YouTube to sell custom merch during Coachella sets
YouTube is to sell exclusive Coachella and artist merchandise for the first time during livestreams of this year’s festival.
Harry Styles, Billie Eilish, The Weeknd and Swedish House Mafia are to headline the Goldenvoice-promoted festival’s first in-person event since 2019, which returns this Friday and runs over two weekends (15–17 and 22–24 April) at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California.
YouTube Shopping will offer virtual viewers a chance to purchase exclusive merchandise without leaving the livestream. Custom merch from Eilish and fellow Coachella performers Brockhampton and Flume will be available for purchase on Saturday 16 April for the entire day, directly on the livestream watchpage.
The collection will also be available for purchase the following Saturday during the second weekend of the event. Coachella will also drop its own merch collection, which can be bought on the watchpage throughout both festival weekends.
“The whole idea of exclusive merch drops is just so fans and artists could have more intersections together”
“We’re always trying to deepen the roots [with] fans and artists and one of the best ways that you could do it is through merchandise,” Lyor Cohen, YouTube’s global head of music tells the LA Times. “The whole idea of exclusive merch drops is just so fans and artists could have more intersections together.”
Fans will be able to choose between three livestream feeds of the festival, with different performances airing simultaneously. The YouTube livestream will also feature exclusive artist interviews, YouTube Shorts behind-the-scenes content and sweepstakes, and premium pre-parties, among other benefits.
In addition, six creators – Benoftheweek, Kaiti Yoo, Kirsten Titus, Larray, Lauren Giraldo and Quenlin Blackwell – will “live” at the YouTube Shorts Compound and capture their festival experience on their respective YouTube channels, with dozens more creators also set to document their adventures on Shorts.
A pair of lifetime Coachella passes in the form of a non-fungible token (NFT) are also being offered as part of the YouTube Coachella Sweepstakes. The festival previously auctioned 10 lifetime passes to the event earlier this year as part of a series of NFTs.
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Roblox plans London-themed launch party for KSI
Roblox, the family-friendly social videogaming platform, has announced a virtual album launch party for YouTube star and professional boxer, KSI.
Organised in partnership with BMG, Proper Loud, and MBA Live, the launch party will see KSI perform songs from his chart-topping debut album ‘All Over The Place’ under a virtual London Eye on a boxing ring themed dance floor.
Roblox users will be able to jump into cars and race each other through the streets of London before the performance and afterwards, they’ll be able to hang out and live chat with KSI during a VIP rooftop after-party. Exclusive virtual merchandise will be available to fans during the experience.
KSI’s first performance starts on Friday 13 August at 16:00 PDT with encore performances hourly over the weekend.
The VIP after-party experience for fans, including an exclusive virtual Q&A, will take place on Saturday 14 August on the Roblox platform.
“We are delighted to be hosting the chart-topping and multi-talented KSI’s first launch party on Roblox in partnership with BMG,” said Jon Vlassopulos, vice president and global head of music for Roblox.
“Roblox provided the perfect platform to immerse fans in the world of KSI, bringing to life his persona with an avatar”
“I can’t wait to race around London and join the exclusive VIP after-party that will connect KSI with fans from all corners of the globe, this is a great example of how Roblox launch parties bring together millions of fans in personal, engaging, interactive, and immersive ways.”
Christopher Ludwig, BMG VP global digital partnerships and strategy, added: “At BMG, our approach is to look at things from the artist’s perspective. For KSI, this means being at the cutting edge of technology and remaining authentic and raw to reach his global, digital-native audience where they are.
“Roblox provided the perfect platform to immerse fans in the world of KSI, bringing to life his persona with a photo-realistic avatar and building a space to spotlight his talent and passions. We’re delighted to kick off our partnership with Roblox through this first activation and bring global fans into the KSI experience.”
