LIVE MUSIC INTELLIGENCE
I REMEMBER RICHARD NIXON BACK IN ‘74 AND THE FINAL SCENE AT THE WHITE HOUSE DOOR
EVENT SAF SECURITY S
IFF 2017 Phil Rodriguez – La Vida Loca Market Report: Canada Visas and Work Permits Phil Mead’s Lessons in Live Touring Exhibitions
Contents IQ Magazine Issue 74
Cover: Idles perform at the International Festival Forum 2017 ©m3hcreative
News and Developments
6 In Tweets The main headlines over the last two months 8 Analysis Putting news and business developments from around the world under the microscope 12 New Signings and Rising Stars A round-up of the latest acts that have been added to the roster of international agents – and the ones that should be… 18 Techno Files Revealing the hottest new technology in live entertainment 19 Busy Bodies IQ’s page for industry associations to share business concerns and news
20 International Festival Forum 2017 Coverage of the third annual IFF that took place in September 22 Visas and Work Permits Richard Smirke discovers how the industry’s immigration experts are dealing with ever more complex red tape 26 Event Security and Safety Summit A summary of the inaugural E3S gathering in London
28 Touring Exhibitions Report 2017 Jon Chapple takes an annual look at the fast-developing touring expos market 36 Ten Lessons I’ve Learned in Ten Years Phil Mead shares the key things that his first decade at NEC Group have taught him 40 Phil Harmonic Latin America’s fearless pioneer, Phil Rodriguez, looks back upon his first forty years in the live entertainment business 68 Market Report: Canada Steve McLean examines the flourishing live music business north of the 49th parallel
Comments and Columns
14 Why Women & Diversity Lead to Better Business Claire Singers applauds moves to promote the roles of women within the music industry 15 Putting Live Music on Ice Oliver Höener reveals how introducing various genres of live music to his productions led to international success 16 Fan-filming at Concerts Cathal Furey suggests methods by which artists can benefit from the use of fan footage at gigs 17 Multipurpose Arena Planning Paul Cheetham looks at the dramatic improvements in arenas and stadia for increasingly demanding audiences 74 Members’ Noticeboard Keeping you posted on what ILMC members are up to 75 Your Shout “What is the thing that haunts you most?”
IQ Magazine November 2017
Issue 74 LIVE MUSIC INTELLIGENCE
THE ILMC JOURNAL, November 2017
A safer future? Gordon Masson applauds those individuals toiling to make the world a safer, fairer place for all. ONE OF THE GREAT PLEASURES of my job is that I get to travel and meet up with lots of ILMC members at conferences and festivals around the world. But in 2017, it is an event on home turf that will remain longest in my memory. The inaugural Event Safety and Security Summit (E3S) held in London, in October, gathered some of the finest security experts on the planet to discuss safety in the live entertainment sector, and the ever changing and increasing threat posed by terrorism. Organised by ILMC, and in collaboration with the European Arenas Association and the UK’s National Arenas Association, E3S was only a one-day meeting, but the invaluable knowledge and advice that was shared during the course of that day was beyond impressive. Whilst the presentations by government agencies that, for secrecy reasons, we are unable to include in our summary of the conference (see page 26), were not only fascinating but stomach churning. Feedback on the event, from the delegates who attended (from more than 20 countries), has been overwhelmingly positive, and while there are no concrete plans as yet, don’t be too surprised if E3S becomes an annual affair to add to your diaries. Talking of terror attacks, it would be remiss of me not to mention the shocking massacre at the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas, although quite why the US authorities are deciding not to class it as terrorism is beyond me – I cannot imagine anything
more terrifying. The probability of copycat attacks is very real, and while one solution might be for hotels to instigate airport-style check-in procedures for guests, it’s difficult to foresee just how anyone could stop a determined sniper from achieving their goal. In the short-term, the prospect of headline acts demanding that stages be angled in such a way that they avoid line-of-sight access from surrounding buildings is apparently on the agenda, and those organising city-based events in the year ahead could truly have some unenviable planning decisions to make. I’d love to end this editorial on a positive note, but, again, the world in which we live has conspired to make that difficult. The on-going abuse scandal that has orchestrated movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s fall from grace is appalling. With more and more women coming forward with allegations on a daily basis, the knowledge that someone who was perceived to be all-powerful could finally be made to answer for their disgusting and depraved behaviour, has had one positive effect – it has empowered women working in other industries, including live music, to make their voices be heard. Quite what the fallout will be in the live entertainment business remains to be seen, but with society in general now starting to talk seriously about equality, and issues such as gender pay gaps, we might be about to finally turn a corner, and, at least in some respects, leave the world a slightly more civilised environment for generations to come.
IQ Magazine November 2017
Unit 31 Tileyard Road London, N7 9AH firstname.lastname@example.org www.iq-mag.net Tel: +44 (0)20 3743 0300 Twitter: @iq_mag
ILMC and Suspicious Marketing
News Editor Jon Chapple
Associate Editor Allan McGowan
Marketing & Advertising Director
Imogen Battersby and Ben Delger
Paul Cheetham, Cathal Furey, Oliver Höener, Steve McLean, Claire Singers, Richard Smirke, 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
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Organisers of Reeperbahn Festival say the number of delegates at the 2017 event increased almost 20% year-onyear, with attendees from 57 nations making the pilgrimage to Hamburg for the 20–23 September gathering. Live Nation Entertainment launches a chatbot for Facebook Messenger, with the aim of converting more of the 1.3bn people who use the app every month into Live Nation customers. Temasek Holdings, a sovereign wealth fund in Singapore, makes a “strategic investment” in Creative Artists Agency (CAA), which will be used to further the agency’s “tremendous growth, including by acquisitions.” Three quarters of staff at Function(x), the online business founded by former SFX Entertainment CEO Robert Sillerman, are effectively laid off, with the company telling investors it lacks the funds to pay them. A sovereign wealth fund controlled by the government of Saudi Arabia, says it is forming a new SR10 billion (€2.27bn) investment vehicle in a bid to kick-start the kingdom’s entertainment sector. Sheffield Arena is renamed FlyDSA Arena following the signing of a three-year naming rights deal with Doncaster Sheffield Airport (DSA) in South Yorkshire. North London music venue Islington Assembly (890-cap) becomes the first in the UK to scrap paper tickets, opting for a “tout-proof” mobile ticketing solution from Dice. Live Nation Belgium pays tribute to long-serving employee Marianne Dekimpe, who passed away on 15 September, just over a month shy of her 50th birthday. UK Music chief exec, Michael Dugher, calls for the introduction of an EU-wide live music ‘passport’ for British artists to ensure freedom of movement after the UK exits the European Union.
Several promoters receive emails from a scammer masquerading as Adele’s agent, ITB’s Lucy Dickins, offering nonexistent European dates next February. K2 Agency, which represents Metallica, Iron Maiden, Mastodon, and Slayer, announces the acquisition of booking agency Factory Music. The Innovation Network of European Showcases (INES) announces its intention to launch at Reeperbahn (see page 19). The Consumer and Markets Authority clears Live Nation’s acquisition of a majority stake in the Isle of Wight Festival, finding the deal does “not raise competition concerns.” UK-based ticket search engine TickX launches a localised website for the Spanish market, Tickx.es, in partnership with some of the country’s biggest ticket sellers. Courier service DHL Express agrees a three-year deal with AEG to become official logistics partner to a number of its venues, including The O2 in London. The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, hails the UK capital’s “world-class arenas” and “amazing grassroots music
venues,” as it emerges London hosted the most concerts of any city in Europe last year – a feat it is on course to repeat in 2017. The 2018 edition of Lollapalooza Berlin will be held at Olympiapark Berlin – the festival’s fourth venue in four years – promoters reveal, after an otherwise successful 2017 event was marred by problems with public transport. Eventbrite makes an estimated 25% of Ticketfly’s staff redundant following the completion of its $200m (€170m) acquisition of the company. Music returns to Manchester Arena as a capacity crowd turn out for We are Manchester, a benefit concert that raises funds for a memorial to the victims of the 22nd of May bombing. CTS Eventim says it will acquire a majority stake in Milan-based promoter Vertigo, marking its entry into the Italian live entertainment market. NEC Group unveils plans to put Bradford “firmly back on the national live music touring circuit” with a new 4,000-capacity music venue, the Bradford Odeon.
IQ Magazine November 2017
More than 150 Spanish musicians sign an open letter calling for government action against SGAE, as controversy rages over corruption allegations at the beleaguered collection society. Uruguayan telco Antel appoints AEG Facilities to operate and manage its 10,000-seat Antel Arena in Montevideo, set to open in mid-2018. Hope & Glory Festivals Ltd, the company behind August 2017’s ill-fated UK festival of the same name, goes into liquidation, as 32 creditors including Liverpool City Council, seek to reclaim almost £900,000 (€1m). Apple confirms that it is closing the curtains on its annual Apple Music Festival, ending its decade-long run that brought arena-sized acts to mid-sized London venues. DEAG and its subsidiary handwerker promotion each take minor stakes in TimeRide, a Munich-based developer of virtual reality experiences for the entertainment and education markets. Festival Le Vieux Canal in Azerailles, France, is cancelled after several festivalgoers suffer severe burns during lightning strikes on the afternoon of 2 September. Employees of London-based ticketing disruptor Dice are told they can take dedicated ‘hangover days’ under a scheme unveiled by founder Phil Hutcheon. Legendary British live music business figure Harold Pendleton passes away aged 93. In addition to founding Entec Sound & Light, Pendleton is best known as the founder of London’s Marquee Club and Reading Festival.
OCTOBER A gunman kills 58 people and injures a further 546 at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival in Las Vegas. Local resident Stephen Paddock targeted the concertgoers from the 32nd floor of the nearby Mandalay Bay hotel. Concert promoters agree new tariffs with German performance rights organisation GEMA, whereby rates of between 5.75-8% will be levied on net, as opposed to gross, ticket sales. President Emmanuel Macron is heavily criticised by French music industry
associations after announcing plans to axe hundreds of thousands of subsidised jobs, many of them in the music industry, as part of wide-ranging reforms of France’s labour laws. American singer-songwriter Tom Petty dies from a heart attack, just a week after wrapping up the Heartbreakers’ 40th Anniversary Tour. He was 66. British politician Bernard Jenkin calls for immediate government action to safeguard free movement for musicians after Brexit, warning of a “paralysis” gripping the music industry as negotiations between the UK and EU rumble on. Joss Stone becomes one of the first major artists to attempt to balance her carbon emissions from international touring. Her partnership with Energy Revolution has so far balanced 2.7m travel miles. Live Nation takes control of Utah’s United Concerts, which has been its co-promoting partner in the state for a number of years. United Concerts CEO Jim McNeil becomes president of US concerts, Salt Lake City, for Live Nation. Australia’s live entertainment business posted revenues of AU$1.43bn (€953,000) and 18.78m ticket sales in 2016 – up 1.2% and 0.8%, respectively, on 2015 – according to trade association Live Performance Australia. The UK’s NEC Group posts revenues of £157.7m (€176.9m) for the financial year ending March 2017, up 17.9%, year-on-year, and generating EBITDA of £50.4m (€56.5m), a 58% increase on the previous year. Word-of-mouth live entertainment marketing platform Verve (formerly known as StreetTeam) raises $18.5m (€15.7m) in a new funding round, bringing its total investment up to $28.5m (€24.2m) thanks to the likes of venture capital firm Draper Esprit, and with participation from previous investors Kindred, Frontline Ventures, and Backed. WME-IMG rebrands as Endeavor, with company assets that include martialarts promoter, UFC; ad agency, Droga5; Professional Bull Riders; the Miss Universe Organization; Frieze Art Fair; management companies, Dixon Talent and The Wall Group; and joint ventures such as Euroleague Basketball and e-sports championship ELEAGUE.
Ticket prices to entertainment and sports events in New South Wales could be capped at a maximum +10% of face value under proposed amendments to the Australian state’s Fair Trading Act 1987. A California court rules in favour of Coachella Music Festival in its trademark spat with film festival Filmchella, finding that the name is liable to cause “consumer confusion” with the longrunning Indio event. Songkick says it will shut down ticketing operations at the end of October, but founder/CEO Matt Jones promises to continue “unabated” his litigation against Live Nation/Ticketmaster over alleged abuses of its “monopoly power” to stifle competition. Oak View Group acquires US venue operator/consultancy Pinnacle Venue Services, adding six new management contracts across the United States to its growing stable of businesses. Victims of the mass shooting at Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas begin seeking legal redress, with lawsuits filed against promoter Live Nation, MGM Resorts, and Slide Fire Solutions, who manufactured the device that allowed the shooter to achieve simulated automatic fire from a semiautomatic weapon. Pioneering concert promoter Shmuel Zemach, whose Zemach Productions company promoted some of the first shows by international artists in Israel, passes away aged 85. Andrew Macrae, former VP of finance and strategic initiatives at Live Nation, UK, admits one count of outraging public decency and seven counts of voyeurism for the purpose of sexual gratification related to filming offences at his home. He will be sentenced in November.
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IQ Magazine November 2017
Movers and Shakers Vibe Tickets has boosted its London-based team by adding former Ticketmaster execs Steph Maxwell and Daniel Gould as senior business development managers, while also appointing ex-Wunderman UK veteran Chelsea Sargautis as senior social strategist. Paul Sergeant has launched Paul Sergeant Events, a Melbourne-based event management company specialising in securing and promoting niche events in Australia. Sergeant’s career includes stints in senior management at major venues such as Wembley Stadium, Qudos Bank Arena, Suncorp Stadium and, most recently, Etihad Stadium. Bristol Music Trust, the operator of the largest concert hall in south-west England, Colston Hall, has appointed Clare Jack as its COO as it gears up for a major refurbishment programme. She was previously development director at Bath Festivals. AEG Presents senior vice-president, Rebeca León, has stepped down to focus on her artist management company, Lionfish Entertainment. Under her leadership, AEG’s Latin division was responsible for 700 annual shows, selling more than 2.3m tickets and grossing over $188m (€160m). Lesley Olenik has left her senior VP of talent buying role at AEG/Goldenvoice to join Live Nation as vice-president of touring for its US concerts division.
Gary Hutchinson is to leave his position as head of venue sales and commercial partnerships at Wembley Stadium at the end of 2017, to run private hospitality venture, Chrysalis Leisure Group. Stuart Cain has left The Ticket Factory to take up a commercial director role at Ricoh Arena in Coventry, where he will be responsible for increasing usage of the event facilities at the 40,000-cap stadium. Canadian booking agent Zaed Maqbool, who had been with The Agency Group/United Talent Agency in Toronto since 2006, is relocating to Dubai to take up the role of Live Nation’s VP of touring for south Asia and the Middle East. Ticketmaster France has hired Charlotte Broutin, formerly of rival operation France Billet, as head of music. Hard Events founder Gary Richards has been appointed president, North America, of LiveStyle, following his departure from Live Nation in August. AEG has made two appointments ahead of the 2018 opening of Mercedes Platz in Berlin. Berlin Music Hall will be booked by Paul Cheetham (see page 16), while long-time MercedesBenz Arena booker Aissata Hartmann-Sylla has been promoted to senior director, overseeing event acquisition for both the arena and music hall.
End in sight for discriminatory risk assessment Form 696?
minister, Matt Hancock, and the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, have now added their voices to those demanding that Form 696 is reviewed. The study, produced by Ticketmaster’s LiveAnalytics division, in partnership with Disrupt and the University of Westminster’s Black Music Research Unit, is described as the “first comprehensive and academic study into public attitudes to grime and its political impact.” Its findings include: • Most grime fans tend to purchase concert tickets closer to the event date, although this began to shift towards earlier purchasing in 2017. • Respondents are willing to spend more on tickets than they are currently spending on Ticketmaster, with 17% sug-
gesting they’d be willing to spend £100+ on grime shows. • Of those surveyed, grime fans have a higher affinity with theatre (55%) than hiphop (45%). • Streams of grime music on Spotify have more than doubled in one year (from 89m streams in 2016 to 206m streams in 2017). The most popular artist was Stormzy, with Skepta in second place, and Dizzee Rascal in third. London’s night czar, Amy Lamé, comments, “Grime is one of the great music genres to come out of London, and with international talent like Skepta, as well as rising stars like Nadia Rose bringing grime to the world stage, it is little wonder this grassroots music movement is now becoming a huge part of mainstream culture.
“As well as setting out measures to promote busking and protect grassroots music venues, we’ve made it clear that Form 696 shouldn’t compromise the capital’s vibrant music industry or unfairly target one community or music genre.”
IQ Magazine November 2017
Fresh calls are being made for London’s Metropolitan Police to scrap their controversial risk-assessment Form 696, after a Ticketmaster survey revealed almost half the British population thinks the form is discriminatory. Research for Ticketmaster’s State of Play: Grime report shows that 48% of those polled think the form is prejudiced because it only applies to certain events. Critics accuse the form – which asks for a description of the style of music and target audience, and is a requirement for promoters and licensees of events to complete 14 days before the event – of being anti-grime and urban music, as it disproportionally affects promoters of those shows. Culture
It’s been an eventful couple of months in the ticketing sector, with the shuttering of significant companies leaving dozens of staff looking for new jobs. In October, Songkick announced that it will be shutting down its ticketing operation, although founder and CEO Matt Jones said the company’s on-going litigation against Live Nation/Ticketmaster will continue “unabated.” Songkick had been selling tickets since June 2015, when it merged with whitelabel ticketing platform CrowdSurge. In July this year, Warner Music Group acquired selected Songkick assets – everything bar its ticketing business, and all associated “pending litigation” – with industry observers then predicting it would only be a matter of time before the ticketing operation ceased.
