Australia: NZ Promoters, Melbourne Revival

NZ Promoters Threaten Wellington Boycott Over Ticketmaster Deal 

The New Zealand Promoters Association has expressed “dismay” while some of its members are threatening a boycott of booking acts into the city of Wellington after Ticketmaster was granted a six-year exclusive deal with Venues Wellington.

Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency granted Ticketmaster the deal to be ticketer to Venues Wellington effective June 1.

St. James Theatre
– St. James Theatre
Wellington, New Zealand.

It covers the 5,655-capacity  (Shed 6), the 1,552-seat , 2,209-seat  and the 1,361-capacity .

WREDA’s decision was made “without any consultation with the promoters as owners of the events held in their venues,” the association said in a statement.

When it discovered the deal was in place, promoters contacted WREDA to retain Ticketek for Venues Wellington’s assets. NZPA says that as Ticketek still remains with the city’s 34,500-capacity Westpac Stadium, its members should be able to decide which agency to use, on a per-show basis.

Its concerns are that granting Ticketmaster exclusivity “takes away the right of the promoter to seek better pricing from a competitive ticket provider for the public” and also creates possible issues stemming from the fact “Ticketmaster is actively involved in the resale market in NZ.” WREDA’s venues marketing and destination development general manager David Perks told  that it was being “pro-active” when choosing Ticketmaster.

One of these was that its reselling initiatives decrease the possibility of fake or overpriced tickets being on the market. “We’re trying to get the results we want in terms of significant goals to have more variety of performances … we want a great ticket-buying experience for Wellington punters, and we want to make sure the costs that are paid by Wellington customers are standard,” he said.

A number of promoters are threatening to stop booking acts into Wellington. Capital C chief executive Phil Sprey has already begun, telling Stuff he has suspended an international act’s visit to Wellington, causing a loss of NZ$12 million ($8.3 million) for the city. He did not identify the act but his company has in the past toured Elton JohnKISS and .

Sprey added, “But Ticketmaster (have) a particular extra problem and that is that they are a global promoter. “If I’m a promoter why would I give all the information on who I’m going to bring, when I’m going to bring and the venues I want bring to, to the company that could be behind my back bidding against me?”

How To Save Your City’s Live Industry 

More than seven years since 20,000 marched in Melbourne demanding government action over the rapid closure of beloved music venues, the Australian city has regained its status as the country’s live music capital.

The government at the time immediately initiated a series of multi-sector roundtables, and alleviated red tape and harsh liquor licensing laws. With regular communication between the live sector and government, councils, city planning, police and licensing authorities, initiatives have included the A$22 million ($16.4 million) investment and skills developing Music Works package, combating sexual harassment in venues, eying festivals as part of tourism campaigns, 24-hour weekend public transport, and applying heritage protection to venues on cultural value.

A most important step, Patrick Donovan, CEO of the state’s peak music association Music Victoria, told Pollstar, “is to get bipartisan support from both sides of government.

To that end we’re this year introducing two Music Friends of Parliament events. At Parliament House, major acts play, there’ll be speeches convey challenges the music industry, and afterwards the politicians get the chance to network with musicians.

After all, everyone has a favourite or favourite song. It’s an ice breaker. It’s easier to discuss things after.”

A global first was Victoria applying the “Agent of Change,” protecting venues from complaints from new residents, throughout the entire state rather than a number of city precincts as happened overseas.

London, Bangkok and Amsterdam have reached out to learn how to apply the principle in their hometowns, as well as applying some of its achievements.

Alex Mann from the British Musicians’ Union’s Live Performance Department, commented, “We’re really impressed by the strength of Victoria’s music offer, particularly the way their live scene is so neatly and harmoniously woven into the city’s complex infrastructure.

“By using legislative measures such as Agent of Change, Victoria’s music industry has shown that it’s possible for live music to run alongside planning, licensing and environmental priorities in a way that works for everyone. It’s a really great example for aspiring and established music cities around the world.”

As a result of global interest Music Victoria released on May 22 The Victorian Live Music 10 Point Plan at

Donovan said, “It helps us all if every city in the world has a thriving live sector. On the other hand, we’re looking at overseas initiatives to adopt here. It’s all about learning from each other.”

Other points include collecting evidence-based data on the size and effectiveness of the live sector, developing and articulating an evidence-based plan, working with government for mutual benefits, keeping venues out of debates about curtailing alcohol-fueled street violence, forging close ties with councils, increasing the skills of the live sector, using college students for data collection and finding ways to protect the creative community.

Aside from a background to each of the points, the report also looks at future initiatives. Some of these could also be used as discussion slates next April when Melbourne becomes the first city outside North America and Europe to host a Music Cities Convention.

Dr. Shain Shapiro of UK-based Sound Diplomacy, which runs the conventions, pointed out, “When a city or region commits to developing their music infrastructure, they must realise that it’s not a race, but a never-ending process that has to continually be measured, refined and tested.

“Victoria is one of the best at not just realising this, but also putting it into practice. This 10 point plan is demonstrating their commitment to ensuring music remains at the top of the policy agenda in Melbourne and the region and should be commended.”