President of Proper Loud and manager of KSI, Mams Taylor, says: “We are thrilled to be teaming up with Roblox. It’s a great creative opportunity for team KSI and Roblox to do something unique and crossover both audiences, showcasing KSI’s music and Roblox’s awesome and fun platform.”
Roblox’s vice president and global head of music previously told IQ that he plans to grow Roblox’s music offering significantly “so music becomes an organic part of the users’ daily experience”. Read the full interview here.
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Streaming scams target live music fans
A host of new streaming scams have cropped up in the past few months, with fraudsters setting up phoney Facebook pages and listing non-existent live streams in a bid to access personal information.
Streaming – be it of live performances, recorded music, films or television shows – has been an important part of accessing entertainment during lockdown, as music venues and cinemas remain shuttered and festivals are cancelled.
Criminals have capitalised on the increased time spent online, as well as the novelty of the accessing content in this way for many, and the uncertainty that has come with the Covid-19 crisis in general, to successfully target consumers across all sectors of society.
Live music fans are also being targeted, with some scammers directing traffic away from legitimate live streams to their own page, in a bid to pocket “donations” or “tips” given to performers, and others posting false listings of livestreamed gigs and festivals to get hold of personal information.
Two such pages, one posing as Universal Music Group (@GroupMusicUniversal) and the other going under the name of Live Concert Music, list upcoming live streams for Rolling Loud Portugal, Michael Kiwanuka and Jill Scott, Cage the Elephant, Montreux Jazz Festival, Nickelback, Robbie Williams, Brad Paisley and Dave Matthews Band, among others.
Almost all streams are listed as happening on the same day, with links landing on pages for sites called Eventflix and Stream Concert. A section below the supposed streams show comments from “fans” – almost identical for each one – discussing the lack of lag, commending the quality of the stream and recommending the service to others.
“There is more opportunity for criminals to try and trick people into parting with their money at a time when they are anxious and uncertain about the future”
Viewers are encouraged to register for free in order to view the content, leading to a page asking for contact details and other information.
Another kind of streaming scam has seen hackers hijack YouTube channels to impersonate Elon Musk’s SpaceX channel, generating around $150,000 in Bitcoins.
The creation of unofficial event pages on Facebook is not a new phenomenon in the live events world. In 2018, IQ reported on a trend which saw phoney pages set up to drive fans to secondary ticketing sites, rather than official sellers. Email scams have also targeted fans, agents, promoters, festival organisers, artists and others for years.
The increase in streaming scams responds directly to the current climate, as more and more turn to online services – many for the first time – to experience live events.
“As more people stay indoors and work from computers and laptops at home, there is more opportunity for criminals to try and trick people into parting with their money at a time when they are anxious and uncertain about the future,” City of London police commander Karen Baxter, national co-ordinator of economic crime warned consumers at the end of March, just weeks into the coronavirus lockdown.
“It is important that we continue to raise awareness of fraud and protect ourselves, and the vulnerable people in our communities, the best we can.”
A further warning was issued by the National Trading Standards in the UK today, as the easing of lockdown measures is expected to bring on a surge of scam telephone calls in particular.
Members of the public are encouraged to protect themselves against scams by joining Friends Against Scams, a free online initiative that provides training to help people take a stand against scams.
This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.
Montreux launches virtual Summer of Music festival
Montreux Jazz Festival has announced Summer of Music, a 16-day virtual music festival, to mark what would have been its 54th edition on 3–18 July.
Showcasing iconic Montreux performances from festivals past, including Nina Simone (1976), Etta James (1993) and Carlos Santana (2004), Summer of Music will air exclusively on YouTube on the same dates, with one broadcast a day across the 16-day period.
Other streams scheduled for Summer of Music – an initiative of Montreux Jazz Festival, its subsidiary Montreux Media Ventures, and music film distributor/producer Eagle Rock Entertainment – include several world premieres, including John Lee Hooker (1983) and Charles Bradley (2006).
