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ILMC 30 ALIEN CONFERENCE GUIDE
ILMC 30 ALIEN CONFERENCE GUIDE ABOVE TOP SECRET - VGBALPE
10:00 - 18:00
Green Events & Innovations Conference Hosted by: A Greener Festival (UK)
The tenth edition of the UK’s leading conference for sustainability at live events will welcome 150 professionals working, or with an interest in, environmental and social initiatives and development of live events. The GEI programme includes What’s the point of recycling? chaired by Ed Cook from Resources Futures; Tame the Transport, hosted by Liz Warwick from Lansdowne Warwick Sustainability Consultancy; and Take a Stand: social cohesion presented by Michal Kaščák of Pohoda Festival, and Roskilde Festival’s Mikkel Sander. For full session information, please see www.30.ilmc.com/gei.
The ILMC conference schedule combines panels, workshops and discussions with industry figureheads from around the world. With input from a 100-strong Agenda Committee, as well as a huge investment of time from chairs, session hosts and guest speakers, it’s designed to be a snapshot of the modern live music business. This year’s agenda includes second editions of both the Festival Summit and Venue Summit (which all delegates are welcome to attend), as well as topics that span ticketing, promoting, agency, new technology, gender, legislation and politics. The following pages contain the provisional agenda for ILMC 30. While specific individuals might be seated up front during meetings, sessions rely on the input from all members to make them successful and relevant. If you’re in the room, you’re part of the discussion, so please speak up and add to this important, on-going dialogue.
TUESDAY 6 MARCH 10:00 - 18:00
ILMC Production Meeting (IPM)
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Day Host: Dan Craig, LoudSound (UK)
IPM 11 will welcome over 200 of the world’s most renowned production managers; health, safety & security specialists; crewing companies; sound & lighting companies; venue personnel; staging & infrastructure companies; transport & travel specialists; new technology suppliers; and promoters’ representatives to this one-day event related to the live event production industry.
IPM panels include: Rules & Regulations: Changes & challenges in worldwide production Looking at international legislation relating to tours, and the latest updates on visas, work permits, Brexit, sustainability, and other international changes and challenges. Places and Spaces: The big venue discussion From grassroots venues to unique sites such as racetracks and cruise ships, arenas, open airs and stadia, how can production professionals and venue operators work better together? Welfare for Workers: Work in progress An in-depth discussion about crew welfare that begins with food and nutrition and then delves deeper into onsite and touring health. Supply & Demand: An imbalance The production industry is facing a personnel problem with crew numbers declining. This session gets into the future of a business driven by skills, progression and that all-important job satisfaction. For full session information, please see www.30.ilmc.com/ipm.
WEDNESDAY 7 MARCH 10:00 - 10:30
New Delegates’ Orientation
Hosts: Lou Percival, ILMC (UK) Martin Hopewell, ILMC (UK) This session serves as an invaluable introduction for anyone attending ILMC for the first time, or for those who have been members for so many years that they need a reminder. ILMC founder Martin Hopewell will provide a brief history of the conference, while producer Lou Percival outlines what attendees can expect from this year’s events, networking sessions and conference schedule.
11:00 – 11:15
The Extra-Terrestrial’s Guide to ILMC 30 Chair: Greg Parmley, ILMC (UK)
ILMC MD Greg Parmley welcomes all the interplanetary travellers to ILMC 30 for the official start of the conference. This not-so top-secret briefing - which preludes the Open Forum - sets a few ground rules, highlights some key features and welcomes all life-forms to ILMC’s 30th anniversary edition.
11:15 – 12:45
The Open Forum: The big round-up Chair: Phil Bowdery, Live Nation (UK)
Full details of ILMC’s opening session will be announced shortly, but with a line up of key industry leaders and the largest congregation of live music professionals anywhere, it’s one not to miss. Live Nation’s Phil Bowdery will once again host the session which sets the tone for ILMC. Chair topics slated for this year’s session include Brexit, key trends in touring and festivals, the ever-tricky secondary ticketing, and the role of the independents in today’s consolidated live music market.
14:00 – 15:15
Ticketing: Paying the price
Chair: Tim Chambers, TJ Chambers Consultancy (UK) The first point of contact for fans, the evolution of ticketing continues to be driven through innovation and new technology. Consistently one of ILMC’s most popular sessions, the 2018 debate will put pricing under the microscope, as well as the volume of inventory that pre-sales are now removing from the market; improvements in pricing strategies; transparency in pricing and fees; and bundling – how concepts such as ‘slow ticketing’ and Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan are changing the way the business transacts with fans. Chair Tim Chambers will also consider updates on secondary ticketing.
ILMC 30 ALIEN CONFERENCE GUIDE ABOVE TOP SECRET - VGBALPE 15:30 – 16:45
Gender: Calm down, what’s the fuss?
Festival2018 10:00 – 11:00
Workshop: The innovators
Host: Anna Sjölund, Live Nation Sweden (SE) The first of ILMC’s Festival Summit 2018 sessions sees a series of short presentations on the most innovative new formats and ideas in the global music festival market. With ideas and input drawn from around the globe, just who’s changing the game and driving this ever-changing scene forward? From new forms of entertainment and offerings to the wildest sites and weirdest spaces, session host Anna Sjölund invites a series of innovators to present.
14:00 – 15:15
Festival Forum: Overjoyed or overblown? Chairs: Christof Huber, Yourope (CH) & Clementine Bunel, Coda Agency (UK)
Despite various predictions about the decline of an oversaturated market, the festival scene goes from strength to strength. So much so, that its influence now extends to the political sphere, while the touring calendar gradually shrinks to make room. But in a delicate live music ecosystem, do these powerhouses simply hold too much influence? Or do festival organisers have to be as wary of complacency as ever, with concerns including economic difficulties, ever-present safety and security threats, and increasing competition?
15:30 – 16:30
Festival Summit: Artist fees
14:15 – 15:15
Booking Workshop: Riders
Hosts: Jeremy Goldsmith, Event Merchandising (UK) & Tom Greenwood-Mears, Endemol Shine (UK)
With merchandise consistently a key revenue stream for touring artists and events, what began with the humble T-shirt is now a sector developing a myriad of products and options, with distribution far beyond the humble show. It’s been a few years since ILMC has dedicated a session to this vital and vibrant sector, so to bring us up to speed, Jeremy Goldsmith and Tom Greenwood-Mears present a hands-on workshop. The 60-minutes will include case studies of the most innovative merch solutions in live music and the broader entertainment market, a look at new bundling options, and the examples of the hottest new products and ideas.
17:00 – 18:00
Mental Health: Sound minds Chair: Michael Chugg, Chugg Entertainment (AU) ILMC 29 saw us looking into some of the health issues that affect individuals on all sides of our industry, led by the team from Music Support. In the 12 months since, the topic has continued to gain prominence with several bodies working to educate different sectors about illnesses such as addiction and depression. This year’s session will debate the wider issues of mental health, to ask how companies and productions alike can identify and support those suffering while at work and beyond. No longer a taboo subject, Michael Chugg chairs an honest and open debate with viewpoints from across the business. .
17:00 – 18:00
In IQ’s latest European Festival Report, the single biggest concern cited by festival promoters was artist fees. With the price of international headliners continuing to rise, some festivals are now priced out of the market, while others are increasingly turning to domestic talent to fill slots. Meanwhile, unrealistic fees for emerging artists are leading promoters to question whether the concept of career development is now long gone. Is the market being held hostage to the detriment of festivals and artists’ long-term success alike? Clearly, it’s time that festivals and agents had a chat.
15:30 – 16:30
Workshop: New frontiers in merchandise
Chairs: Kim Bloem, Mojo Concerts (NL) & Sophie Lobl, C3Presents (US)
Chair: Natasha Bent, Coda Agency (UK)
When it comes to discussing gender and equality in the live music industry, there are a vocal few while the majority fall silent. Meanwhile, as accusations abound in a post-Weinstein world, the culture of film and music are both falling under the spotlight. So does live music have a gender problem? And just how genuinely all-inclusive is an industry that prides itself on creativity and liberal thinking? Natasha Bent invites senior industry figures to comment, alongside Dame Helena Morrissey, renowned investment banking head and mother of nine, who will give an outside perspective.
The Music Business: United we stand? Chair: Chris Cooke, CMU Insights (UK) With live music just one part of a wider music business ecosystem, isn’t it time we had a grown-up, joined-up conversation about where we’re all headed? ILMC has teamed up with our friends at CMU to invite one key industry figurehead from recording, publishing, management, agency and promotion, to discuss the future of the broader music business. From artist discovery and brand partnerships, to technology and streaming, just how will the industry continue to evolve over the next few years? Five leading lights discuss a vision for a holistic music business..
17:00 – 18:00
Hosts: Dougie Souness, No Half Measures (UK) & Ben Challis, Glastonbury Festival (UK)
Hosts: Hannah Mason, Ticketmaster (UK) & Giles Watkins, IAPP (US)
Are artist and technical riders worth the paper they’re written on? With riders frequently received long after contracts are signed, they can cause unexpected additional costs, time and headaches for promoters and venues. So how can this process work better? Led by Glastonbury’s Ben Challis and artist manager Dougie Souness, this year’s Booking Workshop presents bestcase examples for writing and executing a workable rider, while also examining different options for their timing and presentation.
The inbound, European-wide General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will have a significant impact on live music when it comes into force in May. How data is kept, transferred to third parties (such as between a ticketing company and a promoter or artist), and how mailing lists are built, will be governed by strict new rules. And with huge penalties, it’s legislation that wields a big stick. Data gurus Hannah Mason and Giles Watkins present a handson workshop about navigating the new law.
IT’S ALL ONLINE AT WWW.30.ILMC.COM
ILMC 30 ALIEN CONFERENCE GUIDE ABOVE TOP SECRET - VGBALPE
Venue2018 10:00 – 11:15
The Venue’s Venue: Spaces for stars Chair: John Langford, The O2 (UK)
THURSDAY 8 MARCH 10:00 – 11:00
Brexit 2025: Looking back
Chair: Michael Dugher, UK Music (UK) Once the details of Brexit are finally determined, what effect will it have on the live music industry? Making full use of this year’s ILMC theme, we bring a panel of touring, tax and visa experts back from the future to tell us what happened. Does freedom of movement in 2025 still operate as it currently does? What new restrictions are affecting musicians, crew, and freight, and have increased costs resulted in higher fees for European promoters? And then there are those tricky withholding tax treaties, and the ability to reclaim tax and expenses…
10:00 – 11:00
Workshop: Augmented & virtual realities
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Hosts: Stefan Rupp, Swisscom (CH) & Gareth Deakin, OA Consulting (UK)
With evangelists touting the power of beaming virtual performances directly into homes worldwide, or overlaying new digital layers to a concert goer’s experience, the distinct strands of virtual and augmented reality offer enormous potential. With many VR companies signing up to labels and multinational promoters, and AR beginning to feature in mobile apps, both are being taken increasingly seriously. Separating the fact from the fiction, Gareth Deakin and Stefan Rupp unravel both technologies to examine the potential for live music.
11:30 – 12:30
The Think Tank with Barry Dickins, Pino Sagliocco & Jackie Lombard Host: Gordon Masson, IQ (UK)
Think Tank attendees will have the opportunity to ask three industry veterans their own questions or hear responses to the randomly assigned queries prepared by IQ editor Gordon Masson. In this year’s hot seats are Jackie Lombard, head of French promoter Inter Concerts; Live Nation Spain chairman Pino Sagliocco; and from the UK, ITB’s Barry Dickins, whose career as an agent dates back more than 50 years.
11:30 – 12:30
Workshop: Blockchain & cryptocurrencies
Hosts: Katerina Kirillova, Cryptotickets (UK) & Tickets Cloud (RU) & Karim Fanous, Abbey Road Red (UK) You can’t move for headlines about blockchain and the cryptocurrencies that trade on it these days. But what’s the potential for live music? Several ticketing companies are now using blockchain technology, and the first tickets have been sold using cryptocurrencies. From validating tickets and restricting resale, to protecting IP and instant distribution of payments for live streams, a new and ultradisruptive technology is emerging. So what’s it all about? Just how is it set to affect the live music business? And how can promoters, agents and venues alike benefit?
The Venue’s Venue kicks off the Venue Summit 2018 with a first look at analysis of 2017 arena data from the EAA, NAA and IQ’s European Arena Yearbook. Beyond the numbers, topics include maintaining standards in the face of falling revenues, and the change in the concertgoer experience from ‘being there’ to ‘being more.’ As consumer expectation rises, and venue operators innovate to keep pace, Girts Krastins will also ask how larger venues might support the grassroots breeding grounds that provide a steady flow of future headliners.
14:00 – 15:00
Venue Summit Workshop: Sponsorship & branding Hosts: Dom Hodge, FRUKT (UK) & Mark Lambert, The O2 (UK)
The sponsorship market is an evolving entity as brands find ever more sophisticated ways to engage with venues and reach consumers. This Venue Summit session will set the scene with an overview of the current global sponsorship market, highlighting some of the brand leaders and their activity. The workshop will cover the changing expectations brands have towards the industry, how to best address and communicate their goals, and what activations are engaging consumers most effectively. The session includes the best brand activations in venues internationally, from naming rights to in-house campaigns.
15:30 – 16:30
Venue Summit: Corridors of power Chair: Stuart Galbraith, Kilimanjaro Live (UK)
For all the talk about artists and managers holding the reigns, who really calls the shots in the live music business? It’s often a onehorse race in each town for somewhere to play, but with ticket inventory – and the customer relationship – retained by the same buildings that are dictating show times, merch rates and other charges, is the relationship between venues and the rest of the business shifting? And as some buildings begin to discount primary tickets as part of in-house sponsorship campaigns, what effect will this have?
17:00 – 18:00
Venue Summit: eSports
Chair: Steve Schwenkglenks, Barclaycard Arena Hamburg (DE) Alongside live shows by YouTubers, Internet personalities and other web-native ‘influencers,’ eSports – or competitive video gaming – is increasingly attracting a new generation of young event-goers to venues across the globe. With major live entertainment companies now buying into eSports teams, and established promoters seeing great success from gaming events, this emerging genre is an increasingly hot live entertainment property for its ability to fill arenas with thousands of fans who have little interest in concerts.
ILMC 30 ALIEN CONFERENCE GUIDE ABOVE TOP SECRET - VGBALPE
11:30 – 12:45
Security: Rock and a hard place
Chair: Chris Kemp, MOM Consultancy (UK) When it comes to security at live events, the last two years have seen radical changes to attitudes, awareness, budgets and planning. ILMC’s new security event – E3S – discussed many operational perspectives when it took place last autumn, but on a management level, how is this new reality affecting bookings and the bottom line? Can the business afford to remain on high alert? Or, can it afford not to? Utilising exclusive festival and arena data, chair Chris Kemp reviews the last 12 months in the business.
14:00 – 15:00
Business Ethics: Why do we alien-ate each other? Chair: Alex Bruford, ATC Live (UK)
Does surviving in the live music business have to include inconsiderate correspondence, unreasonable business practices and a complete absence of loyalty? Alex Bruford leads a long overdue discussion on industry ethics. Some of the murkier practices scheduled for debate include brutally one-sided deals, over-inflated show costs, dangerous working hours for crews, self-serving decision-making and a general lack of respect for individuals. Should there be a code of practice for fairer working, and just how radically do things need to change?
14:00 – 15:15
New Technology: Star makers Host: Steve Machin, .Tickets (UK)
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Resident tech guru Steve Machin returns for ILMC’s everpopular round-up of the best gadgets, widgets and gizmos this side of Alpha Centauri, including new innovations in ticketing tech, VR, mobile apps, the blockchain and much more. As always, presenters have just five minutes to make their mark on our delegation. Featured companies include: Festicket | Viberate | DroneProtect® | The Loop | Evopass | Kino-mo | Mycelia for Music | Musicians First | POP. | LiveStyled
15:30 – 16:30
Country Music: New worlds
Chair: Ben Martin, Marshall Arts (UK) However you describe it, country is big business; and the colossal US-originated style is now attracting growing audiences abroad. With dedicated festivals cropping up in the UK, Ireland and elsewhere around Europe, there’s huge potential for the live music business. As London’s C2C festival opens the day after ILMC, what better moment for our panel of invited experts to share their views on this mushrooming international scene?
17:00 – 18:00
Tales From the Front Line pt. II
Chairs: Paul Crockford, PC Management (UK) & Dan “Steiny” Steinberg, Emporium Presents (US) The last session of Thursday at ILMC aims to finish things off by reminding us that we’re all in the entertainment business, and also by entertaining us! Manager Paul Crockford and US promoter Dan Steinberg invite guests to reveal their best tall touring tales and anecdotes, jokes, and in some cases downright fabrications, gathered from experiences on the road. Contributions from the floor will be encouraged and welcomed so if you have a good anecdote, please be in the room to share it.
FRIDAY 9 MARCH 10:30 – 12:00
The Breakfast Meeting with Peter Mensch Host: Ed Bicknell, Damage Mgmt (US)
ILMC 30’s Breakfast Meeting will be a session to remember, as taking the hot seat opposite host and raconteur extraordinaire Ed Bicknell, will be none other than legendary artist manager Peter Mensch. With four decades of experience managing many of the most successful guitar bands in history, the Q Prime co-founder has masterminded hundreds of millions of album sales, and some of the world’s most successful tours. Peter will discuss his career in management – which began in earnest when he signed AC/DC at the age of just 26 – as well as today’s industry, and where it’s all going next. No doubt there will also be a few of the touring tales for which Ed’s sessions are renowned.
12:30 – 13:30
The Agency Business 2018
Chair: Rob Challice, Coda Agency (UK) The agency business was, for many years, the most consistent sector of the live music business. But in recent years, many changes have taken place, and of late, this vital area of the business now appears to be the most volatile. Hardly a day goes past without news of movement amongst booking agencies, agents and artists, while the relationship between agents and other industry stakeholders continues to evolve. Session chair Rob Challice hosts this annual review, and invites leading international agents to discuss the latest agency trends that impact on the wider live music business.
12:30 – 13:30
Live Entertainment: The disruptors
Chair: Christoph Scholz, Semmel Concerts (DE) Beyond music, the scope of live entertainment is widening fast. New formats, new audiences and new opportunities abound. Drone racing, eSport, secret film screenings, fan conventions, live readings of podcasts and VR experiences are all mushrooming, but the changes in non-music entertainment go much further. With live event brands creating their own fans, circuses creating sports museums, media and tech companies building their own live events, the old rule-book has been thrown out. So just how much further will non-music events continue to morph? What are they key trends in this space, and who’s making waves?
13:30 – 14:15
The ILMC 30 Alien Autopsy
Chairs: Greg Parmley, ILMC (UK) & Gordon Masson, ILMC (UK) As the conference draws to a close, Greg Parmley and Gordon Masson invite delegates to share their thoughts about the previous few days. A chance to give feedback on any aspect of ILMC, participation is encouraged in this informal final session. From the conversation in the panels to the highest table football scores – anything and everything is up for discussion.
ILMC 30 ALIEN CONFERENCE GUIDE ABOVE TOP SECRET - VGBALPE
TUESDAY 6 MARCH 18:00-21:00
ILMC’S First Contact 30th Birthday Blast-off Hosts: PRS for Music, Dubai Arena & Viberate You only celebrate your 30th birthday once, so to mark this momentous occasion, we’re inviting friends, family and intergalactic invaders to join us for a birthday party like no other. On the evening of Tuesday 6 March, we’re opening up the entire mezzanine floor of the Royal Garden Hotel, for a stellar early evening line-up of killer tunes from world-class DJs; top-secret competitions; live music; and a guest list that stretches across the entire musical multiverse. As if that isn’t enough to guarantee invaders from all quadrants of the galaxy, guests will be able to take their very own space flight in our on-site simulator powered by cutting-edge tech. The party starts early so that delegates can head out for the evening afterwards. And with a galaxy of space-themed food, out-of-this-world cocktails and presumably soon-to-be spaced attendees, the only thing without space might be the venue itself – so early arrival is recommended. All delegates are welcome to attend while entry to non-delegates is via guest-list only.
00:00-03:00 The Table Football Coupe du Galaxie A late-night battle of quick reactions and sometimes out-of-this-world skill, this event sees players compete for the smallest world cup in the galaxy. Sign-up in pairs on the night as 22 little (green) men fight for glory on ILMC’s two tournament-certified tables. Be in The SMG Space Bar with your co-player by 22:00 when the battle for universal recognition commences under the watchful eye of IQ’s Terry McNally.
THURSDAY 8 MARCH 12:30-14:30 Lunch Encounters of the Second Kind This two-hour lunch break will give delegates ample time to recharge and relax while making new contacts or just hanging out with old friends and colleagues and enjoying a galaxy of hot and cold dishes, stellar desserts, and an optional pay bar.
16:00-17:00 Feld’s ‘In Space No One Can Hear You’ Ice Cream
WEDNESDAY 7 MARCH Lunch Encounters of the First Kind
Any interplanetary visitors on the hunt for a refreshing mid-afternoon sugar fix need look no further than Feld Entertainment’s legendary frozen treats intermission. A welcome break from a busy afternoon of cosmic conferencing, Feld will be handing out mementos for the kids back home, just be sure to eat the ice cream before you pack…
This two-hour lunch break will give delegates ample time to recharge and relax while making new contacts or just hanging out with old friends and colleagues and enjoying a galaxy of hot and cold dishes, stellar desserts, and an optional pay bar.
17:30-18:30 WME Happy Hour
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UTA’s Cocktails & Canapés UTA’s annual event is the perfect bridge between daytime sessions and the night that follows. Expect 60 minutes of complimentary drinks and tasty nibbles, with which to wind down. The whole UTA team will be on hand to discuss any last-minute festival offers, and if last year is anything to go by, almost the entire delegation of ILMC will be trying to fit into the Mess Area for this super-massive social. All delegates are welcome to attend.
The Dutch ‘Brace for’ Impact Party The annual Dutch Party is always a highlight of the ILMC schedule, with complimentary drinks and finger food, and showcases from some of the hottest new musical exports from the low country. Join unidentified flying Dutchmen and hundreds of other guests for a supermassive edition as the party upgrades to a new venue in 2018. Indian Askin, Canshaker Pi & Iguana Death Cult perform.
Texas Probe ‘em Poker Tourney There’s a lot more to the annual poker tournament this year, which – hosted by Emporium Presents – moves to a larger ‘space’ and includes a special roulette competition on the side. The tourney sees a ragged collection of galactic gamblers and space cowboys come together during this annual battle to win ‘space chips’ and one of the bar tab prizes up for grabs. Sign-up when you register for ILMC, or if you feel like a gamble, swing by on Wednesday night and enquire about any last-minute places. The tourney costs £30 to enter and all proceeds go towards the Nikos Fund, which is raising money for Music Support in 2018.
Invading another planet is thirsty work, so it’s lucky that the team at William Morris Endeavor Entertainment will be on hand, once again, to revive and rejuvenate all the top interplanetary travellers. Offering both a pre-Gala Dinner drink, and a moment to wind down after Thursday’s meteoric meetings and panels, the WME Happy Hour is 60 ‘star’-studded minutes of complimentary booze and nibbles.
