The Touring Business Handbook 2024 out now
The Touring Business Handbook, a brand-new resource produced by IQ in association with Centtrip, is out now.
The first edition of the handbook features a wealth of advice and information from specialists in insurance, law, visas & immigration, accountancy & tax, performance royalties and currency exchange.
“With thousands of tours heading out each year, IQ wanted to produce a single publication, updated every year, containing as much practical information as possible to help artists and their teams as they plan to cross borders,” say editors Francine Gorman and Eamonn Forde.
“When we started planning this first edition of the Touring Business Handbook, it was hugely encouraging that so many of the professionals we approached said the same thing – that this was something sorely missing from the desks of those planning, budgeting, and building tours. So in this first edition, we’ve invited contributions from many of the world’s top experts, who have kindly taken time to put pen to paper.”
Contributors include Blacks Solicitors, Bullocks Touring, MSE Business Management, Viva La Visa, PACE Rights Management, Voly Group, Miller Insurance, International Theatre Institute, Schickhardt Rechtsanwälte and Russells.
Higginbotham Insurance Agency, CC Young & Co, All Arts Tax Advisers, mgr Weston Kay, International Theatre Institute, T&S Immigration Services, Gelfand Rennert & Feldman, Tysers Live, SRLV and Centtrip have also lent their expertise.
A preview version of The Touring Business Handbook 2024 is below.
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IQ 125 out now: Peter Schwenkow, MVT, Gulf States
IQ 125, the latest issue of the international live music industry’s favourite magazine, is available to read online now.
The February/March edition sees DEAG founder Peter Schwenkow look back over 50 remarkable years as a live entertainment pioneer, while Derek Robertson talks to grassroots venue campaigners around the world as Music Venue Trust marks its tenth anniversary.
In addition, Lisa Henderson talks to female crew members and women backstage about the work they’re doing to pave the way for future generations, and Adam Woods shines a light on the burgeoning live entertainment markets in the Gulf States.
Elsewhere, we profile ten new festivals that are making their debut in 2024, and the full agenda for ILMC 36 is revealed.
For this edition’s comments and columns, IQ passes the mic to Cliff Fluet who previews his ILMC panel Artificial Intelligence: Moving at Light Speed, while ticketing guru Tim Chambers opines that the marriage between private equity and live entertainment has become too big to fail.
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 £8 a month – or check out what you’re missing out on with the limited preview below:
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Futures Forum 2024 agenda ramps up
Futures Forum, the leading conference for the next generation of live music industry leaders, has unveiled the full speaker lineup for panels.
The fourth annual instalment of the gathering will again take place at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London on 1 March 2024 – the final day of its renowned parent event, the International Live Music Conference (ILMC).
The Agents vs Bookers panel is completed by CAA’s Beckie Sugden and Aimée Kearsley who will go head-to-head alongside Wasserman Music’s Alex Hardee and Holly Rowland, with Marc Saunders (The O2) set to lead the charge.
Joining the A&R in 2024: Unchartered Territory session are Maddie Arnold (Live Nation), Louisa Robinson (FORM), Caroline Simionescu-Marin (WME) and Lottie Bradshaw (TEG Live Europe). Sally Dunstone (Primary Talent) will spearhead the session.
A Greener Future: The Case Studies will see Nikoline Skaarup (DTD Concerts) discuss NorthSide Festival’s journey to going meat-free and Mark Stevenson (CUR8) explain The 1975’s carbon-removal shows at The O2. In addition, Mickey Curbishley will discuss how Solotech’s sustainability approach was redefined through their work on a Jonas Brothers concert. AEG Presents and Live Nation will also appear in this session.
CAA’s Beckie Sugden and Aimée Kearsley will go head-to-head alongside Wasserman Music’s Alex Hardee and Holly Rowland
Elsewhere, the Evolution of the Music Festival panel has gained Jamie Tagg (Mighty Hoopla), Daniel Lawson (GALA Festival/TOGETHERZERO), Jess Shields (Live Nation) and Bee Grzegorzek (Attitude Is Everything). The join moderator Ross Patel (Whole Entertainment/MMF Board).
