demand for flights and accommodation around the dates of Swift’s concerts has increased up to 30%.

While Salceda acknowledged the “policy worked” for Singapore, he said the Philippines needed to improve its infrastructure to be able to host global superstars.

“In the long run, though, we need to step up our game,” he added.

Swift is set to play six nights in Singapore from 2-4 & 7-9 March as part of the Eras trek, which also included four nights in Asia at Japan’s Tokyo Dome from 7-10 February.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Singapore ‘sought exclusivity’ over Swift gigs

Thailand’s prime minister has caused a stir after claiming Singapore sought an exclusivity deal with Taylor Swift to prevent the singer from performing any other Eras tour dates in south-east Asia.

The Eras Tour lands at the 55,000-cap Singapore National Stadium for six nights from 2-4 & 7-9 March – its only concerts in the region.

During his keynote address at the iBusiness Forum 2024 in Bangkok, Thai PM Srettha Thavisin alleged he was told the Singapore government offered $2 million to $3m (€1.4m to €2.1m) per show as part of the arrangement, after enquiring why the tour would not be stopping in Thailand.

“[Promoter AEG] didn’t tell me the exact figure but they said the Singapore government offers subsidies of between $2m and $3m,” said Srettha, as per the Guardian. “But the Singaporean government is clever. They told [organisers] not to hold any other shows in [south-east] Asia.”

“Concerts can generate added value for the economy”

AEG and the Singapore government are yet to comment on Thavisin’s claim.

According to Sky News, the PM continued: “If [Swift] came to Thailand, it would have been cheaper to organise it here, and I believe she would be able to attract more sponsors and tourists to Thailand. Even though we would have to subsidise at least 500m baht [€13m], it would be worth it.

“If I had known this, I would have brought the shows to Thailand. Concerts can generate added value for the economy.”

The Eras trek, which also included four nights in Asia at Japan’s Tokyo Dome from 7-10 February, is currently in Australia, where Swift performed to 288,000 fans across three shows at Melbourne Cricket Ground this past weekend. It moves on to Sydney’s Accor Stadium for four gigs from 23-26 February.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Ticket scammers target Swifties ahead of Oz gigs

Australian Taylor Swift fans have lost in excess of A$260,000 (€157,000) in a fake ticket scam for the star’s upcoming concerts in the country.

Swift will perform seven shows in Australia this month, with three nights at Melbourne Cricket Ground (16-18 February) followed by four dates at Sydney’s Accor Stadium (23-26 February). More than four million users attempted to buy pre-sale tickets for the shows last June.

Victoria Police say they have received at least 250 reports of ticketing scams for The Eras Tour since the dates went on sale, including 40 complaints since 30 January this year.

A common tactic has seen scammers hack social media accounts and then use the profiles to sell fake tickets to the victim’s friends. The scammers advertise their tickets “at cost price”, with a story behind why they can no longer attend, and may rush interested parties into buying the tickets and transferring them money.

“As well as the ticket price, they’ll likely ask you to pay the extra fees to change the name on the ticket,” say detectives from the cybercrime squad. “They will often send what they purport to be a screenshot of the email confirmation of having bought the tickets, making the scam look more legitimate. Then, once you’ve transferred the money… the profile will block you.”

“Keep your side of the street clean and protect yourself. Only buy tickets from an authorised reseller”

Det Sgt John Cheyne of Victoria Police’s cybercrime squad warns Swifties: “We know you’re often too in love to think straight when it comes to nabbing a ticket to the Eras Tour, but please, keep your side of the street clean and protect yourself. Only buy tickets from an authorised reseller.”

Swift wraps up a four-night run at Japan’s Tokyo Dome tomorrow (10 February) on the latest stop of her record-breaking world tour.

In December 2023, Eras officially became the first tour in history to surpass $1 billion in revenue, and is projected to generate another $1bn at the box office this year,

It was revealed earlier this week that The Eras Tour concert film is arriving on Disney + globally on 15 March, with five additional songs. The streaming service will make available ‘Taylor’s Version’ of the film, which includes the performance of ‘Cardigan’ and four acoustic songs that were cut out of the theatrical release.

In January, The Eras Tour concert film became the highest-grossing concert/documentary film in box office history with more than US$261.6 million earned globally.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour film is coming to streaming

Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour concert film is arriving on Disney + globally on 15 March, with five additional songs.

The streaming service will make available ‘Taylor’s Version’ of the film, which includes the performance of ‘Cardigan’ and four acoustic songs that were cut out of the theatrical release.

In January, The Eras Tour concert film became the highest-grossing concert/documentary film in box office history with more than US$261.6 million earned globally.

The new record sees The Eras Tour usurp Michael Jackson’s This Is It, which opened in 2009 and grossed $261.2m at the global box office.

In January, The Eras Tour concert film became the highest-grossing concert/documentary film in box office history

Upon the film’s release in October 2023, The Eras Tour made $92.8m in North America and $30.7m internationally for a cumulative total of $123.5m, making it the biggest opening weekend of all time for a concert film.

Earlier this week, Swift announced at the Grammy Awards that she is set to release a new album, titled The Tortured Poets Department, in April.

The record will mark her 11th studio album and follows her 2022 record Midnights, and more recently the singer’s re-recordings of Speak Now and 1989.

Elsewhere at the Grammy Awards, the superstar was awarded Album Of The Year for Midnights, marking her fourth win in the category. With the win, Swift is now the all-time leader in Album Of The Year wins, setting a new record.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.