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LGBTIQ+ List 2023: Frederik Diness Ove, Queer Music Agency

Continuing a series of interviews with this year's queer pioneers, IQ speaks to the Copenhagen-based founder

By Lisa Henderson on 28 Jul 2023

Frederik Diness Ove, Queer Music Agency

Frederik Diness Ove, Queer Music Agency

The LGBTIQ+ List 2023 – IQ Magazine’s third annual celebration of queer professionals who make an immense impact in the international live music business – has been revealed.

The ever-popular list is the centrepiece of IQ’s third Pride edition, sponsored by Ticketmaster, which is now available to read online and in print for subscribers.

To get to know this year’s queer pioneers a little better, we interviewed each of them on the development of the industry, the challenges that are keeping them up at night and more.

Throughout the next month, IQ will publish a new interview each day. Check out yesterday’s profile with Dev Mistry, global internal comms manager at DICE in London, UK.

The series continues with Frederik Diness Ove (he/him/his), founder of Queer Music Agency in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Frederik Diness Ove is the founder of Queer Music Agency, which is an agency that aims to create more diversity in the music industry by representing queer artists and DJs whilst also fostering a strong community for queers and creating a safer space for minority groups.

Frederik studied marketing management and has had several C-level positions within different industries. In 2019, he established an association called Diversity Pop-Up, which organises events with the aim of creating more safe spaces and diversity and this led to him starting Queer Music Agency at the end of 2021.

Tell us about the professional feat you’re most PROUD of in 2023 so far.
When I established Queer Music Agency (QMA) in 2021, the aim was to be a global company in the future, but of course, you need to start in one place. Since I live in Copenhagen, Denmark was the home market we started to focus on, which resulted in more than 150 gigs in Denmark during 2022. At the end of 2022, QMA got an intern based in London with the goal to organise our first concert abroad, and in March 2023, we held a queer concert there with great success. We were so grateful for all the support we received, and it showed us that there is a need for what we are doing worldwide, and now we are planning to organise a queer concert in Berlin, and more cities will follow.

Name one queer act you’re itching to see live this year.
I am attending Roskilde Festival soon, and I am itching to see Lil Nas X live for the first time. I think and hope it is going to be an amazing queer concert, and it is so important to have big queer stars who can be an idol for the all the upcoming queer artists out there. I just wish for the future that queer artists will be able to become big stars as queer artists, instead of waiting to announce they are queer until after they have become stars.

What advice could you give to young queer professionals?
Fight for queer artists and queer music, because we still need to put in a lot of effort to change the status quo with the lack of diversity in the music industry. Maybe it is not the most mainstream music at the moment, but I think queer music and artists will become more mainstream in the future, so keep fighting for what you like even though it is a niche now, but who knows maybe you will end up with the queer lottery coupon one day.

“Fight for queer acts… we still need to put in a lot of effort to change the status quo with the lack of diversity in the industry”

What’s the best mistake you’ve ever made?
Not to make a business plan when I started QMA. I studied marketing management and wrote a thesis about business planning and development, and I am quite sure that my conclusion would have been: do not start Queer Music Agency because in general the music industry is very tough and competitive. But sometimes you just have to follow your heart and passion and don’t think return on investment or how rich you can get. I have definitely not done this for the sake of money but because I want to create positive changes in the world, even though it means less travel, restaurant visits etc. Most important is that I am proud of what I am doing.

In terms of challenges in the industry, what’s currently keeping you up at night?
When we have events that need to sell tickets because the live industry is such a competitive market, which often makes it very difficult to sell tickets, especially when you are representing upcoming artists and DJs with a very small fan base. You know it demands a great effort, and you learn not to stress about it because you need to accept the fact that you are always in a quite uncertain field where a lot of factors can affect sales. Maybe you could do more, but it is already not a lucrative business working with many upcoming artists, so don’t calculate your salary per hour. It also means that at some point you need to stop doing more, because you have other things to do as well.

How do you see the live music business developing in the next few years?
I think we will see a tendency for festivals etc to become more specific in relation to their target group in terms of branding and programme. We see festivals with more than 30 years of experience shutting down and new festivals with a better concept, branding, and promotion [are becoming] popular instead. As an organiser, you really need to be able to offer a great overall experience, so everything from the programme, location, logistics, food, atmosphere etc need to be something people would like to spend their time and money on or else they will just choose another festival instead.

“I think we will see festivals become more specific in relation to their target group in terms of branding and programme”

Name one thing you’d like to see the live music business change.
I would love if more festivals had a greater variety in their programme; way too many festivals are booking the same mainstream artists. Of course, it is okay to book popular artists that people like to listen to, and it sells tickets, but in my eyes, festivals are also about experiencing new music, and I think festivals could better help upcoming artists. There could, for example, more often be a smaller stage close to a big stage, where upcoming artists could play. Also, radio and media could also be better at introducing “niche” music to people instead of the intense focus on mainstream music, and I think it would be very appreciated. We need more influential people with power in the industry to make some choices and try to change the music industry in a more diverse direction.

Name one thing the industry could do to be a more equitable place.
Just STOP DISCRIMINATION, please! It should be so simple, and it would make the music industry a more equitable place to be and invite more people to be a part of it. Analyses made by the association Another Life is unfortunately showing that approximately 50% of all queers in the industry have experienced discrimination and that number is way too high in 2023. In the industry, I hope that more people that are privileged will make an effort to help make changes, because we still really need them, and you need to make an active effort to make it happen.

Let me mention an example from Denmark where an association for music practice rooms some years ago discovered that 98% of their members were white cis males, which is so crazy. Luckily, they thought so as well, and they started to make an effort to change their membership composition, which over some years has become more diverse. Every aspect of the industry needs to make an effort, but also schools, which contain the musicians of the future. The right support and influence for minority groups and also women, in general, can change who wants to follow a path of music, so it will be easier in the future for festivals etc to create more diverse programmes.

“In the industry, I hope that more people that are privileged will make an effort to help make changes”

Shout out to your biggest ally in the live music industry.
It must be my very dear friend Camilla Trodyb who is head of PR and marketing at All Things Live. She was the first one I pitched my idea about Queer Music Agency, and she has been a fan and very supportive from the beginning and made me believe that I should definitely give it a go. In this matter, she was a much better support than a business plan will ever be. Before Queer Music Agency, I was not a part of the music industry, so it was very important for me to have an ally in her who believed in my project and who could help me open some doors, especially in the beginning.

Do you support any LGBTIQ+ causes?
Our main cause is to support as many queer artists as possible, so we struggle each day for that matter, and we hope that many more queer artists all over the world in the future will be able to make music a way of living. And believe me it is a struggle, so we ourselves need more support from funds etc to help us realise more of our projects. As a booker or a company or even as a private person, the best way to support upcoming queer artists is to book them and pay them a nice well-earned salary, so always feel free to reach me at [email protected] or +45 53531087 if you want to book a talented queer artist or DJ.


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