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Free entertainment event tickets for unpaid US federal workers

Organisations across the United States are offering free event tickets to furloughed government workers, in a show of solidarity with employees who have not received paychecks since the beginning of the government shutdown in December.

Over 800,000 federal workers are going without pay as a result of the shutdown which began on 22 December, making it officially the longest in US history.

In response, live music venues, cinemas, sports teams and museums across the country have offered tickets to events free of charge.

Exhibition basketball team Harlem Globetrotters are offering complimentary tickets to any government employee currently on furlough. The offer includes any ticket to the team’s 2019 Fan Powered North American tour and will remain valid for as long as the shutdown continues.

“As the Ambassadors of Goodwill, we want to show our support to all those government workers whose paychecks, and by extension their families, are directly impacted,” said Globetrotter president Howard Smith.

“We want to offer our friends the happiness that live music and the performing arts can provide”

Symphonies around the country are similarly doing their bit to help the workers. The Spokane Symphony Orchestra in Washington is among those offering free tickets to shows.

“We are sorry for the hardships our federal workers have had to endure during the shutdown. We want to offer our friends some wonderful music and entertainment to give them the happiness that live music and the performing arts can provide,” announced symphony executive director Jeff vom Saal.

Orchestras in Florida, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Boston have also made tickets available.

A disagreement in Congress initiated the shutdown after president Donald Trump refused to approve the federal budget unless it included US$5.7 billion towards the building of the Mexican border wall. Democrats rejected the request, placing the government in deadlock.

US rapper Cardi B spoke out against the shutdown in an Instagram video posted yesterday. The video, in which the rapper refers to the country as a “hellhole”, has so far received over 12.5 million views.

 


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Promoter warns fans over fake tickets scam

Promoter Peter Aiken issued a warning to fans about only buying tickets through official channels, after over 90 people bought fake tickets to two concerts in the last week.

He says more than 60 people who bought tickets for ZZ Top at Dublin’s 3Arena were denied entry because of fake tickets, while 30 had counterfeits for a Brian Wilson gig at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre in the city.

The Irish Times reports one man spent €1,000 on two tickets to see Brian Wilson, but had to be turned away when it was discovered they were false because the show was sold out.

In a statement, the promoter warned: “Following the ZZ Top and Brian Wilson Concerts in Dublin last week, Aiken Promotions would like to warn fans once again against purchasing tickets from secondary websites.

“At ZZ Top on Friday, at least 60 people turned up at the venue who had bought tickets through secondary websites. These tickets were not valid which caused distress and disappointment to these fans. Unfortunately it is not likely these people will get the money they paid refunded.

“As a promoter, it is extremely frustrating to see people being exploited like this and I would like to emphasise once again that fans should not purchase tickets from ANY secondary sellers.”

 


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See Tickets CEO on tackling touts and competition

It’s a boom time for See Tickets. The company had a record year in 2016 and results for 2017 are well ahead of that. The company recently launched Fan-to-Fan, an ethical re-sale platform as well as a peer to peer marketing service, and has made some significant inroads into the US market. Index spoke to CEO Rob Wilmshurst about battling the touts, and being in one of the most competitive sectors of the live music industry.

You recently launched your own face-value ticket resale site, and you’ve been in parliament to give evidence on secondary ticketing – how important is it to you to minimise ticket touting? 

It’s important to our clients, the artists and our mutual customers so it has to be important to us. Fan-to-Fan was our response to the problem. The take-up has been significant and a recent survey we ran showed that customers like the option to sell at a fair price and welcome the integrated nature of our solution within our site – it’s a couple of clicks to list at the market’s lowest fees.

What are some of the biggest challenges you’re facing right now?

Nothing that is causing us to lose too much sleep. We cannot control the market but we feel we are in a great position to continue to evolve our position. We have a great mixture of team, full service, experience, technology, cash (no debt, funding rounds or other start-up negatives that should cause clients concern), marketing assets and ideas to remain more than relevant in the medium to long term.

Where do you see opportunities?

There are lots all over the place. I won’t lie, we are being highly aggressive towards the competition and if we feel we can offer a client (of a competitor) a better deal, better service and give their customers the same then we are not going to leave it alone.

You recently bought Flavorus from SFX – is the EDM market a key target for See?

