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VIP- News

premium ›› Vol. 127 ›› AUGUST 2010

McGowan’s Musings: Like many of you – although I know a lot of you are workaholics and rarely take time off from your efforts of achieving live music industry domination (!) -. I have been on holiday, and were you able to see me you would I’m sure be impressed by my suntanned and relaxed good looks, but you’d have to make it quick – the pasty white chap with the harassed demeanour will be back in this seat soon! The holiday was great, I thoroughly recommend the joys of the Greek island of Ikarea, but not so the Athens Metro where some light fingered bastard lifted my wallet on the very first day! Oh, and while I’m having a moan - the seagulls, yes you remember Shitty and his crew, have been dive bombing people, and are now a recognised menace as far inland as London – I’m not making it up, it’s in the newspapers! I tried to warn them, but would they listen? – These screeching raptors live on rubbish and refuse and use newly washed cars as toilets, so this is an ideal world for them! (Calm down!- Ed.) Anyway, back to the wonderful world of live music; for years now many have

tell from Ticketmaster’s industry number, for them to be down 15-16% across an industry, that would tell you it would have to hit all segments of the industry.” Rapino also warned that the second half to 2010 could be slow. Cheaper tickets seem to be the order of the day for tat least the rest of the year. Watch this space Allan McGowan

warned that increasing ticket prices for big name artists would eventually backfire on the live sector, though it never quite happened, now it seems that the chickens have come home to roost and the US live industry is struggling this year as a result of ever increasing ticket prices combining with the continued impact of the recession. As a result the giants of the concert industry are contemplating emptier pockets, their own, their investors and those of the ticket buyers. But they are not the victims of pickpockets on crowded Metros, according to Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino a drop in ticket sales is hitting all segments of the market, “The bottom line across all business, whether it’s a club or an amphitheatre, was fewer tickets per show - as you can

The picture is not looking quite so bad in the UK, the recently released Adding Up The UK Music Industry 2009 report from PRS indicate that Live music revenues have increased 9.4% to £1.5bn including direct ticket sales, secondary ticketing and ‘on the night’ spend. However this increase has slowed from 2008’s outstanding growth of 13%.< Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden believes years of ticket price hikes are to blame for the number of major gig cancellations that have taken place this year, especially in the US live music market. He is reported as saying, “It’s a massive commitment to come to see a band. They [the fans] deserve not just a great show but they deserve a reasonable ticket price. Other people have inflated ticket prices to obscene levels

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and it’s just not right. It’s a rock n roll show, it’s not a cash cow.” Although the festival market – with a few weeks still to go – seems to be faring reasonably well, Spain’s summer music festival, Benicassim (FIB), purchased outright this year by Vince Power, suffered a 40% slump in attendance this year, dropping to 127,000 from the record 200,000 at last year’s 15th annual event. International attendance dropped 10% and Spain’s economic problems, including high unemployment, are likely to have affected Spanish attendance.

Colophon ›› VIP-News is published by: VIP-Booking 26 York Street London W1U 6pZ Managing Director: Ronni Didriksen

Well, after that we should really conclude the Musings with some festival good news. A couple of issues back we reported on the first of the Association of Independent Festivals twinnings, pairing Norway’s Bergenfest and Summer Sundae in Leicester, UK. After the success of Bergenfest in May, organiser of its twin, Rob Challice tells me that, “Summer Sundae went incredibly well. We had over 17000 attendees over the weekend. Despite heavy rain on Friday and Saturday the site held up well. The sun came out Sunday and we had our biggest crowd ever for Mumford and Sons. Our Bergenfest twins arrived on Saturday and had a great time, vowing to be back next year. All in all a very successful 10th Summer Sundae.” It’s good to hear about people cooperating and things going well! So, with that uplifting thought, Ladies and Gentlemen - The News!

General Manager: Peter Briggs

Popkomm Showcase Festival 2010 Allan McGowan

Having been absent from the international music market calendar last year, Popkomm returns to Berlin in September under the umbrella of Berlin Music Week. The Popkomm Showcase Festival will take place in the Berlin suburb of Kreuzberg on 8 and 9 September 2010. 60 artists and bands will be featured over the two days at 14 locations on the site at the legendary Tempelhof Airport in Berlin as well as in the adjoining neighbourhood. This year a number of bands that are appearing at the Showcase Festival can also be seen on the main festival stage: Cast of Cheers, De Staat, Jesse, Rich Aucoin, Spleen United, The Megaphonic Thrift, Therese Aune and Yes Cadets will also be on stage on 10 September at Tempelhof Airport during the Berlin Festival. The rest of the showcase lineup features bands from Scandinavia such as Familjen, I Got You On Tape and Murmansk, as well as Iiris from Estonia, Film from Greece, and Budam and The Ghost from the Faroe Islands. The Showcase gigs will be available to Popkomm delegates and tickets Festival are available to the public for ten euros. Tickets for the Berlin Festival on 10 and 11 September also entitle holders to admission to Popkomm on 10 September. More information:

Writer and editorial: Allan McGowan Writer: Manfred Tari For advertising enquiries pls. contact Peter Briggs or +44 870 755 0092 Lay-out: Pekaye Graphics, Phuket – Thailand

