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Meet the first four stars of the latest edition of IQ's list of ten future live biz leaders. First up: Anna-Sophie Mertens, Zoe Swindells, Ryan Penty and Andrés Guanipa
By IQ on 19 Sep 2017
Welcome to the new New Bosses 2017, the tenth outing for IQ’s annual spotlight on ten future live music industry leaders, as decided by their peers.
With the feature entering double figures, we’ve witnessed many past winners go on to actually become bosses – and this year’s crop already includes company leaders.
The selection process for this year’s New Bosses shortlist was fiercer than ever, but the calibre of young professionals who are helping to improve the entertainment industry around the world underlines the maturity of the live music sector in particular – and its ability to attract some of the brightest and the best.
Promoter, Live Nation (UK)
Hailing from Hamburg, Anna-Sophie completed a BA in music, theatre and entertainment management at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) in the UK. During her studies, she also worked on projects including Rock am Ring and Rock im Park. She joined Live Nation UK in 2008 as a freelance promoter rep, but in 2015 became a promoter in her own right, working with talent such as Sigrid, Lewis Capaldi, Ariana Grande, John Mayer, Emeli Sandé, Ward Thomas, The Cadillac Three, Greta Van Fleet, Billy Lockett, Joy Crookes, Isaiah Rashad and many more.
Was it a difficult decision to move to London?
I didn’t have much of a choice. I stopped by Live Nation’s office for a coffee on Friday afternoon and next thing I know I was offered a temp role starting immediately. I went back to Liverpool, packed a suitcase and was living in London three days later.
What are you currently working on?
Wrapping up the last few tour on-sales for 2017 and plotting the next steps for acts like Sigrid… If 2017 is anything to go by, she is going to have an incredible 2018!
Would you encourage people to study at university before coming into the live music industry?
I had the best three years in Liverpool and you gain access to an incredible network of people. I continue to bump into alumni, and because you shared the same experience at LIPA they are more inclined to help you out, put you in touch with someone or point you in the right direction.
What would you like to be doing in five years’ time?
More of what I am doing now!
Programming manager, The O2 (UK)
Zoe’s love of music led her to the University of Salford in the UK, where she graduated with a first-class honours degree specialising in music production and music business. Directly after her degree, she moved to London, where she landed a position managing recording studios. At The O2, Zoe started out as programming assistant, gradually taking on more responsibility until she was promoted to programming manager in October 2016.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to find a career in the live music industry?
If you can’t find someone to give you experience, make it yourself! Organise a gig, produce a band, network and make friends with as many people as possible. Just put yourself out there.
What’s the best thing about your job?
Witnessing the growing buzz of the crowd, from when they walk into the arena to the point the house lights dim and the show begins. Nothing beats the power of that one song bringing the artist and audience together – it’s such a ‘goosebump’ moment.
What do you see yourself doing in five years’ time?
As long as I’m happy and still working in music in five years, that’s all that matters to me!
Is there any practice that you would like to introduce to improve the way the business is done?
I really like the ReBalance project, aimed at female musicians and audio engineers. I’d love to promote and encourage similar initiatives across the whole of the music industry.
Where is your favourite small venue and which dream act would you like to see playing there?
It has to be Islington Assembly Hall and my dream act to have seen there would have been Jeff Buckley. However, Portishead might be more of a possibility!
Agent, Coda Agency (UK)
Ryan graduated from the University of Hertfordshire in the UK in 2011 with a degree in music and entertainment industry management. He joined Coda as an intern and worked his way up to join Alex Hardee’s team in 2013. Since then he has been working with the likes of London Grammar, Sean Paul, Clean Bandit, John Newman, Mika, Hurts and Ella Eyre, as well as hotly tipped newcomers Mullally, Lewis Capaldi and Billy Lockett.
What made you decide to get into the agency side of the business?
I originally wanted to be a promoter, but there is a lot more strategic planning involved in being an agent. I love being completely hands-on with the direction of an artist’s career.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned to date about being an agent?
Get the money in early!
How competitive is it being an agent?
You need to be on acts really early now. Being an agent is becoming more and more about scouting new talent and that’s definitely a strength of Coda.
Who do you turn to for advice?
There is no better mentor than Alex Hardee. He’s done it all, seen it all, told some terrible jokes and still come out on top.
If you had to choose one highlight from your career, so far, what would it be?
I’m really proud of how I’ve helped Coda to become the company it is today. It is forward thinking, constantly
adapting to the changing industry and a real testament to all the hard work everyone puts in daily.
Marketing social media manager, Move Concerts (AR)
Born and raised in Maracaibo, Venezuela, in 2010, Andrés graduated with a degree in marketing and public relations. For two years, he worked as a production assistant at agency/promoter Tresymedio, before moving to Argentina in 2013, where he became a marketing assistant and social media manager at Move Concerts.
Was it a difficult decision to move to Argentina?
I knew the decision was the right one. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t tough to leave my family, friends and my comfort zone, but if I had to choose, I’d do it again.
What would you like to be doing in five years’ time?
Hopefully, I’ll be back in Venezuela bringing international shows and entertainment to big venues again. We need a change of government ASAP, and when it happens this will be an option.
What one thing would you like to see happen in Argentina to improve the live music business there?
More quality venues. There are few venue options for a country that receives so many great talents, and none of them offer the whole package when you organise a big concert.
As a New Boss, what advice would you give to anyone wanting to become involved in the music business?
Never say no to an invitation; don’t stay at home. Opportunities are real and come from real people. Only by communicating will you get results.
What is the biggest challenge about working in Argentina?
Everybody knows everybody. So, when I arrived, nobody knew who I was, and the challenge has been making a good impact on everyone I’ve worked with, because once you make a mistake everyone will remember you for that.
The remaining six New Bosses will be profiled in future editions of IQ’s Index newsletter. Alternatively, read it in full now in the digital edition of IQ 73: