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Scam artists offer fake Ariana Grande tour dates

Scam artists have been posing as Ariana Grande’s agents, claiming to offer 2022 European tour dates for the singer.

In an email seen by IQ, fraudsters purporting to represent the singer state that she is “going to tour Europe in support of her forthcoming album which is scheduled to drop on July 15, 2022”.

Demands include 20 single rooms in a 5* hotel, and 10 single rooms and 15 double rooms in a 4* hotel for a travelling party of “60 Peoples” (sic).

Inviting promoters to “please send us your offer” for the star, who is a client of CAA, it adds: “We look forward to receiving your availabilities for this period so that we can put together the best possible tour schedule to deliver Ariana’s show to her fans.”

The email is headed: “ARIANA GRANDE – WICKED TOUR 2022”.

A sharp increase led the UK’s Entertainment Agents’ Association to issue a checklist for promoters

Such scams had become relatively commonplace prior to the pandemic, with fraudsters posing as the representatives of major artists, including Adele, System of a Down, Beyoncé, Mark Knopfler and Eminem, emailing concert promoters and asking for deposits in exchange for non-existent live dates.

The sharp increase led the UK’s Entertainment Agents’ Association to issue a checklist, urging promoters to adopt the following steps if unsure of an agent’s identity:

1. Check the email address is correct – in particular the email domain – and if in any doubt call the agency to confirm it. Do not use the telephone number on the email
2. Check the artist’s website for any conflicting touring plans
3. Make sure you have full contact details of the agent with which you are working and speak to them on the phone at least once
4. Before sending a deposit, call the agency to confirm the booking and check their account details
5. Check with promoters in other markets to verify the artist is touring in that region at that time
6. If an offer is accepted and seems too good to be true, it probably is

Last November, a woman admitted scamming a charity out of $100,000 by posing as a booking agent for artists including Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake, Drake and Ed Sheeran. Atlanta, Georgia-based Carissa Scott pleaded guilty to one count of fraud following a hearing in a New York federal court.

Under the name Canvas Media Group, Scott and a fellow defendant were charged with conspiring to defraud investors in events including a December 2019 benefit concert for the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation, set up by relatives of victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Prosecutors said Canvas Media “falsely represented that they could book top-tier musical acts to perform at the concert”, and sent organisers a contract asking for $500,000 for his performance and a $275,000 deposit. One investor in the benefit show subsequently sent a $100,000 partial deposit to the scammers.


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UTA promotes more than 100 staffers worldwide

UTA has announced the largest promotions class in the agency’s 30-year history which sees more than 100 staffers worldwide rise in the ranks.

Promotions announced in UTA’s music department include Tara Austin (manager), Megan Braley (coordinator), Bowie Chen (coordinator), Carmen Chiles (coordinator), Haley Fairman (agent), Keshia Floyd (senior manager), Parker Glenn, (agent), Karina Gonzalez (agent), Akhil Hedge (coordinator), Natalie Koe (agent), Nicole Schoen (executive), Jacob Simone (coordinator), Kaleb Tooker (agent), and Zoe Williamson (agent).

Of the new promotions class – which spans 30 divisions and multiple global offices – 60% identify as women and more than 35% identify themselves as people of colour, according to UTA.

Of the new promotions class, 60% identify as women and more than 35% identify themselves as people of colour

The promotions also highlight UTA’s in-house talent incubation with 90% of newly minted agents and 80% of the newly made coordinators coming from the agency’s Agent Training Program.

“Amid the unprecedented circumstances surrounding the pandemic, having the ability to promote over 100 colleagues is a testament to the perseverance of our UTA family and the continued evolution and expansion of our company,” says UTA co-president David Kramer.

“We couldn’t be more proud or grateful for this group’s resilience and innovative thinking in the face of adversity, and we can’t wait to watch them thrive in their new positions.”


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ICM Partners promotes four concert bookers to agent

ICM Partners has promoted four coordinators from its concert departments in both Los Angeles and New York to agent.

Sam Bartlett, Branden Berger, Ferguson Hiett and Sara Shapiro have been promoted to agent, as well as ten others from across ICM’s branded entertainment, digital, literature, production, publications, talent and theatre divisions.

“Today we celebrate the right of passage from coordinator to agent for 14 hardworking ambitious, and intellectually curious women and men, who have earned their promotions,” said Kevin Crotty and Sloan Harris, co-presidents of ICM Partners. “We have so many homegrown success stories at ICM Partners, and we are confident that among this new group of agents, many will follow in those successful footsteps.”

Ferguson Hiett was promoted to agent in February 2020. He books the west coast and the south for the department’s roster of musicians and has been instrumental in building ICM’s College Music Booking Department. Hiett joined ICM Partners in 2013 as an assistant to head of worldwide music, Rob Prinz, and was promoted to coordinator in 2018, helping launch tours for Jerry Seinfeld, Celine Dion, Bob Seger, Alice In Chains, Kamasi Washington and many others.

“We have so many homegrown success stories and we are confident that this group of agents will follow in those footsteps”

Sara Shapiro was also promoted to agent in February 2020. She books the midwest for the adult contemporary and comedy touring departments and her clients include the podcasts We Met At Acme, It’s Happening with Snooki & Joey, LadyGang, and Here to Make Friends. She was named coordinator in 2018 after joining the concerts department in 2014.

Sam Bartlett was promoted to agent in February 2020 and handles live concert bookings for ICM’s adult contemporary and comedy rosters in clubs, theatres, and amphitheatres. He was promoted to coordinator in 2018 after being selected for ICM’s agent trainee program in 2016. Bartlett joined the New York office in 2014.

Branden Berger was promoted to agent in October 2020. As an agent in the comedy touring department, Berger books some of the agency’s top touring comedians in clubs, colleges, and theatres nationwide. In addition, he recently has been booking clients for virtual shows and drive-ins. Berger had been coordinator in the concerts department since 2018.


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Midnight Mango aims to raise 10k for booking agents

International live booking agency Midnight Mango is aiming to fund work opportunities for booking agents through the sales of a new crowdfunded compilation album.

The agency is aiming to raise up to £10,000 for agents who are not receiving any income due to the current lack of shows via donations from a 10-track vinyl which includes UK acts such as The Dead South and Amy Montgomery.

The company’s managing director, Matt Bartlett says that the booking agents who help to make the live music scene happen are bearing the brunt of the shutdown.

“There’s still a lot of work for booking agents at the moment, what with booking shows for the future and rescheduling events but at the same time there’s zero money coming in to pay the bills,” says Bartlett.

“There’s still a lot of work for booking agents at the moment but at the same time there’s zero money coming in”

The statement on the fundraising page notes that: “All the government schemes to date require workers to stop working to claim. This doesn’t work for agents – the work they do now creates revenue 6–12 months in the future. They need to keep working.”

Bartlett says the agency will seek to address the “acute cashflow crisis” by employing booking agents on a freelance basis (funded by album sales) that will allow them to keep working until the situation improves.

The crowdfunder has already raised over £3,000 in donations from the sale of the compilation album – titled Lockdown Songs – as well as other ‘rewards’. Midnight Mango has pledged to match every pound up to the £5,000 target, bringing the total target to £10,000.

The agency’s other charitable pursuits include raising lottery grant funding through Arts Council England to present socially distanced shows at grassroots venue, Bath Komedia – providing paid work for artists, crew, promoters, venues and other professionals.

You can donate to the Midnight Mango Lockdown Fund for live music booking agents here.


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