Popkomm at Tempelhof


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Everything is new at Popkomm 2010, new location, new partnerships, new aspirations, and a new team. Paul Cheetham has been appointed to head up the management of the Showcase Festival. VIP-News talked to him about this new challenge in his varied career. VIP-News: What, briefly, is you background in the business, I know you’ve worked in various territories for some time now, was it always your intention to move around, or did it just work out that way? Paul Cheetham: I’ve been involved in the business for almost 20 years as a promoter, agent and artist manager. I worked in London for the Mean Fiddler before moving to Scandinavia 11 years ago and working for the EMA Telstar group that eventually became Clear Channel. When it was bought by Live Nation I left to set up my own management consultancy and worked as an advisor for several Finnish artists, including The Rasmus and The Crash. In summer 2009 I relocated fulltime to Berlin. After a decade of Nordic darkness I was ready for a change and Berlin is a city I have always felt at home in. It’s a great place to be based for geographical, economic and social reasons so the move made a lot of sense. VIP-News: Popkomm has a long, varied and illustrious history but particularly following last year’s cancellation this edition is in many ways an entirely new event. Although I know you have attended many previous editions as a delegate, this Popkomm is cer-

tainly new for you in your role as part of the team. What exactly is your role and how did you come to take it on? Paul Cheetham: I was recommended to Popkomm by the guys behind Berlin Festival, which is one of Popkomm’s partners under the new Berlin Music Week umbrella. I saw the offer to work on the event as an opportunity to try to make a positive contribution. The job involves all the aspects I enjoy – live music, promoting, artist development, and communicating with people all over the world. Although I was aware there would be obvious difficulties in bringing the event back, I accepted this as the kind of challenge I thrive on. Initially I took the role of Festival Coordinator on a one-off basis to help organise the music segment of Popkomm 2010. As things progressed, I got more involved, and was able to introduce a clearer, more defined direction for the festival to take, and became Festival Manager with a view to overseeing the overall organisation and development of the festival into the near future. VIP-News: Have you adopted a particular booking policy for acts appearing at Popkomm, and as far as you know is this very different to the way things were arranged for past editions? Paul Cheetham: We’ve taken a quite radical approach to the music programme this year in order to break the perception of what Popkomm was in the past and to introduce a concept of what it can be in the future.

As a visitor to previous Popkomm events, I personally felt it was a sprawling jumble of parties, gigs, fairs, conferences and events all over the city which was always great fun but ultimately difficult to achieve anything from a business perspective. So now I want to give the programme a definite epicentre of usefulness and significance for the visiting delegates, in order for them to do business effectively and immediately. First, the number of slots for Popkomm artists is drastically reduced to only 60 places. This gives us the possibility to introduce firm criteria to raise the quality of artists, as well as the opportunity to promote each artist effectively. Second, these are all showcasing artists who are in the position of wanting to be seen and heard in order to find partners and opportunities to get to the next level in this, and surrounding, markets. Third, we are building a festival location around Tempelhof airport and the vibrant Kreuzberg neighbourhood of Mehringdamm and Bergmannstraße that is new, intriguing, and with endless room for development. We have some untested venues and it will be a challenge to fill them, but I’m confident that over the next couple of years these venues and this location will give Popkomm the strong new identity it needs to have. Other major differences this year are that Popkomm is tied closely with Berlin Festival as our live music partner, incorporating some of our artists on to the Berlin Festival programme, as well as everything being promoted under the umbrella of Berlin Music Week, which aims to bring together the diverse energies within Berlin and is a very positive direction. VIP-News: Are you dealing mainly with agencies, managements, artists or export offices, or is it a mixture? - Are Sonicbids involved at all? How are the acts selected? Paul Cheetham: There is lots of talk with the music export offices and similar organisations, as they are particularly important to the structure of Popkomm. But overall it has been a complete mixture. Sonicbids is an official partner this year and we also

Paul Cheetham


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selected artists through the Sonicbids system, as practically all events do. I have involved the local showcase partners in selecting the final line-up for their events, so VISIONS magazine, Karrera Klub, Nordic By Nature, for example, were all given a shortlist of appropriate acts for them to choose their final line-ups from. That helps in terms of promoting each event.

for no additional charge, otherwise there will be a 2-day combi-ticket available for an advance price of only 10 euros, all subject to venue capacity. We want to help people discover these new artists in this new location and have created an easy environment in which to do that.

VIP-News: Will the festival be aiming at attracting punters as well as professionals, and if so are you booking established acts as attractions, alongside newer ‘export ready’ talent?

Essentially, though, we want the showcase festival to be about generating business for all those participating. Ideally, every artist will go away with real results to show for their efforts and we need to involve the delegates as much as possible to be able to achieve that.

Paul Cheetham: The showcases will start at the airport venues in the afternoon and extend into the evening using some of the other venues in the area and will be targeted at both delegates and members of the public. Delegates are, of course, able to access any showcase event and we are allowing anyone who has purchased a Berlin Festival ticket to get into the Popkomm showcases

When it comes to bigger, more established acts then it made sense for us to let Berlin Festival take the lead and not get in the way of them building the strongest line-up available and for us to benefit by becoming a sort of feeder event for their festival. We arranged an excellent situation where we are able to include eight Popkomm artists on the Berlin Festival line-up, which has

received very positive feedback. Working with Berlin Festival has been a highlight and I’m looking forward to continuing that relationship in future as I see a lot of possibilities to grow Popkomm alongside it in the way people would appreciate. VIP-News: Are you finding this work very different to your previous experience? Paul Cheetham: The job perhaps involves more lines of communication than anything I’ve done before so information has been flying at all angles. Popkomm is a big name and attracts massive interest from all over the world so getting on top of all that has been overwhelming at times and I must develop an effective system to handle the increased workload. Otherwise, the work involves all the things I have experience in. VIP-News: What do you think a successful appearance at this event can do for the career of a new, or even established, act, and do you think Popkomm and other showcase



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events are now an established and useful part of the live industry? Paul Cheetham: The aim with the shaowcase festival is definitely to create a platform for artists to benefit from their appearances. It is essential that they achieve their goals and Popkomm can develop its own success stories from that. These kinds of events have become increasingly crucial to the business. The perfect showcase event should be a combination of a high concentration of talented acts and a dense presence of effective decisionmakers from the business, all taking place in a compact, user-friendly environment. VIP-News: Are there any parts of the programme that you are particularly looking forward to, and is there anything else you’d like to mention?

