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Songkick promotes Sarah Jones to GM

Concert discovery service Songkick has elevated Sarah Jones to general manager.

Based out of Songkick’s London HQ, Jones will succeed MD Bill Ashton, who will be leaving the business at the end of March.

Jones will oversee the launch of Songkick Campaigns, a “first of its kind” marketing service that allows for direct and bespoke fan messaging and also enables tour marketers to control how to activate marketing campaigns and promote tours directly to fans.

Recorded music giant Warner Music Group (WMG), one of the ‘big three’ record labels, acquired “selected assets” from Songkick in 2017, including its concert-discovery app, website and the Songkick trademark.

“I’m elated to have the opportunity to take up this role at Songkick,” says Jones. “After a long hiatus, live music is finally back in a big way and we’re already seeing a 50% increase in fans indicating their intent to attend concerts, in comparison to pre-Covid times. Our teams are more ready than ever before to support fans and artists, wherever they are in the world, as they venture back to the live music experience once again.”

Jones joined Songkick in 2018 as commercial director, before being promoted to VP, commercial in 2021. Previously, she spent 14 years with the BBC, where she headed up its global partnership strategy across its video and podcast portfolio.

“When live music ground to a halt, Sarah and Bill were central to the business pivoting and finding new ways to engage our audiences and artists”

“Sarah’s track record is incredible and I can’t think of a better person to take the reins of Songkick,” adds Benjamin Blank, president of WMG’s media business. “I’m sad to see Bill leave, and I want to thank him for all he’s done and for leaving the business on such a high.

“When live music ground to a halt, Sarah and Bill were central to the business pivoting and finding new ways to engage our audiences and artists. I’m excited to see Sarah and the team accelerate the Songkick mission of enabling artists to strengthen and deepen their relationship with a growing global audience of passionate engaged fans”

More than 19 million music fans worldwide use Songkick to track their favourite artists, discover concerts and buy tickets. Its Songkick Tourbox feature, meanwhile, provides tools for artist teams to manage and promote tour dates globally.

Elsewhere, Simon McCabe, who joined Songkick in 2021, has been promoted to VP, technology, WMX Media, WMG’s next generation services division.

 


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Roblox secures David Guetta for first concert of 2022

Roblox is kicking off 2022 with the first DJ set performed by an avatar of international star David Guetta.

Created in partnership with Roblox developer Wonder Works Studio and Warner Music Group (WMG), the DJ set will premiere on 4 February at 16:00 PT and continue throughout the weekend.

Guetta will perform as his avatar self in an intergalactic themed set, where attendees can navigate the show through an “asteroid-traversing obstacle course”.

According to Roblox, the virtual universe will be decked out with crystals, neon lights, lasers, holograms, and thumping speakers.

Fans will be able to interact through DJ and dance battles, a secret puzzle used to unlock special abilities and archives, virtual merchandise for purchase and as prizes, Q&As with Guetta, and a 45-minute set for the Roblox community.

“We’ve built something that will play host to one of the most unique shows I’ve ever done”

Roblox VP and global head of music Jon Vlassopulos, says: “We’re thrilled to work with our friends at Warner to host another major virtual concert with one of the biggest stars to ever perform on Roblox.

“David has been engaging and inspiring music fans all over the world for over 20 years with his unique DJ performances, and now he can play, as his avatar, to millions of fans in one weekend in this fun, interactive, intergalactic DJ Party world on Roblox. It’s going to expose a new generation of fans to dance music and take clubbing to a whole new level!”

Guetta added: “Working on this concert has allowed me to bring an amazing new creation to life with design and production to suit the virtual world. We’ve built something that will play host to one of the most unique shows I’ve ever done and I can’t wait for everyone to experience it with me.”

WMG have previously brought stars including Twenty One Pilots, Royal Blood, Ava Max and Why Don’t We to perform in the Roblox metaverse.

