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The New Bosses: Remembering the class of 2021

The 14th edition of IQ Magazine‘s New Bosses celebrated the brightest talent aged 30 and under in the international live music business.

The New Bosses 2021 honoured no fewer than a dozen young executives, as voted by their colleagues around the world.

The 14th edition of the annual list inspired the most engaged voting process to date, with hundreds of people taking the time to submit nominations.

The year’s distinguished dozen comprises promoters, bookers, agents, entrepreneurs and more, all involved in the international business and each of whom is making a real difference in their respective sector.

In alphabetical order, the New Bosses 2021 are:

Subscribers can read full interviews with each of the 2021 New Bosses in issue 103 of IQ Magazine.

Click here to subscribe to IQ for just £5.99 a month – or check out what you’re missing out on with the limited preview below:

 

 


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LGBTIQ+ List 2021: Remembering this year’s queer pioneers

This year, IQ Magazine launched the LGBTIQ+ List 2021 – the first annual celebration of queer professionals who make an immense impact in the international live music business.

The landmark list was the jewel in the crown of IQs first-ever Pride edition, which was published on Monday (28 June) and followed our Loud and Proud agency-curated playlist.

The 20 individuals comprising the LGBTIQ+ List 2021, as nominated by our readers and verified by our esteemed steering committee, are individuals that have gone above and beyond to wave the flag for an industry that we can all be proud of.

The inaugural cohort comprised agents, promoters, COOs, CEOs, event producers, wellness specialists, tour managers and more, all of whom identify as LGBTIQ+ and, in the face of adversity, have made enormous contributions to their respective sectors.

“IQ received an unbelievable amount of heartwarming testimonials”

In no particular order, the LGBTIQ+ List 2021 is:

Steven Braines, co-founder, He.She.They (UK). Full profile here.
Sean Hill, director of tour marketing, UTA (UK). Full profile here.
Zoe Williamson, agent, UTA (US). Full profile here.
Will Larnach-Jones, managing director/head of bookings, Iceland Airwaves (IE). Full profile here.
Raven Twigg, promoter assistant, Metropolis Music/founder, Women Connect (UK). Full profile here.
Nadu Placca, global event & experience architect, The Zoo XYZ (UK). Full profile here.
Maxie Gedge, Keychange project manager, PRS Foundation (UK). Full profile here.
Mark Fletcher, CEO, Manchester Pride (UK). Full profile here.
Maddie Arnold, associate promoter, Live Nation (UK). Full profile here.
Lauren Kirkpatrick, promoter assistant, DF Concerts (UK). Full profile here.
Laura Nagtegaal, guitar technician and tour manager, MsGyver (NL). Full profile here.
Joanne Croxford, wellness + diversity specialist/ live touring/ tour assistant (UK)
James Murphy, chief operating officer North America, See Tickets (US). Full profile here.
Guy Howes, music partnerships executive, CAA (UK). Full profile here.
Doug Smith, SVP field operations UK & Ireland, Ticketmaster (UK). Full profile here.
Chris Ibbs, agent, CAA (UK). Full profile here.
Leigh Millhauser, coordinator, Wasserman Music (US). Full profile here.
Austin Sarich, director of touring, Live Nation (US). Full profile here.
Daniel Brown, event producer/programmer, Birmingham Pride (UK). Full profile here.
Rauha Kyyrö, head promoter, Fullsteam Agency (FI). Full profile here.

“I never imagined I’d be so thrilled to see my inbox soar into triple digits – that is until we opened nominations for the LGBTIQ+ List 2021,” says IQ staff writer Lisa Henderson, who guest-edited the Pride issue. “We received an unbelievable amount of heartwarming testimonials from across the business but, thanks to the help of our revered steering committee, we’ve ended up with 20 exemplary individuals who continually prove that diversity is the industry’s greatest strength.”

Subscribers can read the entire Pride edition (issue 101) of IQ Magazine now.