Paul Cheetham: I am particularly pleased to be able to involve some strong local partners in the programme, such as Four Artists - one of Berlin’s premier booking agencies, and Karrera Klub – the Kreuzberg kings of indie-disco club promoting. Canadian Blast is always sensational. I’m delighted with the inclusion of The Great Escape and ways we can cooperate at each other’s events in future, and we have a very impressive load of Scandinavian acts that I am a big fan of already. But my time will be spent meeting as many people as possible and showing them around the location, explaining the plans we have to develop things next year and getting their feedback. Between now and Popkomm 2011 we will continue to build personal relationships with all those we wish to cooperate with on a local, national, and international level and work on ways to continuously freshen the


Popkomm brand in the eyes of the industry and audience. For example, we are planning a monthly Popkomm club night in Berlin for some of the new artists we hope to bring in next year, as well as taking this concept to partnering showcase events around the world in future. This year of transition is a perfect opportunity to try new ideas and put well thought-out plans into action.

For more information and updates check the Popkomm Showcase Festival blog at: Follow on Twitter at: Paul Cheetham - Festival Manager

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New visitor record for M’era Luna Festival Manfred Tari

For the first time the FKP Scorpio promoted M’era Luna Festival attracted 24.000 visitors. The festival is well liked by fans of so-called Gothic and Dark Wave music and takes place at the Drispenstedt airport near Hildesheim. The festival has two stages and was headlined this year by acts such as Unheilig, The Sisters of Mercy, In Extremo and Pla-

cebo. The first edition of M’era Luna was in 2000. It is remarkable that the festival billing offers a wide range of various music genres that seem to meet the interest of this target group. In particular this audience is pretty much into styling and fashion, and it could almost be said that the festival is a sort of beauty contest for people into high heels, latex & leather and other fashion items, as long as they


are in predominately in black. Besides the line up and the fashion extravaganza a medieval market completes the basic configuration of this festival. The dates for M’era Luna 2011 are August 13th & 14th. For more information please check:

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Loveparade 2010 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Dimensions of a Disaster Manfred Tari

The facts are horrifying and inescapable; 21 fatalities and more than 500 people injured at Loveparade in Duisburg, Germany, one of the biggest tragedies in the history of live entertainment events. The July 24 event on is understandably still attracting extensive media attention as the latest reactions and new information about the tragedy are examined. The disaster is still moving minds and moods in an incomparable manner. Shortly after the event the main question was how did this happen and who was responsible for this tragedy. With are no clear answers to these questions yet the situation still appears to be something of a witch-hunt. There have been many politicians, officials, even promoters, normal citizens, bloggers and journalists that have put forward their opinions of what happened. Some of those directly involved fear legal consequences and have more or less stopped saying anything, as they know that it is likely that every statement could lead to accusations against them. There is no lack of people making accusations and apportioning blame for what happened. There are many self appointed prosecutors and sometimes it seems that majority of these are not aware of their lack of feeling for the friends and relatives of those killed and injured. Shortly after those directly involved with the running of the event, Lopavent, the police, the fire brigade and the local authorities in Duisburg started to accuse each other. One of the very few facts that has become evident is that the entrance situation on the site wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t properly managed. The audience were intended to enter the site via one tunnel and a ramp, while a second ramp just a few meters away supposed to be used as an emergency exit was obviously closed and these factors, in combination with communication failures created a death trap for those trying to enter the site. It is still not known what went wrong in the communication chain, neither is it clear who was in charge of logistical decisions before and during the event. So far only Carsten Walter, a psychologist acting as the crowd manager in charge, admitted responsibility and told the news magazine Spiegel, that it took him 45 minutes to get hold of a decision maker at the relevant police unit.

in Duisburg covers about 300.000 square meters. After very early announcements that approximately 1.4 million visitors were expected to visit Loveparade, three weeks after the event the mayor of Duisburg Adolf Sauerland told the news magazine Spiegel, that the actual number had been much lower. In the current statement he said that he had been asked by Lopavent to announce the 1.4 million visitor figure for marketing reasons. Several politicians demanded that Sauerland should resign, but the mayor claims he would like to complete internal investigations before taking steps concerning his own position. He has been sharply criticized for this approach. Other sources says that he is not resigning to avoid defaulting on a law that would mean the loss of his pension entitlements if he were to step down from his post as mayor. Rainer Schaller, the owner of McFit, a chain of gym studios, bought the Loveparade brand in 2006 from the former promoter Planetcom in Berlin, then founded Lopavent to be the company that then promoted the event. In 2007 the event was moved from Berlin to Essen in the Ruhr district in West Germany. McFit became the main sponsor for a Loveparade projected to have a production budget of around 3 million Euros. The move to Essen was linked to the RUHR2010, the name for the European capital for culture 2010 in the Ruhr district. The original plan foresaw that five cities within the Ruhr district would become Loveparade hosts. The 2008 edition took place in Dortmund, while in 2009 the city of Bochum cancelled the event due to safety concerns. Dieter Gorny, head of the German IFPI branch and also one of four creative directors for the RUHR2010 was one of the leading proponents in brining the Loveparade to the Ruhr district. Currently official investigations are still ongoing. Although many details have been reported in the media, the entire picture is still not not clear. But several politicians are already demanding new regulations for health & safety laws for public events. As a result, it is to be expected that the German live music industry will directly or indirectly, soon or later, be affected by the follow up of the Loveparade tragedy.