19:30-00:00 THE GALA-TIC DINNER & ARTHUR AWARDS Hosts: CSB & Roskilde Festival This year, the highlight of the live music industry’s calendar will quite literally be out of this world. Over 350 guests – the leading explorers and star makers in the business – will be whisked off-planet as we take an interstellar journey to The Gala-ctic Dinner & Arthur Awards. The space voyage begins at the opulent 8Northumberland hotel, which boasts one of the grandest Victorian interiors in the solar system, and critically acclaimed cuisine and service. Travellers may experience a feeling of weightlessness after the champagne reception, which is followed by an exquisite five-star, four-course feast with a selection of fine wines to match. In addition to the finest cuisine in the cosmos, universally renowned entertainment and the annual Pop Quiz will see guests teleported to new heights of enjoyment. The highlight of the night is the Arthur Awards, hosted by CIA CAA special agent Emma Banks – who will reveal which stars of the live music industry will take UFOs (unidentified f…ing objects) back to their own galaxies. Tickets for the Gala Dinner are priced at £185 each, with tables of 10 priced at £1,850. Please note that the Gala Dinner always sells out in advance, so early booking is advised. To enquire about any remaining tickets, please email email@example.com.
ILMC 30 ALIEN CONFERENCE GUIDE ABOVE TOP SECRET - VGBALPE 19:30-21:30 Match of the Light Year Football
13:30-15:30 Invasion of the Buffet Snackers Lunch
This showdown sees the UK take on the Rest of the Universe in a game of epic proportions, as the leading players of the live industry battle it out for 90-minutes. Hosted by Aiken Promotions, coaches will transport space-ially aware contenders from the Royal Garden Hotel to The Hive Stadium and back again, allowing every opportunity for bragging rights in The SMG Space Bar afterwards. Places are limited and must be booked in advance. E-mail peter@ aikenpromotions.com to get involved.
A two-hour window in which to discuss the meze-teries of the universe, while enjoying a five-‘star’ selection of Turkish delights, courtesy of TESDER, the Turkish promoters’ association.
22:30-Late The ‘Drunk Side of the Moon’ Live Karaoke
16:00-18:00 Closing Encounters of the Thirst Kind
Be afraid. Be very afraid. You might wish you were on a distant planet, or even solar system, when the annual ILMC karaoke takes place – always the scene of a multitude of sins, all of them against music. This year’s karaoke will feature a live backing band (www.rockaoke.com), and an AirX Guitar competition that promises prizes for the most rock-godlike performances – an event not to miss, unless you’re sober.
What better way to wrap-up ILMC than with a glass or two of bubbles in the company of new friends, foreign bodies, and long-time colleagues from around the live music universe? All delegates are invited to get-together before heading out for the evening, or returning to their own worlds in galaxies far, far away.
15:30-16:00 Nikos Fund Grand Prize Draw Hand in your business cards to the ILMC girls and boys with collection tins and turn up for a 15.30 start, for the chance to win some colossal prizes as our chosen charity – Music Support – benefits.
FRIDAY 9 MARCH 12:00-12:30 Mars Attacks Break Stave-off the mid-morning hunger pangs with a selection of choccy treats. Expect Star Bars, Mars Bars and Milky Ways, as well as other earthbound snacks…
After three days of conferencing and close encounters, a moment to relax with friends, colleagues and other intergalactic travellers before the evening fun that follows. And as anyone who’s experienced ILMC’s closing dinners before knows, it pays to expect the unexpected. Taking place in Dirty Bones, Kensington, with a menu ranging from flatiron steak, slow ‘n’ low ribs, and other unidentified frying objects, it promises to be a last supper cooked to perfection. Tickets for the dinner cost £60 in advance. Sign-up when registering for ILMC or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
IT’S ALL ONLINE AT WWW.30.ILMC.COM
18:00-20:00 The Final Countdown Dinner
DELEGATES’ EYES ONLY NEURALIZER MEMORY WIPE REQUIRED
TUESDAY 6 MARCH
THURSDAY 8 MARCH
09:00 - 17:00 10:00 - 18:00 10:00 - 18:00 11:00 - 16:00 13:00 - 18:00 13:00 - 21:00 14:30 - 18:30 18:00 - 21:00 Various
IPM Registration IPM (ILMC Production Meeting) GEI (Green Events & Innovations Conference) Association Summit (invitation only) Travel Desk ILMC Early-Bird Registration Association Meetings (invitation only) ILMC’s First Contact 30th Birthday Blast-off Access All Areas Shows
WEDNESDAY 7 MARCH tydnnnf 09:00 - 18:00 Travel Desk 09:00 - 20:00 Registration Desk & Help Desk 09:00 onwards The SMG Space Bar and Hanger-out Room open 09:30 - 11:00 The Flying Cups & Saucers Coffee Break 10:00 - 10:30 New Delegates’ Orientation 10:00 - 17:00 Association Meetings (invitation only) 10:00 - 18:00 Pollstar’s Cyber Cafe open 10:00 - 18:00 Conference Sessions 12:30 - 14:30 Lunch Encounters of the First Kind 17:30 - 18:30 UTA’s Cocktails & Canapés 18:00 - 21:30 The Dutch ’Brace for’ Impact Party Various Access All Areas Shows 21:00 - 00:00 Texas Probe ‘em Poker Tourney 00:00 - 03:00 The Table Football Coupe de la Galaxie
“Look, I really don’t think they ﬂew 90 billion light years to come down here and start a ﬁght.” - Captain Steven Hiller
07:00 - 10:00 09:00 - 18:00 09:00 - 19:30 09:00 onwards 09:30 - 11:00 10:00 - 18:00 12:30 - 14:30 16:00 - 17:00 16:00 - 19:00 17:30 - 18:30 19:30 - 21:30 19:30 - 00:00 Various 22:30 - late
Breakfast Available Registration Desk & Travel Desk Help Desk The SMG Space Bar and Hanger-out Room open Space Oddi-tea & Coffee Break Conference Sessions Lunch Encounters of the Second Kind Feld’s’ In Space No One Can Hear You’ Ice Cream Association Meetings (invitation only) The WME Happy Hour Match of the Light Year Football The Gala-ctic Dinner & Arthur Awards Access All Areas Shows The ‘Drunk Side of the Moon’ Live Karaoke
FRIDAY 9 MARCH apkdbh Breakfast Available The SMG Space Bar and Pollstar’s Cyber Cafe open open 10:00 - 11:00 The ET & Coffee Break 10:00 - 12:00 Registration Desk 10:00 - 16:00 Travel & Help Desk 10:30 - 13:30 The Breakfast Meeting & Conference Sessions 12:00 - 12:30 Mars Attacks Break 13:30 - 14:15 The ILMC 30 Alien Autopsy 13:30 - 15:30 Invasion of the Buffet Snackers Lunch 15:30 - 16:00 Nikos Fund Grand Prize Draw 16:00 - 18:00 Closing Encounters of the Thirst Kind Drinks 18:00 - 20:00 The Final Countdown Dinner Various Access All Areas Shows 07:00 - 10:00 09:00 - 18:00
THE NOT-SO-SMALL PRINT ghjdmd
A full list of terms and conditions can be found online, but please note: • ILMC conference sessions may not be videoed or recorded • Children are not allowed in the conference areas
• Conference passes must be worn at all times • Lost passes will incur a replacement fee
Contents IQ Magazine Issue 76
Cover photo: Chvrches, by Christie Goodwin
News and Developments
22 In Tweets The main headlines over the last two months 24 In Depth Key stories from around the live music world 30 New Signings and Rising Stars A round-up of the latest acts that have been added to the rosters of international agents 38 Busy Bodies Industry associations share business concerns and news
40 Techno Files Revealing the hottest new technology in live entertainment
3 The Truth Is In Here ILMC 30 releases its agenda, and it’s out-of-this-world 42 The Power of Equality The live business has a gender equality problem. Here are some of the ways people are trying to solve it 48 Marcel Avram: 8 Things I’ve Learned in 80 Years Industry stalwart, Marcel, imparts some of the wisdom he’s acquired from a lifetime in the business 52 ITB at 40 The inside story of one of the longest standing agencies in the world
74 2018’s Vital Trends in Sponsorship A look at innovations in brands and live music 80 Four Decades of DEAG From Pink Floyd at the Berlin Wall to VR, the German company has been innovating for 40 years 92 Market Report: Belgium Adam Woods examines the evolving business landscape in one of Europe’s best-located territories
Comments and Columns
32 What Price Fandom? Ian Taylor looks at the psychology of ticket pricing 33 Festival Trends for 2018 What innovations will impact this season? Katie McPhee looks into her crystal ball 34 Middle East Calling There’s a well of untapped potential in the Gulf countries, says Thomas Ovesen 35 What’s the Future for the Branded Live Music Experience? Kier Wiater Carnihan asks if less big brand visibility means they’re pulling out of festivals 36 GDPR The new data handling law you need to know about – or face the consequences 100 Members’ Noticeboard ILMC members’ photos 102 Your Shout “If you could live the last 30 years again, what would you do differently?”
IQ Magazine March 2018
Issue 76 LIVE MUSIC INTELLIGENCE
THE ILMC JOURNAL, March 2018
Unit 31 Tileyard Road London, N7 9AH email@example.com www.iq-mag.net Tel: +44 (0)20 3743 0300 Twitter: @iq_mag
After an enforced break from work, Gordon Masson reaffirms that he’s working in the best business in the world, and with the best people in the world.
ILMC and Suspicious Marketing Gordon Masson
Guest Editor James Drury
IT’S BEEN AN EVENTFUL start to 2018 for yours truly. Here at IQ Towers, January and February are our busiest months, as the editorial team merges with the ILMC team to prepare for our annual gathering at the Royal Garden Hotel, while also publishing the IPM brochure, Globetrotters Guide, and, of course, IQ. But the day after returning from Eurosonic in January, I suffered a heart attack, and at the time of writing, I’m still in recovery but hoping to return to work within a matter of days. Thank you to everyone who has sent cards, flowers and messages of support over the last month or so – believe me, they have been terrific in motivating me to get back on my feet. But plaudits, especially, to everyone who has worked so hard on this issue of IQ in my drug-addled absence. You’ll find their names in the masthead on the right-hand side of this page, but James Drury, in particular, stepped up big time, at very short notice, to pull together what has turned out to be the largest magazine in IQ’s 12-year history – the first time we’ve breached the 100-page tally. And what an issue James et al have worked so hard to deliver to you. You’ll already have seen our detailed agenda guide for ILMC 30, while in the pages
IQ Magazine March 2018
that follow, IQ 76 will celebrate three milestone anniversaries: in addition to authoring our market report on Belgium (page 92), Adam Woods also finds out the story behind the first 40 years of ITB (pg 52); Karl-Hermann Lipp delves into the history of Deutsche Entertainment AG, as it also celebrates 40 years in business (pg 80); and live music industry pioneer Marcel Avram shares some of the life lessons he’s learned, ahead of his 80th birthday in March (page 48). On page 42, Rhian Jones sets out some of the gender and equality issues that will be discussed at ILMC 30, while Jack Ward details some of the emerging trends among brands and event sponsors (pg 74). What with those special features, some thought-provoking comment pieces, news analysis, and our regular new signings, tech, and associations pages, there’s enough to keep even the most far-flung traveller busy as they fly into London for ILMC in March. For anyone making the journey to the Royal Garden Hotel, I hope to catch up with you there – I’ll be the (only) sober one at the poker tournament, munching on kale, and blaming my inevitable losses on the side effects of a cocktail of (medicinal) drugs…
News Editor Jon Chapple
Associate Editor Allan McGowan
Marketing & Advertising Director
Imogen Battersby, Ben Delger
Rhian Jones, Karl-Hermann Lipp, Katie McPhee, Hannah Mason, Thomas Ovesen, Ian Taylor, Jack Ward, Kier Wiater Carnihan, Giles Watkins, Adam Woods
Gordon Masson, firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +44 (0)20 3743 0303
Terry McNally, email@example.com Tel: +44 (0)20 3743 0304
To subscribe to IQ Magazine: Imogen@iq-mag.net An annual subscription to IQ is £75 (print) or £60 (electronic).
In Tweets... DECEMBER Launching the Stop 2018 campaign, female UK music industry figures call for 2018 to become the year when “bullying, misogyny, sexual harassment, assault and rape in the music industry stops” after appearing on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme to denounce sexual misconduct. Brazilian DJ Kaleb loses his life after a stage designed to withstand 80kph winds collapses in a 55kph gale at Atmosphere Festival in Esteio, Brazil. Australian concert promoter Dave Cutbush, a director of independent touring outfit Life is Noise, is let go by the company after multiple allegations of sexual harassment. Michael Rapino, CEO of Live Nation Entertainment since 2010, will remain in his role until at least 2022 after signing a new five-year contract worth up to $9m (€7m) per annum. Also reupping are leading execs Kathy Willard, Michael Rowles and Joe Berchtold. A 23-year-old man is jailed after admitting to hiding 53 phones stolen from Arena Birmingham in a compression suit concealed under his clothes. Alin Marin was arrested after stealing the phones at a Royal Blood show in November. Live Nation acquires an interest in 9,000seat New England summer concert venue Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion. The Association for Electronic Music (AFEM) announces the launch of a confidential support service for victims of sexual harassment in the electronic music business.
JANUARY Richard Cousins, the chief executive of Compass Group, the world’s largest catering firm, loses his life in a plane crash in Sydney on New Year’s Eve. Ticketmaster is ordered by the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority to withdraw an advert claiming its dynamically priced Platinum service offers the “best available tickets” for an event, after finding the claim is misleading and cannot be substantiated. Global, the UK’s second-largest festival
operator, records its eighth consecutive year of growth in 2016–17, increasing earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation 4.4% to £74.5m (€84.1m). Pollstar’s year-end report reveals the 100 biggest concert tours of 2017 collectively generated $5.65bn (€4.61bn) in revenue – a 15.8% year-on-year increase – in a huge year for the international live music business. AEG Ogden further bolsters the operating team for its soon-to-open Dubai Arena, appointing former IMG vicepresident Doug Waller as COO. His appointment follows that of veteran promoter Thomas Ovesen, who joined as VP of programming in November. Senior booking agent Geoff Meall, who left his role as head of UTA’s London office at the end of 2017, confirms his move to Coda Agency. CTS Eventim’s FanSALE, a ‘fair value’ ticket resale platform with prices capped at +10%, launches in the UK. The Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers warns that ticket fraud in the UK continues to increase, growing 38% from 2015 to 2017. Swedish promoter/booking agency Luger expands into Denmark, opening a Copenhagen office headed up by agent Sarah Sølvsteen. Kid Rock rebrands his upcoming Greatest Show on Earth tour under legal pressure from Feld Entertainment. Kid Rock and tour promoter Live Nation are being sued for allegedly infringing on Feld’s “famous trademark”. Live Nation acquires many of the remaining assets of Songkick, settling out of court a costly legal dispute set to go to trial at the end of January. Live Nation’s acquisitions include Songkick’s ticketing platform, anti-touting algorithm, API applications and portfolio of patents. The Royal Albert Hall is to be referred to a charity tribunal over concerns its trustees – seat owners who control the London venue, but can also profit from selling tickets – have a conflict of interest. ‘China’s Google,’ Baidu, launches BaaS, an open blockchain platform designed for the “safe, efficient and inexpensive”
@iq_mag trade of various items, including cryptocurrencies and digital tickets. Live Nation launches Redrock Entertainment Services, a dedicated event production division led by its long-time director of production, Ford Englerth. The British government announces plans to adopt the agent-of-change principle into planning law, in an announcement welcomed as a “seismic victory” for music venues by UK Music chief exec Michael Dugher. The UK’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (DCMS) announces plans for a fresh inquiry into the UK live music business, focusing particularly on secondary ticketing and the declining number of small music venues. TPG Growth, the middle-market/ growth capital division of Creative Artists Agency majority owner TPG Capital, acquires a majority stake in Trace, a leading African urban media brand. Two of Austria’s best-known international hard-rock agents, RTN Touring alumni Dominik Meyer and Günther Beer, announce the launch of boutique booking agency Cobra Agency. Historic Melbourne venue Festival Hall (5,400-cap) is to be demolished to make way for a AU$65m (€41m) apartment complex, after being forced out by “younger, bigger, stronger” rivals, its owner, John Wren, says. AEG Presents announces the opening of an office in Paris, confirming its expansion into what the company calls “one of Europe’s most important and vibrant markets for live music.” StubHub upgrades its virtual view feature, which allows potential ticket buyers to preview their seat in virtual reality before buying, with an AR component that generates a 3D stadium model. Veteran AEG exec Richard Krezwick, most recently head of European arena/ stadium operations in the company’s London office, announces his relocation to the US to head up AEG Facilities’ new office in Manhattan. India’s biggest ticketing firm, BookMyShow, is reported to be in talks to raise $50–60m (€41-49 m) in investment from US private-equity fund TPG Growth.
IQ Magazine March 2018
News Frank Zappa
A deaf woman sues UK promoter LHG Live because no sign-language interpreter was provided for the support acts at a Little Mix show she attended in July. The support acts (Ella Eyre and the Germein Sisters) were announced just ten days before the show – far short of the four to six weeks LHG says it would take for an interpreter to learn the lyrics. David Zard, a long-time ILMC member and pioneering concert promoter, who was the first to bring some of the biggest names in rock music to Italy, dies aged 75. Germany’s Federal Cartel Office publishes details of its controversial ruling banning CTS Eventim’s exclusivity agreements with promoters and box offices, mandating that at least 20% of ticket inventory from the company’s partners be made available to other ticket sellers. Hamed Shahi-Moghanni, managing director of Germany’s SSC Group, confirms all future New Fall Festivals will go ahead as planned, after its SSC Festivals GmbH subsidiary was put into preliminary bankruptcy. The first large-scale rock festival to be held at Knebworth House since Sonisphere 2014, Cool Britannia, is announced. The three-day, Britpopcentred event, promoted by Heartfield Entertainment, will feature performances from Happy Mondays, Ocean Colour Scene, The Lightning Seeds, New Order’s Peter Hook, Dodgy, and Cast. Following a complaint by Canada’s Competition Bureau over its “decep-
tive” practice of drip pricing tickets, Ticketmaster and Live Nation are hit with a class-action lawsuit that seeks damages and repayment for those affected by “improperly collected fees”. Despite both festivals confirming in November that they would be moving to Brockwell Park in Brixton, London for 2018, Ealing and Hounslow councils jointly announce they have reached an agreement with Festival Republic for Lovebox and Citadel to instead relocate to Gunnersbury Park in the west of the capital. Israeli NGO Shurat HaDin sues two New Zealanders for allegedly influencing Lorde to cancel a planned show in Tel Aviv in June, in what is believed to be the first lawsuit filed under Israel’s new anti-boycott law.
FEBRUARY CTS Eventim buys a 60% stake in Italian concert and festival promoter D’Alessandro e Galli (Di and Gi), in its third acquisition in Italy in the past five months. EDM festival juggernaut Electric Daisy Carnival will touch down in China for the first time this April, promoter Insomniac announces. EDC China, jointly promoted with local firm Zebra Entertainment, will take place in Shanghai on 29–30 April. Venuepoint, the pan-Scandinavian ticketing platform part-owned by CTS Eventim, hires Jens B. Arnesen as CEO.
The German live events business turned over nearly €1.2bn more in 2016–17 than in 2012–13, promoters’ association BDV announces – although the growth, it says, is largely due to higher ticket prices rather than rising visitor numbers. Independent Venue Week, the seven-day celebration of grassroots music venues that debuted in the UK in 2014, announces its launch in the US this summer. British promoter Crosstown Concerts launches an artist management division, joining forces with Cliff Jones and Mark Bowers – the latter formerly a colleague of Crosstown founders Paul Hutton and Conal Dodds at Metropolis Music – to create Crosstown Management. Italian singer Damien McFly is forced to cancel a planned appearance at the NAMM Show in Anaheim, California, after failing to gain entry to the US under the ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation) visa waiver programme. Live music hologram company Eyellusion announces details of its upcoming The Bizarre World of Frank Zappa tour, following a successful European tour for a resurrected Ronnie James Dio. SSC Music Group launches EAT THE BEAT, a new “cultural catering” division combining high-end food with live entertainment. The industry reacts to Google’s new event ticket seller policy, which forces secondary sites to make clear they are not primary outlets. British anti-touting group FanFair Alliance “unequivocally welcomes” the new restrictions but warns there is still room for improvement if the search giant is serious about cracking down on dishonest resellers. IQ reveals London is to get a striking new large-scale music and entertainment venue, courtesy of Madison Square Garden Company. The company is to roll out its groundbreaking MSG Sphere concept, which features immersive wall-to-wall video and a sound system that individually targets every seat, in east London – its first venue outside the US.
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IQ Magazine March 2018
MSG to “grow the market in London” with Sphere venue High-tech innovations include a sound system that individually targets each seat, ensuring everyone hears the same performance, regardless of location, and – most strikingly – ultra-HD video screens that stretch across venue walls and ceilings, enveloping attendees in an immersive visual experience. MSG - which has long been rumoured to have an interest in London, and was believed to be in the running to buy the Olympia before its acquisition by German investors last April – has purchased nearly five acres of land in Stratford, adjacent to the Westfield shopping centre, on which to construct the new music and entertainment venue. McGivern, a former UK managing director of AEG, says that since the closure of Earl’s Court (20,000-cap) in 2014, London has been “under-served by big arenas”. Plans for a new arena in east London raise the pros-
Render of the planned MSG Sphere in Las Vegas
Jayne McGivern, Madison Square Garden Company (MSG)’s newly appointed executive vice-president of development and construction, has told IQ the company is focused on growing the local market, rather than taking business from other operators, with its planned new venue in London. MSG announced on 9 February it has chosen the British capital as the site for its first non-US venue, which is to be based on the high-tech MSG Sphere concept unveiled simultaneously in New York and Los Angeles. MSG Sphere will debut at MSG’s new 18,000-seat arena in Las Vegas when it breaks ground this June, and aims “to make concertgoers part of the experience” through what MSG describes as “game-changing technologies that push the limits of connectivity, acoustics, video and content distribution.”
pect of an escalation of the much-publicised ‘venue war’ between MSG and AEG, the operator of the world’s number-one arena, The O2, a short hop over the river in Greenwich. McGivern says MSG is focused on “growing the market” rather than taking market share from other
MSG Sphere Las Vegas tech specs • • • •
18,000 capacity 60m high 180,000 square-feet interior The world’s largest HD screen (19,000 x 13,500px resolution)
• Fully customisable LED exterior, with 190,000 feet of LED lighting • ‘Beamforming’ directional audio system • Haptic feedback from floors and seats • 8K, 360° VR/AR-ready camera rigs
operators. “It’s absolutely an opportunity to grow the market in London,” she explains. “Whenever we see new venues popping up, the market grows with them – just look at The Forum in LA.” In addition to its plans to build in London and Las Vegas, MSG’s venues include its flagship 20,000cap Madison Square Garden venue in New York, along with The Theater at Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall and Beacon Theatre; The Forum in Inglewood, California; The Chicago Theatre; and Wang Theatre in Boston.
