LIVE MUSIC INTELLIGENCE
THEY LET HIM OUT IN 71 HEâ€™D LOST A LITTLE WEIGHT. BUT HE DRESSED LIKE JIMMY CAGNEY AND I SWEAR HE DID LOOK GREAT
ILMC 29 Report Ten Years of WME London Ireland Market Report Herman Schueremans Virtual Reality ISSUE 71
Contents IQ Magazine Issue 71
News and Developments 6 In Tweets The main headlines over the last two months
8 In Depth Key stories from around the live music world 12 Busy Bodies Industry associations share business concerns and news 13 New Signings A round-up of the latest acts that have been added to the rosters of international agents 34 Techno Files Revealing the hottest new technology in live entertainment
18 ILMC 29 Report Full review of the conference 36 Ten Years of WME London William Morris Endeavor executives reflect on a decade of developing their international operations 50 Virtually Live Eamonn Forde examines the latest developments in virtual reality
54 Leading the Peloton The winner of this year’s Bottle Award, Herman Schueremans, talks about his brush with death, his love of cycling and how he’s dealing with terror threats 68 Market Report: Ireland Adam Woods looks at the health of the business on both sides of the Irish border
Comments and Columns 14 Doing more for young music makers Matt Griffiths asks the live music industry to support and help young people in challenging circumstances through music 15 A Time of Change in Africa Dudu Sarr informs us of developments in the live industry in Africa 16 Rock & Roll All Night London night czar Amy Lamé explains what her newly created role involves 17 Eastern Promise Broadcaster Nerm outlines opportunities in the potentially vast Indian market
76 Members’ Noticeboard Keeping you posted on what ILMC members are up to
78 Your Shout “What’s the best excuse you’ve ever had for missing a gig?”
IQ Magazine May 2017
Issue 71 LIVE MUSIC INTELLIGENCE
THE ILMC JOURNAL, May 2017
Plus ça change… Another issue of IQ, another election surprise, observes Gordon Masson
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ILMC and Suspicious Marketing
As IQ goes to press, the news from France is that the population has turned its back on the historical political status quo to ensure that the forthcoming presidential election will be contested between ‘outsiders’ Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, in what looks like a straightforward choice between the country remaining in the EU or Frexiting. Without getting too deep into politics, I for one will be hoping that the people of France are a little more progressive than the citizens of the UK when it comes to the main vote on 7 May. Right, that’s my pitch for sanity done. Onto our bumper issue – and what a pageturner we’ve got for you, folks. First up is our report on ILMC 29. If you were there, we trust you enjoyed this year’s conference and murder mystery-themed shenanigans. The following pages should give you a taster/reminder of this year’s event, more details of which are available on 29.ilmc.com. (Meanwhile, in the depths of ILMC Towers, preliminary work is already under way for the 30th anniversary of the event.) Over on page 36, we celebrate the first full decade of WME’s London music division operations with an in-depth look at the company’s international expansion and an unapologetic
explanation of why the agency remains convinced that its team-oriented, territorial booking approach offers its clients the best career options. Another celebratory feature can be found on page 54, where Belgian promoter extraordinaire, Herman Schueremans, fresh from winning The Bottle at this year’s Arthur Awards, reflects on a challenging 2016. Herman also talks candidly about how his ‘illness’ changed the way he looks at life and how craft beer helps to fuel his optimism for the future of the live music business. Adam Woods heads over to the Emerald Isle, meanswhile, to provide a health check on the markets both north and south of the border, and to explore what effects Brexit may have on the business (page 68). And elsewhere, Eamonn Forde takes a look at what is happening in the burgeoning virtual reality sector to gauge what impact it could have on the live events sector in the immediate future (page 50). All that as well as our usual news, comments, and all the other pages that help to make those business flights go that little bit quicker…
IQ Magazine May 2017
[cough]Vote Macron! [cough]
News Editor Jon Chapple
Associate Editor Allan McGowan
Marketing & Advertising Director Terry McNally
Ben Delger and Sam McGlynn
Matt Griffiths, Eamonn Forde, Amy Lamé, Nerm, Dudu Sarr, Manfred Tari, Adam Woods
Gordon Masson, email@example.com Tel: +44 (0)20 3743 0303
Terry McNally, firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +44 (0)20 3743 0304
To subscribe to IQ Magazine: email@example.com An annual subscription to IQ is £75 (print) or £60 (electronic).
In Tweets... MARCH
Hackers breach the Coachella website, stealing usernames and other personal information, festival promoter Goldenvoice confirms. Former Paradigm staffer Greg Janese joins United Talent Agency’s Nashville office as head of corporate and special events (see page 8). Police raid offices of Greek performance rights organisation AEPI as part of a probe into alleged financial mismanagement. Iron Maiden’s decision to use paperless tickets on the UK leg of The Book of Souls arena tour helps reduce the number of tickets appearing on secondary sites by more than 95%, according to promoter Live Nation. Albert Salmerón, director of Barcelona-based Producciones Animadas, is appointed president of Spain’s Association of Music Promoters (see page 8). More than three quarters of women working in the British music industry have experienced sexism, claims a new report by PRS Foundation. The British government announces its intention to ban ticket bots. Two people die and others are injured in a crush at a concert by Argentine singer Indio Solari in the city of Olavarría. China’s Alibaba reveals plans to launch an artist management company. Shazam updates its app to integrate Songkick’s database of more than five million concert listings. British agent Bex Majors joins United Talent Agency’s Beverly Hills-based music team. Fellow UK agent Billy Wood, and NiteVision Management
founder Mike Guirguis join her as UTA’s newest hires (see page 8). The number of South by Southwest performers turned away at the US border rises to ten, as officials implement new immigration rules. Michael Coppel becomes chairman of Live Nation of Australia and New Zealand (see page 8). French ticketing market leader, Fnac, announces a strategic partnership with Deezer that will see the streaming service recommend Fnac-ticketed concerts. The Association of Portuguese Festivals, APORFEST, reports that 249 music festivals were held in the country last year – 39 more than in 2015 – growing ticket sales by 300,000 to 2.1 million. Sixty-five people involved in a crush at December’s Falls Festival in Lorne, Australia, instigate lawsuits against promoters for alleged negligence. Live Nation acquires a controlling stake in the UK’s Isle of Wight Festival. Several Australian festivals are cancelled at the eleventh hour as severe storms hit. Sydney’s Party in the Park and St Patrick’s Day parade, and Red Hot Summer Tour’s visit to Kiama are among the victims. Global Entertainment takes its festival portfolio to 17 events with the acquisition of majority stakes in the UK’s Victorious Festival and Croatia’s Hideout Festival. Viagogo is heavily criticised by British politicians after failing to send any representatives to a Culture, Media and Sport Committee evidence session on ticket abuse. E-commerce giant Alibaba announces the acquisition of China’s leading music, sports and theatrical ticket agency, Damai.cn. The city of Seville fines Live Nation €15,000 for failing to provide refunds for AC/DC’s Axl Rose-fronted show last May. Daniel Mercede (29) of Bay Village near Cleveland, is sentenced to more than six years in prison for fraudulently reselling concert tickets. He is also fined $424k (€395k), after pleading guilty to bank fraud. The Australian leg of Adele’s Live 2017 tour makes concert history after
@iq_mag playing to more than 600,000 people over eight stadium dates. Spanish promoter Riff Producciones signs a strategic partnership with Live Nation. CTS Eventim doubles dividend payments to shareholders following a successful 2016 when the company grew revenues 14.1% to €395.1m. The Spanish government announces a cut in the rate of cultural VAT to 10%, slashing the 21% imposed on tickets since 2012. EDM franchise Ultra Worldwide reveals plans for new events in India and Australia. Vivendi says its three ticketing businesses – See Tickets (UK), See Tickets US and Digitick (FR) – grew revenues by 12% in 2016 to €52m. Global Entertainment appoints Debbie Ward to lead its new commercial division (see page 8). UK culture minister, Matt Hancock, expresses concern that promoters of grime and other “urban music events” are being forced out of London by controversial police risk assessments. Members of the European Arenas Association (EAA) and the British National Arenas Association (NAA) report strong growth in music attendance last year, welcoming more than 16 million concertgoers to their combined 52 venues. Ludvig Werner is named chairman of Nordic Music Export (see page 8). Former Mojo Concerts CEO, Wilbert Mutsaers, is appointed Spotify’s head of shows and editorial for the Netherlands (see page 8). Live Nation officially launches The Classic twin events in New York and Los Angeles, which will be headlined by Eagles and Fleetwood Mac. The UK’s Music Managers Forum, Musicians’ Union and Featured Artists Coalition partner to create a sample management agreement for newcomers to the industry “in response to the often unfair terms found in unchecked contracts brought forward by members of the three organisations.” Uwe Frommhold is appointed vicepresident and COO of AEG Facilities Germany, which operates three arenas the country (see page 8).
Adele in Australia
IQ Magazine May 2017
News Iron Maiden
CTS Eventim adds to its live entertainment division with the acquisition of concerts business, Four Artists. Irving Azoff and Tim Leiweke’s Oak View Group enters into a three-year, $40m (€37m) commercial partnership which will see Walmart, the world’s second-largest retailer, become its “official big-box retailer.”
Australian concert promoter, Andrew McManus, who confessed to attempting to pervert the course of justice (which carries a maximum sentence of 14 years’ jail time) escapes a prison sentence. The One World Entertainment founder is sentenced to 20 months, but will serve his sentence in the community. Ticket distributor Ingresso is acquired by Accesso, a developer of queuing and ticketing solutions for live events, theme parks, zoos and other attractions. Eventbrite acquires rival platform nvite, a self-service ticketing start-up based in Washington DC. Investment banker Matthieu Pigasse purchases Rock en Seine, adding to his existing live music portfolio which includes interests in Eurockéennes de Belfort, the inRocKs festivals and the Nuits Zébrées concert series. Possessing fireworks, flares or other pyrotechnics at music festivals and concerts is made illegal in Britain under the Policing and Crime Bill 2017, which includes a section prohibiting the “possession of pyrotechnic articles at musical events.” Ben Williams is appointed commercial director for ACC Liverpool Group, overseeing Echo Arena, BT Convention Centre, Exhibition Centre Liverpool and TicketQuarter (see page 8). Booking agent Gunter Schroder is named vice-president of the international division of The Kurland Agency (see page 8). Arena Group acquires the seating division of Wernick Group in a multimillion-pound deal that will increase its UK stock of temporary grandstand seats to more than 120,000. Dusty Kurtz replaces founder Jack Lucas at the helm of independent US ticket agency TicketsWest (see page 8).
Joseph Rascoff, business manager to The Stones, David Bowie, Paul Simon, U2, Sting, Shania Twain and David Byrne, passes away aged 71. Performing rights organisations SACEM (FR), ASCAP (US), PRS (UK) and SOCAN (CA) join forces in a blockchain project that they hope will establish a “shared, decentralised database of musical metadata.” Goldman Sachs initiates coverage of Live Nation Entertainment by giving shares a ‘buy’ rating amid “steady attendance growth in a wide array of live music events.” A group of investors led by Deutsche Finance acquires London venue, Olympia, for €330m. Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn says the new 15,000-cap Demon Dayz Festival in the UK, may also get a twin Chicago event thanks to plans by promoter Goldenvoice/AEG Presents. German promoter and booking agency Artribute appoints Fee Schlennstedt as its new head of booking (see page 8). In the biggest primary deal so far for the world’s largest secondary ticketing site, StubHub is named the official ticket seller for Rock in Rio 2017. AEG launches a branded content division, AEG Studios, to be overseen by Goldenvoice’s Raymond Roker. Loton Corp hires Jerry Gold as executive vice-president and financial officer of its LiveXLive live-streaming business (see page 8). Bolstered by a massive fourth quarter and strong growth in the UK, Deutsche Entertainment AG turns a €26.2m loss in 2015 into a 2016 profit of €500,000.
Creative Artists Agency increases its investment in the Chinese market via a new alliance with private equity firm CMC Capital Partners. The Italian Competition Authority fines CTS Eventim-owned TicketOne €1m for passing tickets directly to the secondary market. Four secondary sites – Viagogo, MyWayTicket, Live Nation’s Seatwave and eBay/StubHub’s Ticketbis – are collectively fined €700,000 as part of the investigation. AudienceView appoints Michael Burnett as managing director for the UK and Europe (see page 8). Spain’s live music industry grew by 4.7% year on year in 2016 – a third consecutive year of growth, and the best 12 months for the business in six years, according to the Association of Music Promoters. German performance rights organisation GEMA last year collected more than €1billion for the first time, its annual accounts reveal. A 15% year-on-year increase is mainly attributable to its deal to allow YouTube access to content. Media regulator AGCOM halts Vivendi’s buying spree in Italy, ordering the French conglomerate to reduce its stake in either Mediaset or Telecom Italia within the next 12 months. Agent David Klein joins United Talent Agency’s Los Angeles office (see page 8). To subscribe to IQ Magazine: firstname.lastname@example.org An annual subscription to IQ is £75 (print) or £60 (electronic).
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IQ Magazine May 2017
Movers and Shakers Greg Janese has joined United Talent Agency as head of corporate and special events. Based in Nashville, he is tasked with booking the agency’s roster for corporate events. He was formerly at Paradigm, where he spent 12 years as head of its corporate and special events division. Albert Salmerón, director of Barcelona-based Producciones Animadas, has been named president of Spain’s Association of Music Promoters. He has taken over from Pascual Egea and will lead a board of directors comprising Doctor Music’s Neo Sala, Tito Ramoneda of The Project, Julio Martí of Serious Fan Music, and Maricruz Laguna, director of marketing at Universal Music’s GTS. British agent Bex Majors, formerly of CAA, has joined United Talent Agency’s Beverly Hills-based music team. She is one of three new hires for UTA, along with fellow UK agent Billy Wood, most recently of WME, and NiteVision Management founder Mike Guirguis. Michael Coppel has been named chairman of Live Nation Australasia. Having sold his Michael Coppel Presents business to Live Nation in 2012, he became Live Nation Australasia’s president and CEO. Former COO Roger Field takes over as CEO, and will be responsible for the day-to-day running of Live Nation’s concert business in Australia and NZ. London-headquartered Global Entertainment has appointed Debbie Ward to develop brand partnerships for its growing portfolio of festivals in the UK, Europe and Canada. A former VP of marketing partnerships at Live Nation, Ward brokered commercial partnerships between festivals including Lovebox and Wilderness; and brands such as Mulberry, Laurent-Perrier, Corona, Jack Daniels and HTC. Ludvig Werner has been named chairman of Nordic Music Export (Nomex). He was previously managing director of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry in Sweden. Werner replaces Gunnar Madsen, while also leaving Nomex is programme director Anna Hildur Hildibrandsdóttir, who is launching film production company, Tattarrattat.
Wilbert Mutsaers has been appointed head of shows and editorial at Spotify Netherlands. He was previously CEO of Mojo Concerts. Uwe Frommhold has been promoted to vice-president and chief operating officer of AEG Facilities Germany, having previously held the post of MD at the Barclaycard Arena in Hamburg. Ben Williams, formerly GM of the First Direct Arena, has taken on the commercial director role for ACC Liverpool Group, and will include Echo Arena, BT Convention Centre, Exhibition Centre Liverpool and TicketQuarter among his remit. Gunter Schroder has been promoted to vice-president of The Kurland Agency’s international division. He will oversee the jazz agency’s bookings in all territories outside of North America. Jack Lucas, the founder and long-serving president of independent US ticket agency TicketsWest, has stepped down after 30 years at the helm. He has been replaced by vice-president Dusty Kurtz. German promoter and agency Artribute has appointed Fee Schlennstedt as its new head of booking to replace Matthias Wendl. She was most recently a booker at the 180-cap Jazzclub Unterfahrt in Munich. Wendl will continue to serve as a consultant. Loton Corp has hired former Warner Music executive Jerry Gold to serve as executive VP and financial officer of its LiveXLive live-streaming business. AudienceView has appointed Michael Burnett as managing director for the UK and Europe. A former managing director of See Tickets, Burnett was most recently director of sport at Live Nation/Ticketmaster. David Klein has joined United Talent Agency’s Los Angeles office. He spent the previous 12 years at CAA where he booked artists including OneRepublic, Tori Kelly, Lana Del Rey, Gavin DeGraw, Dua Lipa, Midnight Oil, Neon Trees and Lifehouse.
ILMC managing director Greg Parmley chaired the Where’s The Slam Tent? session at this year’s Wide Days conference in Edinburgh. The sold-out 21-22 April event attracted a record 250 delegates, with networking activities including lunch in the Scottish capital’s historic Usher Hall, a guided tour courtesy of organiser Olaf Furniss and the obligatory whisky tasting marathon. The Slam Tent panel saw Parmley pondering what the festival of the future might look like, and quizzing guests (from left to right) X-ray Touring agent Beckie Sugden, Lauren Down from the End of the Road Festival, Barış Başaran (SSC Concerts), and Geoff Ellis (DF Concerts), on all manner of topics including music tourism, sustainability, accessibility, and non-music programmes at festivals.
IQ Magazine May 2017
Italian watchdog levies €1.7m in fines on ticketers The Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) has levied fines totalling €1.7million on five ticket agencies, including a blistering €1m to market leader TicketOne. The AGCM investigation kicked off six months ago when consumer group Altroconsumo asked the watchdog to look into allegations that primary seller TicketOne was passing tickets directly to the secondary market. AGCM found that while TicketOne, owned by Ger-
many’s CTS Eventim, is “contractually bound to adopt antitouting measures, [it] did not take appropriate steps to prevent bulk buying through specialist software, nor has it tried to limit multiple purchases or set-up a system of ex-post controls to cancel them.” For violating article 20(2) of the Italian Consumer Code, TicketOne was ordered to pay a €1m fine. But the AGCM did not stop there. Four resale sites – Viagogo, MyWayTicket, Live Nation’s Seatwave and
eBay/StubHub’s Ticketbis – were stung with a collective €700,000 in fines for their failure to provide complete ticket information to customers “concerning several essential elements which potential buyers need to make their transactional decisions.” Explaining the punitive action, AGCM said in a statement, “In particular, the traders would not provide adequate information concerning the ticket features, including their face value, the row and the seat,
as well as consumer rights in case of the event’s cancellation. Moreover, the websites failed to clarify that these traders were mere intermediaries on the secondary market.” The huge fines are the latest broadside for the resale market in Italy, where pressure is mounting to ban the controversial practice, thanks in no small part to campaigners such as Barley Arts’ Claudio Trotta, who earlier this year hosted his No Secondary Ticketing conference in Milan.
CAA Expands into China through CMC deal Creative Artists Agency is ramping up its presence in the Chinese market via a new alliance with private equity firm CMC Capital Partners. The partnership sees Shanghai-based CMC taking a minority stake in CAA, with CMC chairman Li Ruigang joining the agency’s board of directors. The new division, CAA China, will combine “the expertise and vast resources of CAA with the broad reach and network of CMC in Greater China” to create an “alliance of industry leaders in the world’s fast-
est-growing entertainment market,” reads a statement from CAA. CAA has been active in China since 2005, when it opened an office in Beijing. Since then it has invested more than $400million (€373m), mostly in the film sector. The establishment of CAA China follows last year’s launch of a Chinese division by its main agency rivals, WME-IMG. CAA China says it will progressively add additional senior management to help expand the business into new entertainment and sports areas.
“For more than a decade, we have served as a vital bridge to and within the Chinese market, utilising our deep experience and network to support the work of the region’s best artists and to develop opportunities within the market for international talent,” says CAA president Richard Lovett. “CAA China will supercharge our efforts, from motion pictures, television, endorsements and brand consulting; to sports, live events, digital media and beyond.” Ruigang comments, “We believe China and the US are the two biggest entertain-
ment markets and play pivotal roles on the global landscape. The partnership not only creates commercial and industry value, but also serves as an innovative force in the evolution of the Chinese media industry.” Research firm Statista estimates the Chinese entertainment market is worth more than $200billion (€186bn). Meanwhile, a 2016 Nielsen study stated that affluent Chinese attend more live music events than the average American, with 57% regularly attending a concert or festival.
INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL FORUM RETURNS The International Festival Forum (IFF), ILMC’s invitation-only event for festivals and bookers, will return to the musicrich London borough of Camden for the third time this autumn. The 2017 edition of IFF, scheduled for 26–28 September, will see a slight increase in the number of delegates compared to previous years – up to 600 – but will retain
IQ Magazine May 2017
its “intimate” feel, says cofounder Ruud Berends. “We’re particularly excited to launch the third edition of the ultimate platform for buyers and sellers in the festival business,” Berends comments. “We’re deliberately keeping the format intimate and small so invited delegates can do the best business and see great new bands, all at the perfect time of year.” Agency partners on IFF
2017 will include CAA, Coda, WME Entertainment, Primary Talent, X-ray Touring, United Talent Agency, ITB, ATC Live and Pitch & Smith, while festival associations lending their support include Yourope, De Concert! and the International Jazz Festivals Organisation (IJFO). ATC Live MD Alex Bruford comments: “IFF has quickly become one of the most important dates in our
calendar. The opportunity for festivals, promoters and agents to meet in such a targeted way is unparalleled, and artists that shine can expect a significant increase in demand for the following year’s festival season.” Full 2017 event information, including the opportunity to buy discounted earlybird passes, is online. www.iff.rocks.
Palestine Music Expo celebrates debut success Underlining the universal appeal of live music, Palestine Music Expo (PMX) enjoyed a successful debut in April, with delegates from around the world taking part in seminars and workshops in the occupied territories. “When people hear about Palestine, they immediately think about apartheid, occupation, dead people, and prisoners; they don’t think about culture or music. So this is us trying to connect the local music scene with the worldwide music industry,” explains PMX organiser Rami Younis. Industry sessions across the 4-7 April schedule included discussion on everything from how to get booked at music festivals to advising artists on how to get paid for their music.
Among the international execs who made their way to Ramallah for the event were Beckie Sugden (X-ray Touring), Rob Hallett (Robomagic), Isla Angus (ATC Live), Malcolm Haynes (Glastonbury Festival), Scott Cohen (The Orchard), artist manager Steven Budd, and Cooking Vinyl label boss Martin Goldschmidt, who is one of the founders of PMX, alongside journalist Younis, rapper Mahmood Jrere and composer Abed Hathout. “We smashed it,” a jubilant Goldschmidt tells IQ. “It exceeded all expectations and the Palestinian acts who performed were simply world-class.” Indeed, one third of the acts that showcased at PMX have now been booked to appear at international music festivals,
while others have been picked up by international agents who will help develop their careers overseas. “It was a unique event and we had 32 industry people fly in from around the world – from the likes of Brazil, Zimbabwe, Canada, the United States, the UK, France and Switzerland – all of whom said it was the best industry event they’ve ever been to,” adds Goldschmidt.
“We now have a lovely problem of having a very successful event, while also wanting to keep it intimate. The great thing about PMX is that everyone got to know each other and initiate what will be lasting friendships and relationships, so we’re already looking forward to next year’s Palestine Music Expo, but we’re conscious that we don’t want it to grow too fast.”
Greek Police Intensify AEPI Fraud Probe
An influential coalition of Greek musicians is demanding the wholesale sacking of the local performing rights organisations management, following police raids on the society’s headquarters. Relations between Greek artists and AEPI, the embattled collection society purporting to represent their interests, have reached an all-time low as police step up their investigation and target the homes of AEPI management. In April, the homes of AEPI managing director, Petros Xanthopoulos, and his director-general son, Dimitrios, were searched by investigators as part of a probe into alleged financial mismanagement. That followed a raid on
AEPI’s HQ in February after an Ernst & Young audit revealed the collection society owes rights holders €42million in unpaid royalties, despite shareholders allegedly paying themselves salaries of up to €52,000 a month. As the scandal grows, more than 450 members of METRON (the Greek Association of Composers and Lyricists) resigned en masse in protest at the association’s handling of the crisis. In an open letter, former METRON president and CEO, Foivos Delivorias (who also resigned), suggested that METRON board members had attended secret meetings with the governing Greek Syriza party in which they agreed to
concessions that are “not in [METRON’s] interests”. Syriza’s response to the allegations against AEPI has been to sponsor legislation that would temporarily place the Greek ministry of culture in control of the society to “bring order to the process of collection and distribution of royalties, ensuring transparency and accountability [for] creators and licensees.” However, Yiannis Glezos, a former member of AEPI who is now president of rival collection society AUTODIA, says any deal is unacceptable without the dismissal of AEPI’s current board of directors. “We have an historic responsibility to solve a major problem that has plagued our country and
culture for 80 years,” Glezos stated. “In this struggle, we have all European legislation, and creators and the organisations who represent them, on our side.” Meanwhile, CISAC, the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers, of which AEPI is a member, has called for the society to, “introduce urgent reforms to comply with CISAC’s global best practices and professional rules.” While it has stopped short of expressing an opinion on the dismissal of AEPI’s board, CISAC says it is “evaluating new measures to address the findings of a recent government audit of the Greek society. These could include sanctions, such as expulsion from CISAC membership.”
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IQ Magazine May 2017
BUSY BODIES News fr om live music associations ar ound the world
Around 20 industry trade bodies took part in the Associations Summit held at ILMC 29. Below is a summary of some of the topics that various members brought to the table during this one-day meeting.
Sexual Safety at Festivals Paul Reed from the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) and Joppe Pihlgren of Livemusik Sverige presented their work drawing attention to sexual safety at festivals. Reed addressed the lack of well-rounded media coverage concerning sexual harassment and live events over the past year. He highlighted the need to provide a counter narrative to the one being portrayed in the media; that live events are a lot safer than other public spaces and see far lower instances of assault in comparison. AIF is publishing a charter of best practice for member festivals, featuring seven key points and pledges, as well as a campaign incorporating video and gifs to include on websites and socials. The three key messages of the campaign are: hands off!; don’t
be a bystander; and safer spaces at festivals. Pihlgren spoke about the much-publicised fake news surrounding alleged New Year’s Eve incidents in Cologne, which led to fear throughout events last summer. He revealed details of a campaign in which short films dedicated to the topic of appropriate behaviour are broadcast at festivals on screens and on social media. Livemusik Sverige partnered with non-profit, independent organisation RFSU (Swedish Association for Sexuality Education), which advocates an open and positive attitude towards sex and relationships. Pihlgren emphasised that the messages delivered by these initiatives should not be narrowed, as there are a lot of similar campaigns for sexual safety using different focal points.
International Music Managers Forum Setting out four areas of operation for an artist’s business: publishing, brand, recorded and live, Jake Beaumont-Nesbitt of the International Music Managers Forum (IMMF) compared the complexity of the supply of music rights and permissions with consumer demand for access to the artist’s various activities. He stressed the growing need to ensure that artists are able to operate efficiently without facing complex technical barriers when building their business models. With this focus on simplifying music’s supply chain, Beaumont-Nesbitt identified several issues that IMMF is focusing on that impact the live sector: collective management; royalties; licensing rates; streaming/record-
ing live events; identifying rights holders and other authorities; context-based marketing; chatbots for ticketing; and audience data to identify and A&R new artists and efficiencies, etc. He warned that the artist is the common thread and the driver of most revenues, but they are all too often identified only by ambiguous text, giving the example of the numerous versions of Guns ‘N Roses (eg Guns & Roses, Guns and Roses, etc). One solution, he suggested, would be if the industry adopted the ISNI (International Standard Name Identifier) – a 16-digit identifier for creators and their personas. ISNI could be used to disambiguate names and so link usage data (including from live events) across all sectors to one point.
North American Concert Promoters Association CEO of the North American Concert Promoters Association (NACPA), Ben Liss, revealed to fellow association delegates the current state of performing rights organisations (PROs) in the US, and the disparity between data collected for live events versus recorded music. He explained that despite the US having significantly lower live tariffs than the rest of the world,
an unregulated and uncoordinated licensing system has allowed four independently operated PROs to foster a lack of consensus on how to deal with important licensing issues. Some artists, reports Liss, are refusing to recognise PROs they aren’t affiliated with and a tug of war between artist, promoter and the PROs has ensued. One significant issue affecting the live sector is
the different rates applicable at various venue capacities. Liss said that NACPA continues to lobby for a reverse of the lower rates paid for stadium shows in favour of reducing club rates where higher show costs negatively impact developing artists. The NACPA boss also flagged up a shift in the landscape as talent agencies move from commission-based businesses to owning assets and
brands. Noting that some of the agency conglomerates are looking to eventually launch initial public offerings, Liss also spoke about other bodies investing in the music sector and cited SESAC’s recent sale to the Blackstone Group, and Irving Azoff’s PRO, Global Music Rights, which has garnered prominence by signing major artists, and is owned in part by the Madison Square Garden Company.
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IQ Magazine May 2017
The latest trades and handshakes from the agency world MIKNNA (US)
Agent: Billy Wood, UTA
Since the release of their first EP 50|50 (Side A), LA-based MIKNNA have been breaking barriers and blending genres with a sound the duo have dubbed electro-soul. While their catchy melodies find a groove comparable to The Weeknd; mellifluous yet complex production alongside a smooth and diverse vocal
performance take listeners on a sonic vacation. MIKNNA have been busy; they produced and are featured on FBG$ ft. Big K.R.I.T., a standout on Far East Movement’s starstudded fifth studio album; whilst their two singles NESS and Trinity Ave have already earned them over 3 million streams on Spotify, a TIDAL Rising feature, and radio spins in the US and UK.
Alex Francis (UK) Charly Beedell-Tuck, Solo Chris Smyth, Primary Talent All Get Out (US) Sarah Casey, LPO All Our Exes Live in Texas (AU) Steve Zapp, ITB Aviv Geffen (IL) Azizi Gibson (US) Beckie Sugden, X-ray Touring Baba Ali (US) Isla Angus, ATC Live Baby In Vain (DK) Steve Zapp, ITB Francesco Caccamo, Primary Talent Benny Mails (UK) Beoga (IE) Sarah Casey, LPO Lucinda Runham, Primary Talent Blondes (US) Bo Ningen (JP) Adele Slater, Coda Agency Matt Hanner & Sol Parker, Coda Agency Callum Stewart (IE) Chip (UK) Billy Wood, UTA Cory Henry (US) James Wright & Noah Simon, UTA CRi (US) Shaun Faulkner, X-ray Touring Danny L Harle (UK) David Exley, Coda Agency Davide Squillace (IT) Dave Alcock, UTA Denney (UK) Kane Dansie, Coda Agency Dinosaur Pile Up (UK) Shaun Faulkner, X-ray Touring Dotan (NL) Alex Bruford, ATC Live Draper (UK) Phyllis Belezos, ITB Sally Dunstone, X-ray Touring Dude York (US) Beckie Sugden, X-ray Touring Elijah Blake (US) Elley Duhé (US) Alex Hardee, Coda Agency Emel Mathlouthi (TN) Clementine Bunel & Cecile Communal, ATC Live Emmi (UK) Beckie Sugden, X-ray Touring Eton Messy (UK) Craig D’Souza, Primary Talent Fanny Anderson (NO) Sol Parker, Coda Agency Faze Miyake (UK) Nick Reddick, Primary Talent Gaussian Curve (IT/NL/UK) Andy Duggan, Primary Talent General Roots (UK) David Sullivan-Kaplan, UTA God Colony (UK) Naomi Palmer, Earth Agency Goss (DK) Michael Harvey-Bray, Coda Agency Haunt The Woods (UK) Steve Zapp, ITB Holiday Oscar (UK) Shaun Faulkner, X-ray Touring David Sullivan-Kaplan, UTA Honey Lung (UK) Hurray for the Riff Raff (US) Alex Bruford, ATC Live IDER (UK) James Simmons, ITB James Vickery (UK) Kane Dansie, Coda Agency Jarrod Dickenson (US) Sean Goulding, UTA KÁRYYN (US) Michael Harvey-Bray, Coda Agency
PACESHIFTERS (NL) Agents: Steve Zapp and Olivia Sime, ITB
Instead of taking a welldeserved break in 2017, Paceshifters will put the pedal to the metal and release new material that will again take the Dutch trio to the far ends of Europe and beyond, to let people experience their alternative guitar rock. Whether it is a big summer festival or an obscure basement doesn’t matter to Seb Dokman
Kemba (US) King Kong Company (IE) Kyle Lionhart (AU) Lao Ra (CO) Lifestyle (UK) Lyves (UK) Many Voices Speak (SE) Marlon Williams (NZ) Marsicans (UK) Mellah (UK) Mild High Club (US) Møme (FR) Nick Brewer (UK) Oscar Jerome (UK) Paceshifters (NL) Petrol Girls (UK/AT) PNAU (AU) Riva Starr (IT) Rodriguez (US) Rothwell (UK) Sabella (UK) Sacred Paws (UK) Sasha (UK) Shana Falana (US) Shiba San (FR) Solomon Grey (UK) Starcrawler (US) SuperGlu (UK) Tank & The Bangas (US) The Cult (UK) The Mavericks (US) The Modern Strangers (UK) The Ninth Waves (UK) The Paranoyds (US) The RPMs (UK) Tion Wayne (UK) Von Hertzen Brothers (FI)
(guitar/vocals), Paul Dokman (bass/vocals) and Jesper Albers (drums/vocals), because the stage is the natural habitat of this memorable rock band. New album Waiting to Derail, produced by Chris “Frenchie” Smith (Dandy Warhols, The Datsuns), showcases a mixture of endorphin, dopamine, adrenaline, and a small dose of testosterone. Raw but catchy; overwhelming yet accessible; disturbing but pleasing; and above all, with an unbounded passion for rock music.
Sally Dunstone, X-ray Touring Steve Zapp, ITB Dave Chumbley, Primary Talent Clementine Bunel & Cecile Communal, ATC Live Matt Bates, Primary Talent Nick Holroyd, Primary Talent Jamie Wade, X-ray Touring Alex Bruford, ATC Live Shaun Faulkner, X-ray Touring Michael Harvey-Bray, Coda Agency Adele Slater, Coda Agency Michael Harvey-Bray, Coda Agency Billy Wood, UTA James Wright & Noah Simon, UTA Steve Zapp, ITB Olivia Sime, ITB Rob Challice & Adele Slater, Coda Agency Dave Alcock, UTA Lucy Dickins & Liam Keightley, ITB Charly Beedell-Tuck, Solo Paul Buck, Coda Agency Isla Angus, ATC Live Tom Schroeder, Coda Agency Sally Dunstone, X-ray Touring Kane Dansie, Coda Agency Naomi Palmer, Earth Agency Adele Slater, Coda Agency Chris Meredith, ATC Live Clementine Bunel & Cecile Communal, ATC Live Steve Zapp, ITB Chris Meredith & Colin Keenan, ATC Live David Sullivan Kaplan, UTA Stuart Kennedy, ATC Live Nick Holroyd, Primary Talent Chris Meredith, ATC Live Nick Matthews, Coda Agency Steve Zapp, ITB
Has your agency signed the year’s hottest new act? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to be considered for the next issue…
IQ Magazine May 2017
Doing more for young music makers Matt Griffiths, CEO of national charity Youth Music, reports on the success of the recent first ever Give a Gig Week and asks the live music industry to support and help young people in challenging circumstances through music
’m always impressed with the way those in the live music business quickly turn an empty field or a lifeless auditorium into a packed, thumping concert or festival within such a short space of time. Against incredibly tight deadlines, you pull your gigs together and give your artists the best live experience they could possibly have. What you achieve day in, day out, and the support you give your artists (and audiences), is truly awesome. But sadly, for many young people interested in making music, there’s precious little support. Even getting started has its challenges. Some young people grow up comfortably, with supportive families and enough money to get by. Chances are if these young people want to make music, they’ll be able to. Unfortunately, many children face challenges in their lives. Whether through background or circumstances, their problems are often complicated. Music is one of the many things they miss out on. Like me, I’m sure you’ll feel this is both sad and unjust. Here at Youth Music we believe everyone should have the chance to make music. The 75,000 young people we help every year experience many different challenges, including poverty, disability, mental health issues, or living in care. We know that those facing difficulties are often the ones who get the most out of music making.
“There’s a huge demand for our work, and, right now, we can only support around a third of the projects needing our help.” We support around 350 music projects to deliver practical, creative music making of every possible style and technique, with activities including songwriting, music production and performance. Projects include the Amies Freedom Choir in London, which supports young women who’ve been trafficked into the UK; and the Songbirds project for seriously ill children at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital. Equality and diversity may be buzzwords on the arts agenda this year but they’ve always been at the heart of our work. Since Youth Music was founded in 1999, we’ve put our best efforts into creating a musically inclusive society where gender, ethnic background and personal or family
circumstances are no barrier to pursuing your dreams. We’ve helped over two million children and young people develop personally, socially and musically in that time. But we know there’s more to do. There’s a huge demand for our work, and, right now, we can only support around a third of the projects needing our help. That’s why we launched our fundraising initiative – Give a Gig – as a way for artists, bands, promoters, agents and venues to ‘give something back’ and help vulnerable young people through fundraising at live music events. We’ve recently finished our inaugural Give a Gig Week, with the initial aim of having 100 live gigs take place across the country. I’m glad to say we smashed that target, with a total of 336 acts performing in 118 gigs across the country from March 24-31. And thousands of miles away, legendary DJ and producer Paul Oakenfold supported us with a club night in Singapore! You can check out #GiveaGigWeek on Storify, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see what’s been going on around the country. We already have some wonderful bands and musicians supporting us but we’d like to encourage all of you working in the live music industry to join us in our mission to break down barriers to music making. Several managers and promoters have kindly encouraged their artists to put on gigs for us. Whatever your role in the music business, there’ll be a way you can support Youth Music – from simply putting a collection bucket on the door to staging a special gig for us. If you’re already running a live music event or working with an artist that has a tour booked, you could add a Youth Music element by making a donation from the gig proceeds or, for example, asking those on your VIP list to contribute. Creating ‘money can’t buy’ experiences and raising funds through exciting competitions for fans is another great way of supporting Give a Gig. The music industry has a long history of generous charitable giving. The great thing about Give a Gig is that it’s a musical fundraiser for a musical cause. Youth Music provides opportunities and support so that young people can progress on their musical journeys, whatever they choose to do next in life. Many of these young people go on to work in the live music industry: Laura Mvula, Rizzle Kicks, Elf Kid and Let’s Eat Grandma all started out at Youth Music projects. If you like the idea of giving something back, we’d love you to come on-board with Give a Gig. Your efforts will help others to make their mark on the music scene in the way that you have. And your live events will be generating funds to put back into young people’s music making. How cool is that?