Walter, together with a subordinate police offer, was sitting in an office container on the ramp near to the place where the people died. From the container Walter apparently tried to direct the flow of people entering the tunnel before progressing to the event location via the ramp. The police officer simply had no walkie-talkie with him, as communication between the crowd manager and the police at the tunnel entrance was supposed to be being conducted via cell phones. But as more and more people arrived at the site, the cell phone network collapsed. But this seemed to be only one aspect in a row of various factors that combined to lead to the tragedy. The location for the Loveparade, a former freight yard just next to the central station Loveparade 2010


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Market Features In response to various requests VIP-News will in future include occasional European Market Features. Here is the first – we hope you find it interesting and useful. Please let us know if there are territories that you’d particularly like to see covered.

Switzerland Allan McGowan

With a population of approximately 7.8 million people, Switzerland is one of the richest countries in the world. The main cities Zürich and Geneva have respectively been ranked as the cities with the second and third highest quality of life in the world. Switzerland has a somewhat unique make up, comprising three main linguistic and cultural regions, German, French, and Italian, plus the Romansh-speaking valleys, and is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. As such the Swiss people do not form a nation in the usual sense of a common ethnic or linguistic identity, but there is a long history of cooperation, the establishment of the Swiss Confederation is traditionally dated to 1 August 1291. In music terms then Switzerland displays quite a unique picture, with artists from the French speaking area rather tending to seek their audiences in neighbouring France, whilst acts in the German language area address their efforts to the German market. This seems to be quite typical for Switzerland and is also mirrored in something known as the ‘Röstigraben’, a language divide between the Romands (French speaking Swiss) and the German speaking Swiss. In the last couple of years the downsizing of the local subsidiaries of major record companies has lead to an erosion of opportunities for domestic repertoire causing major concerns within the Swiss Music Community. These fears are especially prevalent in the French language part of Switzerland, more so than in the German speaking area of the country, following

the closure of both the EMI and Warner Music offices in Geneva. Sony Music still retains an office in Lausanne as does Universal in Geneva, but effectively these are now just smaller promotion units. All main branches of the record companies are based in Zurich.

A Land of Festivals: However, as in most other European markets, it’s the live music industry that still generally appears to be in good shape, buoyed up mainly by the festival market. Switzerland is light heartedly referred to as a land of mountains, cheese and cuckoo clocks, but in live music industry terms we may just as well describe it as a land of festivals. Christof Huber, organiser of Open Air St. Gallen and also Secretary General of Yourope, the pan European festivals association, told me that he would put the number of festivals staged in Switzerland at around 300, this includes the eleven major events (see box) but does not include a substantial number of locally organised City and town events.

Avo Session Basel, Basel Blue Balls Festival, Lucerne Caribana Festival, Crans / Nyon Greenfield Festival, Interlaken Gurtenfestival, Bern Nox Illuminata, Basel Open-Air St.Gallen Open Air Frauenfeld Montreux Jazz Festival, Montreux Paléo Festival, Nyon Verbier Festival, Verbier


Audiences tend to stick to the events in their own sectors, which could provide some explanation for the large number of events across the whole country. Antonin Rousseau from Festi Concept, organisers of the Festineuch Festival in Neuchatel in the French sector, comments, “ Swiss cultural life has to deal with a complex geographical situation. What could been seen as a constraint is actually an advantage: a stunning variety of musical productions are coming to life in a small but so diversified country.”

Antoni Rousseau

Being located in a land of mountains lends some spectacular backdrop to the festivals; one of the smaller events, Caprices, for instance, is a four-day event presenting all styles of music, artists as diverse as Robert Plant, Texas, Morcheeba and Deep Purple have played the event, located in the French sector in the ski resort of Crans-

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Montana in the Swiss Alps. More than 80 artists play on three live stages and two clubs with DJs playing all night. The main club at the top of the slopes is 2,200 meters high with a view of the highest mountains of Europe. St. Gallen (in the German sector) was down on last year’s attendance this year, but still averaged 24,000 people on each of the four days. Christof Huber says, “We had good weather, but we were up against other events like Sonisphere, which was only a week before, and the World Cup had

some effect. Also we had been instructed to introduce a new limit on the amount of drink that people could bring on site and that led to a certain group of people trying to veto the festival! Our other smaller 2 day event, Summer Days at Arbon by the Lake of Constance, August 27-29, will sell out, 10,000 people will attend each day.”