The acquisition was not about EDM although we acquired a basket of contracts in the EDM sector. We needed some mass in the US as it was moving too slowly for us, so when the opportunity came up we took it and the business is developing well. We rebranded the business to See Tickets, put in our own management team and are using all of the attributes mentioned earlier to evolve our position. It’s a tough market but that’s OK with us. 

The last decade has seen an explosion in the number of ticket agencies. What are you doing to make sure See Tickets retains its strong position in the market?

Nothing different to be honest. There has been an explosion, yes, but an implosion too: Yplan, Songkick, being sold off for far less than went in as investment. And there will be more casualties and fire sales. It’s not easy to stay relevant but having the aforementioned experience, tech, marketing and cash makes us an easy option for clients. If you were a promoter would you put your revenue collection in a business that loses cash hand over fist and is heavily in debt? Good luck with that if you do.

 


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AXS and Eventbrite ink deals with Spotify

Ticketing platforms AXS and Eventbrite have agreed separate deals with music streaming giant Spotify that will allow the companies to promote their concerts and music festivals to Spotify’s audience of more than 100 million music fans. By leveraging Spotify’s music and concert discovery algorithm, the partnerships will help music event producers connect with the fans most likely to attend their shows.

Spotify will now recommend Eventbrite and AXS events to listeners based on their music preferences and alongside their favourite artists and albums, in addition to emailing an artist’s followers when new tour dates are posted. These personalised recommendations will also help listeners discover new music and relevant concerts on Spotify’s Concerts tab.

According to Eventbrite research, 42% of people discover new artists and bands through streaming services like Spotify

Under the new pact, Spotify listeners can complete their ticket purchase on Eventbrite in two quick taps, without the need to login. Since every additional step costs 10% in conversion on average, Eventbrite believes this simple checkout experience will reduce overall drop-off and dramatically increase ticket sales for artists and promoters.

According to Eventbrite research, 42% of people discover new artists and bands through streaming services like Spotify, and half of these fans go on to purchase tickets to see those artists live.

The partners claim their combined power can help independent music venues and festivals continue to grow their businesses, citing Spotify’s success in helping numerous independent artists grow their fan base.

In addition to Spotify, Eventbrite currently has distribution partnerships with Facebook, Bandsintown and Songkick.

 


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Ringling Bros. circus to close after 146 years

The 146-year-old Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will close forever in May after battling with a decline in attendance and high operating costs, amongst other factors.

The event was named in Pollstar’s top 100 tours of Q1 2016, taking ninth place with 252,571 tickets sold. However, that isn’t enough to sustain the legendary circus. Due also to changing public tastes and prolonged conflict with animal rights groups, the show’s management have decided to close for good.

The company broke the news to circus employees Saturday night after shows in Orlando and Miami. “There isn’t any one thing,” said Kenneth Feld, chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment. “This has been a very difficult decision for me and for the entire family.”

“Ringling Bros. ticket sales have been declining, but following the transition of the elephants off the road, we saw an even more dramatic drop. This, coupled with high operating costs, made the circus an unsustainable business for the company.”

A message from Feld online reads: “Ringling Bros. ticket sales have been declining, but following the transition of the elephants off the road, we saw an even more dramatic drop. This, coupled with high operating costs, made the circus an unsustainable business for the company.”

Ringling has been targeted by activists who say forcing animals to perform is cruel and unnecessary. In May of 2016, after a long and costly legal battle, the company removed the elephants from the shows and sent the animals to live on a conservation farm in Central Florida.

Ringling Bros. has two touring circuses this season and will perform 30 shows between now and May. Major stops include Atlanta, Washington, Philadelphia, Boston and Brooklyn. The final shows will be in Providence, Rhode Island, on May 7 and in Uniondale, New York, at the Nassau County Coliseum on May 21.

The circus, with its exotic animals, flashy costumes and death-defying acrobats, has been a staple of entertainment in the United States since the mid-1800s. Phineas Taylor Barnum made a traveling spectacle of animals and human oddities popular, while the five Ringling brothers performed juggling acts and skits from their home base in Wisconsin. Eventually, they merged the Feld family bought the Ringling circus in 1967.

Some 500 people perform and work on both touring shows. A handful will be placed in positions with the company’s other, profitable shows — it owns Monster Jam, Disney on Ice and Marvel Live, amongst others. Juliette Feld said the company will help those who aren’t placed elsewhere with job placement and resumes, as well as housing relocation.