“I’m sad to write that on 31 October, Songkick will bow to pressure from Live Nation and Ticketmaster and complete the shutdown of all ticketing operations,” Jones said in an email to clients. “Songkick’s concert discovery app will continue uninterrupted under the WMG umbrella.” Meanwhile, IQ has learned that less than a year after announcing its first music-industry partnerships, Sky Tickets – the fledgling entertainment/ sports ticketing division of broadcast giant Sky UK Ltd – is no longer doing business. Sky Tickets was one of several new ticketing ventures launched by major multinationals in recent years, and appeared to be laying the groundwork for expansion in the live music space with the purchase of UK start-up Una Tickets in September 2016. Concurrent with that deal, Sky
announced the platform would be the exclusive ticketing partner of London venue Omeara, while then-Sky Tickets director Mark Guymer also told IQ the company would provide a “full end-to-end service” for Curious Arts Festival. However, the deal with Omeara was short-lived and Curious Arts has since partnered with Eventbrite. The web address Tickets.sky.com now redirects to the Sky homepage, but the company did not respond to multiple requests for comment. Meanwhile, in North America, Eventbrite has made an estimated 25% of Ticketfly’s staff redundant following the completion of its $200million (€169m) acquisition of the company in September. In a statement, Eventbrite says it was “unavoidable to combine two companies of our size and not have some
Farewell to Sky Tickets, Songkick and Ticketfly staff
level of redundancy.” According to Amplify, Ticketfly employed between 150 and 200 people, of which Eventbrite is retaining 75%. The Ticketfly deal is Eventbrite’s third major purchase this year following the buyout of Ticketscript in Europe, and the acquisition of Washington DC-based self-service ticketing start-up, nvite.
Equality programmes set to accelerate?
Allegations of sexual harassment and abuse within the live music industry could lead to speedy roll-outs of equality and diversity campaigns, as companies large and small strive to distance themselves from the kind of scandal that is currently gripping Hollywood. The rapid destruction of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s career, after decades
of alleged inappropriate behaviour toward women has helped to embolden victims in other sectors to make their voices heard. The first allegation within the live music business surfaced on 16 October on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire current affairs programme, when artist manager Sarah Bowden said a “major promoter,” still working in the industry, had exposed himself to her, expecting her to perform a sex act. She further alleged she had once been sacked after refusing to sleep with a colleague in return for a promotion, and spoke of a “senior figure” regularly promising young women jobs or tours in exchange for sexual favours.
IQ Magazine November 2017
Several female, live music industry figures, many of whom chose to remain anonymous, told IQ that they have been subject to, or witnessed, inappropriate behaviour or sexual assault working in the live business. While several emphasise that such incidents are infrequent, they describe instances where male execs have used their status and power to exploit women. Most incidents go unreported for fear of reprisals on the part of the victim. The Weinstein media storm, and subsequent #MeToo social media campaign that has encouraged victims of sexual harassment or abuse to speak out, comes at a significant time for the
business, as gender and inclusivity is addressed seriously in many quarters. Among several schemes to have launched recently is a joint effort between PRS for Music and Festival Republic who introduced a three-year programme, ReBalance, in August, that offers studio recording time to a core female band, female musician or female solo artist each month in 2018, 2019 and 2020. And elsewhere, Coda agent Natasha Bent’s Mind the Gender/Inclusion Gap session at the International Festival Forum in September, began a dialogue about the larger issues in the business that need to be addressed – a debate that will continue at next year’s ILMC.
Multinationals Ramp Up China Interest A new joint venture backed by Australia’s TEG, and Alibaba’s long-awaited push into live events, look set to provide a boost to the “flourishing” Chinese live business. The growth in China’s middle class and an upsurge in demand for live entertainment are prompting a number of multinationals to hike their investment strategies in the vast nation. According to economic forecasts, China’s live music market is projected to grow by 7% annually over the next five years – a prediction that has piqued the interest of ambitious operators both internationally and internally. Both Live Nation and AEG have growing businesses in China, while earlier this year, CAA partnered with CMC Capital to create CAA China. WME, meanwhile, last year boosted its presence in a joint venture with Sequoia Capital, private equity investor FountainVest Partners, and Chinese Internet giant Tencent. And earlier this year, it spread its wings even wider with a joint venture in the Chinese film and TV market. This summer, one of China’s biggest conglomerates, Alibaba – which claims to be the world’s biggest retailer – launched its own live entertainment division, with plans to encompass ticketing, content creation, and the
live experience. According to Yu Yongfu, president of Alibaba Digital Media and Entertainment Group, the new division will be a “key part” of the group’s strategy to grow its presence in the entertainment market. Ticketing for the new venture will be handled by Damai.cn, China’s largest entertainment ticketing platform, which was acquired by Alibaba in March 2017. Its subsidiaries, MaiLive and Maizuo,
branded YunTek, which translates to “cloud technology.” TEG, whose assets include leading Australian ticketer Ticketek, as well as promoters TEG Live, TEG Dainty, and Life Like Touring, has targeted Asia as its priority for growth of late. The company says YunTek will be a self-service platform, offering “one of the most sophisticated, end-to-end ticketing and live event management platforms that has ever been developed.”
which are significant players in the online movie-ticketing sector, will leverage Alibaba’s data to produce live shows, according to TechNode, a tech journal that specialises in the Chinese market. Alibaba’s long-awaited move into live events comes as Australia’s TEG announces what it calls a “game-changing” partnership with major Chinese ticketer YongLe to launch a cloud-based ticketing platform in China. The platform, expected to be launched in 2018, will be
“This is a game changer, as we believe YunTek will disrupt the entire Chinese live entertainment market,” says TEG CEO Geoff Jones. “Not only are we delivering a new and innovative ticketing solution to the Chinese market, we are upending the traditional live events value chain.” Ren Wang, CEO of YongLe, says the joint venture represents a combination of the largest ticketing and entertainment businesses in the region. “We believe TEG’s experience in both ticketing
and live entertainment will ensure the success of the YunTek platform.” The concentration of investment in the live market follows huge growth for the Chinese recorded music industry – up 20.3% in 2016, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), driven largely by an increase of 30.6% in streaming. In terms of revenue, China has yet to break the global top ten, with piracy still a major problem. However, analysts believe rising incomes and a government crackdown on piracy is slowly changing the landscape, with many suggesting the alarm clock is about to rouse China’s sleeping giant of a music economy. According to PwC’s Global entertainment and media outlook 2017-2021, the Chinese live music industry was worth $217million (€184m) in 2016, but is set to reach $301m (€255m) in 2021. “For a nation with some 1.38bn residents (and further population growth on the horizon due to the relaxing of the one-child policy), the legitimate market has until now been tagged as a sleeping giant,” reads the report. “Australia, with a population of just 24m, currently has a greater music market in terms of total revenue on account of its superior live industry. Not for long: China’s music market is sprinting.”
The French Capital has received a major boost in its ability to attract the world’s biggest tours, with The Rolling Stones opening the 40,000-capacity U Arena in the Nanterre suburb of western Paris. Home to rugby club Racing 92, the impressive venue can offer year-round access for international tours thanks to its permanent roof. The Stones officially opened the stadium on 19 October in the first of three sold-out shows to end their No Filter European tour.
IQ Magazine November 2017
The latest trades and handshakes from the agency world MEATRAFFLE (UK)
Agents: Serena Parsons & Faye Adams, Primary Talent
PLAYBOI CARTI (US)
Birthed from the fetid cauldrons of notorious South London stink pits The Queens Head and The Windmill, Meatraffle blast out a rallying cry for the proletariat to throw off the chains of mediocre, mass-produced music and get down to their sweet and chaotic sonic waves – land shanties of burning bankers, friendly drug dealers, enduring friendship and revolution: death raga, erroneous funk and trapdoor jazz. After their acclaimed 2015 debut Hi-Fi Classics, the band opted out of recording a second record to avoid the dreaded ‘difficult second album’ syndrome and instead are in the process of recording what they are calling their third album. Speaking about their latest single, Meatraffle say, “Brother is about the platonic love you have with your friends (sex is forbidden). It’s about sharing and having things in common. The ups and downs, of course – about who buys more rounds of drinks than the others. It’s a dry orgy, that’s all it is.”
Atlanta hip-hop artist Playboi Carti raps with a repetitive and catchy flow like contemporaries Lil Uzi Vert and Young Thug. Born Jordan Carter in the south side of the city, Carti grew up listening to Prince, Michael Jackson, R. Kelly, Lil Jon, Gucci Mane, and Jeezy, and started his music career in high school under the name Sir Cartier. After graduating, Carti moved to the Bronx, and in early 2015 at a show at SXSW, he met A$AP Mob main-man A$AP Rocky, who took Carti under his wing. A month later, the singles Broke Boi and Fetti were released and quickly became viral hits. Tours with Lil Uzi Vert and A$AP Ferg followed before Carti signed a deal with Interscope Records. After years of generating interest with singles, Carti released his debut mixtape, Playboi Carti, earlier this year. The track Magnolia is one of the most played tracks in the world right now and has tens of millions of plays, streams and downloads. He will be announcing several international dates for the start of 2018 in the coming weeks and will also be looking to play a host of festivals worldwide.
Agent: Beckie Sugden, X-ray Touring
PREDICTIONS FOR NEXT MONTH (Artists moving through database the quickest) ALEX THE ASTRONAUT (AU), GUS DAPPERTON (USA), YUNGBLUD (UK), TRIPPIE REDD (USA),WIKI (USA)
IQ Magazine November 2017
Artist listings Abir (US) Mike Malak & James Whitting, Coda Agency Alex Hepburn (UK) Alex Hardee & Adele Slater, Coda Agency Alicia Harley (UK) Phyllis Belezos, ITB Amber Coffman (US) Jason Edwards & Natasha Bent, Coda Agency Art School Girlfriend (UK) Steve Backman, Primary Talent Bad Parents (UK) Francesco Caccamo, Primary Talent Blank Range (US) Colin Keenan & Stuart Kennedy, ATC Live Bloodboy (US) Martje Kremers, Primary Talent Charles Watson (UK) Alex Bruford, ATC Live Cid Rim (AT) Sinan Ors, ATC Live Cosmo’s Midnight (AU) Sinan Ors, ATC Live Cousn (UK) Tom Schroeder, Coda Agency Daniel Brandt (DE) Rick Morton, Blow-Up Dark0 (UK) Lucy Atkinson, Earth Agency Dead! (UK) Natasha Bent, Coda Agency Devon Welsh (CA) Mike Deane, Earth Agency Dylan Cartlidge (UK) Andy Duggan, Primary Talent Elisa & Srigala (UK) Tom Permaul-Baker, Primary Talent FKJ (FR) Michael Harvey-Bray & Natasha Bent, Coda Agency Flohio (UK) Mike Deane, Earth Agency Friend Within (UK) Craig D’Souza, Primary Talent Giant Party (UK) Adele Slater, Coda Agency Go Primitive (UK) Gemma Milroy, X-ray Touring Grace Carter (UK) Sol Parker, Coda Agency Grace Inspace (UK) Michael Harvey-Bray, Coda Agency Hatchie (AU) Paul Buck, Coda Agency Hockey Dad (AU) Shaun Faulkner, X-ray Touring Hot Dub Time Machine (AU) Ben Kouijzer, UTA Serena Parsons, Primary Talent Injury Reserve (US) Jeremy Underground (FR) Dave Alcock, UTA Kedr Livanskiy (RU) Mike Deane, Earth Agency Kutmah (UK) Lucy Atkinson, Earth Agency Latchkey Kids (UK) Jo Biddiscombe, X-ray Touring Laura Misch (UK) Paul Buck & Natasha Bent, Coda Agency Lorenzo Senni (IT) Mike Deane, Earth Agency Lucy Dacus (US) Will Church, ATC Live Richard Spiers, OTM Touring Madchild (CA) Magic Giant (US) Steve Zapp, ITB Meat Puppets (US) Isla Angus, ATC Live Miguel Atwood-Ferguson (US) Joe Theophilus, Blow-Up Nils Beck (NO) Sarah Besnard, ATC Live NSG (UK) Craig D’Souza, Primary Talent Olympia (AU) Paul Buck & Kieran Crosby, Coda Agency ORB (AU) Kieran Crosby & Paul Buck, Coda Agency Jamie Wade, X-ray Touring PAINT (UK)
IQ Magazine November 2017
New Signings & Rising Stars
Petrie (UK) Natasha Bent, Coda Agency Pillow Queens (IE) Sarah Besnard, ATC Live pink kink (UK) Tom Dunne, ATC Live Pomrad (UK) Jack Cox, X-ray Touring Rich Homie Quan (US) Richard Spiers, OTM Touring Rodriguez Jr. (FR) Laetitia Descouens, Primary Talent Rosborough (UK) Ben Winchester, Primary Talent Ruby Rushton (UK) Clementine Bunel & Cecile Communal, ATC Live RVG (AU) Isla Angus, ATC Live Saint Agnes (UK) Francesco Caccamo, Primary Talent Sam Johnson (UK) Olly Hodgson & Paul Buck, Coda Agency SHIBA SAN (FR) Paul McQueen, Primary Talent Sick Joy (UK) Jamie Wade, X-ray Touring Smokepurpp (US) Mike Malak, Coda Agency Steve Davis & Kavus Torabi (UK) Rick Morton, Blow-Up Suspect (UK) Max Lee, Earth Agency Suzi Wu (UK) Adele Slater, Coda Agency Swedish Death Candy (UK) Rob Gibbs, Progressive Artists swsh (US) Mike Malak, Coda Agency SYML (US) Colin Keenan, ATC Live teischa (AU) Lucy Dickins, ITB The Adelaides (UK) Neil Warnock, UTA The Knocks (US) Peter Elliott, Primary Talent Tiny Deaths (US) Martje Kremers, Primary Talent Tremors (UK/FR) Josh Ergatoudis, Coda Agency Uniting Of Opposites (UK) Rick Morton, Blow-Up Van William (US) Rob Challice, Coda Agency You Me At Six (UK) Matt Bates, Primary Talent
IQ Magazine hottest new acts - Nov 2017
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
Last Month 4 5 6 3 20 30 10 19 7 11 21 64 29 16 13
BROCKHAMPTON (US) JORJA SMITH (UK) ALVVAYS (CA) DECLAN MCKENNA (UK) JP COOPER (UK) SYD (US) NONAME (US) PRINCESS NOKIA (US) J HUS (UK) GRETA VAN FLEET (US) TOM WALKER (UK) ANNA OF THE NORTH (NO) LOYLE CARNER (UK) JESSIE REYEZ (CA) JAPANESE BREAKFAST (US)
Fastest growing artists based on online music consumption (across Facebook, Shazam, Songkick and Spotify).
Why Women & Diversity Lead to Better Business Gender diversity consultant and executive coach Claire Singers applauds moves to promote the roles of women within the music industry, and encourages further developments in working practices.
017 looks like the year when the industry finally started walking the talk about amplifying women’s voices, both on and backstage: in June, Spotify’s Daniel Ek and Max Martin launched The Equalizer Project, which focuses on increasing the number of female songwriters; in August, Melvin Benn’s Festival Republic announced ReBalance, a three-year project aimed at addressing the chronic gender imbalance in the music industry; and in October, PRS Foundation went live with Keychange, a European project that will empower 60 female artists and industry innovators. Meanwhile, many Scandinavian festivals are already committed to a 50:50 gender-balanced bill.
“The working culture was designed by men in the middle of the last century, and it’s based on command-andcontrol, presenteeism, an obsession with process, the jacket on the back of the chair, the need for the boss to look out at his team.” Anders Wahren, of Roskilde Festival in Denmark, said: “We try to inspire – through the very talented artists we have on our stages; through the work we do with organisations and underground promoters such as Freemuse, Girls are Awesome, Femtastic; and by having debates and talks with artists such as Madame Gandhi and Princess Nokia at this year’s festival. We can encourage our audience, upcoming artists and potential future artists, by supporting campaigns for more girls to pick up an instrument, and setting up summer camps for girls. There is a lot to be done that does not start with the big festival stages – but the beauty of it all is that when we, as a non-profit festival, fund causes like this, we actually also help develop the future headliners that we will be presenting in five to ten years.” These initiatives are to be applauded, and are clear signs that the 21st century music industry has finally realised that there are huge business advantages to be gained from promoting women on stage and behind the curtain. All the research reports that diverse teams of people are more creative,
more dynamic, and more profitable to an organisation than homogenous teams, which in the music industry’s case and in many others, means middle-aged, Western, white men. It makes good business sense to fully capitalise on the talents of the entire workforce. It makes good commercial sense to design festival bills that reflect the diversity of consumers and the multicultural society we live in. Progress on gender equality and diversity is not an either/ or, the work needs to progress in parallel. Both need targets and strategic plans if they are to change the mix of leadership teams. Both are at different levels. BAME staff struggle to reach middle management in numbers, and women hit the wall at middle management, so a talent pipeline needs to be built. Here, unconscious bias recruitment and mentoring is key: if you can see it, you can believe it. Digital technology has transformed our lives and yet its potential to transform our working lives, known as ‘Smart Working,’ is still to be realised in most music biz offices. The working culture was designed by men in the middle of the last century, and it’s based on command-and-control, presenteeism, an obsession with process, the jacket on the back of the chair, the need for the boss to look out at his team. Modern companies are task-and-output focused, employees are encouraged to work flexibly, and they are trusted and given responsibility: if you can’t trust your team, then why are they working for you? Smart Working increases access to a much broader range of people, for whom working in an office five days a week is not practical or desirable. In 2014, government legislation was introduced giving every employee the right to flexible working – who knew? Smart Working is a proven game changer for creating a diverse and more gender-equal workforce, it allows a more balanced work/home life, which, thankfully, is a huge priority for Generation Y – the days of the macho, stay-in-the-officeall-hours type are thankfully dying out, as are the industry’s old guard. The music industry is largely made up of small- to mediumsized companies that often have no HR function and certainly no company manuals, hence knowledge about employee rights, such as shared parental leave, can be sketchy. This is an area that should be addressed with the utmost urgency and requested by staff. The future is looking bright, in the hands of a new generation of leaders who grew up with diversity, increasing gender equality, and a life that has balance. Everyone has a part to play in bringing this change.
IQ Magazine November 2017
Putting Live Music on Ice Oliver Höener, CEO and creative director of Art on Ice, reveals how introducing various genres of live music to his productions led to international success.
kating and music have always gone together. Having spent many years as an international figure skater, after retiring from competitions in 1991, I knew that this simple combination could be built upon. My belief was that there wasn’t an entertainment-style skating show that did the art form justice. It was clear that skating alone didn’t have the pull to attract enough ticket buyers, but it had to be an arenasized venue to work. The light-bulb moment came when I decided to use live music rather than a pre-recorded track: this would be unique and, more importantly, appeal to a wide range of people. And that’s how the idea for Art on Ice came about. The challenge was that having spent my life in figure skating, I had no real connections in the music world and needed to change that fast. As ever, you have to be extremely tenacious when pulling a major show together. The person I had in mind was opera singer Montserrat Caballé. So I chased her manager and tried to meet him and even flew to Barcelona to see him at the airport – but he didn’t show up! I was calling him at hotels, leaving messages so he would call me back and he just didn’t. I almost gave up, and then after six months, he called out of the blue and said, “Let’s do the deal.” He asked me what money was on the table and so a suggested fee was put to him. His swift reply was “Just double that and then we’re good!” That was the key moment – the breakthrough – and how Art on Ice started.