Mathieu Jaton, CEO of the Swiss festival, comments: “Since its beginnings in 1967, the Montreux Jazz Festival has been immensely fortunate to have built up, thanks to the visionary spirit of [founder] Claude Nobs, a rich and unique audiovisual archive.
“This heritage has made the festival famous and continues to make it shine through initiatives such as the 54th Summer of Music, made possible through our collaboration with the Claude Nobs Foundation, Eagle Rock and the NMAAM. This summer, this heritage is more essential than ever.”
“This summer, Montreux’s heritage is more essential than ever”
All YouTube ad revenue from the festival will be donated to NMAAM, the National Museum of African American Music, in recognition of how Montreux has been shaped by the contribution of black artists, the festival says. Viewers will also be able to make donations to NMAAM, which is due to open in autumn 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Tuwisha Rogers-Simpson, vice-president of brand and partnerships for NMAAM, says: “Montreux is a titan in the popularisation of black music, not just in jazz but across genres, showcasing the wide-ranging impact of black music and black sounds. We look forward to what the Summer of Music event brings to fans and we hope for a continued friendship and partnership”
“Marvin Gaye’s 1980 performance marked the inaugural collaboration between Montreux and Eagle Rock Entertainment; it paved the way for not only an exciting stable of ongoing releases, but also a fantastic line-up of artists at this summer’s virtual Montreux Festival,” adds Geoff Kempin, executive director of Eagle Rock. “We are delighted to be partnering with the Montreux Jazz Festival and YouTube in this summer festival celebrating the diversity of artists that have performed at Montreux.”
Gaye’s 1980 Montreux set will close Summer of Music on Saturday 18 July. Other performers include Rory Gallagher (1979) on 7 July, Deep Purple (2011) on 11 July and the premiere of Tom Misch (2019) on 17 July.
YouTube partners with TM, Eventbrite, See in UK
Music fans in the UK and Ireland can now discover live concerts tickets on YouTube, following new partnerships with Ticketmaster, See Tickets and Eventbrite.
As of this week, those watching videos on official artists channels will see ticket listings for live music performances throughout the UK and Ireland. By clicking the ‘Tickets’ button, fans can purchase tickets directly from one of YouTube’s ticketing partners.
YouTube’s ticketing integration first launched with Ticketmaster in the United States in 2017, later expanding with Eventbrite in 2018 and rolled out across Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
UK-based See Tickets, which is commonly regarded as the country’s second largest ticketer according to the International Ticketing Yearbook 2019, is the newest addition to the YouTube partnership list.
“As online viewership and engagement continues to grow, we want to help artists keep fans updated and sell more tickets to their live shows”
“At YouTube, we are focused on both making music more accessible to fans and bringing more revenue to artists on the platform, so are delighted to bring our successful ticketing feature to the UK and Ireland,” comments Roz Mansfield, YouTube artist partnerships manager, UK and Ireland.
“As online viewership and engagement continues to grow, we want to help artists keep fans updated and sell more tickets to their live shows. We hope this new feature helps connect fans with not only the global artists they love, but also with breakthrough local talent.”
Paul Everett, head of music at Eventbrite UK says YouTube is a “fantastic addition” to its list of global distribution partners.
“This latest partnership represents an incredible opportunity for our independent organisers across the UK and Ireland, enabling them to integrate their events on our platform with their YouTube artist profiles, and to surface tickets directly to the massive audience engaging with music there,” adds Everrett.
YouTube-conquering Blackpink become biggest K-pop act
After their song ‘Ddu-Du Ddu-Du’ earlier this week become the first by K-pop act to surpass a billion views, girl group Blackpink are officially the hottest Korean pop export, outranking even BTS when it comes to online buzz, according to Viberate.
Using data drawn from streaming services, social platforms and official artist websites, Viberate found that Blackpink (pictured), signed to YG Entertainment, just edge out the Big Hit-signed boy band to become the most popular K-pop act.