Meet The New Bosses: Class of 2024 is now a full house, with Connie Shao (AEG Presents) in the moderator’s seat. Speakers are: Chloé Abrahams-Duperry (Ticketmaster), Vlad Yaremchuk (Atlas Festival), Jamie Shaughnessy (CAA) and Katja Thalerová (LALA Slovak Music Export).
Forming the speaker lineup for Now That’s What I Call 2024 is Melanie Eselevsky (Move Concerts), Niklas Magedanz (Goodlive Artists), Kerem Turgut (All Things Live) and Gurj Sumann (Live Nation), with Louise McGovern (Midnight Mango) at the helm.
Soapbox Sessions and the hotly anticipated Futures Forum Keynote will be announced soon.
Passes for the 1 March 2024 event are available for just £125+VAT, which includes all of the above, a five-star lunch, refreshments, drinks, and networking opportunities. For more information on Futures Forum 2024 or to purchase passes, click here.
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Montreux Jazz Festival stalwart passes
The Montreux Jazz Festival (MJF) team has paid tribute to European music industry stalwart Jaquelyne Ledent-Vilain following her death at 78.
German-born Ledent-Vilain, who died on 18 January, was an English teacher before meeting MJF’s legendary founder Claude Nobs in 1974.
She is credited with making the Swiss festival “a haven of peace” for artists, and was recruited by Nobs, then director of Warner Elektra Atlantic (WEA) Records, to work for the label.
“She developed a relationship of trust and complementary friendship with Claude,” reads a tribute shared by the event. “She was the rigorous one, he was the artist. By his side, she worked for over 30 years.”
Speaking to Le Temps in 2019, Ledent-Vilain explained: “One day, Claude Nobs’ assistant, whom I knew, called me to tell me that a guy who worked for the festival had just been hospitalised. She then asked me to come and help them out, and I accepted. That’s how I met Claude and also Nesuhi Ertegün, the big boss of WEA International. I really felt like I was discovering another world.
“The fiercest rockers nicknamed her ‘mom’ while Prince greeted her with a mischievous smile and a bow”
“I gave myself six months to see if I liked it. I started doing my homework: every weekend, I brought back stacks of vinyl, and I started reading Billboard magazine like the Bible.”
Ledent-Vilain spent more than two decades living in London during her WEA tenure, but returned to MJF each year to help out in an unofficial capacity.
“Every summer at the Montreux Jazz Festival, Jaquelyne took care of the backstage area, where she reunited with longtime friends and looked forward to meeting the new generations,” adds the MJF team. “When introducing herself to artists, she would simply say, ‘I am the backstage girl.’
“Whether they were emerging talents or global stars, all quickly discovered that Jaquelyne was much more than that. During their stay, she was both a protector, a trustworthy ally, a strict coordinator, and a fantastic storyteller. The fiercest rockers nicknamed her ‘mom’ while Prince greeted her with a mischievous smile and a bow. She could tell you many stories about AC/DC, Mariah Carey, or Nina Simone.
“After each concert, Jaquelyne would put down her notebook and gather everyone backstage to applaud the artists when they got out of stage. A gesture that surprised and touched the artists, accustomed to being applauded on stage, rarely backstage. We invite everyone – family, former colleagues, staff, managers, and artists – to come together to applaud, in turn, this great lady who ‘simply loved people’.”
All change as BMG exits live business
BMG is stepping away from the live music business after agreeing a deal which will see its two live companies, Undercover and Karo, transferred back to the minority shareholders.
The German-headquartered music giant acquired a majority stake in Brunswick-based promoter/event production firm Undercover in October 2020, enabling it to “offer artists an integrated tour promotion and ticketing service” on an opt-in basis, in addition to “releasing recordings and publishing songs”.
BMG and Undercover subsequently formed a strategic alliance with Karo, the company behind the Taubertal Festival, in 2021, and booked out Berlin’s 1,600-seat Theater des Westens every night until the end of 2024 to showcase domestic and international recording artists.