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Twickets eyes global launch after £1.2m funding

Face-value ticket exchange website Twickets has ended its crowdfunding campaign with £1.2m of investment – over 70% the original £700k it asked for – and founder Richard Davies is gearing up for international expansion.

The crowdfunding campaign launched in November last year with the aim of raising cash to help the business grow by bolstering its technology team and undertake its first marketing campaign. That campaign will focus on providing incentives for users of the service to help spread the word, with outbound marketing activity aimed at capturing new users coming next, Davies tells IQ. He’s currently looking for a head of marketing to oversee the project.

Twickets is available in the UK and thanks to a tie-up with Neo Sala’s Spanish promoter, Doctor Music, will launch in Spain before the end of March. Sala invested in the recent round alongside a number of promoters in Spain and Switzerland. Davies wants to roll out Twickets in other European territories as well as Australia, where they’ve already appointed someone to head up operations, and New York State in the second half of this year.

A total of 12% equity in Twickets has been given to those who participated in the funding drive, with the start-up now valued at over £11m.  T-shirts, waived booking fees and tickets to parties and events were offered to funders as incentives.

“As a community-led business we felt crowdfunding was the most relevant way for us to raise funds. We have industry investors as well, but we felt it was important to allow our users to invest.”

“As a community-led business we felt crowdfunding was the most relevant way for us to raise funds. We have industry investors as well but we felt it was important to allow our users to invest,” Davies explained. Since launching in 2011, Twickets has achieved over £2.7m in ticket sales and 240k app downloads. Including the £1.2m, its total investment has topped £2m to date.

A premium service is in the works that will offer sellers “promoted tickets” at the top of the Twickets stream and a “waiting list” service that’s currently in trial will allow buyers to register for a ticket for automatic allocation once available. Twickets has been appointed as the exclusive resale platform for partners including Adele, Mumford & Sons, One Direction, QPR, Crystal Palace football club and promoter Kilimanjaro Live and parent company Deutsche Entertainment AG (DEAG).

Recent investors include Marcus Russell and Alec McKinlay of Ignition Management (Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Catfish and the Bottlemen), Closer Artists (James Bay, George Ezra, James Morrison) and Twickets’ original founding board, which includes FanFair Alliance founders Ian McAndrew and Harry Magee, along with Richard Griffiths of Modest! Management (One Direction, Olly Murs), Chrysalis Records founder Chris Wright CBE, former EMI and BPI chairman Tony Wadsworth CBE and Crystal Palace FC’s owner and chairman, Steve Parish.
 


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Amazon names Lawrence Peryer director, tickets

Amazon has tapped former Warner Music Group exec Lawrence Peryer to lead its tickets operation in Seattle.

Peryer joins the tech giant as director, tickets, where he’ll help expand ticketing operations in the United States. The business is described as a “start-up with a vision of becoming Earth’s most customer-centric ticketing company. A place where event-goers can come to find and discover any ticket they might want to buy online.” It first launched in the UK in 2015. 

There are currently 19 jobs listed on Amazon’s job site for its tickets division, covering software development, strategy and business planning, based in Seattle and London.

Peryer joins after over 20 years in the content, commerce and community and technology sectors. His most recent role was at Warner Music, where he joined as CEO of the major label’s artist-to-fan division Artist Arena in 2012. Over the course of four years he was promoted to EVP of WEA’s Global Consumer Sales & Marketing Group, before leaving in May 2016.

Prior to Warner, Peryer spent over seven years at online fan club management and marketing services firm UltraStar Entertainment, where he was named president in 2005 prior to its acquisition by Live Nation.

 


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Bruce Springsteen tops 2016 tour charts

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band’s The River Tour 2016 was the highest grossing worldwide tour last year, earning $268.3m over 76 shows. The average ticket price was $111 across over 2.4m tickets sold, according to Pollstar’s Top 10 Worldwide Tours ranking.

Organised by BPB Consulting and the Creative Artists Agency, the tour was the first in two years for Springsteen and band, and was in support of his 2015 box set, The Ties That Bind: The River Collection.

Taking second place on Pollstar’s year-end lists was Beyoncé with The Formation World Tour—another CAA project. Over 49 shows, the tour grossed $256.4m, with an average ticket price of $114 and over 2.2m sold.

Coldplay take third place with the A Head Full of Dreams Tour, organised by Paradigm and X-ray Touring, grossing $241m. Over 2.6m tickets were sold across 60 shows, with an average price of $90.

