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Art & Industry founder Mick Griffiths passes

Mick Griffiths, veteran agent and founder of live music booking agency Art & Industry, has passed away.

Griffiths formed the London-based agency in 2010 after working as an agent at Asgard for 30 years.

During his career, Griffiths worked with artists including Mogwai, Ocean Colour Scene, The Go! Team and Julian Cope.

Following his passing, a raft of executives and artists from the live music industry have paid tribute on social media.

Anton Lockwood, director of live at DHP Family, wrote on Facebook: “Terrible news that Mick Griffiths has died. A proper independent agent who saw things his own way, and always took the creative path.

“A proper independent agent who saw things his own way, and always took the creative path”

“I had the pleasure of working with him on many shows, taking (one of my favourite artists) The House Of Love to the Roundhouse [in London], some incredible nights with The Go! Team Tindersticks and so many more.

“And l loved that Mick was more than an agent – under the name Schneider he created great minimalist, geometric artworks – one of my favourite times was only 4 years ago when we agreed for him paint on the rear wall of The Garage in his beloved Islington. Very sad to lose one of our proper original, maverick characters, will miss him.”

Ocean Colour Scene paid tribute to Griffiths on Twitter this morning: “We are very sad to hear the news that our friend and tour agent Mick Griffiths has passed away.

“Mick has helped plan the tours for over 25 years since the days of our album Moseley Shoals. Our thoughts are with his friends and family.”

The Go! Team tweeted: “Gutted to hear our live booking agent Mick Griffiths has passed away. Mick was with us from the very beginning and such a genuine lover of music. RIP Mick.”

Memphis Industries, the British independent record label that is home to The Go! Team, added: “Devastated to hear that our friend Mick Griffiths, agent to The Go! Team amongst many others, has passed away. A genuine inspiration to us for his independent spirit and passion for music and so much more besides. He’s going to be sadly missed.”

“A genuine inspiration to us for his independent spirit and passion for music”

Sebastien Vuignier, who worked with Griffiths on a number of concerts, wrote: “Very sad to hear that Mick Griffiths passed away. Mick was a wonderful person and passionate booking agent.

“I worked with him since 1999. We did wonderful shows together such as Tindersticks, Mogwai, Yann Tiersen, Efterklang and many more. My thoughts are with his family and friends, and of course his colleague Dave Jennings.”

Ade Dovey, live music promoter at Luminescent Live and former event programming and content manager for ASM Global, tweeted: “Absolutely gutted to hear that Mick Griffiths has left us. Owe this man a lot of gratitude for all the amazing shows we’ve worked and supporting me with putting gigs on over the years. Especially with Mogwai, Julian Cope, The Go Team and Ocean Colour Scene.”

Rob Whitaker, manager of acts including Editors, Slowdive and Public Service Broadcasting at Zoot Management, said: “Back in the mists of time, before the management adventure, when myself and Jacko were young promoters, he was the very kindest and most encouraging of all the agents. We continue to have many mutual friends and he’s always just felt like one of the good guys. The world is a worse place without him in it!”

“He’s always just felt like one of the good guys. The world is a worse place without him in it!”

Promoter Dave Travis wrote on Facebook: “I’ve been booking bands off him for around 40 years, I always enjoyed the bartering over sometimes small amounts on bands fees.

“Mick was also the artist Schneider, he produced incredible works of art that I was fortunate enough to display at Havill and Travis gallery.

“I took the photo below at Mick’s pop up exhibition in London 3 years ago, when I helped him hang the exhibition, it took the 2 of us 9 hours as I knew Mick would insist that it was millimetre perfect, it was a happy day.

“I ended up being Barman at the preview. I treasure the print he gave me as a gift for helping him, even though it was quite large and I took it to a Henge gig at The Lexington then walked to Euston with it after. I’ll miss our lovely chats about music, art and football.”


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Green Guardians: Resource management

The Green Guardians Guide, spearheaded by the Green Events and Innovations Conference (GEI) and IQ Magazine, is a new yearly initiative boosting the profiles of those working at the forefront of sustainability, in the hope that it might also inspire others.

The 2021 list, which originally ran in IQ 103, includes 40 entries across eight categories, highlighting some of the organisations and individuals who are working so tirelessly to reduce the carbon footprint of the live entertainment business.