However, in late 2023, BMG CEO Thomas Coesfeld announced the company would be focusing on its “core service areas” of music publishing and recordings moving forward.
“We wish BMG and its team all the best and every success in focusing on its core business”
“Michael Schacke [Undercover founder/owner] and Volker Hirsch [Karo founder/owner] are seasoned entrepreneurs who have built enviable reputations in the live music business,” says BMG chief content officer Dominique Casimir. “We are pleased to have agreed terms which allow them to pursue an independent future and we wish them and their teams the best for the future.”
The new deals will see the two companies return to their previous ownership structure.
“I have looked for and found the best solution for Undercover and our artists,” says Schacke, who launched the company in 1991. “Undercover will remain strong and independent in the future. We wish BMG and its team all the best and every success in focusing on its core business.”
Founded in Tauber Valley in 1996, Taubertal has featured acts including Biffy Clyro, Placebo, Rise Against, Pink, Die Toten Hosen, The National and Skunk Anansie.
“It has been a pleasure working with Michael Schacke and Dominique Casimir and we are pleased yet again to be pursuing an independent course as we near the 30th year of existence of Taubertal in 2026,” adds Hirsch.
The record business has had a complex relationship with its live counterpart down the year
The record business has had a complex relationship with its live counterpart down the years, arguably reaching its zenith with the controversial proliferation of so-called ‘360’ deals with artists in the late 2000s/early 2010s.
More recently, major label Warner Music Group (WMG) crossed the divide to acquire India-based live events and artist management company E-Positive. WMG said that the deal would strengthen its position in the market while allowing its artists “to tap into new expertise in brand partnerships and live events”.
Also in 2023, Warner Music France’s live entertainment and concert production company Décibels Productions secured a majority stake in French talent agency Les Visiteurs du Soir, while Warner Music Poland bought a minority stake in Polish concert and festival promoter Big Idea in 2022.
Meanwhile, Sony Music Masterworks, a division of Sony Music Entertainment (SME), acquired a majority stake in Barcelona-based Proactiv Entertainment last year. Other investments by Sony Music Masterworks include Backyard Cinema; Holland-based GEA Live; Dubai-based concert promotion, talent management, events and production company MAC Global; Raymond Gubbay Ltd and UK concert promotion and production company Senbla.
Elsewhere, Universal Music Group (UMG) launched live music arm U-Live in 2012. French-headquartered media giant Vivendi, which announced the partial spin-off of its UMG stake in 2021, is reportedly working with advisers on potentially offloading parts of its Vivendi Village subsidiary, including See Tickets and 11 festivals such as the UK’s Love Supreme and Kite, as well as Garorock in France.
Sources indicate that Vivendi has concluded its ticketing and festival businesses were not of sufficient scale to compete with the likes of Live Nation and AEG. The Financial Times reported the firm is seeking up to £300 million (€348m) for See Tickets, which it bought for €96m in 2011, with AEG and CTS Eventim said to be among the interested parties.
Tom Windish, Kim Bloem and more set for ESNS 2024
ESNS (Eurosonic Noorderslag) has announced a second wave of speakers for the forthcoming edition, taking place between 17–20 January 2024 in Groningen, the Netherlands.
Tom Windish (Wasserman Music), Kim Bloem (Mojo Concerts), Bryan Johnson (Spotify) and Gemma Bradley (musician, presenter, DJ) will be discussing The Art of Curation during a session moderated by Boyan Pinter (Believe, Spike Bulgarian Music Showcase, Green Futures Field Glastonbury).
While Beckie Sugden (CAA) and Carlos Abreu (UTA) join Touring in ’24: Are There Bumps in the Road?, moderated by ILMC’s Greg Parmley.
Also lined up for ESNS 2024 are Henrik Bondo Nielsen and Morten Therkildsen (Roskilde Festival), Pascal Viot (Paléo), Sander Teunissen (Crowdcows) and Alexandra von Samson (Rock am Ring), who will be discussing Crowd Communication to Improve Event Safety Management.
