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Continuing a series of interviews with the 2023 New Bosses, IQ speaks to Holly Rowland, an agent at Wasserman Music (UK)
By Lisa Henderson on 07 Sep 2023
The 16th edition of IQ Magazine’s New Bosses was published in IQ 121 this month, revealing 20 of the most promising 30-and-unders in the international live music business.
To get to know this year’s cohort a little better, IQ conducted interviews with each one of 2023’s New Bosses, discovering their greatest inspirations and pinpointing the reasons for their success.
Catch up on the previous interview with Gilbert Paz, vice president of live entertainment business operations at Loud And Live (US). The series continues with Holly Rowland, an agent at Wasserman Music (UK).
Holly Rowland began her career as an apprentice at Coda in 2014 before moving into an agent assistant role. She worked across DJ clients advancing shows, before moving to work with agent Sol Parker, and was promoted to booker for Alex Hardee in 2018. Holly was then promoted to an agent in June 2022. She works with artists such as Louis Tomlinson, Rag’n’Bone Man, INJI, Pink Sweat$ and Annika Bennett.
You’ve worked with both DJ clients and touring artists. What’s the main difference from an agent point of view about those two worlds?
The DJ world can be non-stop with clients jetting all over the world, every weekend with no real off cycle! The live plans of touring artists are still mostly strategised around traditional album campaigns and often require months (and a lot of times, years!) of pre-planning.
You’ve worked through the ranks at the company to become an agent in your own right. What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
I started at Coda Agency as an apprentice in 2014 so it has been quite the journey to being promoted to agent, that’s a big highlight in itself! With this job the small wins are just as exciting as the big ones, selling out the first headline show with someone like INJI is as much of a highlight as an O2 Arena in London with Louis later this year.
Last year you booked all of Louis Tomlinson’s international dates. Can you talk about that experience, and who you count on to bounce ideas off?
It truly is a team effort between his manager Matt Vines, Alex Hardee, myself and our global promoter partners. It’s a huge conversation to make sure we’re picking the right markets, the right rooms and making sure Louis is giving the best experience he can for his diehard fans.
Who on your roster should we all be looking out for in the year ahead?
Pink Sweat$, Lilian Helper, Annika Bennett & Pacific Avenue.
“Building your network of managers, lawyers, publishers and publicists is just as important as listening to all the new music”
Where is your favourite venue?
Anything north of the river… I live in Hertfordshire!
As a new boss, what would you like to change to make the live entertainment industry a better place?
Making entry-level jobs accessible to all by offering real starting salaries so that people from all backgrounds can begin their journey in the music industry. So often you have to work for free to ‘get in’ or below minimum wage meaning paying rent in London is not viable.
What events, tours or festivals are you most looking forward to in the year ahead?
Louis Tomlinson has another action-packed year ahead, so keep your eyes peeled there. Rag ‘N’ Bone Man is back with new music and my developing acts will be embarking on their first tours in different global territories which is an exciting feeling.
What advice would you give to anyone who is trying to find a job in live music?
Do your research. Be specific when you contact people, why are you getting in touch with them, is it because of a particular band they work on that you admire, or something else within their career that you relate to?
As an agent, are there any particular events, forums or platforms that you visit to try to discover the next big act?
There are so many places to discover new music, I do love Spotify, I’ve found a few of my artists through the platform. Music is a relationship business though, so building your network of managers, lawyers, publishers and publicists is just as important as listening to all the new music you can find.
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