“Country 2 Country” or the country music expansion in Europe

By Luca Balbo


Carrie Underwood. Jo Hale/Redferns

Two days after Carrie Underwood’s live streaming show at the iTunes Festival in London, the news came. She will headline the Country 2 Country festival at The O2 Arena (London biggest venue) in 2016 . The rest of the performers will be revealed on October 6th. This is an incredible news giving the fact that Carrie Underwood has a big reservoir of fans in UK and Europe, more than the other american country singers. This is a great opportunity to promote her upcoming album “Storyteller” (To be released October 23rd) around the kingdom.


Country 2 Country, created in 2013, has become the largest country festival in Europe. Last year 50,000 fans attended the event at the O2 Arena. This is an incredible audience comparing to the other little country events around Europe.

Uk and Ireland are the best gates to introduce country music in Europe. Indeed, besides the fact that the language is facilitating the process, there are a lot of people already involved in folk music (Irish, Scottish, Gaelic, ..) and this is making them closer and more sensible to american country music.

in 2012, Carrie Underwood’s album “Blown Away” reached the #11 position in UK charts. Last year, Brad Paisley’s “Moonshine in the Trunk” reached the #34 position. And finally, Luke Bryan’s last album “Kill the Lights” got to the 47th position this year. We can see that country superstars can find their way in the very competitive UK music market despite poor and insufficient local appearances and promotion.

It’s important to mention that Norway and Sweden are also attractive markets for country singers. Country Music is relatively successful in those areas. Country 2 Country festival was exported to Oslo and Stockholm this year featuring Luke Bryan and Lady Antebellum and Brad Paisley did a proper tour in those cities two years ago.

We cannot talk about country music invasion but we can’t deny that its european presence is improving thanks to internet and streaming platforms. Country remains a very particular style associated to deep american roots and therefore it cannot be easily successful among the other genres in Europe but there are more people than we think that could be superfans and involved in that expanding style. There is an opportunity for the country music industry to generate income in selling records and touring if they think properly of a new way to promote it by analyzing the european’s sociology and behavior. It’s a matter of making the marketing and A&R choices. There is potential.

C2C website

Carrie Underwood’s news 

WARE have you been? Meet JESSIE WARE

Who is JESSIE WARE?Jessie-Ware-red-lipstick-effect

Another artist that I slept on was Jessie Ware! I didn’t discover Jessie’s music until this year. Here’s a quick rundown on this budding starlet:

The Deets

  • Origin: UK (London)
  • Label: PMR Records
  • Started her career as a background vocalist for Jack Peñate and SBTRKT
  • She collaborated with Sampha (long time collaborator of SBTRKT’s) on the song “Valentine”
  • Released her debut album “Devotion” August 2012
  • Debuted at #5 on the UK charts
  • Most successful single “Wildest Moments”


Jessie has spent the last year touring at numerous festivals throughout the UK, Europe, and the States. She recently started working on her sophomore album during the 1st quarter of this year. I’m highly anticipating her next release! I can’t wait for some new music! In the meantime, listen to some of her tracks below.

Wildest Moments

Devotion (Title Track)–One of my faves!

Bonus Vid: Valentine

Dates of Upcoming Shows:

  • Wilderness Festival (August 7, 2014-Cornbury Park, Charlbury, UK)
  • Berlin Festival (September 5, 2014-Flughafen Tempelhof, Berlin, Germany

For more info on Jessie, check out her official website jessieware.com

MIDEM, as experienced by me.

 Don’t wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. – Orison Swett Marden

  Going into MIDEM my focus was to network with as many people as possible in the hopes of developing some job opportunities come July.  No one was going to come up to me and say, “Hey there, would you like a job?”  the only way I was going to take anything out of MIDEM was to network, and network I did.  Though my random conversations at the conference , The Carlton and Morrison’s proved to be quite entertaining it was the meetings I arranged before hand that turned out to be the focal points of my entire trip and gave me the most insight about the industry.  After about 20 e-mails sent and a couple of replies,  I arranged 4 meetings and one volunteer opportunity.

