The latest industry news to your inbox.


I'd like to hear about marketing opportunities


I accept IQ Magazine's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

ILMC 35 hails record sell out

The 35th edition of the International Live Music Conference (ILMC) has sold out, shifting a record number of tickets.

More than 1,300 professionals from over 60 countries will attend next week’s (28 February – 3 March) conference at London’s Royal Lancaster Hotel, ILMC’s new five-star location.

This year’s conference includes a Hot Seat keynote with futurist Gerd Leonhard and a (Late) Breakfast Meeting conversation between Ed Bicknell and legendary KISS manager Doc McGhee.

Plus, a recently announced all-female Dragons’ Den will see Lucy Noble from (AEG Presents), Jacqueline Zich (DEAG) and Jolanda Jansen (The Ahoy) sit down for an up-close conversation with host Marie Lindqvist (ASM Global).

Other top guest speakers for ILMC 35 include Jessica Koravos (Oak View Group), Marcia Titley (Eventim), Melvin Benn (Festival Republic), Phil Bowdery (Live Nation), Alex Hardee (Wasserman Music), Mark Davyd (MVT), Tommy Jinho Yoon (ICA-Live-Asia), Amy Bowerman and Patrik Meyer (Deutsche Bank Park), Steve Reynolds (LS Events), John Langford (AEG Europe), Kim Bloem (Mojo Concerts) and Lisa Ryan (EFM).

“More of the world’s top promoters, agents, venues and festivals have signed up to ILMC than ever”

This year will also see ILMC’s first-ever central London showcase, London Calling, take place across four intimate Soho venues, featuring some of Europe’s most talked about emerging artists.

Plus, the Arthur Awards will return on Thursday 2 March as The ILMC Gala Fiesta & Arturo Awards, reflecting this year’s focus on the Latin live music market. More than 400 guests will attend the live music business’ best-loved awards, hosted by CAA’s Emma Banks.

“After a challenging but record-setting previous 12 months, the international live industry is clearly fully geared up for the year ahead, and business is back,” says ILMC managing director Greg Parmley. “That more of the world’s top promoters, agents, venues and festivals have signed up to ILMC than ever reflects this fact… and we’re looking forward to welcoming everyone to London next week.”

While the main ILMC conference is now sold out, a number of passes remain for Futures Forum, the one-day event for young live music professionals which takes place as part of the main conference on Friday 3 March.


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

IQ 117 out now: Lewis Capaldi, Schueremans, France

IQ 117, the latest issue of the international live music industry’s favourite magazine, is available to read online now.

The March 2023 issue sees Belgian promoter Herman Schueremans look back on 50 years in the live music industry, while Lewis Capaldi’s team discuss what made the singer’s latest tour such a success.

Elsewhere, the full agenda for the 35th edition of the International Live Music Conference is revealed and the New Tech panel is previewed.

Plus, IQ editor James Hanley examines the current state of the live event insurance market and Adam Woods puts the French business under le microscope.

For this edition’s double header of columns and comments, Marcel Hunziker talks up the benefits of developing a presence on TikTok and Sheryl Pinckney-Maas outlines the reasons to consider crowdsourced data to enhance event security.

In addition, Joe Hastings highlights the work of Help Musicians in tackling mental health issues in the music industry and Chris Bray explains how the ILMC scheme to introduce young professionals to the conference fits with ASM Global’s own future leadership plans.

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 from just £6.25 a month – or check out what you’re missing out on with the limited preview below:

Japan lifts cheering restrictions on concerts

The Japanese government is relaxing its longstanding ban on cheering at concerts and sporting events after announcing it is to reclassify Covid-19’s disease status.

From 8 May, coronavirus will be downgraded from class Class 2 to Class 5 – the same tier as seasonal flu – in the country, with residents told to use their own judgement when it comes to mitigation measures, including mask-wearing.

“With the change in categorisation, the nation’s Covid-19 measures will change from one where government agencies make various requests (to people and institutions) and intervene, to one that respects the choices of individuals, like in response to seasonal influenza,” says a statement by the infectious disease panel, as per the Japan Times.

“The government will need to make detailed explanations of its basic view and changes to be brought on by the reclassification, and provide necessary information.”

“Some in the audience will probably keep masking up, while others won’t”

Under the current restrictions, which will be lifted immediately, cheering is permitted only at venues where attendance is limited to 50% or less of capacity. Music venues have been able to operate at 100% capacity as long as audience members “wear masks, keep their voices down to conversational levels, and cheer or sing along for less than a quarter of every song”, reports Nikkei Asia.

