Good morning! Today’s headlines include Skream, Diplo, Doorly, The Chemical Brothers, & the current ticketing crisis. Please read on for the full stories after the jump.
Skream is Sick of Arguing About Dubstep
“I feel like it is going to be as big as house – if not bigger,” quipped London mainstayBenga this week in an interview with Skiddle. “It’s the music of this generation and people from all over the scene are loving it – it’s game over.” The phenomenon he’s talking about is, of course, the divisive ‘d’ word, which has run riot from the Big Apple Records days to the mongrel, mainstage-ruling beast that it is today.
Overnight, the South West Four festival in London announced a host of new names to its ‘Bass Culture’ line-up on Sunday 26 August. Predictably, the fact that Skream & Benga have been billed under headliner Skrillex in their hometown has raised the ire of keyboard warriors (sample response: “Lol @ Skream & Benga being called Skrillex’s support act! Fucking cheek of it!”).
As for Skream’s position on all this, the often-exasperated trailblazer has again been jousting with followers on his Facebook page about the particulars of his chosen genre. “I’m not trying to be an asshole in anyway, but I dont get why people spend so much time arguing about ‘dubstep’,” he wrote. “There’s so much great stuff being made in all styles….The Deep/Youngsta style of stuff is the healthiest it’s ever been and theres some amazing tear-out being made. Yes, there is a lot of shit circulating but why concentrate on that?
“It’s pointless people trying to argue with me about dubstep and the change that has happened over the last couple years….It’s the biggest its ever been, I’m happy about that, why aren’t you? Is dubstep your child? Is it something you can put your name to? Why do you feel you have to spend so much time arguing about it? Mala is Mala, Skrillex is Skrillex…End of.” Suffice to say, Skream, that won’t be the “end of” it at all…
Diplo’s Express Yourself EP Out in May
Express Yourself, the new EP Diplo began teasing back in December, is finally appearing on a release schedule. It’ll be out in May on Mad Decent and features guest spots from Nicky Da B, Elephant Man and more. The previously-heard bounce-heavy track “Express Yourself” [ft. Nicky Da B] will be released as a single on March 13, backed by “No Problem” [ft. Flinch and Kay].
Diplo and Snoop Dogg are also in the studio together. According to Diplo’s Facebook, they have 18 tracks recorded together.
Express Yourself EP:
01 Express Yourself [ft. Nicky Da B]
02 No Problem [ft. Flinch & Kay]
03 Move Around [ft. Elephant Man and GTA]
04 Butters Theme [ft. Billy the Gent and Long Jawns]
05 Set It Off [ft. Lazerdisk Party Sex]
06 Barely Standing [ft. Datsik & Sabi]
Watch the teaser for the “Express Yourself” video:
Doorly Joins Rinse FM
Multi genre specialist and pigeonHoleThis label boss!, Doorly is heading to Rinse FM for a regular slot.
Doorly will join the station from March 15, hosting a two hour show every second Thursday of the month on rotation with Zinc and Redlight.
Doorly is fittingly excited to be joining the station’s roster commenting, “I’m obviously over the moon to have been made a full member of the Rinse Family, I’ve always been an avid listener and the one off shows I did were ridiculously good fun and something I just cant wait to get stuck into on the regular.”
For more details click here.
Chemical Brothers Soundtrack Film
The Chemical Brothers are reportedly set to write the soundtrack for the upcoming film ‘Now You See Me’.
The film, which is due for a January 2013 release, is directed by Louis Leterrier and stars Morgan Freeman, Woody Harrelson, rapper Common and Jesse Eisenberg.
This is the second time they have put their music to celluloid after providing the soundtrack for Joe Wright’s film ‘Hanna’.
The Chems released their own live film ‘Don’t Think’, earlier this year which attracted a star-studded premiere in London.
The footage for the film was taken from The Chemical Brothers headline set at the 2011 Fuji Rock Festival in Japan.
The Chemical Brothers have also been rumoured to be working on music “connected to the cycling” for the 2012 Olympics.
Billboard Exclusive Q&A: Michael Rapino CEO of Live Nation on the Ticketing Crisis
There is a lot of frustration out there in the ticket buying world as thousands of fans virtually line up at primary sites like Ticketmaster.com for tickets to hot shows and, for a variety of reasons, come away empty handed. For many, that frustration increases exponentially when they see those tickets on secondary sites, often at prices several times face value.
Artists, fans, venues, promoters and ticketing companies like Ticketmaster blame certain ticket resellers for gumming up the works by hammering the primary ticketing sites with automated bots that cut “line” and shut out fans; selling “spec” tickets on secondary sites that they don’t even have and might never get; and/or joining artist fan clubs or other pre-sale avenues to get choice tickets artists intend to go to fans and reselling those at a price much higher than the artist intended.
We spoke with Michael Rapino, CEO of Live Nation Entertainment, which owns Ticketmaster, about the problems concert fans are facing in buying tickets, and what his company is doing about it. You can read part two of our interview with Michael Rapino on Billboard.biz tomorrow.
Billboard.biz: When it comes to fans buying tickets these days, what’s the problem as you see it?
Michael Rapino: This isn’t just a Madonna problem, this is a general problem on all levels of shows. If you put a Kid Rock in a House Of Blues they end up on [secondary] sites. This is a technology challenge. There is this incredibly sophisticated network of scalpers or ‘bots’ as we call them, around the world who have figured out the price of a ticket may have a higher value on the secondary exchange. That’s the over-riding economics driving the problem.
