|TUESDAY 31 JANUARY 2017||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Two of the big self-service ticketing set-ups are coming together in a deal which, the two firms say, will create "Europe's third largest ticketing platform". US-based Eventbrite is buying Dutch company Ticketscript. Ticketscript was founded in 2006 and is active in five European markets, including Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Belgium and the UK. Eventbrite went live in San Francisco the same year... [READ MORE]|
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Eventbrite buys Ticketscript
Ticketscript was founded in 2006 and is active in five European markets, including Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Belgium and the UK. Eventbrite went live in San Francisco the same year, before formally arriving in the UK market in 2011. In Europe, it currently has active operations in Britain, Ireland, Germany and the Netherlands.
Both companies provide a range of ticketing services for promoters and producers, with a particular focus on mobile-friendly ticket selling and tools to help event organisers check in ticket-holders and access and crunch all the customer data. The two firm's European operations together processed more than 35 million tickets worth over 500 million euros for nearly a million events last year.
Confirming the deal, Ticketscript CEO Frans Jonker, who will become Eventbrite's GM for Continental Europe, told reporters: "We have been building significant market presence in Europe for ten years, with a focus on self-service ticketing for music events. We share Eventbrite's passion for allowing event organisers to control their event marketing and ticketing, whilst retaining their end customer data. Joining forces with Eventbrite, the global innovation leader in event technology, will no doubt help further accelerate the digital transformation of the European live experience industry".
Eventbrite CEO Julia Hartz added: "This acquisition supercharges Eventbrite's footprint in Europe and brings ten additional years of traction in the music space and experience in European markets to our business. It perfectly aligns with our strategic vision to become the world's leading marketplace for live experiences, and adds significant assets and technical power to our platform. We are looking forward to this new partnership combining the best solutions from both companies, and bringing them to our customers around the world".
America's Copyright Alert System is wound down
Whereas the UK educational emails are the result of a government-led initiative, and ultimately an obligation on the ISPs to comply contained in the 2010 Digital Economy Act, the US scheme was voluntary. Various major net firms opted to work with the music and movie industries by committing to forward warning letters to suspected online copyright infringers, warning said web users that they could be sued for copyright infringement.
With the CAS having been originally agreed in 2011 before going live in 2013, last we heard participants in the scheme - while agreeing to continue with the letter forwarding in the short term - were considering the future of the programme.
Then late last week the organisation that oversaw the initiative said: "After four years of extensive consumer education and engagement, the Copyright Alert System will conclude its work. The programme demonstrated that real progress is possible when content creators, internet innovators and consumer advocates come together in a collaborative and consensus-driven process".
While some questioned the tangible success of the letter sending - with many file-sharers just choosing to ignore any correspondence - last week's statement insisted that the "CAS succeeded in educating many people about the availability of legal content, as well as about issues associated with online infringement".
It added: "We want to thank everyone who put in the hard work to develop this programme and make it a success, including past and present members of our advisory board. While this particular programme is ending, the parties remain committed to voluntary and co-operative efforts to address these issues".
Most music and movie firms still believe that ISPs should do more to tackle piracy on their networks, but the Copyright Alert System helped improve relationships between the rights owners and the net firms in the US. Meanwhile the one big internet provider Stateside that didn't participate in the programme - Cox Communications - found itself on the receiving end of a massive copyright infringement lawsuit from BMG, the appeal of which is ongoing.
HMV Canada boss discusses company's collapse
As previously reported, HMV Canada was put into receivership by the Ontario Superior Court on Friday, ordering all 102 of its stores to be wound down by 30 Apr. Around 60 staff were laid off immediately, with others being kept on to facilitate the shutdown.
The Canadian HMV company was acquired by restructuring specialist Hilco from the UK-based HMV Group in 2011, two years before Hilco bought HMV UK as well. The parent company is now one of the creditors, who are collectively owed around $56 million.
In a press release announcing the closure, the company said that "Canada has experienced more significant declines [in CD and DVD sales] in each of the last two years than has been seen in most other major markets".
Speaking to Billboard, Williams went into more detail about what went wrong. Part of the problem stemmed from restructuring post the 2011 acquisition, he said. A number of larger entertainment firms had not agreed to the new terms negotiated with other suppliers back then.
"We just couldn't get everybody to commit to the model", he explains. "The problem is that you need everybody to commit because we can't buy our content from anywhere else; it has to come from those majors, so we are totally reliant on them providing us with their owned titles. So the offer was not as strong as it had to be for our consumers without some of those studios in it".
That was then amplified by those declines in physical product sales, he adds: "The last two years have become difficult really for two reasons: one, of course, both the labels and the studios have other avenues to market; and subscription services and streaming services have become more dominant and subsequently have had an impact on the decline of our sales".
The retailer had hoped to survive those declines by diversifying its product range, Williams added. "We've obviously been engineering our model, so to speak", he said, "so that we can find other ways to bring revenues to the business".
A big part of that was convincing a new generation of consumers to come through the doors - no mean feat when The Kids are not at all interested in your shiny discs. However, their love of t-shirts did help to slow the march to administration somewhat - and the vinyl revival also helped to keep things rolling for a time.
"The reality is that a younger audience is less into purchasing music and film than the generation ahead of them", says Williams. "So we had to find a way to get the youngsters back in. Bringing in pop culture items and fashion and things that are relative to popular culture certainly did that job for us".
Williams also says that he believes that diversification could have worked had the firm's partners been willing to give HMV more time. "Arguably people had written off the brand many times over and we've felt that we've always been able to bounce back and provide something that is still relevant to the market", he said. "Unfortunately, now we're at a point where we were just not able to convince all of our suppliers and partners to do that".
AEG Live buys into New York's The Bowery Presents
Bowery Presents operates a number of venues in New York, as well as venues elsewhere in the Northeastern United States, including Boston, Portland and Philadelphia. Its principal partners Jim Glancy and John Moore will continue to run the business, alongside AEG Live's SVP for the region, Mark Shulman.
Rumours of the deal having circulated for the best part of a year, AEG says that its new alliance with The Bowery Presents will allow it to "stay true to its entrepreneurial culture" while providing "the support and investment to continue to drive growth and innovation and expand its venue partnerships".
Confirming the deal, AEG Live CEO Jay Marciano said yesterday: "The Bowery Presents and AEG Live share a passion and commitment to delivering the best music experiences to fans. Jim and John have built an incredibly respected organisation with a proven track record of success and we are pleased that they chose to partner with us. We look forward to working closely with them to further grow The Bowery Presents brand".
For its side of the deal, Moore at The Bowery Presents added: "We are proud to have built this company based on our love of live music and passion for both the fan and artist experiences. The Bowery Presents is excited about all of the opportunities to grow and evolve as a company with our new partners at AEG Live. Brooklyn Steel is a perfect example of the type of venue and concert experience we will continue to deliver to fans and artists under our partnership".
Ticketbis says its research shows Italians approved of ticket reselling
How do we know this? Because of some new research which was very kindly commissioned by the not-at-all-biased dudes over at Ticketbis, the secondary ticketing platform that was bought by eBay's StubHub last year. The ticket resale firm hired research company Apco Insight to do the questioning.
The survey focused on whether or not consumers felt that tickets were products they owned and could therefore resell - that being one element of the secondary ticketing debate, the counter view being that tickets are actually contracts between promoters and fans, which usually include a term that says the contract becomes void if transferred to another party.
According to IQ, it was that question to which nearly two thirds of respondents answered in the affirmative, with 63% saying that they considered a ticket to be a product they owned once money had changed hands, with 51% adding that they should then have the right to resell tickets they own after purchase.
Presumably Apco Insight didn't ask those it was surveying whether they would prefer to buy a ticket off a primary seller at face value, or off a tout who bought up half the tickets as they went on sale at three times that price. But the survey did ask about usage of resale platforms, finding that just over a quarter of respondents had used a secondary ticketing site to access tickets to sold out events, with the number of users going up for those under 34.
Ticketbis was asking questions of Italian ticket-buyers following moves in Italy late last year to basically ban ticket touting, so that only promoters and their approved ticket agents can sell tickets to events. Though the new rules should still allow some low-key reselling by individuals who genuinely buy a ticket intending to go to a show and then can't attend.
Commenting on his survey, Ticketbis CEO Ander Michelena said that the research proved that Italian lawmakers were wrong to rush through "hastily" produced anti-touting rules. He told reporters: "As this research shows, the resale of tickets is a complex issue that needs to be understood in all its aspects. The legislation promoted by the Ministry Of Culture was a hasty decision which will push the resale of tickets to the black market".
He concluded: "We encourage policymakers to make every necessary step to correct regulation that will be harmful for Italian consumers while creating a climate of mistrust for start-ups and those working in the tech sector".
Billboard Hot 100 to include Pandora data
You might wonder why it's taken so long for the US-based streaming service - a major player Stateside - to be included in Billboard's main tracks chart. But stop wondering, because I don't know. And it would be dead embarrassing if you were to ask a question I didn't know the answer to. That happened once before in 2009. Still not recovered.
You might think it's because Pandora - which is still to launch its fully on-demand Spotify competitor - is a personalised radio service, where the firm's algorithm controls much of what a user listens to, rather than said listener logging in a choosing a track. Though the Hot 100 is interested in such machine-controlled listening and already includes data from some Pandora competitors, albeit giving on-demand streams a higher weighting to those that are pumped out by a personalised radio service.
Whatever, everyone's very excited about Pandora stats finally being added to the big Billboard chart. And at least two people are "THRILLED". "Who's that?" you ask. Well, that would be telling. And I'm not telling. That information is classified.
"Billboard's unrivalled charts are the definitive source for ranking music popularity", says Co-President of the Billboard Media Group, John Amato, which basically makes that sentence a massive brag. It would have been better to get someone from Pandora to say that.
"For decades, the charts have acted as a place where both artists measure success and fans discover music", adds the Billboard boss. "Close to 80 million music lovers listen to Pandora every month and we look forward to bringing our brands together to incorporate Pandora's data into our charts".
But what does Pandora chief Tim Westergren think? Well, he reckons that: "Over the last few years, Pandora has shared more and more data with the music industry. We started with artists and managers, then direct deal label partners, and now Billboard for inclusion in the iconic Hot 100 chart. With each step along the way our partners have been shocked by the sheer size of Pandora's audience".
Hey, hang on, I'm suspecting we're about to get a massive brag from Westergren now as well. "Pandora is now the number one radio station in 87 US markets and represents roughly 10% of all radio listening". Yep, there it is. "With the inclusion of Pandora data, the Billboard charts that have guided listeners and been so central to the music industry for decades now reflect a truer measure of a song's popularity today".
Well that's good, isn't it? "I'm THRILLED that the 'Pandora effect' will now be formally recognised in the industry's gold standard for measurement", the Pandora boss adds. Oh, I let that slip through there didn't I? Yeah, OK, Westergren is one of the THRILLees.
"Next Big Sound has been a data partner of Billboard since 2010 with the introduction of the Social 50 chart", adds Alex White, of Pandora's stats unit Next Big Sound, for some not entirely clear reason, because no one actually asked. Perhaps he was responding to you wondering why it's taken so long for Billboard to start counting Pandora plays - basically, it wasn't his fault.
"Based on our years of data expertise across social and streaming sources, we know the staggering volume of Pandora data that has not been counted", White adds. "We project that the Pandora data will have material impact on the chart positions. I am excited that the Hot 100 will now include the enormous number of spins on Pandora".
So, Westergren's "THRILLED", White's "excited" and Amato is "looking forward". Who else is "THRILLED" you want to know. Well, as a prize for making it this far, I'll tell you. It was Billboard's VP Of Charts & Data Development Silvio Pietroluongo of course!
Says he: "We're THRILLED to bring Pandora aboard as a contributor to our songs charts. The music tastes and listening habits of Pandora's large and influential user base is something that we've longed to include as a measure of song popularity in the Hot 100 and various other Billboard charts".
The end. Of this article I mean. Not Billboard. Or Pandora. Or human civilisation. Though who knows where we'll be by tea time?
X-Factor Australia axed
For the last series, Iggy Azalea, Adam Lambert and Mel B were brought in to join former 'Australian Idol' winner and the country's 2015 Eurovision entrant Guy Sebastian on the judging panel. Speculation that the show would be coming to an end, after that series was poorly received, have now been confirmed.
"'X-Factor' is not coming back", Seven's Head Of Programming Angus Ross told TV Tonight, before going on to note poor ratings in general for the network at the end of 2016. "Obviously the back half of the year wasn't as successful as the front half of the year for us. We walk away with 'Secret Daughter' as a win from the back half, but there was a bit of disappointment with some of the other shows".
"We are very hard markers on ourselves, versus others", he added. "Some numbers that may get a pass mark on other networks don't get a pass mark with us. So we have a number of slots to fill and over the next couple of months we'll be announcing a lot more".
So, there you go, maybe 'X-Factor' didn't do so badly in Australia. Seven just has really high standards. Though it is the second time that the Aussie version of the show has been dropped for bringing in low viewer numbers - the same having happened after the first series on Network Ten in 2005.
