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Spotify tests the waters with new ticketing platform

Spotify has soft-launched a new website to sell tickets directly to its users, instead of redirecting customers to partner ticketing platforms.

The streaming provider premiered its tickets.spotify.com site today (10 August), enabling those with a Spotify account to purchase event tickets via debit or credit card.

Currently, the Spotify Tickets site lists concerts for US artists like Limbeck, Crow, Annie DiRusso, Four Years Strong, and Tokimonsta.

The tickets are taken from those artists’ pre-sale allocations – which will be Spotify Tickets’ focus, rather than general on-sale inventory.

According to the site’s terms and conditions, the company only acts as a ticketing agent and takes a booking fee. It also mentions that the platform can sell on behalf of “third parties which can include venues, event promoters, fan clubs, and artists, as their disclosed ticketing agent”.

“Some of [these tests] end up paving the path for our broader user experience and others serve only as important learnings”

Commenting on the launch of the new site, a spokesperson from Spotify told Tech Crunch: “At Spotify, we routinely test new products and ideas to improve our user experience. Some of those end up paving the path for our broader user experience and others serve only as important learnings. Tickets.spotify.com is our latest test. We have no further news to share on future plans at this time.”

In June, Spotify launched the Live Events Feed, an in-app destination that allows users to discover concerts in their local area via personalised listings sourced from the platform’s affiliate ticketing partners, Ticketmaster, AXS, Dice, Eventbrite and See Tickets.

Though events listed on the Spotify Tickets site are not available on the Live events page, the company’s support page says: “Some tickets listed [on the Live Events page] are available for purchase directly from Spotify.” Tickets directly sold through Spotify are also not currently listed on the artist pages.

Spotify dipped a toe into the ticketing world last year when the company experimented with selling tickets to virtual pre-recorded concerts due to the pandemic.

The launch of Spotify’s ticketing platform comes days after Ticketmaster partnered with TikTok to allow users to discover events and purchase tickets directly through the app. The ticketing giant struck a similar partnership with Snap in February.


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Wasserman Music launches new marketing department

Wasserman Music is expanding its operations with a new marketing services and digital strategy department.

Led by the senior vice president of marketing, Sam Alpert, the department comprises expertise in the areas of tour marketing, digital strategy, ticketing and live streaming.

The new division is completed by Wasserman’s pre-existing marketing team, as well as new employees Mary Pryor (senior director, strategy, focused on Web3) and Sam Benfey (director, digital strategy, focused on a variety of digital opportunities).

“We couldn’t be more excited to welcome Pryor and Benfey into the fold, and to have their expertise and connections available to our agents and artists,” says Alpert.

“Using Wasserman Music’s successful tour marketing model, this expansion into digital strategy, ticketing and live streaming allows us to continue to super-serve our roster.”

“The integration and internal collaboration between depts will open the door for countless new opportunities”

He continues: “The integration and internal collaboration between departments will open the door for countless new opportunities and provide additional resources, knowledge and perspectives for our artists in their touring careers and far beyond.”

Benfey joins Wasserman Music from Paradigm Talent Agency, where he worked as an executive of business development and an agent of digital media and brand partnerships. He specialises in podcasting, video games, AR and VR, blockchain and NFTs, apps and emerging platforms.

Pryor, one of SXSW’s Innovators of the Year in 2014, has worked for major brands across the music, media, technology, and marketing industries including Sony Music Group, Viacom, Essence Magazine, Rolling Stone, Sean Combs Enterprises, and numerous others.

According to Wasserman, she has been an early adopter, educator and advocate in the areas of cryptocurrency, blockchain, the metaverse and other Web3 advancements.

She will focus on educating and empowering Wasserman Music staff and clients, facilitating the tools, insights and connections to engage in the space in an impactful way.


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The LGBTIQ+ List 2022: Jill Wheeler, Red Mountain

The LGBTIQ+ List 2022 – IQ Magazine’s second annual celebration of queer professionals who make an immense impact in the international live music business – was published in the Pride edition (issue 112) last month.

The July 2022 issue, which is available to read now, was made possible thanks to support from Ticketmaster. 