This year’s winners have been chosen by a judging panel that includes experts from A Greener Festival, Greener Events, Julie’s Bicycle, the Sustainability in Production Alliance, the Sustainable Event Council and the Tour Production Group.

IQ will publish entries across all categories over the coming weeks. Catch up on the previous instalment of the Green Guardians Guide which looks at food & drink.

Ball Aluminium Cup
With its infinitely recyclable aluminium cups, Ball Corporation has signed a number of deals to supply the product line to events, including the 2020 Superbowl in Miami and PGA’s Waste Management Phoenix Open, effectively replacing millions of single-use plastic cups.

Durable, cool to the touch and extremely eco-friendly, extensive research on both sides of the Atlantic claims that consumers believe a venue that serves beverages in aluminium cups cares about the environment and that the drinking experience at that venue would be higher quality/better than other unrecyclable formats currently on offer.

Ball Corporation says that aluminium can be recycled infinitely without ever losing quality. In fact, it cites research that suggests that nearly 75% of all aluminium ever made is still in use today.

The cups can easily be made (minimum order of 50,000 applies) with custom logos and graphics to correspond with venues, events, teams, brands and more. Additionally, Ball’s drinking vessels are sturdier and more durable than other options, reducing breakage incidents and increasing quality perceptions.

EAP launched Love Your Tent, a campaign designed to encourage people to reuse them instead of discarding them

Eco Action Partnership
Waste is a key issue that the festival community needs to tackle head-on, particularly the ongoing problem of discarded tents and camping equipment left behind at the end of most camping festivals, creating one of the biggest environmental issues facing organisers.

With this in mind, Eco Action Partnership (EAP) launched Love Your Tent, a campaign designed to bond people with their portable homes and encourage them to reuse them instead of discarding them.

The organisation’s aim is to publicise the issue and create some solid solutions for change that will benefit the whole of the festival community.

Rick Storey, who helped initiate the campaign, explains, “We are determined to make festivals greener, more sustainable, and more enjoyable events for audiences and organisers, and one way of doing that is to cut down on the number of discarded tents. This can’t be done in solus, it needs to happen across the festival community and should involve tent retailers, festivalgoers and organisers.”

As part of its range of services, EAP also conducts carbon audits for events and businesses, helping to pinpoint where the main impacts are.

Greenbox offers a unique and forward-thinking approach to event waste management

Greenbox Events
Based in Bristol, UK, waste and recycling specialist Greenbox offers a unique and forward-thinking approach to event waste management. It pioneers the most sustainable strategies whilst keeping events clean, tidy and safe.

The Greenbox team builds on a wealth of experience that dates back to the mid-90s when recycling was first taking a foothold in the events industry. Its specially designed, distinctive and robust recycling stations are renowned for their ease of use and high recycling yield.

The company maintains that it’s what you don’t see that’s most important; through strategic deployment of its teams Greenbox tackles cleansing issues before they become a problem.

Greenbox operates throughout the UK, frequently in remote areas with limited or difficult access, as well as busy city centres, and at high-profile sporting events. It provides all the necessary vehicles, personnel, equipment and expertise to ensure events are cleaned efficiently, professionally and more sustainably.

Pitched for You is forming pacts to deliver mass accommodation smoothly in one package

Pitched for You
In 2021, Pitched for You has been delivering initial contracts, taking on crew and forming important relationships within the industry. As a supplier, the company took on every event it could, only to have half cancel and others pop up out of the blue with requests like isolation camps, glamp sites or a restaurant on a cliff.

As a B2B accommodation supplier, Pitched for You is forming pacts with ticket sellers, green travel companies, event assessors and production companies to deliver mass accommodation smoothly in one package.

Although determined to develop a real circular economy service, on the product side materials remain a great challenge, as there are simply no circular economy tent fabrics, yet. So the company is working with Nikwax to help develop these, finding that the correct fibres, coatings and maintenance techniques can make its material last “forever.”

On the service side, Pitched For You took advice from Aston Business School’s Advanced Services Group to ensure its business model is truly sustainable. While on the manufacturing side, Covid is presenting all sorts of international trade issues, so the company is considering moving manufacture entirely to the UK.

