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UTA announces 26-strong partner class

UTA has announced the largest partner class in its 31-year history, elevating 26 team members across more than 15 divisions.

Music agents Mike “G” Guirguis, Jbeau Lewis and Matthew Morgan have both been promoted to partner alongside the company’s co-head of music brand partnerships Toni Wallace and Joe Kessler, global head of the firm’s UTA IQ research, data and analytics department.

The class also includes three recently announced partners with Stefanie Liquori as general counsel, Carmen Bona as chief strategy and corporate development officer and Richard Siklos as chief communications officer.

“These colleagues’ leadership, hard work, mentorship and dedication helps push our business forward every day”

“As UTA has grown, these colleagues’ leadership, hard work, mentorship and dedication helps push our business forward every day,” says UTA co-president David Kramer. “This partner class encompasses a wide range of expertise and backgrounds and reflects our commitment to providing clients with best-in-class representation and resources across all areas of the company.”

The new partners also include agents and executives from UTA’s motion picture literary and talent groups, unscripted television, ventures, production arts, sports, MediaLink, media rights, UTA Speakers and digital talent, as well as corporate functions such as legal and human resources.

 


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Coca-Cola reveals Tomorrowland partnership

Coca-Cola has confirmed the first of a series of festival partnerships by announcing a link-up with Tomorrowland.

The marquee Belgium edition of Tomorrowland in Boom, Antwerp, is expanding to three weekends rather than its usual two from 15-31 July. Tickets sold out just 30 minutes after going on sale.

Alan Walker, Alesso, Armin van Buuren, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Eric Prydz presents HOLO, Fisher, Kungs, Lost Frequencies, Major Lazer Soundsystem, Marshmello, Martin Garrix, Netsky, Paul Kalkbrenner are among confirmed acts.

A Coca-Cola consumer promotion will run across Europe, offering winners immersive in-person brand experiences on the festival area and backstage and behind the scenes access. The brand will also present live broadcasts from the festival and “unique” artist access for home viewers.

“We know that festivals are about more than just music”

“Passion fuels everything we do at Coca-Cola, and nothing gets people moving, celebrating, and enjoying life like live music does,” says Thomas Oth, Coca-Cola country director, Belgium.

“Also, we know that festivals are about more than just music. They’re about breaking conventions and opening ourselves up to the stories and experiences we’ve missed out on over the past two years.”

Michael Willeke, integrated marketing experience director, Europe, adds: “Coca-Cola has a rich heritage in music and has been present at some of the most iconic moments in live music history, just like our brand it brings people together. It is a pleasure to bring our summer of music to our audiences once again this year, starting with Tomorrowland.”

Earlier this week, Tomorrowland revealed it is set to open Terra Solis, a new desert destination in Dubai, in September. Terra Solis is billed as providing music and entertainment with “a fun party atmosphere, and an exceptional food and beverage offering”.

 


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UTA adds Irene Agbontaen to brand partnership team

Leading talent agency UTA has announced the appointment of Irene Agbontaen to the newly created role of director of artist brand strategy on the music brand partnerships team.

Based in London, Agbontaen brings over a decade of experience and has consulted with top global brands such as Apple, Nike and YouTube Music and will focus on artist brand strategy for the UK office’s European roster of clients.

She will be tasked with developing strategies for artists in the brand partnerships space, leading endorsement and sponsorship opportunities, and building long-term brands and businesses for artists.

“Throughout her career, Irene has always been at the centre of culture, design, and fashion,” says Toni Wallace, UTA’s co-head of global music brand partnerships. “She is a tastemaker and entrepreneur who has continuously helped leading brands redefine how they connect with younger audiences and talent in music and the arts. She will be an invaluable asset to our London office and our clients around the world, and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome her to UTA.”