To get to know this year’s queer pioneers a little better, we interviewed each individual on their challenges, triumphs, advice and more.

Throughout the next month, IQ will publish a new interview each day. Catch up on the previous interview with James Fleury, marketing lead at TicketSwap in the Netherlands.

The series continues with Jill Wheeler (she/her/hers), promoter at Red Mountain Entertainment/Live Nation in the US.

Tell us about a personal triumph in your career
A huge accomplishment in my career thus far has to be bringing Van Morrison to Birmingham [Alabama] for the first time.

What advice could you give to young queer professionals?
Always be true to yourself. Work hard, show up on time, but never forget who you are.

Tell us about a professional challenge you’ve come across as a queer person in the industry
I haven’t experienced challenges due to being a queer person, but there are many we all still face as women. We still live in a man’s world.

“I haven’t experienced challenges due to being a queer person, but there are many we all still face as women”

One thing the live industry could do to be a more inclusive place
The industry could be a more inclusive place by targeting the entire queer community in all advertising for all shows – not just gay shows. We come in all stripes. It would also be beneficial to provide gender-neutral bathrooms in all places of work and beyond.

A cause you support
I support many causes and organisations, such as the Yellowhammer Fund (which is an Alabama-based women’s clinic), Suicide Prevention for Teens, and feeding our local food-insecure families.

The queer act you’re itching to see live this year
Perfume Genius.

Your favourite queer space
Bonnaroo – a festival that always makes space for the queer community!


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Afropunk founder cancels new US festival LetsGetFr.ee

LetsGetFr.ee, a new US festival celebrating artists of colour, has been cancelled due to a variety of issues.

Conceived by Afropunk founder Matthew Morgan, the festival has been touted as a “radical movement designed for & by Black, Brown, Asian/Pacific Islander, & LGBTQIA+ fr.ee spirits & creator”.

The two-day ‘conscious carnival’ was scheduled to take place in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, New York City, in mid-August with artists including Missy Elliot, Anderson .Paak, Ozuna, Wizkid and Jhene Aiko.

“The reason is complex, yet simple: The combination of the shifting dynamics of our industry”

However, LetsGetFr.ee today (29 June) released a statement explaining that the festival’s debut will be pushed back to August 2023: “The reason is complex, yet simple: The combination of the shifting dynamics of our industry, the inflation we’re all feeling and new safety regulations that were recently put in place would have forced us to greatly alter your experience to a smaller, watered-down, inauthentic version.

“And that simply wouldn’t be doing right by the vision, the ambition, our partners and most importantly, you. LetsGetFr.ee was created to do something very different, a first-of-its-kind for the industry, for Queens and for the many vibrant, beautiful communities within and around us. And that’s exactly what we will do.”

Ticketholders have the option to hold on to their original ticket or request a refund. The festival says refunds are scheduled to be processed on or before 15 September.


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NIVA names first COO Cody Cowan

The US’s National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) has appointed Cody Cowan to the newly created position of chief operating officer.

As COO, Cowan will oversee the day-to-day operations of the grassroots music venues alliance, working closely with NIVA’s executive director, board members, department heads, staff, and committee chairs.

He will be tasked with identifying opportunities for growth while cultivating a workplace that is diverse, equitable and inclusive, according to a release. In addition, Cowan will work closely with the National Independent Venue Foundation.

“As NIVA continues its evolution from successfully ensuring the independent music, comedy, promoter and festival industry will survive, we’re now focused on how we thrive,” says Rev. Moose, executive director and co-founder of NIVA.

“We’re incredibly fortunate that Cody, a seasoned music industry veteran with a history of success working in the civic, hospitality, service, and live events industries, is joining NIVA in this newly created leadership position of COO. He’s a leader and vocal advocate for preserving the cultural identity of his hometown of Austin and we know he will bring this passion, commitment and energy to NIVA.”

“As NIVA continues its evolution, we’re now focused on how we thrive”

Cowan joins NIVA from Austin’s Red River Cultural District, where he held the position of executive director. He has been working in Austin’s music industry since 1997, including at two of the most iconic clubs in the city – Emos and Mohawk.