OVG is leading the development and operations of the Climate Pledge Arena, the first net-zero carbon arena

Oak View Group
With a mission to innovate and improve the live venue experience, Oak View Group (OVG) is leading the development and operations of the Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, which it says will be the first net-zero carbon arena in the world.

OVG believes the new building will be the most sustainable arena venue in the world, serving as a long-lasting and regular reminder of the urgent need for climate action.

Among the multiple strategies the company is relying on to achieve its goals, it has committed to no fossil fuel consumption in the arena for daily use; it will use an extensive solar panel installation combined with off-site supplementary renewable energy for 100% renewable energy power; and it will offset any carbon emission activities it cannot eliminate – like transportation – by purchasing credible carbon offsets.

Other initiatives include a sustainable food and beverage strategy, ensuring that 75% of all produce is sourced within a 300-mile range. Additionally, the arena will have a zero single-use plastic policy, advanced water conservation measures, and by simplifying its supply chain OVG will target a zero-waste goal.

The new arena, which opens in October, will be used to inform future OVG developments including UBS Arena in New York; Moody Center in Austin, Texas; Co-op Live Arena in Manchester, UK; Coachella Valley Arena, California; and new projects in Savannah, Georgia and Milan, Italy.

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Arcadia Live absorbs Ink Music’s live division

Two key players in Austria’s live music business, Arcadia Live and Ink Music, have announced a new partnership.

In August this year, Ink Music announced that it was saying goodbye to its live division after 20 years but would continue to grow its label, management and publishing services.

This week, the pair has announced that FKP Scorpio-backed Arcadia Live will be taking responsibility for the future live and touring business of a large number of the artists that were previously represented by Ink.

Arcadia is also welcoming former Ink staffer Corinna Maier to the team at the beginning of 2022.

Maier, who worked at Ink between 2011 and 2016, will sit alongside Jonathan Zott (head of booking, Arcadia Live) for the live agendas of Inks’ domestic acts. This includes My Ugly Clementine, Mira Lu Kovacs, Garish, Kerosin95, Farewell Dear Ghost and others.

On an international level, American alternative rock band Nada Surf will also join Arcadia’s live roster.

“We are taking this step with the positive expectation of breaking boundaries with united forces”

Arcadia says the cooperation opens up a network of event organisers, festivals and agencies for the artists through its shareholder and parent company FKP Scorpio, which now has operations in 11 countries in Europe.

“Our journey as Arcadia Live – from the indie company to the Europe-wide part of the FKP Scorpio group of companies – was and is essentially determined by the love of music,” says Filip Potocki, founder and managing director, Arcadia Live.

“And the tireless effort to offer both the artists and the audience unforgettable and lasting live moments. Hannes [Tschürtz, founder and MD, Ink Music] and Ink Music have a similar philosophy. Since our first steps in the music industry that we took at the same time.

“Since those beginnings, our paths have crossed again and again. Professionally and privately. Other commonalities that define our work: mutual appreciation, loyalty and professionalism are the top priorities. That’s why I’m looking forward to a successful future together on the international stage.”

Tschürtz added: “We have known each other for many years and are taking this step with the positive expectation of breaking boundaries with united forces.”

Vienna-based Arcadia Live is a German-Austrian joint venture between FKP Group, Four Artists Booking Agency, Chimperator Live and KKT.

The agency supervises numerous national and international acts such as alt-J, Frank Turner, George Ezra, James Bay, James Blunt, Marteria, Mac Demarco, Nothing But Thieves, Revolverheld, Two Door Cinema Club, The 1975, The Wombats and more.


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October New Music playlist out now

The latest edition of the IQ New Music playlist, featuring a selection of tracks curated by international booking agencies, is now live.

The playlist complements IQ Magazine’s popular New Signings page, which keeps the live industry updated about which new, emerging and re-emerging artists are being signed by agents. Click here to read the latest issue of IQ now.

The October edition of the New Music playlist features tracks hand-picked by agents at CAA, ICM, ITB, Paradigm, 13 Artists, ATC, WME and Mother Artists.

Listen to the latest selection using the Spotify playlist below, or click here to catch up on last month’s playlist first.

