Metallica tickets placed directly on secondary market
Thousands of tickets for Metallica’s ongoing WorldWired world tour were placed on the secondary market before fans were given the opportunity to buy them at face value, according to an article published in Billboard late Friday (19 July).
In what Billboard describes as a “rare acknowledgment of an industry tactic little known to the public”, a Live Nation spokesperson confirms that, on occasion, the company has operated a “unique distribution strategy” that bypasses the primary market altogether for select high-value tickets.
The revelations came to light in a recording of phone call between Bob Roux, Live Nation’s president of US concerts, and Vaughn Millette, a wealth adviser-turned-concert promoter who had been tasked by an associate of Metallica, Tony DiCioccio, with selling 88,000 WorldWired tour tickets directly on resale sites such as StubHub.
In the 11-minute call – a recording of which was made surreptitiously (but legally) by Millette, and later obtained by Billboard – Roux told Millette that “Ticketmaster will not do it” (sell the tickets on the secondary market) and suggested he sell them another way, such as in a “singular account” of the type used for fan club or sponsor allocation. Roux warned, however, that “there may be some eyebrows that get raised” when thousands of tickets are placed in a single such account.
Millette – who Billboard notes is “building his own promotion business” and is ” now competing with Live Nation for clients” – sent the recording to Live Nation executives in June.
In a statement, Live Nation acknowledges the unorthodox methods used on the Metallica tour but says it only rarely places tickets directly on resale sites when requested by artists.
“Our standard practice is to use Ticketmaster’s Platinum, VIP and other tools to help tours price closer to true market value”
“Live Nation does not have a practice of placing tickets on the secondary market. Our standard practice is to use Ticketmaster’s Platinum, VIP and other tools to help tours price closer to true market value,” the statement reads. “In this situation, a consultant for the band opted to use the secondary market to try to capture that value.
“In 2016, Metallica performed a single show in Minneapolis at which more than 10,000 tickets were transacted on the secondary market without the band’s participation. After seeing the volume of secondary transactions for that show and the benefit being captured by brokers, the independent consultant worked with Live Nation on a unique distribution strategy that used the secondary market as a sales distribution channel for select high-end tickets.”
While Live Nation/Ticketmaster no longer operates any above-face-value ticket resale sites in Europe, the company’s CEO, Michael Rapino, has been vocal in his view that the secondary market exists primarily because bands under-price their shows. At the 28th International Live Music Conference (ILMC) in March 2016, Rapino told ILMC MD Greg Parmley that artists need to be braver in how they price the house, stating that on one hand acts are still scared to charge high sums for front-row seats and less for seats at the back, and on the other upset that secondary ticketing companies are profiting from it.
A source familiar with the Metallica deal tells Billboard the parties agreed that Metallica would get 40% of the resale revenue, Live Nation 40%, DiCioccio 12% and Millette 8%, though another source said Live Nation’s share was lower.
While Live Nation emphasises that it “does not distribute tickets on any platform without an artist’s explicit approval”, Metallica representatives told Billboard in June that the band were not aware of a deal between Millette, DiCioccio and Live Nation.
A Live Nation spokesperson tells IQ the occasional use of resale sites for ticket distribution is limited to North America, and does not extend to shows in Europe and further afield.
Metallica’s WorldWired run breaks records in Finland
Metallica last night broke another box-office record with their ongoing WorldWired world tour, playing to 55,500 fans in Hämeenlinna, Finland.
The US metal band smashed records across Europe in 2017, the tour’s second year, including setting a best-ever attendance of 22,211 at the O2 in London. On 16 July, the WorldWired tour made its third stop in Finland (Metallica played Helsinki’s Hartwall Arena on 9 and 11 May 2018) at the open-air Kantola Event Park.
In addition to besting the venue’s attendance record, the show was the single-largest Finnish concert ever played by Metallica.
The show formed part of the 13th leg of the WorldWired world tour, produced by Live Nation. It has so far sold around 1.5 million tickets, for 25 shows in 20 European countries.
The European run ends in Germany in August, with the tour as a whole scheduled to come to a close at Mt Smart Stadium (47,000-cap.) in Auckland, New Zealand, on 2 November 2019.
Metallica drone supplier Verity Studios raises $18m
Drone technology company Verity Studios, which has worked with Metallica, Cirque du Soleil and Madison Square Garden, has raised US$18 million in a series-A funding round – an investment the Zurich-based start-up says makes it “the most well-funded company in the rapidly emerging commercial indoor drone market”.
The funding round was led by venture-capital firm Fontinalis Partners, with Airbus Ventures, Kitty Hawk and Sony Innovation Fund also participating. Verity’s founder, robotics/AI expert Raffaello D’Andrea (Kiva Systems/Amazon Robotics), says the company will use the investment to expand its live events business, especially in the US, and expand into other vertical markets.
Since its founding in 2014, Verity’s drone swarms have been used in shows at airports, in arenas and on cruise ships, including by Cirque du Soleil, Madison Square Garden and Princess Cruises.
Its drones were famously seen during Metallica’s record-breaking WorldWired tour, first appearing in Copenhagen during a performance of ‘Moth into Flames’:
Dan Braun, Metallica’s show director, comments: “After the first night, James Hetfield walked over to a microphone and announced to the audience how cool the show had been because of Verity’s drones. It’s magnificent what they are doing, whether you see it live or on social media. The programmers of the drones do a great job.”
“Verity has assembled an exceptional team, with credibility, valuable IP and extensive technical know-how, all while building a fast-growing business in the live events market,” says Chris Cheever, Fontinalis partner, who joins Verity’s board.
“It’s magnificent what they are doing”
“Our firm was founded to invest in and help scale the world’s best mobility technologies, and what Verity has developed has broad applicability beyond entertainment, in the drone industry and in many commercial contexts.”
“I am excited to be involved in Verity, a true pioneer in the drone industry,” adds Sebastian Thrun, CEO of Kitty Hawk, co-founder of Udacity, Google X and Google’s self-driving car team, and another new Verity board member
“I’ve seen the Verity team go from strength to strength and I look forward to being part of its future growth.”
Metallica smash more attendance records with WorldWired tour
Not content with breaking Muse’s attendance record at The O2, Metallica have smashed box-office records across the continent with the first half of the European leg of their WorldWired tour.
The tour kicked off with two record-smashing shows at the Ziggo Dome (17,000-cap.) arena in Amsterdam in September, attracting 16,853 and 16,856 fans on 4 and 6 September, respectively, before continuing to break attendance records at Paris’s AccorHotels Arena (18,896), Cologne’s Lanxess Arena (18,446 and 18,483), London’s The O2 (22,211), Glasgow’s SSE Hydro (13,111), Manchester Arena (20,048), Birmingham’s Genting Arena (15,604) and Antwerp’s Sportpaleis (22,616 and 22,626).
A total of 262,690 people have attended so far.
The Live Nation-promoted European leg of the WorldWired tour – its 11th and last – continues until May 2018, resuming at Lisbon’s MEO Arena (20,000-cap.) on 1 February.