Rock returns to Knebworth Knebworth House will this summer host a large-scale rock festival for the first time since 2014, with Cool Britannia, a new three-day Britpop-centred event promoted by David Heartfield’s Heartfield Entertainment.
Twenty-two years after 250,000 people descended on Knebworth for Britpop’s high watermark – Oasis, with support from The Charlatans, Cast, The Prodigy, Kula Shaker, Manic Street Preachers and The Chemi-
cal Brothers – a who’s who of Britpop greats, including Happy Mondays, Ocean Colour Scene, The Lightning Seeds, New Order’s Peter Hook, Dodgy, and a returning Cast, will help transform ‘Britain’s biggest venue’ into
a 90s time-capsule in the last weekend of August. The 250-acre Knebworth Park last hosted a major rock show in 2014, when Iron Maiden and Metallica headlined the final UK edition of Kilimanjaro Live’s Sonisphere.
IQ Magazine March 2018
Major multinationals expand operations Live Nation began 2018 in typically acquisition-heavy fashion, snapping up, over a few days in mid-January, a lease on Minneapolis venue Varsity Theater (950-cap), a majority interest in Wisconsinbased promoter Frank Productions, and – unexpectedly – the remaining assets of Songkick, settling out of court the hotly anticipated lawsuit that was due to go to trial at the end of the month. The Songkick acquisitions include its ticketing platform, anti-touting algorithm, API applications, and portfolio of patents, all of which it acquired for an undisclosed sum. A source close to the situation tells IQ that Songkick additionally accepted a $110million €88.17m settlement offer to avoid the suit – which centred on alleged abuses of Live Nation’s “monopoly power” to stifle competition in the US ticketing market – going to trial.
“We are pleased that we were able to resolve this dispute and avoid protracted and costly legal proceedings, while also acquiring valuable assets,” says Joe Berchtold, president of Live Nation. Rival-in-chief AEG similarly rung in the new year with a string of deals, including signing the 1,265-seat Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail, Colorado, for a new concert series Whistle Pig Vail; opening a new AEG Facilities office in New York; and expanding into France via its AEG Presents promotion division. AEG Presents has had a presence in France since at least last October, when it partnered with Matthieu Pigasse’s LNEI to acquire Paris festival Rock en Seine. It is also an investor in the 17,000-cap AccorHotels Arena in Paris, which replaced Palais Omnisports in 2015. AEG Presents France is
headed up by leading promoter Arnaud Meersseman, formerly of Nous Productions and Fimalac/MIALA, who steps into his new role as general manager and VP with immediate effect. Reporting directly to AEG Presents UK co-CEOs Steve Homer and Toby Leighton-Pope, he is tasked with developing and growing “a promotions business centred on the thriving French music scene, while at the same time actively supporting AEG’s international roster of touring artists.” “I have always considered AEG to be best-in-class in developing venues and festivals that both meet the needs of today’s consumers, and, in the development of the [BST] Hyde Park festival, [has] built something truly befitting of the London park,” comments Meersseman. “I am looking forward to taking this passion for excellence into the French market, and I’m confident we can do some excellent work with both international and French artists as the new office gets underway.” CTS Eventim, meanwhile,
Heritage still big business The 100 biggest concert tours of 2017 collectively generated a huge $5.65billion (€4.6bn) in revenue – a 15.8% year-on-year increase – in a “record-crushing” year for the international live music business. That’s according to the 2017 edition of Pollstar’s traditional year-end special features, which track the value of the year’s biggest tours, promoters, arenas, festivals, individual concert grosses and more. The top 100 worldwide tours chart, led by U2’s Live Nationpromoted Joshua Tree 2017 tour, also shows the number of the tickets sold by the top 100 reached a new record high of 66.79 million – a 10.4% increase on 2016.
In addition to demonstrating the health of the business, the figures also underline the continuing value to the industry of the nostalgia circuit, with nine of the 11 tours grossing more than $100m (€81m) worldwide – U2, Guns N’ Roses, Coldplay, Bruno Mars, Metallica, Depeche Mode, Paul McCartney, Ed Sheeran, The Rolling Stones, Garth Brooks and Céline Dion – featuring acts who have been active since the mid-1980s or earlier. And it’s a pool that’s growing smaller by the day, as evidenced by two of the biggest names in global touring announcing their retirement in January. Legendary crooner Neil Diamond – one of the best-selling artists in music history, and
still a major live draw (placing no.20 on Pollstar’s end-ofyear top 100 in 2015, the year of his previous concert tour) – announced he is to quit touring after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Commenting after the cancellation of a string of his 50th Anniversary tour dates in Australia and New Zealand, Diamond said: “My thanks goes out to my loyal and devoted audiences around the world. You will always have my appreciation for your support and encouragement.” Alluding to his song Sweet Caroline, he added: “This ride has been ‘so good, so good, so good,’ thanks to you.” Diamond was followed a few days later by 70-year-old
continued its expansion in Italy by buying a 60% stake in Italian concert and festival promoter D’Alessandro e Galli (Di and Gi) – in its third acquisition in the country since September 2017. “With TicketOne, we have been the leading ticketing provider in Italy for more than ten years,” comments Klaus-Peter Schulenberg, CEO of CTS Eventim. “Now we have progressed, within a very short period, to become the market leader in the live entertainment segment as well. This is a milestone in our internationalisation strategy. “The Italian market is one of the most diversified and attractive in Europe, and there can hardly be a promoter that symbolises its creativity and vitality as much as D’Alessandro e Galli.” The Di and Gi acquisition follows the recent buy-outs of promoters Vertigo (in September) and Friends and Partners (in November), and “consolidates [CTS’s] leading position in the Italian live entertainment market,” says the company.
Sir Elton John, who announced at a press conference in New York that 2018–2021’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, promoted by AEG Presents, would be his last. “I’ve had an amazing life, amazing career,” he said. “My priorities now are my children, my husband, and my family, and I’ve been touring since I was 17 with various bands, then as Elton John in 1969, and I thought the time was right to say thank you to all my friends around the world globally, and then to say goodbye and just have a breather. “After the tour finishes, I’m very much looking forward to closing off that chapter of my life by saying farewell to life on the road,” he added. “I need to dedicate more time to raising my children.”
IQ Magazine March 2018
Lukewarm welcome for Google ticket resale restrictions The much-anticipated global roll-out of new restrictions on the use of Google’s AdWords platform by secondary ticketing sites (see IQ75) has met with a mixed reaction from the wider live music industry, with many calling for the search giant to go further to protect consumers. As required by Google’s new ‘event ticket reseller policy,’ the majority of major online secondary outlets – including Get Me In! and Seatwave in the UK; Ticketmaster Resale in Australia; SeatGeek, TicketsNow and Vivid Seats in the US; and StubHub and Viagogo internationally – have put up notices making clear they are resale sites, and that prices may be above face value. However, the same wording isn’t included in the ads themselves, meaning a Google
search, for example, for “Kendrick Lamar tickets” still brings up scores of resale sites as the top results, with no indication they are not the primary sellers. Anti-touting campaign group FanFair Alliance identifies this lack of consistency as the “one crucial area” where more needs to be done, saying that while it welcomes Google’s “proactive involvement to bring further transparency to the ticket resale market,” the “largest resale sites still fail to make clear that they are secondary platforms, listing second-hand tickets. “Given their continued prominence on search pages, the implication remains that these are authorised primary sellers or ‘official sites.’ That is simply not the case. Until their ad messaging is amended, we suspect ticket buyers will con-
tinue to be misled.” While FanFair adds that, despite its misgivings, it “unequivocally welcomes” the new reseller policy, Michael Dugher, chief executive of British industry group UK Music, has put Google “on notice” subject to a three-month review. “It is misleading to suggest that Google’s changes amount to a ‘clampdown’ on resale websites,” says Dugher. “There remains a real danger that music fans still risk paying exorbitant prices for tickets from secondary sites when there are tickets still available from official primary sellers.” For its part, Google says the new measures – which require resellers advertising on AdWords to agree to inform customers that their prices
may be higher than face value; require them to break down prices to show included fees and taxes during checkout, and before the customer provides payment information; and require them to refrain from implying they are the “primary or original provider of event tickets” – will provide consumers with a ticket-buying experience “they can trust.” “We constantly review our policies to ensure we are providing good experiences for consumers,” says Google spokesperson Elijah Lawal. “When people use our platform to purchase tickets, we need to make sure that they have an experience they can trust. We think that event ticket resellers that agree to these new transparency requirements will provide a better and safer user experience on our platform.”
Troy Blakely 1949-2018 The international live music industry lost several well-known figures in the first few months of 2018, including two ILMC members: Italian-Jewish promoter David Zard, and American agent Troy Blakely. Richard Cousins, the chief executive of Compass Group, the world’s largest catering firm, tragically lost his life along with four members of his family in a plane crash in Sydney on New Year’s Eve. Cousins had led UK-headquartered Compass Group – which provides catering services to some of the world’s leading arenas, including The O2, Staples Center and SSE Arena Wembley, and has also held a 49% stake in AEG Facilities since 2011 – for the past 11 years. He was due to retire on 31 March. “We are deeply shocked and saddened by this terrible news,” says Paul Walsh, Compass Group’s chairman. The thoughts of everyone at Compass are with Richard’s family and friends, and we extend our deepest sympathies to them. “It has been a great privilege to know Richard personally, and to work with him for the last few years. Richard was known and respected for his great humanity and a no-nonsensestyle that transformed Compass into
one of Britain’s leading companies.” David Zard, a pioneering concert promoter who was the first to bring some of the biggest names in rock music to Italy, died in the last week of January. Born in Tripoli, Zard emigrated to Italy in 1967, fleeing persecution of Libya’s Jewish minority after the Six-Day War, and over the next five decades established himself as one of the country’s leading promoters, organising stadium tours by Cat Stevens, Elton John, Tina Turner, Lou Reed, Frank Zappa, The Rolling Stones, Genesis, Bob Dylan, Madonna, Michael Jackson and more. He was also a record producer and a booking agent, to Italian singersongwriter Gianna Nannini, among others. In recent years, Zard and his company, Saludo Italia, focused on stage shows, most recently producing the 2013 musical Romeo e Giulietta – Ama e cambia il mondo (Romeo and Juliet – Love and change the world). Vincenzo Spera, president of Italian promoters’ association Assomusica, says he was left “speechless” by news of Zard’s passing on 27 January (also Holocaust memorial day). “Your voice, your teachings, and your passion will never abandon us,” says Spera. “You will be greatly missed.” In February, Agency for the
David Zard 1943-2018
Richard Cousins 1959-2018 Performing Arts (APA)’s long-time head of music, Troy Blakely, also passed away, aged 68. The veteran rock agent signed acts including Robert Plant, Fleetwood Mac, Heart, The Go-Go’s, Lenny Kravitz and Judas Priest to LAbased APA, which he joined in 1994, becoming head of music in 1998, partner in 2002, and managing partner in 2005. Prior to joining APA, Blakely served spells at ICM, where his roster included Red Hot Chili Peppers, Boston, Poison, Faith No More, Iron Maiden, Ozzy Osbourne, and Rush, and Diversified Management Agency (DMA), which he joined in 1972 and where he counted Iggy Pop & the Stooges, Golden Earring, The Raspberries, Ted Nugent, and MC5 among his clients. He began his career in the late 60s as tour manager for Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels. “All of us at APA are deeply saddened by the passing of our friend and partner, Troy Blakely,” Jim Gosnell, president and CEO of APA, says. “We will be forever grateful for the numerous contributions he made to the success of our company over the past 25 years. “We will miss him dearly.”
IQ Magazine March 2018
The latest trades and handshakes from the agency world
years ago the band scraped all their money together to go into a little cottage and record 25 balls-out, grimy grunge songs. The resulting first EP was heard by Universal who immediately signed them and released the band’s self-titled debut album. A UK and Germany tour starts in March at venues including Manchester’s Deaf Institute, The Underworld in London, and Tsunami in Cologne. A model start, if you ask us.
ARI ROAR (US)
Agents: Rob Gibbs & Shane Daunt, Progressive Artists SINGER-SONGWRITER CALEB CAMPBELL (Ari Roar) wrote Calm Down while living in Seattle. He was a fan of Hunter Davidsohn, and reached out to the producer after writing and recording a collection of demo tracks. The pair bonded over an admiration for 1960s bands and gear, leading to Ari flying to Hunter’s New York studio to record. Ari played most of the instruments, while Hunter added a timpani part or a Wurlitzer section from time to time. After two weeks of nonstop recording, the result caught the ear of record label Bella Union, with a debut album scheduled for late May.
Agents: David Sullivan-Kaplan & Anna Bewers, UTA THE MESSAGE BEHIND Fangclub’s track Role Models is: be your own role model and fuck society. Fuck celebrities, fuck your parents, fuck your teachers – don’t listen to anybody because they’re all hollow. It’s a motto that’s served them well. Three
Agents: Jon Ollier & Emma Banks, CAA HOTLY TIPPED, LONDON-BASED NEWCOMER Arlo finished 2017 in fine fashion with Safe, which has racked up hundreds of thousands of plays online and got tastemakers like Hillydilly, BBC Music, Metro, Complex, and Clash Magazine talking. Sir Elton John has played Arlo’s records on his Beats 1 radio show, describing him as a new British talent. Premiered by Phil Taggart on BBC Radio 1 and The Line Of Best Fit, he kicks off 2018 with Homecoming, a grandiose, big-room alt-pop song displaying stellar vocals and expansive production. Arlo makes his live headline debut at the already sold-out Waiting Room in London, on 28 March, and is set to announce a number of live dates in the near future.
IQ Magazine March 2018
New Signings & Rising Stars
Artist listings 24-7 Spyz (US) Rob Berends, Paperclip Agency Ari Roar (US) Rob Gibbs & Shane Daunt, Progressive Artists Bananarama (UK) John Giddings & Charly Beedell-Tuck, Solo Agency Bedouine (US) Dave Jennings, Art & Industry Craig D’Souza, Primary Talent Big Heath (UK) Bitch Falcon (IR) Sean Goulding, UTA Black Saint (UK) Jack Clark, Echo Location Blossom Calderone (UK) Michael Harvey-Bray & Tom Schroeder, Coda Agency Chloe Charles (CA) Hilde Spille, Paperclip Agency Creep Show (UK/US) Rob Challice, Coda Agency Cut Chemist (US) Serena Parsons, Primary Talent Danny L Harle (UK) Andy Duggan & Nick Reddick, Primary Talent Fangclub (IR) David Sullivan-Kaplan & Anna Bewers, UTA G Herbo (US) Beckie Sugden, X-ray Touring Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly (UK) Richard Barber & Charly Beedell-Tuck, Solo Agency Hak Baker (UK) Hannah Shogbola, Echo Location Imelda May (IE) John Giddings & Charly Beedell-Tuck, Solo Agency Sally Dunstone, X-ray Touring Ivy Sole (US) Jono McCleery (UK) Naomi Palmer, Earth Agency
IQ Magazine hottest new acts - March 2018
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
Last Month 6 4 12 19 2 44 7 13 49 20 10 11 32 52 41
SIGRID (NO) YAEJI (US) SOFI TUKKER (US) TOM WALKER (UK) MASEGO (US) RAINBOW KITTEN SURPRISE (US) YELLOW DAYS (UK) STEFFLON DON (UK) VÉRITÉ (US) ALICE MERTON (DE) JESSIE REYEZ (CO/CA) LEWIS CAPALDI (UK) BIG THIEF (US) KHRUANGBIN (US) GUS DAPPERTON (US)
Fastest growing artists in terms of music consumption. Aggregated across a number of online sources.
IQ Magazine March 2018
JoyCut (IT) Phyllis Belezos & Lucia Wade, ITB Keid (UK) Debra Downes, Dawson Breed Music Kilo Kish (US) Sally Dunstone, X-ray Touring Kito (UK) Beckie Sugden, X-ray Touring L-Vis 1990 (UK) Nick Reddick, Primary Talent Lamb (UK) Steve Zapp, ITB Malaa (FR) Paul McQueen & Craig D’Souza, Primary Talent MAST (US) Naomi Palmer, Earth Agency Matias Aguayo (CL) Naomi Palmer, Earth Agency Matias Aguayo & The Desdemonas (CL) Naomi Palmer, Earth Agency Mr. Carmack (US) Beckie Sugden, X-ray Mush (UK) Shane Daunt, Progressive Artists NAATIONS (UK) Mark Bennett & Ben Kouijzer, UTA Nnamdi Ogbonnaya (US) Matt Pickering-Copley, Primary Talent Not3s (UK) Jack Clark, Echo Location Jack Clark, Echo Location Ocean Wisdom (UK) Octavian (CA) Jack Clark, Echo Location Palaye Royale (US) Bex Majors, UTA Phil Taggart (UK) Shane Daunt, Progressive Artists Phil Taggart DJ (UK) Shane Daunt, Progressive Artists Places + Faces (US) Beckie Sugden, X-ray Touring PnB Rock (US) Beckie Sugden, X-ray Touring Pretty Vicious (UK) Jamie Wade, X-ray Touring Ramz (UK) Craig D’Souza, Primary Talent Ronald Bruner Jr. (US) Beckie Sugden, X-ray Touring Sophie and The Giants (UK) Jamie Wade, X-ray Touring Sports Team (UK) Matt Bates, Primary Talent T-Pain (US) Beckie Sugden, X-ray Touring Tchami (FR) Paul McQueen & Craig D’Souza, Primary Talent The Wood Brothers (US) Sean Goulding & James Wright, UTA Todd Edwards (US) Nick Redick, Primary Talent Toots & The Maytals (JA) Justin Hill & Sean Goulding, UTA Touring Mush (UK) Shane Daunt, Progressive Artists Trippie Redd (US) Beckie Sugden, X-ray Touring Tyde Levi (AU) Beckie Sugden, X-ray Touring Warm Digits (UK) Rob Gibbs, Progressive Artists Welles (US) James Whitting, Coda Agency Yung Gravy (US) Beckie Sugden, X-ray Touring
What Price Fandom? Ian Taylor, head of ticketing and data management at Bigdog Live looks at the psychology of ticket pricing and the buyer experience.
ou’re an artist with fans, who naturally want to see you perform. But when your tickets go on sale with an option to purchase a premium ticket involving a more personal experience, how do you price that without alienating those fans who can only afford standard tickets? Genuine fans are by nature PASSIONATE. Feeling emotional attachment to an artist is interwoven with their whole life experience. And they deserve artists who consider what the changing landscape of price and value means to them. Today, live events offer customers many extra layers of experience: VIP lounges, meet & greets, exclusive merchandise, and premium seats etc. Some customers are willing to pay extra for best locations, and/or for an enhanced experience. Sometimes older and often more affluent, many customers are willing to ‘buy back’ their valuable time and avoid queues. But they want to feel great about it, not like they’ve been mugged. I recently saw this price/value balancing act play out on social media. An artist who’s been around for four decades announced a 2018 UK tour. I’m in the online fan group, who were quick to post the announcement, days before standard on-sale details were released, when the only prices known were those at the very top end. On offer was the “Meet & Greet” package containing exclusive merch, guaranteed front-row seating, and the chance to meet the act and have a professional picture taken with them. The group members were in uproar; most understood the appeal of the Meet & Greet package but many scoffed at anyone willing to pay. What really stoked the collective fires was a lower tier of premium “Hot Seat” experiences, which consisted of the front-row spots at a higher price, with the same exclusive merch, just without the meet & greet element. Some of the comments included: “I kinda resent the people that are paying over the odds for this rubbish. We could all have had our own meet and greet for nothing”; “are they just wanting to rip off their fans now?”; “I have the funds. I just choose not to be exploited”; “it’s not fair on the fans that can’t afford the premium experience” (to which someone replied, “It’s not fair that I can’t afford a Porsche and have to get around in a Fiat”). “Not fair” and “rip-off” featured throughout the comments. Serious fans felt they were being insulted and exploited by the pricing. This was 48 hours before standard ticket prices were known. Once standard ticket prices were published, comments included “That’s pretty reasonable” and the
general theme was that they were glad the act was touring and that good seats at affordable prices would be available. Interestingly, someone did post a poll on the group asking if you’d buy a standard ticket, a Hot Seat or a Meet & Greet. The results of the poll were: 87% standard, 11% Meet & Greet, and just 2% for the Hot Seat tier, which, if you have any experience in economics and price level perception, will tell you that the middle (Hot Seat) tier was probably there to provide a value distinction between top/ bottom pricing.
“Sometimes older and often more affluent, many customers are willing to ‘buy back’ their valuable time and avoid queues. But they want to feel great about it, not like they’ve been mugged.” Touring is a business, a commercial enterprise with a degree of risk that not enough tickets will be sold and/or money made to cover big, unavoidable costs. The industry also knows that higher prices for one event can reduce the overall audience for another. Fans who feel that reality in the ticket price may interpret it as greed, and more transparency about the pricing could mean less negative feedback. Who’s to say which fans are more genuine than others? It’s a nonsense status – you’re either a fan or you’re not. But the added word ‘genuine’ comes from an emotional place, a subjective place where only you can judge what’s true. I understand genuine passion – all of the team at bigdog Live do. It’s what makes our tails wag, and it’s how we know who those fans are, what they want, and where best to position that artist, act or event to ensure they get to make the best choices and have the best experiences. No matter how many comments I read (and almost replied to), I always knew that for that artist, that event, I’d choose the Meet & Greet package. I can’t queue for two hours for an autograph, but I do want the opportunity to meet the lead singer and say thank you for the years of enjoyment. I know I’m lucky to be able to pay for that choice. I can’t afford a Porsche, but I can sit in one for a few hours and pretend”.
IQ Magazine March 2018
Festival Trends For 2018 Katie McPhee, head of marketing UK & IE at Eventbrite, considers the changes and innovations that are likely to impact this year’s festival season.
he festival experience is evolving, and 2018 looks set to be a time in which current trends gain significant traction. As the core demographic, millennials are the driving force behind the changing face of the modern festival. The experience economy: As our recent research paper confirmed, millennials prioritise experiences over material goods. This will continue to have a significant and varied impact on the festival world this year. We’re already seeing innovation throughout the sector, for example, Camp Wildfire’s outdoor activities, or medieval weapons training at Swordpunk. The desire to seek unique experiences is also inspiring the growth of experiential activation at festivals. At Festival Number 6, Old Mout (cider) solved two issues at once with a simple method. 1) Old Mout wanted to build awareness for the adventurous aspect of their brand, and 2) People don’t enjoy queuing at bars. The solution: They built an Old Mout slide that people could use to bypass the bar queue.