Separated by agency, the full track list for the October playlist is:

CAALaurelScream Drive Faster
CAAGabby MartinMe & You
ICMDana DentataPantychrist
ICMJ.I the Prince of N.YMorning
ICMOtis KaneLost
ITBPizzagirlBullet Train
ITBW.H. LungFigure With Flowers
ParadigmDora JarScab Song
ParadigmMini TreesSpring
ParadigmNala SinephroSpace 2
ParadigmPorijCan't Stop
ParadigmUltra QBowman
13 ArtistsOrlando WeeksLook Who's Talking Now
13 ArtistsHolly HumberstoneScarlett
13 ArtistsKid BrunswickBiploar Rhapsody
13 ArtistsHelveCabin Fever
ATCThe LumineersBrightside
ATCMetronomy, PintyHalf an Inch
ATCJoe & The ShitboysManspredator
ATCRosie AlenaGod's Garden
ATCGustafThe Motions
WMESam Smith, Summer WalkerYou Will Be Found
WMESteve Aoki, Armin van BuurenMusic Means Love Forever
WMECamila CabelloDon't Go Yet (Major Lazer remix)
WMEZac Brown BandFun Having Fun
WMECarly Pearce, Ashley McbrydNever Wanted To Be That Girl
Mother ArtistsThomas HeadonNobody Has To Know
Mother ArtistsUnknown Mortal OrchestraThat Life
Mother ArtistsCheap TeethI Am The Mud
Mother ArtistsKills BirdsGlisten


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IQ 104 out now: IFF, GEI, Steve Strange

IQ 104, the latest issue of the international live music industry’s favourite monthly magazine, is available to read online now.

The October 2021 edition reflects on two of the industry’s best-known events, the International Festival Forum and the Green Events & Innovations conference – both of which returned last month.

The issue also pays homage to renowned booking agent and X-ray co-founder Steve Strange, who recently passed away.

Elsewhere, Adam Woods talks to some of the innovators behind contactless payment systems, IQ gets to grips with audience insights tools and Derek Robertson learns about the rollercoaster ride that suppliers have experienced during the pandemic.

For this edition’s columns and comments, IQ passes the mic to Music Venue Trust’s Mark Davyd, as well as Jürgen Schlensog and Sven Meyer from Jazzopen Stuttgart.

And, in this month’s Your Shout, we ask the industry how they would use an extra hour a day.

As always, the majority of the magazine’s content will appear online in some form in the next four weeks. However, if you can’t wait for your fix of essential live music industry features, opinion and analysis, 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:


IQ subscribers can log in and read the full magazine now.


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International Festival Forum 2021 marks a return to form

After 2020’s online-only version, the International Festival Forum (IFF) enjoyed a successful return to a physical event in late September, as more than 600 delegates registered for the event that focuses on booking agents and festivals.

Enthusiasm for IFF was evident at the opening party, hosted by UTA, where many delegates renewed acquaintances with colleagues they had not seen in the flesh since the International Live Music Conference (ILMC) in March 2020.

With agency partners reporting oversubscribed speed-meetings at their pop-up offices around Camden, the conference element included a number of pre-recorded sessions, covering such topics as Your Next Headliner – Climate Action; Festival Playground – the Future of Music Festivals; Festival Insurance in a Post-Pandemic World; and Counting the Cost of Brexit.

The keynote saw CAA’s Maria May interviewing Festival Republic chief Melvin Benn and FKP Scorpio founder Folkert Koopmans, who delivered an optimistic message about the future of the business.

“[Festival Republic] is starting new festivals in 2022… we’ve got to try and keep up with Folkert”

Both men noted that there had been no dialogue between the live music industry and the government prior to Covid, meaning much of the last 18 months had been spent educating politicians and persuading them to help support the business.

Quizzed by May about what could be done to help emerging talent, given that many festival line-ups have rolled over into 2022, Benn revealed that he would be launching new events next year. “I am starting new festivals in 2022,” he said.”I’ve always got to have at least one because I try to keep up with Folkert. So, we’ve got at least one or two next year, and that will give new talent the opportunity to start getting to play to a bigger audience.”

“When I hear that Melvin is doing two or three new festivals, we might do four,” quipped Koopmans. However, he admitted that staffing was a problem and along with spiralling costs it means there will be some tough choices to make, so establishing any new showcase festivals might have to wait.