IQ Magazine May 2017
A Time of Change in Africa Manager Dudu Sarr represents artists including Youssou N’Dour, and operates in both London and Dakar. He informs us of developments in the live industry in Africa.
t’s amazing what a difference a year makes! Twelve months ago this article would have told quite a different story. I left ILMC in 2016 feeling a little gloomy thinking about the amount of catching up Africa needed to do in order to reach the levels of sophistication enjoyed by the entertainment industry in the developed world, especially in terms of value chain. In a continent where data is extremely hard to obtain, where do you start measuring any kind of activity in a meaningful way? Well, it is still very difficult to obtain and to provide figures but at least there has been a lot of traction, which could prompt some form of measuring exercise. I went from asking myself what can be said about the almost non-existent international live music circuit on the continent, to hearing about lots and lots of concerts taking place within just six months. In the last few months, we have welcomed Kool & the Gang, Stromae, David Guetta, French pop sensation Maître Gims, and other A listers in Africa’s top cities: Lagos, Dakar, Abidjan Nairobi, and, of course, Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban in South Africa (which in general still draws the lion’s share in terms of attracting top international talent). As I write this article, Justin Bieber is due to perform in South Africa in May, along with legendary R&B group The Whispers. Although these live appearances are insignificant compared to the millions of gigs performed annually in the west, the continent is showing signs of growth and movement fuelled by successful telecom companies who are by far the biggest sponsors of concerts featuring international and local talent. There is also a fast growing middle class, which gives promoters some sort of security in terms of getting enough numbers through the gate to see their favourite international artists. Local artists and stars, however, continue to play a huge role in making Africa one of the most vibrant music scenes in the world with concerts taking place weekly or even daily on almost every street corner. Africa is such a vast continent with over a billion people spread over 54 countries with a multitude of languages, and where the latest gadgets and technology cohabit with ancient traditions and very different local and regional realities. South Africa is by far the most mature and sophisticated music market in terms of industry value chain. From collecting societies, record labels, professional production companies, established festivals, etc. it is all there. However, for the rest of the continent there is a mixture of government-sponsored mega concerts, which have not helped generate a realistic idea of fees, along with very brave and daring promoters. Most international booking agencies are still reluctant to venture
IQ Magazine May 2017
into Africa for understandable reasons, and prefer to work with government agencies. Traveling from one part of Africa to another is also a huge challenge. It is not unusual for people to fly from an African city into Europe and then catch a connecting flight back to another African city. Fares are also extremely high, although it is worth mentioning that there are a lot more airlines coming onto the market and that mobility throughout the region is improving. In countries like Senegal, Nigeria, and South Africa, you have long-established superstars who command very high fees. Nigeria, for instance, is enjoying a huge boom with a buoyant Afro pop scene. We have a particular genre of music called ‘afrobeat,’ spearheaded in Nigeria, and, for the first time, loved by young people across the continent and the diaspora - it can draw anything from 5,000-15,000 people for concerts. Some challenges do however remain in terms of the skills gap. Finding qualified and experienced sound engineers, or technical staff in general is still difficult. A long way to go still, but the future is promising for a continent that has given so much to music and has so much talent. Add to that the recent news of companies like Vivendi opening four new venues across West Africa, and with other top companies likely to follow in their footsteps. Majors like Universal and Sony have already opened offices in top African cities.
“Somewhere in an African city right now there is probably another Alicia Keys, Beyoncé, Adele, Mary J. Blige, Jay Z or Rihanna.” Africa is widely accepted as the motherland and as such is the ancestral home of various music genres including jazz, blues, funk, reggae, etc. African music has had a far-reaching influence on genres throughout the world. Somewhere in an African city right now there is probably another Alicia Keys, Beyoncé, Adele, Mary J. Blige, Jay Z or Rihanna. Add to that a growing international live music scene, more festivals taking shape, the biggest youth population in the world, spending power on the rise – and it all makes for a very bright future. Watch out! The lions are on the move!
Rock & Roll All Night London’s first ‘night czar,’ Amy Lamé, spoke at ILMC 29 during the Early Stages workshop (see page 22), as part of the very first Venue Summit. Here, she explains what her newly created role involves.
don’t think anyone has ever said, “When I grow up, I want to be a night czar.” In fact, to my knowledge, no one has ever graduated with a degree in ‘night czardom’! However, night czars or ‘night mayors’ as they are called in many other cities around the world, are becoming an increasingly essential part of what is required for a city to thrive during the night-time hours. Last November, I was appointed London’s first-ever night czar by the mayor, Sadiq Khan. With this appointment, London became by far the biggest city in the world to appoint a night czar, following in the footsteps of Amsterdam, San Francisco and Toulouse. So what does a night czar actually do? Well, if you take a slice of the work of every deputy mayor in the capital – transport; policing and crime; planning and regeneration; business and culture; and then think about how these areas operate during the night-time hours – then you’ve pretty much got the measure of the breadth of my work as night czar. I’ve been at the forefront of London’s night-time economy for many years. When I moved to the UK (from the US), I worked at a late-night café bar in Soho. I’ve run my own club night, Duckie, at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern for over 21 years and have seen pretty much everything there is to see from London’s diverse nightlife. It’s my job to ensure that London can become a truly 24-hour city and, alongside the chair of the Night Time Commission, Philip Kolvin QC, develop a vision and a roadmap of how we’re going to achieve it. We all know about the threats to the capital’s night-time economy – new developments, rising property prices, business rate hikes and changing consumer habits all pose risks to London’s status as a 24-hour city. Despite these difficulties, there are lots of reasons to be optimistic. London’s night-time economy contributes £26.3billion (40% of the UK’s night-time economy) and supports one in eight jobs in the capital. This is forecast to rise to £28.3bn by 2029. Recent developments like the Night Tube, now running on five lines in the capital, are boosting local night-time economies across the city and opening up new opportunities for growth. As night czar, I’m looking to maximise the potential of these exciting developments, bringing stakeholders from across the night-time industries together to shape the capital’s future as a global hotspot for nightlife. An important part of my job is talking with Londoners about the kind of life at night they want. My ‘Night Surgeries’ are
“As night czar, I’m looking to maximise the potential of these exciting developments, bringing stakeholders from across the night-time industries together to shape the capital’s future as a global hotspot for nightlife” an opportunity for me to visit all areas of the city and listen to everyone’s aspirations for what a 24-hour London can look like. I’ve visited hospitals, fire stations and homeless shelters, as well as bars, restaurants and even libraries. Thankfully, Londoners are not shy in sharing their views – as I want to be sure I’m representing everyone in the capital. Over the next few months, I’ll be looking at how we can protect London’s nightclubs, pubs, music venues and LGBT+ spaces, working with the mayor to bring in important planning legislation such as Agent of Change, which places the onus on developers that build residential properties next to music venues and nightclubs to soundproof their buildings to ensure revellers and residents can co-exist peacefully. I’ll also be looking at how we can make women feel safer at night, and will hold London’s first-ever Women’s Safety Summit. This will be a gathering of change-makers and activists, led by London’s deputy mayors for transport, culture and policing. We’ll be looking to draft a Women’s Night Safety Charter for the capital, which will outline best practices that can be adopted by boroughs throughout the city to protect women during the night-time hours. By using City Hall’s unique convening powers, for the first time ever, we’re able to bring developers, venue owners, business people, the Metropolitan Police, Transport for London, councillors, night-time shift workers, revellers and residents around the table to talk about what they want from the capital at night. Whether they want to party until four in the morning, get to and from work safely, or they just want a good night’s sleep – my job as night czar is to bring people together so we can strike the right balance and ensure the capital’s night-time economy and culture can become the envy of the world. You thought that New York was the city that never sleeps? Watch out! London is coming.
IQ Magazine May 2017
Eastern Promise Nerm took part in the Emerging Markets panel at ILMC 29. He is a BBC broadcaster, founder of London-based underground music collective Shiva Soundsystem and partner at Arms House, an agency built around New York, London and Mumbai.
’ve been lucky enough to work in India since 2000. I had just emerged as a DJ in London and was doing quite well, post the Asian Underground boom of the late 90s (a genre that combined UK electronic dance music with classical Indian sounds. It garnered fans in David Bowie and Björk and was part of the Blue Note nightclub’s assault on UK club culture, which included Goldie’s Metalheadz and Coldcut’s Ninja Tune). It made a lot of sense to pay homage and take the sounds we’d made in the UK back to the land of its forefathers. Kind of like The Stones playing Clarksdale. The realities of touring there were an awakening – and not just of the usual hippy, spiritual kind but also of the rude kind! The earth simultaneously rushed up to meet us and yet, somehow, hugged us. Since then I’ve been able to help import major International acts to India but also help export Indian talent out with the help of my BBC radio shows and events in London. Acts like Skrillex and Major Lazer were easy sells, but the more textured, more alternative artists such as Mala and Maya Jane Coles took a little more work. India is a market that is sponsor led. The ban on advertising alcohol means that the marketing departments of those
companies have budgets that they can put into events. But it’s not all plain sailing as there are a myriad of complex political, economic and legal problems to navigate. And as with any ‘emerging market’ these factors can change at the drop of a hat. Technology and entrepreneurship are important, but the key, from my experience, is building relationships, local knowledge and, most importantly, a conviction to stay the course. India is a massive market but one that is often misunderstood, not only by people trying to get there, but sometimes people that have power. It took years for the hold of Bollywood to loosen and to change musical tastes, but it has, and tastes are confidently moving towards a more globalised palette. This is great news for the local Indian acts and artists that are spearheading the change at home. The next leap is to challenge the ideas of what Indian music is to the rest of the world and the orientalisation that comes along with it. The people making it are Indian. The music they make is world class. It’s about time they took their rightful place on the global stage. nerm.co.uk armshouse.ninja shivasoundsystem.co.uk
ILMC 29 CONFERENCE REPORT
TUESDAY 7 MARCH IPM 10 The tenth annual edition of IPM attracted the event’s biggest ever audience, with topics such as the weather, security and welfare. A full report is available both online and in the IPM Report brochure which is packaged as a supplement with this issue of IQ.
Special Interest Meetings Meetings on the eve of ILMC 29 also included the ninth annual Green Events & Innovations Conference and the second edition of the ILMC Association Meeting, which gathered representatives of live music industry trade bodies from around the world to discuss local developments and shared issues. More details can be found in the ILMC 29 Report pages.
WEDNESDAY 8 MARCH The Open Forum: The big round up Chair: Phil Bowdery (Live Nation) Guest speakers: Charles Attal (C3 Presents), Emma Banks (CAA), Paul Craig (Nostromo Management), Marty Diamond (Paradigm Talent), Folkert Koopmans (FKP Scorpio), Geraldine Wilson (Amazon Tickets)
ILMC 29 was a memorable edition for me in two ways. Firstly, during the official welcome (The Detectives’ Guide), I was struck by how many younger faces were in the audience (although perhaps that’s just me heading firmly into middle age!). And secondly, it all seemed to have a bit more pep than usual. A sense of vibrancy appeared to stem from the trial move to midweek. It’s going to be difficult to accommodate the various opinions because while some members objected to juggling midweek work pressures with being at the conference, for a majority, it was a positive shift. Elsewhere, the Festival and Venue Summits enabled discussion to broaden across both sectors; new gala dinner venue 8Northumberland hosted a sterling event, and with more live music than ever, there was never a shortage of events and parties to attend. Given that much of the team spends eleven and a half months planning each edition of ILMC, the actual conference passes in an intense blur. Like this year’s theme, it’s all a bit of a mystery until some time afterwards when there’s finally time to reflect. So, like us, if there are any specific comments or thoughts you’d like to share, we’d be very keen to hear. Now… anyone got any ideas for ILMC’s 30th anniversary next year?
Greg Parmley, Managing Director
Officially getting this year’s ILMC conference schedule under way, Phil Bowdery ran through some facts from 2016 and gleefully noted that not a single EDM act had made it onto the list of top 100 tours. Starting out with the political madness of 2016, which brought the world both Brexit and President Trump, Bowdery quizzed the panel about their predictions of what both situations might mean for live music. “We don’t know because the government doesn’t know and the EU doesn’t know,” said Emma Banks. “Sterling doesn’t buy as many dollars or Euros that it used to and that is having an impact.” Marty Diamond admitted that things are scary, but observed, “The exciting thing is what might come out of it – there may be a new scene for punk rock again as people speak up and get angry.” Charles Attal said, “It’s sad that visa lawyers are the people you are having to rely on, on a day-to-day basis.” Folkert Koopmans confessed to being more worried about Trump than Brexit because of the effect it might have on international touring. He added, “Costs are rising because of weather, insurance, artist fees, so we have had to raise ticket prices. But we are at the limit now and we cannot go any higher.” Biffy Clyro manager, Paul Craig, underlined the importance of festivals to the band: “Rock doesn’t get on radio that much, so festivals are a good way of the band being heard.” Geraldine Wilson talked about Amazon’s entry into ticketing, starting from a division of Amazon UK before being spun out to a separate company. From a manager’s point of view, Craig said, more ticket-sellers are a good thing. Banks, however, cautioned, “Ticketing is very complicated in the UK… another ticket agency further squeezes the allocations.” Finally, Alp Gunal from GNL Entertainment updated delegates on the security situation in Turkey. “We respect the decision of artists not wanting to come, but we want them to know the actual risks,” he said, highlighting that Turkey remains a relatively safe place for touring.
ILMC 29 CONFERENCE REPORT
Live Nation’s Phil Bowdery returned to take the helm of The Open Forum
New Technology: Digital discovery Host: Steve Machin (.Tickets)
The YouTubers: Money in millennials Chair: Dan Steinberg (Emporium Presents)
Guest speakers: Alex Bewley (WME Entertainment), Rose Ellen Dix (Rose & Rosie), Marc Lambelet (Mainland Music), Rosie Spaughton (Rose & Rosie), Mark Walker (Free Focus and Kilimanjaro Live
Delegates turned out in number to explore opportunities in the burgeoning YouTube touring business. Dan Steinberg said that one key advantage is he can book a YouTube act in the early evening and then use that same venue for a late rock show. Rose Ellen Dix revealed that one of her university modules challenged her to make a viral video. “I got 16,000 views and it opened my eyes to the possibilities,” she said. Her partner Rosie Spaughton said, “The beauty is that we get instantaneous audience reaction.” Dix added, “That’s why we are confident that we can translate what our subscribers like into what we’ll do on stage.” Acknowledging that VIP tickets and meet-and-greets feature heavily among YouTubers’ finances, Alex Bewley said, “Everyone has super-fans who’ll pre-order the books or buy tickets the day they are released – meet-and-greet is the most important element. Free shows still sell-out meet-and-greets.” Marc Lambelet, however, argued that the promoter should be allowed to share in VIP revenues, otherwise he should charge back all of the show costs, including the extra security needed for meet-andgreet sessions.
Workshop: Mental health Hosts: Andy Franks & Matt Thomas (Music Support), Christophe Sauerwein (iCAAD)
Ex-artist manager Matt Thomas explained that Music Support was started to provide help to anyone in the UK business suffering from alcoholism, addiction and emotional or mental health issues by connecting them with volunteer therapists who have experience working in the music industry. Christophe Sauerwein detailed differences between addicts and non-addicts: non-addicts want a temporary dopamine boost to feel temporarily non-normal – for example, getting drunk – whereas addicts need a bump in dopamine to feel normal. Those working in live entertainment, he said, are particularly susceptible to addictive behaviour, as playing live releases dopamine and adrenaline, leading to a depressive crash when the show is over. Andy Franks said he believes the stigma around discussing mental health means people are unwilling or unable to admit they have a problem. He didn’t realise he had a drinking problem until he was sacked as Coldplay’s tour manager – and then he didn’t know what to do. He encouraged people in other countries to explore creating similar charities to Music Support.
Steve Machin invited seven tech start-ups to present the innovative solutions they hope will disrupt the global live business in years to come. First up was Second Screen, which “gives fans access to exclusive, behind-the-scenes content from artists, bands, venues and festivals” with its white-label mobile apps. A developer of white-label, direct-to-fan apps for artists, Gigrev was described as a “private digital fanclub.” Its key selling point: allowing acts and labels to own their data. Fanzone targets ticket-holders to offer them a range of transportation options to and from events – a “sofa-to-seat” experience. Silent Disco founder Dan Silver gave delegates a preview of the company’s new show for 2017, which unites 3D ‘spatial’ audio and LED lighting and synchronises it with the music. LA-based Byg is “a new form of sponsorship” that pays artists to utilise their fanbase on social channels, providing an “audience [brands] can’t otherwise get in a traditional setting.” Eyellusion showcased hologram technology that can now be scaled to small venues, which could “charge $15 or $20 to see a big-name artist play.” Last up, We Make Awesome Sh.it demonstrated the power of “good” bots, in an interactive session that saw attendees ‘like’ a dummy Facebook page and send it messages, which the messenger bots dealt with automatically.
Booking Workshop: Contracts Hosts: Nick Berry (Coda Agency), Mads Sørensen (Beatbox Entertainment)
Promoter Mads Sørensen and lawyer Nick Berry fielded a number of queries from delegates involved in disputes or who needed advice on specific clauses in the contracts that are landing in their inboxes. Sørensen observed, “[Contracts] are only actually used when something goes wrong on the day.” Meanwhile, Berry reported that festivals are trying to introduce standardised conditions, but he countered, “Coda has 500 acts that have there own specific needs, so one role an agent can fulfil is that they can start sorting out potential issues at an early stage.” Responding to a question about court cases from agent Alex Bruford, Sørensen stated, “I’ve been doing this for 25 years and thank God I’ve never had a situation which ended up in court.” Berry added, “It’s vanishingly rare that anything other than a very high value show would litigate.” Admitting that contracts tend to be artist slanted, Berry advised, “If you’ve got a smart agent you can work out a compromise that allows the promoter to recoup some of their losses.” He concluded that making friends with a good insurance broker “can be very useful” when it comes to contractual disagreements.
Delegates packed into ILMC’s main room to participate in The Open Forum - the traditional curtain raiser for each year’s ILMC f
ILMC 29 CONFERENCE REPORT
Andras Berta, Ruth Barlow and Ben Challis enjoyed a lively Streaming and artist engagement session
Workshop: VIP and premium ticketing Chair: Allan McGowan (IQ Magazine) Hosts: Sarah Woodhead (VIP Nation), Jacqui Harris (AEG Live)
In a panel that explored premium ticket options, Sarah Woodhead revealed that VIP Nation solicits suggestions from festivalgoers and people ask for things like welly-washing facilities, ice deliveries and buggy services. “There’s no value to these things in isolation, but when you bundle them up they can contribute to the VIP experience.” While revenues from VIP tickets have become crucial to many promoters, Allan McGowan expressed his concern that festivals “making it so comfortable that the original idea, of frolicking in the woods, is becoming lost.” “You’re our target market!” retorted Woodhead. For many years, she continued, VIP tickets were a “massive afterthought, but now everyone appreciates the value of VIP – it’s the same as sponsorship – as a huge part of their income.” She said that VIP options “need to be factored in from the outset, or you’ll never make the most of the opportunity.”
Festival Forum: Franchises & new formats Chair: Natasha Bent (Coda Agency) Guest speakers: Steve Homer (AEG Live), Christof Huber (Open Air St. Gallen/Yourope), Jan Quiel (ICS Festival Service), Nuno Sousa Pinto (Rock in Rio)
Agent Natasha Bent wanted to know what is more important: the headliners or the experience? “It’s the experience,“ answered Jan Quiel, citing the failed experiment to relocate Wacken Festival. What did work well for ICS, he said, was creating new formats such as the Full Metal Cruises, which sell-out in no time. Steve Homer spoke about the Desert Trip premiere, which proved people are willing to pay huge sums for tickets if the experience is unique. However, Christof Huber said that in Switzerland it wouldn’t work to simply announce a giant bill and expect a huge crowd in year one. Nuno Sousa Pinto explained Rock in Rio’s success in building a brand-sponsored franchise, where the event reaches out to different people through a diverse line-up, making it important to sponsors. Winding up the panel, Bent asked each panellist for their top tips for up-and-coming promoters. Said Quiel: “Giving people a really good, special experience is the most important thing. And always think about new formats.” Homer emphasised that people expect more from events these days. “You have to listen to your audience.” And Pinto added: “It’s about evolution. Meet expectation, but also surprise them.”
Natasha Bent moderated a fascinating debate about festival franchises and new formats
Festival Summit: Streaming & artist engagement Chair: Jake Beaumont-Nesbitt, IMMF Guest speakers: Ruth Barlow (Beggars Group), Andras Berta (Sziget/Yourope), Rob Challice (CODA Agency), Ben Challis (Glastonbury Festival), Lars-Oliver Vogt (Live Nation)
Despite promoters on the panel talking up what a well-produced festival after-movie can generate, managers and agents in the session remained sceptical about actual benefits for artists. Lars-Oliver Vogt was of the opinion that artists had to be looked at as brands as well, and that mere exposure was helpful. Ruth Barlow admitted there were cases where she’d happily allow a festival to use her artists’ footage for free, if the reach was indeed wide enough. But it’s difficult to get actual numbers from festivals, she warned. Rob Challice said some festivals simply add a vaguely worded broadcasting rights clause to artist offers, which didn’t help. Both he and Barlow were much more fond of the BBC, which has blanket licences with rights holders, and a “proven audience.” Andras Berta said he thought of the BBC as a dinosaur. “I want to go after the fans. Where they are, that’s where I want to be.” Vogt agreed: “In most markets, public broadcasters are dead. We’re selling tickets to 14-25 year olds. And we need to be on the media they use daily.” Challice concluded agents that agents evolved from the gatekeepers for live into gatekeepers for additional revenue streams, although it could be questioned where revenues are actually generated.