Click here to subscribe to IQ for just £5.99 a month – or check out what you’re missing out on with the limited preview below:

 


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Friday round-up: World news in brief 24/12/21

Welcome to IQ‘s weekly round-up of news from around the world. Here, in bite-sized chunks, we present a selection of international stories you may have missed from the last few days…

UNITED KINGDOM:

The UK government has doubled the emergency funding for arts, culture and heritage organisations made available through the Culture Recovery Fund to £60 million. The initial £30m top-up, unveiled earlier this week by chancellor Rishi Sunak as part of a £1 billion support package for hospitality and leisure businesses in response to the impact of the omicron variant, was criticised as “woefully inadequate” by live music trade bodies. The government is also extending the application window by a week until 18 January. “This new funding, alongside the new grants of up to £6,000 we announced earlier this week, will support the sector as we together face this difficult time,” says Sunak. The Music Venue Trust described the development as “very positive news”. “This second measure makes a real difference, providing grassroots music venues with time to submit,” it tweeted.

NETHERLANDS:

European Commission EVP Frans Timmermans will give the opening keynote speech at ESNS 2022. Timmermans, who is responsible for the Green Deal, will dive deeper into taking green steps going forward for the music industry. Other newly announced speakers include Mark Mulligan (MIDiA Research), Colin Benders (Kyteman), Pepijn Lanen (Faberyayo of De Jeugd van Tegenwoordig) Helen Smith (IMPALA), Marta Pallares (Primavera), Codruta Vulcu (ARTmania), Paul Reed (AIF), Christof Huber (Yourope) and Stephan Thanscheidt (FKP Scorpio). The event has moved entirely online from 19–22 January 2022 due to Covid-19. Due to the continued uncertainty, some of the panels and keynotes have been moved to ESNS 2023, including interviews with Sub Pop’s Pavitt & Poneman, Peter Weening (Vera), Matt Schwarz (DreamHaus) and André de Raaff, as well as the country focus on Spain.

UNITED STATES:

ASM Global has appointed Nate Whitman as chief strategy officer. In his new role, Whitman will be tasked with developing new business opportunities, investments and strategic partnerships, as well as new initiatives to deliver revenue growth for the company’s clients. Whitman most recently served as head of strategy and finance for Pac-12’s media division.

UNITED KINGDOM:

Paloma Faith will headline the Glastonbury Abbey Extravaganza concert on Saturday, 6 August, 2022. Also performing will be the Black Dyke Brass Band, with a further special guest still to be announced.

UNITED STATES:

Madison Square Garden Entertainment MSG Entertainment has named seasoned executive David F Byrnes as EVP and CFO, effective January 24. Byrnes will work closely with MSG Entertainment’s executive management team to support the long-term direction of the company. He will provide strategic financial insight on all facets of the business and oversee the firm’s financial matters. MSG Entertainment’s current EVP and CFO, Mark H FitzPatrick, will remain with the company through April 1 to assist with the transition.

AUSTRALIA:
The Lunar Electric music festival, due to be held in Newcastle on 18 December, was cancelled under a public health order. NSW Health said the record number of Covid-19 cases in the region presented too great a risk for the festival to take place.

MEXICO:

House of Vans Mexico City officially opened its doors with performances by Japanese Breakfast, Noa Sainz and Girl Ultra. Molotov and Hot Chip also played headline shows during its opening weekend. Located in Col. San Juan, House of Vans Mexico City is billed as “part skatepark, part music venue, part theatre, part art gallery”, and adds to the brand’s existing hubs in London, UK and Chicago in the US.

 


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Happy holidays from IQ

At the end of another incredibly testing year for the international live music business, IQ would like to wish our readers a happy holiday season and a prosperous New Year.

Close to one million unique users have logged on to iq-mag.net during 2021 and we are grateful to each and every one of you for your support.

Our daily IQ Index newsletter will return on Tuesday, 4 January, but in the meantime we will continue to update the website with any significant breaking news over the festive period.

In the meantime, thank you for your support and we look forward to reporting on the resurgence of the touring business in the months and years to come.

 


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Mad Dogs… concert film Q&A with Wayne Forte

Entourage Talent’s Wayne Forte has spoken to IQ about his electrifying new documentary, Learning To Live Together: The Return of Mad Dogs and Englishmen.

The ILMC stalwart is one of the producers of the 111-minute concert film, which tells the story of the legendary short-lived 1970 tour with Joe Cocker featuring a mammoth 32-piece band, and the 2015 reunion organised by the Grammy Award-winning Tedeschi Trucks Band’s Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi.

The reunion featured 12 of the original Mad Dogs, including Rita Coolidge, Claudia Lennear and the late Leon Russell, plus guest performers Chris Robinson and Dave Mason. Cocker passed away in 2014.