“The tried-and-tested festival format of bands supplemented by little more than a comedy or film tent is on its way out.” On a grander scale, interactive art installations are already common, and VR, AR and AI will eventually make such ideas bigger and more fantastical. As such, tech will become more common, and we’ll see more technology companies collaborate with both festival organisers and brands. Wellness: The desire to seek out new experiences also ties into the current wellness trend. In our recent research, we’ve seen that old-school festival hedonism is changing. Young people are drinking less, eating better and aspire to achieve physical and mental well-being. Many wellness pursuits are experiences in their own right. Wilderness Festival hosted hip-hop yoga, qoya dancing and ommersion, which mixes Mongolian overtone chanting with a gong bath and aromatherapy, and is an experience to remember. We’ll see wellness continue to grow throughout 2018, following the success of events like Morning Gloryville, and
IQ Magazine March 2018
Soul Circus. Wellness is a natural fit for a festival’s communal vibe. As Morning Gloryville’s Samantha Moyo said in our documentary A New Dawn: Meet the Future of UK Nightlife, “We really looked at all aspects of clubbing and partying and we were just like, how can we make the journey different for people who come so the experience is much more healthy, grounded and transformative?” The combination of the above factors means that music festivals are becoming much more diverse, colourful, and experiential. The tried-and-tested festival format of bands supplemented by little more than a comedy or film tent is on its way out. Independent festivals, which have the freedom and courage to experiment and innovate, will continue to be the main drivers behind this change, before it eventually permeates the entire industry. Inconspicuous technology: Looking at event technology, we predict that the truly impactful innovation will continue to seem quite unspectacular – at least compared to headline-grabbing tech such as VR, AR and on-stage holograms. One example of how technology will subtly help improve festivals is the next generation of RFID technology. Its benefits include rapid event entry, shorter queues, and faster, cashless transactions. RFID can create a wealth of data that can help event creators better understand and optimise their festivals, making it much easier to convince potential sponsors to come on board. An ever-evolving range and depth of distribution and integration partnerships between ticketing companies and platforms for entertainment (e.g. Eventbrite’s integrations with Spotify, Facebook, Bandsintown, or Ents24) will also make it easier for consumers to find and buy tickets. In an era in which sales via mass email newsletters are in decline, independent organisers can now sell directly to consumers via this distributed form of sales, bypassing existing monopolies on customer data, and building their own base of fans for future campaigns. All in all, festivals will change for the better in 2018. We can expect more diverse experiences, and new-and-improved technology will benefit both the industry and consumers, but for the most part it will be a subtle evolution, rather than a dramatic sea change. Millennials will be the ones that demand this change, as they strive for new experiences and wellness. Flexible, innovative, and independent festivals are best placed to deliver on this. We can’t wait to see what the year ahead will bring.
Middle East Calling Numerous challenges last year led to soft ticket sales in the Gulf countries, but there’s a well of untapped potential out there, says Thomas Ovesen, vice president of programming, Dubai Arena.
017 proved to be a challenging year, with most Gulf State (GCC) economies hit by a lower-than-anticipated oil price. Dwindling government-underwritten construction and infrastructure projects led to lay-offs for many expats, a softening of the consumer market, and, eventually, a weak entertainment ticket market. VAT (5% initially) being introduced in some GCC markets from the beginning of this year also put a dampener on the “festivities” that should have been our 2017 live entertainment business. But, out at the 25,000-capacity Autism Rocks Arena on the outskirts of Dubai, 117Live had an owner spend a significant amount of money building the open-air venue, staging shows with the likes of Guns ‘N Roses, Bryan Adams, Bebe Rexha, Justin Bieber, Gorillaz, Stormzy, JLo, Ed Sheeran and Elton John. However, it was decided not to serve alcohol on-site, removing not only something local audiences expect, but an element crucial for event feasibility.
“...we have a huge untapped market catering for specific audience segments beyond the westerners who already have a very attractive annual line-up of top-level performers and shows visiting the region.” Across the city, the long-running Dubai International Jazz Festival and now regular RedFestDXB events ran, but had challenging ticket sales. The strong brunch business in town meant several “club” venues were able to upgrade capacity and service, becoming either all-day beach and pool clubs, or – as is the case with White and Base – localised 1,500-2,000-capacity “super” clubs
with artist budgets way beyond what similar bookings would warrant for conventional concert promotions. F&B has certainly become the current main revenue stream for the industry, at least concerning the 21+ punters – easily on a par with, if not exceeding, that of admission and ticket sales. But it’s not all bling and bottle service. Dubai Opera in only its second year of existence continues to roll out an impressive roster of own promotions, defying the soft ticket market. This leaves few weekend nights available for third-party bookings and challenges local promoters and even wannabe promoters to step-up and put on their own shows in the limited number of relevant, local venues. Here at the Dubai Arena, we have taken note of the soft market but, inspired by the likes of Dubai Opera, the up-fora-fight club scene and a few tenacious local promoters, we are taking a strategic approach to promoting our own events when we open in 2019. Additionally, and in parallel, we want to use the amazing arena facility and its many configuration options to help bring down the current prohibitive cost of show productions and promotions. We also need to programme for the growing number of residents and inbound tourists expected in the years leading up to the Dubai-hosted Expo2020. Smart programming and event curation will be key to growing the regional live events business over the coming years. Compared with other markets there is still a low volume of locally grown and based stars, performers and produced shows to promote, or of a quality permitting us to consider taking them on. However, we have a huge untapped market catering for specific audience segments beyond the westerners who already have a very attractive annual line-up of top-level performers and shows visiting the region. From K-pop and French-language music to e-Sports, gaming events, comedy, UFC, WWE, interactive exhibitions, and new “con”-style events covering pop culture, comics, beauty, fashion, fitness, health and food; we have only seen the tip of the iceberg of what can be promoted here. Such events will also form part of what we hope to see at the new Dubai Arena, as well as rolled out across the regional markets in the upcoming seasons. We haven’t even started on sports and associated event formats. Watch this space as we head towards finally becoming an “emerged market.”
IQ Magazine March 2018
What’s the Future for the Branded Live Music Experience? Having recently published the free MusicTank eBook Unlocking The Sync: A band’s guide to brands and a brand’s guide to bands, its author Kier Wiater Carnihan looks at developing trends in advertising at live events...
ast October, Richard Branson announced that V Festival would no longer be sponsored by the brand that gave the festival its name. As one of the most notorious front-runners of the branded live music experience, does the termination of a 22-year association indicate the end of brands wanting to associate with live events? With the future of the similarly long-running, Tennentssponsored T in the Park also uncertain, you could be forgiven for thinking so. However, with British live music audiences increasing year-on-year and several surveys suggesting that attendees feel more positively about brands who engage with music, it’s no surprise that brand sponsorship of venues, tours and festivals continues to curve upwards. Ultimately, while being a headline sponsor may look good, it’s a pretty blunt approach. As Ottawa Bluesfest director Mark Monahan recently explained to Eventbrite, brands are looking to identify specific audiences at festivals, preferring to “activate around artists” rather than events as a whole. Brands are also cutting through by providing services at festivals, from State Farm providing essentials to forgetful fans at Bonnaroo, to Hunter Boots giving away free wellies to Glastonbury-goers (a trend encouraged by the latest Nielsen 360 Report). Technology
is also opening up new avenues, from live-streamed events such as Boiler Room to exclusive, app-announced performances (see Toyota at last year’s Lollapalooza). What’s in it for the festivals though – not to mention our troubled small venues? Ultimately, the same thing that encourages artists to license their music to adverts: money. Not only could a cash injection help attract bigger performers but at least one venue has been pulled back from the brink by a brand, when The 100 Club was effectively saved from closure by Converse. What was notable about the deal was that Converse didn’t attempt to plaster their name all over the venue; rescuing it provided all the good PR they needed. As owner Jeff Horton enthused at the time, “They’re not interested in ownership [...] The fact that the club will remain independent [is what] appeals to them so much.” When it comes to ad-savvy millennials, brands increasingly seem content to sacrifice visibility in favour of authenticity. While you may see less headline branding of festivals and venues in 2018, brands aren’t spending less – they’re spending smarter. ‘Unlocking The Sync: A band’s guide to brands and a brand’s guide to bands’ can be downloaded for free at Musictank.co.uk.
GDPR - Everything You Need To Know Hannah Mason, SVP head of international data privacy, Live Nation Entertainment, and Giles Watkins, UK country leader, International Association of Privacy Professionals, outline what you need to know about the new law that will shake up how you handle fan and artist information.
veryone, from Blondie to The Kinks and from Beastie Boys to Pearl Jam, has sung about the importance of privacy. From 25 May 2018, the way the live music industry handles the personal information of its European fans, artists and employees is set for a shake up as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is introduced across Europe. So, what is the GDPR? The last European data protection law was introduced back in 1995. Since then, much has changed in terms of both the personal information we generate and share, and what we all perceive our rights over that data to be. The new law provides enhanced rights to individuals to control how their data is handled, and puts greater regulatory scrutiny on companies who mistreat the data entrusted to them. Who will it impact? The law will apply to all companies processing the data of European citizens (be they fans, customers, artists, employees or partners), irrespective of whether the company processing the data is inside Europe, or located globally. What might this cost me if I get it wrong? Fines can be up to 4% of group annual turnover (or €20million, whichever is higher). Other impacts of non-compliance include the power for regulators to suspend a company’s processing activities subject to investigation and the ability for consumers to band together and bring class actions. However, many companies are viewing the (i) potential brand damage, (ii) loss of customer trust, and (iii) diminishing investor return where personal information is mistreated, as potentially far more significant than the monetary penalties.
“This creates the opportunity to connect with fans and customers in an increasingly personalised way.” Is there any upside in this for me? Many organisations have found that being upfront and transparent with customers about the data that is held on them and how it is used builds trust and often results in them sharing increasing amounts of information. This creates the opportunity to connect with fans
and customers in an increasingly personalised way. Managed well, this could both lower the cost of acquiring and servicing them as well as increasing satisfaction. Ok, maybe I should be doing something about this - where should I start? First things first: get familiar with the law and nominate someone in your organisation to lead your company through the new requirements. You might need to appoint a data protection officer. Knowing both the relevant privacy laws and how to apply them to business processes is a considerable challenge. Having an appropriately skilled and qualified person in place is a must, and can repay any costs many times over by focussing any additional work only where it is absolutely necessary, whilst making sure full advantage is taken of the opportunity to engage more deeply with customers and fans. Knowing what you need to do to comply with the GDPR starts with having a proper grip on (i) what personal data you have, (ii) why you have it, (iii) what you use it for, (iv) where it is used and stored, and (v) what rights (consent) you have to hold and use it. For example, you’ll be relying on consent to market to fans – where is that consent coming from? – do you collect it directly from the fan, or does another company collect it for you? Under the GDPR, pre-ticked marketing opt-ins will be a thing of the past. The entity for whom consent is being given will also need to be named (e.g. generic “event partner” opt-ins will no longer be permissible). If you rely on others to collect marketing consent on your behalf, you should ensure they meet the new requirements. Citizens will also have powerful new rights, including the ability to: • access and make corrections to any of the data you hold on them; • request a copy of all of the data you hold on them, in a form that they can easily pass to others; • request that you delete all of their data; • opt-out of some or all processing or profiling (e.g. marketing segmentation). You must be ready to respond quickly should they choose to exercise these rights. Hannah and Giles are chairing a GDPR session on 7 March 2018 at ILMC 30.
IQ Magazine March 2018
News fr om live music associations ar ound the world
A global gathering of associations PREVENTING SEXUAL harassment at festivals and in clubs, the latest on fighting secondary ticketing, and continuous professional development, are likely to be amongst the topics discussed at the ILMC Association Summit on 6 March. The gathering of the leading live music associations from each market will see 30 groups attend – up from 25 last year – to meet, network and swap best-case ideas and initiatives. Another matter likely to come up is funding models for developing artists. As acts are expected to develop a large online following before generating label interest, and streaming focuses on singles rather than albums, who will invest to build artists? With so many associations in the room, one ques-
tion on the agenda is the need for a single umbrella organisation to represent the interests of the live music business on a pan-European level. Recently, German promoter organisations BDV and VDKD merged in order to speak with one voice, and with many active groups, there’s an argument for a joining of forces for a continent-wide voice. Among associations taking part this year are the International Music Managers Forum, Music Canada Live, APM (Spain), Yourope, Live Music Sweden, BDV (Germany), and TESDER (Turkey). The summit is a closed meeting, with one representative from each association invited. It will be hosted by Greg Parmley and Manfred Tari.
€1.5m support for music pilots THE EUROPEAN UNION has unveiled a multimillion-euro fund to help projects across the continent, with the aim of supporting and developing the music sector. The Music Moves Europe (MME) scheme will target four themes: music circulation, artist development, training, and music export. A fund of €1.5million is available in 2018 to test various schemes that could become part of a fully-fledged EU music programme from 2021. Budgets for the following two years have not been announced as assigning budgets has become more complicated due to Brexit negotiations. European commissioner for education, culture, youth and sport, Tibor Navracsics, told those at the launch of the initiative, “My aim is to have, after 2020, a bigger, wellresourced programme for the cultural and creative sectors.
Direct licensing ‘needs more work’ ALTHOUGH IT WASN’T AS big a deal as feared this summer, direct licensing is on the agenda for Yourope members as the organisation reaches its 20th anniversary year. This season, some Yourope festival members got invoices from acts that bypassed collecting societies, opting to collect the songwriting fees themselves. The problem is, say festivals, while this is a reasonable thing to do, there isn’t a smooth direct licensing process yet. Collecting societies still claim to offer blanket licences
that cover 100% of songwriting fees, which is no longer true. Certain artists take their live performance rights and license it themselves, and the collecting societies need to come up with a mechanism that allows them to adjust their own invoices, which don’t cover 100% of rights. This isn’t helped, the organisation says, by a “very aggressive approach” from the agency representing direct licensing artists, giving promoters only a few weeks’ notice about an act on the festival’s bill that is licensing
directly. Festivals say it isn’t enough time to find a solution that may involve talking to the collecting society or to the artist’s management. At its recent meeting at Eurosonic Noorderslag, Yourope members heard its Take A Stand campaign has grown to include 14 European associations and 87 festivals from 22 countries. The campaign aims to encourage social cohesion in society by promoting awareness and tolerance for all cultures, genders, races, religions, sexual orientations, colours and origins.
“There is growing recognition that it is high time to invest more in culture, in our cultural and creative sectors that have such an important role in fostering social development and boosting innovation, economic growth and job creation.” Organisations including Yourope, Eurosonic Noorderslag, the IMMF, the European Live Music Association, and Impala welcomed the initiative. In a joint letter, they say: “The next step is a tailor-made EU music programme with a budget that is proportionate to its economic, social and cultural contribution. Among other things, a fully-fledged music programme would help trigger more investment in the sector, boost diversity, and increase the mobility of artists and repertoire across borders. Let’s give ourselves the means to make this one of the EU’s great success stories.” In other positive news, the association now has 93 members, the “highest number ever,” says general secretary Christof Huber. Among its members are Exit (Serbia), Pukkelpop and Rock Werchter (Belgium), Le Printemps de Bourges (France), Sziget (Hungary), and Lollapalooza Berlin and Rock im Park (Germany). Huber says he would love to see the total reach 100 by the end of the year.
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IQ Magazine March 2018
Gig Gadgetry from the Frontline...
Evopass FOILING FRAUDSTERS AND tackling touts is Evopass’s mission: the company says it has created a secure, traceable, digital ticketing
YOU’VE SEEN THE HOLOGRAMS of Michael Jackson, Tupac and Elvis, but think that’s out of reach for all but the highest production budgets? London-based LED technology company Kino-mo is here to change that. Its Hypervsn is a projection unit generating 3D visuals that look like hi-resolution holograms floating in mid-air. Visuals can be up to 3m in size, and you can upload up to five hours of visuals across multiple units. You don’t need design skills just use the software to cre-
platform that eliminates fraud, touting and missed resale revenue. Founders Jake, Zach and Kevin realised one of the primary reasons it is so hard to control touting and fraud is that it is incredibly difficult to control how paper and etickets are exchanged. Digital tickets stored in mobile devices was the answer, explains Jake. “These tickets are bought and resold through the app, allowing artists/promoters to not only control resale, but also to begin to capture some of the resale revenue by charging small fees on either side of the resale transaction.” In order to prevent unauthorised ticket transfers or screenshots, the company developed an innovative QR code system that regenerates every 0.5 seconds, supported
by a unique algorithm. In order for the ticket to be scanned, the QR code must be live and regenerating and the scanner must see sequentially generated codes. It’s been designed so that the algorithm and tickets are available offline, and aren’t reliant on Internet access to work. It also offers a ‘send to a friend’ option, or even prevent resale entirely. The firm is providing the software to ticket agents and self-ticketing venues, and also offers a full ticketing service through its app. During a testing phase in Dublin last year the company says it processed over €50,000 in tickets in its first 12 weeks of operations. Jake MccGwire will be showcasing Evopass during the New Tech panel at ILMC 30 on Thursday 8 March.
ate your visuals or pick from the company’s library. Kino-mo has been backed by the likes of Richard Branson, and says it has agreements with 20 distributors
worldwide for Hypervsn. Imagine a 3m-high beer at festival bars, sponsor messages in 3D, or ‘virtual’ wayfinding stewards. The future is here coming to a gig near you.
I AM POP FACEBOOK’S LATEST UPDATES to newsfeed prioritise friends and family updates over companies’ digital content – which is leading to a drop-off in visibility for businesses. One solution being championed for making sure the message gets through is messenger bots. Proponents say they provide your fans with exactly the information they want, when they want it, and keep them happy with instant responses. They offer extremely high engagement and clickthrough rates, and despite a slightly rocky start due to overly high expectations of what they could achieve, they’re now being hailed by many as vital drivers for digital content. Early adopters include Live Nation (in North America) and Ticketmaster. But you don’t have to be a tech specialist or a multinational to have a bot, says Amsterdam-based I AM POP. It offers an easy-to-set-up service that allows companies to have their own messenger bot, including auto-responses to fan questions, direct messaging and the chance to own all the data. Founder Tim Heineke claims the firm is achieving 90% engagement; a key reason being messenger bots bypass Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm – so companies can communicate directly with fans. Will this be top of the bots? We’ll have to wait and see.
Kino-mo’s 3D visuals look like hi-resolution holograms that float in mid-air
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IQ Magazine March 2018
TheofPower Equality For a creative industry that prides itself on being forward-thinking, thereâ€™s still a long way to go on equality. But things are changing, as Rhian Jones finds out.
oes the live music industry have a gender problem? The brutal truth is: yes it does. But we suspect most people already knew that. We interviewed a number of women for this article and all of them report an industry-wide culture that can be sexist, predatory and unequal. However, things are changing for the better, and there are a number of industry initiatives that set out to tackle inequality. Let’s look at the stats. While there are a handful of women excelling in the modern live music business, that number pales in comparison to men at the top. In Billboard’s Power 100 list for 2018, there are over five times as many men (33) who work in live music, as there are women (six). In the UK live industry, men in senior leadership roles far outnumber women. The UK Music diversity survey in 2016, which included responses from those working in the live sector, revealed that between the ages of 25 and 34, women account for 54.5% of the overall music industry workforce. However, that number dropped to 41.4% in the 35-44 age range and to 32.7% between 45 and 64. French music venue federation FEDELIMA will publish a report in May that shows women count for just 10% of music club directors, 12% of artist managers, and 3% of technicians. Why are there so few women in charge? According to those interviewed, there are a number of reasons, including the late nights and demanding nature of a job in live music making it difficult to manage with children; a lack of female role models who inspire and encourage young women to believe they can become a promoter or an agent; and last but not least, a boys’-club mentality that is not inclusive and respectful of women – and which can result in sexual harassment and sexist attitudes. These issues aren’t unique to the music business, of course. But, as seen in Hollywood, any close-knit industry that is social in nature – especially one with fierce competition to advance careers – can make it easy for bad behaviour to continue without repercussions.
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The recent #metoo movement on social media highlighted multiple reports of a situation where men in senior positions are repeatedly protected – while those lower on the ladder who are brave enough to raise a complaint are silenced. Achieving equality in the workplace isn’t simply a case percentage of women music aged of doing the right thing for its in own sakeindustry – there are business advantages to such an approach. A study in 2015 by McKinsey consultants surveyed more than 350 large public companies in North America, Latin America and the UK. It found that those with the most gender-diverse staff were 15% more likely to produce better returns than other local companies. Firms that were racially and ethnically diverse performed even better, while less diverse companies were less likely to do well. McKinsey’s UK managing partner, Vivian Hunt, told the FT: “For every 10% improvement in gender
diversity, you’d see a 2-4% increase in profits.” Considering half of music ticket buyers are female, it makes business sense to have equality among the people who are booking the bands, and promoting and marketing the shows, to ensure that all tastes are catered for – and that includes making sure the environments they’re working in are safe and respectful. Gender isn’t the only sticking point, of course, and there’s an equally strong case for having a workforce that represents different backgrounds, ethnicities and abilities in the world at large. However, it’s gender that’s on the agenda at ILMC on Wednesday 7 March, when Coda Agency’s Natasha Bent leads a discussion with senior industry figures on some of the hot-button issues currently dominating headlines.
It’s reigning men
omen across the live music business have told us their experiences for this article. We’ve heard multiple reports from women who feel they have been ignored while male colleagues are listened to and consulted; instances of people assuming they are their firm’s secretary; women who have been explicitly told to keep quiet in meetings; excluded from staff days out; and even accused of “knowing nothing” when suggesting that sexual harassment at festivals is an issue worthy of attention. Says one female agent working in Europe: “Our office meetings are often quite chaotic, in which the men tend to shout to say something and most women just don’t say anything at all. “I’m the kind of woman who always voices her opinion but at one point my boss told me he didn’t like how I behave. So I did an experiment where over a month I didn’t say anything in meetings. He called me into his office after the month and told me that he liked my behaviour in meetings much more now. “So, as a woman, you’re supposed to shut up or not voice your opinion because no one wants to hear it, but it’s totally fine if the men are loud?” At one UK live music company, a female employee says: “The majority of promoters in my company are male. I’ve seen them display sexist behaviour in the way they talk about women, which is demoralising to hear. They’ve openly mocked female promoters in the industry who are doing well and said it was because they’ve slept their way through the business and not got there on their own merit. “We also have a senior male staff member who has groped a younger female colleague and is known as a bit of a creep. The culture is very ‘laddy’ and it’s all about protecting the promoters; if anyone did have a bad experience with one of them I don’t think they’d be comfortable going to HR or our CEO because they [male promoters] are seen as the gods of the company. If you’re bringing in money, no one can touch you.” She – and others – say working in this kind of culture as a woman makes you wonder what your colleagues and superiors say about you behind closed doors. It results in feelings of a lack of job security and concerns about your future prospects because those you work for show little respect for women.
