Access All Areas September 2019 - Page 36

SEPTEMBER | COVER FEATURE Series) and RoboMagic (Duran Duran, Ne-Yo, Bon Jovi). Meawnhile, the DCMS Select Committee report on live music, published 19 March 2019, asked that the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) consider “conducting a market study of the music industry to assess whether competition in the market is working effectively for both consumers and those working in the industry.” “For some time,” Reed says, “we have been urging the CMA to extend their investigations beyond single acquisitions and into Live Nation’s position in the market overall before the existing stranglehold is further exacerbated.” There is an increasing divide in the festival industry between shows that are independent, owned by a promoter or group of promoters and shows that are owned by huge conglomerates, “It’s fair to say that the festival industry is one of the most risk dominated markets.” – Nick Morgan 36 adds Nick Morgan, CEO, We Are The Fair. “Allowing a single company to dominate reduces the amount of choice and value for money for music fans. It can block new entrants to market, result in strangleholds on talent through exclusivity deals and stifle competition throughout the entire live music business.” “Ironically, after being faced with criticism from the industry, a piece of research commissioned by Barclaycard this year to celebrate its partnership with Live Nation and AEG, found more evidence that indicated the Experience Economy trends weren’t slowing down. It found that almost 1 in 5 people would spend their money at a festival over their annual holiday. All this research would indicate that the festival market is healthy and continuing to grow, however, we also need to ask how it is growing and where it is headed. “It’s fair to say that the festival industry is one of the most risk- dominated markets. It’s a tough place to build a business and one that can be taken away in a blink of an eye, which is why conglomerates find safety in numbers. If one falls off, you still have a strong market share but huge financial investment doesn’t always equal the right festival experience for customers and suppliers alike. Some argue that the size of a business adds reassurance to festival goers and allows them to offer longer contracts and better standards. Morgan takes issue with this: “Because a business is big it means that they do everything the right way, have the right policies, work with the best suppliers or deliver the best shows. Some of the large conglomerates have had some catastrophic failings on the supply chain such as security and bar staff. They do however have weighting and can pressurise suppliers to deliver on their shows – but this in itself causes risk to other shows and can affect smaller one-off festivals who could potentially have a shortage on inventory delivered on site if the festival giants up their needs last minute and demand supply.” There are a few benefits that come with larger purchasing power, adds Bradley Thompson, director of Broadwick Live and Broadwick Venues, but ultimately its about good company ethos: “Customers have come to