The label has been making moves elsewhere in the metaverse too, penning a deal with gaming metaverse The Sandbox to create its first music-themed world.

 


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WMG to create ‘music-themed world’ in Sandbox metaverse

Warner Music Group (WMG) is to create the first music-themed world in The Sandbox gaming metaverse, following a deal between the two companies.

The Sandbox, which is built around blockchain and NFT (non-fungible token) technology, has been described as “part virtual real estate, part amusement park”.

According to WMG, its virtual ‘Land’ within The Sandbox will be a “combination of musical theme park and concert venue” and will host concerts and musical experiences featuring its roster of artists.

These immersive experiences “will empower WMG artists to engage with their fans, as well as to reach the global community of The Sandbox”, in addition to generating “new revenue streams and new forms of virtual entertainment”.

The strategic partnership marks The Sandbox’s first deal with a major music company and what WMG says is its “first entry into the NFT metaverse realm”.

“WMG has secured the equivalent of beachfront property in the metaverse”

To mark the occasion, The Sandbox will hold a Land sale in March 2022, which will allow music fans to buy coveted Lands adjacent to the WMG property.

“Our partnership with The Sandbox adds a new layer of possibility in the metaverse, with the ownership of virtual real estate,” says Oana Ruxandra, chief digital officer & EVP, business development at WMG. “As a first-mover, WMG has secured the equivalent of beachfront property in the metaverse. On the Land, we’ll develop persistent, immersive social music experiences that defy real-world limitations and allow our artists and their fans to engage like never before.”

Sebastien Borget, COO and co-founder of The Sandbox, added: “We’re shaping The Sandbox as a fun entertainment destination where creators, fans, and players can enjoy first-of-a-kind immersive experiences and be more closely connected to their favourite musical artists through NFTs. This strategic partnership with WMG brings the open metaverse one step forward in the direction of fan-owned and community-driven initiatives – the possibilities are very exciting.”

WMG joins over 200 existing partnerships including The Walking Dead, Snoop Dogg, Adidas, Deadmau5, Steve Aoki, Richie Hawtin, The Smurfs, Care Bears, Atari, ZEPETO, and CryptoKitties.

The Sandbox, which is a subsidiary of Animoca Brands, raised US$93 million in a Series B funding round, last November.

 


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Roblox plans Twenty One Pilots concert experience

Roblox and Warner Music Group (WMG) have announced a virtual concert experience with Grammy-award winning duo Twenty One Pilots.

The Twenty One Pilots concert experience will feature the first-ever dynamic setlist dictated by fans in real-time, alongside pre-concert quests, exclusive custom-designed virtual merchandise, behind-the-scenes footage, and a Q&A with the duo.

The five-song set will feature a combination of hit songs as well as new material from Twenty One Pilots’ 2021 album, ‘Scaled and Icy’.

The band follows in the footsteps of Royal Blood and Lil Nas X, each of which have delivered virtual concert experiences in Roblox – which has more than 150 million monthly users worldwide.

“We are taking virtual concerts to the next level with our Twenty One Pilots virtual concert experience”

Jon Vlassopulos, global Head of Music, Roblox, says: “We are taking virtual concerts to the next level with our Twenty One Pilots virtual concert experience. We wanted to make it truly interactive and participatory for the fans, for the band, and for our broader Roblox developer community.

“Fans will be able to decide the order of the songs that they hear by choosing with their friends. They will be able to interact with the environment in creative ways becoming part of the show, and Tyler and Josh will participate in a live chat with fans after the virtual concert.

“This is what Roblox is built for, bringing people together to interact in new and exciting ways and we are just scratching the surface of what’s possible.”

The Twenty One Pilots concert experience kicks off in Roblox on Friday 17 September at 16:00 PDT.  Fans can access the experience and join the pre-show festivities beginning today by visiting the Twenty One Pilots event page.

Fans can replay performances at the top of each hour through Sunday 19 September at 23:00 PDT.


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