Directed by first-time filmmaker Jesse Lauter, the production interweaves archive footage from the original documentary and concert film with new interviews and performances from the reunion show. It received its international premiere at the Raindance Film Festival in London on 31 October.

Here, Forte, who is agent for Tedeschi Trucks Band along with artists such as Steve Hackett and Joe Satriani, tells us how it all came to pass…

It seemed as if we could create something big or not at all

How did the project originate?

“The original plan was to perform a special event show at the Lockn’ Festival, in Arrington, Virginia. The idea was to have the band perform a Tedeschi Trucks Band set one day and a special collaborative show with another well known artist the other day. In this particular case, we reached out to Joe Cocker to front the band, performing a Mad Dogs & Englishmen set. Getting Joe to sit in with the band for a few songs is something we had tried to do on a number of occasions, with no prior success. We were then told that we would have an answer from the Cocker camp in a short while. A few months later, it was announced that he had passed away.”

What were the keys to bringing it all together?

“After the announcement of Joe’s passing, the band, manager, festival promoter and I decided to move ahead with the plan as a tribute to Joe Cocker, with the idea of finding someone to take his place. After months of searching high and low, there was no one that could do that so we then decided to use various ‘guests’ and have Susan Tedeschi sing some of the songs as well, as the Tedeschi Trucks Band had already been doing for a few of the Mad Dogs & Englishmen/Joe Cocker versions. We began enlisting various guests – Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes, Dave Mason to sing Feelin’ Alright, Warren Haynes, Jon Bell from Widespread Panic, etc. However, when the promoter asked if it would be alright to reach out to Leon Russell, who had supported Tedeschi Trucks Band on one or two occasions and sat in with them at the Beacon Theatre once, that’s when the floodgates began to open. I then suggested he see if Rita Coolidge was still working, see if he could find Claudia Lennear, who I had heard was retired, and contact Chris Stainton, who Derek [Trucks] had played with when he toured with Eric Clapton. Before we knew it, we had 12 of the original Mad Dogs, along with the 12-piece Tedeschi Trucks Band!”

Why did it appeal to you personally?
“I was and am a big fan of Mad Dogs & Englishmen and Leon Russell, and it seemed as if we could create something big or nothing at all.”

What convinced you of the story’s feature-length potential?

“I originally suggested to the band’s manager that we film the show just in case something magical happens. Unfortunately, the cost of doing so on that scale and on short notice was prohibitive. We scrambled to try and get it organised and then settled for two remote handhelds and the footage from the festival livestream, which the festival producer agreed to allow us to have, with certain provisos, in the hope that we could do something special with it. It started out to be a live concert film/DVD, what have you, but blossomed into the actual feature length result through the vision of the director, who put together the outline to tell the story.”

What were the biggest challenges involved?

“Raising the funds in order to complete the project – all which was done independently by me and the band’s manager, my co-producer – with some assistance from the director. We initially tried making a deal with various streaming and VOD services, but none quite understood the vision. Meanwhile, we have already had some fantastic reviews and a number of accolades from independent film festivals. The actual project took us six years from the end of the festival show until we were able to screen the finished product. The second tallest mountain to climb was getting all the clearances/licence for the archival footage and music involved. There are 64+ songs and loads of archival footage throughout.

What is your favourite section, scene and/or performance?

“There are too many to single out. It is not dissimilar to having a horde of children and asking, ‘Which is your favourite?’ Having said that, I think the end is very powerful.”

What are your goals for the film now?

“We have been booking it into independent cinemas here in the u.s and quite a few have already booked return screenings. Our ultimate goal is to have it seen by as many people as possible. In the words of Susan Tedeschi, we need to tell the story so people know… We are currently looking to make individual or a worldwide streaming/VOD deal to make it available to the masses.”

How pleased have you been with the response to it so far?
“Very. However, I set high bars for myself and everything I do. Therefore enough is never enough! And again, it is about having as many people as possible see it.”

 


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Congress demands answers over Astroworld tragedy

The US Congress has written to Live Nation to demand answers over the Astroworld tragedy.

Ten people, aged between nine and 27, died and hundreds of others were injured following a crowd crush during Travis Scott’s headline set at NRG Park in Houston, Texas.

In an open letter addressed to Live Nation president and CEO Michael Rapino, the committee on oversight and reform have requested information “regarding the roles and responsibilities for Astroworld Festival, security planning for the event, and the steps Live Nation Entertainment took after being made aware that law enforcement had declared the event a ‘mass casualty event'”.

We are committed to investigating what went wrong to inform possible reforms that could prevent future tragedies

“Recent reports raise serious concerns about whether your company took adequate steps to ensure the safety of the 50,000 concertgoers who attended Astroworld Festival,” reads the letter, signed by members of the committee.

“For instance, reports indicate that security and medical staff were inexperienced or ill-equipped to deal with mass injuries. Some attendees stated that the placement of barricades made it difficult to escape. Experts have stated that Astroworld Festival organisers failed to heed warning signs.”

The letter adds the tragedy follows “a long line of other tragic events and safety violations involving Live Nation”,  stating the promoter has been “fined or sued numerous times over safety issues at previous events, including other incidents involving surging fans or stampedes”.

Members add: “We are deeply saddened by the deaths that occurred at Astroworld Festival and are committed to investigating what went wrong to inform possible reforms that could prevent future tragedies.”

The committee has asked Live Nation to respond by 7 January 2022.

Live Nation and its Scoremore subsidiary deny all allegations against them relating to the 5 November disaster.

 


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New coronavirus curbs sweep Europe

Coronavirus curbs are being reintroduced around Europe as governments bid to combat the spread of the omicron variant.

Portugal has announced it will close bars and nightclubs from 26 December and limit outdoor gatherings to 10 people, while Germany is to close nightclubs from 28 December. Football matches will be played behind closed doors from that date, with private gatherings restricted to 10 people.

In Catalonia, concert halls and clubs have been closed, while Sweden is introducing new Covid measures from tomorrow (23 December), when vaccination certificates will be required for public gatherings and indoor events of more than 500 people. Participants must have a designated seat and 1m social distancing will be imposed. Groups must be limited to eight people.

The Swedish government has allocated SEK120 million (€11.7m) to the cultural sector, with the details to be finalised in the January budget.

It is absolutely crucial that in a difficult time we create security and support our cultural life

Elsewhere, Denmark has agreed to reopen a number of compensation schemes, including funds for smaller venues and artists.

“It is absolutely crucial that in a difficult time we create security and support our cultural and sports life,” said culture minister Ane Halsboe-Jørgensen.

“Among other things, we ensure assistance to cultural institutions that may cancel or postpone a production due to the restrictions. This will ensure better coverage for cancelled events.”

The reopened compensation schemes came into effect from 19 December and are welcomed by Dansk Live.

“Under the circumstances, it’s a good deal,” says Esben Marcher, the trade body’s head of secretariat. “We feel that they have really listened to us and we really appreciate that.”

The BBC is reporting that Northern Ireland nightclubs, which were the last in the UK to reopen on 31 October, will have to close once more from 27 December.

Yesterday, in Scotland, first minister Nicola Sturgeon announced new restrictions from 26 December, including the cancellation of large-scale events such as Hogmanay celebrations.

Indoor gatherings will be limited to 100 people standing and 200 seated, while outdoor events will be restricted to 500-capacity, with 1m physical distancing at all events.

Sturgeon also announced that support for businesses affected by Covid-19 will be increased by a further £275 million.

Wales also announced that spectators would be banned from all indoor, outdoor, professional and community sports events in the country from Boxing Day. There has not yet been any announcement about the closure of indoor or outdoor music venues, although economy minister Vaughan Gething said new restrictions will need to be introduced.

However, the contents of a new £1 billion financial package announced by the UK government disappointed live music groups. The additional measures included a £30 million top-up to the Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) and grants of up to £6,000 per premise.

Prime minister Boris Johnson has not ruled out introducing new post-Christmas measures.

 


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Music in the metaverse: What are the licensing laws?

Parts of the music industry have been running into the arms of the global metaverse phenomenon, seeking opportunities for growth, collaboration, revenues, and creativity. Fortnite’s Ariana Grande concert, HYBE’s diversification beyond music, and UMG’s launch of a new “NFT supergroup” offer a taste of what music can do in this alternative, fully digital world.

Opportunities or threats?
If the Rolling Stones were already livestreaming in 1995, what makes this new form of music consumption in the metaverse different from the traditional “vanilla” livestreaming?

Performing in a virtual venue has proved to be a commercial success, with record-breaking attendance in Lil Nas X’s Roblox concert and Fortnite’s Travis Scott performance. The diversification into the gaming industry is just one medium.

