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MLA, led by booking agent Stuart Vallans, aims to support “both the short-term recovery and long-term growth of live music” in the UK
By IQ on 25 Jan 2021
Marshall, the British music company best known for its guitar amplifiers and speaker cabinets, has launched Marshall Live Agency (MLA), the latest new booking agency to come out of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The firm’s second foray into the music business proper, following the launch in 2016 of Marshall Records, Marshall Live Agency is headed up by agent Stuart Vallans, who explains that the agency sits alongside other aspects of the Marshall business – including amps, loudspeakers, headphones and Marshall Arena, in the company’s hometown of Milton Keynes – to offer a “holistic” service to the live music industry ahead of concerts restarting.
Vallans tells IQ industry reaction to the launch of MLA, which has been in the works since last summer, has been “really positive” so far. “Everyone’s on board with the bands we’ve got so far, and getting the bands right has made the booking process easy,” he explains.
The company’s launch roster includes a diverse slate of emerging acts, including Gen and the Degenerates, Crashface, Elijah Miller, Gallus, Make Friends, Moray Pringle and Polar States.
The goodwill associated with the Marshall brand, which stretches back to the 1960s, when the company built cabinets for guitar legends such as Pete Townshend, Eric Clapton, Ritchie Blackmore and Eric Clapton, has been a “massive selling point” when talking to promoters and festivals, who trust that Marshall can be relied upon to do the ‘right thing’, continues Vallans. “There’s a lot of good faith in the industry – people know Marshall are here to help out,” he says.
According to Marshall, the agency will especially focus on supporting grassroots music in a sustainable way, with plans for carbon-neutral tours also in the works.
“It’s incredible to be backed to do the right thing and put the needs of artists and venues first”
Marshall managing director Jonathan Ellery comments: “From day one, Marshall Amplification has prioritised the needs of musicians and done whatever we can to support live music. Marshall Live Agency is a natural continuation of this legacy.
“Twenty twenty was a devastating year for the venues, musicians and support networks that rely on income from live performances, and we’re not out the woods yet, so it is more important than ever to find creative solutions for audiences to reconnect. Marshall Live Agency, under the guidance of Stuart Vallans and working with the wider Marshall business, will aim to play a key role in nurturing young talent for both the short-term recovery and long-term growth of live music.”
Marshall Live Agency follows the launch of Mother Artists, One Fiinix Live, Route One Booking and Runway Artists in the UK, as well as Arrival Artists, Mint Talent Group and TBA Agency in the US and Rebel Beat Agency in Spain, in 2020, amid a wider fragmentation of the global agency sector in response to the coronavirus shutdown.
Looking to the immediate future, Vallans says he is focusing on developing MLA’s roster, with the long-term aim being to recruit more agents. He adds that there are a number of other new initiatives coming from Marshall in 2021.
“I’ve been in the industry for 15 years, and quite often agent performance is measured by fees generated. Marshall has straight away thrown that out the window, as it’s not how they do business,” he comments.
“The agency performance will be based on how many people we inspire to see live music. It’s incredible to be backed to do the right thing and put the needs of artists and venues first.”
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