“UTA has been a leader in successfully connecting the worlds of business and pop culture”

UTA represents artists including Post Malone, Bad Bunny, YG, Jonas Brothers, Demi Lovato, Bebe Rexha, Guns N’ Roses, Lil Wayne, Burna Boy, Halsey, Machine Gun Kelly, Paramore, Rosalía, Florence and the Machine, Bring Me The Horizon, Christine and The Queens and Dolly Parton.

“UTA has been a leader in successfully connecting the worlds of business and pop culture,” adds Agbontaen, founder of accessible style brand TTYA London. “I am so excited to join the team and focus on using creative thinking to develop strategies and long-lasting partnerships for talent.”

UTA Music’s UK office has made over 10 significant new hires over the past year including Earth Agency co-founder Rebecca Prochnik, who serves as director of growth & strategy, UK music.


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WME enhances brand partnerships team

WME has strengthened its brand partnerships department with the appointments of Adam Bulleid, Carolyn Massey and Bernard Tyler as agents.

UK-based Bulleid, who was most recently VP business development for Universal Music UK’s Globe division, will work across WME’s agency and talent roster, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

US-based Massey, meanwhile, joins from ICM Partners, where she worked with the likes of Migos, Khalid and J.Cole, and will focus on WME’s hip-hop and R&B roster alongside ex-CAA Sports executive Tyler.

WME has been responsible for recent brand pairings such as Elton John with Uber Eats, Miley Cyrus with Gucci and John Legend with LG Signature

The hirings follow the additions of Ikenna Ezeh, Andrés Paz Micheo and Francesca Ballentyne to its brand partnerships team, along with the promotions of agents Jenna​ Praeger and Joshua​ Upfal.

WME has been responsible for recent brand pairings within the music division such as Elton John with Uber Eats, Miley Cyrus with Gucci, Selena Gomez with Rare Beauty, John Legend with LG Signature and Solange with Moncler.

 


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From the Fields launches partnerships division

From the Fields, the UK festival promoter behind popular summer events Kendal Calling and Bluedot, has hired Chris McCormick to oversee a new brand partnerships division.

McCormick joins Manchester-based From the Fields from Bluepeg/Star Live, where he was commercial director, working with brands including the Mercury Prize, Heineken and Amazon Music. As partnerships director, he will oversee partnerships for both festivals, as well as working with external clients.

Co-op is the newest client for From the Fields Partnerships, with the retail group planning to bring its pop-up festival food and drink store to Kendal Calling (25,000-cap.) from July 2021.

Ben Robinson, From the Fields’ managing director, comments: “The addition of Chris to our team marks an exciting new era for From the Fields, allowing us to service a wider range of clients with a full complement of services from online and offline sponsorship delivery, activations, curation, marketing and production.

“Now, more than ever, brands expect a joined-up approach, and thanks to our portfolio of award-winning major events and our highly-respected team, From the Fields is now uniquely positioned to deliver incredible campaigns.”

“From the Fields is uniquely positioned to deliver incredible campaigns”

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be joining From the Fields,” adds McCormick. I’ve worked with Andy [Robinson, co-founder], Ben and the team for over a decade as clients to my own businesses, and their creative and entrepreneurial spirit has always impressed me. Having the chance to join the dots of our combined skills and experience was an opportunity not to be missed.

“I’ll be steering the partnership strategy for Kendal Calling and Bluedot, as well as working with external clients. We will also be harnessing our creative, marketing and production expertise to deliver experiential and strategy for brands within music, entertainment and live events.”

In addition to launching From the Fields Partnerships, the company has announced a new addition to its event roster in the form of Manchester Food and Drink Festival.

From the Fields’ core festivals, Kendal Calling and Bluedot (21,00-cap.), will return in July 2021, with Björk, Groove Armada and Metronomy having already been announced as Bluedot 2021 headliners.

Bournemouth’s Arts by the Sea, curated by From the Fields, will go ahead this month in a Covid-secure format.

 


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ILMC speaker spotlight: Jeremy Paterson, IF Media

The International Live Music Conference (ILMC) is now less than a month away and, as more and more chairs and panellists are announced, IQ catches up with some key speakers to hear what they hope to get out of this year’s conference.