Shirley Collins to be joined by Graham Coxon and more for live shows
As well as a core band - Ian Kearey, Ossian Brown, Dave Arthur, Alex Neilson and Pip Barnes - Collins will be joined variously at the shows by Coxon, Alasdair Roberts, Sam Lee, Lisa Knapp, and no less than two different morris dancing groups, among others. All the shows will also have visuals from Nick Abrahams, who directed the 'Death And The Lady' video.
Here are all the dates and guests:
4 Feb: Glasgow, Town Hall - Alasdair Roberts, Sam Lee, Jayme Stone
BMG, Virgin Records, MPA, more
Other notable announcements and developments today...
• BMG UK's Executive VP Alexi Cory-Smith is now President, Repertoire & Marketing. She told Music Week that the new title is "more of an affirmation" of her existing role leading the UK side of BMG alongside EVP/CFO Paul Wilson, rather than her taking on a new job.
• David Wolter has been named EVP of Virgin Records in the US. He joins the Universal label after nine years at Sony Music, but before that he was VP of A&R at the then EMI-owned Virgin label. Universal's Capitol Music Group, under which Virgin US sits, says the appointment is part of a bid to "rebuild" the "historic label" Stateside.
• The UK's Music Publishers Association has launched a new student membership, which will sit alongside its publisher and corporate association membership categories.
• Music focused booking agency Coda has announced a partnership with Independent Talent Group, a talent agency operating in the acting and media domain. The deal will give the two agencies access to their respective rosters. The two firms have also launched a new joint fund to invest in live projects in Europe.
• If you clicked the link to Mastodon's new single, 'Sultan's Curse', in yesterday's Daily, you will have instead heard a new Jamiroquai song. We are so, very, very sorry for any upset or distress this may have caused. We'll be opening up a helpline to support those affected by this error later. But for now, here's the correct link.
• Ed Sheeran's gone and put out the video for 'Shape Of You'.
• Alex Lahey has released the video for new single 'Wes Anderson', marking her new record deal with Dead Oceans. She'll be supporting Tegan & Sara on their UK tour next month.
• Moon Duo have released the video for 'Cold Fear', from their upcoming new album 'Architechture Vol 1'.
• The Great Escape added another 100 acts to its 2017 line-up this morning, including another spotlight show in the form of the Slaves Pier Party. Yep, Slaves will be taking over Brighton Pier for a show.
• Sigur Rós will be playing shows in the UK in September - two at Manchester's Apollo, two at the Hammersmith Apollo, and just one at the Clyde Auditorium in Glasgow. Not sure why Glasgow should be punished for not having an Apollo. Anyway, here's a video trailer.
• Dermot O'Leary and Emma Willis will host next month's BRIT Awards. As previously reported, Michael Buble had been due to host, but has put projects on hold after his three year old son was diagnosed with leukaemia. Willis hosted the recent BRITs nominations show on ITV, while O'Leary once compiled a Spotify playlist for CMU.
Spotify adverts fuel rumours of Prince's return to streaming services
Prince pulled his music down from all streaming services except Tidal in 2015, as well as making what would be his final two albums available exclusively to Jay-Z's platform. The legality of that arrangement is currently in dispute - the musician's estate arguing that the only piece of paperwork related to any exclusivity deal with Tidal is a letter referring only to the first of those two final albums. On the back of that, the estate went legal last November.
Claiming that Prince, prior to this untimely death, wasn't aware that Tidal, and only Tidal, was streaming his music - including two albums delivered only to that one company - seems foolish, of course. However, it's generally thought that the estate is quibbling over whether or not those deals were actually signed because of a desire to get Prince's music more widely available again.
That has become more urgent, because the estate reportedly wants that music back on all the streaming services in time for an expected boost in attention when the Grammy Awards pays tribute to the musician next month.
However, according to Billboard, one of the outgoing administrators of Prince's estate, L Londell McMillan, said just last week that no agreements were yet in place, and it was not assured that they would be before the Grammys. However, Spotify's new adverts would suggest that this has changed - or at least that Spotify is confident that it's all now a formality.
Earlier this month, Tidal fought back against the estate's lawsuit, arguing that Prince had a well established way of doing deals, and regardless of what had or hadn't been signed, the company was acting in accordance with his wishes. It also claimed that the "plaintiffs are not the real parties in interest with respect to the claims asserted".
It's entirely likely that this bold talk was intended to force a better settlement - knowing the urgency with which the estate wants this all sorted. If Tidal could convince them that it was willing to take this all the way to the courtroom, then that strengthens its negotiating position.
All this is based on a purple poster bearing a Spotify logo though. Prince didn't own the colour purple. It can also signify royalty. So maybe this is just Spotify's new way of distributing artist payments.