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The New Bosses 2023: Anouk Ganpatsing, Friendly Fire

The 16th edition of IQ Magazine’s New Bosses was published in IQ 121 this month, revealing 20 of the most promising 30-and-unders in the international live music business.

To get to know this year’s cohort a little better, IQ conducted interviews with each one of 2023’s New Bosses, discovering their greatest inspirations and pinpointing the reasons for their success.

Catch up on the previous interview with Alfie Jefferies, programming administrator at The O2 in London, UK, here. The series continues with Anouk Ganpatsing, booker at Friendly Fire in the Netherlands.

Anouk Ganpatsing is a dynamic and multifaceted music industry professional who is currently working as a booker at Friendly Fire. She graduated from the University of Arts Utrecht with a degree in Music Management in 2019. After graduating she gained experience as a production assistant at Melkweg Amsterdam, booking assistant at Greenhouse Talent, and royalty & copyright assistant at Armada Music.

Anouk is currently working as a booker at Friendly Fire. She joined the company at the beginning of 2022 supporting Roel Coppen’s and Age Versluis’ roster. Together they worked on numerous successful concerts from artists such as Khruangbin, Giant Rooks, Wallows, SYML, Beabadoobee, Pixies, Wolf Alice and many more. Furthermore, Anouk also works on other projects for Friendly Fire like Best Kept Secret, Tuckerville, and Live At Amsterdamse Bos. Her future aspiration is to build her own booking roster some day with diverse artists spanning genres of country, pop, indie, rock and R&B.

IQ: You graduated just before Covid hit. What did you do during the coronavirus situation to set yourself up to develop your career once the pandemic was over?
AG: Well, after I graduated, I started working at Greenhouse Talent as a booking assistant. Unfortunately, the outbreak of COVID-19 led to the non-renewal of my contract, resulting in a weird and uncertain period. I missed the concerts and the joy of getting to do something that you love. In my pursuit of staying connected to the music industry, I explored other opportunities and eventually found a role as a Royalty & Copyright assistant at Armada Music, a dance record label. I learned a lot about record labels and how that branch of the music industry works. But it wasn’t meant for me though! I missed working with other people who loved concerts and festivals as much as I do. In May 2022, as concerts returned to their regular form, I joined Friendly Fire.

Do you have a mentor, or people you can trust to bounce ideas off?
That is Age Versluis. His guidance and support have been invaluable to me, both in my professional and personal life. His advice is spot-on, helping me navigate challenges and grow as an individual. He has a lot of knowledge about the live music industry and is eager to share that with me. His passion for music is contagious and I love to work with people like that!

You have ambitions to develop your own roster. How do you go about discovering new talent who might become artists you will work with in the future?
I try to stay updated on the latest developments and news in the live music industry. I also never stop listening to (new) music and I am always happy to find a new artist that I like. It is an endless discovery!

“Melkweg was the place where my love for the business side of music started!”

You worked at Melkweg for a while. Was there any lessons you learned from being in a venue that have helped you in your work at Friendly Fire?
Working at a venue gave me so much valuable information about the industry. As a booker, you work with numerous venues across the Netherlands, and it is great to know how all the departments inside a venue work. I was a production assistant at the production/program department. Among all the departments within a venue, the production and program departments have been the ones I’ve worked with most closely as a booker. Melkweg was the place where my love for the business side of music started!

Despite the pandemic, you have managed to pack quite a lot into your career to date. What advice could you offer to others who are trying to get a foot in the door of the music industry?
If you want to work in the music industry, you got to start somewhere (even if it is small). I started working as an intern. That is a great place to gain practical experience and it also presents a chance to expand your professional network. The spot for my internship didn’t even exist once I got it. One day, while at a record store, I happened to spot the director of Melkweg. Feeling bold, I approached him and asked if he had any open spots for a music management student like me. And he did! One week later, I had an internship at the department that resonated with me the most at the venue that I loved. Sometimes, if direct internships aren’t available, volunteering at a venue or festival can be another fantastic way to get involved.

As a new boss, what one thing would you change to make the live entertainment industry a better place?
I would love to see more women in high positions at music companies. It’s quite surprising, that when I attend (international) conferences or festivals, the number of women I come across is noticeably low. Let’s work towards a more inclusive and diverse industry!

“One of my primary goals is to create a larger platform for country music in the Netherlands”

As a young person looking to make a name for themselves in the business, are there any particular events, forums or platforms you visit to meet peers in the industry to expand your network of contacts?
I think it is important to attend the showcase festivals and conferences like Eurosonic Noorderslag, The Great Escape, IFF, ILMC. These events offer valuable opportunities to connect with new people in the industry and strengthen existing relationships with those you are currently working with.

Friendly Fire works across a number of disciplines in the music industry. Where would you like to see yourself in five years time?
In five years, I would like to have built my own roster with the artists and genres that I like (country, pop, r&b, indie). One of my primary goals is to create a larger platform for country music in the Netherlands and actively contribute to the growth of this genre. Yeehaw!


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