But he predicted that not only will the 2022 season go ahead, but “It will be the biggest year ever. And I suppose the next years will just grow. I’m super optimistic.”

“There might not be a complete shutdown, but booking a European tour in February, at the height of flu season, will be a huge risk”

Benn concluded that the industry can also take a lead on sustainability. “Now it feels like everybody is on the same page – artists, managers, promoters, agents, suppliers and fans – and collectively there’s a lot we can do together and that needs to be one of the greatest collaborations that the music industry can continue with.”

Elsewhere, The Agency Business panel examined the recently announced CAA and ICM Partners acquisition, with panellists agreeing that the deal could provide opportunities for independent agencies, while former CAA staffer Jon Ollier admitted to being “fascinated” by the merger, noting that CAA will be determined to preserve the company’s culture.

And it was Ollier, now boss of One Fiinix Live, who shared his belief that one potential outcome of the Covid pandemic may be that the industry will lose its winter season. “There might not be a complete shutdown, but booking a European tour in February, at the height of flu season, will be a huge risk. So why not follow the sun around the globe to mitigate that risk?”

ATC Live head Alex Bruford noted that rebuilding consumer confidence would be a major challenge, while he predicted a more flexible approach to touring where acts may put on a series of arena dates at short notice as market conditions change.

“AEG’s Jim King called out the scandal of guest-list ticketing fall-off, which has been 40% on some shows”

The conference’s opener involved a Therapy Session where delegates shared stories from the past 18 months, alongside plans to rebuild and reopen their various markets for live events.

With Barnaby Harrod (Mercury Wheels) and Claire Courtney (Earth Agency) onstage to represent the different parts of the business, those in the room heard a number of tales, with arguably the most inspiring related by Georg Leitner of GLP, who revealed that Syrian refugees are being recruited by security firms in Germany to help that sector get back to full strength ahead of the 2022 season.

Paradigm’s Clementine Bunel, meanwhile, moderated The Roaring 20s? where she and her guests examined whether the rest of the decade could be a golden era for live music. And while the future could indeed be rosy, multiple challenges were identified, not the least of which will be sharp rises in ticket prices to cover spiralling costs – an issue that Lowlands Festival’s Eric van Eerdenburg warned could prevent young fans from attending.

And noting increased drop-off rates at recent live events throughout Europe, AEG’s Jim King called out the scandal of guest-list ticketing fall-off, which has been 40% on some shows, compared to 10-12% normally. “It’s outrageous,” he blasted.

The afternoon and evening programmes at IFF once again featured some of the hottest emerging talent on the rosters of ITB, Earth Agency, Paradigm, Primary Talent & ICM Partners, Marshall Live, X-ray Touring, and ATC Live, while Music Venue Trust used the occasion to bring down the curtain on their nationwide Revive Live Tour, as well as sponsoring the closing IFF party.

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The New Bosses 2021: Tessie Lammle, UTA

The New Bosses 2021 – the latest edition of IQ’s annual celebration of the brightest young talent in the live business today, as voted for by their peers – was published in IQ 103 this month, revealing the 12 promising promoters, bookers, agents, entrepreneurs that make up this year’s list.

To get to know this year’s cohort a little better, IQ conducted interviews with each one of 2021’s New Bosses, discovering their greatest inspirations and pinpointing the reasons for their success.

Catch up on the previous 2021 New Bosses interview with Dan Roberts, promoter at Live Nation in the UK here.

After graduating from Bentley University, Tessie Lammle began her career in the mailroom at UTA, rising through the ranks to become an agent who represents artists including The Aces, Tierra Whack, TLC, Pussycat Dolls, Lil Wayne, SAINt JHN and many more.

When traditional touring paused due to Covid-19, Lammle re-thought how artists could reach their fans and collaborated with UTA’s Music Innovation division to book various virtual performances and showcases.

A passionate advocate for other women in the music industry, Lammle is a founding member of UTA’s La Femme Majeure event series and is on the leadership board of the company’s Justice Now task force. Outside of UTA, she is a member of the MusiCares Next Generation Board, and she volunteers with Habitat for Humanity.

Can you tell us how you got involved with La Femme Majeure (LFM) and what its goals are?
A group of colleagues and I founded LFM in 2018. We wanted to create a space for young women in the industry where we could be ourselves and network comfortably. Our main goal is to focus on music’s next era of women leaders.