According to the platform, “it’s a close call, but the answer is Blackpink. Blackpink tops BTS in Viberate’s overall rankings, as well as their mainstream pop and Asianpop rankings, which are calculated according to digital popularity on Twitter, Instagram, Spotify, SoundCloud, and YouTube.”
Not surprisingly, it continues, “YouTube is where Blackpink especially dominates, with 4.5 billion yearly views and of course the recent ‘Ddu-Du Ddu-Du’ benchmark. BTS only surpasses Blackpink in Twitter followers and SoundCloud popularity (where Blackpink has no presence).”
Courtesy of Viberate, here’s how the K-pop titans stack up:
Viberate, one of the first wave of music-focused cryptocurrencies, started out as an Airbnb-like service which promised to cut out the agency middle man and connect unsigned musicians (who would be paid in Viberate’s native crypto, the vibe) with a database of those who might want to book them.
Two years on, its creators are focused on building blockchain-powered database that maps the entire live music business, including artists, music venues, booking agencies, festivals and other music events. Dubbed the ‘IMDb of music’, Viberate allows artists, music professionals and fans to add artist/agent/venue/festival profiles to its database; following review by a team of around 80 ‘curators’, the submitters are rewarded with cryptocurrency.
Following news that its biggest stars would go on a touring hiatus, BTS’s management company, Big Hit Entertainment, recently announced plans to hold global auditions for a new girl band, to rival the likes of Blackpink and Twice.
TM, EB introduce YouTube ticket sales in Australia
Ticketmaster has rolled out its integration with YouTube down under, allowing Australian fans to buy tickets from concert listings in the video streaming app.
Initially available only to US consumers, the TM-YouTube tie-up was announced in November 2017, and sees upcoming concert dates listed under artists’ music videos, with the option to click through to the Ticketmaster website to make a purchase.
“Ticketmaster’s priority has always been to make it easier for you to discover events and get tickets into your hands, and thanks to our expanding partnership with YouTube, Ticketmaster is making it easier than ever for Australian fans to discover and get tickets to concerts and live events showcasing the artists they love,” reads a Ticketmaster Australia statement.
“Artists’ official YouTube channels, such as the Teskey Brothers’, now have their Australian concert event listings and ticket purchase opportunities integrated right into their pages.
“It’s natural to continue expanding our successful international partnership to fans in Australia”
“Every year, Ticketmaster delivers more than 500 million tickets to fans across 30 countries. And since Ticketmaster and YouTube both serve massive audiences of music lovers around the world, it’s natural to continue expanding our successful international partnership to fans in Australia.”
Also taking advantage of the changes at YouTube Australia is Eventbrite, which is also extending its existing partnership with Ticketmaster to Australia.
The company, which also owns Ticketfly, says since launching in October last year it has seen more than 500 venues and festivals taking advantage of the integration.
“Australia is home to so many exciting live music venues, festivals and artists, which is why we’re thrilled to be one of the first markets outside North America to benefit from this partnership,” comments Josh McNicol, acting general manager of Eventbrite Asia Pacific.
“Eventbrite’s integration with YouTube helps connect Aussie music fans with the artists they love at their favourite local venues and makes the discovery and purchase of tickets easy – which is a win-win for venues, artists and fans alike.”
“We’re thrilled to be one of the first markets outside North America to benefit from this partnership”
A Ticketmaster gif showing how it works, using the Teskey Brothers’ ‘So Caught Up’ video, is shown below:
According to Google-owned YouTube, the platform now covers more than 90% of ticketing market in the US, having recently added a partnership with AEG’s AXS to existing deals with Eventbrite and Ticketmaster.
Indian rapper Badshah dethrones BTS as most-viewed video
Indian rapper and Bollywood composer Badshah has broken YouTube’s 24-hour viewing record with new single ‘Paagal’, according to his label, Sony Music India.
