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UMG, ReplyYes to sell tickets with chatbots

As predicted by ReplyYes CEO Dave Cotter last year, the chatbot-based ecommerce platform is to begin selling concert tickets as part of a new partnership with label giant Universal Music Group (UMG).

Cotter told IQ in that ReplyYes’s ‘conversation commerce’ technology, which makes personalised product recommendations through text messages, has the potential to transform live music ticketing following a successful launch selling vinyl records and comic books. (The Edit, ReplyYes’s daily vinyl recommendation service, has sold more than 100,000 albums via text in its first 18 months in operation.)

The company’s deal with UMG, announced on Friday, is described as “an exclusive agreement to create a host of new engagement and shopping opportunities for UMG artists and their fans worldwide”, including for tickets, merch and recorded music.

“At UMG, we want to empower our artists and labels to leverage new technologies that help them build deeper relationships with their fans,” comments Universal’s senior vice-president of consumer engagement, Peter Sinclair. “ReplyYes helps us accomplish exactly that.

“Our recording artists, songwriters and labels benefit from these exciting new forms of fan engagement and merchandising that are created by conversational commerce”

“Our recording artists, songwriters and labels benefit from these exciting new forms of fan engagement and merchandising that are created by conversational commerce. We are excited to work with ReplyYes, and even more excited for the millions of fans around the world who will experience this new and direct way of interacting with their favourite artists.”

The Seattle-based start-up has also announced it has raised US$6.5 million in series-A funding from a consortium of venture-capital investors.

A statement from Madrona Venture Group, one of the firms leading the funding round, says: “We believe that mobile messaging will play a major role in the future of ecommerce. ReplyYes is at the centre of major macro technology trends: ecommerce, mobile, messaging and artificial intelligence.

“With the success of their vinyl music store, The Edit, […] and by bringing on major partners like UMG, ReplyYes has proven that their ecommerce over mobile messaging platform has a huge opportunity ahead of it.”

 


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Pascal Nègre to head up new LN management company

Live Nation France today announced the launch of a new artist-management company in partnership with former Universal Music France president Pascal Nègre.

Nègre (pictured) was in the top job at the label from 1998 until February this year, when, to the surprise of most in the recorded music industry, his contract was not renewed. Paris-based #NP (with hashtag) will, says, Live Nation, “service the artist on all levels, from recorded music to live, with a focus on digital marketing”.

Nègre says: “#NP’s mission is to ensure the artist is at the very core of the game in this new digital age. Our specialist team will be with the artist every step of the way with the advice and services they need to allow them to do what they do best. I’m delighted to join forces with Live Nation France, a family of great professionals with worldwide expertise.”

“The experience Pascal brings to the table is unsurpassed, and we welcome him with open arms”

John Reid, Live Nation’s president of concerts in Europe, adds: “The artist is at the core of what we do, and together with Pascal we will be able to expand this focus in ways we’ve always wanted to. The experience Pascal brings to the table is unsurpassed, and we welcome him with open arms.”

Live Nation France acquired Nous Productions, the formerly Warner Music France-owned concert and festival promoter, earlier this year.

 


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SFX offloads Fame House to Universal

Universal Music Group (UMG), the world’s largest music corporation and record label group, has acquired digital marketing agency Fame House from SFX Entertainment.

Fame House was one of three SFX businesses known to be up for sale, along with download service Beatport and ticketing platform Flavorus.

UMG – which was, according to Delaware bankruptcy court documents, the sole qualified bidder – reportedly paid US$1 million for Fame House and agreed to take on around $400,000 worth of debts and liabilities.

“The sale to Universal is in the best interests of the debtors’ estates and creditors”

Financial advisor Adam Keil, representing SFX, says his firm, Moelis & Company, conducted a “thorough marketing process designed to ensure engagement with potential buyers with the greatest ability to maximise the value of the Fame House assets” and that the sale to UMG is “in the best interests of the debtors’ estates and creditors”.

Fame House was founded by Mike Fiebach in 2011 and acquired by SFX in 2013. It has produced digital campaigns for artists such as DJ Shadow, Eminem, Pearl Jam, Ice Cube and Tiësto, as well as SFX-owned promoters ID&T and React Presents.

SFX Entertainment filed for bankruptcy on 1 February 2016.