Wednesday 20 September 2017

Amazon announces launch of live music business with Blondie gig in Hackney

Debbie Harry of Blondie will perform Amazon's launch of live music
Debbie Harry of Blondie will perform Amazon's launch of live music

Josie Cox

Amazon has cranked up its pursuit of total entertainment industry domination, announcing the launch of a live music business in the UK.

The Seattle-headquartered titan, which already overshadows many of its rivals in the technology and e-commerce space, on Tuesday said that its new Prime Live Events business will hosts concerts for which tickets will be exclusively available to its Prime members.

The businesses’ inaugural event will be a Blondie concert on 23 May at the Round Chapel in Hackney, at which the band will perform a mix of their older hits and material from the new album, Pollinator, to an audience of 750.

Amazon said that it will be one of the smallest and most intimate venues Blondie have ever played and will also mark four decades to the week since the band’s first ever UK performance, in Bournemouth in 1977. Tickets are due to go on sale on Thursday.

Amazon launched an event ticketing service in the UK in 2015, giving members early access to tickets for concerts, theatre shows and exhibitions, but its latest foray will be the first time it hosts its own gigs, which – according to industry trade body UK Music – contribute more than £900m to the overall UK economy each year.

“This new venture is yet another service to Amazon’s arsenal, widening its plans for not only retail supremacy, but lifestyle and entertainment too,” said Hugh Fletcher, global head of consultancy and innovation at digital consultancy Salmon.

“It is further evidence of Amazon’s desire to own as many interfaces with the customer as possible – be that shopping, content viewing, or music,” he added. “Retailers need to revolutionise their own offering to combat leaders like Amazon.”

Citing a study by research firm eMarketer, Reuters earlier this week reported that Amazon’s Echo and Echo Dot devices are set to claim a 70.6pc share of the US market for voice-controlled speakers this year.

Shares in the company hit an all-time high last month after it posted forecast-trumping results for the first three months of 2017, largely spurred by fees from its Prime offering, its media streaming services and advertising revenue.

Amazon Prime, which offers super-fast delivery and video streaming to members, helped raise the company's subscription sales 49pc from a year earlier to $1.9bn.

Strategists have said that Prime subscriptions have ben integral to Amazon's growth strategy because they incentivise consumers to shop more products more often.

Rupal Karia, head of commercial sector at information and communication technology company Fujitsu UK & Ireland said that the impact Amazon has made on other industries to-date “has been disruptive to say the least”.

He said that in the light of its latest business launch in the UK, “it’s important that those in live music are ready to move quickly to keep up with the impressive pace of change Amazon sets”.

The UK has for some years been a major market for Amazon and in March the sprawling group launched Amazon Business for the UK, aimed at doing for businesses what it already does for individual customers, by offering a marketplace where companies can buy everything from industrial machinery to paper clips and janitorial equipment, even in bulk.

It’s also in the midst of a major staffing expansion dive, which involves hiring thousands across several sites taking its total UK workforce of 24,000 by the end of this year.

Other Prime Live Events due to take place in the UK throughout June and July, are concerts by singer-songwriter Alison Moyet, Texas and Katie Melua.

Independent News Service

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