Meeting 1

My first meeting was with Toomas Olljum an Estonian artist manager who works with some of Estonia’s biggest musicians female vocalist Iiris and the alternative band Ewert and the Two Dragons.   We spent close to an hour talking about all his different avenues of work including being a consultant for a Nordic Region festival called Tallin Music Week  and starting his own management company.  Toomas shared his story about how got into the industry and highlighted a lot of experiences that gave me insight on how to be a successful artist manager. One of the most important things he said was to “rarely say no to an opportunity” he delved into the importance on how every opportunity and every experience can be useful especially in the music industry.  So when he emailed to me to offer me the chance to work on some projects in Estonia for Tallin Music Week my immediate answer was yes.

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 5.43.16 PM

Meeting 2

  My second meeting was with Alastair Burns from HeartStop Music in Australia.  Lets just say this meeting didn’t go as well as the others. To be short and to the point the meeting fell through because I could´t find him during the Aussie BBQ.  Some takeaways for successful networking I learned from this encounter are; 1) Research/google the person you are meeting because their google picture might not be an accurate representation of what they look like in the present 2)  Set up a meeting in a space that is less crowded. All hope was not lost though as I received a very detailed e-mail from Alastair giving me a lot of good advice and insight about the music industry in Australia.



Meeting 3

My third meeting was with Scott Cohen one of the founders of The Orchard  a “pio­neer­ing music, video and film distribution company and top-ranked Multi Channel Network oper­at­ing in more than 25 global markets”.  This meeting out of all 4 was probably the most helpful and insightful in regards to my culminating experience project.  Scott was really interested in the band I was managing and was very insightful on how to develop the bands social media engagement.



Meeting 4

My final meeting was with 141a Management  “a music management company representing artists from all music genres. They are one of the few companies who still believe in the old method of developing artists and not manufacturing them”.  This meeting came about rather randomly, I tried  to just walk into the British Music area to meet some of the London based companies and labels but that didn’t end up so well.  So once again I was left with an e-mails as my main avenue to network, but hey why not it worked before. I contacted 4 labels and didn’t hear back from any until my last night at MIDEM.  I got a message  from the assistant manager saying if I was still interested to meet her at the British Music lounge at 6.  I sat down at the table with 2 other people sitting down and they turned out to be the CEO of the company and another manager, before I knew it this meeting turned into a type of interview.  I expressed my interest in artist development and how I admire the fact that their company focuses on developing their artists and works hard to ensure their success rather than trying manufacturing it.  They continued to ask more questions and finally ended the meeting asking me if I was interested in a job and that if I was to send my resume in to their office so they can work out an offer.

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 6.22.23 PM


To be honest, I did not expect any of this when I got on that 15 hour bus ride to Canne.  I knew I was going to spend most of time trying to meet people rather than attending the various workshops and speeches. A lot of the people I met at random during the conference expressed confusion on why a graduate student would be attending the conference and at the time my only answer was to network but I think I got more out of it than that.  I got to talk to industry professionals and get an insight on the way the industry is working at the moment, and yes I know that the music industry is ever-changing but to foresee its future you have to understand where it came from and the problems that made it not successful,  MIDEM gave me some perspective on that. For me MIDEM was about seizing the opportunity at hand and I think I was able to do that.




Rock Label of the Week is focused on highlighting some of the biggest – or most obscure- labels that you may – or may not – have ever heard of. 

  • Name Of Label: Matador Records
  • Founded: 1989
  • Location: New York City, NY.
  • Label Type: Independent
  • Distributors: INgrooves, RED, ADA
  • Genre of Focus: Indie Rock
  • Current Roster: Belle and Sebastian, Cat Power, Interpol, The New Pornographers, Pavement, Queens Of The Stone Age, Sonic Youth.
  • Inactive Roster: Arsonists, Neko Case, Jaguar Love, Lou Reed, Mogwai, Pretty Girls Make Graves, M. Ward.
  • Website: http://www.matadorrecords.com/

Matador Records was founded in 1989 in under the bright lights of New York City. Founder Chris Lombardi began the record label under the roof of his apartment, and shortly after Matador’s inception, Homestead Records manager Gerard Cosloy would join in on the fun. Through hard work and connections, Matador was able to release albums from Superchunk (self titled LP) and Teenage Fanclub (A Catholic Education) in 1990, which would both turn out to be unexpectedly successful. The inflow of cash would allow the label to afford an office space, and sign Pavement. Pavement’s release Slanted and Enchanted in 1992, the label became a known force in the industry.