Guns N’Roses’ Not In This Lifetime… Tour is fourth with $188.4m across 44 dates. 1.6m tickets were sold with an average price of $111 and UTA and ITB shared agency duties.

Rounding off the top 5 is Adele with her WME/ITB Adele Live 2016 dates that grossed $167.7m last year. 1.5m tickets were sold across 107 shows with an average price of $109.

Further down the list is Justin Bieber at sixth place, followed by Paul McCartney, Garth Brooks, The Rolling Stones and Celine Dion.

 


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Stadium shows up 200% in UK this year

2016 has been a record year for music in Britain’s stadia, with the number of stadium shows up threefold on 2015, according to new data from Ticketmaster.

The ticketing giant also reports a 50% increase in stadium tours in the UK compared to last year.

“It’s great to see the live event industry in fantastic health, with a record year for stadium shows and popularity for outdoor events,” comments Ticketmaster UK’s managing director, Andrew Parsons. “This year has seen an unprecedented number of world-class acts taking their huge productions on the road and fans enjoying these gigs in stadiums and fields far and wide.”

Ticketmaster also today released the results of its Ticket of the Year survey, which polled its database of 85 million customers to discover their favourite live events of 2016.

“This year has seen an unprecedented number of world-class acts taking their huge productions on the road”

After surveying fans in Australia, Belgium, Britain, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, the Republic of Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the US, the company has crowned Coldplay – specifically their shows at Wembley Stadium in June – as ‘ticket of the year’, both globally and in the UK.

“We’re honoured to receive the Ticketmaster Ticket of the Year award,” says Coldplay’s Chris Martin. “Thank you to everyone who voted for us. The shows that we’ve played this year have been very special to us, so it’s wonderful to know that they’ve been special to the fans as well.

Despite a slight decline in attendance, the Netherlands’ Rock Werchter festival remains as popular as ever, placing second, with Justin Bieber in Arnhem, the UK’s Download festival and Beyoncé in London (again, at Wembley) rounding out the top five.

And looking ahead to next year, Robbie Williams’s Heavy Entertainment Show tour, which kicks off next June, is the most-anticipated trek of 2017.

The full survey results are below:

UK Ticket of the Year 2016
1. Coldplay (Wembley Stadium, London)
2. Download (Donnington Park, Derby)
3. Beyoncé (Wembley Stadium, London)
4. The Stone Roses (Etihad Stadium, Manchester)
5. Coldplay (Etihad Stadium, Manchester)
6. Creamfields (Daresbury, Cheshire)
7. Coldplay (Hampden Park, Glasgow)
8. NFL International Series (Wembley Stadium and Twickenham Stadium, London)
9. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (Wembley Stadium, London)
10. Biffy Clyro/Glasgow Summer Series (Bellahouston Park, Glasgow)

UK most anticipated event 2017
1. Robbie Williams
2. Coldplay
3. Take That
4. Drake
5. Guns N’ Roses
6. Bruno Mars
7. Download
8. Kings of Leon
9. The Weeknd
10. Radiohead

Global Ticket of the Year 2016
1. Coldplay (London, UK)
2. Rock Werchter (Belgium)
3. Justin Bieber (Arnhem, Netherlands)
4. Download (Donington Park, UK)
5. Beyoncé (London, UK)
6. Lollapalooza (Berlin, Germany)
7. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (The Hague, Netherlands)
8. The Stone Roses (Manchester, UK)
9. Coldplay (Manchester, UK)

 


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.art, TLD for “world’s creative community”, launches

With seemingly no end in sight to the dispute over the ownership of .music, London-based UK Creative Ideas (UKCI) has launched an an alternative domain name for the arts and cultural sector: .art.

Describes as a top-level domain (TLD) for the “world’s creative community in all its diverse forms”, .art’s early adopters largely consist of art galleries and museums, including Paris’s Centre Pompidou, Tate in London and the Guggenheim Museum in New York, although UKCI says .art “goes way beyond the visual arts to embrace performance, decorative arts, applied arts, literature, film, music, education, collectables, and could even take in cookery and sport”.

“Our mission is to preserve the cultural legacy of the global art world,” says .art founder Ulvi Kasimov. “We are honoured that so many respected institutions from all over the world share our vision and conviction that .art will transform the arts community’s relationship with the internet and help protect their brand’s heritage online.”

.art domain names will be available to register from February 2017.

Similar TLDs include Accent Media’s .tickets and Rightside’s .band.

 


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