Festival Summit: Talent & tastemakers Chair: Greg Lowe (United Talent Agency) Guest speakers: Jonny Dawson (ATC Management), Sophie Lobl (C3 Presents), Stephan Thanscheidt (FKP Scorpio), Tom Windish (Paradigm Talent Agency)
The panel talked about festivals booking line-ups so far in advance that it can be difficult assessing the state of an artist’s career at the time of the event. Sophie Lobl pointed out how important relationships with agents are in that regard. Tom Windish said he was happy signing a band that had no live experience, but that he would have them play a variety of shows to hone their craft and become relevant for festivals. Jonny Dawson took Reading and Leeds festivals as an example of events that do a great job of booking artists year on year and elevating them through different stages. In conclusion, the panellists agreed that as more music than ever is discovered through streaming services, festivals as platforms for seeing new talent play live are becoming more important.
ILMC 29 CONFERENCE REPORT Chris Carey listens to marketing wizard Jessie Scoullar during The Fan panel, which explored the best ways to communicate with ticket buyers
THURSDAY 9 MARCH Workshop: Instagram for live music Hosts: Karim Fanous & Elisabeth Patuck (Music Ally)
The Fan: The social overload? Host: Ben Martin, Marshall Arts (UK) Guest speakers: Jackie Wilgar (Live Nation), Chris Carey (Media Insight Consulting), Oliver Hoppe (Wizard Promotions), Jessie Scoullar (Wicksteed Works)
Delving into the multi-layered toolbox that digital marketers are using to connect the audience with artists, Ben Martin posed the question, how do we curate the right relationship with fans? Jessie Scoullar observed, “The greater loyalty an audience has with an artist, the more money they are likely to spend.” Jackie Wilgar contended that understanding fans and building trust are crucial goals. “The number one thing we hear from fans about why they did not attend a show is because they did not know about it. And the number one way they find out about a show is socials, be that Facebook or whatever.” However, she warned that digital marketing is not the only way to deliver campaigns. “Radio still plays an incredibly important role, as does TV in certain markets.” SMG Europe’s John Sharkey asked whether the industry is guilty of bombarding fans with messages. But Wilgar shared Live Nation research that a fan needs on average seven hits before making the decision to buy a ticket. “But we need to co-ordinate with the artist, the venue, etc, to find out when their messaging is scheduled,” she added.
Interest in the Instagram workshop meant that delegates had to get creative with seating
Elisabeth Patuck explained how the live industry can benefit from using Instagram in its marketing – across venues, tours and festivals – and suggested looking to the fashion industry for tips and best practice on using the medium. With 400m+ daily active users and 500m+ active advertisers, Instagram is a platform that is creating huge opportunities. “It used to be a throwaway medium but now has amazing commercial viability,” said Patuck. She highlighted tools like Linkfire and dropping in Facebook pixels to track audiences and putting in place means to re-target them, before working through key features within the app and suggesting how the live business can use them. “Instagram is mobile-first and people want short 10-second bursts of content,” she said, suggesting touring is where Instagram can come alive for users, giving fans insights into life on the road.
The Emerging Markets Place: Territorial investigations Chair: Michal Kaščák (Pohoda Festival), Serge Grimaux (Intellitix), Fruzsina Szép (Lollapalooza Berlin)
Dudu Sarr from Senegal reported that big concerts are now starting to happen throughout Africa, thanks to daring entrepreneurs, while Nuno Sousa Pinto from Brazil stated the South American markets in the next ten years will grow astronomically. Fruzsina Szép pondered whether events could become more engaged in politics, highlighting Michal Kaščák’s brave decision to build a minaret at Pohoda in reaction to the Slovak government’s policy of not accepting Muslim refugees. “Humour is one of the best tools to deal with autocrats and populists – they hate jokes and anything that they cannot control,” commented Kaščák. An Indian delegate told the session about a festival model that had 75,000 free tickets, along with 5,000 places where the prices went as high as $10,000. Having lived in India for more than a year, Serge Grimaux agreed the potential for live music in the country is massive. “The moment you master the way to communicate with the potential audience, things will change,” he concluded.
Michal Kaščák, Serge Grimaux and Fruzsina Szép introduced a new format for the Emerging Markets session, incorporating a DJ, food and alcohol to encourage delegates to participate in the discussion
ILMC 29 CONFERENCE REPORT
Jane Beese and Paul Ryan took part in a lively debate regarding the relationship between venues and other parts of the live music industry.
The Venue’s Venue: Big rooms & big data Chair: Brian Kabatznick (AEG Facilities) Guest speakers: Jenny Blomqvist (Stockholm Globe), Adrian Doyle (SSE Belfast), Anne-Marie Harwood (EAA), Brandon Lucas (Carbon House), Victoria Matthews (Sema4 Consulting), Kai Müller (Barclaycard Arena)
ILMC was treated to a first look at the most recent annual reports from the UK’s National Arenas Association (NAA) and European Arenas Association (EAA), which showed a 4.2% drop in the number of shows in participating venues – 44 of the associations’ 51 members – and an 8.2% decline in attendance compared to 2015. Last year was tough for music, explained Anne-Marie Harwood – ice-hockey matches and Disney on Ice were the top draws, with total attendance of 2.5m and 994,000, respectively – with the top-three tours (Adele, Muse and Justin Bieber) being attended by roughly 450,000 people apiece (compared to 2015’s biggest tour, Take That, which drew crowds of more than 500,000 in the UK alone.) Brian Kabatznick presented the results of a survey, quizzing venues on their concern over lack of suitable headliners; artist fees and ticket prices; shortage of skills; production costs; and industry consolidation. Of those topics, only rising artist fees appeared to be a cause for concern, with 9% of venues saying they were extremely worried, 26% very, 31% slightly and 30% moderately worried. But Adrian Doyle and Kai Müller don’t believe headliners are in short supply, with Müller revealing 22 new acts played the Barclaycard Arena for the first time last year.
Venue Summit Workshop: Early stages Host: Auro Foxcroft, (Village Underground) Guest speakers: Sarah Clover (Barrister), Chris Garrit (Night mayor of Groningen), Amy Lamé (London’s Night Czar), Shain Shapiro (Sound Advice), Mark Davyd (Music Venue Trust), Beverley Whitrick (Music Venue Trust)
Amy Lamé suggested that post-Brexit, London needs to “think about strengths” – chief among them its music scene. “We’re now seventh in the world,” she said, referring to London’s live music strength, as measured by a city’s population, music spend and number of grassroots venues. “We’re below Bogota; we’re below Melbourne… we’ve taken our eye off the ball.” Shain Shapiro stated his belief that venues globally are waking up to the importance of engaging with planning authorities, with America leading the way. “Even Eau Claire, Wisconsin” – a city of some 65,000 people – “has a music office!” He concluded, “Every single city or town should have a music policy. It shouldn’t be special – it should just be.”
An enthusiastic audience filled the room to see Auro Foxcroft skipper the Early Stages workshop.
Venue Summit: Industry relationships Chair: Lucy Noble (Royal Albert Hall) Guest speakers: Jane Beese (The Roundhouse), André Lieberberg (Live Nation), Paul Ryan (United Talent Agency), Doug Smith (Ticketmaster)
Lucy Noble revealed that part of her role is to develop the Royal Albert Hall’s own shows and co-productions, which currently make up 14% of the venue’s programming. Kilimanjaro CEO Stuart Galbraith warned that going promoterfree only works if the show is a “slam-dunk sell-out. If you’ve got a show that stops at 60% there’s nowhere else to go,” he commented. Emporium Presents’ Jason Zink said some venues had “stolen shows from us – and that’s the last time we’ll work with that venue.” AEG Ogden’s Tim Worton highlighted successful brand activations by Qudos Bank at the eponymous 21,000-cap. arena in Sydney: the bank supplies roving photographers and booths to take pictures, allowing fans to take home a memento of the show and share it on social media. Those who share photos online are also entered into a competition to win upgraded seats for future gigs. While Jane Beese said the Roundhouse is “fiercely proud” of its independent, unbranded credentials, Zink said that as a promoter he is a “big fan” of branded venues and their potential for putting Emporium shows “in front of more eyeballs.”
Venue Summit: Safety & security Host: John Sharkey (SMG Europe) Guest speakers: Simon Battersby (Showsec), Tony Duncan (U2 Security/protective detail), Chris Kemp (Mind Over Matter), Aline Renet (Prodiss), Andrew Smith (West Midlands Police)
Aline Renet presented findings from research into live music attendance in France since the 2015 attack on Le Bataclan. She detailed how a €14million emergency fund for promoters and venues – of which €8m was donated by the government – was instrumental in helping many businesses to survive the drop-off in attendance, which fell 80% in the immediate aftermath. Chris Kemp outlined how terrorism has grown globally in recent years. “It’s not just happening in Europe – but it is ramping up in Europe, and it’s something we need to be aware of.” Andrew Smith highlighted the importance of venues and promoters knowing who’s working their events. “Do you have any idea who they are and what they have access to?” He added, “It’s one thing getting in on the day of the event, with all the security – but have you got any idea who is on-site in the days running up to it?”
ILMC 29 CONFERENCE REPORT
Barley Arts promoter, Claudio Trotta, informed fellow delegates of the latest moves against secondary ticketing in Italy
Seated alongside Amazon’s Geraldine Wilson, Ticketmaster UK boss Andrew Parsons addressed a number of issues raised during ILMC’s Ticketing panel
Direct Licensing: Rates, rights and wrongs Chair: Jon Webster (MMF)
Ticketing: The survival plan Chair: Tim Chambers (TJ Chambers Consultancy) Guest speakers: Rainer Appel (CTS Eventim), John Meglen (AEG Live), Andrew Parsons (Ticketmaster), Geraldine Wilson (Amazon Tickets), Paul Wilson (CAA)
Running through the theme of this session was pricing: how ticket prices are set; how fees are applied; what the resale value is; how the house can be priced better. Amazon Tickets’ Geraldine Wilson called for price streamlining – a reason behind Amazon showing customers the all-in price. “Our customers expect us to have competitive prices,” she said, citing the example of theatre tickets and why they should not be more on Amazon than at the theatre box office. Asked if, with its interests in secondary, Ticketmaster is both gamekeeper and poacher, Andrew Parsons cited a recent initiative with Iron Maiden to use paperless tickets linked to ID to stem secondary. Parsons also talked about Ticketmaster’s API and how it is already linking into giant platforms like Facebook and Spotify to create a more connected experience, hinting that the company is only getting started in this area.
Guest speakers: Iain Black (PRS), Ben Challis (Glastonbury Festival), Paul Crockford (PCM Management), Adam Elfin (PACE Rights Management), Anja Kroeze (Buma Stemra), Jude Luscombe (PRS)
During a heated debate, the panel tried to work out a solution for the current practice of acts who write their own songs and take out their rights from their respective PRO to license them directly to promoters. Paul Crockford branded the PROs a “fraudulent” system because rebates offered by collecting societies are taken from the writer’s share, not the PRO’s overhead. Iain Black explained that of 67,000 live music events that PRS licensed in 2016, only 21 had a direct licensing request. According to Ben Challis, such requests would be fine if promoters had an easy way of paying both direct and collective licensors. Indeed, Glastonbury is now refusing to book bands that direct license. Adam Elfin stressed that it is paramount for all stakeholders – PROs, promoters, managers, accountants, and writers – to sit down together and work out a solution. The panel agreed that the easiest solution would probably be to streamline tariffs across Europe, so that there would be one PRO in each territory that didn’t grant rebates. But they conceded this is unlikely to happen, because there are too many board members on too many PRO boards.
Workshop: Visas & immigration Hosts: Sophie Amable (Artist & Entertainer Visas Global), Oleg Gaidar (Artist & Entertainer Visas Global), Brande Lindsey (Global Access), Tina Richard (T&S Immigration)
Tina Richard second-guessed immediately what the audience would want to ask and headed them off at the pass. “Please don’t ask me about Brexit,” she said. “I know as much as you do.” Oleg Gaidar explained how unexpected immigration rules can wrong-foot everyone, citing Argentina’s sudden 2015 decision to insist on work visas for British nationals in acts and crew. Fingerprints have been required for the past two years in Russia, but for acts tight for time, a fingerprinting mobile kit can be hired from the Russian embassy and brought to the act. “It’s a VIP service and costs money,” said Gaidar, “but it is possible.” Finally, Sophie Amable said that getting applications in early is the only way to behave. They can help rush through applications for the US as a VIP service but this is expensive. “The US embassy does not allow people to hire their fingerprint machines like the Russians do,” she said, pointing out there are as many as 800 applications a day in person at the US Embassy in London. “It is literally manic,” she said. “Hence the VIP service.”
Buma Stemra’s Anja Kroeze listened intently as Jon Webster detailed the frustration among artist representatives surrounding PRO rebates
ILMC 29 CONFERENCE REPORT
EVENTS Enjoying a reputation as a place to debate the issues of the day, ILMC is also known as the global gathering where members can pit themselves against each other in a variety of competitions and events. And 2017 proved to be a stellar year for all involved. This page, from the top: the Criminal Records Karaoke certainly lived up to its name with numerous solo efforts and some outrageous group performances; referee Terry McNally had his work cut out during the late night ‘Foul Play’ Table Football Coupe du Monde; but the winning team emerged as Johannes Schuster from Munich Olympic Park and Lukas Hohmeyer from PSE, pictured here with Terry.
Opposite page, clockwise from top left: Ukrainian delegate Tanya Kovalevska seems genuinely delighted to be one of the few Nikos Fund Prize draw winners not to be insulted by MC Gordon Masson; a £50 bar tab is always cause for a (shortlived) celebration at the Dead Man’s Hand Poker Showdown; team ILMC take a relaxed approach to investigating the murder of MD Greg Parmley: Kilimanjaro Live’s Stuart Galbraith catches up with former Live Nation colleagues and now AEG Presents co-CEOs Steve Homer and Toby Leighton-Pope; delegates from the tenth IPM stayed late for some glasses of bubbly...; where they mingled with attendees of the Green Events and Innovations Conference; ITB’s Barry Dickins and Steve Zapp are caught red-handed taking more than their fair share of cups during Feld’s ‘Sherlock Cones’ Ice Cream Break; venue management was out in force at the WME Happy Hour; while the Lithuanians opted to hunt in packs at the United Talent Agency Happy Hour; and Chris Carey claims yet another victim on his way to winning the Connect Four tournament in Bertie’s Bar.
ILMC 29 CONFERENCE REPORT
ILMC 29 CONFERENCE REPORT
Alex Hardee instructed ILMC members on the best method to carry a shark across Miami, during Tales from the Front Line.
Tales From the Front Line Chair: Paul Crockford (PC Management) Guest speakers: Alex Hardee (Coda Agency), Andy Lenthall, (Production Services Association), Adam Parsons (Siren Management), Lucy Noble (Royal Albert Hall), Andrew Zweck (Sensible Events)
The most light-hearted session of ILMC united a number of special guests for 60-minutes of live industry anecdotes. Alex Hardeeopened the panel by saying: “They say you come to ILMC twice: once on your way up, once on your way down... It’s good to be back.” The panellists talked about their arrest records, with the highlight being Ed Bicknell’s tale from Rome when his band’s fireworks went off the wrong way and hit army staff taking care of event security. They thought they were being attacked, so they arrested the entire backstage. Paul Crockford cited a Rolling Stones show at Roundhay Park, when the production manager forced crew to paint a mile long fence in different shades of grey several times. Andrew Zweck, meanwhile, remembered a show where he and four other guys had to fight off a furious audience with mic stands, because the band had cancelled. And Hardee recalled walking eight miles across Miami with a beheaded shark. Enough said.
Workshop: Getting to know Snapchat Hosts: Juan David Borrero & Glenne Christiaansen (Snapchat)
Elastic Artists: A cautionary tale Host: Olaf Furniss (Music Tourist) Guest: Jon Slade (Elasticine)
The collapse of Elastic Artists is a hell of a story and multiple cautionary tales lie darkly wrapped together within it. Founder Jon Slade gave a brutally honest overview of what went wrong and explained that an agency going bust was without precedent, so there was no reference manual. One of a string of problems the agency faced was using third-party software for their accounts, something they had done from the off. As Elastic scaled up it became unmanageable and the software was compromised and threw their accounts into total chaos. “In 18 months it went from being completely audited to a complete car crash.” Recalling the need to file for administration, Slade said, “It was the worst thing you could imagine – telling 30 people they had lost their jobs.”
Providing a tutorial of Snapchat’s various functions, Juan David Borrero said, “We are a camera company and we are reinventing the way people use cameras to interact with their friends.” With innovation at the core of what the company does, Borrero revealed that 150m people use the app every single day, with the customer-base viewing snaps with geofilters more than 1billion times every day. Glenne Christiaansen said that the company has seen artists, bands, venues and events using geofilters, with Coachella, the Brit Awards and the Kiss FM Jingle Ball having recently created their own. The hosts revealed that most users have the sound turned on when they activate Snapchat, making it an ideal conduit for the music industry.
The Think Tank with Herman Schueremans, Andrew Zweck & Bryan Grant Host: Gordon Masson (IQ)
Industry veterans Bryan Grant, Herman Schueremans and Andrew Zweck fielded a diverse range of topics from how to beat jetlag to how the panellists got into the business? Highlights included Zweck’s tale of being fired by Elton John for, ultimately, leaving the thorns on his long-stem roses; Schueremans’ tricky ambition to one day work with Jimi Hendrix; and Grant’s admission that, in his spare time, he loves nothing more than pottering away in his Fulham allotment garden, safe in the knowledge that the billion-pound pocket of land will always be protected from property developers.
Senior Snapchat staffers Glenne Christiaans en and Juan David Borrero flew in from Los Angeles to instruct ILMC delegates on the benefits the camera app can deliver to live music operations.
ILMC 29 CONFERENCE REPORT
Raconteur Ed Bicknell swapped artist management yarns with Paul McGuinness during one of the conference’s best-attended sessions.
Family Entertainment: The generation game Chair: Christoph Scholz (Semmel Concerts) Guest speakers: Michel Boersma (Live Nation Dubai) Jill Bryant (Dinosaurs in the Wild), Alex Rabens (WME New York), Petr Suchánek (JVS), Toby Tumarkin (IMG Artists), Steven Armstrong (Feld Entertainment)
With the circuses leaving town, Christoph Scholz pondered what form of entertainment would replace them. Michel Boersma suggested the circus has evolved to include the likes of Monster Jam, dinosaur shows and everything else in the market today. Steven Armstrong admitted it was painful to see Feld’s circuses close. However, he revealed that discussions are underway to explore new avenues for both the Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey brands. As one of the originators of Walking With Dinosaurs, Jill Bryant said that because the creatures were ‘real’ perhaps explains the popularity of such shows, and with scientists discovering more about dinosaurs all the time, the exhibits are continually updated and redesigned. The panellists highlighted that newspaper reviews remain as crucial as ever to marketing plans. Alex Rabens,, however, said he was much more interested in Selena Gomez Snapchatting that she was at the Harry Potter show than any kind of coverage in the LA Times.