“What often happens is that artists see an increase in their ticket and album sales after the shows, which is, of course, appealing to them.” After the inaugural show, I worked my way through the business talking to promoters and trying to get the contacts from them for managers and agents. At the beginning, nobody knew me and I had to convince everyone about the concept because it was quite unusual. Artists were either nervous about it or extremely excited. To those that were enthusiastic my sell was that they would find a wider audience and indeed a new audience. It would not only be their fans coming to see them but a broader entertainment audience, people that like to go to
IQ Magazine November 2017
the theatre and musicals but might not attend a gig. Art on Ice is a huge spectacle and that also appealed – it’s not just a straight concert. The artists find themselves working with hundreds of performers, skaters, acrobats and special effects – it is theatrical in all ways. What often happens is that artists see an increase in their ticket and album sales after the shows, which is, of course, appealing to them. It’s also a show that can work with most forms of music, so that gives us a huge choice of artists to approach – so we’ve had everything from classical to hard rock. We have worked with so many stars including Jessie J, Donna Summer, Simply Red’s Mick Hucknall, Seal, The Jacksons, Chaka Khan, Nelly Furtado, the Bee Gees’ Robin Gibb, Leona Lewis, James Morrison, Anastacia and Chris de Burgh. As long as the music is interesting and I can create the choreography around it, my team and I have an open mind.
“To be the number-one grossing show in the world whilst there are so many acts on tour and live events competing for audience attention is testament to our team and concept.” We were recently revealed as the top selling show in the world in terms of gross ticket sales [according to Venues Today in its stats for venues in the 10,001-15,000 capacity range, during the period 16 Oct 2016 to15 May 2017], totalling close to $7million (€6m) and outselling artists like Justin Bieber and Bruce Springsteen. To be the number-one grossing show in the world whilst there are so many acts on tour and live events competing for audience attention is testament to our team and concept. We’re proud of that, and I think the secret is that it’s different every year since we launched over 20 years ago. The audience is waiting for the moment when a brand new Art on Ice is unveiled. We never use an international act twice – you see the show that one time and then it’s gone. We’re now looking at other territories, including the UK, US, and China. I think there is an appetite for shows that fuse different kinds of entertainment together, and that’s what we have done and will keep doing with Art On Ice.
Fan-filming at Concerts Cathal Furey, founder & CEO of FanFootage, discusses the growing use of cameras by fans at gigs, and suggests methods by which artists can benefit from the use of this footage.
or decades fans have recorded live music so that they can relive or share the experience later. The music industry historically dealt with these behaviours in contrasting ways. Some bands and venues tried hard to prevent audiotaping, while others, such as the Grateful Dead, embraced it, providing feeds from the sound desk to improve the quality of the live audio recordings and encouraging tape sharing. With photography, bands have had some success with banning professional cameras from concerts. Most artists settled on the reasonable compromise of allowing serious or accredited photographers to take photos from the pit for the first three songs, while letting the rest take photos on basic cameras. In recent years, powerful new phones have made fan recording at concerts a major issue for artists, labels, promoters, and other fans. Very quickly, instead of recording being something a small percentage of fans did at shows, almost everyone in the crowd was capturing the action. The latest smartphones can shoot professional-quality video even in low light, and the sight of thousands of fans filming together is now common. Some artists still attempt to prevent fan-filming, from Kate Bush and Don Henley pleading with their fans not to film at all, to Alicia Keys and Guns N’ Roses employing lockable phone pouches that physically prevent filming. Labels also frequently try to take down fan videos from YouTube. The three main criticisms of fan-filming at concerts are:
1. Excessive filming takes people out of the moment 2. 3.
and the bright phone screens can make other people’s experience of the concert much less enjoyable. Most fan videos sound terrible. While the video capabilities of new phones are amazing, the tiny microphones can’t record audio in a way that fairly represents live music. In fact, the badly distorted audio makes most unwatchable. Artists, labels, publishers and promoters feel that they have little control over fan video content.
Let’s examine why fan-filming happens in the first place. Fans are excited by their experience, a special, shared moment, and are moved to capture that memory. The instinct is to preserve, to re-watch, to show it to friends or upload to YouTube. Isn’t this exactly the type of fan engagement that artists need to build their following and contribute to a sustainable income?
“Our industry needs to think more about how best to harness the opportunity in fan-filming and the positive motivations behind it.” Some artists and their digital teams recognise the power of fan-filming, seeking the best fan video uploads and posting them. And for many people, watching a genuine fan video can be a deciding factor in a concert ticket purchase. So how to resolve this thorny issue? Completely shutting down filming seems a futile exercise and can annoy fans. So why not choose one part of the performance where fan-filming is allowed, even encouraged? Tell fans to keep their phones in their pockets for the rest of the show. For just one song, everyone who wants to capture a personal memory on video can do so without criticism or complaints, but then enjoy the rest of the performance in-the-moment. This won’t completely satisfy every artist or fan, but seems like a fair compromise, which solves the first criticism of fan-filming at least. At FanFootage, we make this ‘one song’ idea work even better for bands and fans, solving the sound quality and control criticisms. We work with artists ranging from Linkin Park, Run The Jewels and Post Malone, to Hozier and Frightened Rabbit, to help them connect with their fans and create broadcastquality video content. The artists ask their fans to film a particular song at their show and upload the videos they shoot to Fanfootage.com. Our technology automatically syncs up all these videos with proper artist-approved live audio, recorded by the band or the venue’s sound engineer. This makes it easy for artists and labels to quickly access authentic fan footage with proper sound for sharing and promoting upcoming tour dates. The best videos can also be edited together to create an official live video for the band’s YouTube or Vevo channel. So far, artists, labels and fans have responded really well and enjoy watching the results. Looking to the future, trying to ban fan-filming or letting it continue completely unchecked seems shortsighted and likely to leave fans unhappy. Our industry needs to think more about how best to harness the opportunity in fan-filming and the positive motivations behind it, while making sure that concerts remain enjoyable for fans and rewarding for artists and labels. In short, we need a fair compromise.
IQ Magazine November 2017
Multipurpose Arena Planning Paul Cheetham, who recently took over as director of booking at the AEG-owned Mercedes Platz I arena in Berlin, looks at the dramatic developments and improvements now available in arenas and stadia for increasingly demanding audiences.
rom an early age, I spent all my time obsessing over listening to music and the sheer thrill of going to concerts. Live performances were a magical experience. I was fascinated by the way atmosphere could be conjured up out of nothing. From my first gigs in the clubs of 1980s Sheffield, I was hooked for life. I lived mainly for the enormous sense of occasion and the existential experience of being in the here-and-now of a unique performance by a beloved artist, but when I eventually became involved in producing shows myself in arenas, in the early 2000s, I was faced with the more realistic picture of what the arena experience was like for fans, artists, and promoters. It was often the case of fitting events into spaces where they might not quite fit and there were difficulties in creating a comfortable, safe environment while allowing a spontaneous, artistic occasion to unfold. Since then, entertainment has become mainstream. More people want to attend events with as many home comforts as possible. Architecturally pleasing, purpose-built venues have arrived with multifunctional capabilities and the possibility of being able to physically divide the overall space to fit the precise needs of any performance. The company I have just
joined, AEG, is now taking things to another level by creating entertainment districts in several key locations around the world, including the new Mercedes Platz project currently being built around the already established Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin. The development includes a modern, multipurpose music hall that, with a capacity of up to 4,500, is a pleasing sibling to the 17,000-capacity arena next door. The combination of space at these neighbouring venues, even before using the public-access space in between, will be able to offer event capacities of anything between 1,200 and 21,500. In theory, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s now possible to follow the increasingly successful career progression of an artist at this one location from virtual newcomer to megastar. The addition of the new music hall can only add to the attraction of Berlin for locals and visitors. In fact, local public and industry feedback overwhelmingly suggests the need for a new multipurpose venue of this size and style. It is now my job to help deliver on this need but I welcome the challenge of ensuring the entertainment district is as interesting, vibrant, and successful as possible. After all, it all goes back to my obsession and belief that live events can be life-changing experiences.
Gig Gadgetry from the Frontline...
ALOOMPA ALoompA WAs Founded in 2009, at around the same time Apple launched the App Store. Setting out to build a new way to experience live content from the palm of your hand, Aloompa turned its sights on the event space. Within that same year, the team introduced the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival app, the world’s very first event app. That product has grown into many apps that now power live event experiences for millions of attendees around the world each year.
In 2013, Apple launched iBeacons to the public market. Keen on innovation, Aloompa saw the opportunity to add to the unique attendee experience it was already creating. In 2014, an R&D project on locationbased messaging ended as the first-ever beacon deployment at a music festival. Aloompa also learned a thing or two about how attendees experience festivals, which led to insights and data that event producers had never seen before. The product grew into the world’s leading event proximity platform, Presence. “What has been exciting after being in the space for over eight years is our conversations are no longer about where a button is placed or how a feature is laid out in the attendee-facing app itself,” says Aloompa co-founder, Drew Burchfield. “Instead, our conversations are now around how to leverage the apps/products as an asset to collect rich attendee insights and enhance sponsorship ROI – both critical components of the modern, live event success.“
The Bot Platform AFTeR LAunching one of the first bots on Messenger with Dutch DJ Hardwell, the boffins behind it were amazed with the results they were seeing. Although the team had worked with the Rolling Stones, One Direction, and many brands before, they’d
not seen such instant results. So they decided to double down and build out a system for others to make their own bots on Messenger using all of the lessons that they had learned. This was the origin of The Bot Platform. Despite being a relatively
Quantum Aviation QuAnTum AviATion LTd is a consultancy and services company providing airspace security solutions for events, infrastructure, and individuals, with a particular focus on anti-drone technologies. The Quantum team are largely ex-military aviators and leverage unique experience having provided the airspace security plan for the London 2012 Olympic Games, along with numerous counterterror projects. As drone use becomes more prolific, so to do potential threats. Quantum offers turn-key solutions including consultancy, and equipment that can detect and track drones, thereby reducing po-
tential threats and enhancing event producers’ awareness. Solutions are available to lease, rent or buy. “The exponential increase in drone use, often for very good reason, inevitably leads to a corresponding rise in potential threats from the same vector,” comments Quantum CEO, Martin Lanni. “Security planners need to consider including drone threats in their risk assessments, and need to start thinking in three dimensions. The fence line is no longer a sufficiently reliable barrier, and we need to virtually move it upwards and outwards to mitigate the new emerging risks that event planners face.”
small team, the folk at The Bot Platform still manage to power a large number of bots for the likes of the BBC, Sony Music, Universal Music, Johnson & Johnson, Samsung, and even Facebook. Ultimately, these bots are a form of automated communication, helping marketers to use Messenger as part of their channel marketing. The
results they see are incredible. As company co-founder Syd Lawrence explains, “There is, quite simply, no other communication channel where you can get the majority of people to read the message within one minute – the reach of these bots is incredible, especially compared to standard Facebook page reach.”
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IQ Magazine November 2017
BUSY BODIES News fr om live music associations ar ound the world
INES The Innovation Network of European Showcases (INES) chose September’s Reeperbahn Festival to unveil itself to the world, thanks in no small part to €2million in EU funding to run the initiative. Member festivals are Liverpool Sound City (UK), Waves Vienna (AT), Sonic Visions (LU), Live at Heart (SE), Spring Break (NL), Monkey Week (ES), Westway LAB (PT) and MENT Ljubljana (SI), along with German booking start-up, gigmit. Marcus Rüssel, INES project manager and CEO of gigmit, explains that the project has been given financial support for an initial four years, and the hope is that it will “sustainably link the European music market through digital innovations and human relationships, and strengthen them for the future.” He adds, “The aim is to empower the existing ties between showcase festivals in Europe, and to establish new connections between musi-
cians, music professionals, and institutions in the industry.” In addition, INES hopes to also contribute to the “digitalisation of the music industry” by recording and cataloguing all showcase performances in an online library. The INES platform will allow bands from all over the world to apply to play at the showcase festivals across the eight European territories, in just a few simple clicks. It will also provide funding to help music industry professionals attend the showcase events to discover new talent and expand their network of contacts. Rebecca Ayres, of Liverpool Sound City, comments, “We have great relationships with our international colleagues but this initiative will help bolster our efforts and create even more co-operation between music markets in different territories. Working together in this way is only going to become more important in years to come.”
Safer Spaces at Festivals A campaign by the UK’s Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) to raise awareness around sexual assault has produced some interesting results. A total of 30 festivals participated in a website blackout involving the Safer Spaces concept, while the social media part of the campaign reached 18.2 million Twitter followers, 9.4m Facebook users,
and more than 35,000 Instagram subscribers. Although festivals are generally recognised as being low crime areas, compared to similar-sized towns and cities, AIF general manager, Paul Reed, tells IQ that further improving safety is a priority. “One of the main things we wanted to highlight is what festivals are doing about the issue of sexual
Ontario’s Ticket Sales Act Music Canada Live is celebrating a significant victory after draft ticketing legislation included sweeping measures to combat the issues caused by secondary ticketing. However, the trade body is also vowing to fight on to strengthen such measures, in the knowledge that Ontario’s live music industry currently contributes CAD$1.2billion (€0.8bn) to the provincial economy, and supports 20,000 jobs. The province of Ontario is adopting proposed changes to ticket legislation into a larger consumer-protection bill in an attempt to enforce its new ticket rules, which include a ban on bot software, and a maximum 50% price hike on resold tickets. “We are pleased to see government action to stop fraudulent activity that hurts Ontario fans,” says Music Canada Live executive director Erin Benjamin. “An outright ban on the use of bots
– which ostensibly steal tickets from fans – is 100% the right move. The proposed ban on speculative postings, and requiring original sale price and seat locations to be disclosed in ticket resale, are all steps in the right direction… because it increases consumer transparency.” However, she added, “We remain concerned that capping ticket resale prices will only drive fraudulent activity towards dangerous online retailers that simply do not put fans and their experience first. As the legislation moves towards final approval, Music Canada Live will work to ensure that no element of this proposed policy will strengthen the hands of bad actors seeking to hurt fans. We look forward to continuing to work with the government, and all members of the legislature, to strengthen this legislation and improve fan protections.”
assault,” says Reed. “However, it can be difficult to quantify the issue, as one of our partners, Rape Crisis England & Wales, tell us that only about 15% of sexual assaults are actually reported to the police. “Safer Spaces received a lot of media coverage and I really think we have started a dialogue about these issues, but our activities in the 2017 festival season were not just a one-off
flashpoint – this will be an ongoing programme to help address and tackle this societal problem.”
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IQ Magazine November 2017
IFF 2017 took place in London from 26-28 September, with 600 festival and agency delegates in attendance. Again selling out three weeks in advance, IFF included showcases of emerging artists, conference panels, speed meetings, and numerous networking events. See www.iff.rocks for a full photorial.
IQ Magazine November 2017
IQ Magazine November 2017
Visas and Work Permits
Spiralling visa fees, tightening border controls and constantly changing work-permit red-tape regulations are making the logistics behind international touring ever more complex. Thankfully, as Richard Smirke learns, there are global experts who can deal with the challenges and can keep artists and crews on the move.
IQ Magazine November 2017
Visas and Work Permits “ONE THING THAT YOU CAN ALWAYS count on is that everything is in a constant state of flux, and the changes will probably happen quicker than you can keep up with,” says Michelle Rubio about navigating the many challenges and potential pitfalls that exist within the complex world of visa services, immigration and work permits. “The goal posts are always changing, and very often people aren’t on the same page,” elaborates Rubio, a senior manager for Los Angeles-based Creative Mind Access Visas & Passport Services. She casts her mind back to this summer for an example of just a few of the many unexpected complications that can derail the process and – in the worst-case scenario – potentially lead to delayed or cancelled shows.
“We coach them into saying, ‘Yes, I really am famous because I’ve got 40,000 followers on Facebook, two million plays on Spotify, and I’m pretty jolly special.’” Andy Corrigan – Viva La Visa
“I had just submitted some visa applications to the Russian consulate in San Francisco when President Trump ordered its immediate closure,” recalls Rubio. “Thankfully, there was a delay with the courier and they didn’t show up on time, so the applications couldn’t be submitted. Otherwise, all my [clients’] passports would have been stuck there. I’m normally cursing couriers, but, oh my god, that was a wonderful mistake.” The incident also gives some small insight into the wealth of unpredictable hurdles that immigration specialists can face on a day-to-day basis when applying for permits. “In the current political climate, with increasing local labour protectionism, looking ahead, planning strategically, and understanding the visa process requirements and consulate processing times is more important than ever,” agrees Sophie Amable, director of A·E Visas USA, which primarily deals with UK and European artists and crew travelling to North America. “Immigration is changing globally, and US immigration is also changing all the time, so getting expert advice before the time of booking is really important and can save you a lot of time and money,” she states. Predictably, US immigration remains the most difficult and expensive market for foreign-based artists or crew to get visas for – a situation that’s only got worse in the past few years as the global terror threat has increased. “It’s always been problematic because there is more than one government agency involved, but there’s definitely been an air of uncertainty and inconsistency in the way that the American systems have been working since the change of government,” says Andy Corrigan of UK-based Viva La Visa, which has looked after visa processing for tours by Ed Sheeran, Kings of Leon and Sam Smith. Among the recent changes, is tighter scrutiny of first-time applicants who have been receiving “more stringent questioning at American embassies and are being asked more searching questions
IQ Magazine November 2017
than they previously would have been,” explains Corrigan. “We know that with the present US government we have to be a lot more careful and thorough than we have ever been before. It’s difficult. Mostly everyone is getting in, but the preparation time has increased,” he says, citing “four to six weeks” as the average time that it takes to process an American visa from start to finish. If complications arise, the process can take up to six months, beginning from the point when a US-based lawyer files a I-129 petition with the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) for an O or P non-immigrant work visa. In order to be granted a permit for the petition to be approved, applicants have to prove that they are not taking jobs from American workers and that they are either established in their field (ie famous) or exceptionally talented. Unsurprisingly, negotiating the application process is a timeconsuming and highly costly affair with the fee for filing for a US visa alone being $460 (€389). Fast-tracking the process, as the majority of people do, costs $1,225 (€1,036), with the approximate cost of a four-piece band obtaining work visas and petitions to play live shows in The States – not including travel, accommodation or crew cost – around £6,000 (€6,743), according to the UK Musicians’ Union. “We are effectively shooting ourselves in the foot with the current immigration policy,” says Michael Wildes, a leading US immigration attorney, whose clients have included Lionel Richie, Boy George, and Melania Trump, and whose father represented John Lennon in the 1970s. He recommends that “people lawyer-up sooner rather than later” when it comes to applying for entertainment visas, and advises young talent to spend more time building traction in their home country before planning US live shows. “We now see a lot of professionals in the music arena, especially when it comes to DJs, focusing on achievements in Amsterdam and other parts of Europe before making their way to the United States,” says Wildes. “Whether that’s accolades or awards; good metrics online or record sales, the more somebody can accomplish and develop a stronger narrative before they come to American soil, the easier pass they will have.”
