US-based BandPay is one of the startups trying to help musicians get paid for their work more efficiently. In its case, that takes the form of an app on which collaborators set milestones for their projects, with funds in escrow that are released when those milestones are hit. Now the company is getting a payment milestone of its own: a $2m funding round from an unnamed angel investor, which BandPay says it will use ‘to build its user base, starting with artists, producers, and other music professionals, as well as to continue building out features to serve them’.
We gasped the other day when it emerged that SXSW didn’t have an insurance policy that would cover cancellation due to “communicable diseases, viruses, and pandemics” – like the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). If that was the shot, here’s the chaser: it appears that both SXSW and the also-canceled Ultra Music Festival will not be refunding people who’d bought tickets for this year’s events.
An email sent to SXSW ticketholders stated that “SXSW has to rely on the registration terms you agreed to when you purchased your credential, which acknowledge that SXSW will not issue refunds”. It noted that 2020 badge purchasers can “defer their registration to 2021, 2022, or 2023, with additional benefits that we will update you on as soon as possible”. Ultra Music Festival in Miami is adopting a similar approach: an email made no mention of refunds according to the Miami Herald, but instead said: “all tickets purchased will, of course, remain valid and will be honored at either the 2021 or 2022 Ultra Miami event, at your option”.
The financial impact of the cancellations, which has already been talked about a lot in terms of local businesses in Austin and Miami as well as the artists who were due to perform, is now also trickling down to the music fans (and in SXSW’s case, startups and industry folk) who’d bought tickets. Oh, and also employees in the case of the SXSW organization: it laid off a third of its full-time staff yesterday, while CEO Roland Swenson has already voiced doubt on SXSW’s ability to “carry on and do another event in 2021” in a Wall Street Journal interview. A very difficult situation when this year’s badge-buyers are being invited to defer their registration to next year.