“Some in the audience will probably keep masking up, while others won’t,” says Masashi Kondo, head of the Live House Commission trade group. “It’s hard to respond unless there are clear standards, so I hope the government will provide an explanation based on science.”

It was revealed last month that concert-goers in Japan could require government-issued ID cards to attend gigs under plans being considered by the government to help combat ticket touting.


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Festival focus: Melvin Benn

Melvin Benn is often regarded as one of the founding fathers of the UK festival industry. Now, as managing director of Live Nation-owned Festival Republic, he is responsible for festivals including Latitude, Wireless, Download, and Ireland’s Electric Picnic. During Covid, he was central to securing the return of live music, through a concerted campaign of lobbying and planning, and by funding test events. In an extended excerpt from IQ‘s recently published European Festival Report, he opens up on the travails of the last three years and explains why festivals remain integral to cultural life…

What did it take for you and the team to get through the pandemic?
“In truth, Covid was one of the most stressful and traumatic periods of my life. Like many people, I had people close to me personally die because of Covid. And the numbers of people getting infected was so high. But what was particularly challenging for all of our industry is that the creative industries are made up of people that are doers. There wouldn’t be a Leeds festival if I hadn’t got off my arse to create it; there wouldn’t be a Latitude and so on. We’re all made up of people that just want to do things and create things and create excitement for the public to enjoy. So the frustration of not being able to do so was immense. So in June 2020, I came up with something called the Full Capacity Plan because it became apparent that transmission was airborne. This plan was based on people wearing masks, and people gathering together that had been tested and proven to be clear, so the rise of Covid would be not substantially greater than the rise in general society.

“I trotted off to every government department that you could imagine, with the industry behind me, and made a lot of effort to try and get us back working. Eventually, when it fitted government plans to get events back on the road, particularly because of the desire to hold Wimbledon and the European Football Championship, they started listening. Initially though, they didn’t accept the music industry as being a test environment – they wanted to put us in the same environment as football fans in a stadium. I felt that left us vulnerable – I could imagine the government’s scientists saying ‘this is great, we can open the football, but we should have done some research around music and we didn’t so music can’t open’. So I spent an intense three weeks hammering on government, for us to be allowed to do that, which resulted in the Sefton Park trial in Liverpool and the Download trial.

“One of the people that was most significant helping me at that time was Sir Nicholas Hytner. He’d been appointed to the government intelligence squad of people that would advise on getting it all back together. And he understood the need for it, and saw the government didn’t want to do one because they didn’t want to pay for it. It was more complicated than that, but it was only my insistence and willingness to pay for the events myself, through Festival Republic and Live Nation that really allowed it to go ahead. The frustration around that was immense.

“I felt a great responsibility in order to help the industry”

“There were lots of people involved in many aspects trying to get us on the back, such as the LIVE group. I felt a great responsibility in order to help the industry. What I found interesting was how much the visibility of the music industry – myself and others constantly being in the press, on the radio, TV, and so on, pushing to get us open – how much that gave encouragement to my team and the general industry. The amount of people that contacted me to say, ‘this is amazing, Melvin’. And even now, I bump into people that I haven’t seen since Covid, and they say ‘listening to you on the radio is one of the things that kept me going – it kept us believing that we would reopen’. There are a number of leaders in this industry and I think they all allowed the wider industry to feel an element of hope that we would get back.

“March 2020 through to May ’21 when we had the first test were probably the worst 16 months of my adult life because of the frustration of being someone that wants to do things been prevented from doing them. Especially when the plan that I’d created in 2020 was the plan that the government rolled out for the whole of the test programme for football and sport around.

“When I did the test events in Sefton Park and at Download in early June, I had a constant belief that I would have been able to do Glastonbury too. But the government didn’t have the appetite for that. And I’m not criticising them for that. What they were dealing with was much bigger than anything that we were dealing with. But what we were dealing with was pretty big in our lives.”

“Audiences are interested in ever-improving standards. And that can only be good for our industry”

So what did it mean to you when your events came back properly for the first time?
“It can’t be described anything other than absolute joy. You know, everybody associated with getting gates open feels joy every time we open a date, every time we open the doors of a venue – it’s because we live to create and invent. So there’s joy all the time, but the feeling when you realised that you could do it after the pandemic was immeasurable. But

“We had huge Covid protocols for the staff. You have to build a significant element of resilience for very large events in order to feel confident that it would happen. At Glastonbury last year, for instance, we had a whole work environment where people could continue working if they caught Covid and felt well enough to be able to continue. And it was pretty busy.”