“Most people think that because they had a visa in the past, things are going to be easy. This is not always the case.” Sophie Amable – A· E Visas USA
He notes that “the pendulum has swung from allowing people in more liberally to protecting our homeland.” The threshold was lower in years past, says Wildes, “so that somebody with talent could root themselves in America and perfect their talent. Now the [entry] standards have got so stringent that unless a person is significant in their own space, the US government will not give them that same courtesy.” In response, immigration specialists are increasing the amount of time they spend on prepping clients ahead of consulate interviews. “Often performers don’t know how much they are getting paid for a gig and it’s those kinds of things you need to know,” says Corrigan, who gets clients to
Visas and Work Permits “If the current customs regulations are made more time-consuming [post-Brexit] that will impact live tours, putting tight time schedules at risk.” Steve Richard
– T&S Immigration Services feedback on changes in the interview procedure, and teaches new artists not to be modest about their talents. “We coach them into saying, ‘Yes, I really am famous because I’ve got 40,000 followers on Facebook, two million plays on Spotify, and I’m pretty jolly special.’” Tighter regulations also extend beyond new artists. “Most people think that because they had a visa in the past, things are going to be easy. This is not always the case,” warns Amable. “US consulates are increasing the screening and vetting of visa applicants. This means longer appointment waiting times and some delays in processing visa applications.” She recommends that touring parties file more qualified names affiliated with the artist at the petition stage than they actually need. Doing so means that if there are any late personnel adds or changes, managers don’t have to waste time applying for new petitions, although some US lawyers charge by name so managers should check with them first. Anyone with a criminal conviction also needs to make their travel co-ordinator aware before a petition is filed so that waivers
can be secured. “Embassies are getting stricter, but if people are prepared properly and apply in the right way, even if they have a quite serious offence, you can still get in,” says Corrigan. Although the United States remains one of the trickiest and most expensive countries for touring parties to visit, it is far from the only market to have tightened immigration procedures. In the past two years, Russia and China both introduced biometric fingerprint testing at select border controls. In 2015, Argentina introduced work visa requirements for British nationals, while UK passport holders flying to Canada now have to fill in an ESTA-type form online prior to travel, and acquire waivers if they have certain criminal convictions. In line with tougher procedures, visa-processing fees have also increased in many touring hotspots, including Australia, which has removed bulk discounts for large tours that capped visa fees at AU$7,200 (€4,808). Now it costs AU$275 (€184) per person – or between AU$22,000-27,500 (€15,00018,366) for a touring production of 80-100 people. “Where one country eases up, it feels like another starts tightening the buckle a little harder,” says Creative Mind Access Visas & Passport Services’ Rubio. Like other immigration specialists IQ spoke to, she identifies India as one of the most problematic markets to gain legal entry. Echoing the advice of others in the sector, Rubio says that starting early and checking and understanding approval and visa-processing times is key when booking a global tour. Other critical but often overlooked factors include making sure passports are valid for a minimum of six months from the last date of stay, and ensuring there are enough blank pages to obtain visa stamps.
Visas and Work Permits “One thing that you can always count on is that everything is in a constant state of ﬂux, and the changes will probably happen quicker than you can keep up with.” Michelle Rubio
– Creative Mind Access Visas & Passport Services
“We usually tell clients, ‘If you can get a second passport and don’t currently have one, get one, so that more than one visa application can be made at one time,’” says Oleg Gaidar at London-based Artist and Entertainer Visas Global. “When you have 12 countries on a world tour and six or seven of them typically require visas in advance, second passports become very important.” The impact that Brexit will have on British passport holders working in Europe, and on EU artists playing the UK, is not yet known, although Gaidar does say that he’s already received enquiries from managers about the possibility of attaining European passports for British clients with European parents or grandparents. “That shows us the concern of people that are trying to look ahead and at least secure the principle to play shows in Europe without needing work permits,” he says. “If the current customs regulations are made more timeconsuming [post-Brexit] that will impact live tours, putting
tight time schedules at risk,” warns Steve Richard at UKbased T&S Immigration Services, which looks after acts coming into the UK from outside the EU. “The most common problems we see stem from incompetence on the part of individuals – often civil servants, border guards and Home Office staff,” he states. “I know people who deal with Indian acts get very frustrated at the UK visa process, and it’s not surprising as it’s pretty poorly handled. Austerity has led to our consulates around the world tightening their belts, resulting in a general worsening of customer experience for acts that need to apply for UK visas.” He recommends non-EU nationals “seek advice from experts and take things you read on the Internet, especially the UK government’s site, with a pinch of salt, as these sites can be misleading and confusing.” The same rules apply when dealing with consulates worldwide, advises Rubio. “It’s like being between a rock and a hard place at times,” she reflects. “You have to remain charming when dealing with the consulates, and always keep your cool. Because they are the gate keepers and without them you’re really restricted in where you can and can’t play.”
“The pendulum has swung from allowing people in more liberally to protecting our homeland.” Michael Wildes
– US immigration attorney
EVENT SAFETY & SECURITY SUMMIT
The Event Safety & Security Summit Organised by ILMC in conjunction with the European Arenas Association and the UK’s National Arenas Association, E3S (Event Safety and Security Summit) is an initiative that had been in discussion for a couple of years, but was accelerated in the aftermath of the terror attack outside the UK’s Manchester Arena in May. The inaugural event, held at InterContinental London – The O2, attracted 250 delegates from 23 countries, who heard from UK minister of state for security, Ben Wallace, as well as some of the world’s leading security experts, about evolving operational tactics and the technological tools available to improve event safety.
The 3 Ps: Preparation, planning & prevention
complain if they feel inadequately searched. Pascal Viot of Paléo Festival Nyon agreed, but warned the need for extra security measures should be proportionate; focusing too much on the “ring of steel” perimeter, could be at the expense of staff training. Production Solution’s Keith Wood addressed staff screening as a concern. “If I’m hiring 300 stagehands, I don’t know who they are. The security company might tell me they know them all but in a busy summer people are subcontracted from all over the place, a good proportion will turn up with no ID... It’s a difficult situation.”
The 3 Rs: Reaction, response & recovery
The first session of the day discussed the importance of preevent planning following what Richard Latham, The O2’s head of security, called a “step change” in the terrorist threat. The panel examined how the threat has transformed, and varied attack methodologies, with terrorist goals being high profile targets such as concerts, and iconic landmarks such as venues. Delegates agreed that improvements must be made when it comes to intelligence sharing between event organisers, the police, and the multi-agency partners involved in public safety. On the private security front, TSG’s Duncan Cullen emphasised the need to ensure consistent messaging across a venue’s entire security staff, with front-line staff trained to a high standard and confident of their role in the event of an attack, either through regular live testing or, as Latham suggested, tabletop exercises. Dr Kate Bunyan called on venues to question current medical provisions and ensure their providers are equipped to manage responses to identified threats, ensuring they can integrate with the wider emergency services’ response.
Coralie Berael, manager of Brussels’ 8,000-cap Forest National arena, revealed details of a Rudimental show in the immediate aftermath of the Bataclan atrocity, when police believed terrorists might target her venue. “We were told by the chief of police, ‘Get yourselves ready because there could be an attack somewhere in Brussels tonight and we think it could be meant for your venue, so we might have to evacuate.’” Access roads were blocked by police and army vehicles, and despite a call for emergency evacuation during the show, Forest National chose to wait to avoid panic. “We discussed it with police and our head of security – we all agreed to share the responsibility and made sure people left as quickly as possible afterwards,” Berael said. Talk then turned to the topic of a lack of qualified security staff in the UK, with Rock am Ring’s Martin Reitmaier and Berael revealing that similar issues exist in both Germany and Belgium. Meanwhile, from an insurance perspective, Integro’s Chris Jones urged people that “all documentation and logs relating to the event be recorded for insurance purposes.”
Rings of Steel: Securing your event
The Show Goes On: Moving forward together
This session broached a topic that became a theme throughout the IFF – the danger of neglecting general event safety amid an industry-wide focus on heightened security. “I’m worried the safety aspect – crowd management, stopping drugs being brought on-site, and even weather planning – is going to fall away,” admitted Gentian Events’ Eric Stuart. Wembley Stadium’s Liam Boylan said that customers now expect rigorous security on the door, to the extent that they
The final panel considered what event security might look like in the future – and who’s going to pay for it. Live Nation’s Phil Bowdery acknowledged that artists have “huge expectations” about the level of security at venues, with some even asking for armed police – something that promoters in the UK cannot provide. John Sharkey said SMG Europe is focusing on an increased security environment whilst getting people into venues earlier.
IQ Magazine November 2017
This not only flattens out the arrival pattern, it also “has the benefit of guests spending more money inside the building,” and helping to fund security enhancements. Mind Over Matter Consultancy’s Chris Kemp called for the creation of one unified document bringing together existing security and safety guides, while Sharkey suggested venues could have a star rating like hotels, so touring artists would know what level of facilities to expect. Rockhal’s Olivier Toth noted that of the millions of major events held across the globe, “I can count on my fingers the number of attacks, so there is a risk we could be overdoing it.” But he conceded, “Next time there’s an attack, it won’t be seen that way – it’s difficult to find the balance.” Ultimately, concluded Kemp, it’s best to avoid responding to the methodology of individual attacks, but instead to formulate a coherent plan with all venue staff to be prepared for any eventuality. “These attacks,” he said, “are random and unpredictable. But our response isn’t.” E3S’s programme of panels was punctuated with a number of specialist presentations in which guest speakers informed delegates of the work they are involved in to improve safety and security at key buildings and events.
Behavioural Detection – Andrew Palmer, Gatwick Airport Palmer, who leads Gatwick’s border security team, reported on the airport’s person assessment screening system (PASS) and how it can be applied to live events. PASS, he explained, is basically “people watching,” and involves his team of civilian behaviour detection officers (BDOs) looking for any deviation from normal or “baseline” behaviour. Some deviation from the baseline is normal, he said – but if someone demonstrates “frequent, excessive” abnormal behaviour, his BDOs will engage the person with a “resolution conversation” aimed at ascertaining the reason why they are behaving oddly. Palmer stated that hundreds of people had been arrested as a result of behavioural detection at Gatwick. He said: “Have we stopped something going bang at the airport? We don’t know. Have we stopped hostile reconnaissance? Yes, we have. We never find out if our BDOs have stopped an attack, and that’s fine – but to have that security culture, that’s enough.”
IQ Magazine November 2017
Advances in Festival Security – Chris Kemp, Mind Over Matter Consultancy Kemp warned that the industry is becoming too concerned with terrorism to the extent that “we’re starting to lose sight of crowd management and other areas of safety.” Presenting the results of a Yourope Event Safety Group survey, he revealed that European festivals spend an average of 73% on monitoring and surveillance; 23% on safety and crowd management; and just 3% on training staff. “After Bataclan, everything is focused on counterterrorism,” he said. “What we need to do is create a balance between all the elements.” Acknowledging that “most people feel safer with a police presence” he reported that in 2015, of the 100 festivals surveyed, none had armed police on-site. By 2016, that had risen to 20, and in 2017, it was 93 out of 100.
Crowd Dynamics at Venues, Events & Festivals – Simon Ancliffe, Movement Strategies Ancliffe detailed safety risks arising specifically from the presence of high-density crowds caused by vehicles; slips and trips; and crowd collapses/crushes, and how they can be minimised. “Most deaths at events are from compressive asphyxia, which is what happens when you design a crowd-flow system that isn’t balanced,” he said. “It’s a reasonable response to move in a disorderly fashion when you think you might die – but we can design our way out of that.”
Drones, the Threat from Above – Martin Lanni, Quantum Aviation Lanni observed that the use of drones worldwide is “increasing exponentially,” meaning that venues have to “get out of a 2D-mindset and into 3D… the threat is coming from above now.” Risk assessments should now consider the possibility of a drone attack, he stated. “The threat is real and it’s increasing,” he told E3S. The solution? Engage with experts, police, local aviation authorities, and communications regulators: “don’t underestimate the power of education,” he urged.
‘Star Wars Identities’ has proved an international hit for X3 Productions
From rock royalty to sci-fi geekery, the international market for touring exhibitions is in rude health, finds Jon Chapple, with a focus on the audience and partnerships with big-name brands key to its success. After a scheduled detour in 2016 (spurred in part by the runaway success of the Rolling Stones’ Exhibitionism) to focus solely on music expos, normal service is resumed this year, with IQ quizzing the innovators behind some of the world’s leading family, film, sports and – yes – music exhibitions for our annual health check of the global market for touring expos. Our latest examination of the sector comes as blockbuster shows such as Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains, Star Wars Identities and Harry Potter: The Exhibition continue to pull huge audiences worldwide… and as rival producers plan to emulate their success with new exhibitions drawing on hitherto untapped IP, such as recently announced events based on HBO’s Game of Thrones and ITV’s Downton Abbey. But what does it take to be successful in a sector where shows run for months, not hours – and how are those on the front line making sure their exhibitions stand out amid a swell in both demand and supply?
Participation prize A large part of the boom in the popularity of touring expos is down to the shows becoming increasingly more immersive, suggests Sophie Desbiens of Canada’s X3 Productions, with technological innovation rapidly obliterating the stereotype of museum exhibitions as reserved affairs attended by people standing in silence and looking politely at the collections. Montreal-based X3 focuses on major, blockbuster-style exhibitions – specifically those licensed from Lucasfilm/ Disney – which Desbiens says appeal to a “broader audience than traditional exhibits.” The result, then, is that the “visiting public is changing,” with exhibitions such as X3’s Indiana
“ People want and expect highly immersive and innovative entertainment experiences, which also opens up new, younger audiences who might not have previously been seen dead in an exhibition.” Geoff Jones, TEG Jones and the Adventure of Archaeology and Star Wars Identities “starting to interest people who wouldn’t normally go to a museum” by building interactivity into their design. “Technology now delivers interactive experiences, so the days of exhibitions being mainly about artefacts and inanimate objects are no longer the main offering,” agrees Geoff Jones, CEO of Australian live entertainment giant TEG. “People want and expect highly immersive and innovative entertainment experiences, which also opens up new, younger audiences who might not have previously been seen dead in an exhibition.” A new multinational expo for Universal Exhibition Group (UEG), meanwhile, is The Enemy, which is to tour venues in Paris, Tel Aviv and Boston, Massachusetts, and is described by the UEG general producer Mark Zurevinsky as the company’s most interactive exhibition to date. “The beautiful thing about The Enemy” – which puts exhibitiongoers face-to-face with combatants in three different conflict zones: El Salvador, DR Congo and Israel/the Palestinian territories – “is that it’s the only touring exhibition in the world that is 100% based on virtual reality,” he tells IQ. With other exhibitions, you’re having a maximum of maybe one or two people at a time able to experience some VR component; with The Enemy we can do ten-plus.”
IQ Magazine November 2017
Licence to thrill? While the majority of the companies making waves in the exhibition space are doing so with licensed IP, Israeli outfit Bimot Global is forging its own path with an original family show it plans to take on the road next year. Bimot’s Iris Peled says Monsters Garden, an outdoor exhibition of 20 weird and wonderful monsters (IQ’s favourites are Meatground, a sentient hamburger with razorsharp teeth; Nosewithstanding, who has a huge nose and a 1970s Paul McCartney-style mullet; and Mr Beater, whose eight arms brandish an array of blunt weapons) currently showing at the Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv, is the first of the company’s shows she feels is of a high enough quality to interest promoters in Europe, the Americas and the Far East. “We’ve done cultural exhibitions, an ice exhibition [City on Ice], but this is the first one we feel is strong enough to take out of Israel,” Peled explains. “We’ve spent so long bringing shows to Israel [as a concert promoter] but this is the first one we’ve produced in Israel, and it’s been a huge success for us.” The creative side of the exhibition is a joint venture between designer Yossi Abulafia, an acclaimed children’s book illustrator; writer Ephraim Sidon, a children’s author, playwright and satirist; and artistic director Zachi Becker, who has been chief curator of the Eretz Israel Museum for the past 20 years. Each Abulafia-designed monster “has its own short ‘performance,’” continues Peled, “in which it sings, talks, amuses and surprises the audience with its tricks,” with each one repeating their performance as many times as their young audience desires. The company describes the monsters as “a little scary, and a bit disgusting – but mostly just funny.” The Eretz Israel site has a capacity of 2,000, or 100 per attraction, with guests spending an average of three minutes with each monster. Bimot spent two years working on the production, which ran initially from 1 July to 15 October 2017. By contrast, Zurevinsky says it was a “conscious decision from the beginning” for UEG – which has offices in Europe, the Middle East and the Americas – to focus primarily on licensed product, citing the “huge investment that would be required to [both] build and own” shows like Hasbro’s Transformers Animatronics, Brick Dinos, Brick City, and Brick Wonders, which utilise Lego building blocks; and Lights by Dreamworks, which features characters from Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar. He notes that some companies “have their own exhibitions but also represent others’ at the same time” – something he believes is fundamentally unfair, “because, naturally, you’re going to want to push your own” at the expense of the other shows built by someone else. “We represent each of our exhibition experiences equally. This way, there’s no room for any conflict of interest,” he comments.
with V&A’s Vicky Broackes Victoria Broackes is senior curator for the department of theatre and performance at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A). She is curator of Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains; co-curator of You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels, 1966–1970; and in 2013, co-curated David Bowie is – the fastest-selling exhibition in the museum’s history, which is still touring the world and has toCaption date been seen by nearly two million people. Here, she tells IQ about the genesis of the Bowie show, bringing the live experience to a museum, and persuading music mega-fans to part with their hard-earned trinkets… Was David Bowie is the first music exhibition the V&A was involved with? It wasn’t the first – we had a Kylie Minogue exhibition, produced by Melbourne Arts Centre, in 2007, then our own Motown show in 2010 – but it was our first major ‘headline’ exhibition that benefited from the full V&A scale. There was lots of talk at the time of the Kylie exhibition about whether it was the ‘proper’ thing for the V&A to be doing – but I feel very strongly, looking at the late 20th century, that music is an essential part of culture, our V&A collections reflect this, so it would be odd in every way to ignore it. How did the decision to do Bowie come about? We had a shortlist of people we’d decided we’d cover as a single subject if the opportunity arose, and he was top of that list Bowie was a bit of an odd one, as he kept everything – even sketches he’d done as a teenager, the sort of things most people would throw away – and even [reacquired] artefacts that he no longer owned. The depth of thecollection was a huge asset because we were able to show not just star objects such as Alexander McQueen costumes, Terry O’Neill photos, et cetera – but also to reveal the creative process behind them. From the moment I first saw his archive, I said, “We’d love to do this.”