Cowan later co-founded the Red River Cultural District in 2016, as the nonprofit’s executive director with areas of focus including economic development, grassroots organising, live music policy, and innovation for the live music and cultural tourism economy.

“It’s truly an honour and a privilege to be invited to join NIVA’s hard-working, talented team and to also continue to be able to serve our independent music and comedy community’s mission in creating a thriving and sustainable ecosystem,” says Cowan.

“Music and comedy are not only the soundtrack for our day-to-day but also our inner lives – they comfort us in difficult times; energise us in diverse and incomparable ways; and help us to find deeper human connection and purpose in an ever complicated world. I’m grateful for this amazing opportunity to continue to serve our music and comedy community and look forward to what we may all build together at NIVA.”.

Formed at the onset of the Covid-19 shutdown, NIVA represents independent music and comedy venues, promoters and festivals across the country. NIVA created and led the #SaveOurStages campaign, resulting in landmark legislation establishing the US$16 billion Shuttered Venue Operators grant.


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Global Critical Logistics acquires Asesores de Flete

Los Angeles-based Global Critical Logistics has acquired Madrid based forwarder Asesores de Flete (ADF), a provider of mission-critical logistics services to the live event, entertainment, sports, and broadcast industries.

ADF will be integrated under GCL’s Rock-it Global brand, one of the leading providers of logistics to the global live touring industry.

Together with Rock-it Global’s expansive presence in Latin America, the ADF acquisition solidifies Rock-it Global’s in-house capabilities to serve customers throughout the Spanish-speaking world.

Rock-it Global is a provider of high-touch, mission-critical air, ocean, and surface freight forwarding and logistics services for the live entertainment and music touring, sports, broadcasting, corporate events, and tradeshow end markets.

“Establishing a company-owned presence in Spain not only strengthens our geographic footprint in continental Europe but also gives us direct access to customers in key end markets within the region,” says Paul J. Martins, Global Critical Logistics’s CEO and president.

“We are always looking for strategic opportunities to grow the business, enhance our value proposition to customers, and expand service offerings across the world.

“Establishing a company-owned presence in Spain gives us direct access to customers in key markets in the region”

“The acquisition of ADF builds on our strategy of enhancing capabilities to target customers in high growth industries such as live events, music touring, sports, broadcast, and film and television production.”

ADF will continue to be led by founder and MD Carlos Arauz Sanchez.

“For more than 30 years, ADF has focused on providing a customised service to very demanding clients,” says Arauz.

“Joining the GCL family of companies and spearheading Rock-it Global’s efforts in Spain is an exciting step for our team since we are culturally aligned and have the same passion for providing outstanding service.

“We believe this partnership will further allow us to leverage a global network and shared resources for our existing customers, whilst continuing to deliver critical solutions in Spain and the region.”

Founded in 1987, ADF includes an experienced team of authorised in-house Customs experts and specialises in critical, zero-tolerance for failure projects serving customers around the globe.


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New York to ban hidden fees on concert tickets

New York State is set to ban hidden fees on concert tickets, under a new bill that has passed the state senate.

The bill requires the disclosure of “all-in” prices in the initial ticket listing, instead of later on in the payment process.

The pending law also requires that the final ticket price be listed “in a clear and conspicuous manner,” and sellers can’t list the total fee in smaller type sizes.

The new bill passed the state senate and assembly in New York last week (3 June) and now just needs to be signed by governor Kathy Hochul.

Senate Investigations and Government Operations Committee chair James Skoufis told Billboard of the deal: “I agree with the statement that people should pay, and will pay, whatever they want to pay for a ticket. But they should know what that is. Oftentimes, they’re not told what that value is.”

The pending law also requires that the final ticket price be listed “in a clear and conspicuous manner”

The bill also prohibits the resale of tickets acquired free of charge, although transferring them to someone else is permitted.

Additionally, charging a delivery fee for tickets received electronically or printed by the consumer is banned. The legislation also increases the penalty for “knowingly” using ticket purchasing bots and software.

Ticketmaster, the largest ticketing company in the country, has commended the new legislation even though it will affect how the company shows prices to customers.

Marla Ostroff, the managing director of Ticketmaster in North America, says: “We are supportive of industry-wide reforms and believe even more can be done to aid artists in delivering tickets to fans at their set price points.”

The bill is pared down from a 2021 version, introduced by Skoufis, that included new rules for refunds inspired by the difficulties many consumers experienced getting money back for events delayed (but not necessarily cancelled) as a result of Covid-19 restrictions.


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ICM Partners founder Marvin Josephson passes

Marvin Josephson, founder of ICM Partners, passed away on Tuesday (17 May) in New York, at the age of 95.

An official cause of death has not been announced.

“We mourn the loss of Marvin Josephson, one of the founders of ICM, who was universally respected as an agent, a leader and a man,” ICM Partners said in a statement. “We send our heartfelt condolences to his family.”

Born on March 6, 1927 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, US, Josephson was raised by immigrant parents. After serving in the US Navy during the twilight of World War II, he returned to the US to attend Cornell University and then night law school at New York University School of Law. Upon receiving his degree in 1962, Josephson started a job in the CBS legal department.

In 1955, Josephson began his own personal management company, drawing clients such as “Captain Kangaroo” producer and star Bob Keeshan. Josephson later converted the company into a talent agency upon entering the world of television personalities, representing figures such as Chet Huntley, Peter Jennings, Frank McGee, Don Hewitt and Reuven Frank. Later in his career, Josephson would represent Barbara Walters.

Josephson’s agency grew, eventually merging with the LA-based Rosenberg Coryell, which had Bing Crosby and James Garner among its client list. After buying out his California partners, Josephson’s company was renamed Marvin Josephson Associates (MJA).

“[Josephson] was universally respected as an agent, a leader and a man”

After acquiring Ashley Famous Agency in 1968, the combined agency was renamed International Famous Agency (IFA), though the parent company that owned IFA continued to be called MJA. MJA then acquired Creative Management Associates (CMA), a more film-focused agency as opposed to IFA’s emphasis on television and publishing.

Josephson served as chairman and CEO of the combined talent agency, which was renamed International Creative Management (ICM) and grew to become a huge operation in entertainment, representing clients such as Yo Yo Ma, Henry Kissinger, Steve McQueen, Margaret Thatcher and Colin Powell during Josephson’s tenure.

In 1992, Josephson passed control of ICM onto Jeff Berg, Sam Cohn and Jim Wiatt, though Josephson maintained a leadership role and continued to represent personal clients. In 2005, the company was sold to a private investor, Suhail Rizvi.

Josephson is survived by his wife, Tina Chen; his children, Celia Josephson, Claire Josephson, Nancy Josephson, YiLing Chen-Josephson and YiPei Chen-Josephson; his 16 grandchildren; his two great-grandchildren and his brother, Jack Josephson. He was predeceased by his son, Joe Josephson.

The family has asked that donations be sent to The Jewish Federations of North America to support families in Ukraine in memory of Josephson.


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Goldenvoice details new San Francisco festival

Goldenvoice has revealed details of a brand new festival called Portola, coming to the US city of San Francisco this autumn.

Portola is slated to take place on 24 and 25 September at Pier 80, a 60-acre shipyard that boasts SF’s largest cargo terminal.

The Chemical Brothers and Flume will headline the festival, while Kaytranada, Jamie xx, Jungle, Charli XCX, James Blake and M.I.A are among the supporting cast.

The festival, which is organised in association with local event management company Non Plus Ultra, is scheduled only a month and a half after Outside Lands 2022 and a week before Hardly Strictly Bluegrass – both of which draw hundreds of thousands of fans to the city.

Portola’s name is reportedly a reference to the Portola Festival of 1909, which signalled a reopening of the city after the 1906 earthquake and drew an estimated one million people to its opening parade.

The new festival is one of a slate of inaugural events announced by AEG subsidiary Goldenvoice, including This Ain’t No Picnic, Palomino and California Vibrations.

In the US, Goldenvoice produces several festivals, most notably Coachella, as well as operating 14 mid-sized venues and promoting over 1,800 shows per year.