This success would be followed with the successful signing of Liz Phair. While Liz Phair’s biggest single “Why Can’t I?” doesn’t put her on the map as a “rock artist”, her earlier work under Matador was grungy (like a combo between the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s and Garbage). The singer songwriter released album Exile In Guyville in 1993, and was fairly revolutionary for female artists:

“Calling Exile In Guyville a “song by song” response to the Rolling Stones’ swaggering, staggering “classic” Exile On Main Street, Phair dared rewrite rock’n’roll’s heinous clichés from the lady’s perspective. Her blushingly frank take on modern sexual entanglements —sung with plenty of frank sailor-talk and confessionals overshare— gave a face, a voice, and a name to the women who, 20 years earlier, could’ve only found one place in rock culture: groupie.” [Matador Top 20 Albums

Through its successes, Matador partnered with Atlantic Records. Eventually, the partnership ended and the label was partially purchased by Capitol Records in 1996 (eventually Lombardi and Cosloy bought back full ownership of Matador, but lost Liz Phair to Capitol in the process). In 2002, Matador split ownership with by Beggars Group (Beggars also co-owns 4AD, Rough Trade, and XL Recordings) and through this venture, a London office for Matador was established in order to handle worldwide distribution/marketing for the label.

Matador Merch

Matador Records Merch.

 One of the keys to Matador’s success is that the label focuses on signing artists that have already released music prior to any deals being made. Chris Lombardi discloses the reasoning behind this choice:

“There’s something infinitely more attractive in an artist that already has a completed album, that has a record that we already know and like. We’re not A&R men in the archetypal sense: we don’t handhold the artists, sculpt them in the right image. We simply let them be as they are.” [Alt Music Matador History]


Queens Of The Stone Age live at Letterman.

Matador independently handles their own A&R, art production and direct-store distribution with no outside influence, while Beggars handles the responsibilities of Matador Europe.

Matador also created one of the most beneficial marketing strategies for their label: The Matablog. With the Matablog, users that were selected by the admin (this role has been taken on by Patrick Amory, general manager of Matador) and are invited to blog openly on the website. Bloggers are encouraged to post material about Matador, including new releases, tour dates, etc. Record exec’s for Matador and artists on the label are also encouraged to post any relevant information about themselves/the label. The Matablog has created immense amount of traffic for the labels website, and Patrick Amory indulges in the purpose of the blog:

“The personality of the label – essentially the combination of all these factors – is, in turn, an important way of conveying to the public why they should be interested in buying our music.  Matador releases are not just a collection of songs or albums – they are part of a larger community of interesting, interested people.” [Hypebot Interview]


Ceremony article on Matablog.

Matador Records is here to stay. With signed acts like Cat Power, Queens Of The Stone Age, and Pavement, the success of Matador has never faltered. On the labels website, the FAQ of the label ends with this:

“Throughout the label’s history, Matador has been a champion of artistic freedom, diversity and innovation. The label’s catalog and release schedule reflect the tastes of the company’s owners, Lombardi and Cosloy, and their longstanding commitment to sharing the music they love with as many others as possible.” [Matador Website]


Looking for more reading material? Check out my blog Heavy Bass and Breakdowns on WordPress!

ROCK LABEL OF THE WEEK: Wichita Recordings


Rock Label of the Week is focused on highlighting some of the biggest – or most obscure- labels that you may – or may not – have ever heard of.

  • Name Of Label: Wichita Recordings
  • Founded: 2000
  • Location: London, United Kingdom
  • Label Type: Independent
  • Distributors: V2/Cooperative Music
  • Genre of Focus: Indie Rock/Post-Punk
  • Current Roster: Best Coast, The Dodos, First Aid Kit, Conor Oberst, Bloc Party, Wild Flag, The Cribs.
  • Inactive Roster: Peter Bjorn and John, The Blood Brothers, Bright Eyes, My Morning Jacket, Northern State, Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
  • Website: http://www.wichita-recordings.com/

Wichita Recordings was founded in 2000 by friends Mark Bowen and Dick Green. Originally, the duo had both met while they were both working for Creation Recordings in London (Creation’s roster included Oasis, My Bloody Valentine, and The Jesus and Mary Train). When Creation dissolved in 1999, that became the beginning to Wichita, and in an interview with Bowen, he discusses the moment when Creation owner Alan McGee approached him about the idea of starting his own label:

 “When Alan and Dick stopped doing Creation, Alan took me to one side and told me to do my own label. I had never had any intentions of doing it, I was only thirty and thought I was too young. But a couple of weeks later me and Dick sat down for a drink and he said he wanted to do a label but he wasn’t ready to do one on the scale of Creation by the end. He wanted to do something which only involved us, something smaller but we would be really into. He wanted to build something slowly, and not be in any rush. So I thought, that sounds more like it, more my kind of scene! Starting a record company to sell a million records sounded like hard work, this sounded more like a sensible way to find my way back into life after Creation ended.” [Clash Music Interview] 


Where it all began.

