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Live Entertainment: The disruptors

Live Entertainment: The disruptors

Chair: Christoph Scholz, Semmel Concerts (DE) & Alexa

Guest speakers:
Bobby Bloomfield, The Rattle (UK)
Katharina Frömsdorf, Starwatch Entertainment (DE)
Rafael Giménez-Amaya, Sold Out (ES)
Chris Howard, The Rattle (UK)
Tim McGregor, TEG Live (AU)
Jesse Solomon, WME (US)
Ray Winkler, Stufish (UK)

Chair Christoph Scholz introduced the first-ever non-human co-chair of a panel at ILMC – his Amazon Alexa. In fact, she turned out to be more of a disruptor than a help, but it was appropriate for the discussion, which was about disruptive, non-traditional entertainment.

Rafael Giménez-Amaya from Spanish promoter Sold Out said that he’s interested in crossover entertainment – things that mix disciplines.

Ray Winkler, CEO of Stufish, the entertainment architecture company behind productions for the likes of U2, AC/DC, Madonna, Metallica and more, said the company recently worked on an adaptation of a popular Japanese computer game for the stage, called Dragon Quest Live. The two-hour stage show, which tells a story with the characters from Dragon Quest, sold 300,000 tickets.

Giménez-Amaya said he had four major touring exhibitions last year, including David Bowie and Björk. “We were the first in the country to do these types of event, and the learning curve was very fast, he said.

One significant success he pointed to was the concert series Love the 90s. The concept was from a digital agency that created a Facebook page and built a community around nostalgia for the 90s. They asked the community for advice on the line-up, then booked the acts, and let the community promote that it was happening. It sold out in just a few hours. In 2017, the show did 10 concerts, which will grow to 20 in 2018.

“We used only Instagram to sell tickets”

Frömsdorf of Starwatch Entertainment said that her media company doesn’t compete with promoters, but rather works with them. Something she’s developing at the moment is a drone-racing league. “It’s been big on TV so we are now testing the first live event,” she reported.

McGregor of Australian promoter TEG Live explained that his firm is a classic concerts and events promoter, but it’s recently partnered with ESL to do esports events. Ticket prices were AU$90-$900, he explained, but still rely heavily on endemic sponsorship.

Frömsdorf shared the success of her Influencer convention. “It’s interesting for us because we can reach brands that want to talk to this market,” she explained. “The event is ticketed – one low-cost entry and a second that is double the price, which sold first.” But it’s the brand income that’s the biggest revenue driver. “We used only Instagram to sell tickets,” she said.

Jesse Solomon, of WME’s Endeavor Content arm said the core of his business is tours based around IP – mainly productions of films with a live orchestra. A recent product is Now You See Me, which is one of the highest-grossing western films in Asia. It's done 10 weeks across China as a stage show promoted through IMG and WME in China. There are plans to bring it to Europe in 2020.

McGregor said they’ve just started doing Cirque du Soleil. “Music deals are quite often terrible and challenging,” he said. “We’re seeing the general public is more interested in experiences than buying things, so we’re looking at entertainment outside of traditional music events.”

Bobby Bloomfield & Chris Howard of new UK co-working space The Rattle said they want to create the next generation of artists and mentors. “We’re a community,” explained Howard. “We want to enable artists outside of IP and copyright and traditional industry structure. We think tech and startup culture is the answer.”