What trends are you seeing?
“Audiences are interested in ever-improving standards. And that can only be good for our industry. The public forum of TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media can be hard to deal with it, because it’s quite a challenge because everyone can see someone complaining about an overflowing bin, for example. But what it also does, is it helps inform my team about what festival-goers are thinking. My social media teams start talking to the person who’s posted the picture of the bin, asking them where it is, and we can get it rectified in real time. So that direct interactivity between the festival producers and festival-goers, is quite new. The more that you interact with them, the more they’ll come back. They’ll say ‘I saw a problem. I reported a problem, they fixed it.’ I’m okay with that. That level of interaction also informs issues such as sustainability and diversity, which is very important.”

“In 1989 there were only two festivals in this country: Reading and Glastonbury. It’s how much people’s lives have changed. Festivals are a cultural gathering”

What challenges does the industry face?
“The obvious thing is the supply chain and the labour shortage. I would say in the main we overcame those issues because the industry is made up of people that do things. To give you an example, we produce the Electric Picnic in Ireland. It’s the biggest event in Ireland. It takes place in September, and in late May the people we had contracted to provide power told us they couldn’t do it. In any year that hadn’t been preceded by two years of difficulty of Covid that would have been a catastrophe, but after two years of Covid we were just like ‘OK, thanks for telling us’. That we were able to overcome it was with the help of people like Sunbelt. It’s a massive company that owns trackway and all that stuff but they never had a power division. But they said, ‘OK, we’ll create one.'”

What’s the importance of festivals to cultural life?
“Festivals have been around for hundreds of years. We’re bringing, light and enjoyment to people’s lives. People are able to gather among like-minded people at festivals. And that’s a great feeling – it’s a cultural uplift. They make you feel relaxed when society is constantly putting immense pressure on communities and individuals every day. The ability for doctors or nurses, or accountants or office workers to be able to come out and let themselves go gives them a release from the daily pressures that they live under.

“There were lots of people including my staff who would come to me in tears with the emotion of what they’d helped to get back on the road. You just have to look at forums or social media and you’ll see people talking about where they’re going to camp – and it can be almost a year before the next festival – some haven’t even bought their ticket yet. That’s how important it is.

“If you think that in 1989 there were only two festivals in this country: Reading and Glastonbury. It’s how much people’s lives have changed. Festivals are a cultural gathering.”

Benn is one of the confirmed speakers for the Festival Forum session at ILMC on Wednesday 1 March from 2pm. Read the European Festival Report in full below.



Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

China lifts some Covid restrictions on concerts

Mainland China is set to welcome back artists from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan – but restrictions remain on international acts will remain.

The Chinese ministry of culture and tourism says provincial departments can resume vetting and approving performance applications by entertainers from the regions from 16 February after the country lifted its “Zero-Covid” policy.

However, the South China Morning Post reports that the curbs will only be relaxed for foreign acts already on the mainland, with the ministry reminding departments to ensure effective pandemic control measures are implemented by event organisers.

Concerts have effectively been halted in China since the onset of Covid-19

Concerts have effectively been halted in China since the onset of Covid-19, with audiences required to abide by rules limiting interaction at the few performances permitted.

The ministry of culture and tourism previously implemented a centralised ticketing system for the country’s live performance sector in 2021.

All domestic ticketing systems for live performances — including music, dance, comedy, and plays — were linked to a national ticketing information management platform with unified standards for sales, distribution, and refunds.

The China Association of Performing Arts (CAPA), an industry body under the ministry that led the creation of the standards, said that their implementation would effectively curb scalpers as well as help monitor ticket sales and analyse the performance industry.

The platform was launched following criticism of some local and national vendors and event operators for setting aside tickets for “speculation and scalping”.

In an effort to curb such practices, the ministry of culture and tourism in 2017 introduced a new measure that required event operators to sell at least 70% of tickets for commercial performances directly to the public.


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

German business ‘cautiously optimistic’ for 2023

Members of Germany’s Event Management Forum (EMF) have shared their cautious optimism for 2023, despite the series of challenges facing the live business.

A panel at the international trade fair Best of Events (BOE) in Dortmund heard the industry was still dealing with the fallout of the energy crisis, unanswered questions regarding the government’s “culture energy fund” and a “standstill” over the culture pass for 18-year-old’s, plus slow ticket sales and the need for investment or action on sustainability measures.

However, Felix Poulheim of live music association BDKV suggests the sector is over the worst of the crisis.

“After three years in a state of emergency caused by the pandemic, the industry is no longer in the intensive care unit, but is in rehab with legitimate hope of recovery,” says Poulheim.

A coalition of Germany’s event industry associations, including live music bodies BDKV and LiveKomm, the EMF was launched in late 2020, formally recognising months of cooperation during the coronavirus crisis. The organisation’s Ilona Jarabek (EVVC), Stefan Köster (FAMA), Marcus Pohl (isdv), Chris Brosky (LiveKomm) and Linda Residovic (VPLT) also took part in the session.

“Although the outlook for 2023 is optimistic, the problems in the industry are far from over”

“Although the outlook for 2023 is optimistic, the problems in the industry are far from over,” warns Pohl. “The federal government needs to do more here. This is what the Event Management Forum is committed to in 2023 as well.”

A second panel focused on questions of social sustainability for young professionals, workers and skilled workers.

“As an industry, we have many tasks ahead of us this year,” adds Residovic. “In addition to the current topics related to sustainability, the energy crisis and the effects of Corona, a major focus will be on the further professionalisation of our industry. This is the only way we can remain attractive to new and existing employees, also in view of the current shortage of skilled workers and workers. After all, the people in our industry are our most important resource.

“One challenge in the near future will be to respond to the new wishes and requirements of Generation Z, but on the other hand not to lose sight of long-standing employees, for whom the current ‘New Work’ trend is sometimes too goes fast.

“Taking the different needs of the generations equally into account is the art for the companies and us associations. We are currently working on this in various areas and are providing assistance with various projects on how the generational balancing act can succeed.”


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

ESNS detail long-awaited in-person return

The final touches are being added to this year’s Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS), which will be the first in-person edition since 2019.

The showcase festival and conference returns to Groningen, the Netherlands, from 18 to 21 January, with a line-up of 290 emerging European artists.

“After staring at cold glassed screens for the last two editions of ESNS it is like a dream come true to finally organise an irl edition and to welcome delegates from all over the world to beautiful Groningen to celebrate our return with great European music and fantastic networking,” says Ruud Berends, head of conference & ESNS Exchange.

“I am looking forward to many essential panel discussions and keynotes about the complex issues we and our world are facing.”

The ILMC and IQ teams will be present at ESNS and lead several of the conference’s main sessions.

ILMC head Greg Parmley will moderate the ever-popular Festival Panel on Thursday (19 January), during which Thomas Sonderby Jepsen (Roskilde, DK), Fruzsina Szép (Superbloom, DE), Kem Lalot (Eurockéennes) and Pavla Slivova (Colours of Ostrava) will outline just what makes their festival so unique and how they weathered the last few years.

The following day, Parmley will steer The Agents Panel, featuring Adele Slater (Wasserman Music), Jess Kinn (One Finiix Live), Summer Marshall (CAA) and Andy Duggan (WME).

“I am looking forward to many essential panel discussions and keynotes about the complex issues we are facing”

The assembled agents will discuss how they have survived Covid-19, what strategies they’re putting in place for their artists in 2023 and beyond, and how they’re continuing to grow their client’s live careers.

Elsewhere, IQ Magazine editor Gordon Masson will conduct a keynote interview with Robert Grima, president of Live Nation Spain, on Thursday.

The conversation will delve into Grima’s 30 years’ worth of experience in the industry, discovering what still drives his passion for live music; his unfaltering determination to care for his artists; and his unique vision that has helped Live Nation Madrid become a powerhouse promoter in the global business.

Masson has also been enlisted for a keynote conversation with global superstar Dua Lipa and her manager and father, Dugi on Saturday 21 January. The pair will discuss their philanthropic efforts with Sunny Hill festival in their native Kosovo, as well as Dua’s style, culture, and society editorial platform, Service95, and accompanying podcast Dua Lipa: At Your Service.

Meanwhile, IQ‘s deputy news editor Lisa Henderson will chair Grassroots touring is fucked, what are you going to do about it? on Thursday with Mark Davyd (Music Venue Trust), Rev. Moose, Marauder (NIVA), Audrey Guerre (LiveDMA) and Max van Bossé (Melkweg).

Henderson will also moderate Future Fit Festival, presented by Yourope/3F, on Friday. This panel will see Christof Huber (Gadget abc Entertainment Group AG, Yourope), Pavla Slivova (Colours of Ostrava), Stephan Thanscheidt (FKP Scorpio) and Maiju Talvisto (Flow Festival) discuss what makes European festivals resilient to meet the challenges of the future.

For more information on ESNS 2023 or to buy tickets, click here.


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Italy’s live biz reports ‘significant recovery’

Italy’s live music industry is seeing a “significant recovery” since returning from the pandemic, according to newly released data.

The Italian Society of Authors and Publishers (SIAE) presented the concert statistics for the first nine months of 2022 as part of the sixth edition of Milan Music Week, which was held from 21-27 November.

Despite a 19% decrease in shows compared with the last pre-Covid year of 2019, the SIAE reports a 6% increase in attendance this year along with a 22% increase in box office spending.

The total number of shows held from January to September 2022 was 24,119 with 13,013,269 admissions, while spending at the box office totalled €450.6 million with an average ticket price of €35.

For the same period in 2019, however, the number of shows was 29,951 with 12,263,624 admissions. Box office takings were €369.4m with an average ticket price of €30.

“The first elaborations of the SIAE data for 2022 confirm a significant recovery especially in the concert sector”

Events staged at open-air venues fared particularly well, with the biggest concert being Italian singer-songwriter Vasco Rossi’s performance at Trentino Music Arena in Trento, which attracted a reported 111,881 fans.

SIAE attributes the upturn to a younger audience “more willing to frequent crowded places”, but acknowledges the boom is partly due to dates rescheduled from 2020 and 2021, for which tickets had already been sold.

The organisation’s general director Gaetano Blandini notes that while the figures are encouraging, the live business still requires assistance from the authorities to fully return to its former glory.

“The first elaborations of the SIAE data for 2022 confirm a significant recovery especially in the concert sector,” says Blandini. “These are positive signs that bode well, but to complete the crossing of the desert the help of the State with targeted interventions, tax incentives and other measures that give companies the opportunity to invest in technology and security [is needed] to overcome the challenges of the future.”

Speaking to IQ last month, Adolfo Galli, co-founder of Italian promoter D’Alessandro e Galli, said the public’s appetite for live shows had not waned since the pandemic-enforced break.

“People are buying tickets,” he said. “Lucca Summer Festival this year, which was the first one we’ve managed to do since Covid, did incredibly well. We sold almost 140,000 tickets and most of the shows were sold out.

“We have sold a lot of tickets for all of our shows this year, including Eric Clapton in October, our Elton John show at San Siro Stadium, which sold out – 50,000 tickets – and the Rolling Stones show also in Milan – 57,000 tickets.”

Subscribers can read IQ‘s recent market report on Italy here.


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Babymetal pilot ‘silent mosh pits’ at Japan shows

Babymetal have announced they are introducing “silent mosh pits” for their upcoming shows in Japan.

The Japanese duo’s The Other One tour commences at the 9,000-cap Makuhari Messe International Exhibition Hall in Chiba, outside Tokyo, from 28-29 January 2023. Tickets cost from 15,000 yen (€104).

The band have set aside a standing area for the concerts for people with small children, as well as “those who are not confident in their physical strength”.

“Please refrain from activities such as shouting, cheering, talking loudly, or any other behaviour that may be an inconvenience to other customers,” adds the post on the band’s website.

In line with the country’s Covid-19 policy, ticket-holders will also be handed “Savior Masks” on entry, which they are instructed to wear on top of their own protective masks.

“Wearing the Savior Mask will be mandatory up to when you exit the venue after the performance has ended”

“This Savior Mask is the official dress code for the show and you will be required to wear it on top of your own mask upon entering the venue and throughout the entire show,” says the notice. “Wearing the Savior Mask will be mandatory up to when you exit the venue after the performance has ended. Please note in advance that those who do not comply to these rules will be asked to leave.”

It adds: “In order to prevent the spread of Covid-19, please refrain from talking/singing/cheering/shouting loudly. However, singing/reacting at a level where only the person next to you can hear is acceptable.”

Babymetal head to Europe in the spring as special guests on Sabaton’s arena headline tour.


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

ILMC 35 announces Latin America focus

The 35th edition of the International Live Music Conference (ILMC) will have a unique focus on the Latin American market, supported by many of the region’s top companies and professionals.

“With huge audiences, record attendances, and homegrown talent now topping international box office charts, the Latin market is exploding right now,” reads a statement from the organisers. “And in March 2023, ILMC will see many of the market’s key players on hand to meet, network, and discuss.”

Under the banner Latin Live 2023, the programme at ILMC 35 will include dedicated conference debate and Q&As, a networking and information area, a Meet & Greet Happy Hour, and unique content relating to the region published in ILMC’s conference guide, with more to be announced.

Additionally, this year’s ILMC Gala Dinner will take place as the ILMC Gala Fiesta & Arturo Awards, taking delegates on a journey to the Caribbean and the home of reggaeton for the industry’s best-loved awards evening.

Latin Live is supported by Loud & Live, Grand Move, and Ocesa.

ILMC Spa & Last Resort will welcome over 1,200 of the world’s top live music professionals from over 40 countries to the recently upgraded Royal Lancaster Hotel in London from 28 Feb – 3 March 2023.

Full information about the conference is at


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.