You interned at Universal Music and ICM – what advice would you give to others when it comes to landing meaningful internships?
There’s a common misconception that you must know someone to break into the industry. The best thing I did to get my foot in the door was to network. It also helps to remember that everyone was in the same situation in the beginning, so you might as well say hello, send an email, and reach out to your potential mentors on LinkedIn. Always lead with kindness.

The pandemic ‘pause’ narrowed the avenues for artists to connect with fans. Can you explain what you did to maximize opportunities for some of your acts?
Throughout the pandemic, UTA has driven success for our clients with our collaborative, 360-degree approach. As a full-service agency, our divisions are constantly communicating with each other.

“I thought that I had to see a live show to truly understand an artist and their potential, but this year has forced me to adapt”

When traditional touring was paused, we worked across all our departments and with new buyers to offer innovative opportunities to our artists. As a result, the agency was able to secure brand partnerships, drive-through concerts, livestreamed performances, publishing deals, film and TV roles, gaming collaborations, podcast hosting gigs, and more for our clients.

If you had a magic wand, what one thing would you change or introduce to improve the live music industry?
More diversity, equity, and inclusion across the board. There has been some great forward momentum and that’s what makes our industry exciting and forever evolving.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
I’m not sure where I’ll be living in five years, or which new artists I’ll be representing, but I do hope to be working with an even bigger roster at UTA. I know I’ll still have a hunger to be constantly finding out-of-the-box opportunities for my clients that leverage all the company’s resources. I also hope in five years I will be able to keep a plant alive for more than three days and will be working my way towards having a family!

You signed a number of artists during lockdown. Were those difficult pitches, and can you say anything about how you tailor your career plan strategies depending on the artist and genre?
I always thought that I had to see a live show to truly understand an artist and their potential, but this past year has forced me to adapt. No two artists ever have the same goals, even within the same genre. I am a firm believer that you must cater to the artist first and hear their visions before you set a strategy.


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CAA to acquire ICM Partners in historic deal

Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and ICM Partners are joining forces in a landmark agency merger that will “drive broader and more inclusive representation” for their clients.

The deal, if approved, will bring together two of the leading global agencies in entertainment and sports. The agency landscape would then consist of what US outlets are calling ‘the big three’ – CAA, WME, UTA – alongside Wasserman, which is also a major player in the US. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The agreement, announced today (27 September), is said to be the largest talent agency transaction since WME acquired IMG in 2014 and since Endeavor joined forces with William Morris Agency in 2009, which forged the contemporary WME.

“Today’s storytellers, athletes, thought-leaders, and trend-setters who can move, inspire, and attract large, global audiences have an unprecedented opportunity and ability to achieve their goals and aspirations,” says CAA’s Bryan Lourd, Kevin Huvane, and Richard Lovett.

“The strategic combination bolsters our collective resources, expertise, and relationships to deliver more opportunities”

“The strategic combination of CAA and ICM bolsters our collective resources, expertise, and relationships to deliver even more opportunities for our world-class clients to build their careers and their brands across multiple disciplines and platforms in an evolving marketplace.

“Our strong financial position enables us to continue to expand and diversify our businesses, with service and representation remaining central to what we do and who we are. We’re fortunate to have a partner in ICM who shares our commitment to the widest and most inclusive vision possible for what our clients and company can accomplish together.”

ICM’s Chris Silbermann, who will join CAA’s shareholder board, added: “We’re thrilled to partner and combine forces with the talented CAA team. Together, we will build upon our accomplishments and entrepreneurial spirit, and continue to demonstrate an unwavering commitment to the best interests of our clients, as well as empowering new, diverse voices within the industry.”

ICM brings to CAA a global roster of artists in film, television, music, comedy, theatre, games, politics, and podcasting.

“[CAA’s] strong financial position enables us to continue to expand and diversify our businesses”

ICM’s music clients include Chaka Khan, Buddy Guy, Chris Rock, Corinne Bailey Rae, D’Angelo, Dan Auerbach, Good Charlotte, J. Cole, Jerry Seinfeld, Jill Scott, Kamasi Washington, Khalid, Lisa Loeb, Los Lonely Boys, Mavis Staples, Migos, Puddles Pity Party, Roger Daltrey, Rosanne Cash, Scott Stapp, Sheila E, The Black Keys, Tower of Power, Trey Songz and more.