Plus, representatives from festivals such as Pinkpop, Way Out West and Positivus share with Lisa Henderson (IQ) how they keep their festivals relevant in the lives of millions of young people, and in popular culture in general.
Beckie Sugden (CAA) and Carlos Abreu (UTA) join Touring in ’24: Are There Bumps in the Road?
In a panel discussion moderated by Katharina Webe (BN*PD YOUROPE), Mika Christoffersen (Roskilde Festival), Artur Mendes (Boom Festival), and Marta Pallarès (Primavera Sound) equip delegates with a Diversity & Inclusion Toolbox.
Other speakers include Márk Bóna (Sziget Festival), Claire O’Neill (A Greener Future), Helen Sildna (Tallinn Music Week), Tessaly Felida (MOJO Concerts) and Jess Partridge (EMMA).
The new additions join previously announced keynote speakers Amy Thomson (formerly Hipgnosis, ATM Artists), John Mulder (MOJO Concerts/Live Nation) and Mark Mulligan (MIDiA Research).
Live acts for the European Festival Awards (EFA) on 17 January have also been announced, with Polish pop sensation Berry Galazka, Limerick folk trio Kingfishr and British indie band Picture Parlour due to take to the stage.
Spotify pulls out of French festivals over tax row
Spotify has announced it is withdrawing its financial support from two French festivals in response to a new tax imposed on streaming services in the country.
The so-called “streaming tax”, which comes into effect in 2024, was announced by president Emmanuel Macron’s government following “several months of consultation”, and will require subscription streaming platforms to make a contribution of 1.2% of their turnover in France.
The tax will directly finance France’s National Music Center (CNM), which was created in 2020 to support the wider music industry. Platforms that turnover less than €20 million a year will be exempt.
As a result of the proposal, Spotify says it will no longer support the Francofolies de La Rochelle and the Printemps de Bourges festivals from next year onwards.
“Following the announcement of the implementation of a tax on music streaming in France, we regret to announce that Spotify France will stop supporting the Francofolies de la Rochelle and the Printemps de Bourges, from 2024, financially and through activations on the ground,” says Spotify France MD Antoine Monin on X.
The CNM is currently funded by a 3.5% levy on ticket sales for shows, a contribution from the state to cover operating costs, and support from rights management organisations.
Monin says the Swedish streaming giant, which campaigned for a voluntary contribution instead of the tax, will focus its attention on emerging artist initiatives the Chantier and the iNOUïs, adding: “Other announcements will follow in 2024.”
“France does not encourage innovation and investment”
The announcement of the streaming tax, which is intended to generate €15 million next year, was welcomed by groups including French live association Prodiss, whose director Malika Séguineau described it as “the only device which allows the CNM to be provided with sustainable and balanced financing”.
“We are delighted that the government has taken this decision, supported by deputies and senators,” added Séguineau. “After long months of consultation and discussions, we must now look to the future, with a fully operational CNM from 2024 serving the ambition for the music industry.”
However, the move was criticised in a joint statement by giants Apple, Deezer, Meta, Spotify, YouTube and TikTok, which claimed they had reached an agreement to raise a voluntary contribution of more than €14m in 2025.
A Spotify spokesperson slammed the proposed tax as an “inequitable, unjust and disproportionate measure”, with Monin warning the firm would “disinvest in France and will invest in other markets”.
“France does not encourage innovation and investment,” he told Franceinfo. “France will no longer be a priority for Spotify.”
France is the world’s sixth largest recorded music market according to the IFPI, generating €920m in recorded music revenue in 2022.
Prodiss backs French ‘streaming tax’ proposals
French live association Prodiss has welcomed the introduction of a new tax on music streaming services in France to support the wider sector.
The move, which comes into effect in 2024, has been announced by the government following “several months of consultation”. It will directly finance the National Music Center (CNM), which was created in 2020 to help the music industry’s various stakeholders, including labels, publishers, venues and promoters.
“The tax contribution of subscription streaming platforms and free content sharing platforms will be 1.2% of their turnover in France,” reads a press release from the Ministry of Culture. “Platforms with a turnover of less than €20 million will not be subject to this new contribution, which is expected to bring in €15 million in 2024.”
According to Tous Les Festivals, the CNM is currently funded by a 3.5% levy on ticket sales for shows, a contribution from the state to cover operating costs, and support from rights management organisations.
Prodiss director Malika Séguineau has backed the move, saying it is “the only device which allows the CNM to be provided with sustainable and balanced financing”.
“We are delighted that the government has taken this decision, supported by deputies and senators,” says Séguineau. “After long months of consultation and discussions, we must now look to the future, with a fully operational CNM from 2024 serving the ambition for the music industry.”
“France will no longer be a priority for Spotify”
However, the announcement has been criticised in a joint statement by giants Apple, Deezer, Meta, Spotify, YouTube and TikTok, which claim they have reached an agreement to raise a voluntary contribution of more than €14m in 2025.
According to the IFPI, France is the world’s sixth largest recorded music market, generating €920m in recorded music revenue in 2022.
“We take note of the government’s decision, which does not take into account the efforts made by many platforms including Spotify,” a Spotify spokesperson tells AFP, via Euronews. “This is a real blow to innovation, and to the growth prospects of recorded music in France. We are evaluating the follow-up to be given to the implementation of this inequitable, unjust and disproportionate measure.”
In addition, Spotify France CEO Antoine Monin describes the tax as “a monumental strategic error which goes against the issues of economic, cultural and European technology”, and warns the firm will “disinvest in France and will invest in other markets”.
“France does not encourage innovation and investment,” he tells Franceinfo. “France will no longer be a priority for Spotify.”
ESNS unveils conference programme, EFA nominees
ESNS (Eurosonic Noorderslag) has revealed details about next year’s conference programme, as well as the 13th edition of the European Festival Awards (EFA).
The showcase festival and conference will return to Groningen in the Netherlands between 17–20 January 2024 with thousands of delegates from the international live music industry.
The conference programme is starting to take shape, with sessions including Common Ground: Boutique & Major Festivals, moderated by IQ‘s Gordon Masson, which invites organisers from across Europe to discuss shared obstacles faced by the sector as a whole.
Elsewhere, How to Keep Your Festival Relevant, presented by Yourope and moderated by IQ’s Lisa Henderson, explores how tomorrow’s festivals ensure that they continue to play an important role in popular culture and the lives of millions of young people.
And Touring in ’24: Are There Bumps in the Road? will see ILMC’s Greg Parmley lead a discussion on the challenges promoters and agents are facing, with costs and fan expectations increasing year on year.
As previously announced, keynote speakers for the conference include John Mulder (MOJO Concerts/Live Nation), Amy Thomson (formerly Hipgnosis, ATM Artists) and Mark Mulligan (MIDiA Research). See the full conference programme here.
“It means a lot to get this award from this part of the music industry”
Meanwhile, the EFAs, set to take place on 17 January, has announced Ruud Berends as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Berends is the co-founder and head of agenda of IFF in London (GB) and advisor for Westway Lab in Guimaraes (PT), Canadian Music Week in Toronto (CA), and SoAlive Music Conference in Sofia (BG).
From 2002 till 2018, he was project manager of the various Dutch Music Export organisations and executive producer of the Dutch Impact Parties for Buma Cultuur. From 2002 to March 2023, he worked for Buma Cultuur & ESNS as head of conference, ETEP & CEETEP, international marketing and sales.
In this position, Berends was crucial for the networking and interconnection of European artists and promoters alike and the European Talent Exchange Programme (ETEP) was his brainchild.
Earlier in his career, he co-founded Paperclip Agency (est. 1981), whose clients included Soundgarden, Mudhoney, Tad, Nirvana, The Flaming Lips and more. He left the Nijmegen-based agency in 2001 and set up Networking Music the following year.