“ W hen it becomes inaccessible, desirability increases.” Becky Galvan, Bravado
IQ Magazine November 2017
About 80% of the exhibits on show in ‘David Bowie is’ were the property of Bowie himself
Working in concert Like Bimot, TEG promotes concerts alongside its stable of touring exhibitions, which include The Stones’ Exhibitionism and the upcoming Real Madrid World of Football, and Mandela: My Life exhibits. Producing an exhibition has a “completely different risk profile” when compared to live music, says TEG CEO Geoff Jones, where the organiser only finds out on the day if the event is a success. “For concerts, almost all the tickets are sold well in advance of the show, so the promoter knows pretty much where they sit financially before the show plays,” he explains. “For exhibitions, maybe 10% of the tickets sell before the exhibition opens and then, typically, 50% of tickets are sold on the day – so it is a totally different investment, particularly as the average ticket price of an exhibition is substantially lower than most concerts. “That’s a lot of tickets to sell to make it work financially.” Jones says both The Stones and Real Madrid exhibitions were “around three years” from concept to opening the show to the public, with Exhibitionism proving especially time-consuming in terms of acquiring content. “Very few major exhibitions,” he continues, “have the luxury of tapping into a single, complete archive to access. With Exhibitionism, we have hundreds of object loans and content literally from all parts of the world. It was a very laborious and complicated process.” Jones’s sentiments are echoed by Vicky Broackes at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, who as a curator of David Bowie Is and Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains tells IQ about the process of sourcing items from private collectors (see Q&A on p29). But with touring exhibitions staying put for weeks or months on end, compared to the one-night-only nature of non-residency concerts (“imagine,” says Zurevinsky, “as a promoter, having one load-out and one load-in every two to three months, or even longer”), so too do the merchandise stands, providing venues and promoters with a consistent stream of ancillary revenues for the duration of the show’s run.
UEG has enjoyed success through licensed product such as ‘Lights By Dreamworks’
“ It’s like being exclusive promoter and/or tour producer, for 15 world-class, instantly recognisable artists. That’s an incredible position to be in.” Mark Zurevinsky, Universal Exhibition Group
IQ Magazine November 2017
The historic ‘Division Bell’ artifacts are a popular attraction at ‘Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains’
Do you think that David Bowie is was a catalyst for the current swathe of music exhibitions hitting the market, including Their Mortal Remains? Yes, I do, absolutely. Part of the reason for that, I think, was the way in which we brought live performance techniques, such as immersive sound and video, into the museum environment. There were lots of people who maybe thought, I love David Bowie but I don’t want to see him in a museum, wondering how it would work – but the answer is it works extremely well. Why is that? I think we’ve tapped into that desire for an experience, for the audience to be part of the show. In addition to the technological aspect – with Bowie and Revolution we had Sennheiser’s guidePORT, which is almost like a GPS system that activates sound and video depending on where you are in the exhibition, so the immersion isn’t broken by having to press buttons – what’s interesting about these kind of exhibitions is that, compared to a traditional museum exhibit, the audience already have a lot of strong opinions; they’re already totally invested in the artist or the subject matter. What we’re doing here is not only showing wonderful things to inform, inspire and ignite the visitor’s imagination, but allowing people to bring their own story to the exhibition and experience the emotions associated with that. With David Bowie is, people got so into the mood that they were hugging, dancing, singing, crying… [Pink Floyd drummer] Nick Mason said he didn’t believe they could do Their Mortal Remains in a museum until he saw the Bowie show. Weirdly, we seem to have pioneered a genre that’s going to make lots of other people lots of money…
On the money front, presumably these recent blockbuster shows have been lucrative for the V&A? They’ve been an enormous success but you have to remember there are very few ways museums can make money. Mostly it’s a case of ‘the more we do, the more we spend…’ These touring shows, along with corporate events, go some way towards balancing the books – but the truth is until these blockbuster events came along a few years ago, it wasn’t considered a failure to break even or make a small loss: critical acclaim and excellence are the top priority. It seems sensible to have a balanced programme; these blockbusters are making the museum some money that can support other things of huge value that might not be profitable. It would be a shame if we only judged events by the number of people coming to them – people appreciate variety. What about merch? Is there much demand for, say, Pink Floyd T-shirts? Yes, definitely. Merchandise is a huge moneymaker. It’s a bit like going to a gig or a festival – people want to take something home with them. We’re selling T-shirts, vinyl… even when people know they could probably get it cheaper elsewhere, they still want to take away a souvenir from the day. What is the process of gathering material to include in your exhibitions? Do the owners of loaned items receive any remuneration? Such a big part of the curatorial role is a research and diplomatic one, tracking people down and persuading them it’s something they want to be part of. You can have the best ideas in the world, but if you can’t make people excited about being involved, you don’t have an exhibition. With Bowie, 80% of the items were his; for Pink Floyd, they brought a lot of it together themselves – some of the instruments were on tour with David Gilmour or Roger
Contributors Top: Vicky Broackes, Victoria and Albert Museum; Sophie Desbiens, X3 Productions; Becky Galvan, Bravado Bottom: Geoff Jones, TEG; Iris Peled, Bimot Global; Mark Zurevinsky, Universal Exhibition Group Becky Galvan of Bravado, the exclusive merchandise partner for Exhibitionism, says merch is becoming “more of a fashion brand” than the “traditional T-shirt you’d find in HMV” or the high street, as exemplified in Exhibitionism’s partnerships with high-end fashion brands such as Pringle, Smythson’s, Tommy Hilfiger and Lulu Guinness. “I don’t think bands and brands have come together to that extent before,” she says. Galvan points to the exclusivity of the products, being produced especially for the exhibition, as being key to their desirability – and the willingness of consumers to pay higher prices than they might ordinarily. “When it becomes less accessible, desirability increases,” she explains. “And obviously with social media being so huge now, that adds to it: Look at Kanye West, Justin Bieber or The Weeknd, and what happens [to demand] when they wear a certain brand or logo.”
“Leaps and bounds” Similarly, says Jones, that Internet-enabled interconnectedness is also key to understanding the growing appeal of touring exhibitions, particularly of the blockbuster variety. “We are in the era of global brands that have universal appeal,” he explains, “because the Internet and social media really have created a global connection.” With the popularity of the format on the up – every company IQ spoke to reports great success with their current crop of shows, with more planned – is it becoming harder for individual events to stand out in an increasingly crowded marketplace? Desbiens has seen a “wave of movie-prop exhibits” pop-up since Indiana Jones debuted in 2011, she says, but believes the experiential aspect of X3’s productions keeps it ahead of the competition. “It has to go beyond just showing things,” she says. “There has to be a story behind it – and it has to include the visitor.” The superstar’s remarkable stage costumes feature heavily in the V&A’s ‘David Bowie is’ exhibition
IQ Magazine November 2017
Gerald Scarfe’s iconic imagery makes ‘Their Mortal Remains’ a must-see for die-hard Pink Floyd fans
“ It has to go beyond just showing things. There has to be a story behind it – and it has to include the visitor.” Sophie Desbiens, X3 Productions
Waters, and many were looked after in an immaculately kept store. Costumes were obviously less important for Floyd than Bowie, although Nick Mason did find us a few ties and a lovely flouncy shirt from the 60s at the bottom of a dressing-up box… As for financial recompense for the lenders: no. We’ll pay them the costs of preparing the item, but if we paid them loan fees it would be prohibitively expensive. In America, loan fees are common, but less so in the UK. Private collectors can be uncertain, and sometimes don’t want to lend – you have to tell them what you’re doing and try to persuade them how great it will be to be part of the exhibition. What have been your most successful exhibitions to date? David Bowie is was by far the biggest music exhibition. Nearly two million people have now seen the show worldwide, in 11 venues – it will finish in Brooklyn, opening March 2018, its last stop. But over 410,000 people saw Their Mortal Remains in London before it closed on 15 October. It’s going to Rome next, then to nine other venues, so we’re hoping it will match Bowie. Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, which came after Bowie, is our biggest at the V&A site – but unlike Bowie, which only had a finite number of headphones, McQueen could accommodate more visitors and was never going to be shown anywhere else again. By the end people were so desperate to see it, we were open 24 hours a day.
Returning to the theme of interactivity, Desbiens says the experience of attending a modern exhibition “should be as rich as going to a live show or a movie.” Jones, too, says growth in the sector is leading to more competition: “That’s the way the market works. With commercial success comes new entrants and more competition.” To remain competitive, he says, TEG is focused on working with “big, iconic brands, and producing high-quality, worldclass experiences,” which also include its third Lego exhibition with Ryan ‘The BrickMan’ McNaught and “several other very, very high-profile exhibitions” in the pipeline. Conversely, Zurevinsky – who “cut [his] teeth” as a promoter with shows by Céline Dion, the Rolling Stones, Elton John and Plácido Domingo – says, at least compared to live music, UEG does “not have a lot of competition” for its brand of shows: “As a matter of fact, the vast majority – if not all – of our product is 100% exclusive,” he explains. “It’s like being exclusive promoter and/or tour producer, for 15 world-class, instantly recognisable artists. That’s an incredible position to be in.” The exhibitions business, he says, while growing by “leaps and bounds,” hasn’t yet seen the kind of “explosion” as the live music market over the past decade, primarily “because it’s much more specific. But people are increasingly looking at touring exhibitions as a solid core revenue stream, not just a peripheral one,” he concludes. “I got into this business approximately 20 years ago, when it was really a new form of ticketed touring entertainment… and I haven’t looked back since.”
With the V&A now famous for its music exhibition credentials, how do you choose which projects to pursue and which to turn down? Since Bowie, we’ve been inundated with offers to do other people and other shows, but many simply won’t work as a V&A exhibition. Music is important, of course, but because we don’t cover it purely from a musicological point of view – we’re not the Rock & Rock Hall of Fame – we look for subjects that impact our culture more widely: it’s not just about the band or the individual, but the world around. It’s important that we stick to our core values. The V&A has more shows on the road than any other museum but it’s not about empire building: it’s about spreading what we’re trying to do here, which is to inspire imagination and creativity. Meatground is just one of the stars of Bimot Global’s ‘Monsters Garden’
IQ Magazine November 2017
IT’S A TEAM EFFORT
THE FIRST LESSON WAS LEARNT well before Mead arrived at the NEC, in his first venue job at a 1,500-seat entertainment and sports centre, where he quickly realised one of the most important components of arena management. “Everyone, from the rigger, the stage builder and the steward; to the event manager, the marketer and the box office assistant, are all equally important, and only when working in harmony can great events be delivered. Moreover, those on the front line generally have better ideas to improve the offer than you – so listen!”
PHIL MEAD’S FIRST MEMORABLE gig experience was witnessing Bob Dylan play at the then NEC Arena in Birmingham. Fastforward 36 years, and he’s recently celebrated ten years as MD of arenas for the NEC Group. Having transformed the business in his time with the group, Mead has overseen two redevelopments, multiple naming rights partners, and has seen new attractions built and hosted countless events, paving the way for NEC Group’s arenas to become premier destinations on touring routes. We caught up with the man himself to discover what he’s learned during a decade at the top.
WHEN YOU SEE A MARKET OPPORTUNITY, VERIFY IT WITH CUSTOMER RESEARCH, AND SEIZE IT
SHORTLY AFTER JOINING THE NEC GROUP, Mead saw an opportunity to transform the venue box office into a national ticketing agent, predicated on a market entry that took venue box office customer service levels into the agency business. Market research through consumer focus groups not only validated this premise, but they also came up with the name The Ticket Factory. “Out of the eight names put forward to the focus groups my preferred choice came seventh! The Ticket Factory was the clear favourite by all the focus groups, so there is lesson three, you may spot the opportunity but let the consumer tell you how it should be positioned.” The Ticket Factory was launched just nine months after Mead’s arrival at the NEC Group.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF NEW BUSINESS MODELS
AFTER TICKETING, the next big step was to recognise that despite a strong market position, the NEC Arena needed a transformation to enhance the customer experience beyond the show itself. “Local authority funding of the scale required based on economic or cultural benefit alone, was no longer the order of the day as the public purse tightened. Neither was it viable to increase venue rentals for promoters to such an extent that £29million [€33m] could be paid back. We therefore turned to a combination of the sponsorship market (as this took a step change after O2’s deal with The Dome in London), plus faith in enhanced revenues from food and beverage and hospitality if the
right quality offer was presented.” Both paid off, and in 2009, the LG Arena (now Genting Arena) was born, with every aspect of the venue seriously improved. The same philosophy was applied to create the Barclaycard Arena where £26m (€29m) of funding was a viable investment to be paid back from improved profitability primarily from retail catering, hospitality and sponsorship. Mead believes that not only do you have to look towards new business models to raise funding, but also have faith that the quality of offer will drive revenues well beyond previous arena spend per head.
THINGS I’VE LEARNED YEARS
DON’T BE CONSTRAINED BY THE WALLS OF THE VENUE
“FIRSTLY, YOU CAN MAXIMISE the attractiveness of the venue through introducing flexibility to meet different market sectors – something applicable to all NEC Group facilities whether for entertainment, exhibition or convention. I’ve learnt not to be too complacent and constrain a business. We have two arenas in Birmingham with fully flexible formats and facilities. This allows us to maximise the programming to ensure and increase availability, and is a big bonus for promoters wishing to maximise their tour earnings. However, in the last couple of years, we found that our size has often deterred smaller and new promoters from booking with us, and they have been automatically opting for smaller venues in and around Birmingham. Having pioneered the reduced-capacity arena concept – The Academy – back in 2004, we had to devise a concept that put us back in the sector for smaller-scale formats. In January, we launched B1, which gives artists and promoters greater flexibility, choice, control and affordability.” However, no matter how good the arena offer and the market size, there will always be volatility in the entertainment market. There’ll be more tours in one year compared to the next, varying numbers of comedy acts in any given year, and likewise for
IQ Magazine November 2017
family arena entertainment. To balance such volatility, arenas have to look towards the stability of other retail and visitor attractions that are not so event dependent. “We are developing our arenas and indeed the entire NEC campus into destinations of the future. The Resorts World Birmingham complex, owned by naming rights sponsor Genting UK, adds greater value to our Genting Arena offer by providing visitors and promoters with exciting pre- and post-show leisure and entertainment opportunities within one unique destination.” Similarly, Merlin Entertainments is currently constructing LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre Birmingham, a unique indoor attraction based on the popular LEGO® brick which will be located at Arena Birmingham, optimising the surplus arena space all year round.” It is clear the NEC Group is not constrained by the venues with their site development but neither are they constrained by their base in Birmingham. Mead and his team also lead on NEC Group International – which offers consultancy services and venue management to organisations who are considering either building a new live events venue, or who are redeveloping their current facilities.
KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER
CONTENT IS KING
“THERE IS NOTHING NEW TO LEARN HERE, but you should always keep a relentless focus on event content. Our whole business is about providing people with exciting, live experiences. However, the content is what essentially brings customers to the arenas – without it we are just a building. In my time here, the demands for more alternative live events has increased phenomenally, so what we offer has had to push the boundaries year on year. “Part of our strategy for 2017/18 has been to bring in new forms of event business and deliver creative and innovative show content, even if marginal in the short-term. We need to constantly adapt to the ever-changing tastes and wants of our audiences, so I encourage the sales team to secure exclusive event contracts and look to new genres.” (We’ll be hosting a world-first social media event, HelloWorld, in October.) I also want to look at more copromotion deals to pilot new shows, with a view to establishing these at our venues and beyond. We’ve already had fantastic results with The World’s Biggest Panto arena concept, which debuted with us in 2015 and is now also being toured to The SSE Arena, Wembley for Christmas 2017.”
DIFFERENT OWNERSHIP BRINGS DIFFERENT OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES
“WHILST PRIVATE EQUITY ownership has increased the scale and frequency of our financial reporting, it has allowed for greater business expansion, investment and the pace of delivery. Being owned by the city also had its advantages. Although some would say we had to play it safe being cityowned, they were an incredibly good shareholder for the seven out of the ten years I’ve had here, offering the business political backing.”
LESSONS 2 & 3 TOUCHED ON appreciating the value of customer research when bringing new offers to the market. Equally, a more sophisticated approach to marketing for ticket sales has evolved and Mead has recognised that arena marketing needs to be at the forefront. “The NEC Group now has some of the leading venues in terms of data segmentation, as this year in particular we have leveraged advancements in this field. This forms part of the event support package we offer to all promoters, so in turn we hope this will further boost ticket sales and customer satisfaction rates.” The know-your-customer philosophy applies to all sectors, not least hospitality. Recent years have seen major changes within the arena hospitality sector – for both private and corporate clientele. “Long gone are the days where hospitality was simply a round of golf or a box at the football. With the infiltration of technology into our everyday lives, people seek real-life and exclusive experiences, which has made arena hospitality so popular and ever-more competitive. Thus, the industry has invested heavily to meet the demand of this subsidiary business. In the last three years alone, we’ve increased the capacity of our Amplify hospitality offering at Arena Birmingham and spent half a million at the Genting Arena to ensure we present a product that meets market requirements.”