The Agency Business 2017 Chairs: Xenia Grigat (Beatbox Entertainment) & Olivier Toth, (Rockhal)
FRIDAY 10 MARCH The Breakfast Meeting with Paul McGuinness Host: Ed Bicknell (Damage Mgmt)
Guest speakers: Brian Ahern (WME), Clementine Bunel (ATC Live), Jules de Lattre (UTA), John Giddings (Solo Agency)
Referencing his State of the agency business article that appeared in Issue 66 of IQ Magazine, Jules de Lattre touched on UTA’s acquisition of The Agency Group and Paradigm’s tie-ups with AM Only, Windish and Coda, and the trend towards artists increasingly choosing fullservice global agencies that offer them access to other sectors. Brian Ahern conceded such arrangements “aren’t for everyone,” with De Lattre paying tribute to the independently owned agencies “doing very well, independent of that structure.” On consolidation, Clementine Bunel said she’s not concerned by the snapping up of indie operations by LA-headquartered giants. “It’s actually those changes that have allowed ATC to blossom,” she said. “I don’t see consolidations and mergers as a worry: on the contrary, we actually benefit from it. There are artists who need boutique agencies.” Music lawyer Alexis Grower asked what effect they see Britain’s impending exit from the European Union having on the agency business. John Giddings said it would not “make a blind bit of difference,” as all member states have “always had different taxes, different PROs […] It was supposed to all become the same but it never did.”
With Ed Bicknell guiding proceedings, former U2 manager Paul McGuinness highlighted luck as one of the four key qualities needed in a manager – along with talent, stamina and ambition. He revealed that the band and manager’s famous five-way royalty split was established from the outset. “In the groups I was interested in there was an officer class and then the soldiers,” he explained. “In the Rolling Stones you had Mick and Keith and then everyone else; in The Beatles it was John and Paul, and then George and Ringo. That’s what broke up those groups. So, I said to U2: ‘There isn’t going to be any money for a while, so what there is you should split equally. And since there’s four of you and one of me, why don’t we split everything five ways?’” Reflecting on the band’s early touring career, McGuinness outlined how important the band’s live act was in establishing their reputation at a time when their records weren’t selling. “In the early 80s,” he continued, “we’d do three months in the US in one go every year. That meant playing in as many cities as possible – and major cities twice each, so you’d hopefully see progress from a club to an auditorium [when you returned].” A consequence of that early focus on live is that a lot of U2’s promoters “grew up with us… Very often they’re now Live Nation territory bosses, so the sensation is often of still doing business with the same people.” With discussion inevitably turning, briefly, to secondary ticketing, McGuinness said the price scaling for U2’s 360° tour was “pretty good. We had $25 tickets further from the stage, with prices going all the way up to $120, $150, all sold out.” He added, “Everyone liked the idea of touring an in-the-round stadium production, but it took a lot of money and imagination to John Giddings and Clementine Bunel provided their insight on the turn it into a reality. I don’t think anyone will ever do it again.” state of the agency business during ILMC 29’s final session
ILMC 29 CONFERENCE REPORT
SHOWCASES FRENCH ILMC 29’s new series of lunchtime showcases kicked off with Testing 1 to 3: The Bureau Export Session, hosted by the French music export office. Situated next door to the Royal Garden Hotel, venue Bodo’s Schloss welcomed post-prandial delegates to exceptional performances by four of the hottest contemporary artists on the French music scene, in the form of Bantam Lyons, DBFC, Juveniles and Sônge. And if that wasn’t enough for the musichungry crowd, our amiable hosts from across La Manche served visitors with some rare French cheeses, all washed down with the finest French wine that this particular part of Kensington has to offer.
A regular part of the ILMC calendar for more than a decade, the Dutch Impact Party as usual treated delegates to the very best in current Dutch music, whilst enjoying glasses of mysterious cold, fizzy stuff, a bite to eat and some unbeatable hospitality, thanks to Dutch Music Export and Buma Cultuur. Excellent sets from Navarone, Dool, Paceshifters and Amber Arcades made it a night to remember as the friendly folk from the Netherlands rolled out their annual orange carpet for invited guests.
ILMC 29 CONFERENCE REPORT
SWISS Four exceptional acts – Baba Shrimps, Veronica Fusaro, Death by Chocolate and The Souls – took to the stage in order to showcase their musical wares, whilst delegates partook of a sneaky post-lunch Swiss wine or two and delicious traditional Swiss food, all courtesy of hosts Act Entertainment, ABC, Deepdive Music, and Swiss Live Talents.
ILMC 29 CONFERENCE REPORT
THE GALA DINNER With the popularity of ILMC’s gala dinner demanding bigger premises, the sumptuous surroundings of 8Northumberland hosted this year’s Murder on the Orient Express-themed event, kindly sponsored by Switzerland’s finest - Baloise Session, Mainland Music, Montreux Jazz Festival and Opus One. Pictured, clockwise from top right: No ILMC party would be complete without a femme fatale, the local constabulary, and… err Hercule Poirot; the event’s generous Swiss hosts make sure everyone is enjoying proceedings; when actual reality gets too much, ILMC ensures there’s always an alternative for our VIPs; dressed in their Orient Express finery, many ‘passengers’ add a touch of glamour to the champagne reception; yet more glamour; pop quiz MC Gordon Masson brings his own blend of faux pas to the stage; while magician extraordinaire, Nigel Mead, thrills guests with some mind-blowing feats of wizardry.
ILMC 29 CONFERENCE REPORT
THE ARTHUR AWARDS 1. First Venue To Come Into Your Head Royal Albert Hall
6. The People’s Assistant Sarah Donovan, Live Nation UK
Chris Cotton: I hope the first, second, third and fourth thought to come into your head will always be the Royal Albert Hall. To all ILMC members, you are a rowdy bunch, but we at the Hall love you all. Thank you for great memories.
The People’s Assistant was an exceptionally strong category this year, so to have won this award is an absolute honour. Also, the fact that it’s voted for by people I’ve worked with and admired for a number of years means an incredible amount.
2. Most Professional Professional Selina Emeny, Live Nation UK
7. Tomorrow’s New Boss Oliver Ward, UTA
I was delighted to be nominated, let alone be officially recognised among my peers as the Most Professional Professional. I have loved and continue to love every day of the last 17 years working at Live Nation Entertainment and I’d like to dedicate this Arthur Award to my wonderful colleagues all over the world who have given me enough work to keep me busy and make life very interesting. Beyond that, I am very fortunate to work for a company that recognises its responsibility to the industry. This has led me to work with many of our industry’s amazing individuals and bodies to stand up and fight for what is right for the industry so that it continues to thrive and remains in good health. Thank you ILMC, and everyone who voted for me.
To hear my name read out as the winner of Tomorrow’s New Boss was a real shock! I am humbled and honoured to have been voted for by my peers amongst heavy competition with other very talented new bosses. I have been lucky enough to work with some incredible people across the live industry over the past few years. Thank you to them and my colleagues for inspiring me every day; and to everyone who voted!
3. Liggers’ Favourite Festival British Summer Time Hyde Park Jim King: We’re all delighted to get the Liggers’ Favourite Festival award. Barclaycard presents British Summertime has grown yearon-year into a huge success for both AEG Presents and the UK festival market. The quality of the acts and the fan experience is second to none and we’re all excited about this year’s event. Thanks to the team at ILMC and to everyone who voted for us. See you in Hyde Park this summer.
4. Services Above and Beyond Eat to the Beat Mary Shelley-Smith: To be nominated for this award, let alone win it, is a great privilege and we are incredibly thankful to everyone who voted for us. Especially as the folk who vote are such prestigious people in the industry and we were one of a great bunch of nominees. It’s a real achievement to win a 2nd Arthur Award and it’s great to see our hard work is being acknowledged. Makes us very proud. A big thank you to all of the ETTB staff and crew who have made this year another successful one.
5. The Golden Ticket CTS Eventim Rainer Appel: All of us at Eventim are working hard to offer the best service and technology all over Europe, and it is great to get positive feedback on that from our industry peers. We are honoured that the international live entertainment community expresses its appreciation for what we do once again with the ticketing Arthur Award 2017.
8. Second Least Offensive Agent John Giddings, Solo Agency It is a tribute to short emails and the inability to type. Thank you to everyone who voted for me!!
9. The Promoters’ Promoter Stephan Thanscheidt, FKP Scorpio I really feel deeply honoured to receive this well-respected award – especially in this category including all those brilliant promoters. It was totally unexpected! Thanks to everybody who voted for me. Cheers!
The Bottle Award Herman Schueremans (see page 54)
ILMC 29 CONFERENCE REPORT
Gig Gadgetry from the Frontline...
MoSART Guides Licensing Decisions Taking a revolutionary outlook on licensing decisions, the Dutch municipality of Groningen is using a new app to gauge residential and visitor approval for concerts and other events in and around the city. As the host city of Eurosonic Noorderslag, Groningen’s officials have first-hand experience of the benefits that live music shows can bring, so the council implemented smart-
phone app MoSART (Mobile Soundscape Appraisal and Recording Technology), during three festivals in the last year, in order to measure and understand the effects of festivals on city neighbourhoods. Instead of focussing only on official noise complaints and the minimal requirements dictated by current legislation (namely decibel thresholds), MoSART allows for crowd
Second Screen Fresh from showcasing their abilities at ILMC’s tech panel, Second Screen is rolling out a number of new features this year, with the boast that it can now turn around a new app build in under one week. CEO Niall Green explains that one significant development for 2017 is the integration of a native advertising platform that will allow brands to tap into apps. “It means that the app owner can target specific brands, such as local breweries
Event Protect With so many events last summer being cancelled or rescheduled because of factors such as the weather, terror threats and civil unrest, ticketing insurance specialist Event Protect has developed a unique scheme that allows refunds to be processed directly with fans. Ticketing agents can use API to connect, in real time, to Event Protect’s system,
which has been designed so that whenever an event is cancelled, rescheduled or curtailed, the insurer provides a full refund directly to ticket holders, including any packaged extras, such as VIP, processing fees, transport, etc. The company is hoping it can become a consumer champion brand, similar to ABTA or ATOL in the travel industry. “There are a few key differences between what we
sourced sampling of actual personal experiences from visitors and local citizens. A measurement of MoSART consists of a short audio recording, combined with a scientific validated questionnaire on soundscape appraisal. The gathered data is processed in real time, allowing the festival or municipality to monitor the impact of an event as it devel-
ops, and intervene if necessary. That way, the balance between a lively party and a liveable environment can be optimised. “Ultimately, MoSART helps to establish and maintain a positive relationship between the neighbourhood, the festival, and the municipality, contributing to the social sustainability of music events,” comments Kirsten van den Bosch, CEO of MoSART developers, SoundAppraisal.
or cheese makers who might not be able to afford a £10,000 advertising campaign, whereas a highly targeted customer base at the likes of a festival can be reached within their budget,” says Green. “From the brands’ point of view, they will be advertising in a closed network where we can provide them with data about where the fans live, how far they have travelled, how they got to the festival, etc – all useful information that brands really want.” The advertising element provides app clients, such as fes-
tivals, artists or venues, with a new revenue stream that they can either split 50/50 with Second Screen (when the developer acquires the advertiser), or if the client brings in the advertiser, the split is 70/30 in their favour. Current Second Screen clients include Horizon, Isle of Wight, Love Supreme, Sundown and the new, month-long East London Fringe Festival. But with a live-streaming channel making its debut this summer, the portfolio of clients relying on Second Screen for their apps is only set to expand. secondscreenldn.com
do and traditional insurance companies,” says Event Protect business development manager, Marcus Worsley. “For instance: we don’t require detailed risk assessments, as the risk is spread across our portfolio of events; there’s no lump sum premium payable upfront, as the cost is paid for when ticket sales are made; we manage the claim on our clients’ behalf in the case of an event cancellation, thus securing the funds from
the underwriter and paying this directly to ticket holders within about two weeks; and there is also scope for our members to generate revenues from this, as the cost can be passed onto the customer at a mark-up.” Worsley says the product is already gaining traction among ticket agents that advance money to event organisers, white-label ticketing, and event organisers who self-ticket. eventprotect.co
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IQ Magazine May 2017
T H E A G E N C Y O F ‘ W E’
It’s ten years since William Morris created its music division in London. Adam Woods talks to the executives developing the business about the successes and challenges of establishing an international foothold during the first decade – and getting international promoters to understand their territorial approach to booking... It’s a useful demonstration of WME’s global footprint that the eight music executives who phone in to talk to IQ over the course of four days in March are scattered across the western world, in São Paulo, Mexico, London, New York, Los Angeles and somewhere on the Eurostar line to Paris. Evidently, the company’s music division is living the sort of life it intended for itself when the William Morris Agency, then a mere 109 years old, launched its first European office a decade ago in London. Recognising that music was breaking its borders via the Internet, the essentially US-focused agency set out from Hollywood to conquer the wider world. “We said: this is crazy, to be a huge company and not be global, and not have a network,” recalls worldwide head of music Marc Geiger, from a hotel lobby in São Paulo, Brazil. “It’s nuts not to be able to handle artists on a global basis. When you look at everything that was happening on the Internet – Google, Amazon, YouTube – everything was global, and music fans everywhere were able to get the same content at the same time.
“We have had to get rid of the word ‘my’ and go to a ‘we.’ I say at WME we cross out the ‘M’ – that’s how we think.”
MARC GEIGER “It was a very different era than we all grew up in, and as music proliferated even more we were convinced music was going to be a global economy.” Ten years on, that seems like a particularly uncontroversial conviction. WME can point to a global client list that includes Rihanna, Drake, Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars, The Weeknd and Selena Gomez. And the notion of globallybooked tours – driven, in WME’s case, by specialist teams, not individual agents with their own personal rosters – looks like a logical, if controversial, departure from the traditional model practised in the UK and Europe.
Drake epitomises the multi-faceted global reach that WME can provide its clients
IQ Magazine May 2017
Rihanna’s seemingly omnipresence has much to do with WME’s team oriented approach
“We look at it really like a relay race – I’m going to hand this off to the person in New York or LA as they become awake.”
TERRITORIAL ARMY Initially, the London office, which launched under former Dire Straits manager Ed Bicknell, followed the standard UK format, but no more. “Over time, what we really realised was that we should not be a UK agency at all,” says Geiger. “It doesn’t suit us; it’s counter to how we work. We work as a team, with systems, and we have a machine that delivers results for our clients.” That territorial, team approach has its detractors - with many critics adamant that such a system does not work outside of America. But WME can point to notable successes with the artists they represent globally and with everyone at the company singing from the same hymn sheet, their unique model also has its fans. One thing’s for sure: WME’s top brass are determined to continue developing their territorial system, convinced that it will deliver their clients the best career options available. These days, the global structure is painstakingly integrated and tied together with constant conference calls. The result is a network of teams that, over the course of these interviews, finds itself compared, in various contexts, to a football team, an elite hospital, and Ikea. Today, the London office, with its 37 staff, is run by LA recruit Brian Ahern and dance industry veteran David Levy, and integrates with the globalised WME network, scouting talent but, more to the point, feeding local and regional music and market knowledge across the group. “Ultimately, we are the external wing – if you look at the company as being based in LA – of a team that is then able to go regionally and understand the marketplace in specific detail all over the world,” says Ahern. “It is a piece of the whole – it is not just an isolated organisation, operating like a boutique. We look at it really like a relay race – I’m going to hand this off to the person in New York or LA as they become awake.” “Our game is departmental, service-oriented, instead of one person representing a client and having the full responsibility for that client,” says Geiger. “Typically, in the UK, you signup to that person, you don’t get the distributed network effect that has changed the world,” he notes. “It took us a while, but we wanted to play with a different version of that. For us it’s four, five, six, seven people on a client, handling every part of their global strategy. What we are doing is pulling together a global team [around an artist], so no matter who you meet in the company, we have equal knowledge of the client. “And while I’m hyper-conscious that that is something that gets attacked by other agencies, we remain steadfast, and we think this path is the right one, and over the next few years we will continue to see the growth in the business.”
On top of LA, New York, Miami and Nashville, London is one of two dedicated WME offices outside the US, along with Sydney under Brett Murrihy, keeping tabs on Asia Pacific. Levy is adamant that the purpose of London isn’t simply to introduce US talent to this continent. For one thing, the talent is coming in westwards as well as eastwards. “We are as involved in nurturing the K-pop community as we are in bringing Nashville to the world,” he says. For another, artists such as Haim, Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa all have London’s fingerprints on them from early on, as do lifestyle and digital successes such as Ella Woodward and YouTube star Ben Phillips. “It’s not just that there are other forms of talent that we believe in, but the number of verticals we work in makes you much more educated about the opportunities,” Levy says. “The crossover between music and sport is phenomenal; we are seeing a number of our clients engaging in the fashion and modelling space. It’s just an ongoing thing.”
MULTI-DISCIPLINARY To get a grip on WME in 2017, it’s useful to step back and take in the wider picture. The music division is just one slice of the increasingly colossal WME-IMG talent empire, formed by the consecutive mergers of WMA with the ambitious upstart Endeavor in 2009, and global sport and fashion giant IMG in 2014, and united under co-CEOs Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell. As well as the film and TV talent business, where clients include Oprah Winfrey, Tina Fey, Ben Affleck, Jake Gyllenhaal, Emma Stone, Martin Scorsese and any number of other Hollywood stars and directors, the wider WME-IMG family has interests in advertising, fashion, modelling and live events. It doesn’t simply represent but owns properties including UFC, Professional Bull Riding and Miss Universe, and part-owns the ever more global Lollapalooza festival brand.
Bruno Mars is currently in the midst of his sold-out ‘24K Magic’ world tour
IQ Magazine May 2017
Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, aka The Weeknd, has been elevated to superstar status on his current ‘Starboy Legend of the Fall’ tour
“I think some people are nervous about what we are doing. When you are ahead of the curve, sometimes it is misunderstood.”
DAVID LEVY Motivating this remarkable rate of expansion are impulses both modern and vintage. WME-IMG’s global power-broking strategy may be pure 21st century rapacity, but the knack of adapting to changing times in show business was what helped the original William Morris to thrive in the early 1900s, as vaudeville gave way to silent movies, then talkies, then radio and TV, and on and on. “Not to get teary-eyed about it, but that is the history of the company,” says Levy. “It’s a company that is 119 years old and if the other forms of entertainment have come since, of course it predates them. We have an ingrained belief in getting ahead of the curve.” WME’s evolutionary spirit is rife in the music division, where there are departments and more departments, among them international, sponsorship, festivals, electronic music and digital (ie social media-generated) talent – all aiming to find opportunities, and all feeding into the global WME hive mind. For traditionalists looking in, it might all appear faintly terrifying. But the tone within WME is mostly mild and measured. “It’s very difficult to change an established status quo and to be a little bit disruptive,” soothes Geiger. “But when we
TESTIMONIALS WME are a world leading agency who are at the top of their game. They definitely made the world a smaller place when they launched in London ten years ago and they’ve managed to combine the transatlantic cultures fantastically well. They are extremely informed worldwide, putting them in a great position to advise their clients and advance their careers internationally. Congratulations team WME - and here’s to working with you even more over the next ten years! Peer Osmundsvaag – Atomic Soul Throughout all these years we have always had the greatest respect for WME and working together we shared magical moments in all countries where Rock in Rio has been presented. Congratulations WME on such a remarkable date. Paulo Fellin – Rock in Rio Thank you for the years of amazing artists that you have brought to us for all those magical moments at the Royal Albert Hall. WME are a big part of the Hall’s history and we look forward to continuing to work with you in the future. Lucy Noble – Royal Albert Hall
“You need local flavour and local culture, always. And if you miss that, you are going to miss the market.”
BRENT SMITH look at this business and there’s a Drake tour – or you pick any superstar off the list – it is much harder to think about exactly where people should be, and to maximise opportunities, if you chop it up. There’s a timing and a rhythm to it, and it is a million times easier to work with one team, rather than handing over the ball when you cross a border.” Levy isn’t keen to speculate on how the agency is regarded by its rivals, though he too sees only positives. “I think some people are nervous about what we are doing,” he says. “When you are ahead of the curve, sometimes it is misunderstood. I grew up where I was supposed to do everything for my clients. Now my clients have 5, 10, 15, 20 people on their team, and promoters have a lot more people to talk to on a daily basis, so that’s good for them.” The idea of a global touring circuit directed from Wilshire Boulevard might likewise strike some as alarming. But as partner Brent Smith points out, a global system can only work if there is real engagement on the ground across the world. “You need local flavour and local culture, always,” he says. “And if you miss that, you are going to miss the market. You always need that feedback.”