NFTs prove that digital goods can be marketed as part of a wider package of rights and can offer new monetisation methods for the music sector. Aside from virtual events and NFTs, another metaverse sensation affecting the music sector has been the emergence of virtual “artists” and the traction around AI avatars.

The global audience that even the biggest tours are unable to accommodate has made music and metaverse inseparable

Early adopters cite reach, immediacy, and interactivity through collaborations between talent performing from different virtual locations as key differentiators for artists. The opportunity of direct interactions with fans will provide acts with exposure to wider audiences and high user engagement.

Do these innovations, however, come at a price? Artists who rely on traditional production channels to reach audiences risk getting left behind.

Looking ahead, could some of the more one-dimensional approaches to the digital music industry – such as purely owning rights and monetising through subscription streaming channels – quickly become commoditised and mechanised to the extent they no longer yield the profit margin we have come to expect?

From a scale perspective, the global audience that even the biggest tours are unable to accommodate, patched together with migration to online entertainment during the pandemic, has made music and metaverse arguably now inseparable.

The proliferation of music within closed and open online environments adds another potential layer of complexity

Legal issues
Mostly, the traditional legal and licensing rules to online exploitation apply equally in the metaverse. However, the proliferation of music within closed and open online environments adds another potential layer of complexity to a chain of rights in the music licensing process.

For instance:

One thing is certain
The exploitation of music and rights in the metaverse creates massive opportunities to build new models and ways of exploiting copyrights that help drive incremental revenues and value to the industry, artists, creators, and the platforms that invest in the metaverse itself. Read our metaverse guide for further unique legal issues here.

 


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28m tune in to Westlife livestream in China

An exclusive livestream performance by Westlife, broadcast by Tencent’s Weixin across China, pulled in almost 28 million viewers.

Produced by Driift and filmed at London’s Bush Hall by acclaimed director Chris Howe, the 17 December event was both Westlife’s first ever livestream and the first by an international artist in China to be delivered by WeChat channels.

WeChat is the international version of Weixin, China’s largest social media platform with over 1.2 billion users.

WeChat channels can be a connector of cultures

“WeChat channels can be a connector of cultures by leveraging on WeChat’s open platform and the creators’ ecosystem,” says WeChat’s head of marketing Juliet Zhu, whose team has planned a series of activities in addition to the concert, which will see more international artists engage with WeChat/Weixin channels.

The 100-minute stream included an exclusive cover by Westlife, in Mandarin, of The Road to Ordinary by Chinese singer Pu Shu. The show was followed by an extended Q&A with the Irish group, who answered questions from their Chinese fanbase.

Westlife have built a significant following in the region, having first toured China in 2006 and returned to play arena shows in Beijing and Shanghai in 2019. The quartet are due to tour the UK in 2022, with a headline date at London’s 90,000-cap Wembley Stadium scheduled for 6 August, promoted by Live Nation.

 


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Soundstorm fest attracts massive crowds

Saudi Arabia’s Soundstorm festival pulled in huge crowds from around the world, according to promoter MDLBeast.

Held in Riyadh from 16-19 December, the four-day event hosted more than 200 acts, including international stars such as David Guetta, Jeff Mills, Major Lazer Soundsystem, Martin Garrix, Steve Aoki, Armin Van Buuren and Carl Cox. Ticket prices started at 339 SAR (€80).

Organisers say daily attendance averaged 183,000, while the Saudi Gazette reports the festival attracted 200,000 fans for its second day alone.

It has been a success on every level

“It exceeded the expectations of everyone, including us as organisers,” says MDLBeast CEO, Ramadan Alharatani. “It has been a success on every level, having attracted a huge number of music lovers and provided them with a safe space to enjoy the highest standards of music entertainment. We are very proud.”

Soundstorm featured four main areas including the main stage Big Beast, reputedly the world’s tallest and largest stage.

First staged in 2019, this year’s edition came on the heels of MDLBeast’s inaugural XP Music Conference.

Speaking at XP, Saudi Arabia’s assistant minister for tourism, Princess Haifa bint Mohammed Al Saud, said the number of concerts held in the kingdom each year is set to rise by up to 600% on pre-pandemic levels.

Global superstars including Justin Bieber, Jason Derulo, A$AP Rocky and David Guetta performed in Jeddah for the Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix post-race concerts earlier this month, while a series of events are also taking place as part of Riyadh Season, which runs from October to March.

 


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