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Tesco eyes move into ticketing sector
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Watch out Ticketmaster: retail giant Tesco has declared its industry- shaking interest in selling live gig tickets.
The firm’s entertainment director Rob Salter told Music Week he is considering options to improve the music “package” consumers buy in-store – as CDs increasingly become “uninspiring” to customers.
Top of his list is introducing a ticketing aspect and, potentially, even a direct move to take on the likes of SeeTickets – who French media giant Vivendi purchased for £86m last month.
“Ticketing is a really interesting area, and we’re looking at it,” said Salter, noting that Tesco had been particularly impressed by the technical investment made by UK venues in the past year.
Tesco ran a promotion direct with Simply Red in February 2010, giving customers the chance to gain priority ticket sales after buying the band’s Love Songs CD in stores. According to Salter, 50 per cent of customers who bought the CD went on to buy tickets.
“That’s huge, and there’s something right about getting those fans the tickets first,” he added. “There’s no question in my mind that model will work again.”
Rather than continuing to deal direct with artists, however, Tesco is now keen to partner with labels on similar initiatives.
And that’s not all: when asked if Tesco could end up rivalling the likes of TicketMaster, SeeTickets and Seatwave by selling tickets over the counter, he replied: “We’re looking at it.
Live is an important component, and we have to recognise that.
“We just have to work out what our unique selling point would be and how we’d make it appropriate for Tesco to put its brand into that space. “
Salter acknowledged that live music was a complicated business, not least in terms of event ownership, inventory access and pricing.
“But if we relate it to other selling merchandise and content, perhaps there’s a way to bring it all together,” he added. “It’s absolutely an area of interest.” email@example.com
»Read our full interview with Rob Salter on page 12
Deezer predicts digital fallout – and even iTunes isn’t safe France’s biggest streaming music service, Deezer, has predicted the demise of a handful of digital music services in the next 12 months – as iTunes dominance ebbs away.
coming in with great ideas... over the next 12 months, you’ll get four or five big players coming out of the pack. Some will fall away. That’s market dynamics.”
The service has notched up 1.4 million premium subscribers since launching in the UK on September 6 – boosted by an exclusive Tellcomms deal with Everything Everywhere (Orange and T-Mobile). Rival Spotify is thought to have over two million, but with a much larger US presence.
Other popular digital music services include We7, 7Digital, Last.fm, Rdio, Last.fm and
Rhapsody – which acquired Napster last week.
However, Deezer UK MD Mark Foster forecast that there would soon “only be room for three or four” digital music platforms in the sector.
Speaking to Music Week, he said: “We’ll be one of them, no question. Whether we’ll be bigger than Spotify, I don’t know.
“There’ll inevitably be a shake-out – as with any market where you get a lot of people
Foster believes that streaming services will overtake iTunes and other download sites amongst consumers, and that a “generation has become disenfranchised by MP3s”.
He added: “I can definitely see a day when consumers are enjoying more music through streaming than download. To me, it’s a no brainer. On iTunes it’s £7.99 for an album. For that much every month I can access 14 million tracks on Deezer.”
Will Government listen to Demos?
The industry hopes an influential report will put pressure on the Government to get a grip on the music sector’s place within the economy and widen financing opportunities for cash-starved music companies.
The new Demos report, Risky Business, claimed the music and creative industries are all but invisible to Government because data on the sector is lacking.
Co-author Helen Burrows, a former policy advisor to Culture Minister Ed Vaizey, suggested that when the Government looks at a sector it tends to believe its own data. “But the creative sector is invisible in the current data so it will think the sector is not important,” she said.
Unfortunately, she argued, this extends to policy making. The report suggests that many policies have not been properly tailored for creative sectors.
The report was welcomed by UK Music CEO Feargal Sharkey: “Investors and banks lack the hard data they need about our sector to assess risk. Music businesses find it difficult to access finance.”
Vaizey said there is a “cultural obstacle” to investment in creative industries and accepted Government could do more to promote relevant policies.