“Life is full of surprises. I did not know that I was up for an award,” says Berends. “I am deeply honoured, humbled and grateful to have won the Lifetime Achievement Award. Especially, as it is at the European Festival Awards, an event close to my heart. It means a lot to get this award from this part of the music industry with many friends and music industry family in the room.”
ESNS has also announced the shortlists for 12 of the ceremony’s categories, which can be seen here.
Phil Bowdery wins top honour at LIVE Awards 2023
Legendary promoter Phil Bowdery was honoured with the LIVEtime Achievement Award at last night’s (12 December) LIVE Awards in London, attended by 600 live music professionals from the UK business.
Tom Jones, Stevie Wonder, Dame Shirley Bassey and Michael Ball were among the superstars who paid tribute to the Live Nation stalwart during the ceremony at Troxy.
“I keep thinking it’s a bit early for me to receive a lifetime achievement award but then I remember that it was over 50 years ago since I went on the road,” said Bowdery during his acceptance speech. “It’s then that I realise it’s the memory that is going, nothing else.
“I’ve been really blessed throughout these years to work with incredible artists, without whom none of us would be here. [Plus] great managers, agents, tour managers, production managers, crew and everyone who makes the show happen every night. There have been some bad times but of course, they are far outweighed by some incredible highs and experiences.”
Bowdery went on to thank his team at Live Nation, as well as his colleagues at the Concert Promoter’s Association (CPA), which he chairs.
“I’ve been really blessed throughout these years to work with incredible artists, without whom none of us would be here”
“Looking back on those dark days of 2021/2022,” he said. “The CPA had long days and nights on endless zooms trying to make a difference. It was a lack of support from those in power that really focused us on trying to make some changes.
“We had lots of conversations with Greg Parmley [ILMC] and Stuart Galbraith [Kilimanjaro Live] and from those LIVE was conceived. Bringing together all the associated industry bodies in one forum was a dream. We spent many hours on the phone with the begging bowl and trying to get enough money together to get the ball rolling and so to be here tonight at the secondary LIVE awards, with so many people in attendance, gives me an incredible feeling of pride and satisfaction knowing that it is now recognised as our industry’s voice.”
Other award winners included The O2 for the LIVE Green Award, Live Nation for the National Promoter of the Year Award and The Boileroom in Guildford for the Grassroots Champion Award.
Char Goodfellow from The Boileroom accepted the award flanked by other small venue operators and Music Venue Trust team members who wore or held t-shirts commemorating Bath Moles, a 45-year-old venue that closed last week due to rising costs.
The silent demonstration was a bid to raise awareness about the increasing number of grassroots venues that are closing down.
“If this award is to represent anything, it is the value and imprint that grassroots venues stamp on every form of life”
“If this award is to represent anything, it is the value and imprint that grassroots venues stamp on every form of life,” Goodfellow said. “Every venue is deserving of this award considering all of our circumstances so we’re honoured to receive this. It’s a tough time out here for grassroots spaces.”
“The LIVE Awards has become an important moment in the industry calendar as the only chance everyone gets to take a step back and celebrate what’s been achieved each year,” said Jon Collins, CEO of LIVE.
“We know that this has been a tough time for many given the cost and complexity of touring, pressure on festival margins and grassroots venues taken to the brink. LIVE will continue to fight for positive change while taking this moment to celebrate the incredible achievements of so many in our sector.”
The full list of award winners are:
The LIVE Green Award: The O2
The LIVE Workforce Award: PRS Foundation x Keychange
Grassroots Champion: The Boileroom, Guildford
Ticketing Service 2023: Ticketmaster
Festival of the Year: Deer Shed Festival
Production Supplier 2023: Neg Earth Lights
Regional Promoter of the Year: JOY. Concerts
Booking Agency of the Year (<21 Team Members): Pure Represents
Major Festival of the Year: TRNSMT
Festival Brand Partnership 2023: Sky VIP lounges
Road Warrior of the Year: Trevor Williams
Venue of the Year: KOKO, London
National Promoter of the Year: Live Nation
Booking Agency of the Year (>21 Team Members): Wasserman Music
The LIVEtime Achievement Award: Phil Bowdery