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IQ Magazine March 2018
Boys keep swinging
Companies are more likely to achieve roblem behaviour isn’t just confined better results with a gender-balanced staff to the office. One
woman in the industry told us: “I haven’t experienced sexism in my day-to-day job but there have been incidents at parties that have made me feel uncomfortable. After a Christmas party, I shared a taxi back to my hotel with a male executive who was a lot older and was heading in the same direction as me. I was quite drunk and when we got to the hotel he suggested that we walk it off. We sat down at one point and he asked me to kiss him, I said ‘No, that’s really weird.’ “We went back to his hotel where I’d left my stuff in his room. When I went back to get it he tried to pull me onto the bed but I got my things and ran out. The next time I saw him he tried to bring it up as a joke, he had no idea how uncomfortable that situation was for me.” These stories aren’t uncommon – and there have been many other tales recounted in open letters around the world. In the USA, a number of high-profile music executives harassmentinorgender even abuse, while an For everyy were accused of sexual improvement investigation by the BBC in the UK found similar stories. diversity, you see a increase in profits Sexual harassment often happens in the world at large. But when it takes place in a small industry there’s always the chance of running into that person again and them having a hand in your career. This is a power people could, and have, abused. Equally, if senior men in the business are acting inappropriately with younger women but seeing no repercussions for it, why would those women endure that and stick around long enough to become future leaders? Sonos CMO Joy Howard started her career as an artist manager before leaving the music business after being continually patronised by promoters. She told her story to Bob Lefsetz on the Lefsetz Letter blog, concluding:
Contributors Natasha Bent, Coda Agency; Kim Bloem, Mojo Concerts; Joy Howard, Sonos; Natalia Nastaskin, United Talent Agency; John Reid, Live Nation Europe - Concerts; Claire Singers, Claire Singers Consultants;; Anna Sjölund, Live Nation Sweden
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percentage of women in music industry aged
“The sad thing about this story is the band I left behind. Our friends in the scene went on to great success with Catpower, Prefuse 73 and Mastodon. Who will ever know what we could have done if I hadn’t gotten so fed up? “And that’s the ultimate lesson for men and women alike: you depend on the talents of others for your success. No one does it alone. Are you creating a scene where those whom you need the most will be a part of your success? Or are they standing around you thinking to themselves, I’m too fucking smart for this?” percentage of women in music industry aged Indeed. Women are not in business to be disrespected and used for their sex appeal, they are there to be utilised and rewarded for their skills, perspective and contribution. What these sorts of open letters are doing is bringing sexual harassment out into the open and making it something we can talk about, says Anna Sjölund, co-MD of Live Nation Sweden. “When people feel like they are not alone, it also shifts the shame from the victim to the perpetrators. We are talking about how we act towards each other and how we want our society to be, and I think that’s really important.” Sjölund says changing damaging behaviour in and outside the workplace comes down to education and encouraging people to speak out. “You simply have to teach people what’s not acceptable,” she says. “The’shame’ thing is key, you have to have an environment where we all work towards raising our voices and making sure that when you see something that’s not right, which isn’t limited to the workplace or our industry, you raise your voice.” For women in live music who have children, the traditional 9-5 in the office – plus evening and weekend events – can make it nearly impossible to manage with a family. That’s unless you can afford high childcare costs or have the dedicated support of a partner. One executive in the UK told us: “News of my pregnancy was greeted as more of a problem for them to overcome than good news. For staff at my level there is very little flexibility available, even though a lot of the work is computer-based and could happen at home.” Coda agent Natasha Bent, who has a three-year-old, has been lobbying for ‘smart working’ where through technology employees can work from anywhere as long as they get work done in a structured and productive manner. “On the last panel I hosted, I asked everyone in the crowd who wants a family to raise their hand, and around 90% put their hand up,” she says. “I then asked who wants to be at the head of the company and everyone put their hand up. It’s not that women disappear because they don’t want to progress.”
ROYAL ARENA, COPENHAGEN
Companies are more likely to achieve better results with a gender-balanced staff
IQ Magazine March 2018
better results with a gender-balanced staff
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Executive coach Claire Singers, who has a long history in the music business as co-owner of PR firm LD Communications, suggests a five-step plan to achieve diversity in business. This spans recruitment policies, unconscious bias, equal pay for equal work, smart/flexible working, and shared parental leave. For everyy “If people aren’t improvement in gender actively looking at these areas, setting goals and targets and making themselves diversity, you see a increase in profitsaccountable, it’s not going to happen,” she says. “If you’re saying you think diversity is really important to your organisation, what are you doing to achieve that? “Achieving true diversity is very easy to do if you’ve got the will to do it. We know what needs to be done to change company culture, and at the end of all that you have to measure the situation as it is now and set goals and targets with a timeline.” The good news is, thanks to widespread open discussion, things are changing. Live Nation has recently revamped its global maternity policy to provide six months of full-paid leave for the primary carer – either maternity or shared parental – and two weeks of full-paid paternity leave. The same action has recently been taken at Coda – employees who have given over five years’ continuous service get the first six months of leave paid at full salary and the remaining three at 50% (for those who’ve spent less time at the company there’s a range of support that depends on tenure). However, many other live music companies in the UK only offer statutory maternity pay. And in the US, the situation is dire unless you’re with a generous company. Bent adds: “We work from the age of 20 up until the age of 65 or 70, that’s 45 years, and perhaps about five or six years of it is to do with babies and needing support. All a company needs to do is support that parent and you’ll get a loyal employee that is with you for 40 to 45 years. “A lot of companies don’t think about the bigger picture but it’s just a small part of a woman or a man’s career. Another thing you learn when you have a kid is that you feel a responsibility to work better and more smartly – you don’t suddenly become incapable when you become a mum.”
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At cultural centre Paloma, in Nîmes, deputy director Flavie Van Colen tells us they run weekly classes where they tell school children that no job is out of reach. They encourage women to train as technicians through work experience programmes and ensure that all their communication materials feature male and female musicians equally. Van Colen also suggests that live industries across Europe could lobby for funding to make diversity a collective effort – something that was discussed at Eurosonic conference last year on a panel featuring representatives from France, Belgium, Germany and Spain. “Our situations were about the same, so we were convinced that we should try to run something together,” she adds. Mojo Concerts’ Kim Bloem reports that the Netherlandsbased company is in the process of working out how to better support employees when it comes to time off and flexible working. The firm is planning an anonymous survey to find out what staff feel they are missing and how it can help them in co-ordination with its workers’ council. “We’ve concluded that it is really about awareness at all levels, and everybody being aware should help to things move Companies are more likely achieve forward,” says Bloem. better results with a gender-balanced staff Bent advises companies to, “know your staff, talk to them, and don’t be afraid of change”. Live Nation is aiming to lead industry change after hiring Elizabeth Morris as VP diversity and inclusion in the US, and Genevieve O’Neil, who is leading on D&I comms and engagement in the international division. The company is currently working on a number of initiatives that aim to support a range of talent both back and front of stage. John Reid, president of Live Nation Europe-Concerts, says: “If there’s going to be structural change in the business, we have to lead it as the biggest company. We intend on making strides in the next 12- to 24-month period and have a lot of internal steps to get there.”
here are supportive networks and mentoring programmes worldwide aimed at supporting women working in music. Global networking and support group She Said So recently opened its Dutch office; Sweden has a mentoring programme, The Power Over the Music; and Germany has the educational programme Female Future Force. In the UK, trade body UK Music is working with larger music companies to better diversity at all levels, while the Musicians’ Union is collecting reports of harassment from musicians, and researching the gender imbalance of festival line-ups in order to suggest solutions. This is an issue PRS Foundation’s European Keychange initiative is also championing by encouraging festivals to sign-up to a 50:50 gender balance across conference and live music programmes. In France, companies working in music are at the beginning of an awareness around diversity, and research is ongoing to find solutions for the gender imbalance.
HARBIN OPERA HOUSE
THE WALT DISNEY CONCERT HALL, LOS ANGELES
Balancing the bookings
For everyy diversity, you see a
improvement in gender increase in profits
Natalia Nastaskin, head of US music operations at United Talent Agency, asserts that “the onus is on women AND men in senior and executive positions in music to change the metrics.” Bent concludes: “If you look at the ratio of women-tomale agents and the boards of directors, it’s clear to see that there is a problem. We have to work out why and how and what we – as the future bosses of companies – can do. “There is discrimination going on without us thinking about it. We are all guilty of it and it’s our responsibility to change it.” This topic will be debated during the Gender: Calm down – what’s the fuss? panel on 7 March at ILMC 30
IQ Magazine March 2018
8 Things I’ve Learned at 80 For six decades, Marcel Avram has been the go-to promoter for some of the world’s biggest stars, pioneering international touring with the likes of Rod Stewart and Michael Jackson long before the big corporates made the global model commonplace. Now, as he celebrates his 80th birthday – and a remarkable 50 years in the business – the man affectionately dubbed ‘The Emperor’ by his peers imparts some of the lessons learnt from half a century at the top to a new generation of concert professionals. As told to Jon Chapple.
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Be bold (it pays off) Avram’s relationship with Michael Jackson began in 1972, when he promoted The Jackson 5 in Germany with MAMA Concerts – and by the late 80s he was promoting the European leg of Jackson’s first solo trek, the Bad tour, which became the second-highest grossing of 1988 (behind Pink Floyd’s A Momentary Lapse of Reason – also an Avram tour in Germany). “In 1988, I was just a fat little Jew speaking broken English, but I’d decided I wanted to work with Michael Jackson,” he explains. “I had to be creative and I had to be fearless getting my strategy together, as I was competing against the big promoters in England and America – everybody wanted to do MJ. “In the end, I became the producer, the agent, and the promoter, all in one person. I’m very proud of that achievement.”
Loyalty is key “The way I learnt the business,” explains Avram, “is that if you do a good job, you expect the artist will stay with you. It used to be that you’d discover an act in a 200-cap club and stay with them right up to arenas and stadia. “Unfortunately, at the moment, much of the business has moved from the individual promoter to the stock market – as soon as some artists get big, the [corporates] go to them and say, ‘We can take you to the next level.’ It’s going in the direction of promoters working their arses off at a club-level, and then losing acts when they become big. How can you fight the stock market?” Avram says this new business reality was laid bare by a meeting he had with an artist he’d “taken from the bottom” and their manager informing him their next tour would be with a major corporate. “When I asked about loyalty – where are the ethics? – I was told, ‘If you want loyalty, buy a dog.’”
Be patient On a related note, Avram laments what he sees as a modern obsession among some artists and their teams with getting rich quick – often at the expense of a proper long-term plan. “Money shouldn’t come first,” he says. “If you have a good act, the quality is right, and you have good people working on it, the money will come. “Look at the two biggest festivals in the world, Coachella and Tomorrowland,” he continues. “In the first few years, they had no money and made a big loss – it was all down to the creativity of the promoters, bookers and agents. Then it blew up, and that’s how it should be: the money should come at the end.” The problem is exacerbated, he suggests, by managers and agents who – understandably – are under huge pressure to secure more income for their artists. On the buy-a-dog manager, Avram explains: “He said to me, ‘Marcel, you’re offering $100,000 a show, and I have another guy offering $120,000.’ How can I go back to my artist and say, ‘Sorry, you’re not going to make an extra $20,000 a show’? And agents are under similar pressure.”
IQ Magazine March 2018
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Marcel with Michael Jackson; and with Ossy Hoppe and Shakira
Keep your finger on the pulse After a 50-year career in which he has regularly worked with greats including Pink Floyd, Eric Clapton, Metallica, AC/DC, Prince, Paul McCartney, Rod Stewart, Paul Simon, Jennifer Lopez and, most famously, his “dear friend” Michael Jackson, Avram could be forgiven for not keeping up to date with current musical trends. However, nothing, he says, could be further from the truth, explaining he “still gets a kick out of growing an act” and “taking them all the way.” He has more recently promoted Justin Bieber and Arcade Fire, currently working with big-on-the-Internet American boy-band Why Don’t We (managed by former AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips and his long-time partner Dave Loeffler) who he says has the “potential to be a stadium act” in the near future.
Social is the future… One of the biggest changes Avram says he’s seen in six decades in the business is how shows are promoted. “In the old days, you’d put up a poster or take out an ad, in print, or the radio or TV,” he explains. “Now, we still have those methods, but we’ve added bloggers, social media, YouTube… Social media has opened up the world.”
… but meeting in person is still important However, he continues, “I can’t explain myself in writing as well as face to face. [By meeting face to face] I can explain my strategy, my belief, and my enthusiasm in a way that’s impossible via email. This is my way of doing business – it’s been the same for the last 50 years.” He adds that his well-known fondness for air travel – “I don’t know any single person who flies as many miles as he does,” Wizard Promotions’ Ossy Hoppe told IQ in 2013, when Avram was a spritely 75 – is a result of this dedication to in-person meetings. “I go to Moscow, to Tel Aviv, to India,” he explains. “It’s always been important to me to discover new markets all over the world.”
“I’ve climbed to the top of the mountain – and when you’re at the top, it’s very difficult to come down. And I want to give myself plenty of time to do it.””
IQ Magazine March 2018
Marcel with Celine Dion; and Elton John
“When I asked about loyalty – I was told, ‘If you want loyalty, buy a dog.’”
Beware the taxman Perhaps the nadir of Avram’s professional career was spending time in a Munich prison after being convicted of tax evasion in 1997. While he maintains the scheme, which involved paying artists through a company based in a Dutch overseas territory, was and is legal, he nevertheless has a few words of advice for younger promoters: “Don’t mess with the taxman! They will always find a reason to get you. But they’re stronger than you are, so let them fight the big companies with their offshore offices instead.”
Stay active At an age when most people have long been happily retired, Avram says – health allowing – he still has no plans to step back from his work. “I feel amazing!” he says. “As long as God gives me health, and I can carry on doing whatever I like doing, I’ll still work and enjoy my life.” Avram says artists such as French singer Charles Aznavour, who at 93 is still touring, inspire him to keep going. “When I’m 80 and I speak to a 93-year-old artist who says, ‘Music is my life, the stage is my life, and if I don’t do that I’ll die,’ I tell myself I can do it as well. “I’ve had success with other businesses, but music is my passion, and I’ll keep doing this as long as I have enough energy. I’ve climbed to the top of the mountain – and when you’re at the top, it’s very difficult to come down. And I want to give myself plenty of time to do it.”
Marcel with Tina Turner; Siegfried & Roy; Rod Stewart; and Jennifer Lopez
IQ Magazine March 2018
Opposites The two bosses at ITB are so different that the office is jokingly divided into ‘dark’ and ‘light’ sides; but the balance is clearly a winning formula, as 40 years at the top proves. Adam Woods, Gordon Masson and James Drury meet the team.
t ITB, they call it “going over to the dark side.” You walk out of the open-plan space where Barry Dickins is king, and most of the other agents and assistants reside, reside, cross reception and follow the corridor down to the other end. There, you might find Rod MacSween and his team, surrounded by shelves of highbrow books and photos of MacSween arm-around-shoulder with the cream of classic rockers: Ozzy, Page and Plant, Steven and Joe. “We’ve always liked the idea of the company all being set out over one level, with Rod at one end of the office and me at the other, and everyone else in between,” says Dickins. The demarcation of ‘dark’ and ‘light’ sides is jokily acknowledged by little Star Wars icons above the key-code entry systems on opposite sides of reception – on MacSween’s, the rock giants; on Dickins’, the classic singer-songwriters. Office geography aside, Dickins and MacSween remain
one of the live business’s most indivisible partnerships, still intact after 40 years that have included a 14-year spell within Live Nation, a latter-day return to independence, and long-term relationships with artists including Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Paul Simon and ZZ Top (Dickins’ list); and Aerosmith, Black Sabbath, The Who, Pearl Jam, Kiss, Guns N’ Roses and Maroon Five (MacSween’s). But it’s been some time since the company was solely the sum of the founders’ still-formidable rosters. In 2018, ITB offers strength in depth, with Dickins’s daughter Lucy famously turning up talent including Adele, Mumford & Sons, Hot Chip and James Blake, and other senior agents such as Mike Dewdney (Kasabian, Blink-182, Eels, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club), and Steve Zapp (Biffy Clyro, Courteeners, Editors, The Cult) holding their own.
IQ Magazine March 2018
But while there’s plenty of work taking place at ITB between the two poles of Dickins and MacSween, it is their chalk-and-cheese relationship that still defines the public face of the business. And the more you look at it, the more you suspect this is the evergreen marriage that remains harmonious largely because they live substantially separate lives. “Me and Rod are completely different – mentally, physically and artistically,” says Dickins. “That’s probably why the business works so well. If we were similar people then we probably would have killed each other by now.” MacSween agrees. “We don’t see an awful lot of each other, but we each have much respect for what the other does. We have always remained friends and been there for each other, as partners should be.” Different they may be but the two are genuine legends of equal stature in the pantheon of agents – MacSween the tough negotiator, not one for small talk, who lives and breathes the music he represents; Dickins the charmer but certainly no pushover, with encyclopedias of touring know-how under the silver barnet. “He is really humble; he is not a chest-beater about how well he has done,” says Lucy Dickins. “But he is a fucking genius in this business – he is so good.” Independently, her father extends exactly the same compliment to his business partner. “Rod is a fucking genius,”
says Barry. “If I was a manager then he would be our agent. He is, hands down, the best agent I’ve ever come across. He’s incredible. He gets great deals. I swear that people just give him the best deals to get him off of the phone.” It is no coincidence that Dickins, “the hands-on, runningthe-company guy,” in Dewdney’s words, works among the rest of the agents, while MacSween maintains a separate team – three assistants, plus another agent, Ian Sales – that allows him to focus intently, even obsessively, on the needs of his artists. “I’m a bit anal sometimes,” says MacSween. “I still make numbered lists of things to do each day. If I don’t complete any, I asterisk them and carry them forward to the next day.”
The Arden connection
hen they talk to IQ – at different times, of course – Dickins, while still a very active agent, tends to survey the company as a whole, while MacSween’s focus is his faithful dedication to his own family of acts. For such a long-lived partnership, Dickins and MacSween took a little time to get off the ground. The former, the son of NME founder Percy Dickins, had come up in the 1960s, representing The Who, Jimi Hendrix and The Nice at the
ITB Claudio Trotta, Barry, Carl Leighton-Pope and Rod
Malcolm Rose agency, before honing his trade under agentpromoter Harold Davidson, who later sold to MAM. “I was in the rock department at MAM in 1975, and Rod was at the Bron Agency and I’d heard good things about him,” says Barry. “I actually offered him a job at MAM but he said he wanted more money than I was on, so that conversation was fairly short.” MacSween came into the business like many – as social secretary at the University of Exeter in the early-1970s. He spent time at various London agencies before eventually coming into the organisation of notorious manager Don Arden, where he first met Arden’s daughter, Sharon [Osbourne] – now a longstanding friend. “She was working with her father at the time,” MacSween recalls. “We, and then Ozzy, became great friends. With all their help, ITB was set-up in 1976. Barry came and joined as a partner in 1978.” “Don didn’t have the best reputation but I have to say that he was always good with me,” says Barry. “Anyway, it was a pretty good offer and I was young, so I thought what the hell – what did I have to lose?” In the early days, Dickins could boast Fleetwood Mac, Neil Young, The Kinks, Joni Mitchell and others. MacSween, yet to deck his office walls with most of the rockers that nowadays make up most of his client base, had ELO, Steve Hillage, Kiki Dee, Roy Wood’s Wizzard, and Whitesnake. Together, they built a formidable reputation for smart negotiating, a strong eye for career development and notably tight artist relationships. An in-depth company profile from 25 years ago in Applause magazine describes the business as much admired, big-hitting and fully formed, the characters of its co-managing directors distinctly recognisable as the ones we see now. Even then, Dutch promoter Leon Ramakers marveled at the co-managing directors’ unlikely union, declaring it an example to all the peoples of the world of how to live in harmony. In those days, the main controversy was ITB’s habit of promoting shows. Dickins recalls that the company added the service to its offering early on, when famously tough West
Coast managers David Geffen and Elliot Roberts – whose artists included singer-songwriter superstars Crosby, Stills & Nash, Neil Young, and Joni Mitchell – queried the very notion of an agents’ commission. “They said they didn’t need to pay us commissions because their artists would sell-out shows anyway,” says Dickins. “So they told us that they’d take 90% with no guarantee. There was no fee for the act but we’d get 10% of the profit. So the choice was easy – either we promoted the shows ourselves or we would not get paid.” Other significant ITB shows have included ABBA in 1978; Diana Ross, and Michael Jackson in the early-1990s; and Simon & Garfunkel in Hyde Park in 2004. Under Annette Robinson, the company still promotes shows to this day: Adele’s six London dates last year were ITB productions, as was ELO’s show at Wembley Stadium. ITB has never been scared to blur traditional industry boundaries. These days, everyone at ITB is clearly proud of the agency’s independence, though it is sometimes easy to forget that the company’s 40 years in business includes years inside the biggest corporate of all. “It was either 1999 or 2000 when I got a call from Bob Sillerman and we did the deal, firstly as part of SFX, then Clear Channel, and latterly Live Nation,” says Dickins.
Barry with Dolly Parton
IQ Magazine March 2018
After spells in Wardour Street and Floral Street, ITB moved over to Charlotte Street around the time of the deal. “We had separate offices from Live Nation itself, as that was better for everyone concerned – an independent promoter coming in for a meeting with us might have felt a little uneasy if we had been in the main Live Nation offices.” After the cord was cut in 2014, a move to Aldwych symbolically closed the chapter. “When we were offered a deal where we could get out of Live Nation amicably, we thought it would be a good time to move the company to new offices so we could have a clean break,” says Dickins. “We had a good time when we were part of the company – they were very good to us, and were very hands off because we were making money – so the fact we’re still good friends with Live Nation is important.” MacSween agrees. He keeps a framed photo of himself with Michael Rapino on his bookshelves alongside those of his beloved rock stars, and says they regularly talk. For all its success, in a corporate, globalised world, ITB now finds itself both a resonant, born-again independent success story, and an unusual holdout – still a boutique operation at a time when its indie rivals are forging North American alliances for the sake of global coverage. It’s an annual event that someone makes an offer for ITB, says Dickins, who reveals a merger discussion once reached fairly advanced stages, but MacSween insists that a sell-off is not currently on the cards. “No plans there,” he says. There can be no doubt, however, that the live business in 2018 bears little comparison to that of any previous decade. The talk among ITB’s younger agents is of the high mortality rate of young artists’ careers, the challenges of secondary ticketing, and the incessant whirl that is the modern touring circuit.
Testimonials Apart from rock & roll, Barry has another vice: good food. So we have this sold-out show in Ahoy Rotterdam, Barry and I make sure we’re in-between dressing room and stage, wish the performers a great show (“Break a leg…”), run off to my car, rush to a 3-star restaurant, just back in time to meet the performers coming off stage, “Great show, guys!”
Leon Ramakers, Mojo Concerts Rod: Boy have we had some fun, and I’m glad that we seem to have grown-up a bit at last. Looking forward to the upcoming Ashes – Warnie told me to tell you the Aussies are looking good. Barry: Thanks for all the amusing times. I hope you’ve still got that Prada discount card.
Michael Gudinski, Frontier Touring I’ve been working with Barry since 1969, when he was at MAM and had the likes of Rod Smallwood and John Giddings working for him. I’ve done all of his acts in the Nordic hemisphere. And it’s the same with Rod – I’ve worked with all of his acts since the 60s too. Rod and Barry are completely different characters, but both are fantastic agents, loyal, long-term career builders, and just brilliantly professional to work with, and I think their ethos is why ITB works so well. They’re one of our most important partners.