The first album to release under Wichita would be one to envy; Bright Eyes album Fevers and Mirrors. The story goes that Bowen stumbled upon Bright Eye’s music on the Saddle Creek website, and was compelled to buy an EP and check it out. Bowen was impressed, and the Bright Eyes were signed. However, Wichita Recordings had been under the impression that the band was already a huge success in the USA, when the band, in actuality, had only sold around 900 copies of their music. Apparently, they signed the band for a pretty good sum, but as it’s known, Bright Eyes would make that money back, becoming one of the bigger indie darlings of the decade. Today, Wichita Recordings still works with Conor Oberst (lead singer of Bright Eyes) in producing and distributing his solo music.


Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes.

A few years down the line, Wichita had gone through some bouts of upset. Two of their biggest acts, Yeah Yeah Yeah’s and My Morning Jacket had moved to major labels after blooming success under Wichita. However, the guys at Wichita would accidently stumble upon a band that would change it all for the label. That band is Bloc Party:

“It was the Saturday before Christmas and I was meant to be home in Wales, but I missed my train and thought I’d wait and see this band. Went to the ICA and it was completely empty. I fell in love with them. It was really odd – my touchstones were The Smiths and for Dick it was New Order, and Bloc Party seemed to sound like both. Kele struck me as a Morrissey heir; his words were fantastic. He was a reticent star, but magnetic nonetheless.” [Time Out Bahrain Interview] 

Bloc Party would be asked to sign to Wichita Recordings, and their album, Silent Alarm, became a huge success for the band and the label. Silent Alarm (features songs Banquet, Helicopter, and So Here We Are) would sell approx. 61,000 albums in its first week in the UK, and in the USA the album reached #7 on Billboard Top Independent Albums in 2005. The album would eventually go to sell over a million copies, and Silent Alarm was certified platinum.


First Aid Kit doing Karaoke.

It is typical for labels to be caught in controversy (Victory Records, Rise Records), but Wichita has seemingly avoided any problems within the label. The label’s focus: “no wankers”. Wichita has remained very focused on the quality of the bands they sign, and has refused the idea of selling out. Bowen highlights this in our close to this weeks Rock Label of the Week:

“To this day we look for something different, and if you look back over the ten years most of the records still stand up. Most of the bands still have careers. Starting with Bright Eyes and Conor Oberst, I mean they’re still going ten years later and probably will be making music in another ten years. But that was always the case at Creation – look at Teenage Fanclub, Primal Scream. That was the culture I was introduced into, that they could break through with their fourth record. If you look for the next big thing it becomes quite ephemeral.” [Clash Music Interview]

! On a side-note, did you know Wichita was responsible for the “whistling song that conquered the world?!



Looking for more reading material? Check out my blog Heavy Bass and Breakdowns on WordPress!



Rock Label of the Week is focused on highlighting some of the biggest – or most obscure- labels that you may – or may not – have ever heard of.

  • Name Of Label: Basick Records
  • Founded: 2005.
  • Location: London, UK.
  • Label Type: Independent.
  • Distributors: Prosthetic/RED Distribution/Warner
  • Genre of Focus: Progressive Metal
  • Current Roster: 7 Horns 7 Eyes, Alaya, Chimp Spanner, Glass Cloud, Misery Signals, The Algorithm.
  • Inactive Roster: Between The Screams, Fellsilent, Monuments, Shy Of The Depth, The Escape, Visions.
  • Website: http://www.basickrecords.com/

In Rock Label’s first trip overseas, we will be taking a look at Basick Records. Still young to the label world, Basick was founded in 2005 by brothers Nathan Barley Phillips and Jake Smith. When it came to Basick, neither of the brothers had any extensive backgrounds in working in the music industry. Nathan had worked at AiRecords (electronica label) for three years before co-founding Basick, but the brothers relied on doing tons of research on the biz before Basick was created. The first album the label ever produced was titled “Do You Feel This?” featuring a compilation of bands (some of them who would eventually sign with the label). Shortly after the release of the compilation, Basick would sign their first band, Fellsilent (the band broke up in 2010) and also be the first label to release material from the band Enter Shikari.

