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Live industry firms forced to layoff staff due to Covid-19

Ticketing firm DICE is among one of the many live entertainment companies forced to lay off staff amid the loss of business due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Jobs have also been lost at Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group, Paradigm Talent Agency, South by Southwest festival, ticketing startup Headliner and Zac Brown Band, among many others.

Danny Hannaford, global ticketing operations lead at DICE, said in a post on LinkedIn: “Whilst I have unfortunately been made redundant from my role at DICE due to Covid-19. I feel happy in the knowledge that something I have worked on for the last 18 months will live on.

“The people in the company are truly trying to make a difference in the ticketing industry and I know how hard this has also been on my colleagues and friends to let go members of the family.

“If anyone else is currently going through redundancy anywhere else. Please do feel free to reach out and chat. Good connections is what we all need right now. Please support your events industry and ticket providers as much as you can in this time, it’s not just work for us, it’s our passion.”

Elsewhere, Cirque du Soleil announced “significant temporary staff reductions”, which will affect around 4,500 employees, or 95% of its staff, as Covid-19 has caused the cancellation of all its shows worldwide.

Cirque du Soleil, which earlier this month partnered with live entertainment giant AEG and venue operator ASM Global, said the short-term layoffs are “a necessary measure to stabilise the company for the future”.

Employees will be offered support from the company including paid holiday time, insurance coverage throughout the temporary layoff period and access to the group’s employee support program.

The news follows the announcement last week that Las Vegas ticketing group Tix Corporation laid off the majority of its employees and suspended sales to shows, attractions and tours due to the coronavirus.

The operator, which provides discount ticketing services for concerts and shows via its Tix4Tonight brand, has closed all nine ticket booths of the business that is geographically concentrated in the Las Vegas, Nevada marketplace, via MGM Resorts and Cirque du Soleil shows.

Meanwhile, secondary ticketing discovery startup Headliner has been forced to lay off several members of its staff. The firm uses its technology to scour the internet and find the best priced resale tickets for fans, who can pay the Buy Now price or make offer of how much they’d like to pay.

The cancelled SXSW, one of the world’s largest gatherings of culture creators, has also laid off one-third of its workforce as the 2020 event was halted in its tracks by the spread of Covid-19. SXSW chief executive Roland Swenson said, according to Digital Music News, that the event would face bankruptcy by the summer without outside help.

US country music band Zac Brown Band has also revealed a 90 per cent lay off of its crew as its tour draws to a close amid the pandemic.

He said in a statement: “It was a hard day today. For the last 15 years, my crew, who I carry with me out on the road to play my shows and do what we do, I’ve had to let go of about 90% of my family.

“The people that I travelled with and grew my business with. The people I high five on the way out to the stage, the people who have done their jobs and done them well. I hate having to make this call, but I can’t generate out there and I can’t tour because of the coronavirus and everyone’s safety and I’m fine with that.”

In the UK last week, the government pledged to pay workers at 80 per cent of each employee’s salary, but is now facing political pressure to help the millions of self-employed workers who will not benefit.

UK Music is now leading calls for more help for self-employed workers, which make up around 72 per cent of of the music industry.

Image: Christopher Michel