“I remember once getting an enquiry from someone who wanted to book a festival in Rabat, Morocco... this ends up being Mawazine Festival, where since then we have had Alicia Keys play, Usher, Whitney Houston, Rihanna’s done it. And they get 120,000 people.”
TONY GOLDRING A HISTORY OF INNOVATION Many of WME’s other innovations of recent years now look like obvious steps, Levy points out. The agency’s electronic department prefigured the boom in EDM, and its festival department remains relatively unique in its degree of specialisation. Once, international too was a faintly wacky notion for a department of a US talent agency. Head of international Tony Goldring, now heading up a team of 30 or so, arrived in Los Angeles from London nearly 17 years ago to take up a job as one of only two international staff, fielding offers from the places domestic agents weren’t interested in. “I remember once getting an enquiry from someone who wanted to book a festival in Rabat, Morocco,” he says, indicating that this was not a standard request in the early 2000s. “But you never really know until you do the due diligence. And this ends up being Mawazine Festival, where since then we have had Alicia Keys play, Usher, Whitney Houston, Rihanna’s done
I have asked Tony and Brian if they will sell all their tours and talents to Live Nation only, but they assure me that they will still consider my offers… if I add a zero to the fee that is. Joking aside, with their territorial system now also covering my region, it is less often that I talk to the great WME guys in the London office, which really is a pity! Thomas Ovesen – 117 Live Congrats to WME London on their 10th anniversary, from everyone here at Global. We have enjoyed great success already together, including sold-out tours and shows with the likes of the Pet Shop Boys, David Gray and Galantis, and we greatly appreciate the support they continue to show us across our portfolio of festivals and national tours. We look forward to more great collaborations in the years to come! Sam Bush – Global Festivals I had the privilege of working with Russell Warby when we booked a stadium tour for The Foo Fighters in 2014. I have great respect for him and found him to be one of the friendliest and nicest agents I have ever dealt with. Happy anniversary WME! Attie van Wyk – Big Concerts International
Co-heads of the London music team, Brian Ahern and David Levy, lead the UKbased operations alongside (left to right) fellow WME partners Steve Hogan and Russell Warby.
Ten years ago, the William Morris Team in London said: We Make Everything possible for our long-term promoters! And they did... most of the time. Congratulations to you and let’s rock another 10 years! André Béchir – abc Production Midas Promotions worked closely with David Levy on the successful Swedish House Mafia’s One Last Tour back in 2013, and we look forward to more opportunities to work with him and his fellow agents in the future. Congratulations to you all on ten years in London! Nigel Peters – Midas Promotions It seems WME London is turning ten... Would that be the age of reason? Not on the guarantees, that’s for sure. But throughout the bad times, David Levy’s strong presence during the November 13 events; or the good times (I promised Nick Cave no embarrassing stories), they are a daily part of my professional life. So here’s to the whole gang, the old timers and the new arrivals from the US. I’m looking forward to the next ten with you guys! Arnaud Meersseman – Miala Even though Marc Geiger is a lot easier to deal with when he’s at home in LA, I look forward to his visits here in London, especially doing business with him when he’s on his way to Wimbledon. For the last ten years it has been an absolute pleasure to work with WME London. We send our warmest congratulations to Marc, Levy, Russell and the rest of the team and wish them all the best for many more years to come. John Reid, Live Nation
it. And they get 120,000 people, in Rabat. These are the type of situations where other agents might go, ‘forget that, that can’t be real.’ And that’s not how we operate.” In recent years, WME has had proactive success in the resurgent country scene and has done much to drive its increasing wide international appeal, with artists including recent catch Garth Brooks, Brad Paisley, Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert and many others. But the biggest jewels in WME’s touring crown have came from the hip-hop and R&B boom that has effectively assumed control of the pop mainstream around the world. “Drake is the most-streamed artist in the world the last two years, all genres,” says Smith, who represents the all-conquering rapper-singer and other leading hip-hop artists such as Snoop Dogg, Big Sean and Frank Ocean. “That should tell you everything you need to know about hip-hop and pop music. Hiphop is pop music now, and the reason that can even happen is that there are fewer barriers now. An artist in LA drops a track, they have it in Oslo the exact same time they have it in Cleveland.” For international touring, the implications of that go without saying, and the sheer ease of distribution has certainly aided the frictionless rise of the current, globally booked superstar class to comfortable arena and stadium status. “We always had artists we represent globally, but when you look at the artists we represent globally now, we have Justin Timberlake and Drake and Rihanna and various others – some of the biggest artists in the world,” says Goldring. “But we are also in a development business, and that is key.” The global route isn’t only open to those who have comprehensively made their names. New York-based WME agent James Rubin gives Toronto rapper Tory Lanez, whose debut album proper came out barely six months ago, as an example of the kind of rapid-fire success on which a global network can quickly capitalise. “When I was living in London as an agent, it used to be the case that an artist would start to break in America and it would need a couple of years before it even started on the international market,” says Rubin. “But because of streaming music and YouTube, you are seeing artists break across the planet at the same time. Tory Lanez is doing 2,000 to 5,000 a night across the world.”
GLOBAL AMBITIONS The fact is, as Geiger points out, global touring is how many artists think today, from the earliest stages of their careers. “So we have to be hyper-global and hyper-local at the same time. And what we found in attempting to be hyper-global is that we had to be global in terms of the teams around the clients. It wasn’t handing off to a local office – that’s not how we work.” How WME does work is painstakingly, and en masse. “We can be in up to 12 meetings a week,” says co-head of music Kirk
“Because of streaming music and YouTube, you are seeing artists break across the planet at the same time.”
JAMES RUBIN With a career crossing multiple platforms, Justin Timberlake is a long-time WME client
IQ Magazine May 2017
“It’s great to have somebody working with the overall plot in regard to particular artists, but the probability of achieving better results is exponentially better if they can call on specialists.”
KIRK SOMMER Sommer, whose artists include Adele, Sam Smith, the Arctic Monkeys and The Killers. “Some of those meetings are very specific by genre. Others are focused around servicing clients and routing and booking shows. “But we don’t book like a traditional agency. We have specialists in festivals or marketing, and those people have intense relationships with buyers and marketers, and they service the entire roster. It’s great to have somebody working with the overall plot in regard to particular artists, but the probability of achieving better results is exponentially better if they can call on specialists. It’s about information and communication. If you can communicate well, you can work really well within the system.” For WME artists, the plan isn’t purely one of touring the world in ever-wider circles, but also of multiplatform opportunities, lateral tie-ups, clever bits of crossdepartmental profile-raising and money-making in movies, fashion and elsewhere. Sara Newkirk Simon, co-head of music, oversees such efforts, which are pieced together with the kind of careful brand awareness that has seen Selena Gomez sign a $10m deal
WME London is one of the first agencies to invest in building their electronic department and was fully ahead of the game. The agents at WME are extremely involved with the acts they represent, making it a team effort in building them in all territories. Kim Bloem – Mojo Concerts I’ve known David Levy and Russell Warby for ages. They have a strong team and are a pleasure to work with. Kara James and Andy Nees are part of an incredible new generation of agents working there. Top-notch team! Plus, a few years ago I spent a day in a canoe on the Amazon River with Russell. How many promoters or agents can say that? Phil Rodriguez – Move Concerts We have a great working relationship with the WME team in London. Over the last decade we have promoted countless great tours through them. Memorable ones are the fantastic stadium concerts with Foo Fighters, a few brilliant Madness arena tours, and recently, the Pete Tong Ibiza Classics, and Kaiser Chiefs tours. Wishing David, Russell, Brian and the team, a happy anniversary and we look forward to many more years working together. Simon Moran – SJM Concerts We have a great relationship with WME – it is a fantastic company. Rense van Kessel – Friendly Fire
I have always considered William Morris to be a home from home in this industry. Since the beginning of the 1980s with Triad, before they became part of WMG, I enjoyed a special friendship with Peter Grosslight. He was a mentor to me as well as a great friend, and I remember clearly when he told me of the intention to open an office in London, whilst at my house in Ibiza, where he used to come with his family for holidays. Peter was the best man at my wedding and I still miss him terribly; when he died, I felt like I’d lost a brother. From the germ of an idea to the major operation it is today, I’m very happy to see that WME maintains the philosophy of friendship and the spirit of family values that Peter brought to the business. Congratulations to William Morris on this anniversary! Pino Sagliocco – Live Nation Spain At DF Concerts we have all enjoyed a fantastic relationship with the WME London office since its inception. Most of these individual agent relationships pre-dated the UK set-up of the company but have been enhanced since. For me personally, I have known David Levy pretty much all of my adult life, from our time together at Middlesex Polytechnic, and we have developed a strong bond of friendship and trust and have worked on some truly amazing and inspirational artists together, including Ice Cube, Massive Attack, Björk, Fat Boy Slim, LCD Soundsystem, and, of course, Calvin Harris, who’s progression through the various stages at T in the Park to be a major headliner for us was a great example of teamwork and shared vision. Russell Warby has always been a great supporter of T in the Park, with The Strokes and Foo Fighters in particular. One of my career highlights was the wonderful Big Day Out at The Green back in 2003, where Russell delivered Foos prior to Red Hot Chili Peppers, which, with the addition of Queens of the Stone Age and PJ Harvey (along with Electric Six and The Distillers), became one of the best line-ups ever seen in Scotland. Quality artists, a very professional way of working always underpinned by a notable loyalty, have all become trademarks of the team at WME. Geoff Ellis – DF Concerts
“It’s about really figuring out the perspective of the artist and what they are genuinely interested in.”
SARA NEWKIRK SIMON to be the face of fashion brand Coach, or Miguel and Usher embark on acting careers. “It’s about really figuring out the perspective of the artist and what they are genuinely interested in,” says Newkirk Simon. “Pharrell and Hidden Figures was a great example. Any of the projects he touches as a movie producer, it’s about the tone of them. And [in that movie] we had Virginia Beach, his home; female scientists when his last album was G I R L; space his band is called The Neptunes; and then what’s happening in race relations. And it’s like, oh, of course.” On plans to develop the company’s international footprint, Ahern comments, “In an increasingly global industry, we have focused on London, further aligning our global systems and operations to more effectively expand our client services and artist development in the region. Going forward, we are excited to continue representing and developing future arena and festival headliners in each music genre, while also expanding the services available to our artists like ticketing and marketing strategy. With our stellar group of artists, amazing team and access to WME | IMG’s resources we think we are uniquely positioned for the future. It’s an exciting time to be in London and at WME.” Indeed, aware that an agency with its tendrils in so many pockets of global show business is a strong proposition, Marc Geiger is variously mellow and bullish down the crackly phone line from Brazil. “We think we represent an alternative, a choice,” he says at one point, of the agency’s approach. A little later, he muses that, “we have had to get rid of the word ‘my’ and go to a ‘we.’ I say at WME we cross out the ‘M’ – that’s how we think.” But the real ambition, predictably, is far grander, as his parting comment reveals. “It is about owning the new way the world is working,” he concludes. “Where we are very tied into established systems, across the company we are trying more to be disruptive, to flow where the world is going. And if anything,” he adds, “I think we should have been a little more adamant about it earlier in our development.”
Since the start of WME in Europe it’s always been a pleasure to work with Russell Warby and David Levy, who have been essential in running this operation from scratch. Meanwhile, there is a great team of fantastic agents in place that we enjoy working with. Folkert Koopmans – FKP Scorpio Chugg Entertainment would like to wish William Morris London all the best for the next ten years. My personal relationship goes back nearly 40 years and it’s been a fruitful time for us all, and I have made many great friends and built long-lasting business. Michael Chugg – Chugg Entertainment Jet-setting WME client Calvin Harris has become arguably the hottest DJ in the world, thanks to regular residencies in Las Vegas and Ibiza
IQ Magazine May 2017
Virtually Live With billions of dollars of investment being poured into the development of virtual reality technology, live music is regarded as one of the key markets for the sector. Eamonn Forde investigates. The hype around virtual reality (VR) gets louder by the week and it’s been a long time since it was just the preserve of a techno-centric and academic niche. Its origins as a phrase date back to French theatre in the first half of the 20th century, but it started gaining traction as a concept in science fiction writing from the 1970s onwards. By the 1990s, rudimentary VR headsets were being used by gaming giants like Sega. We are arguably now in the third wave of VR, and Facebook’s $2billion (€1.8bn) acquisition of VR headset company Oculus Rift in 2014 was a landmark deal in the sector. Gaming is still a huge part of VR, but it is also looking at how it can reinvent the live music experience – both for those watching at home and those in the venue. A flurry of deals and partnerships have been struck in the music space recently – far too many to list here, but notable ones include: Live Nation and NextVR, who announced last September they would produce at least ten VR concerts as part of the Backstage With Citi initiative (the rewards scheme for Citi Bank’s card members); Live Nation (again), who partnered with Hulu for the On Stage documentary series; and Universal Music Group, who in March announced it was working on VR experiences with MelodyVR. Although all of these initiatives are US-based, the nature of the technology allows the results to be experienced by fans around the world. The headsets required for users were seen as a barrier to entry for many, but the sales numbers and forecasts are
IQ Magazine May 2017
suggesting this is gathering a huge head of steam. Google has its Cardboard as a low-price starting point for anyone with a smartphone but IDC recently predicted that shipments of VR and AR (augmented reality) headsets will leap from 10.1m last year to 99.4m in 2021. Meanwhile, CCS Insights is estimating the VR market will be worth $4bn (€3.6bn) by next year. While there is a lot of anticipation here, what is the (real) reality for VR in 2017? Those working in the space are, naturally, fizzing with excitement about its potential, but are keen to add that things are already happening now and that it is not some abstract thinking about what could happen. Huge acts like Taylor Swift and Paul McCartney have jumped in early, but VR and 360-degree concerts are no longer the preserve of pop music’s 1%.
“It is becoming more affordable for smaller artists. It is becoming easier for artists to access this technology.” Andrew McGovern, Digital Domain
“It is becoming more affordable for smaller artists,” says Andrew McGovern, the VP of VR/AR production at US company Digital Domain. “It is becoming easier for artists to access this technology. There is nothing stopping smaller bands getting a consumer-grade 360 camera and filming their music video in 360 and publishing that on YouTube or Facebook. At the same time, there are big acts like Taylor Swift [who Digital Domain worked with on an immersive app for her Blank Space track] who are really seeing it more as a great way to better connect with their fans; so creating music videos and interactive experiences that embrace the VR and 360 technologies.” Chuck Olsen, co-founder of VR startup Visual, suggests things have been moving forward at a rapid pace since his company was established in 2014. “That was a lonely time to be a VR company,” he laughs. “In most spaces, that’s quite a new company – but as far as VR is concerned, we are OGs [old gits].” His company has already partnered with Rhapsody on a VR app (soon to be relaunched and rebranded as Napster VR in line with the streaming company’s name change), working with them last year to film shows at SXSW in 360. Olsen’s background is in film and video production and he regards VR as the next leap forward here. “Essentially, we were getting bored with traditional video and were looking for new ways to engage people,” he says. “We adapted one of our physical installations to VR. Once I tried that, I was completely blown away.” He cites Cardboard as a key factor in helping bring VR to a mass audience, but also adds that DIY solutions are available to give smaller artists and companies a foothold. “It’s not that much more expensive than traditional video production,” he argues. “It’s possible to live stream 360 now. You can even do it on a phone with Periscope which supports the Insta360 camera that plugs into your iPhone. Of course, if you want it to be super-professional, you’d have to hire someone like us with better camera rigs. But really it’s just a bit more expensive than traditional video production – but not egregiously so.” It is still early days, but the feeling in the space is that VR is not just something that will be subsumed as a marketing cost, but can become a revenue driver in its own right. “I think there are a lot of different models there,” says McGovern of how creators can start to monetise VR. “One model we are exploring at Digital Domain is the subscription model. We are working with a [major] Chinese artist called Faye Wong and we did a live concert with [media, entertainment and Internet company] Tencent at the end of 2016. We filmed her entire concert in VR and broadcast that to the Chinese market. We had over 100,000 subscribers that paid on average $5 for the live stream. There is definitely an appetite and interest for consumers to pay for [this content].” Olsen agrees, but suggests full monetisation is more in the near future rather than immediately for most artists, venues, festivals and promoters. “I get the sense that not many people are doing that [paying to watch],” he says. “But VR needs to get better before it’s something that people are willing to pay for.” That said, this is starting to happen in the sports sector and could have a bearing on how (or if) music follows suit. US basketball body the NCAA streamed six of its March Madness games via Samsung’s Gear VR headset and used a tiered-pricing model. The basic tier (costing
$1.99 per match) offered a single 360-degree feed and basic commentary, but the next tier up ($2.99 per game) had multiple camera angles and multiple commentators. There was also a pass for all six matches (costing $7.99). It is seen very much as an experiment in pricing by the NCAA but could offer the live business interesting pointers about how to structure and tier packages. There is some anxiety that, with mainstream adoption, consumers will opt to stay at home and watch VR concerts rather than go to the shows. But speaking at the FastForward conference in Amsterdam earlier this year, MelodyVR COO Steven Hancock was keen to reassure the live sector that VR would be an ancillary business not a cannibalistic one. “We had quite a lot of people saying, ‘You’ll kill the live industry’. It’s absolute rubbish. If you can go, you’ll go,” he said. “In essence, when physical tickets sell out, we can switch to a digital ticket with limitless capacity: so no more four-minute sellouts for Adele’s shows at Wembley if a million people want to attend that show in real-time, as it’s happening.” That said, VR could start to affect the live performance itself and become a part of the show – and not just a flashy upgrade of live streaming. “There could be a whole other level of show essentially on top of the show,” argues Olsen. “People could also participate. If you think of the ebb and flow of an experience – the ways the energy heightens and calms – there could be visual representations of that which people participate in. Performers are going to have to increasingly think about how their aesthetic and energy translates to this medium.” For live concerts, there is still an insatiable drive to refine the technology in order to enhance the VR spectacle and experience, but this is a constant state of evolution and improvement. “There are some technical challenges,” says Olsen. “For example, the light show from a concert can wreak havoc on a camera rig. There are a number of challenges around where you place cameras and knowing what sort of environment is going to be swirling around it.” McGovern is sanguine about that and says, as with all new technologies, users need to directly experience it to understand what doesn’t work – both technically and creatively – and use that to advance what does work. “Experiment [with the technology] as it’s never a bad thing to fail,” he says. “There will be a lot of failures but at the same time there is going to be success and those successes are going to be able to push the format and this new medium forward.” There is still an element of ‘what if?’ about this, but everything is aligning and racing forward at phenomenal speed. For the live business, this really could be the new (and not virtual) reality.
“There could be a whole other level of show essentially on top of the show,” Chuck Olsen, Visual
IQ Magazine March 2017
Leading the Peloton
Herman Schueremans was the recipient of this year’s ILMC Bottle Award for his outstanding contribution to the live music business. In the three years since his last Arthur Award, Herman’s world has been turned on its head, yet he has emerged stronger, wiser, and more resilient than ever, as Gordon Masson finds out.
aving stepped back from his role as a member of parliament in 2013, Herman Schueremans was looking forward to concentrating full-time on the growth of Live Nation Belgium, without the hindrance of other distractions. But in the intervening four years, the affable Leuven-born promoter has had no end of obstacles to overcome. From terror attacks in Brussels and elsewhere forever changing the look of live events in his home country, to a traumatic cycling accident – which ironically saved his life. But more on that, presently… In January this year, Herman was presented with a Sector Lifetime Achievement Award at the Music Industry Awards in Brussels by the Flemish minister for culture, Sven Gatz. It was the second time he has received such an accolade, following his lifetime achievement gong at the European Festival Awards in 2013. And then, of course, the surprise presentation of The Bottle Award at this year’s Arthurs, and for which he received a very well-deserved standing ovation from his ILMC peers. Over the past 18 months, Herman’s homeland has endured a series of terrorist attacks and has unfairly been branded a haven for extremists – a reputation that he believes has done little to persuade touring acts to visit the country. But out of adversity comes strength and with his team at Live Nation Belgium, Herman has seen the market bounce back, and then some, in 2017. Indeed, rather than write 2016 off as an annus horribilis, Herman is quick to list his highlights from what was a difficult 12 months. “We managed to bring the festivals to a good end despite the terror attacks and the post-terror trauma that was felt by the audience,” he tells IQ. With many visitors from other countries deciding not to attend Herman’s flagship Rock Werchter festival because of the threat of terror, even the weather decided to test the event organisers, but Herman took things in his stride.