One thing that Basick has prided itself on is the fact that they focus on progressive metal as a genre. Standard metal is too boring, but they won’t necessarily avoid any band that proves themselves talented and worthy. While this niche has sometimes proved to limit the labels opportunities (in 2010 Mammouthfest, three of Basick’s bands were pulled from the lineup unceremoniously), it has found its successes in focusing on a genre the crew at Basick really loves. Nathan describes their choice to focus on progressive metal in an interview with One Metal:

“I think its borne from a necessity to stand out from the pack. Also, from a musical perspective, I wanted to make sure that we were not only working with credible music, but music that would actually take things forward. There are hundreds of other labels that are all working with mainstream rock and metal and no doubt they’re shifting more units than BASICK. And that’s fine, fair play to them, that’s their prerogative. But that’s not what BASICK is about. We’re committed to working with a broad range of music, but it must be intelligent and forward thinking.” [One Metal]


The Algorithm Nomination for the Golden Gods Award.

While the label is only eight years old, the plan is to expand within the next few years into North America, Asia and Australia. Having made progress in the UK/European markets, it seemed like a natural “next step” for the guys at Basick. One step taken in that direction is when Basick a partnership with distribution company Prosthetic Records in 2012. Prosthetic is located in the United States, and through the partnership a selection of Basick’s back stocked catalog and all future releases would be distributed in the United States thanks to Prosthetic. That same year, Basick would also sign into a deal with Warner ADA. This deal would mean that all future releases from Basick would be distributed globally based on different markets around the world.


Demo from Alaya

An advantage Basick has over so many other labels worldwide is that because they were created in 2005, they came about within the new age of cyber piracy. This meant that instead of having to adapt to piracy, the label developed itself with piracy in mind from day one. In another interview with Nathan, he explains how the label has worked through this issue, turning it into part of the business model of the label:

“We’ve had to deal with all this current shit like torrents and downloads etc pretty much from day one, so we’ve factored it in to our business plans. Labels that have been going for 25+ years are generally now having to downsize, which is a shitter. But that’s the world we live in. We’re never going to stop it, so all we can do is work with it as best we can and rely on the great relationships and morals of the listeners and community we’ve been building over the years. I think most open minded people know that for true talent to create music, there’s a cost involved. For that talent to then go on creating more music for you to enjoy, also bears a cost. For instance, I get sent records all week long, but that didn’t stop me spending 8 dollars on the new Cloudkicker album this week.” [Got Djent]

Now, the other labels I have reviewed on this blog are older, have crazy stories, and have internationally known acts listed for them. I am here to tell you to give Basick a look. From day one, their eyes have always been on social media, coming from a generation where social media is pivitol to the progression of your label and the music coming from it. On social media:

“It’s played a massive role. I would say that 65% or more of our current marketing strategy now consist of maximizing the benefits of all of the aforementioned services. One of the major factors which gave us the green light when starting the label, was the emergence of sites like PureVolume and MySpace. We could see how things were going to unfold and knew even then that they would play a crucial role in the development of the label.” [One Metal]


Basick Merch Store Offers

You can find them on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc. Especially worth checking out is that Tumblr page, where they are constantly having sales and deals on music and merch (they run their own merch store, no big). So here’s your chance! Check out the current roster sampler and go find your new love of progressive metal!


Looking for more reading material? Check out my blog Heavy Bass and Breakdowns on WordPress!

*Special shout out to Jad El Alam for his recommendation of this record label! You can check out one of his blog posts here!

Radiohead fans frustrated by Ticketmaster’s paperless system

Thom Yorke of Radiohead at the V Festival

Radiohead’s Thom Yorke: attempts to stop touts profiteering from the band’s concerts have rebounded on fans. Photograph: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty

Radiohead and Ticketmaster have been accused of introducing an unfair ticket system that punishes fans who can no longer make it to the band’s sell-out concerts.

