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Finland’s live events sector ‘on brink of collapse’

Up to 2,300 companies in Finland’s live sector expect to permanently close in the next six months if financial support isn’t quickly provided, according to a survey conducted last week by Event Industries Finland.

The association – which incorporates all major Finnish concert businesses, including Fullsteam Agency, Live Nation Finland, Warner Music Live and CTS Eventim’s Lippupiste – also found that almost 300 events are under immediate threat.

According to the association, there are around 3,200 companies involved in organising live events in Finland, with the total value of the industry estimated at €2.35 billion. The sector employs 20,000 full-time, and 175,000 temporary, workers.

The study found these have received approximately €85m in financial support, which counts for around 4.5% of the estimated €1.9bn financial loss the sector suffered during 2020.

According to Event Industries Finland (Tapahtumateollisuus), the latest event closure in the industry, which lasted more than two months, and the lack of an exit strategy “threaten the realisation of several major events this year and the future of the entire industry in Finland”.

“We are no longer talking about whether the companies in our industry will collapse, but about how large the damage is”

The association is now calling for a roadmap for Finland’s return to live music, as well as financial security for the event industry – namely a government-backed guarantee fund which would give organisers the ability to plan for the future.

“We understand that a timetable for lifting restrictions cannot be promised, but defining and publishing criteria is essential. The industry will not be able to function without a future perspective. We are no longer talking about whether the companies in our industry will collapse, but about how large and long-lasting damage we will have to repair,” says Kati Kuusisto, director of Event Industry Association.

“Event guarantee services would strengthen the courage and ability of companies in our industry to plan for the future. The decision on support must be obtained quickly and effective support must take into account the entire business network in the sector. Several European countries have already announced similar subsidies.

“Audiences are also waiting for the return of events, and the return of tickets already sold for events carried over from last summer to this year has been very low. The state should strengthen the possibilities for starting the event industry for several reasons,” Kuusisto emphasises.

Governments in Norway, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and Austria have recently announced event cancellation funds.

Government-backed insurance funds will be explored at ILMC during Insurance: The Big Update.

 


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60% of Finnish businesses facing bankruptcy

More than 60% of Finland’s live events companies do not expect to survive the next six months, new research reveals.

A survey conducted in October by the recently launched Event Industry Association (Tapahtumateollisuus) – which incorporates all major Finnish concert businesses, including Fullsteam Agency, Live Nation Finland, Warner Music Live and CTS Eventim’s Lippupiste –  found that over 70% of businesses still have next to no work and nearly two thirds believe they will not survive until summer 2021.

“The companies in our sector are in an unprecedentedly difficult situation,” explains Kati Kuusisto, director of advocacy for the Event Industry Association.

“The constantly changing situation and recommendations weaken our customers’ confidence and willingness to buy [tickets], while compliance with the applicable restrictions increases the cost of organising events,” she adds.

According to the association, there are around 3,200 companies involved in organising live events in Finland, with the total value of the industry estimated at €2.35 billion. The sector employs 20,000 full-time, and 175,000 temporary, workers.

Kuusisto says the industry needs an “exit strategy” in the form of urgent financial support and increased cooperation with the authorities, as well as a campaign that reassure Finns they may return to shows safely.

“We need to restore customers’ trust and send them a message that participating in safe events is OK”

“Adequate financial support must be a priority, so that the damage to the ecosystem, which is vital to our sector’s activities, does not become permanent,” she continues. “Immediately thereafter, cooperation between [the industry], authorities and the government ministries should ensure that the [coronavirus] constraints and recommendations for events are at an appropriate level.

“All means available implement safe events, such as functional rapid testing, must also be widely deployed. At the same time, we need to restore customers’ trust and send them a message that participating in safe events is OK.”

In an open letter to the press written in late September, the Tapahtumateollisuus criticised media outlets for fuelling fears about Covid-19 by inaccurately pointing to major events as the source of an increase in infections in Finland.

“During the coronavirus epidemic, professional event organisers have made investments and taken comprehensive measures to make it possible to stage events safely,” the association said. “The loss of customers, and even entire events, caused by incorrect news coverage are already deepening the losses of companies in the sector and threatening the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people.”

 


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Warner Music Group files for IPO

Label giant Warner Music Group (WMG), which owns a number of live assets in addition to its recorded music interests, has announced plans for an initial public offering (IPO).

The number of shares of common stock to be offered and the price of the offering have not yet been disclosed.

The announcement signals WMG’s return to the stock market, where it traded until 2011, before being bought by British billionaire Len Blavatnik through his company Access Industries for US$3.3 billion.

The news comes after the recent valuation of rival Universal Music Group at over US$30 billion, following Chinese entertainment giant Tencent’s acquisition of a 10% stake in the company.

The announcement signals WMG’s return to the stock market, where it traded until 2011

The Warner Music Group includes the records labels Warner, Atlantic, Elektra and Parlophone, publishing and global music distribution arms and is home to artists including Ed Sheeran, Cardi B, Dua Lipa and Bruno Mars.

WMG’s live music interests include concert discovery platform Songkick, Finnish promoter Warner Music Live and management company Umbrella Artists Productions, which it owns with promoter FKP Scorpio.

Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs are managing the flotation.

WMG’s filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commissions (SEC) can be read here.

 


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New MD at Warner Music Finland

Mark Fry, Warner Music Finland’s former general manager and marketing director, has been promoted to managing director.

Fry’s appointment follows the departure of former MD to Niko Nordström to Warner Music Australasia. In his new role, Fry will report directly to Warner Music Nordics president Jonas Siljemark.

Best known as a record label, Warner Music Finland also operates a booking and promotion agency, Warner Music Live. Prior to becoming marketing director, Fry was the Helsinki-based company’s head of promotion.

“Mark Fry has been a key part of the incredible success story of Warner Music Finland in recent years, and I am delighted he’ll now be running our team there”

Siljemark says: “Mark Fry has been a key part of the incredible success story of Warner Music Finland in recent years and I am delighted he’ll now be running our team there. I look forward to working with Mark to build on the legacy of Niko Nordström and continue our success as a leading company in Finland.”

Fry adds: “It’s an immense privilege to become managing director of Warner Music Finland. Under Niko Nordström’s leadership we became the biggest record label in Finland, and I am determined to continue that track record of success in the years ahead.

 


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