IQ Magazine May 2017
“In the run up to the festival it just kept on raining and raining and after we saw what happened at Rock Am Ring and Southside festivals where they lost days, we were determined that it wasn’t going to happen to us,” he says. “It was the start of the holiday season for the construction industry so we figured out that there would be sand available. So we bought five-and-a-half ships full of white sand and sailed it up the canals to Werchter.” The sand covered the whole of the Rock Werchter site, ensuring that the audience would not get wet feet. “But it was also like being at a beach party, so people loved it,” says Herman. Thankfully, that costly exercise will have long-term benefits for the rural festival location, as the sand was subsequently ploughed into the ground so that the soil will be lighter for Marking 45 years in the business this year, Herman Schueremans’ first steps into live music are infamous – staying in hostels in London carrying just a duffel bag, while doorstepping agents to persuade them to trust him with their acts in Belgium. Having joined a band as a teenager, Herman quickly found out he wasn’t talented enough to be a rock star, so he started managing acts, which inevitably led to early forays into promoting. In 1973, he created Park Festival in Herent, before joining forces the following year with Hedwig De Meyer to create the first Rock Werchter. During 45 years in the live music business, Herman has also found time to be a member of parliament and was instrumental in getting Belgium to ban secondary ticketing. As boss of Live Nation Belgium, his infectious enthusiasm has helped the country become a must-visit destination for international tours, while his continual campaigning on behalf of the live music sector now has Google in its sights…
Herman Schueremans Werchter 9 til 5, what a way to make a living
Taking Care of Business
H future years. “The rain last year was unprecedented, but on the back of that we got permits to improve other aspects of the drainage at Werchter through a programme that ends in April, so we will be better prepared for rain if it happens again.” He adds, “2016 was not an easy year, but we dealt with it and the audience appreciated it.”
hile the weather turned out to be the greatest enemy for festivalgoers last year, the terror threat in Belgium during the summer months meant that Herman had to implement a full range of security upgrades to satisfy authorities that members of the public were being protected. His decision to introduce airport-style security at Live Nation’s Belgian festivals was an expensive one, but he explains that renting the metal-detecting equipment on a longterm basis made it workable. “It wasn’t just at Werchter,” he reports. “As a group, we made the decision to rent the iron portals on a multi-year deal for Dour, Pukkelpop, Graspop… we made a common statement that we were going to do something to deal with the terror threat.” Visitors to the likes of Rock Werchter also witnessed concrete blocks barricading access roads around the festival site, while other measures were also present, albeit out of view of festival fans. “We had some armed soldiers outside the site, but they were not visible because we didn’t want it to look like a war zone for visitors,” Herman reveals. But such safeguards were universally applauded. “The acts were very supportive of everything we did to protect them and the fans. And ultimately the music brought people together. As I’ve said before, politics and religion can divide, but music unites. So a lot of positivity came out of very negative situations. But we should remember that organising shows and festivals should never become routine – the security measures that we implemented at our festivals in 2016 underlines that point.” On a bigger scale, however, Herman believes the true cost of the terror attacks in Belgium cannot be overstated. “I recently read that the attendance at football matches in Belgium was down by 30% with even season-ticket holders not showing up for games – and that was all to do with the terror attacks,” he says. “It had a huge influence on the Belgian economy and also the cultural sector. For instance, you were able to walk into the very best restaurants in Brussels and get a table, whereas before the attacks you had to make a reservation months in advance.”
erman’s mantra of looking after his customers may be a simple concept, but the actions he undertook – and the way that was communicated to fans – during 2016, are paying dividends this year. “I am really looking forward to our festivals this year,” he says. And no wonder, if you look at a Rock Werchter bill that includes the likes of Kings of Leon, Arcade Fire, Prophets of Rage, Radiohead, James Blake, Linkin Park, System of a Down, Blink-182, Foo Fighters and Alt-J – arguably the strongest line-up in the event’s 43-year history. “We’re very lucky to have an even stronger bill this year,” says Herman, modestly. “I think that was very important after the events of last year – things like Trump calling Brussels a hellhole did not help, as lots of visitors from other countries stayed away. But sales for this year are the second best they have ever been – and not just for Rock Werchter, but across the board for us with Werchter Classic, Graspop, Pukkelpop and everything selling really well. “All of our shows at the start of 2017 are doing well. It might be a reaction of the under play from last year where people are now compensating for the shows that they did not go to in 2016.” Taking care of the fans has always been important to Herman. So much so that fans buying tickets to Rock Werchter find that the cost of public transport to the rustic location is included in the ticket price. “We take care of public transport because we want to prove that as a festival we can do better – we don’t want to have people wasting their time in traffic jams,” he tells IQ. “So the ticket price includes the train fare from anywhere in Belgium to Leuven and then we have buses to take people from there to the festival site. It costs us about €300,000 a year, but it’s worth it – parents love the fact that their kids are safely taken to and from our Rock Werchter city. And the bottom line is that we want to show that we can do things better than society in general.” Another value-added element for Rock Werchter visitors is a deal that allows them free entry to museums in Belgium and beyond. “When young people are open to experiencing different kinds of music, they are also open to exploring other forms of art, so a few years ago we did a deal with Belgian musea where anyone with a Werchter wristband could visit a museum. In the first year, 8,500 used that. In year two, we expanded it for Dutch musea too and 11,000 took advantage of that. The wristband now also works for musea in northern France and more than 12,000 are using it.”
“We made a common statement that we were going to do something to deal with the terror threat.”
IQ Magazine May 2017
Herman has championed a movement to urge music fans to visit museums
hile stepping back from politics and winning a lifetime achievement award at the European Festival Awards will always stick in his mind, the one major event that happened in 2013 for Herman was a mishap on his beloved bicycle. A keen cyclist since his school days, Herman managed to reach his 60th year before he had his first accident. But boy, did he make up for his decades of good luck… “I’m happy to talk about it because of the very fact that I’m still here and able to talk about it,” he responds to questions about what he likes to call his ‘illness.’
Herman recalls, “I was cycling to see my mum in her retirement home and the roads were a bit slippy because of the old leaves lying on them. So this caused me to crash and the result was that I broke my hips. Luckily it was a nice, clean break, so I just had to sit on my bum for five weeks while it repaired – and that allowed me to do lots of work for the festivals and other shows.” However, that normal sunny disposition soon evaporated when he visited his doctors to get the all clear to return to the Live Nation offices. “When I went back to the hospital for a check-up to see how the bones were mending, they spotted something else on the scan: my appendix was very swollen and needed to be taken out.” Normally a fairly routine surgical procedure, unfortunately, Herman’s time on the operating table became a life-anddeath situation. “The problem was that during the surgery they discovered that my appendix had been leaking, so it turned into a major operation as they tried to clean everything inside me. And it was a very long and slow recovery process.” But, ever the pragmatist, Herman, now fully recovered, believes luck was very much on his side. “I look at it this way: falling off my bike saved my life, so instead of wearing a crucifix or a Star of David around my neck, I should have a little bicycle. I’ve been riding since I was a child and this was the first accident I’d ever had, but if it had not happened, I probably would not be here anymore.” He adds, “It’s given me a different feel about life: I’m very grateful to be alive; and I’m blessed to be part of a unique business where people all over the world talk to each other and we all learn about new forms of music.
Herman Schueremans Winging it, Schueremans style
“I still cycle every week and I take a lot of joy seeing other people discovering cycling in the industry – I saw Geoff Meall turning up on his bicycle every day at ILMC. Cycling in a big city like London is fantastic, but the thought frightens me. I know that Rob Challice at Coda is a keen cyclist too. Any time I find out that someone is into cycling I send them a Rock Werchter cycle top to wear and I tell them that if they are in France, for example, and they get a puncture, then someone will see the Werchter top and will stop to help. Or they will encourage them if they’re cycling up a mountain climb. I’m hoping some more people will get involved so I have the excuse to order a new set of shirts.”
lthough he admits that his brush with mortality has changed his outlook on life, retirement is not something that Herman has much time for. He does take regular vacations, notably to see loved ones in South Africa around Christmas and Easter time, but this is not, he stresses, due to any religious holiday rituals. “I get post-natall depression,” he states. “After the festivals are all booked and I don’t have a million things to keep me busy at work, I don’t know what to do with myself, so it’s a good time for holidays because I can’t get any business done anyway.” Nevertheless, he lives for working in live music and Herman counts the young people in the Live Nation Belgium team as one of the key elements to keeping the job so
engaging. “I learn a lot from the young people I work with and I just hope they can learn some things from me too. But together we can motivate each other,” he says. “There’s certainly enough creativity for the business to survive. But perhaps we should organise ourselves better like the record companies and publishers.” The position of strength that the live music business now enjoys is not lost on Herman. The fact that the live sector gives 85%-plus of its revenues to the artists, compared to the record labels who hand across a maximum of 15% of their revenues, should represent opportunities for the live sector to leverage their place into the consciousness of politicians and regulators.
Herman Schueremans Herman receiving a Sector Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s Music Industry Awards in Brussels
But while Herman is confident that lobbying efforts are improving, he notes, “The record companies have more to say because they started earlier than us. The same goes for publishers and PRS organisations.” However, he observes, “The board of SABEM in Belgium are all publishers – I was a bit shocked at that because it’s meant to be for the songwriters… “So from the live industry’s point of view, there’s a lot of work to do. The disadvantage is that promoters all fight for their own case. But the UK is ahead of the rest of us, I think, because they have their own active promoters’ association.” And while promoters of a similar vintage to Herman often look back through rose-tinted glasses at the 1960s and 70s, he believes there are more opportunities than ever for people to have successful careers in the live music business. “People who have been in the industry a long time tell you that things were much better 40 years ago, but were they really?” he questions. “In the old days, we’d send offers by pigeon and Telex, but now you have the Internet and communication is much better – there are lots of
“And the bottom line is that we want to show that we can do things better than society in general.”
IQ Magazine May 2017
differences. Certainly, the opportunities were abundant back then, but you still had to grab them. The opportunities are different now and young people can grab those too, be they in areas like staging, lighting, sound, video, too.” Drawing analogies with the alcohol business, Herman believes that the cyclical nature of music means that new, young promoters will soon start to emerge around the world to make their mark. “In Belgium, we used to have a local brewer in every village,” he says. “A lot of those were bought by Stella Artois and then giants like InBev or SABMiller or Heineken, so a lot of the small beers disappeared, while others, like Leffe, became bigger and more successful internationally. “Nowadays though, you have craft beers springing up like mushrooms all over the world – maybe inspired by the old Belgian beers. So the world is always evolving. And the same thing is happening in music: lots of small companies were bought by the giants, but now there are new people standing up and bringing something new to the live music business – there’s definitely a future for everyone.” That introduction of the next generation of music professionals is crucial, he believes, and should be nurtured and encouraged. “Don’t we all have dreams? Back 40 years ago, you maybe just needed one idea to get started. Now you maybe need 20 or 50 ideas to do the same thing. Certainly, I feel like I need to have one new idea every week. Sometimes those ideas don’t work, but you have to try, after all artists do it with their songwriting, so they are a good example to follow. We all used to look down our nose at dance music festivals 20 years ago, but that parallel industry has grown and grown and it took pioneers with new ideas to create that business. And I find that craft beer fuels ideas!”
Herman Schueremans Herman enjoying one of his ‘brain fuel’ craft beers
“I look at it this way: falling off my bike saved my life, so instead of wearing a crucifix or a Star of David around my neck, I should have a little bicycle.”
Challenges and Threats
long-term strategist, one of those craft beerfuelled ideas has made the Belgian live business the envy of promoters around the world because of its anti-tout legislation. It was while he was a member of the Flemish Parliament that Herman influenced the Belgian laws prohibiting secondary ticketing. “Belgium was one of the first countries to introduce a ticketing law, so I’m very proud that I was part of that,” he says. He reveals that the country’s then enterprise minister, Vincent Van Quickenborne, was a music lover, “a big fan of metal” and therefore understood the problems associated with ticket resellers. Indeed, such was Herman’s voracious lobbying at the time that Van Quickenborne suggested the 2009 legislation should be known as ‘Herman Schueremans’ law.’ For his part, Herman says, “We managed to make some ticketing companies illegal in Belgium, so it was great we were able to force that. If we can keep fighting secondary
ticketing then eventually we might create a different mindset about it. It takes time, but I am on a mission.” The latest phase of that mission involves Herman lobbying policymakers about the prominence that secondary ticketing operations get on Google. “I want the politicians to make sure that when people search for tickets using Google in Belgium that the official artist’s website is listed first, rather than the secondary ticketer that pays Google to be at the top.” But aside from those new media missions, his challenges remain fairly constant. “My challenge is to do the best for the people who buy the tickets and the artists, so that I can have relationships with them for the next ten or 20 years. From the festivals’ point of view, the challenge is to create something so good that it becomes part and parcel of people’s lifestyles. “We have a driven team of music lovers that combine brilliantly – it’s the main reason we can handle so many shows. So to steal a bit of a Pretenders’ lyric, it’s a thin line between music and business – you can’t be too much of a music fan or too much of a businessman in the live music business. You have to have a balance of the two and there are a few people in the team who understand that very well – the future is in very safe hands!”
ILMC’s Martin Hopewell ‘bottles’ Herman at ILMC 29
IQ Magazine May 2017
Herman Schueremans Herman is one of the best and most consistent promoters in the world. I’ve enjoyed a long relationship with him and spent many hours in his company, enjoying the splendid Werchter festival or on the phone discussing our strategy in Belgium. He is a bon vivant and Epicurean; enjoys life; and has discerning eyes and ears for the best in music. Long may he reign at the top of the tree. Rod MacSween, ITB
Herman – what’s not to say? Legend, gentleman, cyclist. As I spend lots of my summer weekends rolling around the lanes north of London clad headto-toe in the expensive Rock Werchter cycling gear he sends me each year, I’m duty-bound to say something nice. I always remember in my early days as an agent, struggling over having a breaking act of mine potentially poached by the bigger guys, and he reached out to aid me with a good slot and some sound advice. Something plenty wouldn’t. I still lost the act mind…but a young agent appreciated that very much, Herman. Geoff Meall, UTA
I have known Herman for as many years as I dare to remember. He is one of the very best promoters in the international arena, and is the first and last call I make when sending my bands to Belgium.
I met Herman when I was working as the road manager for the Violent Femmes in the early 80s. We played a gig in Brussels and Herman and his team took really great care of us. I then worked with him on Kraftwerk and Rammstein, and we have stayed close over all these decades. I also remember going to Torhout and Werchter with the Ramones in the late 80s, and I had never seen such a well-run set of festivals. Needless to say, that in my humble opinion, Herman has it down to the bone – he just knows how to put shows on, and he always cares for the fan. BLEIB SO HERMAN! Scumeck Sabottka, MCT
Herman Schueremans put Belgium on the festival map. Rock Werchter has been an inspiration for many people in our beloved business, both in Belgium and abroad. People often think that we are competitors but I strongly disagree. Herman taught me almost everything there is to know in this business. Even when times got hard we could always count on the support of Herman and his team. L’union fait la force [unity makes strength] is Herman’s mantra for a reason! So here’s a very special shout-out to our Nestor and my mentor. Thanks for everything, and all the best with everything yet to come!
John Jackson, K2
Chokri Mahassine, Pukkelpop
Herman, it has been a great pleasure working with you these many years although we never did get to do the Tour de France!! Congratulations on the Bottle Award (hope it is full of a good beer!!), from Iron Maiden, myself, and Andy.
Herman – you are arguably the best festival programmer on this planet – year after year, Werchter delivers. Please just don’t inflict any more of those three-page costings on me though…enough is enough.
Rod Smallwood, Phantom Music Management
Ian Huffam, X-ray Touring
I’ve worked with Herman for nearly a lifetime and he’s a great friend. I really admire his passion for music and his incredible gut feelings when it comes to artists. promoting acts often needs that skill to judge the size of audience that a promoter can help them attract. Herman has always been really good at that and that’s one of the qualities that makes him so special.
Herman is a legend. I always use his festivals as an example when people ask me what a great festival is like – I just tell them to go to Werchter and see how to do it! He is a gentleman, he is unflappable, and he’s a damn good promoter. I always enjoy working with Herman and hope we continue to do so for a long, long time to come! Emma Banks, CAA
Herman Schueremans is definitely one of the people that I respect the most in the European music business. He is one of the big players but he never lost his passion for music. He is a true gentleman and I admire him for the great achievements he realised with his team around him. Christof Huber, Wepromote Entertainment Group Switzerland
Herman is deceptively clever but an enigma like China: part genuine socialist, free-thinking liberal man-for-thepeople; and part arch-capitalist. I know that Belgium is consistently one of the strongest per capita financial performers in the whole LN European empire, and that’s entirely down to Herman’s business acumen. Belgium is not the most exciting market, but Herman’s caring approach has made them over-performers. Andrew Zweck, Sensible Events
Herman has always been a great friend. He is a great supporter of new artists and diverse programming, very considerate of younger agents, and has always encouraged them to pursue their own taste. Herman’s professionalism down the years is peerless. He is patience personified – even when we were daft kids tearing up Pukkelpop with Nirvana in 1991, after an 11am main-stage opening set – which saw the audience racing into the site and up to the stage – followed by a full day of carousing in the sun! He is grace itself under pressure – confronting the extreme situation in 2011 when a fierce storm hit Pukkelpop, despite the considerable pressure he was under, Herman never lost his nerve and quickly realised what decisions needed to be made. Thank you Herman, for an incredible 40 years so far – you are a model of diplomacy and efficiency, as well as being a pioneer. Russell Warby, WME
I saw Herman at Rock Werchter last year and he was telling me how he likes to walk to the festival arena with the audience each morning, picking up on what they have to say about the festival. We also discussed cycling around Flanders and which artists we were looking forward to seeing that day. Herman has an appreciation for the
I once saw Herman chatting to Marty Diamond and Henning Toegel at ILMC and thought I was in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.
Herman, you are a great supporter of the industry, of young and old, of agents and your team of promoters, and a family man. You always take the time to chat with all and share a drink. We look forward to many more great times with you.
vital things in life and work; it’s how he has thrived for 45 years.
Paul Buck, Coda Agency
Natasha Bent, Coda Agency
Rob Challice, Coda Agency
Hedwig De Meyer, Stageco
IQ Magazine May 2017
Map Key Promoter Venue Festival Agent
17.SLIGO 14.DUNDALK 4.CASTLEBAR 16.OLDCASTLE
3.BLESSINGTON LAKES 18.STRADBALLY
21.WATERFORD 11.KILARNEY 5.CORK
IQ Magazine May 2017
Ireland 1. Ballyshannon
Ballyshannon Folk Festival
Aiken Promotions RCW Live Events Wonderland Promotions Empire Music Hall Limelight Mandela Hall SSE Arena The Kings Hall The Ulster Hall Waterfront Hall Belsonic Tennent’s Vital
3. Blessington Lakes KnockanStockan
4. Castlebar Royal Theatre
Cyprus Avenue The Opera House Indiependence
Nerve Centre Celtronic
7. Draperstown Glasgowbury
Aiken Promotions KCP Entertainments MCD Pat Egan Sound Pod Concerts 3Arena Aviva Stadium Bord Gáis Energy Theatre Crawdaddy Grand Canal Theatre Harcourt Hotel Phoenix Park The Academy The Brazen Head The Button Factory The Grand Social The National Concert Hall The Olympia Theatre
The RDS The Sugar Club The Temple Bar The Unitarian Church of St Stephens Green The Village The Workmans Club Vicar Street Whelan’s 12 Points Longitude Mayo Alive AMA Music Agency
The Spirit Sore
16. Oldcastle Slane Castle Le Chéile
Sligo Jazz Festival
Roisin Dubh Set Theatre INEC
Electric Picnic GFD Promotions Castlepalooza
Day Tripper Sonic Dreams Spraoi Festival
SHAMROCK & ROLL The two halves of Ireland might be a focus for everything negative that Brexit could herald, but for those living and working on the island, what might happen with their border in the future is a mere distraction from running two of Europe’s most buoyant live music markets, as Adam Woods discovers.