»All 3 of our festivals again sold out in advance in 2010 « - Andy Locher

The Open Air Frauenfeld Hip-Hop event did particularly well this year. Andy Locher of Frauenfeld organisers Pleasure Productions says, “We were always very much focused on festivals and with the Openair Frauenfeld becoming the biggest Swiss festival seen from the capacity of 50,000 visitors, and also becoming the biggest European Hiphop-festival, we are more than happy. We are also more than satisAndy Locher


fied with our 2 other festivals, Heitere Openair Zofingen and Openair Lumnezia– all 3 of our festivals again sold out in advance in 2010.” The Paleo-Festival in Nyon on Lake Geneva is regarded as one of the best festivals in Europe. The festival sells the majority of its tickets in Switzerland and France. About 4400 volunteers, mainly from Nyon and neighbouring towns, work within the production of the event. The managing director of this very exceptional festival, Daniel Rossellat even became the mayor of Nyon. This year’s event took place on 20 - 25 July, and yields some interesting facts and figures: Budget: CHF 22,200,000, 230,000 spectators, 1532 artists and technicians, 6 stages, 195 concerts and shows attended by 525 accreditated press representatives. The Paleo team combined to answer some VIP questions about the current state of the market: “There are perhaps too many festivals in Switzerland, however things

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went very well this year for us, selling out months before doors open (150,000 tickets sold in 20 minutes on April 21st 2010, 230,000 spectators in total). Some other festivals, big, middle or small sized had some problems selling tickets. Paléo has a strong identity and it’s very well rooted in its region. The average price for one night at the Festival is CHF 55. - That is 35% less than the average ticket price.” So, the festival market generally appears buoyant, although there are those urging caution and warning against complacency. Andy Locher says, “Most of the festivals still do very well, specially those who have a strong fan base and who do not rely only on the lineup but also take care about the punter. Of course there are a lot of festivals in our small country and I am also pretty sure that only those who are ready and capable to build their festival up from year to year will have success – there is no “fast money” in our business.

Francois Biollay of Metropop Festival and Sold Out Productions comments, “Clearly there are too many events, festivals, etc. The first cancellations and bankruptcies are coming. The festivalgoers’ agenda is as full as their bank account is empty. Thus, some promoters still pay too high fees to get the band from their competitors. This increases the ticket prices and empties the venues. We also have to face cancelled events (Eros Ramazotti in Vevey, Prince in Geneva) because of poor selling. I think it’s mainly due to too many events combined with too high ticket prices rather than economic downturn effects.”

»Clearly there are too many events, festivals, etc. The first cancellations and bankruptcies are coming. The festivalgoers’ agenda is as full as their bank account is empty« - Francois Biollay

The State of the Market: The single, one-headliner, open air shows and the indoor shows are perhaps not doing as well, it seems that there’s too much activity in the market. As we all know the live industry is currently facing problems in certain sectors and particularly in certain territories; the US and some European territories are suffering due to the economic downturn. We asked a few professionals for their view of the overall state of the market in Switzerland at the moment:

Antonin Rousseau is somewhat more upbeat about the situation, “It is indeed a fact that the current economic situation has had some challenging effects on many industry sectors. However, in Switzerland, the artistic production branch has managed to maintain itself to a good level. We had some fears in 2009 that, due to the bad economy, the spend per festival visitor would decrease in 2010 but it didn’t happen. We tend to believe that the households are rather limiting their spending on more important

purchases, vacations, cars etc, but are not willing to save on local culture.” The members of the Paleo Team are cautious: “The Swiss market is probably facing the same economic problems as elsewhere. CD sales are weaker every year. Regarding shows, this year, some major events, in particular single shows, didn’t sell as well as they used to. The prices are quite high: average price for a single show went from an average of CHF 64.- to CHF 85.- in the past five years. Being more concerned with local acts and the local market, booker Stefan Schurter of Deep Dive Music sees obvious changes in record sales, but thinks that the live sector remains reasonably steady: “It is still possible to book many shows with a Swiss artist and sell lots of tickets; the only change I see, is that it got harder to start with a newcomer band. It needs much more effort, as the international concurrence is much bigger than it was a few years ago. And that’s exactly what changed the most: there are many more international artists looking for shows in Switzerland, I think. The quality level of these artists is also much higher than it was in the past. Some of these artists now perform at much smaller venues than they probably did in the past.” Andy Locher says, “You mostly see some influence in headline shows/indoor-shows. The visitor will maybe not see the same act 2-3 times in a couple of years, so promoters should take care while booking the same act yearly. And you have to be very focused on the potential of your artists, as not all the bigger headliners still work as they did for many years. While young visitors are still buying tickets, I am pretty sure that older visitors think twice.” Francis Biollay agrees with Andy regarding major acts overplaying the country, “There’s certainly enough headliners coming to Switzerland. The problem is that some of them begin to be ‘residents’. I cannot remember how many gigs Pink! played in Switzerland over the last 12 months. The audience is tired of seeing the same artists so often.”

Club Circuit: While local communities and cantons seem to get behind popular music activiFrancois Biollay


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ties there seems to be a lack of support on a federal level. Sponsorship still appears to be available for the club and middle-sized venue circuit. The Paleo People report: “A lot of clubs get subsidies from the state, mostly from the cities and the local authorities. Sponsorship is still available in Switzerland, but we notice some decrease in their outlay.” Stefan Schurter thinks the clubs are still doing well, although as he says, “There are too many good bands on the road, so it’s harder for people to chose what they want to see and where they want to spend the money. There is still lots of money from the state involved; I don’t know about the sponsors though as I am not a club-owner. But I see from the bands view, that there IS sponsorship at the venues.” There are numerous live music clubs in Switzerland, we name check only a few interesting venues – see box.