The core challenge is the bots are hitting the systems of all ticket buyers and all ticket companies and all shows and have been able to reserve seats and buy seats and put them on the exchange. If Kid Rock wants a $79 ticket going to a fan in a fair, direct manner, there’s still going to be an immense amount of demand for that ticket, and a lot of consumers still may not end up getting a seat, but we’d like to make sure that the even if you couldn’t buy a ticket, you had a damn good shot at getting a ticket and you were not competing against bots.
For certain shows, there is enough demand without the bots where a lot of fans come away empty-handed, at least for the best seats.
Unfortunately we’re in an industry that, unlike any other industry, we do not just run pricing of a product directly in correlation to market demand at all times. In any other industry if [a business] figures out a product can be sold at a certain level, they price it at that level. But we are in an industry where we work for the artist, and an artist has varying views, and balances the economics versus what he believes is the right price for his fan to pay, and that sets the price.
Whether we believe it should be a bit higher or not, that’s the price the artist wants to deliver his fans, so our job is to figure out the most secure, legal, environment where their fans have a shot to get that ticket. The front row isn’t five miles long, so we’re not going to make everybody happy. But we’ve all learned that in life if you feel you have a fair shot at the lottery, if you don’t win, you walk away disappointed, but at least believing you have a shot next time. Right now, all the illegal bots and the speculative selling are getting in the way of the artist-fan relationship and creating this whole new layer of a pissed off consumer that doesn’t feel he had a shot at a ticket.
Do they wind up pissed off at the wrong people?
It’s very frustrating. The ultimate end consumer doesn’t see that bot sitting in Eastern Europe reserving seats and placing them on secondary. He just sees an artist’s ticket not [available] at Ticketmaster, so he’s mad at us, and can’t understand why that other site does have the seat. There’s mass confusion in the market as to primary versus secondary, and we have to work hard to bring tighter legislation and standards to give the consumer a fair shot at onsale at the price the artist wants. Many times it’s going to be much lower than what the market can bear, but that’s Bruce Springsteen’s prerogative.
Artists know that the front row is probably worth a lot more than what they’re selling them for, but they’re trying to find that fine balance between the economics and the affordability to their fans. The end goal is for the artist to have all the control, and we want to be able to give them all the different ways they can price the house to meet all the different segments.
Does paperless ticketing hamper ticket reselling?
We think it is one tool that has now been proven. We know when we did it in New York versus New Jersey — where in New Jersey we could do paperless and New York we couldn’t — you compare it a day later how many tickets were on the secondary site, it was 500 seats in New York where they didn’t have paperless, and across the river at the Izod where they used paperless there was nine tickets, it was that kind of extreme difference.
Do you believe artists should be more outspoken about this issue?
Michael Rapino: This summer I believe we’ll be able to get that done, I hope. Sunlight is a great disinfectant. In general we leave artists to do what they do best. Given how important the live show is, and making sure those fans are getting what the artists want, it’s probably a good idea that the artists start lending their voices to educating the challenges on the bots and speculative selling.
What about across the industry? Do you feel like Ticketmaster is fighting this battle alone?
“Got Milk?” was a fabulous campaign for that industry. This isn’t about the daily competitions we all have, this is about AEG and Live Nation and Creative Artists Agency and William Morris Endeavor Entertainment and management companies and artists. We all have incredible investment in this industry, we’re spending incredible amounts of money on the infrastructure to make the live industry a growing, prosperous business, and we want to make sure that if anyone isn’t invested in the same end goal that we stand together and start to make a change and bring some light to this to make the consumer live experience continually better and not let piracy and technology enter into the equation
Is the 10 a.m. on sale obsolete?
It’s not black and white. One of the challenges of the industry is we all need to find better and better technology solutions to solve the problems. I also don’t want to sound like the Napster days, where we sue and legislate and hope the bad guys go away. There should be legislation to keep speculative selling and bots out of the system, because to me it’s an illegal violation of the artists’ and consumers’ contract to buy a ticket.
We’re deep in R&D in our product group working on new and better ways and technologies to make sure the consumer can have a secure Saturday morning onsale. Mobile is going to provide incredible new opportunities for a consumer and the transaction of a ticket to be much more secure and safe. Regardless of the bad guys, the good guys have to spend some more time and energy and money and create better products that can deliver that Saturday onsale.
Whether it’s a Saturday onsale or a two-month pre-register [for tickets], you’re still going to have the bots pre-registering for two months and taking all the slots. It’s not like you can move the onsale and they’re not going to figure out how to fill up the queue in whatever new version you have. I don’t think moving the goal posts scares them away, I think re-inventing the goal posts scares them away. Short term, I think we need to bring attention to the bots and the speculative sellers and do what we can to get rid of them.
Is part of the problem a lack of inventory available to the general public between various promoter, artist, venue, sponsor, team, etc., holds and presales?
In general, that is becoming an issue. Some of the so-called presales are effective. A presale in theory means a fan bought a ticket. Presales are great sometimes for one reason: they usually come with some level of marketing that we the promoter or the artist can’t afford on our own. If a certain sponsor is going to spend a certain level of money on TV campaign and radio spots and print and online to help sell that entire tour, we look at that as incremental marketing we need to sell all of the tickets. If we have to trade some presale tickets to get greater marketing to get awareness for the entire tour, then that’s a tradeoff we make sometimes. In this world of a lot of cluttered messages and limited marketing budgets, we will gladly at times take a tradeoff and move some tickets to a presale to let fans buy through certain channels, if we’re getting a net positive marketing spend on the tour, because ultimately that helps us sell the final tickets which are always the hard part in life after the presale. In general, we have to make sure that our Saturday mornings or whatever day has the most available tickets for fans.