Goldenvoice's Portola festival


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Kehlani announces UK, European, N.America tour

Kehlani has announced details of a UK, European and North America tour that will run from July through to December, this year.

The multi-platinum singer-songwriter will hit the road in support of her new critically acclaimed album ‘Blue Water Road’, which was released last month.

Produced by Live Nation, the 28-city North American leg kicks off on 30 July at ​​Red Hat Amphitheater in Raleigh, NC, making stops in Miami, New York, Houston and more before wrapping up in her hometown of Oakland on 30 September.

The 15-city European leg will commence on 17 November in Copenhagen, Denmark, visiting cities including Berlin, Paris and London before concluding in Manchester on 12 December.

Kehlani will be supported by Rico Nasty on the North America dates and Destin Conrad across all dates.

See the full routing below. Dates marked with an asterisk are not Live Nation shows.

Sat Jul 30 – Raleigh, NC – Red Hat Amphitheater

Mon Aug 01 – Miami, FL – FPL Solar Amphitheater

Wed Aug 03 – Atlanta, GA – Coca-Cola Roxy

Fri Aug 05 – Charlotte, NC – Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre

Sun Aug 07 – Washington, DC – The Anthem

Tue Aug 09 – New York, NY – Radio City Music Hall

Fri Aug 12 – Boston, MA – Leader Bank Pavilion

Sat Aug 13 – Bridgeport, CT – Hartford HealthCare Amphitheater

Mon Aug 15 – Philadelphia, PA – Skyline Stage @ The Mann Center

Tue Aug 16 – Pittsburgh, PA – UPMC Events Center

Wed Aug 17 – Cincinnati, OH – The Andrew J Brady Music Center

Fri Aug 19 – Minneapolis, MN – The Armory

Mon Aug 22 – Detroit, MI – Fox Theatre

Wed Aug 24 – Toronto, ON – Budweiser Stage!

Fri Aug 26 – Chicago, IL – Byline Bank Aragon Ballroom

Sun Aug 28 – Indianapolis, IN – TCU Amphitheater at White River State Park

Tue Aug 30 – Houston, TX – Bayou Music Center

Thu Sep 01 – Austin, TX – Moody Amphitheater

Sat Sep 03 – Dallas, TX – South Side Ballroom

Tue Sep 06 – Denver, CO – Fillmore Auditorium

Fri Sep 09 – Las Vegas, NV – The Chelsea @ The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

Sat Sep 10 – Los Angeles, CA – YouTube Theater

Wed Sep 14 – Phoenix, AZ – Arizona Federal Theatre

Thu Sep 15 – San Diego, CA – Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre

Sat Sep 17 – Portland, OR – Theater of the Clouds @ Moda Center

Sun Sep 18 – Seattle, WA – WAMU Theater

Wed Sep 21 – Vancouver, BC – PNE Forum!

Fri Sep 30 – Oakland, CA – Oakland Arena

Fri Oct 21 – Honolulu, HI – Waikiki Shell*!

* Not A Live Nation Date | ! Citi Presale Not Applicable

Thu Nov 17 – Copenhagen, Denmark – Grey Hall

Fri Nov 18 – Stockholm, Sweden – Annexet

Mon Nov 21 – Oberhausen, Germany – Turbinhalle*

Tue Nov 22 – Berlin, Germany – Tempodrom*

Thu Nov 24 – Zurich, Switzerland – Komplex 457

Sat Nov 26 – Vienna, Austria – Gasometer*

Sun Nov 27 – Munich, Germany – Zenith*

Tue Nov 29 – Milan, Italy – Fabrique*

Wed Nov 30 – Paris, France – Salle Pleyel

Sat Dec 03 – Tilburg, Netherlands – O13

Sun Dec 04 – London, UK – Brixton Academy

Wed Dec 07 – Dublin, Ireland – Olympia

Fri Dec 09 – Glasgow, UK – O2 Academy

Sat Dec 10 – Birmingham, UK – Academy

Mon Dec 12 – Manchester, UK – Victoria Warehouse

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