X-Tra, Zürich Kaufleuten, Zürich Abart, Zürich Bierhübeli, Bern Reitschule, Bern Kaserne Basel Fri-Son, Fribourg Les Docks, Lausanne Mascotte Zürich Labor Bar Zürich Schüür Lausanne Kofmehl Solothurn Salzhaus Winterthur Grabenhalle St.Gallen Usine Genève

Andy Locher observes that sponsorship is still available for bigger venues and festivals but smaller clubs have major problems in finding funds, as he says, “Local media will support them, but not with cash. Additionally in my opinion the clubs suffer from several and increasing showcases with free entrance, supported by sponsors, media and labels: we all, including artist managements, should take care that particularly smaller concerts do not become ‘goods with no value’ as happened in the last years to the record industry.” Francois Biollay is upbeat about this sector, “This is probably the healthiest part of

the business, even if subsidies are far less than in France and sponsorship decreased during the crisis. Young people still go out at least once a week in main cities, Zurich obviously, but also Lausanne, Bern, etc.

Developing Local Talent: As far as the local market and new talent is concerned local communities and cantons seem to get behind popular music activities, although it’s still difficult for acts to cross over into the different language areas. However there seems to be a lack of support on a federal level. Also there aren’t that many music magazines in Switzerland, apart from Rockstar and, so it is mainly the radio stations like DRS3, DRS Virus, Radio Rumantsch, Rete Tre and Couleur3 that promote Swiss talents. All these stations combine to run an online portal with streams and online libraries for bands, venues and festivals. Antonin Rousseau says, “ Current musical trends are not widely represented in festivals compared to other territories. Switzerland has definitely taken more time than other countries to understand the importance of support to export and artists’ management. Since 2003, Swiss Music Export ( has gathered several music support organizations and is striving to promote Swiss music outside of Switzerland. This is starting to pay off and we can now see Swiss artists such as Sophie Hunger getting a name at a European level.” However, as far as we understand The Swiss Music Export office currently only has a budget of about 400.000 Swiss Francs and have two offices, one in Nyon for the French speaking community and one in Zurich for the German language community. Our Paleo People are optimistic about the local market: “It’s growing and growing. We have probably more than ever ‘exportready’ artists. Sophie Hunger is doing very well in Europe, France, Germany and elsewhere; she played at Glastonbury this year. The Young Gods are still touring all over Europe and some French Chanson artists are doing quite well in France. The market is still very small in Switzerland, but Europe is big enough! The scene in general is very


dynamic, in every region and on every level. A lot of smaller bands could make it in the international market, My Heart Belongs To Cecilia Winter, for example. This year’s Swiss Music Awards held in March recognises international and national successes; the national top album awards went to Lovebugs, Stefanie Heinzmann and Yello (not exactly new talent, having been around for 30 years or more!). The Best Newcomers Awards went to: Bucher & Schmid – Isziit Liricas Analas – Analectrica Pegasus – Heroes & Champions, and the Jury Prize went to: Big Zis, Filewile and Heidi Happy.

»They are definitely export-ready when it comes to the quality - we never had so many brilliant and young Swiss artists before« - Andy Locher

Andy Locher comments, “In every small country it is very difficult for a local act to live out of music – specially if they are only playing within Switzerland or in their language-part of Switzerland. But there are some Swiss acts who are not only focusing on the Swiss market and have a certain success and many shows abroad. They are definitely export-ready when it comes to the quality – we never had so many brilliant and young Swiss artists before.” Stefan Schurter agrees, “I really think we have lots of great artists that should discover the world. But it’s not easy to get out of the market, being surrounded by big markets like Germany and France for example, nobody is sitting there waiting for the Swiss bands unfortunately, but I have the impression that there are more bands exported than a few years ago.” Francois Biollay has a slightly different opinion, “There’s very few Swiss artists ‘export-ready’, because they often have to play music as a hobby and not as a job. However alternative clubs with capacity around 300-400p can work well with local artists. I think it’s almost half of their booking. For bigger clubs, you need international artists, even if it’s a newcomer.”

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Present and Future: To conclude this relatively brief overview of the Swiss market we asked our commentators to give us an idea of how business is for them today, and how they think things may be in the near future: The Paléo People : “Things went very well this year, as they did in the past ten years. Business was much the same, but still, we are aware that the economic crisis could hurt us as well. Our low price policy makes us one of the cheapest open-air events in Switzerland. We work very hard to welcome our audience in a comfortable and nice looking site. We also try to innovate with new projects every year. That is part of what makes us what we are. We can feel around us that a crisis has occurred. Unemployment in Switzerland is around 4%, which is high for Switzerland, but quite low compared to other European countries. We can sense that sponsors had budget cuts, but the situation is not

dramatic. We will work hard on keeping our low prices in order to offer our spectators a nice cultural and social moment in a beautiful atmosphere. In general, some events may disappear, some other will probably emerge.” Stefan Schurter: “Things have got much faster I think. I get more and more emails with the request to answer within only a few hours, it gets more and more shortterm on making decisions, and on the other hand, instead of booking shows only 2-3 months in advance, I am actually booking them up to a year in advance. There’s too many artists touring in all markets at the moment, trying to make up for the shortfall in record sales, they’re not selling enough tickets to continue financing the touring. I think the market will shrink and with less on the road then each one will gain value and will sell more tickets again.” Francis Biollay: “My business as booker for Soldout Productions and Metropop Festival is doing well: For some time now


Stefan Schurter

I have been able to let a band pass if the fees goes too high because of local competition: our policy is to keep a low ticket price for our young audience. This was a