Last year, ICM joined forces with Primary Talent International, one of London’s last major independent booking agencies.

Primary Talent is home to more than 900 music clients, including the likes of Stormzy, the 1975, alt-J, Noel Gallagher, Patti Smith, the Cure, Pussycat Dolls, Two Door Cinema Club, Dave, Lana Del Rey and Catfish and the Bottlemen.

CAA is a leading entertainment, media, and sports enterprise, with expertise in motion pictures, television, music, sports, theater, digital media, publishing, endorsements, media finance, consumer investing, fashion, podcasting, speaking, games, and philanthropy.

CAA was the first entertainment talent agency to build a sports business, create an investment bank, launch a venture fund, found technology start-up companies, and establish a business in China (CAA China), among other industry innovations.

“Together, we will build upon our accomplishments and entrepreneurial spirit”

A subsidiary of CAA, Entertainment Benefits Group (EBG) is a leader in corporate entertainment and travel, with more than 40,000 clients and 60 million users.

Founded in 1975, CAA is headquartered in Los Angeles, and has a significant presence in New York, Nashville, London, Beijing, and Shanghai, as well as offices in Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Geneva, Jacksonville, Las Vegas, Memphis, Miami, Munich, Orlando, Stockholm, and Toronto, among other locations globally.

Originally founded in 1975 as International Creative Management, then rebranded as ICM Partners in 2012, ICM has the expertise and influence of a legacy agency, and an entrepreneurial innovative spirit dedicated to serving its clients across the globe with passion and distinction.

ICM has offices in Los Angeles, New York, Washington DC, and London, and strategic partnerships in Europe, Asia, and beyond.


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Agent Rebecca Prochnik switches to UTA

Senior music agent Rebecca Prochnik has joined UTA as director of creative strategy, UK music.

At Earth Agency, which she co-founded in 2014, Prochnik represented a roster of independent artists including Skepta, AJ Tracey, JME, Deerhunter, Vanishing Twin, Kode 9 and Black Lips.

“The times we’re living through have expanded all manner of approaches and perspectives across the board,” says London-based Prochnik.

“I’m delighted by this unique opportunity to combine energies with the incredible, in-depth universe of UTA to lift the roof and broaden the pathways in what is an immensely transformative time for artists and agents alike.”

“Rebecca has an unparalleled reputation for helping independent talent break into the mainstream music landscape”

“Rebecca has an unparalleled reputation for helping independent talent break into the mainstream music landscape, and she has demonstrated exceptional creativity and entrepreneurship throughout her career,” says Obi Asika, co-head of UTA’s UK office.

“She has achieved great success in her leadership of Earth Agency, and we are thrilled to welcome her to UTA.”

Earlier this year, UTA acquired Echo Location Talent Agency, which was founded and led by Asika. The deal brought artists including Diplo, Major Lazer, Marshmello, Alesso, Wizkid into the UTA fold for international representation.

Asika now leads UTA’s UK office alongside Neil Warnock.


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Steve Strange: A strange half-century

This article was originally published in May 2018, and has been republished following the sad news of Steve Strange’s passing. 


A party on 13 April 2018 to celebrate Steve Strange’s 50th birthday marked the reopening of London’s Subterania, which long-time friend Vince Power has resurrected after a 15-year hiatus. Picking a grassroots club as the destination for his landmark birthday party sums up a man who has dedicated more than half his life to the live music business – and who can be found more often than not in small venues scouting for new talent, or introducing promoters to another of the up-and-coming acts on his roster.

For the purposes of this cloak-and-dagger operation, we relied on some of the historic articles that we’ve written in the past about Strange. However, we were able to corner him for an interview for a non-existent profile piece, where he gave us a fascinating insight into how he sees the business developing in the future.

But more on that later. First, here’s a potted history of the birthday boy’s life and career to date…

Strange beginnings
Born in Lisburn near Belfast on 17 April 1968, Strange was raised in Carrickfergus in nearby County Antrim during the Troubles in Northern Ireland. At the age of 11, after his cousin took him to see UFO at Ulster Hall in Belfast, Strange’s love of hard rock was born, which saw him devote his youth to the likes of Rush, AC/DC, Kiss, and Def Leppard.