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE COLLECTIVE
“WORKING IN LIVE ENTERTAINMENT can be challenging, full on, and highly pressured with the combined demands of the shows, artists, audiences, sponsors and other stakeholders. This environment can be tough enough without the burden of arrogant management. To retain team expertise and attract fresh talent, you need to create an environment for your team to fly. Through my time with the group, I have learnt the benefits of following a collegiate approach with the aim to empower the team, to recognise success, help develop skills and form a strong sense of collective responsibility.” It is vital that you value your whole team in order to be a successful leader.
YOU NEED TO STILL LISTEN AND KEEP LEARNING!
IQ Magazine November 2017
IQ Magazine November 2017
Back in 1977, barely any international artists had made the perilous journey to Latin America. Thanks in no small part to 40 years of tireless work by Phil Rodriguez, now every act demands to go there. Adam Woods learns more about the man who made his Move on the continent.
very great career starts somewhere, and usually it’s somewhere ignominious. With Phil Rodriguez, for 40 years the Latin American tour guide, cultural translator and problem-solver for artists from The Ramones to Guns N’ Roses to Ed Sheeran, the difference is that he freely admits it. In his case, it was 1977 with Joe Cocker – Rodriguez’s first tour as a promoter. Problems piled up along the route: an angry Mexican promoter confiscated the band’s passports; the Brazilian sound systems, cobbled together from three suppliers, were horrendously out of phase. By his own account, Rodriguez was an innocent, barely hanging on amid the madness. “In a hotel in Buenos Aires, I walked in on Joe’s manager – Michael Lang of Woodstock fame – talking about me on the phone, saying, ‘the kid is way out of his depth.’ The patience he had with me was incredible.” Rodriguez’s best stories – legendary among those who consider him a friend or ally – tend to have quality ingredients: high-stakes shows in heady Latin American cities; famous rock stars enjoying rock-star “pursuits”; currency headaches, nightmarish infrastructures, dangerously prickly military
IQ Magazine November 2017
regimes; and a promoter in the thick of things, grappling with it all in a continent where you get nothing on a plate. “The big, important thing to note,” says Rodriguez, in defense of his early mishaps, “is that, unlike America, Canada, Europe, England, where there’s a minor league – a system for you to learn your trade, do your apprenticeship – we never had that in South America. So you had to learn by banging your head against the wall, busting your ass.” When Rodriguez came into the South American live business – “I fell ass-backwards into it,” he specifies – it was through a combination of ambition, circumstance and sheer naivety. In those days, there was barely a wall to bang your head against – just a big, wild mass of territories where British and American bands simply didn’t go. Today, they go there in droves, though that exotic quality remains, and agents and managers queue up to sing the praises of a man who has done more than perhaps any other to pave the road from the English-language markets down to Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru and other key 21st century touring spots.
Testimonials John Marx, WME The ﬁrst time I met Phil was in Brazil for Rock in Rio in 1991. We worked it out for Billy Idol to open for GNR. Not only was Phil easy to work with but everything he promised was delivered on. No deviations. On top of that, you couldn’t ask for a better host. Since then, we have worked together non-stop from Puerto Rico to South America. At the moment, we have four stadiums that he and Live Nation are promoting together. Phil is a man of his word beyond measure and has always had great insight into his territories. I trust him implicitly – something that isn’t easy to ﬁnd these days. Josh Homme, Queens of the Stone Age If you do business south of the US, you’re adventurous. If you promote live gigs south of the US, you’re a gambler. But if you’re a promoter of live rock ’n’ roll gigs, south of the US? Well, buddy, you’re an adventurous gambler with a crazy streak. That’s Phil Rodriguez – an adventurous gambler with a crazy streak a mile wide. ’Cept he manages to handle himself, his business, and his clients like Michael Douglas in Romancing the Stone. With the swagger of class, a half-full glass, a twinkle in his eye, and never a single drop of sweat. Thank god the walls CAN’T talk. How does he do it?
“…UNLIKE AMERICA, CANADA, EUROPE, ENGLAND, WHERE THERE’S A MINOR LEAGUE – A SYSTEM FOR YOU TO LEARN YOUR TRADE, DO YOUR APPRENTICESHIP – WE NEVER HAD THAT IN SOUTH AMERICA. SO YOU HAD TO LEARN BY BANGING YOUR HEAD AGAINST THE WALL, BUSTING YOUR ASS.”
d Sheeran manager Stuart Camp says he couldn’t imagine operating in Latin America without him. Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme emails to compare Rodriguez to Michael Douglas in Romancing the Stone. Others bluntly credit Rodriguez with carving out a market that didn’t exist when he arrived and now ranks as a staple of the global business. “He literally is the pioneer in South America,” says CAA agent Chris Dalston. “He did it before everybody else did, and he is the one who stayed around longer than everyone else.” “Today, South America looks easy,” says friend and veteran agent Andrew Zweck. “But it wasn’t always like that. Twenty years ago it was the ‘Wild South,’ and Phil was there since the beginning. You take your hat off to those guys. He was an innovator, and he was there at the coalface, doing the heavy lifting.”
Rod Smallwood, Phantom Music Management For Iron Maiden in Latin America, Rock in Rio started it all in 85, and after that you just couldn’t keep us away. Ten full Latin American tours followed, all with you, one of our favourite promoters in the world. Fair, hardworking, responsive, caring, and fun are words you don’t always hear attributed to promoters, but here you can. Phil, well done on 40 years, It appears we have shared 32 of those, but oh, what fun we had. See you there again sometime not too far away, I am sure. Tom Chauncey, Partisan Arts I ﬁrst met Phil easily a dozen years back at ILMC. I found myself in a hotel room rather late after the bar had shuttered trading stories with Ian Copeland, Michael Chugg and Phil… stories you’ll have to ask Phil to repeat! Since then, I’ve done countless tours with Phil over the years, including Jack Johnson’s massive 35,000-capacity sold-out shows in Rio and São Paulo. In the process, we’ve become good friends. Very few people in our business these days have the history and know-how to deliver at the level that Phil consistently does. Larger than life with a heart of gold, Phil is the guy you want in your corner! Phil with Michael Jackson in Caracas, Venezuela, in 1977
IQ Magazine November 2017
Phil Rodriguez Rob Markus, WME Phil is a class act and a joy to work with. He is one of the true trailblazers in Latin America, and without him the territory would not be what it is today. Bruce Allen, Bruce Allen Talent Phil Rodriguez is a force of nature. My favourite memory of Phil comes from an outdoor show in Buenos Aires that Michael Bublé was headlining. Sold-out crowd, lots of anticipation, and the threat of rain was in the air. Just as we were ready to go on, the heavens opened. It was torrential. But the people weren’t leaving. In fact, they kept coming. Michael, tour manager Dean Roney, myself and Phil’s staff huddled to see what was possible. Being with Phil in that situation was like being with Patton in the war room. The rain and wind weren’t going away. And neither were the fans. Michael looked at me. I looked at Phil. Phil never wavered. And then it was “Let’s do it!”. We did it, and to this day, even with a driving rain in his face, his suit soaking wet and clinging to him like a second skin, Michael Bublé looks back on that night as one of his favourite performances. Artist and audience as one, and Phil Rodriguez with a smile on his face! I guess he came out alright also. Stuart Camp, Rocket Music Phil is a great man and great promoter for us, in that order. His knowledge and enthusiasm are unparalleled and quite simply we couldn’t imagine operating in that part of the world without him. That he is the teller of the most brilliant and unrepeatable stories of rock & roll chaos is just the icing on the cake.
The Solitude of Latin America
erhaps, if he had realised quite what an innovator he was going to have to be, he would have thought twice. Music-mad and well-travelled, thanks to a father who worked for Pan-Am, Rodriguez spent sections of his childhood in both the United States and Brazil, where he noted that none of the bands he loved ever came within 4,000 miles. “I’m what they call an airline brat,” he says. “Every four or five years we would move. High school in São Paulo, late 60s, early 70s – no acts went down there. If you wanted to see a show, you would have to get on a plane and fly to the States or Europe. Literally, nobody went down, and all my life was around music.” Rodriguez was back home in Miami and bound for a law degree when a series of events sealed his fate. An admirably random attempt to find a US record deal for Venezuelan experimental singer-songwriter Vytas Brenner – on a tip from Phil’s sister – gave him the reputation of a man who knew something about Caracas. That somehow led to a call from a promoter who was about to take The Jacksons down there and wasn’t sure if he could trust the instincts of his local partners. “What they had proposed were five stadium dates – it was really too ambitious,” says Rodriguez, demonstrating his promoter’s instincts early on. “I called a few contacts and we agreed to narrow it down: three arenas in Caracas and two ballrooms. “I middled that show and I think I made $3,000 [€2,542]. I had never seen so much money in my life. I had a great time, hung out with the band. That was April of 1977 and I was supposed to go to law school. I told my dad, I’m going to take a year off, build up this business.”
Angus Baskerville, 13 Artists Phil Rodriguez surely is one of the great promoters. Reliable, trustworthy and fair – a gentleman who we have very much enjoyed working with and who we also very much look forward to working with in the future. Keith Bradley, tour director, Rocket Entertainment Group I have known Phil since early Police days, so 1980s. Always got on very well with Phil. He is a gentleman, and that helps in this industry; and a family man, which is something that is also important. As a promoter, he delivers. And sometimes in very difﬁcult locations and conditions. I will leave the storytellers to tell you the war stories, so to speak.
“I JUST THOUGHT, I CAN’T BELIEVE I MAKE A LIVING DOING THIS.”
No jackets required: Phil took Phil Collins to Caracas in 1995
IQ Magazine November 2017
Phil Rodriguez Lucy Dickins, ITB Phil Rodriguez – one of the nicest guys I have the pleasure of working with, and damn funny too! Emma Banks, CAA I love working with Phil and I love the fact that I consider him a good friend. He’s a great promoter and he is also efﬁcient and honest. These are traits not always associated with the part of the world that he does business in! Phil is pretty much always spot on with his expectations for shows, so there are very few of those uncomfortable ‘of course we can do 10,000 on walk up!’ conversations. Bands love him, and he has a fantastic team of people working with him, which means that everything runs delightfully smoothly from booking to show day. I have no idea how Phil can have been in the business for 40 years because he doesn’t look a day over 50 – but I take your word for it! Congratulations on your 40th anniversary Phil, here’s to many more! Michael Arfin, Artist Group International Phil is a pioneer and a true partner. After 40 years, he still embraces every show as its own special event and provides that personal, hands-on approach, and makes you feel like family. It’s rare to ﬁnd a promoter with that kind of focus and passion in today’s industry. Phil promoted the ﬁrst stadium concert I booked as an agent. It was Linkin Park in São Paulo in 2004 and absolutely one of the highlights of my career – over 62,000 paid. Thanks Phil and congrats on an amazing career!
“AND HE SAID, ‘YEAH, LET’S TRY IT, AS LONG AS YOU LEAVE SOMEONE HERE UNTIL THE SHOW IS OVER.’ AND IT’S NOT UNTIL I LEAVE THE MEETING THAT I THINK, WAIT A MINUTE, I THINK THIS GUY HAS JUST ASKED ME TO LEAVE A HOSTAGE.”
With a Little Help From My Friends
ext was the Cocker tour, which was enough of a debacle that Rodriguez felt obliged to keep going just to salvage his self-respect. “I didn’t want to go out as a loser,” he says. A family connection and some more fast talking saw Rodriguez win over a promising Atlanta rock group called The Fans, who took him to the heart of the New York punk scene and into the orbit of budding new wave mogul and Police sibling Ian Copeland – “just a force of life, a character, a loveable guy, a maverick.” With Copeland’s encouragement, he hit the South American touring trail again. “Punk and new wave is where I cut my teeth,” says Rodriguez, noting that, besides the musical appeal, the bands travelled light and didn’t cost too much.
Jordan Feldstein, Career Artist Management Phil is a great promoter and a wonderful person. To a large extent, he is responsible for Maroon 5’s popularity in Brazil, which is now a huge market for the band. The band exploded in Brazil because of their 2011 performance. Last week, the band headlined two nights at Rock in Rio 2017. John Giddings, Solo I have known Phil since the days of The Ramones. He is a good bloke, and a good promoter. We started around the same time and he has helped me immensely in that part of the world. Long may it continue! Mitch Okmin, MOB Agency Phil is a friend, a great man, and an excellent and trustworthy promoter. I trust him with all my clients. As far as entertaining stories, I think there are many – I just don’t remember any of them... São Paulo’s Ibirapuera Gymnasium welcomed Lionel Richie last year, thanks to Move Concerts
IQ Magazine November 2017
Andrew Lurie, Mint Artist Management Phil is a good friend, an astute observer, and a realist. I have known him for many years and it’s great doing business with him. He really cares about the entire experience for both the artist and the fan, especially when it comes to festivals. Congratulations to Phil on 40 years of being one of the good guys in the music business. Long may you run! John Jackson, K2 Agency I ﬁrst met Phil in Miami in 1984. It was at a meeting with Rock in Rio creator Roberto Medina and Phil had been retained by Roberto to book the inaugural Rock in Rio Festival in 1985. I believed Phil’s pitch and ended up booking a number of my artists on the festival including headliners. The festival was amazing, pulling crowds of around 350,000 per day. I have worked with Phil ever since and regard him as a true professional and an even truer friend. He is and always will be my ﬁrst stop when I plan to send my artists into the Latin American market. Steve Strange, X-ray Touring Phil is a legendary promoter in a market that was pretty wild when he started out. But he was one of the true professionals of the business in that region. He is also a man who enjoys himself. He is a good, social guy, has a good sense of humour, enjoys life, enjoys a drink. He doesn’t take any bullshit – he is very strong with people, you will not get any grey areas. He will tell you what he thinks, and I like people like that, who don’t play around with you. Over the years, he has had different partners in different markets, but he has always had a strong business.
“EVEN THOUGH THERE WAS NO INTERNET AT THE TIME, THROUGH TELEVISION, MAGAZINES, MOVIES AND ALL THAT, WE WERE ALL GETTING A TASTE OF THE SAME CULTURE, AND WE WANTED IT FIRST-HAND. I THOUGHT, WHAT ARE WE, A LEPER COLONY? OUR MONEY STINKS?”
“When I did The Police, the guarantee was $5,000 [€4,237] and there were seven or eight people travelling with 1,000lbs of cargo – the amps, the drum set. It was enough money where I could take a risk. I couldn’t afford Genesis, Peter Frampton, the big acts at that time, so from 1978 to 1980, it was Siouxsie, XTC, the whole lot.” A little stroke of luck was a tour with Mikhail Baryshnikov, a big star looking to capitalise on his South American fame. As with the ill-starred Cocker tour, Rodriguez plugged into the network of prominent Brazilian promoter Marcos Lazaro, demonstrating a knack for making good local partnerships. For all the claims others make on Rodriguez’s behalf, he certainly doesn’t claim to have invented the South American tour business. Then and now, South America has plenty of powerful and enterprising local promoters, many of whom – from Lazaro in Brazil, to Daniel Grinbank, Roberto Costa and Diego Finkelstein in Argentina – have partnered with Rodriguez down the years. But as a young American with fluent Spanish and Portuguese, some local knowledge and
Chris Dalston, CAA Phil has always been fearless. He has always put his own money into this, always took risks, always stayed loyal. He has been a great friend, and really, there wouldn’t be a South American market without him. He has ridden every economy, good and bad, always remained loyal, always stood by his ofﬁce, and been one of the great guys. Bruce Eskowitz, Red Light Management Any time you go into markets that you may not be as familiar with as America or Europe, it helps to have a hero down there who has lived in the market and knows the ins and outs of it, and that’s Phil. He is amazing at what he does. He is a real hero and a great guy to work with. Ron Wood enjoys some backstage laughs with Phil at a 2011 Amy Winehouse show in Rio de Janeiro
IQ Magazine November 2017
Phil Rodriguez Russell Warby, WME Phil is a gentleman – whether we are motoring up The Amazon, buying poison darts and watching the locals capture caimans with their bare hands; helping to bring The White Stripes to the world’s most remote opera house; debating the merits of ayahuasca; chilling at the Lapa Palace; or watching classic rockers through a cloud of smoke and dry ice – he is always entertaining, always informed, and it’s always a pleasure. Mike Greek, CAA Respected by his peers, calm under pressure, and always delivering – Phil is the Lionel Messi of the promoting world in South America and it is always a pleasure doing business with him. Barry Dickins, ITB I love Phil Rodriguez. I have worked with him on quite a few occasions, and I ﬁnd him on-the-ball and very professional in the way he presents stuff. He has certainly put South America on the market, in my book. He is also a great laugh. He sends me the worst jokes, and I have had some great nights with him, but he is also the ultimate professional. Brazil’s most infamous personality... meets Ronnie Biggs at one of the great train robber’s house parties, organised to mark The Mission’s visit to Rio in 1988
Phil Rodriguez Andrew Zweck, Sensible Events He is very strong and independent. He has kept a business going for a long time and he is dedicated, he is hands-on, he rolls up his sleeves. He is a hustler; he is a survivor. He deserves his success because he hustles and he delivers. He has a good reputation – people like Phil, he is great fun. Latin America is a tough market. It’s easier today – now, anyone can do it – but for a long time there were only a very few who could, and one of those was Phil. I get why he is successful, because he is good on the numbers, he is knowledgeable on the markets. He has changed local partners over the years, but he has got a good team now. He deserves a tribute. He is an innovator, a creator. If you work with him, you stick with him. Carlos Geniso, DG Medios Phil is a special person and a real character. He has been there for many years in the South American industry – he operates in all the markets, even in the Caribbean and Central America, and he is one of the most important characters in Brazilian territory. He is humble, has a good sense of humour, and he is a survivor. Phil is a really good person and a good friend.