Thomas Johansson, Live Nation
Barry with Roxette, Thomas Johansson (back left), and EMI executives Rupert Perry and JF Cecillon
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Testimonials I have a few amusing stories but I’m sworn to omertà! Barry and Rod have built an agency that has ranked in the top tier since day one. It is an incredible achievement to have kept the agency going strong for 40 years, and to build a team that will help keep it going for the next 40.
Phil Rodriguez, Move Concerts You meet a lot of people in business but every now and then you get to know somebody who you build up a great relationship with. Barry became a very dear friend of mine, and although we’ve had our debates about business – even when we don’t manage to come to an agreement – it’s never affected our friendship, and that’s really important to me.
Adolfo Galli, Di and Gi I remember one time I was trying to get a band to come to Greece. Rod called me up and said, “come to Prague with me – meet the band for five minutes, and I’m sure you can persuade them.” So I went, met the band, persuaded them to come, and then had a great evening out with Rod. I can’t tell you the details though!
Giannis Paltoglou, Detox
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“With social media, with streaming, it gives a lot of people a chance to listen to something they wouldn’t normally get to,” says agent Phyllis Belezos, whose acts include Ward Thomas and Beverley Knight. “But the other side of the coin is that there is much more choice, so how are you going to break that act? So a lot of pressure goes onto the live dates because that’s how you get in people’s faces.” And, while agents are now higher up the food chain than they ever were, they also have complex new responsibilities. “There is so much detail in booking a show now,” says Lucy Dickins, “from getting involved in the number of tickets we can sell through our own artists’ platforms, to trying to eliminate as much of the secondary as you can. “Once, if you had lines and lines of people outside a gig trying to get a ticket, you’d be over the moon about it! I used to go out and ask the touts what they were charging, and you’d be like: ‘Yes! We’re a hit!’ Now, we’re like: ‘It’s disgusting, the fans are getting ripped off!’ It has totally changed.” The fact that ITB focuses on the world outside North America, at a time when boutique rivals are forging US alliances, also has two sides. “A lot of agencies do try to sign acts for the world,” says Dewdney. “We don’t. We are happy to take on the world outside the US and Canada. Luckily, there are still very good managers out there who know what they are doing, which is always a pleasure. If you are good at what you do, you still stand out.” Barry Dickins acknowledges that an American expansion somewhere back down the road might have been a smart move. “I definitely think we should have looked at America
but I just thought the American agencies would have buried us,” he says. “But then Neil Warnock did it with the Agency Group, so well done to him.” He knows there is still a decision to be made at some point. “The business is global now, so we have two choices – we either get aboard the train or we stay boutique. But if you want to be a serious player you have to look globally,” he adds. Dickins, an avid autograph collector, has a spiel about other things he might like to do, indicating a desire to visit Peru and Brazil without his work hat on, but he doesn’t particularly suggest he’s about to stop, either. “There has to come a point when I’m just an old fart taking up space, but health-wise I’m in reasonably good shape, so I’m not thinking about stopping anytime soon,” he says. “At the same time, ITB is not going to be about Rod and I going forward. The future is Lucy and Steve and Chris [Payne] and James [Simmons] and all the others. We have a lot of youngsters who are coming through the company who are really good agents.” For his part, MacSween heads to his house in Barbados to unwind. He’s a diligent cricket fan – Brian Lara is a friend of his, and Shane Warne a London neighbour, with whom he has bonded over Pearl Jam – and since his forties he has acquired a taste for classic literature. “I’m currently reading Graham Greene – he’s one of my favourites – but I like D. H. Lawrence, a lot of the Russian writers, and Zola, Henry James, Joseph Conrad. I love the imagination and the beauty of their words; I like going into these incredible worlds. For me, literature is a great release from my work.” The work, though, remains the passion. “I’m still hungry for what I do,” says MacSween. “I get a lot of satisfaction from the cut and thrust of the day-to-day activities and I love the music. I represent some of the greatest musicians and artists in the world.” And all being well, the message for ITB’s acts is, that as long as they are doing what they do, Rod and Barry will do likewise.
Testimonials We have great relations with everyone at ITB, and have done a lot of tours with them including Mumford & Sons, Blink-182, Placebo and many others. Congrats on their 40th anniversary – we can easily see them turning 80 too...
Folkert Koopmans, FKP Scorpio I worked with Barry on Jamiroquai’s Mexico tour: I went to London to meet Barry, and I was surprised to find their office was a homely space, and this big name (Barry Dickins) is a great man, football lover, and a great father. He generously made time for us to talk for one and a half hours, and he’s since given me the opportunity to work with all the big names: I’m very grateful for that.
Santiago Valencia, Teatro Diana One day, Claude Nobs made the pilgrimage to the Isle of Wight Festival where he met an apparently long-haired Barry Dickins, and made his first engagement with a British agent. This fateful encounter was the start of a very fruitful and happy collaboration with everybody at the agency. Congratulations to all at ITB for such a successful journey!
From all of us at the Montreux Jazz Festival Out heartiest congratulations to Barry and Rod – from all of us at UDO Artists. There are so many tours, so many memories. With Barry we cannot forget the many Bob Dylan tours we worked on together, particularly the now-legendary club shows. With Rod, the most memorable moment has to be the first time The Who set foot on a stage in Japan, in 2004, 40 years after their debut. Simply put: these two gentlemen put legends on stage.
Kei Ikuta, UDO Concerts
An ITB trip to South Africa which shows a young Barry, Rod, Mike, Annette and others
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Testimonials I remember standing in a car park with Lucy Dickins at SXSW in about 2006/2007 watching (the at that point unknown) Adele and Laura Marling playing an outdoor stage, and thinking these could do well.
Last time I worked with ITB, we brought Papa Roach to Russia. Steve Zapp came along and I had someone to hang out with while the band was soundchecking. Thanks for that again, Steve, and happy anniversary ITB!
Matt Woolliscroft, SJM Concerts
Semyon Galperin, Tele-Club
In the summer of 1991, I went to ITB’s offices in Wardour Street. I had never promoted a single show, and Mike Dewdney agreed to see me. We talked, and after half an hour I had my first artist: Saxon. So, what can I say… thanks, Mike, you were the first to believe in me.
Barry & Rod: congratulations on your 40th anniversary. It’s been great working with you both over the last 26 years, and we look forward to many more!
Andrea Pieroni, Vertigo
I had the honour of booking my first arena tour with Rod years back, followed by countless highlights from club- to stadiumlevel. Got to know him as a hard but fair negotiator, and a loyal, close friend who always puts his artists first.
Special thanks to Rod and Mike for always trusting in Bravo Entertainment - I hope you will stay in the business for another 40 years.
Marco Rios P., Bravo Entertainment Ltd ITB’s culture of mentoring the development of new agents (usually women) in-house is, I think, thoroughly progressive and laudable.
Nick Hobbs, Charmenko
Attie Van Wyk, Big Concerts International
Matt Schwarz, Live Nation GSA I’ve had the likes of Biffy Clyro and Kasabian both playing King Tut’s in Glasgow, then seen them playing larger and larger venues, and then headlining T in the Park and TRNSMT, as well as multiple arenas over the years in Scotland. Always an absolute pleasure to work with the team and associated acts.
Dave McGeachan, DF Concerts
Reputation and relationships Bands leave agencies – that’s the nature of the industry. But few agencies have kept so many clients for as long as ITB. How do they inspire such loyalty?
hen IQ commemorated Barry Dickins’ 50th anniversary in the business four years ago, he happened to be smarting from a rare kind of heartbreak: the loss of a client. Diana Ross had just skipped off, after barely 32 years. “That’s a bit of a blow,” he said, “but I don’t take it as badly as I once did,” recalling his greater annoyance at losing The Who and Jimi Hendrix, with rather fewer miles on the clock, in 1966. Agents lose clients, and that’s how it goes. The striking thing about ITB is how few they lose. Many of the big stars on the agency’s roster are there from decades ago: Dylan, Neil Young, Paul Simon, Aerosmith, The Who, Def Leppard, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant... Even amongst the ‘new’ acts, the loyalty is striking. Steve Zapp has looked after Biffy Clyro for 17 years and Editors for 12; Lucy Dickins has had Hot Chip for 15 years, Adele since 2006. It’s clear that MacSween, in particular, has turned relationship building into something of an art form. His connections to at least two of his acts, Whitesnake and Ozzy Osbourne, predate ITB itself. “Reputation and relationships,” he says, with emphasis. “Very significant words. “I think I’ve managed to maintain these relationships through spending a lot of time with my artists,” says MacSween. “I’m fiercely protective, and loyal to them. I fight hard for them, and they know that. “There’s the old expression: ‘out of sight, out of mind,’ which is very true in our business, and I’ve always tried to keep well insight of my clients. Most of them have become my friends as well. I travel a lot to spend time on the road with them, all over the world. I’ve become part of their family in many ways, and part of their team.” At the heart of MacSween’s approach is the belief that artists want to know exactly where they stand. “I think they tend to stay
because they appreciate reliability. They can depend on me; my word is good, I’m honest, I work very hard, and we have a great company with a fantastic reputation. The best way to keep your job is to do it better than anyone else.”
ucy Dickins has talked often about how her bands are her mates, somewhat echoing the MacSween model at the other end of the office. Shortly before her interview with IQ, she was reading lines into her phone for Marcus Mumford’s actress wife Carey Mulligan, who is playing a theatrical role and wants to base her character’s accent on Lucy’s. “It’s the way I say ‘fuck’,” says Dickins. “Ffffffack.” Twenty years ago, Lucy came to work for her dad after five years on a label, and quickly faced her own loyalty challenges. “He was awful,” she groans. “He was like, ‘if you think you’re so fucking smart, here’s a pad, here’s a pen, here’s a Mac, go and route me a Savage Garden tour for Europe.’ And after that, I started booking my own little bands. I always say I started at the top and worked my way down, and then worked my way back up again.” 2006 or so was a particularly good time for the younger Dickins. Jamie T was one find, which led to 16-year-old
“Once, if you had lines and lines of people outside a gig trying to get a ticket, you’d be over the moon about it! I used to go out and ask the touts what they were charging, and you’d be like: ‘Yes! We’re a hit!’”
James Simmons, agent and assistant to Lucy Dickins It’s nice to have a bit of leverage. The way the newer agents work with the senior agents, that kind of thing comes in. If you don’t have anything [bigger on the roster], you’ll bother a promoter and they’ll say, well, we’re not really looking at that yet. And then you get back three weeks later and it’s all booked. Timing is really important in that sense.
Lucy Dickins, agent The market is massively saturated now. There’s so much choice out there, with streaming and everything else, so what makes this act stand out from the 25 other mid-sized bands at the same level? What makes it attractive to a young kid? I don’t even know if there is an answer or a formula any more. In general, a lot of the difficulties aren’t with the top stuff or the bottom stuff, it’s the middle. There’s so much out there. You see it when you’re trying to get venue avails and it’s insane. Agency rosters are huge, and it was never like that. That’s why I really have to have a gut feeling on something I take on. And my gut hasn’t let me down yet.
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Phyllis Belezos, agent
Acts that have paved their own way at the beginning don’t always understand that being an agent is a heck of a lot more than just booking a gig, it’s helping to create a kind of fervour. Every department of the team is so important, but the top tier is the artist at the top and then management and agent. Because we are the ones dealing with everyone: artist, management, promoters, label, pluggers, PR. Our roster still packs a punch even though the number of employees in the company is tiny compared to others. It’s also a testament to how we do things that we work with a lot of artists for years on end. And you can’t take that for granted. The one thing that’s invaluable that we get from Rod and Barry is the idea of doing it for your artist. It’s about taking care of your artists, first and foremost.
“[Barry] is really humble; he is not a chest-beater about how well he has done.”
Olivia Sime, agent and assistant to Steve Zapp I have been here for seven years, and working with Steve Zapp for most of those. I started booking my own stuff two or three years ago. It’s all about your connections with promoters – that’s key. You just have to keep on those relationships, keep talking to them on the phone. Sometimes you feel like you are just pushing, pushing, pushing and trying to make something happen but then when it actually does get more exciting, it’s like: Ahhh, yes! Laura Marling, whom Lucy booked for one of Jamie T’s Panic Prevention club nights. It was also the year Dickins encountered Adele Adkins – at almost exactly the same time as her manager brother Jonathan – meeting her at a Hot Chip show to which Adkins had been brought by another of Dickins’ acts, Jack Peñate. They forged a friendly relationship before a professional one. “I got on with her like a house on fire, she was hilarious. And I said, ‘So, you’re a singer?’ and she said, ‘Yeah, do you want a CD?’ But she’d given away her last one, so she walked up to this bloke and said, ‘Can I have my CD back, please?’” Jonathan, already on the case, became Adele’s manager, and Lucy her agent. “I remember one of her first gigs,” she says. “She just had it. For me, I had just never seen anything like it, I had never heard a voice like it, the personality – there
Lucy Dickins was just something unbelievably mind-blowing about her in every which way. It doesn’t happen very often. “When it does, you don’t really think about [an act’s longterm potential]. You get really excited about the moment. I follow my gut. If there’s something I really like, I get this feeling, and I just keep listening to it. Never once do I think, oh my god, the sky’s the limit, this is going to be absolutely huge. I just think, I really like this. And I just feel really lucky that in this lifetime I’m getting to work with something that genuinely touches my soul.” Mumford & Sons, three of whom were in Marling’s backing band, hooked Dickins a little later, when she saw them playing “a proper hoedown” at a lock-in after a gig. “When you watch Mumford & Sons, whether you are into their music or not, they love what they do and their energy is incredible. Everyone just goes, and has the best time. Same with Adele. She gives you an amazing show – you are getting something more.”
Don’t take it personally
ike Dewdney arrived at ITB in 1989, initially helping to book Thunder, Little Angels, and The Quireboys, before gradually building his own roster. He has represented Tori Amos since 1991 (27 years), and Blink-182, Deftones,
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Steve Zapp, agent
One of the things that attracted me to ITB was the idea of career development and loyalty. Most of Rod and Barry’s clients have been with them for a long, long time, and they have gone above and beyond what an agent’s perceived role would be. There’s a lot of buzz bands and agents who tend to chase them. They still do a good job, but I care about the acts I work with and I want to have a relationship with them from day one and for a long, long time. Each artist and management team are different and have different ambitions and desires. But our view is, we look at the long-term career for an artist and try and work with them in a close way.
Chris Payne, agent and assistant to Lucy Dickins Rod and Barry have always had different ends [of the office]. It’s worked really well, and the flow of information is better this way. These guys work with such big acts, they hear things about festival line-ups, for instance, long before anyone else does. Barry is amazing at the back end of the deal. He knows every single room, and he always remembers that you are looking at a tour and that it all adds up. Anyone can get the offers in. But can you make the tour work? Can you give them a better-selling, better-grossing tour?
you think you are tight with a band, they can go the next day. It happens. But don’t burn your bridges because 24 hours is a long time in this business. A band might leave and then the manager changes, and then the band realise they never had a problem with you in the first place. You can’t take anything too personally. Just because you were there at the start, doesn’t mean you will be there all the way through.” Hanging onto relationships is clearly a top-down concern, and Barry also counts the loss of agents – and not purely because when they leave, they tend to take their acts. “When someone you really rate leaves the company, you do tend to get upset,” says Dickins. “But it’s been pointed out to me that I did the same at one point in my career, so I understand people sometimes have to move on. Charlie Myatt had great ears – he was one I really wish we could have held onto. The same goes for Russell Warby, Scott Thomas, David Levy – they were all here at one point and have gone on to have great careers elsewhere. Maybe we should have fought harder to keep a few people.”
“Rod is a fucking genius. If I was a manager then he would be our agent. He is, hands down, the best agent I’ve ever come across. He’s incredible.”
Barry Dickins and New Found Glory for around two decades each. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (since 2001), and Kasabian (2003) are the new boys. Dewdney is pragmatic about the inevitability of losing a treasured client on occasion, but even here there is a long-term strategy. “Basically, you will lose acts,” he says. “As much as
A lasting first impression Steve Zapp can pinpoint the moment he locked eyes on his longest-lasting clients. Biffy Clyro were on in the afternoon at the only Liverpool-based edition of In The City, playing at the modern-day incarnation of The Cavern. “I went in there, chatted to a few people, and then this young, hairy bunch of guys came onstage and just stopped me in my tracks,” says Zapp. “Their stage presence and their show, they just had something really special. And they’ve gone from an afternoon show at a conference, to headlining
Mike Dewdney, agent
There is no rulebook to being an agent – anything can happen. You’ve got to have rhino skin. You’ve got to be able to take it and deal with it. I don’t envy the young agents now, because I think it’s hard to find those acts that are going to be around for 20 years. Bands get one record now, and it’s hard to predict who will stick around. I mean, I book Blink-182 – they lost a member and they don’t get massive radio support anymore, but they still get teenagers turning up at their shows, singing all the lyrics. Money isn’t everything. You could take that big offer and it could be the death of the band. If you take it now, what are you going to do later?
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Annette Robinson, promoter
We started promoting shows in 1978. Wembley Empire Pool didn’t do many shows in those days, and one of the first things we did was five nights of ABBA. That was pretty unique then, to do five Wembleys. I came back in the early 1990s when Barry was doing a big Diana Ross tour and Michael Jackson at Cardiff Arms Park, where the rain was horizontal and it was just flooding the stage. We had all the stage crew out with mops. Adele in London is the biggest thing we have done, capacity-wise. We learned a lot from it. Everything had to be so precision-timed. We sold out so fast, I was glued to my kitchen table the morning it went on sale, because I couldn’t afford to waste the time getting on the Tube and going into the office.
“We have a lot of youngsters who are coming through the company who are really good agents.”
Barry Dickins Reading and Leeds, not just once but twice, as well as Download, Sonisphere, T in the Park, TRNSMT. “It was really, really hard in Europe with them, and now we play 2,000- and 8,000-capacity venues and good festivals. It’s been about rolling sleeves up and working with a band that want to work and put in the time.” Editors left a similarly profound first impression. “I was on the phone to Paul Harris, who signed Parva to B-Unique before they were the Kaiser Chiefs, and he said there’s this band called Snowfield (which was one of their early names) playing at the Jug of Ale in Birmingham tonight. That night I didn’t have a show, and I had a feeling, so instead I just got on a train and went up to Birmingham, and they were amazing.”
Diana Pereira, assistant to Rod MacSween
Rod lives for his artists. He is amazing in that way – he loves every one of them. He knows their songs; he makes sure to go out to more than one show per tour. We are three assistants and we have Rod’s roster divided between us. We are basically Rod’s backbone. He books the tours, we work on the day-to-day things: announcements, on-sales, marketing.
Yasmin Purshouse, assistant to Barry Dickins I came from WME to work with Barry. People said, ‘why are you going to work with Barry Dickins and his old acts?’ But there’s so much to learn from him, and from Rod as well. Barry’s great strength is attention to detail. He likes to look at the venue maps, see how the tickets are priced. And he will go back to the promoter and say, ‘that’s not right, it should be like this.’ You have always got to keep your eye on the ball, watch the money, always be on the side of your artist.
The ITB team, with a special 2D appearance from agent/assistant Amber McKenzie
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Testimonials Rod and Barry are true legends of the concert business. I have the utmost respect for them. They inspire me to be a better promoter, and I’m always grateful that they gave us a chance to work with so many great artists.
Ross Knudson, LAMC Productions When I started working with ITB agents – Lucy, Phyllis, and Steve – about 15 years ago, we were all at the early stages of our careers in the concert business. I am grateful to still be working with such good people on developing and fostering artists’ careers. Thanks a lot for the competence and confidence, and here’s to many more fruitful years!
Samuel Galley, Just Because Both Barry and Rod are my friends. I was infected by Rod’s love of reading classics many years ago, and since then he’s my advisor on what to read next. His home library is enviable…much like his afterparties. Barry has a great passion for life, and I wish we all had his sense of British humour. I hope ITB keeps rockin’ another 40 years.
Giedrius Klimasauskas, Stay Live I had the pleasure of working with Barry on some amazing Diana Ross shows, where it was clear that he really was someone she valued a lot. And then recently with Rod on a record-breaking and award-winning Guns N’ Roses show in Dubai...a great promotion and collaboration with agent and artist management.
Thomas Ovesen, AEG Ogden We have worked with ITB since the late 80s – we’ve always had a good, close relationship. ITB has always had an eye for new interesting talent, and, of course, more well-known superstars. Happy anniversary!
All at Live Nation Finland I’ve worked with Rod and Barry since the late 80s. Both are, for me, prototypes of an agent in the best sense – they care about their artist and the promoter. They have remained loyal over all those years, which is the only true value in our business.
ITB were pioneers adding South America to world-tour routings, when most of the acts were not considering the region. ITB has two extraordinary partners in Rod and Barry. They have a special style, and negotiations with them are always straight-forward and very professional.
Daniel Grinbank, DG Entertainment ITB has developed so many artists and contributed so much to the music industry, which I admire and respect. I’ve witnessed brilliant devotion by so many ITB agents who are entitled to be called “super agents”, especially Rod MacSween and Barry Dickins, who have played a vital part in concert history and today’s business.
Naoki Shimizu, Creativeman I first met Barry in Istanbul, in 1999, when I had just joined the Istanbul Jazz Festival team as a newcomer. I was so lucky that he was the first UK agent I got to know personally; his friendly and encouraging attitude made a good impact on me. And Rod, I appreciate his efficiency, and his confidence in us as a preferred promoter in our territory.
Pelin Opcin, IKSV
Richard Hörmann, Barracuda Music I remember a time when Rod MacSween called me to do a secret show for Ozzy Osbourne in 1995. Ozzy hadn’t played live in years and needed to test out a new lead guitarist. We stuck them on about 11pm on a Friday club-night to a completely unexpectant audience. Everyone was wondering why there was a band set-up on stage at Rock City, and then on came Ozzy. Brilliant night. However, the guitarist didn’t make it.
George Akins, DHP Family
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2018’s vital trends
in music and brand relations From tech to sport, 2018 presents some exciting opportunities for live and brand partnerships, says Jack Ward, creative strategist at music and sports sponsorship agency Ear to the Ground. Newsflash: live matters. OK, not much of a newsflash, we know that a healthy live sector makes for a healthy music industry. We know very well that live music has a transformative role in turning passive listeners into passionate, irrational fans who are willing to spend their time and hard-earned cash on music. As it stands, live music in the UK is in as good health as it has ever been; audiences for concerts and festivals rose 12% between 2016 and 2017 bringing £4billion (€4.5bn) into the UK economy. But the industry isn’t immune to change. Competition has never been as fierce, and the need to use insight to better
understand and engage with fans is vital to thriving in a tough business. Changes in fan behaviour mean that the live sector will have to reinvent itself or risk irrelevance. So what are the changes that will make the greatest impact on the relationship between brands and live music in 2018? We could spend an hour or two positing the inevitable disruption of the sector as changing expectations and the proliferation of new tech adapts the way fans engage with the live experience. However, this article isn’t an exercise in navel-gazing about what will happen in the next five years; there’s no mention of Pokémon Go and the gamification of the live experience. Let’s talk about what’s happening right now.