In an attempt to stop touts buying vast numbers of tickets and selling them on at a profit, Radiohead decided to use a “paperless ticketing” policy for their shows at Manchester Arena on 6 October and London’s O2 Arena on 8-9 October.

Tickets for the gigs went on sale via Ticketmaster in March, and can only be collected at the venue on the day of the show by the person who bought them. The credit or debit card used to buy them must be presented on the day, as well as additional ID.

However, since shelling out for tickets, many Radiohead fans have found they are unable to go because of unexpected work or other commitments, and are unable to sell the tickets back to Ticketmaster, or give them to friends or family members. Others have had tickets bought for them by well-meaning parents and are unable to collect them because they are not in their name.

Some people who bought several tickets say that because they now can’t make it, their friends won’t be able to go either, because they have to arrive at the venue with the card-holder.

Richa Manwani, a doctor, bought two tickets for the band’s 8 October concert in London. “I have found out that I am on call that day and am unable to make the event,” she said. “Only I can redeem the tickets on the night of the event with my credit card and photo ID. This means I have no way of selling them on for face value. Ticketmaster offers a no-refunds policy, which means I have lost my money.”

  • She added: “I understand entirely the reason for offering paperless tickets to prevent touting and unreasonable inflation of ticket prices, but I think it is unfair and illogical to punish Radiohead fans and Ticketmaster customers who are unlucky enough not to be able to make the event.”

Paul Chambers wrote to Guardian Money after spending £288 on four tickets for the band’s Manchester show. “I can’t go due to being away at work,” he said. “The tickets are in my name and I can’t pick them up. My wife isn’t keen on going to the concert without me but couldn’t anyway due to my name and bank card being on the bill. I would gladly sell the Radiohead tickets to fans for face value but I can’t due to the restrictions.”

Paul McCarren had tickets for the London show on 9 October, which were bought for him by his mother using her credit card. “According to Ticketmaster, she must now be present at the concert in order [for me] to use the tickets,” he told us. “I live in Northern Ireland and would be flying over for the show; needless to say, she will not be coming over with me.”

Guardian Money first highlighted the problems that some people were experiencing back in July, when our back-page Bachelor & Brignall column featured a letter from “LC” from Aberdeen, who couldn’t make one of the London concerts because he was being sent overseas for work. In his case, Ticketmaster agreed to refund him and sell the tickets on, but its approach to other customers appears to vary widely, depending on which of its agents deals with them.

McCarren has now been able to get the tickets transferred into his name – but not without some effort. “With some luck and a great deal of time spent on the phone, I was able to resolve the issue. Ticketmaster cancelled my previous order and then held the tickets for me, so I could purchase them with my own card. A great result, but not without a lot of hassle and money spent on the phone.”

Another fan, Victoria Spooner, was told by Ticketmaster that there was nothing it could do when she asked if she could pass her tickets on to a friend after she discovered her employer was sending her to Vancouver during the week of the concert. Yet another reader, Stephen Smith, says he was also turned down for an exchange or refund when he attempted to return his tickets for the Manchester concert.

Jon Wiffen, a spokesman for Ticketmaster, told us the company was considering customers on a case by case basis. “Terms and conditions relating to the purchase of paperless tickets are clearly outlined to customers at multiple stages during the purchase process, including the initial purchase page, the shipping page and the billing page. Information relating to their purchase of paperless tickets is also conveyed on the confirmation email they receive.”

He added: “Paperless tickets aren’t transferable because this prevents those tickets being offered in the resale market. However, our dedicated customer services team are happy to work with both customers and our clients, be that the venues or promoters, if a customer’s circumstances change.”

The inflexibility of paperless tickets is likely to become more of a problem as more bands and promoters start to use them to tackle the problem of touts. At present, Ticketmaster’s UK arm is only offering paperless tickets for the Radiohead gigs and some of Michael McIntyre’s shows, but it has used them for several other events during the past three years.

In America, paperless ticketing is much more common. Fans there have set up the Fan Freedom Project, which is lobbying venues, sports teams and, in particular, Ticketmaster, about paperless ticketing. “Paperless tickets sound convenient. But in truth, they’re a nightmare for fans,” its founders say on its website. “As fans, restrictive paperless tickets mean less control, more hassles, no price competition and more fees paid to paperless ticketing companies like Ticketmaster.”