Among the latest nuggets from the Brexit coalface is that Guinness crosses the border twice before it’s ready to drink – from Dublin to Belfast for canning, and then back to Dublin for distribution. A hard border will apparently cost beverage company Diageo an extra €100 a lorry-load. The price of the black stuff arguably does directly affect the live music business, if we’re talking about the craic and how that happens. But the story also seems to find a parallel with Irish music: how it involves both the north and the south and a useful connection to England. Taken individually, Ireland’s two musical legacies are mighty, or at the very least mighty successful: Van Morrison, Ash, The Undertones, The Divine Comedy and Snow Patrol from the north, for starters; U2, Thin Lizzy, My Bloody Valentine, Sinead O’Connor, The Boomtown Rats, Rory Gallagher, The Corrs, The Cranberries, The Script, Boyzone and Westlife from the Republic. Taken together, they’re more formidable still, and all of the above are successes across the UK and all of Ireland, and most internationally. “It’s bred into us from when you are a kid,” says Mark Downing at Dublin’s AMA Music Agency. “It’s the first thing you think: how can I break internationally? You are always trying to break into other territories. And for credibility, if you are an Irish band, you always want recognition from London – it’s really important.” With a rich musical heritage, it was only a matter of time before a festival to showcase emerging talent appeared on the calendar. Music Cork will make its debut on 10-12 May and has secured a stellar line up of guest speakers, including Island
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Records president Darcus Beese, Republic’s Rob Stevenson, Warner Chappell MD Mike Smith, UTA’s Geoff Meall, ITB’s Steve Zapp and X-ray Touring’s Josh Javor. The live music world certainly regards Ireland as a major talent source, a significant part of the European tour route and, in a way, one extended market. The key promoters are the same on both sides, with MCD Productions and Aiken Promotions both heavily active, and Dublin and Belfast are the two dominant, interrelated centres, sharing and vying for international visitors. When Olly Murs came at the beginning of April, he played two shows in Belfast to one in Dublin: when Ed Sheeran arrived the next week, it was Dublin twice and no Belfast show. Both countries were heavily affected by the long-lasting recession, which hampered the live business in the Republic of Ireland for years after 2008 and, despite technically ending around four years ago, continues to leave the broader Northern Ireland economy lagging behind the rest of the UK. But when IQ last covered the market in depth 18 months ago, the green shoots were showing for live music, and in 2017, the renaissance is in full flow. “We were talking then about just tentatively coming out of the back end of that recession and sensing some positivity in the market,” says Sean Mulchinock, venue and operations manager at INEC Killarney, now the second-largest indoor concert venue in the Republic of Ireland. “That has come to realisation in the past two years for us,” he adds. “We are increasing ticket sales, we are seeing an increase in enquiries, and we have increased our capacity.”
Contributors Top row (l to r): Sean Mulchinock (INEC Killarney), Neil Walker (SSE Arena Belfast) and Mark Downing (AMA Music Agency) Left, Peter Aiken of Aiken Promotions
Peter Aiken of Aiken Promotions is likewise buoyant in the midst of a good week that saw Murs sell-out his three shows at Belfast’s SSE Arena and Dublin’s 3Arena. “There’s a lot of good stuff out there, thankfully,” he says. “This week alone we had over 24,000 people going to see Olly Murs. That’s a lot of people for Ireland. Next week we have Ed Sheeran in for two sold-out shows. There’s a lot of the Irish stuff – Picture This, we’ve sold 10,000 tickets for them in Cork this summer; Beoga, a new trad band, have been doing well. Every week there are more new artists coming out, you know.” In Belfast, the live scene appears to be outperforming the economy in general, with robust scenes in rock, metal and dance music, and burgeoning interest in grime and hip-hop. “Things feel positive and steady,” says Joe Dougan of Shine Productions, co-owner of Belfast’s Belsonic festival and the city’s Limelight venue. “There have been plenty of hot tickets, and performances of regular annual bookings have shown incremental improvement. The market feels in good shape from our perspective. We could always do with more shows coming through, but the rate of bookings has been roughly on a par with 2016, so far.” The striking thing about the Irish schedules is their diversity. As well as attracting more or less every act of any significant size that comes to the UK mainland, both Ireland and Northern Ireland constantly showcase huge amounts of local music, both traditional and pop, as well as family entertainment and huge amounts of comedy. “Comedy is great,” says Aiken. “Tommy Tiernan is going to do 60 shows this year, including 30 shows in Vicar Street; Dara Ó Briain too. And we are doing three nights at the 3Arena with John Bishop. That’s some going.” Especially, it might be added, given that the comedian is also playing two shows each in Cork, Limerick, Ennis, Galway and the same at the SSE, as well as one-offs in Derry, Carrick-on-Shannon, Claremorris and Coleraine. The aim, says Aiken, is always to keep giving the audience what they want, in the face of mounting competition. “There’s a lot of opposition to live entertainment now, and a lot of it comes from live sport,” he says. “The Irish rugby team is doing so well, the whole country switches off to watch it, and they’ve all got it in their living rooms. That wouldn’t have been the case ten years ago.”
Other challenges are equally generic to the live business, though Aiken is heartened by recent moves against secondary ticketers. “It might not stop it, but it will definitely put the brakes on it. “But if Spurs are playing tonight, you’ll see the StubHub logo in the background when they’re doing the interviews afterwards. Everybody focuses on the big concerts, but it needs to be everybody standing against it,” he complains, before cutting himself off. “Oh, it’s a waste of time talking about it. I’m sorry I brought it up…”
Promoters Where promoters in Ireland are concerned, it’s essentially a two-horse race between the Live Nation/MCD axis and veteran independent Aiken. MCD, the biggest promoter in Ireland and the 16th-biggest in the world in 2016 with sales of 1.16m tickets [source: Pollstar], remains technically independent too, though it is highly involved with Live Nation. The two share a boss in MCD founder Denis Desmond, who became chairman of Live Nation UK and Ireland in late-2015, and they co-own UK venue and festival assets under the LN-Gaiety Holdings Ltd joint venture, whose assets include the former MAMA and Mean Fiddler empires, as well as stakes in Festival Republic and the Academy Music Group. Aiken sold 381,103 tickets in 2016 according to Pollstar, and Aiken himself can be depended upon for a down-toearth assessment of a challenging market. “Every time you get it right, there’s always somebody that’s going to take it off you again,” he concedes cheerfully. But in a live market that once again appears to be surging, the big players have plenty of plans. As well as his Murs and Sheeran shows, Aiken’s schedule includes arena shows for The Waterboys, Imelda May, James Blunt, The Vamps, and Steps; and the long-running Live at the Marquee series in Cork, which this year features Bryan Adams, Elbow, Emeli Sandé and fast-rising locals Walking On Cars. In addition to arena shows for Bruno Mars, Iron Maiden, Take That and Arian Grande this spring, MCD has Phil Collins at Aviva Stadium in June, Green Day at Ormeau Park in Belfast, and various festivals, including Longitude in Dublin, Punchestown Music Festival in Country Kildare, Belfast’s Vital Festival and its Shine co-production Belsonic. Among the other promoters active in Ireland, John Reynolds’ Pod organisation is one of the more notable. As Pod Concerts, it came to prominence with its Electric Picnic
“…for credibility, if you are an Irish band, you always want recognition from London – it’s really important.” Mark Downing, AMA Music Agency
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Ireland festival, in which it sold a majority share to Festival Republic in 2009, before liquidating that year. Now, as Pod Entertainments, Reynolds operates Dublin’s Button Factory venue and festivals around the city, including the electronic-focused Winterparty at the 3Arena before Christmas, Metropolis at the RDS complex and Forbidden Fruit at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham. Pod also promotes club and theatre shows, with Conor Oberst, Mr. Scruff and Warpaint among recent concerts. Other promoters, meanwhile, are coming from unconventional quarters. Lush!, the noted Portrush nightclub on Northern Ireland’s north coast, entered the arena entertainment market in October with a 20th anniversary event at the SSE Arena Belfast featuring club classics performed with the Ulster Orchestra. “EDM is a big growth area,” says SSE general manager Neil Walker. “These guys had never done anything on the scale of the arena before, nothing remotely close to it. But now we are talking to another couple of promoters about EDM events.”
Festivals MCD’s Oxegen festival has been on ice since 2013, but there are plenty of well-known festival brands, from MCD/Festival Republic’s Longitude and Electric Picnic (cap. 35,000) to
“There’s a lot of opposition to live entertainment now, and a lot of it comes from live sport.” Peter Aiken, Aiken Promotions
Shine’s Cork, which uses a 5,000-cap marquee across multiple dates. in Belfast and Aiken’s Live at the Marquee series in Cork. On MCD’s card, Longitude (with a daily capacity of about 17,000) takes place at Dublin’s Marlay Park in July, with The Weeknd and Mumford & Sons at the top of the bill; the Punchestown Music Festival with Tom Jones and Jess Glynne the same month, and the Tiësto-headlined Vital Festival at Belfast’s Boucher Playing Fields in August. Shine’s Belsonic festival, operated by the local promoter with MCD, celebrates its tenth anniversary this year with a change of venue, having drawn headliners including Florence & The Machine, Tom Jones, Nine Inch Nails, Hozier, Queens of the Stone Age, David Guetta, Chic, and The Flaming Lips to Belfast’s historic Custom House Square over the years. This year’s event will take place at Ormeau Park. “Belsonic is looking like having its biggest year to date,” says Dougan. “Ormeau Park is a greenfield site in the south of the city that has hosted some fantastic outdoor concerts over the years.” The line-up at the festival, which takes place in June, includes Arcade Fire, The Chainsmokers, Martin Garrix, Jess Glynne, Axwell & Ingrosso, Cream Classical and The 1975, as well as the previously mentioned standalone concert at the site by Green Day as part of the band’s Revolution Radio tour. Meanwhile, the old Belsonic site gets a new event in the shape of the CHSq series of shows. “It’s an amazing city centre square, and a really historic location,” says Dougan. “The lineup of events this year so far includes shows by Carl Cox, Foy Vance and Stiff Little Fingers, with many more to come.” A new Aiken project is the inaugural Harvest two-day, twocentre, country music festival in August, with 15,000 tickets on sale at each of two sites – one in Enniskillen, the other in Westport on Ireland’s west coast, with Miranda Lambert and Nathan Carter heading the 40-strong bill. “I’m happy with it so far,” says Aiken. “It’s very strong. Country was always popular here, especially in the north. There’s a lot of great music coming out of Nashville, and this Harvest festival is geared to a slightly younger demographic. It is going to probably sell-out in Enniskillen in advance, and the other should go close.”
Belsonic Festival in Belfast city centre
IQ Magazine May 2017
Ireland Irish country star Nathan Carter, pictured at the SSE Arena Belfast in March© simongraham.photography
Numerous local and regional festivals proliferate though Downing at AMA is outraged at how little state support such events receive. “There’s a lot of local festivals that are run by local communities,” says Downing. “But it’s amazing that for a country that is so strong musically, the amount of money that is given to contemporary music is criminal. They do not support it, in either the towns or the cities. “If you take any city in Ireland and literally plonk any festival in the middle of it, you will get two, three, four, five thousand people descend on that town immediately, without question. If you bundle it all together, with everything that surrounds that, you can do great business. Often these events have no budget, they are just trying to scrape a couple of acts together. Everybody wants it to happen, everybody sees the value in it, yet it’s not supported in any way. It’s bonkers, man. It’s an awful shame and it’s a disgrace.”
Venues Dublin, with almost twice the population of Belfast, remains the biggest international tour stop, with noted venues at every level, from the 50,000-cap Aviva Stadium to 3Arena (14,000), to theatres such as Vicar Street (1,500) and the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre (2,100), and clubs including Whelan’s (450) and The Button Factory (750). MCD alone owns venues including The Olympia, The Gaiety, The Academy and The Ambassador. Live Nation paid NAMA €35m in 2014 for the half of Dublin’s O2 that it didn’t own, and it became the 3Arena that year when Three Ireland took over O2 Ireland. Live Nation has long been expected to add another arena to its Irish estate with the development of the mooted 6,000-capacity, €53m Cork Events Centre. The arena has been on the cards for many years, with the first sod finally turned by Taoiseach’s Enda Kenny in February 2016. The addition of another modern arena raises the appealing prospect of a full-blown Irish arena circuit, but promoters are not counting their chickens yet. More than a year on, not much more has been done amid upward revisions of the
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necessary budget, and the centre although still seemingly on the cards, won’t open in 2018 as previously planned. “They call it the Non-Events Centre,” says Aiken. “It just seems to be dragging on forever. I think it would be a good thing, if it happens. Any new venue is good news.” In Belfast, the SSE Arena (11,000), Waterfront Hall (2,250), Ulster Hall (1,850), The MAC Theatre (500), The Limelight (900) and Mandela Hall (1,000) make up the list of the most significant venues, and the ever-increasing number of festivals doesn’t appear to be impacting significantly on demand for indoor shows. “In general, I would say the Irish market, indoor and outdoor, is very healthy,” says Walker at the SSE. “When you look at the number of outdoor events and festivals, it seems ever-growing. But then you get things like The Stone Roses, who are playing us as a warm-up before they go out. I just think the strength of the Irish market, for the size of the population, relative to the rest of the UK, and Europe for that matter, is very good.” The SSE’s shows in recent months have included superstar visits from Elton John, André Rieu and Rod Stewart; an apparently resurgent children’s entertainment strand after a few quiet years, with Scooby Doo Live in February, with Paw Patrol coming up, family and traditional shows such as Disney On Ice and Marvel Universe, and comedy from Billy Connolly, Russell Howard and others. Ireland, of course, isn’t simply a question of Dublin and Belfast. Numerous local promoters book a constant stream of shows in local venues across both countries, from larger complexes such as INEC Killarney and Dolan’s Warehouse (380) in Limerick downwards. INEC’s model is based in part on creating events that draw a travelling audience. With hotels and restaurants on site. “Our population is relatively small in terms of the town, so our key demographic for the live music shows is regional: Kerry, Cork, Limerick and sometimes a bit further afield,” says Mulchinock. “We work with the big hitters in the Irish market but we produce and promote a lot of our own stuff internally, particularly for the local market.” Having increased its venue capacity from 3,000 to 4,142, INEC recently spent €200,000 on a new lighting rig and plans similar investments in audio and AV. Recent shows include The Coronas, Chris de Burgh and a week-long run of Dirty Dancing that “blew away all our targets,” says Mulchinock. “We are getting lots more musical enquiries and it is definitely going to be one of our strategic strands as we move forward – to get the right kind of musical theatre show at the right time.”
“Everybody wants it to happen, everybody sees the value in it, yet it’s not supported in any way. It’s bonkers, man. It’s an awful shame and it’s a disgrace.” Mark Downing, AMA Music Agency
Promoter Ben Martin from Marshall Arts, and AEG Presents UK chief Toby Leighton-Pope check their pockets after Keith ‘The Thief ’ entertained their table at the annual Aberdeen Invasion event at London’s Hotel Café Royal in March.
Accompanied by his wife, Jenny, industry pioneer Barrie Marshall was summonsed to Buckingham Palace in February, where HRH Prince Charles awarded him with a medal that made him a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in recognition of his services to music.
The team behind industry conference Wide Days organised a series of workshops across Scotland for youngsters aged 14-25 who want to work in the music business. The Off The Record programme has so far visited Musselburgh, Kirkcaldy, Glasgow (pictured), Kilmarnock, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen, Galashiels, Edinburgh, Dumfries and Inverness.
IQ editor Gordon Masson made history as the first person from the UK to ever take a fondue set to Switzerland when he moderated the Cool Britannia panel at m4music in Zürich. Thankfully, he had the expertise of Nikki McNeill (Global Publicity), Anthony Nyland (Salvation Records), artist Fernanda Ramos (of the band Cilia Hunch), Coda Agency’s Joanna Ashmore and BBC Radio Scotland’s Vic Galloway to call upon to provide advice and tips for delegates.
Spain Stefano Nicoletti (Consul General of Italy) and Francesco Maccarrone (head of Secretariat-Consulate General of Italy) annointed Live Nation Spain chairman Pino Sagliocco a Knight of the Order of The Star of Italy, in recognition of his tireless work in promoting Italian culture and strengthening the relationship between Italy and Spain.
Jacob Bilabel, Fruzsina Szép, Martha Bißmann, Alexandra Archetti Stølen, Linnéa Elisabeth Svensson and Holger Jan Schmidt gathered for a debriefing following the Love, Peace and Populism panel at by:Larm in Oslo.
Frontier Touring’s Michael Harrison donned his ceremonial robes and travelled to the Indian beaches of Goa in February to officiate at the wedding of Coda Agency’s Solomon Parker to fiancée Laurie.
Greenhouse Talent’s Pascal Van De Velde marked five sold-out shows in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Utrecht and Bruges by presenting Elvis Costello with a special plaque to commemorate the success of his Detour solo tour.
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IQ Magazine May 2017
“What’s the best excuse you’ve ever had for missing a gig?” TOP SHOUT
Back in 2008, I bought tickets for the first two nights of the In Rainbows tour for Radiohead in Florida, including flights and everything. I was very confident I’d get my tourist visa renewed, but our whole family’s request was denied because my father was unemployed at the time. Even if I tried to submit again for myself, we were instructed not to attempt applying in the next four to five years as we’d be “blacklisted.” It was only in 2014 that I was able to apply and finally enter the US again. Italo Rossi, MOVE Concerts
I missed a few shows over the years for various reasons, but here is one of my top true stories: I was parking my car at a festival behind the main stage, because I was way too late. The band used an enormous amount of pyro on stage, which activated the alarm of my car every second minute (at least). So I was running back and forth to deal with that and because a truck was blocking the loading dock, I couldn’t move my car, so I never quite made the show.
Not an excuse, a reason. The best gig I never got to was The Traveling Wilburys. They talked live but after Roy Orbison passed away in 1988, the prospect faded. But for a moment, just imagine for a moment: George, Roy, Bob, Jeff and Tom – on stage together. Just the mere thought sends tingles up the spine. Ed Grossman, Brackman Chopra LLC
I think it was one of our Henry Rollins stand-up gigs in Russia; I was knackered, it was 7pm, the gig was in a couple of hours and the venue was attached to the hotel; I lay down on my hotel bed… and woke up at midnight feeling both refreshed and stupid, having definitely not been at the gig… Nick Hobbs, Charmenko
In 2011, I made my way to Delhi with dozens of other international folks, to see Metallica, supported by Biffy Clyro, play to an audience of 30,000 Indian rock fans. However, just as I was getting in a car to go to the venue, I was told the headliners had cancelled due to safety concerns and the crowd were in the process of burning the stage down. “I’ve just flown all the way to India for lunch,” quipped John Giddings. Adding insult to injury, that lunch hit me with the worst gastro bug I’ve ever had, making the journey back to London a nine-hour endurance test for Boeing’s toilet facilities. Gordon Masson, IQ Magazine
Stephan Thanscheidt, FKP Scorpio
The best excuse is not one I used but was used by a (small) promoter in Holland: “The show is cancelled because the promoter is ill.” Leon Ramakers, Mojo Concerts
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IQ Magazine May 2017
IQ Magazine issue 71 May 2017