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Untitled details Europe & APAC growth strategy

The Australian firm's head of electronic Monty McGaw speaks to IQ about building relationships with local promoters around the globe

By James Hanley on 14 Jun 2023

Monty McGaw

Untitled Group’s head of electronic Monty McGaw has spoken to IQ about the Australian promoter’s recent expansion to Asia Pacific and Europe.

The Melbourne-headquartered independent firm is targeting international success after selling more than 250,000 tickets in its homeland during the 2022/23 summer period, with highlights including its flagship Beyond the Valley festival and Nelly Furtado’s first Australian show in over 20 years

McGaw, who has headed up collaborations with other electronic promoters in APAC since being promoted from senior touring agent last October, elaborates on the company’s plans outside its homeland.

“It’s not so much about expanding the Asia market per se, it’s more about synchronising timing and opportunities between Australia/New Zealand/APAC and our partners,” he says. “This provides more frequent shows with local promoters, building audiences and creating cohesion for artist teams based in the US/UK/EU making the long journey. Doing both regions at a similar time provides great benefit in costs incurred by the touring artists and also helps with promotion and marketing efforts.”

“I make a point to speak with on-the-ground promoters to get feedback about the local scene in their city”

When expanding into new markets, McGaw says he adopts a more “hands-on” approach.

“I make a point to speak with on-the-ground promoters to get feedback about the local scene in their city, including how other shows have performed,” he says. “I also examine the touring and ticket selling history to gather insights. I communicate with the managers, artists, and teams to discuss the rationale behind playing specific shows, effectively conveying the story of the market to those who may be unfamiliar with it from the other side of the world. It is crucial to avoid rushing things in new markets and instead approach them as part of a long-term plan.”

McGaw, who is also programmer for Australian electronic music hub Xe54, has presented tours by the likes of Honey Dijon, Dj Boring, Job Jobse, Sally C, Palms Trax, Mella Dee and DJ Mell G.

Untitled has existing relationships with third-party partners such as Strawberry Fields, Lost Paradise, Mode, Field Day, Sun Cycle, Meredith, Golden Plains and WOM Adelaide. It also presented the European debut of its Day Party at Amsterdam’s Lovelee in the Netherlands last October in collaboration with Amsterdam Dance Event.

“Ultimately, the goal is to create a perfect tour, event, or festival where all parties involved walk away feeling satisfied”

McGaw considers collaborating with local promoters to be “super-important”.

“It prevents stagnation for artist growth and encourages an open-minded approach to explore the plans and ideas of various promoters. It is essential to avoid being fixated on a single outcome for an artist,” he says. “In the long run, this approach ensures greater longevity for artists in the market, avoiding repetitive appearances at the same events and festivals year after year. There is plenty for everyone and what goes around comes around.”

Data analysis and market research play a “significant” role in shaping tour strategy, especially in smaller markets, he adds.

“Considering what promoters can afford and assessing the potential for increased show capacities involves an additional degree of risk,” contends McGaw. “Ultimately, the goal is to create a perfect tour, event, or festival where all parties involved walk away feeling satisfied. The artists should feel like they have enjoyed their performances and connected with audiences, while the agents and managers should be content with the execution of advancing and backend operations, whilst local promoters should have put in the effort to create a great environment for the artists they booked, allowing them to make some profit to invest in future shows.”

McGaw adds that the challenges around rising costs associated with touring and putting on events have influenced the firm’s current direction.

“Breaking in artists for debut tours with smaller niche promoters who have super nice small audiences, good attention to detail in branding, art etc has become very hard,” he concludes. “The costs of simple things like flights, hotels, venue hire etc chip away at the artists potential to earn money on a debut tour and sometimes it means they have to sit out on an opportunity to debut in Australia to play more shows at home to earn money to keep things going. This is another reason why linking Australia, New Zealand and Asia together is so exciting and helpful.”


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