Spotify’s Who We Be concert at Alexandra Palace in London was booked using data from the streaming platform, and promoted to people who listened to the artists most.
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There are three significant shifts in thinking that could have a transformative impact on the industry this year:
Sport and entertainment crossover
According to industry expert Jeremy Paterson , IF Media MD and Ear to the Ground non-exec director: “Real opportunities won’t come from a simple appendage of sport or tech onto music and vice-versa. The real magic happens when powerful cultures collide; two add two suddenly equals seven, and a whole new ritual like the Super Bowl Halftime show moment is created. The opportunities are there, now it’s about having the bravery to take them.” With live more crowded and competitive than ever, it will be little comfort that the sector may face increasing competition from properties in sport and entertainment. For example, although music has been an integral part of fan culture, in sport it’s only very recently that rights holders have woken up to the opportunity of using music to supercharge the fan experience. Top-tier clubs and rights holders in football are repositioning themselves less as sports brands but rather as “premium entertainment” properties with big spenders like Chelsea, Juventus and PSG at the forefront of adding music
IQ Magazine March 2018
to their fan offer. Paul Pogba and Stormzy teamed up to announce the French player’s arrival at Manchester United in a way that had never been done before. At a more grassroots level, football’s inherent connection with grime culture was brought thrillingly to life by Tottenham when rising artist AJ Tracey put on a live gig with several performers to launch the club’s new kit, coinciding with a release of his single False 9. But what about the reverse? What about music or live properties using sport to enhance their offer? So far, the sector has been slow to latch on to the huge potential of sport to entice and engage music fans. We’ve seen streaming behemoths like Deezer and Apple Music partner with football clubs to reach global audiences but in live it’s a rarity to see venues and festivals use sport as a point of difference. Ministry of Sound made waves last year by launching its first fitness club in London but it would be good to see a live music property really take the opportunity to combine music with sport and fitness to attract new audiences. 2018 will see sport and entertainment properties further extend their reach into live to retain and engage their fans. However, there remains an opportunity for the live music sector to successfully partner with sport and entertainment properties to create a musical identity that extends beyond large-scale, glitzy events.
Demon Dayz was a partnership between Gorillaz and Red Bull
“ Competition has never been as ﬁerce, and the need to use insight to better understand and engage with fans is vital to thriving in a tough business.”
New tech, new rules
New teChNOlOGY-BaseD waYs fOr faNs tO eNJOY music mean the reach and impact of live is being felt far beyond the events themselves. But, let’s be blunt: some advances in live tech are having more immediate impact than others. VR has huge ramifications for the live industry, and while there have been some interesting experiments at festivals and largescale sporting events, until it gains mainstream acceptance and penetration among music fans, its presence is a curiosity rather than an immediate opportunity. Live-streaming is an altogether different proposition that is already having an immediate impact. The opportunities for fan engagement using live-streaming platforms are certainly striking; specialist live broadcasting platform YouNow says 80% of music consumers are likely to take commercial action
after watching a live broadcast from one of their favourite musicians, while 86% of fans are likely to seek out more of an artist’s songs. But, so far, it feels like live-streaming hasn’t been used effectively to augment the concert experience. There have, however, been exceptions that have used the platform to brilliant effect. Afropunk Festival had huge success in 2017 by live-streaming sets, behind-the-scenes access, and interviews with artists and influencers. With a passionate Facebook audience of 1 million, it was a no-brainer to digitise the festival experience, with one fashion-centric recap of day one of the festival gaining 200,000 views. Another exciting use of live-streaming was GoriIlaz’ Demon Dayz Festival in Margate (UK), a partnership with Red Bull to help launch their latest release Humanz. More than a straightforward streamed performance of the band, fans were able to see live streams of standalone gigs from Damon Albarn’s many collaborators, including Vince Staples, De La Soul, Little Simz, and Danny Brown, across multiple channels on Red Bull TV. It was an execution befitting the world’s pre-eminent amorphous, alt-pop project, in that it allowed fans both at home and at the event itself to pick and choose from the sonic and visual worlds of the band, and curate their own experiences of the festival. Those are two exciting and innovative examples but there’s still plenty of room for smaller venues and event properties to take advantage of fans consuming live content online. With entry-level costs to streaming relatively inexpensive, 2018 will see pioneering events and venues utilising the technology to engage fans beyond the live experience itself.
“Changes in fan behaviour mean that the live sector will have to reinvent itself or risk irrelevance.” Afropunk London © Marcus Hessenberg
IQ Magazine March 2018
“The opportunities are there, now it’s about having the bravery to take them.” Jeremy Paterson, IF Media Consulting
THe Lines BetWeen Music product And live performance have blurred considerably over the last five years. Live curation is being increasingly led by data-driven decisionmaking, allowing curators and promoters to make smarter decisions when using live music to connect with fans. While tech/streaming giants have made previous forays into live (RIP iTunes Festival), 2017 was the year that we truly saw the power of the playlist not just in breaking artists and bands but as a real force in the sector. Playlists on streaming services have morphed from a user-generated curiosity to major properties with huge curatorial teams that have the power to make or break a track. This year, Spotify UK turned a hugely popular playlist, the grime/UK hip-hop-led Who We Be (250,000 subscribers), into a live event showcasing artists that had particularly strong engagement with fans on the streaming platform. The event, which took place at Alexandra Palace in London, proved to be a huge commercial and critical success. With a line-up that included Cardi B, Dizzee Rascal, Giggs, and J Hus, it was the crowning moment of an incredible year for UK urban music.
We shouldn’t be surprised that the live iteration of Who We Be was so successful; with a ready-made passionate audience, taking it into the physical realm was a simple way of broadening the appeal of the playlist’s brand across another touchpoint. What was really clever was that Spotify used detailed fanusage data to choose the acts, offer pre-sale tickets to playlist subscribers, and specifically target the most engaged fans of artists who frequently appeared on it with promotional marketing. The result was a passionate festival crowd who even cheered the tracks (featuring up-and-coming UK artists Not3s and Lotto Boyzz) in the intervals between performances. The lesson? Investing in media/audio properties to build audiences that can then cross over into live is very worthwhile. Rather than starting from scratch trying to build a live property, you already have an engaged audience, a long list of artists to curate, and a means by which to immediately monetise and incentivise a fan base. Owning or allying with an online music media property gives you access to a huge amount of audience data that you can then translate into creating fan-led live experiences. Live remains a challenging and competitive environment but with a little bit of lateral thinking there are huge opportunities. Whether crossing over with entertainment, using streaming to broaden your existing audiences or investing in building media brands that can drive audiences to venues and events, it’s an exciting time to be a part of the live music business. The promoters, venues and artists who are brave enough to seize the big opportunities to engage with fans in new ways will reap the rewards. Ear to the Ground deliver industry-leading sport and music campaigns driven by Fan Intelligence™ - Eartotheground.org
Danny Brown at Demon Dayz Festival in Margate, UK
IQ Magazine March 2018
IQ Magazine March 2018
FOUR DECADES OF DEAG From Pink Floyd playing by the Berlin Wall, through becoming the first live entertainment company to float on the stock market, Germany’s DEAG has been ground-breaking in many ways through its 40-year journey. Karl-Hermann Lipp meets the man who started it all.
t one point in our interview – after taking us through four decades of live events history and entrepreneurship on the highest level – Peter Schwenkow pauses and says: “Which brings us to the answer to a question you have yet to ask: Why are you still doing this?” Frankly, it had never occurred to us to ask why he’s still doing this. The promoter recently expanded the company’s presence in the UK market by buying Flying Music, turnover is more than €108million in the last three quarters, and it’s back in profit after a turbulent 2016. He’s recently had hit tours with Disney on Ice, Ed Sheeran, Aerosmith, Iron Maiden and KISS, and has 2.2million tickets already sold for 2018. Now aged 64, he seems to still have the same joy for the business he discovered more than 40 years ago. “It must have been 1974/75. After completing my school exams in Hamburg, I was working as a tour manager for Karsten Jahnke. Because I had my own car and a driver’s licence, I was the one picking up artists like Ulrich Roski or Mike Krüger from the airport, and driving them around Northern Germany and Hamburg,” he remembers. One person had a bigger impact on him than anyone else had at that point: writer and performer Hanns Dieter Hüsch – one of Germany’s most distinguished left-wing intellectuals and cabaret artists. Schwenkow, who had a politically conservative upbringingremembers the countless hours of conversation he had with Hüsch. “He was around 50-60 years old, I was 20. We used to have wonderful arguments about politics, and eventually developed a friendship. This led me to think: if it is possible to meet such interesting, exciting, powerfully eloquent
and intelligent people in this business, I want to be a part of it.” It was the mid-1970s, and the business looked very different to today. “One lamp on the left, one on the right, five Marshalls in the back, and something that started to resemble a PA,” Schwenkow recalls. “If an artist wasn’t able to perform – because it was still sex, drugs and rock & roll in the 1970s – they simply didn’t.” After leaving school, Schwenkow studied advertising and communication science in Berlin, and worked part-time for the city’s biggest promoter at the time, Konzertdirektion Jänicke, starting out as technical director. He went on to do the promotion and different other jobs for Jänicke, working mostly from home. His boss had promised him his own office once he could afford a bigger space, and even offered to make him a junior partner. In 1978, Jänicke moved into a huge new villa. “When I had my first appointment with him there, he was sitting in an office that seemed as large as a football field,” Schwenkow remembers. “There was only one desk in it, so I said: ‘Mr Jänicke, now that we’ve got these new facilities, where is my desk going to be?’ And he replied that we had to talk about that again. That’s when I realised that he had used me for the past two years.” So Schwenkow called his old friend Jochen Zanke, whom he met while working for two other legends of the game: Horst Lippmann and Fritz Rau, where Zanke was tour manager. “I said: ‘Jochen, I think we should start our own thing and prove to this old man that you can be competitive, even with less resources.’ “So on 15 June 1978, the industrial management assistant Jochen Zanke, and the student Peter Schwenkow founded Concert Concept.”
Photo © Till Brönner
IQ Magazine March 2018
DEAG Peter Schwenkow with Placido Domingo, Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazón © DEAG
Forty years of development
rom those early beginnings, DEAG’s 40-year history can be more or less subdivided into four decades that defined the business in different ways. “The first 10-11 years, from 1978 to 1989, Concert Concept established itself as the biggest promoter in Berlin,” says Schwenkow, who adds that the exclusive takeover of Berlin’s Waldbühne in 1981 was “one of the most important factors for our growth,” as it gave him control over the most exclusive address for open-air events in the city. He kept renewing the lease contract, running the show at Waldbühne for 27 years to come. In 1984, Schwenkow created the Berliner Sommernachtstraum, which attracted some 400,000 people to a gigantic firework display by Austrian artist André Heller in front of the city’s Reichstag. At the time, the city was still divided by the wall, and the concert provoked unrest in East Berlin from those on the other side, who were disappointed they couldn’t see the spectacle too. Three years later, he promoted the legendary Concert for Berlin with David Bowie and Michael Jackson, right next to
Schwenkow with Angela Merkel © DEAG
the wall. It’s a concert that’s gone down as a key moment in the history of that city. Bowie told Performing Songwriter in 2003: “They’d backed up the stage to the wall itself so that the wall was acting as our backdrop. We kind of heard that a few of the East Berliners might actually get the chance to hear the thing but we didn’t realise in what numbers they would. And there were thousands on the other side that had come close to the wall. “So it was like a double concert where the wall was the division. And we would hear them cheering and singing along from the other side. God, even now I get choked up. It was breaking my heart. I’d never done anything like that in my life, and I guess I never will again.” In 1988, Schwenkow lined-up Pink Floyd, Genesis, and Eurythmics to perform. Many young people in East Germany tried to get close to the wall to hear the concert. At one point during sound check, Pink Floyd turned their PA system around to point eastwards, and blasted out The Wall. The concerts provoked further violence between young people and the police in East Berlin but the end was nigh for the country’s division. A year later, on 9 November 1989, the wall fell, and the number of potential concert-goers doubled over night. The following ten years were marked by growth. In 1995, Concert Concept was embedded into a holding by the name of Deutsche Entertainment AG (DEAG) and expanded into other German cities, such as Hamburg. “It was the time we went from local promoter to tour promoter,” Schwenkow remembers. “We promoted many shows, and produced many of our own. We went more in the direction of Disney than Live Nation at that time,” he remarks, noting the start of DEAG’s family entertainment hallmark. The third phase was initiated when DEAG went public in 1998 – the first live entertainment company to do so. It was the same year the company promoted The Rolling Stones in Germany, and the financial industry used to refer to ‘Rolling Stones stock.’ What followed were ten years of internationalisation. Once established in Germany, DEAG acquired Good News, the biggest promoter in Switzerland, and classical promoter
IQ Magazine March 2018
DEAG © DEAG
“If an artist wasn’t able to perform – because it was still sex, drugs and rock & roll in the 1970s – they simply didn’t.” Family Business
Raymond Gubbay in the UK. “We positioned ourselves more internationally, acquired Marcel Avram’s Mama Concerts, and Barrie Marshall’s Marshall Arts,” says Schwenkow. “Suddenly, we were the international tour promoter of Paul McCartney, Lionel Richie and others.” Today, the company’s clients include Ed Sheeran (through Kilimanjaro in the UK), Iron Maiden, Lenny Kravitz, Asaf Avidan, and the Foo Fighters (through Good News in Switzerland). DEAG has been busy expanding its portfolio, besides its classical concert business. Says Schwenkow: “The last ten years were characterised by the motto: ‘There’s nothing wrong with selling 400,000 tickets for Disney on Ice in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. It’s more profitable than selling the same amount of tickets for a rock or pop concert’.” It’s a conclusion partly drawn from failed attempts at conquering the German-speaking festival market. In 2015, DEAG ambitiously launched three festivals at once, Rock im Revier in the Ruhr district, Rockavaria in Munich, and Rock in Vienna. The former was scrapped in 2016. Rockavaria took a break in 2017 but returns to Munich’s Königsplatz this year. Rock in Vienna dates for 2018 have not yet been set, but given that DEAG pulled out of the Austrian local market late last year, the festival’s continuation seems highly unlikely. Schwenkow’s reply to a question about DEAG’s festival strategy is short: “The festival market is dominated by Live Nation. Good luck!” He still believes “the next ten years will show that DEAG is still a very good rock and pop promoter,” but the company is definitely focused on heavily expanding family entertainment as well as exhibitions such as Art of the Brick, the Lego expo by US American artist Nathan Sawaya. “[Events] that have the advantage of not relying on functioning vocal chords,” Schwenkow half jokes. His company is also exploring the possibilities of virtual reality and eGaming. Last year, together with its subsidiary Handwerker Promotion, DEAG acquired stakes in virtual reality company Time Ride – which is also the name of their first joint project. Time Ride offers visitors to Cologne a virtual tram ride through the historic city during the time of the construction of its famous landmark, the Kölner Dom. The VR headsets simulate a 360-degree view while the machine even simulates airflow as if you were traveling in an open carriage during that era.
Of Schwenkow’s five children, three work for DEAG: Max Schwenkow heads the graphics and marketing department; Anna looks after artists such as Till Brönner, David Garrett and others; and Moritz heads up MyTicket. Moritz Schwenkow didn’t need any convincing to start in his father’s company. He says as he grew up, there was never any pressure to work in the family business. “It was completely my idea. I, of course, grew up at events and learned about what happens behind the stage. While studying economics and marketing, the idea of understanding the business more thoroughly grew inside me. “I approached my father and told him that I’d like to take a look inside the company to get to know the inner workings of the industry. He was very open to the idea, and gave me the opportunity.” Moritz’s first role at DEAG was marketing and promotions assistant. After about a year, he assisted the touring department of DEAG Classics, where he learned the ins and outs of promoting tours. After a brief stint in accounting, he joined DEAG’s local office in Hamburg as a project assistant. He moved up through the ranks of project management to the executive board. During that time, he also immersed himself in ticketing, including selecting the system for MyTicket. Says Schwenkow Sr: “As a parent, of course, you always wish your children will follow in your footsteps. But I did not offer them a position, let alone demand they enter the company. All I said was: ‘If you wish to, there will be possibilities but maybe try something different first.’ If you always say that the door remains open in case anyone intends to return home, that’s OK. If you say, ‘It would be great if you became my successor’ right from the start you’re building up pressure, maybe unwittingly.”
Peter Schwenkow (centre) with Lang Lang (left) and David Garrett © DEAG
IQ Magazine March 2018
DEAG Peter Schwenkow (right) with Barbra Streisand and former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit © DEAG
ven in the early days, Schwenkow understood that a ticket was a promise made to the customer, which had to be kept. He believes that the professionalisation of the business is one of the industry’s greatest achievements because it means customers can buy a ticket a year in advance of the actual event, knowing that the promoter and artists will strive to keep the promise of an enjoyable evening’s entertainment. “The second big change in the industry has been internationalisation, which was led by MTV in the 1980s. You always had five to eight globally successful bands, such as The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, ABBA, Queen. But fundamentally, artists were national or maybe continental heroes. Apart from the aforementioned exceptions, it was very hard to break an act in the States that was strong in Europe.”
The third defining development the industry underwent in the past 40 years, according to Schwenkow, was the consolidation process started by Robert Sillerman through his SFX Entertainment giant in the 1990s. Other significant developments include the advent of the Internet, which “enabled us, as it did other industries, to sell directly to the end-consumer,” and the introduction of percentage deals, which led to the steady decline of promoters’ margins. “Up until the 1960/70s, we used to do fixed flat deals with artists. Percentage deals only became a thing in the 1970s, when artists were paid a guarantee plus 50% of the gross. The 1980/90s saw the introduction of 80/20 deals: the artist received 80% after costs. The 1990/2000s marked the arrival of 85/15 deals, and today we often stand at 95/5 for the big artists.”
Battling the touts
orty years full of ups and downs harden the spirit to both success and failure. “There are no more sleepless nights,” says Schwenkow. The question really bothering him, however, is how to get rid of the market for secondary tickets. “I can’t stand Viagogo, and I think that all the others, such as FanSale, are sailing close to the wind. “I am completely against secondary markets unless they are selling at a predetermined margin that has been agreed on by both contractual partners. The margin shouldn’t be higher than 10-15%. I am against scalping and bot-buying. We as promoters, often together with the artist, carry the huge responsibility of setting the ticket price.” Myticket doesn’t operate a resale platform, not even a facevalue resale platform. “I believe we can crush the secondary market without legislation – even though that seems to work well in France, though less well in the UK. I think we can
Peter Schwenkow with Nana Mouskouri © DEAG
IQ Magazine March 2018
DEAG Schwenkow with the Rolling Stones © DEAG
“I am in the incredibly fortunate position of loving my job and earning money. It doesn’t get any better than that.” destroy the secondary market by uniting with the artists and investing a lot more effort into dynamic pricing.” Schwenkow believes artists should lose their fear of dynamic pricing because it would enable them to offer tickets at higher prices for those available to afford them, with the money ending up where it belongs.
little bit of bliss, something that goes straight to the gut. It’s exciting that our product – as opposed to many other products that are manufactured – has its own opinion, because our product is called artists, and artists can talk. “I am saying this with the utmost conviction: in the past 40 years – which is some 14,000 days – I haven’t experienced a single boring day. I am grateful and humbled to be able to do this job in good health, and with a superb team, at this scale. Sometimes, you have to just sit back and realise that you could have also ended up becoming a producer of microchips, or a banker. “I have a lot of friends who earn a lot of money and hate their jobs. I know many people, who love their jobs but earn no money at all. I am in the incredibly fortunate position of loving my job and earning money. It doesn’t get any better than that.”
So, why are you still doing this?