Queen returned to one of their favourite countrys, Brazil, for a 2008 gig in São Paolo
Phil Rodriguez Jon Ollier, CAA Phil genuinely is a music man – that’s ﬁrst and foremost. In a world full of big corporate companies, that’s a dying breed, to an extent. If you spend time with Phil, all you get is anecdotes coming at you. His storytelling ability and his experience of life in the music business is quite extraordinary. What I can tell you, is that all over the world with the Ed Sheeran project, we had to choose promoters very, very carefully, because we needed people that believed in the project and would take a punt with us, because when it all started happening, people were looking at this ginger kid, one man onstage, and thinking, what is this? But we needed a certain type of person; we needed a human touch. We didn’t just want to sign-up with someone where you disappear into a machine. The people we surrounded ourselves with were very important, and Phil ﬁt that bill. People often say, well, we can get you more money. And the very fact that they say that means they don’t understand the project. You can’t buy into it – you just have to be the guy, and Phil is that guy. Neil Warnock, UTA Phil is a consummate professional, a real music man, but totally on the detail when needed. Rod MacSween, ITB Phil is a great guy and I’ve always had good experiences working with him in South America. He knows his market intimately and treats artists well. It’s a pleasure (and a lot of fun) doing business with him and his team.
Ever the stern businessman, Phil makes sure his staff are taking the 2017 Move Concerts reunion seriously
Phil Rodriguez “BY THE TIME WE GOT TO RIO IT WAS LIKE GENGHIS KHAN AND HIS HORDE COMING INTO TOWN. IT WAS LIKE SITTING ON A POWDER KEG. BUT IT WAS GREAT, IT WAS ROCK & ROLL.”
Phil swapping tips with Donna Summer on how to avoid frizzy hair in Brazil’s humid climate during her 1992 tour
a love of rock & roll, his contribution was to doggedly jam open a door from one culture into the other. “What I really was, was a bridge between this rock & roll/ punk scene happening in America and the old-time promoters of South America who didn’t understand it, didn’t get it, and worked under a whole different set of rules,” he says. “I was the bridge to try and interpret one side to another.” Ironic, then, that a Latvian-born ballet dancer was his first big mainstream success. “I put that Baryshnikov deal together and all of a sudden I went from being a bum to being an impresario in the eyes of my father, and things started to turn around a little bit,” he says. ”My mom, on the other hand, was in my corner from day one. With her it was always....follow your dreams!” The established rock business, however, was a tougher nut to crack. “It was difficult – it was really difficult. North America was the land of milk and honey, but American agents really didn’t want to give me the time of day. I would send flowers to their assistants so they would put my calls through. My only allies, apart from Ian Copeland, were English agents,
Phil Rodriguez Ed Sheeran took time out during his June 2017 tour to meet Phil’s wife, Renee, and daughter, Sabrina, backstage at his show in San Juan, Puerto Rico
because they were used to dealing with the currency hassles, the carnets for cargo, the visas.” A plaintive plea to Jorge Quevedo, an Argentinian agent at the all-powerful Premier Talent, who had U2 and Peter Frampton on his books, led to a knuckle-rapping and then a breakthrough. “I said, ‘look, you’re from Buenos Aires, you know these places – if you don’t help me out, who will?’ – and he got offended and kicked me out. But then he called me back and from him I got Frampton and The Ramones.” And so things rumbled on, in haphazard fashion, with Rodriguez flinging himself into the life with little regard for anything but the thrill of it.
La Vida Loca
he 70s and 80s were a lot of fun. Did those guys behave? Of course not. And in the early part of it, I was just chasing the dream and having fun. I needed money to pay the bills, but it was a secondary consideration. I just thought, I can’t believe I make a living doing this.” Nonetheless, he was gradually carving out an international touring circuit in a hairy, shambolic, often dangerous continent that was in no hurry to modernise. Paper inflation and currency controls were – and occasionally still are – a fact of life in countries such as Brazil and Argentina, and regimes were often censorious and heavy-handed. “At the end of the day, it’s a difficult market,” says Rodriguez. “When I started out, it was a time of military dictatorships. In
1980, in Buenos Aires, The Police were playing a 4,000-seater place, the Obras Sanitarias. It was Zenyattà Mondatta time, the band was in complete take-off, and the security was police facing the audience. Everyone was supposed to sit down, but nobody wanted to. There was a girl at the front who kept getting close to the stage, and one of the police pushed her down, and Andy Summers walks up and kicks the guy in the head. “[Police manager] Miles Copeland was on the other side of the stage and immediately we started making calls. We had to set-up an apology from Andy after the show. If The Police hadn’t been so hot, people would have gone to jail.” On most fronts, matters have improved immeasurably since Rodriguez was talking his first steps in the business. One significant watershed – for the promoter, the market, and for pan-American cultural relations – came in the mid-1980s.
got a call in 1984 about a guy in Brazil trying to put together a festival – would I be interested?” says Rodriguez. “They flew me down, I gave my observations, and that’s how I got involved with Roberto Medina and Rock In Rio.” K2 Agency’s John Jackson met Rodriguez in Miami at this time, and remembers just how hard the sell was. “Phil’s pitch to me was that Roberto, who came from a media background and was not a promoter, was to launch a ten-date festival of major international stars and local Latin American talent creating a mini Rock in Rio city in reclaimed
IQ Magazine November 2017
Phil Rodriguez Robert Plant and band hang out with their fearless promoter in Lima, Peru after their 2012 gig at the Jockey Club
swamp land,” he recalls. “And you have to remember that this was Latin America in the mid-80s and nothing of this kind had ever been imagined before.” In Rodriguez’s recollection, it took some work – and some stretching of the truth – to get things rolling. “What I did there was I pulled favours,” he says. “In Brazil, it was still really tough to get the artists. Everybody wants to know who else is committed. Nobody wants to be the first. Ian said, ‘go ahead, tell them The Police and The Go-Go’s committed.’ Maybe the Scorpions as well. The Police didn’t end up playing, but he helped us break the ice. “That festival was important. For the first time, you had the managers and some of the agents down there in this mysterious continent, which we had all been picking at. It was almost like a convention. And all these people went back and said, you know what, it’s not really the dark continent. And that starts changing things a little bit.”
ome reservations remained, of course. Rodriguez remembers a meeting with US promoter Jack Boyle of The Cellar Door, who would one day sell to SFX. “I said, look, anything that you are routing to the south, just let me see if I can add some dates in Venezuela, the Caribbean, whatever. And he said, ‘yeah, let’s try it, as long as you leave someone here until the show is over.’ And it’s not until I leave the meeting that I think, wait a minute, I think this guy has just asked me to leave a hostage.”
There’s a degree of outrage in Rodriguez’s account of the suspicion the wider business has reserved for South America down the years. For a long time, he was powered by a memory of the indignation he felt as a teenager in Brazil, deprived of the entertainment everyone else seemed to be getting. “The one thing that was always in the back of my head was when I was in high school and none of those acts would go down,” he says. “Even though there was no Internet at the time, through television, magazines, movies and all that, we were all getting a taste of the same culture, and we wanted it first-hand. I thought, what are we, a leper colony? Our money stinks? “Today, a 15 year old in almost any country in South America has an option that I never had as a 15 year old down there, which is they can go and see a pop show or a rock act or whatever it is. That is part of the thing that drove me for years.”
Phil disembarks Ed Force One during Iron Maiden’s historic 2011 ‘Flight 666’ tour
IQ Magazine November 2017
Phil Rodriguez Thanks to Phil, Panama witnessed the Red Hot Chili Peppers at the height of their fame in 2002
couldn’t get the gear out. The Rock-it Cargo rep was hiding in the bushes watching the planes. “The little code the band had for when they were holding coke was five fingers on their heads, sticking up. And when they landed in Chile, some of the guys were doing that on the plane and the locals thought they were insulting them, calling them Indians. In Argentina, nationalists said Axl had insulted Argentina and they claimed to have put a bomb in the stadium. “Every city, it was just crazy. By the time we got to Rio it was like Genghis Khan and his horde coming into town. It was like sitting on a powder keg. But it was great, it was rock & roll.”
t took until the 1990s before the major South American markets began decisively to move towards the healthy, if occasionally geopolitically turbulent position in which they now find themselves. Although a tour with Guns N’ Roses from 1992 illustrates why rock & roll and a developing, very foreign continent haven’t always been an easy mix. “That was a hell of a tour,” says Rodriguez with a whistle. “In every city we went to, there was some sort of clusterfuck. The first show was in Venezuela, just as Chávez took power – the infamous coup d’état. They closed the airport; they
n the years since, Rodriguez has firmly established himself as one of the continent’s key live figures. He booked Rock in Rio for 30 years – though he retired the gig in 2015 to focus on Move Concerts – and produced the South American leg of Live Earth in July 2007 for over 500,000 people on Rio’s Copacabana Beach. On the schedule for this autumn are Green Day, John Mayer, Bruno Mars, Depeche Mode and others. Rodriguez’s business partners over the decades haven’t always had the same staying power. “What would happen was the following: a lot of the partners I worked with went into other businesses that were more profitable. Like, ‘we have taken nine hits and made money on three shows, I give up.’”
Rock in Rio’s Madrid edition in 2010 saw Bon Jovi, among many others, on the bill, courtesy of Phil
IQ Magazine November 2017
Phil Rodriguez Talent VP Fabiano de Queiroz, Phil, and long-time business partner William Crunfli - now MD for Move Concerts Brazil - with Maroon 5, after their 2008 show at Via Funchal in São Paulo
After a shifting series of incarnations, from the early Water Brother Productions – a reference to Robert Heinlein’s scifi classic Stranger in a Strange Land – to Evenpro Group, Rodriguez has since 2014 operated as Move Concerts. The organisation is lean – 45 staff – but far-reaching, based in Miami with offices of varying sizes in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Peru and Puerto Rico. Some partners, such as his Brazilian head William Crunfli, have been along with Rodriguez for years, while others, like Argentinian boss Sebastián Carlomagno, are newer arrivals. A brush with the corporate world in 2008, through the Brazilian XYZ Live venture with advertising giant ABC Group, left Rodriguez with a lesson in the value of independence and affordable office space. “The economy was booming back then – Time For Fun had done their IPO. So we sold to ABC Group. Nice guys, I think they meant well. I flew down to São Paulo, and to this day, those are probably the coolest offices I have ever been in. Overhead of a million dollars a month, 120 people on staff. And I said to William, ‘Unless these guys know something I don’t know, we’re fucked. I know what we make in a good year, and it ain’t enough to pay a $12m [€10m] overhead.’” Move Concerts is the product of this and other experiences, says Rodriguez, who comes over both proud and utopian as he outlines its principles. “I wanted to build something that was everything that I always kind of dreamed about,” he says. “We have a company where everybody has profit share. We have yearly meetings, fly in all the key personnel: marketing, talent, accounting. So we all meet – nobody else does that down here.
IQ Magazine November 2017
“In Brazil, the lady that cleans our office gets a bonus cheque when we do well. Usually in South America, the company has a good year and the top guys get a new house or a new car and everybody else still gets the same salary. But if you reward people fairly, you see a change in everybody. They say, ‘I think we can save money if we do this…’”
Modelo de Excelencia
odriguez doesn’t hold a monopoly on fearless South American promoting anymore, but his model – the independent with major scale, operating across a disparate collection of highly individual territories, is still clearly highly appealing to the agents of New York, Los Angeles and London. “His model as a pan-continental co-ordinator is even more valuable today,” says Zweck. “Agents love it – it’s easy. You get an operator like him and he delivers you six countries, so agents can spend the smallest amount of time possible and take a big fat commission.” Business, of course, goes up and down with the fortunes of the markets. Argentina endured a particularly rough spell a few years ago, and now Brazil is in the thick of it, though Rodriguez hopes it has now touched the bottom. “It’s always a barrel of monkeys,” says Rodriguez. “Brazil has been going through a really tough phase. And sometimes it’s very dispiriting. That’s the conversation I have with
Roberto Medina sometimes: ‘You remember 30 years ago the dreams we had; you’d think we would be there by now.’” Infrastructure remains a particularly sore point. With a handful of exceptions – the Movistar Arena in Santiago, Chile; the Parque Viva amphitheatre in San Jose, Costa Rica; the Coliseo de Puerto Rico José Miguel Agrelot in Puerto Rico – much of South America’s venue estate is old or inappropriate. “You go to Luna Park in Buenos Aires, it’s crazy – that place was built in the 1930s,” he says. “We did a show with Michael Bublé and he brought down his whole production. And I remember saying, ‘We just did a first-world show in a third-world shithole.’” But in a continent where bands would once battle from Brazil to Mexico pursued by trouble, there are now numerous professional stops, clued-up crowds and plenty of local knowhow. Rodriguez praises Move’s staff for providing much of that local expertise, stating, “They said a man is only as good as the people who surround him and I have been fortunate and honored to have a great team at Move Concerts in all our offices. There may be as good but none have better. They all put their hearts into what they done. I love them all.” Rodriguez enthuses about Peru and says Argentina is definitely turning around.When Puerto Rico built its arena, he says, concert attendance went up by 30%. At the time of writing, sadly, that arena was being used as a base by US
armed forces dealing with the fallout of Hurricane Maria, and Rodriguez isn’t sure when live music is going to feel appropriate again. “We had a show at the end of December that we are going to reschedule for February, and fingers crossed for that,” he says. “But that’s a delicate one. It’s like joking around during a funeral or something.” After 40 years in South America, you sense Rodriguez isn’t an easy man to shock. Nonetheless, Ed Sheeran recently managed it. Rodriguez is the Latin American partner of the carefully controlled Sheeran project, for which he has great respect. “It’s a fascinating way they do business,” he says. “Their deal is, you do right by them, they do right by you. I was talking to Ed and he was saying, ‘Phil, we love working with you, we will be with you forever.’ And I said ‘Ed, I appreciate that. But I know it’s only until the day I fuck up, until I drop the ball.’ And he said, ‘No. If you mess up, I will give you a second chance. Because I’d expect the same from you if I did.’ And that really meant a lot to me. There’s certain little breaths of fresh air that tell you that you are going in the right direction, that you’re doing it right.” It’s four decades since Rodriguez was the rookie promoter out of his depth. But even a now-legendary veteran of the South American live business appreciates a bit of patience.
The Peruvian capital of Lima had the pleasure of hosting this year’s Move Concerts staff meeting
IQ Magazine November 2017
36.VANCOUVER 37 33
26.OTTAWA 20 23.MONTRÉAL 3
Map Key Agent Promoter Venue Festival
1. Belleville Empire Theatre
2. Brandon Keystone Centre Western Manitoba Centennial Auditorium Brandon Folk Music & Art Society Brandon Jazz Festival
3. Brossard Le Club Dix30 L’Étoile Banque Nationale
4. Calgary Jubilee Auditorium Jack Singer Concert Hall Scotiabank Saddledome Chasing Summer Festival Country Thunder One Love X-Fest
5. Cavendish Cavendish Beach Music Festival
6. Charlottetown Confederation Centre of the Arts Florence Simmons Performance Hall PEI Brewing Company
7. Craven Country Thunder
8. Dauphin Dauphin’s Countryfest
9. Edmonton ConcertWorks JCL Productions Jubilee Auditorium
Northlands Rogers Place Shaw Conference Centre Get Together Northern Lights Music Festival
10. Georgetown Cloggeroo
11. Gretna Buhler Hall
12. Guelph Hillside Festival
13. Halifax Sonic Concerts Carleton Music Bar & Grill
14. Hamilton FirstOntario Centre FirstOntario Concert Hall
15. Hunter River Harmony House Theatre
16. Kelowna Center of Gravity
17. Kensington Indian River Festival
18. Kitchener The Aud
19. Portage La Prairie William Glesby Centre
20. Laval Place Bell
21. Lethbridge Sakamoto Entertainment
22. London Budweiser Gardens Trackside Music Festival
23. Montréal Evenko Gestev Greenland Productions L’Équipe Spectra Neon Productions Bell Centre Corona Theatre Théâtre Fairmount L’Astral M2 MTELUS Newspeak Parc Jean-Drapeau Place Des Arts ‘77 Montréal ēlectro parade Les FrancoFolies de Montréal Heavy Montréal ÎleSoniq Montréal En Lumière Montréal International Jazz Festival Osheaga Le Festival YUL EAT
24. Morden Kenmor Theatre Cripple Creek Music Festival
25. Oro-Medonte Boots and Hearts WayHome
26. Ottawa Live Nation National Arts Centre TD Place RBC Bluesfest
27. Pemberton Pemberton Music Festival
28. Penticton Invictus Entertainment Group South Okanagan Events Centre
29. Québec Gestev Festival d’été de Québec
30. Rollo Bay PEI Bluegrass & Old Time Music Festival Roll Bay Fiddle Festival
31. St. John’s Mighty Quinton
32. Summerside College of Piping Harbourfront Theatre
33. Surrey FVDED in the Park
34. Timmins Stars and Thunder
35. Toronto APA The Feldman Agency Paquin Entertainment Paradigm Talent Collective Concerts Embrace Presents Fource Entertainment Live Nation Republic Live CODA Danforth Music Hall Horseshoe Tavern Koerner Hall Lee’s Palace Lula Lounge Massey Hall Molson Canadian Amphitheatre Phoenix Concert Theatre Sony Centre Velvet Underground Bud Light Dreams CBC Music Festival Electric Island Field Trip Riot Fest Solaris Winter Music Festival
Time Festival Toronto Urban Roots Fest Veld Music Festival
36. Vancouver Feldman Agency MRG Concerts Paul Mercs Concerts BC Place Blueprint Events Orpheum Theatre Queen Elizabeth Theatre Playhouse Rogers Arena Ambleside Live Contact Festival Seasons Festival Westward Music Festival
37. Victoria Atomique Productions Victoria Playhouse
38. Winnipeg Kara Swayze Minstrel Agency MJ Entertainment Paquin Entertainment Rising Sun Productions Bell MTS Place Centennial Concert Hall Théâtre Cercle Molière Festival Park Pantages Playhouse Park Theatre Pyramid Cabaret Shaw Park The Cube The Good Will Social Club Aboriginal Music Week Big Fun Festival Festival du Voyageur Interstellar Rodeo Music Festival Manito Ahbee Soca Reggae Festival Winnipeg Folk Festival Winnipeg International Jazz
IQ Magazine November 2017
O CANADA A rapidly growing economy is helping to provide Canadian consumers with increasing levels of disposable income, a proportion of which is finding its way to the live entertainment sector. Steve McLean reports. CANADA’S ECONOMY HAS LED G7 NATIONS in growth in 2017, and that momentum seems to have carried over to the live music industry to a large degree. “It’s robust,” says Jim Cressman, president of Pentiction, British Columbia-based Invictus Entertainment Group, which books and promotes 500-700 concerts per year at multiple venues. “The right artist at the right price almost always does predictable business.” Though no national study has yet been done on the live music industry, an economic impact analysis of the business in Ontario – Canada’s most populous province and home to the music hub of Toronto – illustrated how important it is. The Live Music Measures Up study showed that the industry was responsible for 20,000 full-time equivalent jobs in 2013 and that spending by live music companies and the tourism activity generated by music festivals together contributed just under C$1.2billion (€0.8bn) to Ontario’s gross domestic product. Those numbers have likely increased, and can be extrapolated across the country, according to Erin Benjamin, executive director of Music Canada Live, which was created in the fall of 2014 to advance and promote the live music industry’s many economic, social and cultural benefits.
