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UK’s X-ray Touring forms alliance with US’s AGI

London-based X-ray Touring has extended its joint-venture partnership with private-equity firm the Yucaipa Companies, continuing a relationship that began in 2017, and formed a new strategic alliance with New York’s Artist Group International (AGI), part of Yucaipa’s Y Entertainment Group.

The partnership will see the two agencies will work together internationally, with X-ray remaining under the control and direction of founding partners Martin Horne, Ian Huffam, Steve Strange and Scott Thomas and newly added board member Josh Javor.

X-ray’s roster of more than 400 acts includes Coldplay, Eminem, Robbie Williams, Gorillaz, Queens of the Stone Age, Linkin Park, Pixies, Stereophonics, Bombay Bicycle Club, Enter Shikari and Fever 333, while AGI represents Billy Joel, Metallica, Rod Stewart, Neil Young, Linkin Park, Motley Crue, Def Leppard, the Strokes and Cage the Elephant, among others.

Yucaipa also has interests in two other London-based agencies, ITG and K2, Los Angeles-based APA, US promoter Danny Wimmer Presents and Spain’s Primavera Sound festival, as well as management company LBI Entertainment and sports agencies ISE and Steinberg Sports.

X-ray was also formerly allied with Paradigm Talent Agency (then Coda) in London, in which Yucaipa held a stake, though that relationship has now come to an end.

“The synergies between these companies creates even more opportunity for their clients”

“This had been a long time coming and I know all of X-ray is excited by this strategic partnership with AGI and Y Entertainment,” says Huffam. “There will be many changes over the next few years but our proven collective track records offer artists the best route forward to live success.”

“I have long admired what the X-ray team led by Ian, Steve, Scott and Martin have built,” says AGI’s Dennis Arfa. “We have wanted to work with X-ray for many years and are thrilled to finally have the opportunity to do so.”

AGI president Marsha Vlasic adds: “I am thrilled and excited to be joining forces with X-ray, a company that I have long admired and respected. I feel extremely positive about all of us being able to do great things together. During a time like this, which has been so difficult for all us, having this come together has been such a breath of fresh air and energy.”

“I am personally excited and delighted by our renewed joint venture partnership with my good friend Ron Burkle and the Yucaipa group,” says X-ray’s Strange. “I am also looking forward to our new strategic partnership with AGI in the US. I have known Dennis and Marsha and others at AGI for many years and I truly believe that our alliance will work fantastically well. We already feel that the chemistry between both companies can only strengthen our global impact.”

“AGI and X-ray’s leadership and innovation in the industry is unparallelled,” comments Yucaipa founder Ron Burkle. “The synergies between these companies creates even more opportunity for their clients. This is a perfect match both culturally and strategically and I look forward watching their collaboration as they continue to grow globally.“

 


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Marsha Vlasic on the ’20s: “There will be fewer independents”

As we enter the new decade, IQ caught up with leaders from the global live music business to reflect upon the development of the industry over the past ten years, as well as looking forward to what we can expect in the 2020s.

Following on from Q&As with UTA’s Neil Warnock, AEG’s Jay Marciano, and Move Concerts’ Phil Rodriguez, in the hot seat today is Marsha Vlasic, president of Artist Group International and agent to the likes of Neil Young, Iggy Pop, the Strokes and Elvis Costello…

 


IQ: The role that agents play in artists’ careers has undoubtedly changed over the last ten years. Considering the advent of global touring, and the various new income streams available to artists, how do you see this role evolving?
MV: As far as the agent’s role and the other income streams, unfortunately we are not a part of that. We are not directly involved in the other streams, but hopefully it helps us increase ticket buyers.

Looking ahead, what do you perceive will be the biggest challenges for the live music sector in the 2020s?
To continue building careers that will be long lasting.

What more could the constituent parts of the music industry be doing to deliver a better proposition to both artists and fans?
Figuring a way to exploit and share music that will allow an artist to gain new fans.

“My personal highlights have been keeping my clients and enjoying what I do”

Consolidation has been a constant theme of this decade. Looking ahead, how do you see the balance between the industry’s key corporations and the remaining independent players?
I think there will be fewer and fewer independent players.

Topics such as inclusion, diversity and mental health are commonly discussed these days. How is the live business shaping up compared to other sectors?
These are topics that cannot be buried or ignored anymore. It is completely out in the open, and hopefully that will continue to help people with problems feel safe to come out with it. There are many avenues and places in the music industry that people can seek help.

What are your own personal highlights from the last decade?
Staying relevant! Keeping my clients and enjoying what I do.

 


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