‘Paagal’ was viewed more than 75 million times within a 24-hour period after being released on 10 July. The record was previously held by K-pop colossi BTS, for ‘Boy with Luv’ featuring Halsey, which reached 74.6m views in April. Taylor Swift’s ‘Me’, featuring Brendan Urie, holds the same record for a solo artist, with 65.2m views.
Shridhar Subramaniam, Sony Music’s president, India and the Middle East, says: “This is an unprecedented feat and we are very proud. This will go down history as Badshah becomes the first Indian artist to reach 75m views in 24 hours. In our collective pursuit of being on top of the charts, we know we have fought our way to the top.”
In an Instagram post (h/t Music Ally), suggested he owes the song’s success to Sony’s bulk-buying Google ads in multiple territories, explaining: “we bought AdWords all around the world so that people could see the video all around the world”.
At press time, ‘Paagal’ had been viewed more than 95m times.
AXS partners with YouTube
AEG-backed ticketing agency AXS has partnered with YouTube to allow fans to purchase tickets to live events through the streaming platform.
Listings from AXS events across the United States will now appear on YouTube Official Artist Channels, allowing fans to directly purchase tickets to events.
The ticketing company’s FanSight purchase experience, which includes both standard and resale tickets on one platform, will be accessible via a link displayed on artists’ YouTube videos.
“In partnership with YouTube, we are proud to continue extending the reach of the AXS platform naturally where fans are being fans,” says Dean DeWulf, senior vice president of music at AXS.
“This contextual integration enables the more than 1.3 billion YouTube users to be a click away from seeing their favourite bands live at AXS venues and events across the country.”
“This contextual integration enables the more than 1.3 billion YouTube users to be a click away from seeing their favourite bands live at AXS venues and events across the country”
A YouTube blog posts states the AXS partnership “marks a major expansion” for the streaming platform in terms of “artist reach and show availability”.
“One of the many ways YouTube keeps fans connected with their favourite artists is by highlighting upcoming tour dates and ticket links to upcoming shows,” reads the post.
“Today we’re taking it a step further by partnering with ticketing provider, AXS, to allow fans the option of quickly purchasing tickets to upcoming shows across the US directly on YouTube.”
AXS launched its price-capped Official Resale solution at London’s O2 Arena and the SSE Arena, Wembley in April, allowing concertgoers to resell tickets to other fans at a fair price.
Music Ally’s Patrick Ross discussed the potential of streaming for the live music business at the International Live Music Conference this year, referencing the power of advertising tours through YouTube.
Superstar UK YouTuber Jacksepticeye signs with WME
William Morris Endeavor (WME) has added to its growing roster of digital stars by signing popular YouTuber Jacksepticeye from its London office.
Irish-born, British-based Jacksepticeye, real name Sean McLoughlin, has more than 21 million YouTube subscribers (50th in the world), along with nearly 6m followers on Instagram and 5m on Twitter. McLoughlin is best known for his ‘Let’s Play’ gaming series and vlogs of his life, and has also embarked on a live career with his How Did We Get Here tour, which played mid-sized venues in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
Representation by WME is for all areas, and sees McLoughlin join a digital roster that also includes internet personalities Joe Sugg, Andrea Russett and Jake Paul. He continues to be represented by manager Nicole Graboff and lawyers Ryan Pastorek and Adam Kaller.
All major Hollywood agencies, including WME, CAA, UTA and Paradigm, have rosters that include YouTubers and other digital ‘influencers’, and the trend has in the past few years crossed the Atlantic, thanks to the success of events including Summer in the City and the Meet and Greet Convention.
“The market is definitely getting bigger, and there’s no reason at all why this can’t be an arena-level headline business in the next three to five years,” WME London agent Alex Bewley told IQ in 2017. “Rather than just clicking a ‘like’ button on Facebook or subscribing to a YouTube channel, fans are increasingly buying tickets to see a show by their favourite creators.”