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long term policy, and it begins to pay now so that all will be well in the future! Andy Locher: “Business has been even better from year to year in the past 7 years – we could never have expected that.” Andy expresses an attitude to his future business which seems to also apply to the country, “As long as we remain focused on that what we can do, as long as we know the market and punter, as long as we don’t want to do everything and as long as we love our job and the music, I personally see a bright future for us! Antonin Rousseau concludes in a similarly positive vein, “Even though Swiss music is not a key player on the international market, it has a lot to offer and is eager to let itself be widely known. Switzerland is not a country with a big export tradition yet but it is exciting to think that it could become one... Switzerland


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Live Music in Shares Manfred Tari

Live Nation and CTS Eventim Report Half Year Results CTS Eventim grows: The German company declares itself to be the leading player on the European ticketing market. Within the preliminary business report for the first half-year of 2010 CTS Eventim reported growth figures for all of its business segments. The turnover rose from 249 million Euros in the same period one year ago to 270.9 million Euro. The Earnings before Interests and Taxes went up from 35.3 to 38.2 million Euro as well as the Earnings before Interests, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortisation (EBITDA), which increased from 39.5 to 43.9 million Euro. The Company furthermore reported profit figures being a little lower than they would have been normally, as a result of the acquisitions of Ticketcorner and See Tickets. Once again the company declared that the key drivers for the positive results of its ticketing division were online sales and the ongoing international expansion policy. In particular the company reported strong growth in tickets sold via the internet. While in H2-2009 CTS Eventim sold 5.7 million tickets online, this time it is already 7.4 million tickets. The turnover for this sector rose from 67.1 to 81.5 million Euro, as did the EBIT from 18.7 up to 19.9 million Euros and the EBITDA from 21.9 to 24.5 million Euros. In the first six months the Live Entertainment division of CTS Eventim gained a turnover of 192.8 million compare to 183.4 million in H2-2009. The EBIT reached a level of 18.3 million Euros, with the EBITDA at 19.3 million Euros. CTS Eventim announced that for the ongoing business year the company would continue to develop its internet ticketing business and to maintain its growth policy with further acquisitions in Germany and abroad. The complete business report will be published on August 26.

Over the period of the last six months the share price almost maintained a price level of 36.60 Euros. In mid July the share hit a peak of almost 43 Euro but dropped quickly to 36.45 Euro on July 20. On the day the preliminary business report was release the share price went down from 37.10 to 36.50 Euros.

Purchase of See Tickets by CTS Eventim is Scrutinised: The German competition commission will review the July take over of See Tickets Germany from See Tickets International by CTS Eventim. The Federal Cartel Office has now approached the Company requesting detailed information on the deal. The Company declared that it is confident that the acquisition of See Ticket Germany does not cause any conflict with German take over laws. CEO KlausPeter Schulenberg commented on the investigations: â&#x20AC;&#x153;We are confident that, after detailed examination of all the facts, the Federal Cartel Office will reach the same conclusion as we did.â&#x20AC;? CTS Eventim paid 145 million Euro for See Tickets Germany. The deal included the companies Ticket Online Software GmbH, Ticket Online Sales & Service Center GmbH and Ticket Online Polska Sp zoo in Poland.

Live Nation Loss Widens: Once again reporting a loss Live Nation faces tough business results. While the first half-year results after the merger show an increase in turnover from $1.532 to $1.989 billion, the turnover figures of the second quarter 2010 (Q2-2010) reveal a decline of about 9.7 percent from $1.402 in Q2 2009 down to $1.266 billion.


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In Q2 Live Nation reported a revenue decline in all of its business segments. The Concerts business unit turnover dropped from $924.8 to $859.5 million, and the division Artist Nation only gained $88.8 compared to $107.7 million, the same goes for the Ticketing department down from $308.3 to $264.1 million. The turnover result for Sponsorship went down only $1.1 million from $39.9 to $38.8 million. The result for E-Commerce shrunk from $21.1 to $18.9 million. The overall net loss for H2 2010 increased from $27.19 to $34.61 million. Since the merger Live Nation has had to cope with long-term net debts of $1.692 billion, long term deferred incomes taxes of $200.80 million and other long-term liabilities of $195.63 million. Nevertheless Michael Rapino, CEO of Live Nation explained “Our second quarter results were in line with our plan and financial guidance for the full year.” But he also stated in reference to the results: “Our performance to date reflects the impact of the uncertain economy on consumers, offset in part by our efforts to aggressively promote, price and expand access to concerts across our global platform.” The share is already under pressure on the stock market; on April 26 it stood at $16.9 it is now (August 19) at $9.09.

DEAG Launches Joint Venture with Sony Music Germany: DEAG and Sony Music Germany have set up a new company named Gold Entertainment. The company will focus on so called Schlager and Volksmusik. Each company held a 50 percent stake in the new company that intends to promote concerts within the market for these two genres in Austria, Switzerland and Germany. As DEAG declared, Gold Entertainment needs the approval of the cartel authorities, but the economic dimensions of this joint venture are certainly less in danger of being challenged by the Federal Cartel Office than the takeover of See Tickets by CTS Eventim The link back to Sony Music will be via the record label Ariola that will feed Gold Entertainment with artists. In addition to this Gold Entertainment acquired a 66.6% percent stake in the Manfred Hertlein Veranstaltungs GmbH . Hertlein, in business for 30 years, reported a turnover of 12 million Euro in 2009. Hertlein committed himself to remaining as managing director within his former company. The DEAG share benefited from the news and since the beginning of August gained a plus of 0.23 Euro from 2.01 up to 2.24 Euro.