The allure of music also encouraged Strange to become a musician himself and having been introduced to drumming in the Boys’ Brigade youth group, he was able to hone his skills when his father bought him a drum kit at the age of 12, leading to jam sessions with friends at school.

“I was intrigued by it – how tours were routed, why some bands played clubs not halls, etc. It was very exciting.”

His first band, Slack Alice, didn’t reach the heights its members had hoped for, so Strange found himself sitting behind the drums for a couple of cover bands before becoming part of the line-up for popular Belfast outfit No Hot Ashes in 1986. A record deal with GWR, thanks in no small part to Strange’s powers of persuasion, saw the band move to London a year later to record a debut album that, unfortunately, failed to hit the shops after the label’s distribution arm, Pie Records, went bust.

In need of income, Strange accepted an offer from Jon Vyner to join the Bron Agency and book some gigs. “I used to do [that] anyway – it was always left to the drummer to chase support tours and gigs,” Strange told IQ in 2009. Tapping up GWR’s Doug Smith to secure his acts occasional support slots with the likes of Motörhead and Girlschool, Strange worked tirelessly, making himself known around London’s gig circuit, making friends with bands and offering to book shows. “I did a lot of analysing about how the business worked, and it was a steep learning curve. I was intrigued by it – how tours were routed, why some bands played clubs not halls, etc. It was very exciting.”

A strange business
Strange’s initial steps into the business side of live music involved him hopping from agency to agency. From Bron he joined Adam Parsons’ Big Rock Inc., and from there he switched to Prestige Artists, working with Clive Underhill- Smith and Rob Hallett. Disenchanted with the acts he was asked to book, Strange made the decision to move back to Northern Ireland, where, in 1992, he found a job at The Limelight and spent a year on the other side of the fence promoting shows with Eamonn McCann.

That move led to one of Strange’s biggest breaks, when a trio of school kids in a band called Ash started relentlessly hassling him for support slots in the venue. The band’s bass player, Mark Hamilton, recalls that Strange’s office in the Limelight doubled as the cloakroom at the weekend: “You had to push past the rails where the coats were to get to Steve’s desk at the back.” The teenagers’ tenacity impressed Strange enough to give the band slots supporting the likes of Elastica, Babes in Toyland, and Ride, and as the fan-base began to grow, he accepted an offer from Ash manager Stephen Taverner to become the band’s agent, and soon found himself working with Rob Challice at Forward Artist Booking.

Adding acts to his roster, Strange soon got itchy feet again and felt the need to move to a bigger agency: John Giddings’ Solo.

Strange’s office in the Limelight doubled as the cloakroom at the weekend: “You had to push past the rails where the coats were to get to Steve’s desk at the back”

The next rung of the ladder saw Strange move to Fair Warning/Wasted Talent where Ian Huffam and Jeff Craft took him under their wings. “It just felt like the right place to go,” says Strange. “It was much more a demographically suited agency for me.” Other colleagues at that company, which would later morph into Helter Skelter, were Ian Flukes, John Jackson, Pete Nash, Paul Bolton, Jim Morewood, Emma Banks, Mike Greek, Ian Sales, Paul Franklin and Nigel Hassler.

Strange breaks
That career move coincided with Strange’s move into the big time. Within months of settling into his new environment, he was invited by Interscope Records’ label head Martin Kierszenbaum and A&R chief Don Robinson to take a look at some of the acts they were developing.

“I’ve always listened to American music, and a lot of the bands I liked when I was younger were from the United States,” says Strange. “So I started to sign bands from the US or who were America-based, and I spent a lot of time building relationships with people who work in the American business. My relationship with Interscope, for instance, on the back of representing Smash Mouth, led to Martin and Don putting Eminem on my radar before there was even a record released. I remember hearing ‘My Name Is’ before it had even gone to radio and just being blown away. So I’ve been very fortunate to work with Eminem for a long time now.”

While that introduction to Eminem may have been a piece of good fortune, the circumstances owe everything to Steve Strange’s philosophy when it comes to making a mark in the North American music sector.


Continue reading this feature in the digital edition of IQ 77, or subscribe to the magazine here