IQ Magazine November 2017
The concert industry received an extra boost in 2017 due to Canada’s sesquicentennial, as communities across the country often included live music in their celebrations of the nation’s 150th birthday. While the Canadian recording industry has benefited from national sources of funding – including the Canada Music Fund, the Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings (FACTOR), Radio Starmaker Fund, VideoFACT, PromoFACT and the SOCAN Foundation – and broadcasters being legally obligated to play a minimum amount of Canadian content, the federal, provincial and municipal levels of government also provide grants for events and festivals where live music is a major component. “That support really makes the Canadian music business the envy of the world, quite frankly,” says Jack Ross, who heads the newly opened Canadian office of the Los Angelesbased APA talent agency along with Ralph James. But that’s not stopping Music Canada Live and its more than 125 members – including concert promoters, festivals, presenters, venues, agents, ticketing companies, industry associations and suppliers – from advocating for policy advancement and increased funding, public awareness and research.
“Live music hasn’t effectively told its story with a united voice, and it’s my job to do that,” says Benjamin. “When we’re truly united by this association, whether it’s with me or ten executive directors from now, we will be the most powerful piece of Canada’s music industry because of the connection between artists and fans.” Shawn Sakamoto, vice-president of Lethbridge, Albertabased live event production and management company Sakamoto Entertainment, would like to see Canadian content regulations introduced to the domestic live music sector, which he believes has suffered due to “monopolization of the touring market by entities such as Live Nation” and other multinational companies. He advocates Canadian artists being added to national tours by international performers in order to give them further exposure. Confidence in Canada from American companies was shown this summer when, after LA-based United Talent Agency closed its Canadian office, APA and LA-based Paradigm Talent Agency both opened up shop in Toronto. They join The Feldman Agency and Paquin Artists Agency as Canada’s largest, while several smaller domestic agencies are also active. “That competition is going to be a good thing for Canadian artists and it will be a good thing for the music industry overall,” says Ross. While optimism was expressed by most people interviewed for this feature, the Canadian live music industry isn’t without challenges. These include: the secondary ticketing market, which the Ontario government is trying to curtail with notyet-introduced legislation; and the low value of the Canadian dollar compared to its American counterpart, which can in turn work to the advantage of homegrown artists who get paid in loonies (slang for the Canadian dollar). “Every time we put an offer in for a US artist, a dollar is costing us C$1.35,” says Louis Thomas, president and owner of Sonic Entertainment Group, a Halifax, Nova Scotia-based concert promotion and artist management company that also owns a record label and recording studio. “That has a big impact on ticket prices at the end of the day.”
“Competition is going to be a good thing for Canadian artists and it will be a good thing for the music industry overall.” – Jack Ross, APA Sonic only promotes concerts in Atlantic Canada and Thomas concedes that it can be difficult to attract bigger name international artists to the region, where even larger cities like Halifax in Nova Scotia; Moncton and Fredericton in New Brunswick; and St. John’s in Newfoundland and Labrador, have relatively small populations. “With international artists, you have to pay a bit of a premium to get them to come here unless they specifically want to come to Atlantic Canada,” he says. “From our perspective, we just have to service them and their audience.” It’s a similar situation on the west coast in the British Columbia capital of Victoria, the home of promoter Atomique Productions, which is on Vancouver Island. That’s
Contributors Top: Erin Benjamin (Music Canada Live), Louis Bellevance (Festival d’été de Québec), Paul Haagenson (Live Nation) Bottom: Neill Dixon (Canadian Music Week), Jack Ross (APA)
a 95-minute ferry ride or 30-minute flight from the province’s major centre of Vancouver on the mainland. Another province that can at times be isolated, at least outside the largest city of Montreal, is Quebec. It’s bilingual, but French is the dominant language in much of the province. While that may cut down the number of English-speaking artists who perform there, it has enabled the province to develop its own unique star system where the likes of Jean Leloup, Les Cowboys Fringants, Cœur de pirate, and many others can draw thousands of fans. Canadian Music Week, a Toronto-based conference and festival that tries to break down Canada’s regionalism while also attracting executives and artists from around the world, will mark its 36th year in 2018. The conference features four components to support the concert business: the Live Touring Summit; the Live Music Awards; Meet the Festivals, which is part of the International Festival Network; and the International Marketplace, which provides meeting opportunities for delegates. The United States and Mexico will receive a special focus next year, according to Canadian Music Week president Neill Dixon, who believes his event “has solidified the community” and states that, “The live side is probably the biggest driver of our business right now.”
Promoters LIVE NATION CANADA IS UNDISPUTEDLY the largest concert promoter in the country, with what president Paul Haagenson will only describe as “a healthy share” of the overall market. The company, which also owns Ticketmaster Canada, annually promotes from 1,300 to 1,500 shows in more than 200 venues in more than 50 cities across the country.
IQ Magazine November 2017
Canada Gorillaz were one of the acts to thrill crowds at the 50 th anniversary of Festival d’été de Québec ©Renaud Philippe
Haagenson says the ratio of foreign-to-domestic box office receipts for Live Nation shows is about four-to-one. The biggest international tours the company was involved with this year included U2, Coldplay, Bruno Mars, Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, Lady Gaga, Kendrick Lamar and Red Hot Chili Peppers, while the biggest Canadian box office draws include Drake, The Weeknd, Michael Bublé, Arcade Fire and Shania Twain. “The secondary markets continue to allow artists to extend tours from six to eight dates to 12 or 16, all the way to 30 or more depending on their desire,” says Haagenson, noting there’s solid business for Canadian acts such as Hedley, City and Colour, Dean Brody and Dallas Smith in cities with less than 125,000 people that have arenas with capacities in the 5,000-person range. Perhaps the most important independent promoter and producer is Montreal-based Evenko, which presents more than 1,200 musical, family and sporting events annually throughout Quebec, Atlantic Canada and the eastern US. Other important promoters aside from those mentioned earlier include: Collective Concerts and Embrace Presents in Toronto; L’Équipe Spectra, Greenland Productions and Neon Productions in Montreal; Paul Mercs Concerts in Vancouver; and Concertworks in Edmonton, Alberta. Vancouver-based MRG Concerts and Toronto-based Fource Entertainment launched a strategic partnership to work together on all shows in a co-production relationship that includes operations, administration and production. Co-promotions aren’t uncommon in Canada, and larger companies will sometimes enlist the assistance of smaller
“We need to continue to develop and grow artists from the 200-person club so that they may one day play ballrooms, theatres, arenas and stadiums.” – Paul Haagenson, Live Nation
ones with expertise in particular regions or at specific venues. “We’re a good local company to have on the ground for Live Nation or Evenko, and we’ve done shows with Fogel from Montreal and Dan Steinberg from the west coast of the US,” says Thomas.
IQ Magazine November 2017
“Every deal is different,” says Cressman. “Sometimes by partnering with venues we’re able to reduce rent and therefore increase the walkout for the artist. So, in that case, we push for a partnership to keep the best interest of the artist paramount.”
Festivals THE REPUBLIC LIVE-PROMOTED WAYHOME Music & Arts Festival was named the top major festival of 2016 at the Canadian Live Music Industry Awards in April, staged for the third time at the Burl’s Creek Event Grounds in rural Oro-Medonte, Ontario in August, and announced in September that the 2018 edition would be put on hold. Collective Concerts’ Toronto Urban Roots Fest, which was named the best medium-sized music festival of the year in April, wasn’t held at all in 2017. While this may seem like a bad omen for Canadian music festivals, there doesn’t seem to be a sense of doom and gloom about such events even though others such as Toronto’s Riot Fest and British Columbia’s Pemberton Music Festival have also ceased over the past couple of years. “People’s tastes change and the appetite for risk in a changing economic climate can change,” says Benjamin. “The festival dollar is highly sought after and it’s hard to produce those big festivals.” While some festivals have closed, others have opened, including the successful eight-day Stars and Thunder music and fireworks festival in Timmins, Ontario, and MRG’s Westward Music Festival in Vancouver. LA-based promoter Goldenvoice and Toronto’s Dine Alone Records partnered on a music festival with an all-Canadian lineup that drew about 20,000 people to the small town of Niagara-on-theLake, Ontario. While Wayhome won’t return next year, Republic Live’s Boots and Hearts Music Festival will return to the same site for a seventh year in 2018. The US-based Country Thunder festival brand moved north to Calgary, Alberta and Craven, Saskatchewan. All three of these country music fests involve overnight camping, as did Wayhome and Pemberton. “It works better in country music than in commercial contemporary music,” says Ross, noting that camping is more a part of country fans’ lifestyles and many of them own trucks and trailers. “The fact that William Morris purchased 51% of Premier Global’s festival assets [the Country Thunder brand]
Canada and has aggressively sought to expand that brand into Calgary, for example, is a disturbing trend if you are an independent concert promoter who has based their business on touring,” says Sakamoto. Live Nation Canada acquired the festival portfolio of Union Events – including Calgary’s X-Fest and Chasing Summer, and Edmonton’s Sonic Boom – in 2016. This year, Live Nation also produced or co-produced: FVDED in the Park, Centre of Gravity, and Chasing Summer in Montreal; Field Trip, Bud Light Dreams and CBC Music Festival in Toronto; and Trackside Music Festival in London, Ontario. Evenko is the creator and producer of Montreal’s Osheaga Music and Arts Festival, Heavy Montreal, îleSoniq and Le Festival Yul Eat. The largest music festival in Quebec, however, is Festival d’été de Québec, where the main stage is located on the historic Plains of Abraham in Quebec City. The eclectic 11-night festival celebrated its 50th anniversary this summer and featured headliners including Pink, Backstreet Boys, Lady Antebellum, The Who, Metallica, Gorillaz and Muse. No single-day tickets are available, and 135,000 full festival passes were sold for C$100 (€68) each this year. Wristbands that gain entry to all stages for 250 performances are fully transferrable from one person to another. “All we care about is having more people on the field,” says programming director and music programmer Louis Bellavance. “The artists want to play here because they get big crowds.” Many of Canada’s largest and most popular music festivals are run as not-for-profit organisations, including the Calgary Folk Festival, Edmonton Folk Music Festival, Winnipeg Folk Festival, Hillside Festival in Guelph, Ontario, and the RBC Bluesfest in the nation’s capital city of Ottawa. Canadian Music Week’s festival component is a weeklong event taking place in clubs around Toronto in April that this year featured nearly 700 acts, primarily emerging artists, from 40 different countries. Its biggest competitor was the North by Northeast Music Festival, which had a similar clubhopping format in June, but has transitioned and is now based in one location.
Venues CANADIANS LOVE HOCKEY, AND FOR THAT reason it has one of the most extensive arena networks in the world. When these buildings aren’t in use for what’s generally considered the country’s national sport, they can be used for concerts. Large ice palaces in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Alberta and Vancouver host both National Hockey League teams and some of the biggest music artists in the world, but smaller arenas also welcome a variety of acts. “We have these great buildings in smaller cities across Canada where artists can go and play, and there’s an audience that comes out to support the shows,” says Ross. Football and baseball stadiums also sometimes do doubleduty as even larger concert venues, while dedicated facilities such as Toronto’s Budweiser Stage (which was renamed from the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre and had a big summer at the box office this year) can accommodate 16,000 people. While it’s acknowledged that Halifax could use a 1,5002,000-seat theatre to attract more artists at that level on a more regular basis, Canada has some excellent soft-seat theatres
Drake delighted fans with a surprise appearance at the 2017 Canada Day concert in his home town of Toronto
“All we care about is having more people on the field. The artists want to play here because they get big crowds.” – Louis Bellavance, Festival d’été de Québec and performing arts centres in its major cities, including: Vancouver’s Orpheum Theatre; Calgary’s Jack Singer Concert Hall; Ottawa’s National Arts Centre; Montreal’s Place des Arts; and Toronto’s Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, and Massey Hall. “Small– to mid-size communities like Medicine Hat or Prince Albert who choose to invest in theatres, or communities like Leduc or Kindersley who choose to build community field houses with water slides, swimming pools, curling rinks, workout facilities and other recreational elements, have been able to attract world-class talent and entertainment that otherwise would not be able to be exposed to their community,” says Sakamoto. Though they may not match the glitz and glamour of their Las Vegas counterparts, several Canadian casinos often feature domestic and international touring artists in their showrooms. And there’s also a solid network of small, medium and large clubs, including the award-winning: Carleton Music Bar & Grill in Halifax, which was under creditor protection and at risk of closing before a new owner took over late last year; and Toronto’s Horseshoe Tavern (which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year), and Danforth Music Hall. The licensed venue business has changed a lot over the last decade, as the increasingly popular hip-hop and pop music genres don’t lend themselves as well to the rock club model that was so prevalent through the 1990s and the first decade of the new millennium. “I think it’s tougher than it’s ever been to get a young, collegeage audience into your venue,” says Ross. “But smart and talented club owners and entrepreneurs are always going to adapt.” A handful of Toronto clubs closed this year and Benjamin says one of Music Canada Live’s priorities is to “support the needs of smaller venues.” “We need to continue to develop and grow artists from the 200-person club so that they may one day play ballrooms, theatres, arenas and stadiums,” says Haagenson.
IQ Magazine November 2017
LIVE DATA AGENCY’S Chris Carey, Romanian promoter Codruţa Vulcu, and IQ’s own Gordon Masson became honorary members of Laurent Munier’s entourage as the French MC celebrated his 30th birthday by winning an open-mic contest.
AEG EUROPE PRESENTED cockney comedian Micky Flanagan with the keys to The O2 to mark his 21st show at the London arena. Prince first established the record in 2007, with his legendary 21-night run. Sinc e then, any act to play 21 or mor e dates receives keys to the venue in recognition of the milestone.
LIVE NATION GERMANY CHIEF ANDRÉ LIEBERBERG was put under the spotlight for a keynote interview, conducted by IQ editor Gordon Masson, at the Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg, where one topics debated was: Who’s best – Ticketmaster or Eventim ?...
AN INTREPID GROUP OF 24 event industry stalwarts braved the autumn weather and saddled-up to raise money for the Graham Wylie Foundation by taking on the 205-mile Coasts & Castles route, which runs from Newcastle to Edinburgh, atop some of the UK’s most picturesque cliffs and countryside.
ly shared the love when they EUROPE’S EXTENDED MUSIC family literal alooza Berlin. Lollap at soirée gathered for a season-ending
during the Facts IQ NEWS EDITOR JON CHAPPLE shared some thoughts conference on Day Venues the at panel ns Opinio ng Changi : Matter . London in Sound of y Ministr at held r, 17 Octobe
Renowned architect, Christian de Portzamparc; mayor of Nanterre, Patrick Jarry; and president of the Hauts-de-Seine Departmental Council, Patrick Devedjian helped Racing 92 club president, Jacky Lorenzetti, cut the ribbon to open the new U Arena in Paris. The curtain was raised at the venue by the Rolling Stones on 19 October – the first of three sold-out dates at the 40,000-cap indoor stadium.
If you or any of your ILMC colleagues have any notices or updates to include on the noticeboard, please contact the club secretary, Gordon Masson, via email@example.com
IQ Magazine November 2017
“What’s the thing that most haunts you?” TOP SHOUT 2009: Oasis opening their biggest ever open-air UK tour. On the first of three sold-out nights at Manchester Heaton Park, the backup generator failed for a second time (the main generator having already caught fire), and the band refused to return to the stage unless they could offer everyone a full refund. That was pretty haunting for the rest of that summer! Conal Dodds, Crosstown Concerts
The time I was threatened with arrest by Hackney Council when any licences we thought were in place mysteriously disappeared the day one of the biggest bands in our world decided to play an in-store! I still have the occasional night sweat about it… Ruth Barlow, Beggars Group
When a manager or agent calls on the day of a sold-out show. Even if it has nothing to do with the show, I always think the worst when I hear their voice and shout: “What’s wrong?” Dan Steinberg, Emporium Presents
The thing that most haunts me is the nightmare I have that tax has been abolished across the world, as it would put me out of business!
Ed Grossman, Brackman Chopra LLP
With a constantly moving open-air venue build; more events on the go than the local market is used to; a very flat, if not negative, oil price-based local economy; and a climate that from the outset takes away 3-4 months of the year as it’s too scorching hot and humid for open-air events – and, more recently, after the introduction of cloud seeding has seen our desert environment suddenly experiencing torrential downpours at all times of the year… and you want to ask me what haunts me the most? Well, as crazy as it might sound, perhaps NOT being part of this exciting and wonderfully weird business or putting on great shows in this still emerging part of the world is probably the best bet for me…. that would be scary!! Thomas Ovesen, 117 Live
An agent I knew well travelled to a show with his band. They were listening to national radio in the van. In those days, the radio would read out a list of all shows happening in Switzerland that weekend. The radio DJ was reading out all the shows and one band appeared twice on the list at two different venues... The agent’s face went bright red inside the van. Derrick Thomson, Mainland Music
Nothing much haunts me in musical terms, except losing the files or the hard-disk crashing with the banger of a track you’ve been working on, or a 90s hip-hop artist turning up and thinking they’re current in 2016/2017. Marcus Anthony, KSO Entertainment
Several specific incidents including my boss, at that time, approaching me with the famous words “Put the phone down, we are at home to Mr Fuck-Up,” when I’d managed to send Supergrass to an Austrian festival on the wrong day; and the time I booked a “luxury coach” for Brian Wilson and entourage – the first time he came to the Festival Hall – which turned out to be more of a 1970s school bus. But mainly, the thing that haunts me is my lack of confidence in my own knowledge and opinion in the face of manipulative and bullying bosses. They know who they are. Jane Beese, The Roundhouse
If you would like to send feedback, comments or suggestions for future Your Shout topics, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
IQ Magazine November 2017