artist avails ›› Within Temptation Territory: Worldwide Period: March 2011 and onwards Agency: X-Ray Touring Agent: Paul Bolton Phone: +44 (0) 20 7749 3500 E-mail: Homepage: Darko Rundek Territory: Europe Period: Autumn 2010 - Summer 2011 Agency: Menart Agent: Maja Valjak Phone: +385 91 2333 507 E-mail: Homepage: Fischer-Z Territory: Period: Agency: Agent: Phone: E-mail: Homepage:

Europe 01/07/2010 - 31/12/2010 Artist Agency Bart Quintens +32 1677 7670

Sass Jordan Territory: Period: Agency: Agent: Phone: E-mail: Homepage:

Europe February / March 2011 Paperclip Agency Hilde Spille +31 24 323 9322

Skid Row Territory: Period: Agency: Agent: Phone: E-mail: Homepage:

Europe 6/12/2010 - 31/12/2010 ARM Entertainment Dana Strutz +1 651 483 8754

Sweet Territory: Period: Agency: Agent: Phone: E-mail: Homepage:

Worldwide Generally available ABS Agency Nigel Kerr +44 208 399 3474

More Artist avails on: Post your Artist avails on: 17 VIP-BOOKING.COM

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notice board ›› Another new service in the improved and redesigned VIP-News is the Notice-board, which is available for all readers. Reader’s messages will be posted on the Notice-board as a free service, passing on announcements, job postings, buying and selling notices, inquiries or alike. Announcements should be emailed to

Norwich Sound & Vision Music Festival 16 - 18 September 2010

Norwich Sound & Vision 2010 is taking place for the first time on 16-18 September 2010. The event is a conference featuring expert speakers from the music, film, TV and games industries, as well as live music, film screenings and other interactive performances. Ever heard of the music and film conference called SXSW in Austin, Texas? Well, think of S&V as a taster…in Norwich. Norwich is bursting at the seams with new music and film (to name but a few art forms). We’re lucky to have a unique community playing host to a plethora of multimedia based artistry, so why not have a convention based at the heart of it? S&V will provide a platform for those of you who are involved (or would like to be) with the multimedia channels mentioned above. You’ll get the opportunity to listen, engage and perhaps mosey around with labels, promoters, press, internet media peeps and artists who are coming to Norwich. If learning how to get your music licensed in film/TV is your bag or even how to get your band out on the touring and festival circuit, those are just a couple of the subjects open to discussion with our delectable roster of panellists from across the music/radio/film/ multimedia industry. Come and meet like-minded individuals, bands/musicians, record labels, filmmakers, designers, writers and anyone with an interest in multimedia industries. Those of you that just want to learn something new - embrace your inner mind’s sponge, be inspired and have a fantastic time on us.

Norwich Sound & Vision Conference Day The full conference day at Norwich Sound & Vision takes place on Saturday 18 September 10am - 4.45pm at Norwich Arts Centre.

We have a stellar line up of expert speakers who will be covering a range of topics such as ‘How to get your music licensed to Film, TV, adverts and video games’, ‘How to use the digital services available to distribute your creative content to the world’ and ‘How to make a living from music’. For a full line up visit the conference page in our website at Delegate passes, priced £35 (£25 for AIM, BPI, MMF or MPA members or those in full time education) are available from our website or from Norwich Arts Centre Email us at Phone us on 01603 628367

We are very excited to begin announcing the line up of acts performing over the three days in Norwich. There will be gigs each night at Norwich Arts Centre and at various venues across the city. Bands confirmed include: Here We Go Magic Dinosaur Pile-Up Serena Maneesh The Kabeedies Sennen The Miserable Rich The Lost Levels Sargasso Trio Bearsuit Fever Fever Pumajaw These Ghosts


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Member presentation ›› In In this this section section we we offer offer members members of of some some space space to to present present their their company company to to VIP-News VIP-News readers. readers. If you would also like to present your company please contact Peter Briggs at If you would also like to present your company please contact Peter Briggs at

König-Pilsener-ARENA - SMG Entertainment Deutschland GmbH The König-Pilsener-ARENA is a multi-functional venue, offering a superb setting for a variety of sports events, theatrical presentations, ice-skating and concerts. Flexible configurations provide room for audiences ranging from 800 to 13,000 who enjoy family shows such as Disney on Ice, sports including handball matches, musicals like Grease, and concerts from rock and pop icons and orchestras alike.

drive-time. The arena offers great accessibility with 12 motorway junctions, more than 10,000 free parking spaces, bus and tram terminals immediately outside the venues.

Since its opening in 1996, the Kõnig-Pilsener-ARENA has earned a reputation as one of the most sophisticated venues in Europe, offering excellent operational facilities and an unforgettable experience for all its visitors. The König-Pilsener-ARENA meets the latest standards in engineering, architecture and security. Its central location, at the heart of one of Europe’s largest conurbations, the Ruhr area, means the Arena is easily accessible by road, rail and air for the 15 million people living within an hour’s König-Pilsener-ARENA

About Our Company VIP-Booking’s core product is the Internet’s oldest and largest database for the European Live Entertainment Industry developed as a tool for industry professionals. Since it’s launch in the year 2000, we have consistently offered our subscribers the very best in database services and now boast subscribers in over 30 countries.

Today VIP-Booking offers a range of tools for the industry – including VIP-News, VIP-Booking, VIP-Book and VIP-Contract. Please visit for further information. Your comments and suggestions are always appreciated.


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VIP-News Premium Vol. 127 - August 2010  

VIP-News is a FREE online newsletter. VIP-News is emailed monthly to more than 20.000 Entertainment Industry Professionals all over the worl...

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