o, what was the answer to the question – why are you still doing this? “The answer is: because we have the expertise, the capital, and the creativity to invent things that make people happy. There is, I have to say, no greater feeling than to look into the beaming faces of thousands or tens of thousands of people, and knowing that they are enjoying themselves because you and your team had an idea, and the money to realise that idea. “We can create, invent. Our product is something completely different to storage chips or cashmere pullovers or tanks. We’re the good ones. Our product is good. We sell a Peter Schwenkow with Anna Netrebko © DEAG
IQ Magazine March 2018
TESTIMONIALS We wish Peter Schwenkow, a first-class visionary, all the good – because he’s already got the best in Oliver [Hoppe] and myself. Ossy Hoppe, Wizard Promotions Congratulations, dear Peter, on this magnificent success. Your Hanseatic merchant’s attitude has led you through many ups and downs up until this point, and you deserve the maximum amount of respect and recognition for that. You can look at your life’s achievements with pride. May you continue to have a good game! Fred Handwerker, Handwerker Promotion The only way to do great work is to love what you do! That’s how it’s got to be! Herzlichen Glückwunsch zu 40 Jahre DEAG! Andrea Blahetek-Hauzenberger, Global Concerts Whoever manages to stay successful over such a long period of time, with ups and downs, being stock-exchangelisted in a shaky market, has accomplished something, and is a staple in the world of live entertainment, putting Germany on the map – though he’s also successful in Austria, Switzerland, and the UK. I cannot imagine live entertainment without DEAG. Stefan Matthew, Good News Productions It’s a remarkable achievement to have a company as successful as DEAG and to have been in existence for four decades; this demonstrates huge skill at promoting, marketing, and adapting to constantly evolving market changes. We are really happy to celebrate Kilimanjaro’s tenth anniversary alongside DEAG’s 40th. Stuart Galbraith, Kilimanjaro Live Thanks and congratulations, Peter – not only for the way you are steering this ship for 40 years now but also for your trust, for always having an open door when I need advice, and an open mind for new and crazy ideas. David Garcia, DEAG Concerts So I have to say, in my experience, he’s been very professional and done a very good job, once he learned the rules. And he learns quickly. He’s a good guy, and I’ll have a drink with him. John Giddings, Solo
I have known Peter for many years. We’ve done business together, and I find him to be honourable and honest. Congratulations, Peter, looking forward to the celebration in June. Carl Leighton-Pope, Leighton Pope Organisation I’ve known Peter for many years, and have admired his ability to find markets that have been overlooked by other entrepreneurs. Living in the world of core classical, buying the UK’s major classical promoter, Raymond Gubbay, followed by purchasing Kilimanjaro Live and subsequently Flying Music, then in Germany both Klaus Bönisch and Ossy Hoppe – again smart. Congratulations, Peter. Neil Warnock, United Talent Agency Partnering with DEAG means you’re in good hands. Their extensive and thorough knowledge of the Germany market is amazing. And with Peter on board, you’re guaranteed a few good laughs, too. Kim Worsøe, ICO Concerts We wish DEAG 40 more successful years, and Peter Schwenkow, personally, the fun and energy to remain in this industry for many years to come. Uwe Frommhold, AEG Facilities Germany We wish DEAG continuing success, and hope to be welcoming many big stars in the Olympiahalle and Olympiastadion in the future. Nils Hoch, Olympiapark München I wish Peter and his dedicated team good fortune when it comes to assessing opportunities that can turn into highlights for everyone involved. And that he keeps his humour and vision, to successfully continue his activities unfettered. Michael Russ, SKS You can only congratulate and raise your hat to him, really, for how he managed to establish himself at the top of a highly competitive industry. While others came and went, DEAG has been around for 40 years as one of the main players. The team discovered trends and proved over and over again to have a nose for content. His intuition for alternative areas of business is incredible. Keep it up! Moritz Schwenkow, MyTicket I wish him continual success, and a little bit more calmness. Karsten Jahnke, Karsten Jahnke Konzertdirektion
IQ Magazine March 2018
30 16 36
49 26 22
6 3.ANTWERP 42 45
55 24 29 20 34
17 23 9.BRUSSELS
52 51 15
Map Key Promoter Agent Agent/Promoter Venue Festival
1. Aalst Cosa Nostra
2. Aarschot De Klinker Club
3. Antwerp ID&T Lion Productions bestov Musickness Playout! Yokozuna Gracia Live Antwerps Sportpaleis Arenberg Theatre De Roma Het Bos Lotto Arena Trix Jazz Middelheim Laundry Day Linkerwoofer Summer Festival Tomorrowland
4. Arlon L’Entrepôt
5. Berlare JH De Kazerne
6. Beveren CC Ter Vesten
7. Boechout Sﬁnks
8. Bruges Cactus Muziekcentrum Cactus De Snuffel Cactusfestival
9. Brussels Fire-Starter Jazztronaut Entertainment Lion Productions MB Presents Terminal 2
4 CTM Entertainment Belgium Diligence Artist Management MacSwell & Just Chillin’ Nada Booking NAFF ReKordz STLive Ancienne Belgique Botanique Brussels Expo Cirque Royal Kultuurkaffee La Madeleine Les Ateliers Claus Palais 12 Palais des Beaux-Arts Trône VK Vorst National Brussels Summer Festival Brussels Jazz Weekend Couleur Café Festival Festival Des Musiques Les Nuits Botanique Sandwiches in the park
10. Charleroi Back in the Dayz
11. Dessel Graspop Metal Meeting
12. Diksmuide 4AD
13. Dour Dour Festival
14. Dranouter Folk Dranouter
15. Durbuy Durbuy Rock Festival
16. Eeklo N9 Villa
17. Enghien LaSemo Festival
18. Floreffe Esperanzah!
19. Geel Reggae Geel
20. Genk Fenixrock Genk on Stage
21. Gent Devil in a Box Gentlemanagement Robbing Millions Rockoco Wolx Greenhouse Talent Toutpartout Afsnis Charlatan De Koer Democrazy Flanders Expo Handelsbeurs Concert Hall NEST Trefpunt Vooruit Autumn Falls Gent Jazz Festival Gentse Feesten Glimps Festival & Conference
22. Gierle Sjock
23. Halle Busker Bookings
24. Hasselt Stark Music Management Ethias Arena Muziekodroom
25. Heusden-Zolder Muze
26. Hoogstraten Antilliaanse Feesten
27. Kasterlee Quiet Concerts
29. Kiewit Pukkelpop
30. Knokke-Heist QG Enterpri
31. Koksijde CC CasinoKoksijde
32. Kontich MPA
33. Kortrijk De Kreun Den Trap Pand.A
34. Leuven Tangram Recor Het Depot STUKl Marktrock
35. Liège AJA Concerts Next Step Country Hall Ethias Liège KulturA Les Ardentes Les Transardentes
36. Lokeren Lokerse Feesten
37. Mechelen Live Nation CC Mechelen Zolderzang Maanrock
38. Meerhout Groezrock
42. Mortsel Peter Verstraelen Agency
43. Namur Beautés Soniques Belvédère
44. Oostende Manuscript
45. Opwijk Nosta
46. Oudenaarde Feest in het Park
47. Perk Paradise City Festival
48. Roeselare De Mooie Molen
49. Schoten CC Schoten
50. Sint-Truiden L&S Agency
51. Somme-Leuze Artistagency
52. Spa Les Francofolies de Spa
53. Stekene Crammerock
2 L’aut Côté
Rock Werchter TW Classic
IQ Magazine March 2018
Belgium may be a small country, but it punches above its weight with a concert and festival market that’s as heady as its beer. Adam Woods finds out it’s not about how big you are, but where you’re located that matters… As it is With propertY, so it is With smallish European countries: it’s all about location, location, location. Belgium is the 34th biggest (or 16th smallest) nation in Europe by area – it would fit into France 18 times. But it might just be the best positioned country on the continental mainland, with French, German, Dutch and Luxembourgian borders, and just twohours by train from London. “We are the best-situated country in Europe,” concurs Pascal Van De Velde of Ghent-based promoter/agency Greenhouse Talent. “If you come from the UK to Germany, you drive through Belgium, and vice versa. If you come down from Scandinavia to southern Europe, you go through Belgium. Logistically, there is always a date for Belgium. And the market is good.” Well, that’s true. Belgium might be small, but it’s packed – the 13th most populous European country, with 11m inhabitants, 97% of whom live in towns or cities. So you’re always near a venue; you’re wealthier per head than the UK and France, and not far behind Germany; and in addition to a fairly world-class calendar of tours, you’ve got some of Europe’s biggest festivals in Rock Werchter, Pukkelpop, Dour, Graspop and Tomorrowland. Then again, few countries have escaped entirely without injury these last few years, whether economic or of a more sinister kind. In common with an ever-growing list of countries, Belgium was the focus of a devastating terrorist incident when three co-ordinated suicide bombings in Brussels on 22 March 2016 killed 32 civilians and three perpetrators. One of many results of the attacks was to put a dent in the live business for much of the remainder of the year. In January, Belgium lowered its threat level from three to two, judging another attack to be ‘unlikely,’ but while the audiences have come back, the promoters don’t soon forget.
IQ Magazine March 2018
“The terrorist attacks were rough, especially the times when they were happening,” says Van De Velde. “And then in the slipstream of it, just security-wise – I can’t say that acts cancelled but putting the shows together was really nasty and difficult because the acts were scared and the audiences were reluctant. “But it’s picked up,” he reflects. “It picks up again. When first the Bataclan attacks happened, and then, of course the Brussels attacks, that was huge. The market is very vulnerable, but it recovers fast. People want to go out and see shows, and it moves on. People get sort of used to the situation, you know?” It takes a little while, though. In the summer of 2016, even a super-festival like Rock Werchter had a tricky year, its attendance 4,500 down on the previous year, compounded by heavy rain in the run-up. “Some people stopped going to shows in 2016 due to terrorism,” says Werchter founder and Live Nation Belgium CEO Herman Schueremans, “but they seem to have realised in 2017 that it doesn’t make sense to sit at home, and they decided to live again and enjoy shows and festivals in 2017.” Last year, says Schueremans, things were resoundingly back to normal. “It appears that they made up in 2017 what they missed in 2016. Of course, the bills of the festivals and the multiple, top-quality tours helped to achieve that. And it looks as if that trend is confirming itself in 2018, both festival- and indoor-wise. Religion and politics divide; music unites.” Sometimes, it unites in unusual ways. In May, Night of the Proms promoter PSE joined with Werchter, Pukkelpop and GraciaLive to protest local performance rights organisation Sabam’s January move to raise tariffs across the board. Among the increases is a 30% spike in festival rates to 3.25% of boxoffice receipts, and a 16% hike for larger shows to 3.5%.
“We are the best-situated country in Europe.” Pascal Van De Velde, Greenhouse Talent PSE’s Jan Vereecke accused Sabam of “simply abusing its monopoly – it is offering no additional services in exchange for the price increase.” Since then, talks have been ongoing, with no resolution yet reached. PwC estimates the value of the Belgian live business at $322m (€261m), and the fact that IQ is reporting at a time of ongoing prosperity and restored calm needn’t mask the fact that Belgium is a more unusual country than many. Of its three official languages, Dutch is spoken by just under 60% of the population, and chiefly by the Flemish in Flanders, which makes up the country’s northern part and includes the cities of Antwerp, Ghent, Bruges and Leuven. French is spoken by most of the remaining 40% of the population, including most of those in the capital of Brussels and to the south in the Wallonia region. There is a small group of German-speakers in eastern Wallonia.
Promoters Live Nation takes some beating in the Low Countries. Just as it is in the Netherlands, it is a comfortable number one in Belgium, owning and promoting Werchter, TW Classic and I Love Techno, while providing acts for most of the others, including Pukkelpop, Dour, Graspop, Suikerrock and Les Ardentes, and otherwise staging somewhere in the region of 150 shows a year. Belgium isn’t a market packed full of promoters, but those it has are substantial and ambitious. Greenhouse Talent, for instance, operates in both Belgium and the Netherlands. Antwerp-based GraciaLive mixes rock and pop with family entertainment to carve out its own mainstream niche. GraciaLive promoter Sam Perl echoes Schueremans’ estimation of the healthy climate. “We had a couple of good concerts,” says Perl. “We had Jamiroquai, Paul Simon, John Fogerty, ZZ Top over the summer. It was a good year. Also Disney On Ice for two weeks – we had a record-breaking year with them, we did 70,000 people.” This year, Andrea Bocelli, Toto, Billy Idol, Laura Pausini and annual visitors Disney On Ice are coming through, and GraciaLive is also dabbling in other avenues. “We do a lot of CineConcerts, and last year we went into exhibitions – we did one called The Art of Banksy. We diversified a bit from the concert side. Competition on the concert side is there and always has been there, and we want to maintain a certain quality, but we also want to grow. So in order to grow further, we are looking to diversify.” The globalised live business model has been so successful that it is a rare market where the independents don’t feel somewhat squeezed. Perl acknowledges the feeling, but he is in the mood for a spot of good-natured jousting. “We are not Live Nation,” he says. “Live Nation has the vast majority of the concerts. But they are more like a distribution network, where they got the deal closed in LA. I still think what we do is more rock & roll: we talk to the
agents, we close the deal, and it’s our money. There’s no animosity – that’s how the market is.” Presented with this point of view, Schueremans, a veteran of four decades in the Belgian business, doesn’t quite buy the characterisation of Live Nation Belgium as a satellite office processing global clients, pointing to a careful and virtuous interplay of smaller shows and festivals. “We keep building young acts via the mixture of club shows and the right spot at our key festivals for 40 years, and especially in the last 15 years,” he says. “We build our own headliners. Most of our acts we have promoted from the start, since they were baby bands, and artists, managers and agents remember that we helped them building their careers the organic way. “We also promote successful shows of local Belgian and Dutch acts via multiple shows at Sportpaleis every year. It’s about a caring team of music lovers that goes for it every day and a team that enjoys the fact that we can participate in and contribute to the music business. We do it the creative and entrepreneurial way, as if it is our own risk and our own money, and we want to be successful with everything we do.” Besides, he adds – as the market currently stands, there is growth and possibility for everyone. “GraciaLive have their specialised business of Disney On Ice and Italian crooners. Perfect. They can’t offer a long-term career plan to young bands because they don’t have the tools or outlets that we created the last four decades. Let everybody specialise in his speciality – the business is still growing every year.” Nor does Schueremans ultimately fear for the diversity or independent spirit of the business. “I compare our business in the last decade with breweries,” he says. “They grow and get bigger, but in the meantime new artisanal brewers come up. The ones that add something new to it and are passionate will grow and survive and get bigger and possibly be integrated or acquired by bigger breweries. The ones that make copy beer will have it hard, or disappear altogether. Being in this business is a passionate mission and you are only as good as your last show. There’s no time to moan.”
Graspop Metal Meeting festival
IQ Magazine March 2018
Greenhouse, meanwhile, is also unafraid to diversify, operating in both Belgium and the Netherlands as both a promoter and an agent, and also working in the booming comedy market. “Comedy is getting bigger,” says Van De Velde. “There’s a lot of acts coming into the market for the first time, going into arenas. I promote in Holland as well, and there it’s even bigger.” Van De Velde’s comedy bestsellers, through his Live Comedy offshoot, are UK and US stars, with coming attractions including John Cleese (Ethias Theater Hasselt), Jeff Dunham (Sportpaleis Antwerp) and Jim Gaffigan (Stadsschouwburg Antwerp). “That’s what works,” says Van De Velde. “There are French [speaking comics] as well – I don’t promote them, but they are strong too.” Belgium might not be in the elite rank of European markets, but it does very well, and picks up on the vast majority of significant tours. “Most of them, yeah,” says Van De Velde. “If a superstar wants to showcase three dates in Europe they are going to choose Paris, Amsterdam and London, of course, and Belgium will not be part of it. But we have a very densely populated country. Shows sell well, and a lot of people can get to them very easily.” Among Belgium’s other promoters are STLive, with a line in French-language comedy, and exhibitions specialist MB Presents, which is bringing Fast & Furious Live, Cirque du Soleil’s OVO and Star Wars Identities The Exhibition to Brussels and Antwerp this year, as well as shows by veteran French new wavers Indochine. Toutpartout is a stalwart indie booking agent and promoter based in Ghent and operating in both Belgium and the Netherlands, operating on behalf of numerous Pitchforklevel artists and also promoting the travelling Autumn Falls festival from October to December each year. Brussels-based Jazztronaut, which promoted the Hello Jazz, VW Spring Sessions, VW Campus Tour and Brussels Jazz Marathon festivals, was declared insolvent in late-2016 by the Commercial Court of Brussels, following the death of its managing director Marc Klein that July.
“Belgium is small, but we are in the middle of other big countries, so maybe we are more open-minded in the way we do things. And the beer is cheap.” Alex Stevens, Dour Festival or even cause cancellations as it had at Rock am Ring and Southside in Germany, Werchter filled five-and-a-half ships full of white sand and sailed it up the canals to the site, where it kept feet dry and now permanently helps the soil drain. “2018’s challenge is to give, as we do every year, a top quality bill and top organisation for artists and their crews and our dedicated audience – our kings and queens,” says Schueremans. To that end, this year Rock Werchter has Gorillaz, Queens of the Stone Age, The Killers, London Grammar, Snow Patrol, Pearl Jam, Jack White, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds and Arctic Monkeys among its headliners. The Live Nation-supported Graspop, meanwhile, becomes a four-day event from this year, with headliners Guns N’ Roses on Thursday, Iron Maiden on Friday, Volbeat on Saturday and Ozzy Osbourne on Sunday. Werchter Boutique’s headliner is Bruno Mars. TWC has Editors, Kraftwerk and The National as key acts. Elsewhere, other people’s festivals are doing nicely as well. “Compared to last year, it is easier for me,” says Stevens at Dour, which has The Chemical Brothers, alt-J, Ministry, and Tyler, The Creator on its bill. “I think our dates are better this time,” he says. “We decided to stay on the same week [July 11-15], one week after Roskilde. It’s a part of the challenge – to have a lot of really, really major, big events in a big market on the same weekend as you is not easy. We’re in Belgium, so we always know that
Festivals Belgium does festivals like it does beer and chocolate. As in lots of it, and successfully. Werchter is the grandfather of the Belgian festival business and remains the biggest in the market, but Pukkelpop isn’t far behind, and there is diversity too, from Graspop Metal Meeting in Dessel to ED&T’s giant Tomorrowland in Boom. “Belgium is strong for festivals,” says Alex Stevens, creative director of Dour Festival in the western province of Hainaut. “We always have three or four festivals among the biggest in Europe. We are a strong market and the big festivals are all really healthy. Belgium is small, but we are in the middle of other big countries, so maybe we are more open-minded in the way we do things. And the beer is cheap.” As Schueremans notes, the major festivals fared remarkably well even in the aftermath of the terrorist atrocities in 2016. Certainly, there is a plucky quality to the sector. That year, conscious that relentless rain might cast a further pall on things, Belgian act Cocaine Piss
IQ Magazine March 2018
Contributors: Sam Perl (GraciaLive), Elise Phamgia (Liveurope), Herman Schueremans (Live Nation Belgium), Alex Stevens (Dour Festival), Pascal Van De Velde (Greenhouse Talent), Jan Vereecke (PSE)
“Most of our acts we have promoted from the start, since they were baby bands, and artists, managers and agents remember that we helped them building their careers the organic way.” Herman Schueremans, Live Nation Belgium
maybe bands will prefer to play the bigger markets. But we have 55,000 a day over five days so we are the same capacity as Primavera now.” The spirit of the Brussels Jazz Marathon, once run by Jazztronaut, was picked up and rebranded last year by the city council and former members of the Jazztronaut team, who inaugurated the Brussels Jazz Weekend in May in indoor and outdoor venues across the city.
Venues Like most European countries, Belgium has its largecapacity bases covered. Antwerp’s 23,001-capacity Sportpaleis is among the busiest arenas in the world, and at 55km from Brussels, it also effectively serves the capital, as does the newer 8,000-capacity Lotto Arena next door. Also at the 8,000-level, Brussels has the Vorst National, while AEG’s 18,000-capacity Brussels National Arena, now known as Palais 12, is the glossy new kid in town, having reopened in 2013. But if Brussels is famous for any one venue, it is the city’s 2,000-cap Ancienne Belgique, which draws international and local acts most nights. The Ancienne Belgique is now also the hub for Liveurope, a Creative Europe-funded initiative helping concert venues to promote up-and-coming European
artists, with partner venues in 14 other countries. “I think Belgium and Brussels in particular have always been a hub for international acts because of our strategic geographic position in Europe between France, the Netherlands and Germany,” says Liveurope project co-ordinator Elise Phamgia. “But because of concepts like Liveurope or Europavox, Brussels is attracting a more diverse pool of artists – not just from English-speaking countries or neighbouring countries but also from more remote places in Europe.” Under Liveurope’s steam, Belgian act Warhaus played shows in Prague, Budapest and Lille, while local punk band Cocaine Piss travelled across Europe from Lisbon’s Musicbox to Oslo’s Blå. Under the same terms, more than 40 Belgian acts have been booked in overseas venues in 2016-17. “I would say there is a momentum for Belgian bands in Europe now, for its rock and electronic music scene but also for its rap scene, with artists like Roméo Elvis or L’Or du Commun that are gaining traction,” says Phamgia. If there’s a sour counterpoint to such endeavours, it’s the fact that Brussels’ Cirque Royal currently hangs in limbo. Its management agreement with operator NPO Botanique was terminated in September 2015, but an attempt by the cityowned Brussels Expo to take on the venue foundered in the courts last summer, due to opposition by NPO Botanique in partnership with the Sportpaleis. “So in terms of theatres in Brussels, we have a problem,” says Van De Velde. “The only 2,000-capacity hall available is the Palais des Beaux-Arts, which is a classical room and it’s almost never available.” On the other side of the ledger, however, is the recent reopening of the historic La Madeleine in the heart of the city, accommodating shows for 400 to 1,500 people. “That is a good alternative to Ancienne Belgique, which also has a very charged calendar, so that’s a good one,” says Van De Velde. “But it’s hard to get a venue licence in this country, and it’s complicated to build new ones – to get a traffic plan and an environmental agreement. Basically, this country is fully built.”
IQ Magazine March 2018
FRUZSINA SZÉP received the inaugural award for excellence and passion from ILMC managing director Greg Parmley at the European Festival Awards, in the company of masters of ceremony Ben Challis and Gordon Masson.
appeared alongside Solo Agency’s U2’S ADAM CLAYTON was one of many artists who Hype & Hustle: An Insider’s Guide Hits, series entary docum BBC the in gs John Giddin ers Emma Banks (CAA), and present guest d feature also which y, to the Music Industr . sation) Organi e (Outsid s PR guru Alan Edward
TAKING ADVANTAGE of being on home soil, the Dutch underlined their credentials as arguably the most environmentally-friendly nation on the planet during the A Greener Festival Awards at Eurosonic 2018 in Groningen. Pictured receiving their awards are representatives from Finland’s Ilosaarirock, Metal Days (Slovenia), Roskilde (Denmark) and Das Fest (Germany) alongside staff from Dutch events Liberation, Mandala, Extrema Outdoor, and Welcome to The Village.
AS COMPANY leaders Barry Dickins and Rod MacSw een mark 40 years in business together (see page 52), the ITB team jetted off for a celebratory trip to Italy in January , enjoying a luxury weekend in Milan.
MUSIC VENUES TRUST CEO Mark Davyd fulfilled a lifelong crowdsurfing ambition during the Tunbridge Wells Forum’ s annual David Bowie night, which this year raised £1,875 (€2,110) for music charity Rhythmix.
The Global Touring d the World, Meet Oyster: Solving SOPHIE LOBL of C3 Presents moderate ann (Barracuda Hörm ard Rich by d , where she was joine ge Puzzle panel at Pollstar Live! 2018 Peter Noble (Bluesfest), Steve Stran ns), uctio Prod an tivem (Crea Music), Sebastian Mair ). (UTA ck Zede d Davi & n) Natio (X-ray Touring), John Reid (Live
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
IQ Magazine March 2018
“If you could live the last 30 years again, what would you do differently?” Listening and deciding purely according to gut instinct; avoiding any negative thoughts about why something won’t work or succeed; and living my business life according to the adage: If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. Dr Harald Th. Büchel, Georg Leitner Productions
I didn’t go to business school (or any other school just about) and maybe if I had I wouldn’t have made the two big mistakes of my career. The first was staying with managing bands that had peaked out of loyalty, even though the grief went up while the rewards went down. The second, and bigger one, was going into partnerships where I didn’t have control, and where – in two out of three cases – I made the wrong choice of partners (wrong, as in: bloody awful) and ended up learning that joint and several liability is great for tricksters and a curse for people who take their responsibilities seriously. Nick Hobbs, Charmenko
For the last 30 years, I have been following my heart in pursuing my goals in life and I regret none of it. But, if I could live that time again, I would definitely ensure that my brain is more in touch with what my heart wants. I would take “This is the next big thing!” with a big pinch of salt, as I have learnt that I should make decisions based on my own merit rather than on what other people tell me. Going with your gut is great, but going with your brain is vital. Iqbal Ameer, Livescape Group
TOP SHOUT Get a job? John Giddings, Solo If I could live the last 30+ years again, I would go back to the time when I used to work for the firm that represented The Stones and we handled their payments among other things. If I could go back for just one day, I would hoover up all the returned cancelled cheques with Mick’s wet ink signature – they would probably be worth a decent lotto win by now!
Go to the dentist more regularly, back off a bit more at the dinner table, and have more sex. Oh, and move to Bali. Peter Noble, Bluesfest
I have a saying: time waits for no one, it’s something that money can’t buy. If I could go back, I would go back for all the Michael Jackson concerts. I had the privilege of seeing MJ perform once in 1988 as a kid. Now involved in the industry I’ve naturally had the opportunities to witness some great performances but, to this day, there remains one performer above all else… MJ – truly the king of pop. Marcus Anthony, KSO Entertainment
Ed Grossman, Brackman Chopra LLP
I guess I should have gone to breakfast with Nirvana when I did the Mudhoney/ Tad/Nirvana Astoria shows, instead of Russell Warby. Ruud Berends, Eurosonic Noorderslag
I would have listened to Pete Waterman when he yelled at me “Don’t fucking do it!” Gary Howard, United Talent Agency
Should have been a football agent. Barry Clayman, Live Nation
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IQ Magazine March 2018
Published on Feb 19, 2018