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Friday round-up: world news in brief

Welcome to IQ‘s brand-new weekly round-up of news from around the world. Here, in bite-sized chunks, we present a selection of international stories you may have missed from the last seven days…


Vince Power Music Group (VPMG) has announced AXS as its official ticketing partner for all its London venues after inking a new five-year deal. VPMG venues include: the former Dingwalls, PowerHaus (cap. 500), The Fiddler (cap. 120), Nells (cap. 350) and Subterania (cap. 600). AXS is the official ticketing partner for several UK venues including The O2, The SSE Arena, Wembley, Dreamland Margate, British Summertime Hyde Park, All Points East and AEG Presents’ touring business.


European showcase festival and conference Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS) in Groningen has moved entirely online from 19–22 January 2022 in response to the government’s the latest Covid-19 measures. The digital edition will include a conference programme as well as the festival programmes of Noorderslag, Eurosonic and the Music Moves Europe Awards award ceremony.


Foo Fighters say they have axed a 2022 tour date due to the venue’s “refusal to agree to the band’s Covid safety measures”. The band were due to play Huntington Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on 3 August, but are now looking for a replacement venue. A spokesperson for the University of Minnesota, which operates the venue, said its current measures relating to vaccines and mask-wearing were in line with state and federal guidelines, and declined to change its existing protocols for large events.


CTS Eventim is acquiring regional ticketing providers in the Rhineland region, Kölnticket and Bonnticket. The companies previously belonged to media houses Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger Medien in Cologne and Rheinische Post Mediengruppe in Düsseldorf, and had previously partnered with CTS on ticketing software and platform technology. The deal will give CTS Eventim a significant presence in the region as well as numerous contacts in the local entertainment scene.


The British Music Embassy has announced its live return to South By Southwest (SXSW) with its biggest presence yet. The intimate 250-person UK music showcase will return in 2022 with a capacity of 700 at Cedar Street Courtyard, an open-air SXSW venue, from 14-20 March. It will be the first in-person British Music Embassy since 2019 as the 2020 edition of SXSW was one of the first major festivals to be cancelled due to Covid-19.


The ASM Global-managed, Arena Oberhausen in Germany is to be renamed after 20 years as the Konig Pilsener Arena. From next year, the 12,650-capacity venue will be known as Rudolf Weber Arena, in the largest naming rights deal in the Oberhausen-based venue’s 25-year history.


Five more names have been confirmed for Rock Werchter 2022. The War On Drugs will play the Festivalpark on Thursday 30 June. Lewis Capaldi and Greta Van Fleet join the line-up for Friday 1 July, Yungblud is scheduled for Saturday July 2 and Royal Blood will put in an appearance on Sunday 3 July. Headlined by Pearl Jam, Metallica, Imagine Dragons and Red Hot Chili Pepper, the festival runs from 30 June to 2 July.


Two internet ticket touts sentenced to a combined six-and-a-half years in prison following a landmark court case have failed in their appeals against their conviction for fraudulent trading. Peter Hunter and David Smith, who operated as the company BZZ Limited, were jailed for four years and 30 months, respectively, in February 2020 following an investigation by the National Trading Standards eCrime Team, and trail at Leeds Crown Court. The pair committed offences between May 2010 and December 2017, making a net profit of £3.5 million in the last two years of fraud alone, buying and reselling tickets to concerts by artists including Ed Sheeran, McBusted, Taylor Swift and Coldplay. On the appeal Smith and Hunter raised a large number of legal and procedural grounds. They appealed the verdict, alleging the judge wrongly directed the jury on the law and “acted unfairly and prejudicially in his conduct of the trial”, arguing the restrictions attaching to the sale of the tickets were “void and invalid”. However, the Court of Appeal rejects their appeals, upholding the conclusion of the judge at trial that the restrictions imposed by event organisers were valid, adding the judge “acted properly in all relevant respects and that the convictions are safe and lawful”.


Irish-headquartered Tixserve has partnered with UK ticket agency Gigantic to provide a “secure and interactive digital ticket fulfilment service” for its live entertainment ticketing. The partnership will see Irish-Headquartered Tixserve provide Gigantic with a white label digital ticketing app – delivering via a full API technical integration, a sophisticated and seamless fulfilment service for Gigantic clients and customers.


International booking agency Midnight Mango has announced four new agents – Nigel Morton, Addison Paterson, Sam Bryant and Hanna Bright – after initiating an Agent Freelancer Platform in the early days of the pandemic. After delivering training and guidance to four agents back in the spring, the firm took on a further four new agents in September. The new appointments work with acts such as Gretchen Peters, Bicurious, Dom Martin and The Kakatsitsi Master Drummers, expanding the agency’s roster to more than 150 artists, represented by a 15-strong workforce.


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Amsterdam’s GUTS Tickets sets up shop in Korea

The team behind Dutch blockchain ticketing platform GUTS Tickets is launching getTicket, a new ticketing company based in South Korea.

Working together with local partners, GUTS is bringing its anti-tout and anti-fraud ticketing technology to Asia. GetTicket is ready to sell its first tickets, with GUTS stating that “multiple big events” are already lined up.

Founded in 2016, GUTS uses the blockchain-based GET Protocol to register all transactions, allowing organisers to track each ticket bought, alerting them to duplication or above-face-value resale. All ticket bought through GUTS are registered to the buyer’s mobile phone.

Put simply, says the International Ticketing Yearbook 2019, “GUTS has come up with a technology that prevents unwanted third parties intervening in the ecosystem between event organiser and the end consumer.”

“Our mission of becoming the worldwide standard for digital ticketing is nowhere near to complete”

The company has broken multiple blockchain ticketing records, most recently powering the sale for two 35,000-capacity shows by pop star Guus Meeuwis at the Philips Stadium in Eindhoven. GUTS is the official ticketing partner of Dutch festival Oerrock.

GetTicket is GUTS’ first venture outside of the Netherlands.

“Over the 3.5 years since we sold our first ticket, the team has put forth a world-class achievement,” says Maarten Bloemers, founder of GUTS Tickets.

“The fact that we are now getting recognition on a global scale makes me incredibly proud. However, our mission of becoming the worldwide standard for digital ticketing is nowhere near to complete. We won’t rest until we get there.”

Companies in over 40 countries worldwide have shown interest in using GUTS’ white label ticketing solution. Following the launch of getTicket, the company plans on launching its technology in other markets.


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Finding their FEAT: Promoters back new European anti-tout association

Europe’s leading live music professionals have come together to form the Face-value European Alliance for Ticketing (FEAT), an organisation dedicated to the promotion of face-value ticket resale across the continent.

Launched last night at Eurosonic Noorderslag in Groningen, the Netherlands, FEAT will take a continent-wide approach to encourage better ticket resale practices in Europe.

“Governments need to understand speculative ticket resale is an abusive and unethical practice that harms people, and they need to approve laws that make it virtually impossible,” says Neo Sala, FEAT Director and founder of Doctor Music.

The priorities of the initiative include:

FEAT has been functioning under the radar for a while. The group is already involved in EU parliamentary discussions on secondary ticketing and has facilitated the formation of a legal group which coordinates activities on ticketing regulation and works in conjunction with search engines.

“We need to get this right as otherwise fans and artists alike will be robbed by thieves”

Initially focusing on legislation and good practice within the live music industry, the initiative later looks to build alliances with the full scope of the live entertainment industry, including performing arts and sports events.

The alliance will be run by Sam Shemtob, a music business specialist who has been active in the UK’s All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on ticket abuse for several years, along with colleagues Katie O’Leary and Dominic Athanassiou.

“We need to get this right as otherwise fans and artists alike will be robbed by thieves,” says Scumeck Sabottka, FEAT Director and CEO of MCT-Agentur. “If we all pull this together and get EU legislation to follow our lead, we can ultimately make it work.”

The alliance hopes to bolster the work of movements such as UK’s FanFair Alliance and the Swiss Ticket Check. Such groups have enjoyed considerable success on tightening up ticket resale on a national scale, but have not managed to shake the impunity of global platforms.

The case of secondary ticketing website Viagogo serves as an example of this impunity. As of today, the site was required to implement substantial changes to its business practices following a court order served in November 2018. However, sufficient changes have not been made.

FanFair Alliance’s Adam Webb comments: “Although a few minor changes have been implemented, some of which may add even more confusion for consumers, we would be astonished if the site is compliant with the terms of its court order.”

A full list of the FEAT founding members is below:

Ben Giezenaar – Co-Founder, Greenhouse Talent, Netherlands (Once in a Blue Moon Festival, Justin Bieber)

Christof Huber – Managing Director, Incognito, Switzerland (Imagine Dragons, George Ezra)

Folkert Koopmans – CEO, FKP Scorpio, Germany (Ed Sheeran, Rolling Stones, Foo Fighters)

Kim Worsøe – Director, ICO, Denmark (The 1975, Sam Smith, Disturbed)

Neo Sala – Founder & CEO, Doctor Music, Spain (Adele, Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Doctor Music Festival)

Olivier Darbois – Director, Corida, France (Christine and the Queens, Justice – produced worldwide, Kraftwerk, Radiohead – promoted France)

Pascal Van De Velde – Founder & CEO, Greenhouse Talent, Belgium & Netherlands (Elton John, Katy Perry)

Peter Aiken – Managing Director, Aiken Promotions, Ireland (Bruce Springsteen, Rolling Stones, Ed Sheeran, Adele)

Philippe Cornu – Founder, wildpony, Switzerland (Muse, Rammstein)

Scumeck Sabottka – CEO, MCT-Agentur, Germany (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, Lykke Li, Björk, Rammstein, Florence + the Machine)

Vincent Sager – Managing Director, Opus One, Switzerland (Arcade Fire, Iron Maiden)


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Spain’s Culture Ministry finalises report on secondary ticketing

Spain’s Ministry for Culture has this week finalised a report that looks into the country’s secondary ticketing market. Working against what they have labelled “the massive resale of tickets for cultural events,” the report will make proposals and recommendations on potential courses of action for the Spanish government.

The study commission dedicated to the issue will review a draft of the report in September, ready for its presentation to the Culture Sector Conference, held later this year. The origins of the report and the study commission was a meeting on 10 July 2017 at a Culture Sector Conference, in which a plan was agreed to fight against the growing issue of ticket touting in Spain.

The report will make proposals and recommendations on potential courses of action for the Spanish government.

Statistics from last year revealed that some 69% of tickets resold in Spain were touted for profit. Public sentiment in Spain has for some years been shifting towards wanting legislative action to regulate the secondary ticketing market.

Several parties have taken secondary ticketers to court– or have threatened to – over “floods” of resale tickets. In March 2016, Spanish promoter Doctor Music filed a number of official complaints against the likes of Viagogo and Seatwave after the number of tickets being touted for their Bruce Springsteen and Adele shows had “outraged” fans.

The size of the problem has also prompted the establishment of the Anti-Resale Alliance (Alianza Anti-reventa), the Spanish anti-touting association akin to the UK’s FanFair group. The alliance called for “the introduction of effective legislation for the digital age to prohibit the speculative sale of tickets and protect consumers, as already exists in countries such as the United Kingdom, Italy and France.” The report by the Ministry for Culture would be the first step towards this legislation.


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