Following on from the previous Speakers Spotlight with Semmel Concerts’ Christian Scholz, Jeremy Paterson, managing director of IF Media Consultancy, shares his thoughts on what this year’s ILMC will bring.

Paterson is chairing the Brand Partnerships: Owning the Label panel, appearing alongside panellists Francesca Blackburn (WME), Gary Cohen (ATC Live), Will Dowdy (AEG), Debbie Ward (Paradigm) and Bob Workman (Warner Music) to discuss the changing nature of artist/brand partnerships and the rise of all-encompassing personality-based deals.

 


IQ: What do you foresee as the main talking points for the panel?

JP: The panel will focus on two main themes. Firstly, how the brand partnerships landscape has changed and how this has opened more opportunities for more artists and, secondly, how this change has affected or opened up the route to market for brands.

How do you think the relationship between artists and brands has changed in recent years?

Three key points…

The two worlds of brand and artists still remain very different, but the explosion of ways of expressing an artist have opened up many more tactical and strategic opportunities for artists and brand to work together. The nature of activity is changing too – everyone is expecting more from every deal.

“Music” partnerships are declining proportionally to “personality” partnerships

The market is polarising – at the top end, the campaigns and their deals are getting bigger and more complex and, at the bottom end, single-channel partnerships have exploded without defining an artist.

The way brand money is spent continues to evolve, partnership is on the rise – especially with artists showing more willing to embrace the relationships. Traditional sponsorship is under pressure because naming and tagging has become white noise in a world of colour. This has led to an explosion of creativity as everyone seeks to create bespoke content which delivers a win, win for all – artists, fans and brand alike.

“Music” partnerships are declining proportionally to “personality” partnerships. It’s a difficult one for artists, especially credible ones, to reconcile themselves with. Is a partnership that doesn’t feature audio still a music/brand partnership or do we need to find a new word for partnerships that don’t have music at their core?

Brand platforms give artists exposure that an artist working solo could never achieve

Do you see any downsides to the growing number of artists taking on non music-related brand partnerships?

Not when the motivations are correct. Brand platforms give artists exposure that an artist working solo could never achieve. The downside comes when the motivations aren’t openly shared or aligned. Usually if you’re doing it for the money everyone should run a mile…

The changes to the sector has led to a flood of people representing artists. This presents a challenge where they all need to up their game by going way beyond the old school broker mentality and deliver on creativity and impact for all involved.

What are you particularly looking forward to at ILMC this year?

It’s all about the people isn’t it. So hanging out with some of the most inspirational minds in the music industry has to be the highlight for me.

ILMC’s Brand Partnerships panel is taking place at 2 p.m. on Thursday 5 March. 

 


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Live Nation Asia launches creative agency in HK

Live Nation has partnered with Hong Kong-based marketing agency EX-R Consulting to launch Live Nation Connects, a new creative and brand marketing company aiming to connect brands with music fans across Asia.

Headquartered in Hong Kong, the marketing agency will serve brands regionally, focusing on China, Japan, Korea, Singapore and Taiwan.

“By combining EX-R’s vast experience in brand activations and our expertise in live entertainment, Live Nation Connects will bring a unique offering to brands across Asia,” says Paul Antonio, president of Asia and Middle East at Live Nation.

The agency aims to enable brands to reach fans through creative experiences, using original and branded content, experiential events and production, digital and social media, fan intelligence, artist relations and technology such as virtual reality and multicasting.

“The opportunity for meaningful connections between brands and fans is at an all-time high and Live Nation Connects will do just that by delivering authentic brand partnerships via creative and experiential marketing,” comments Colleen Yu, founder and principal of EX-R Consulting.

“Live Nation Connects can enable brands to be a meaningful part of culture and engage with fans through the power of live”

“Our proven track record working with Live Nation over the years provides a solid foundation for Live Nation Connects and we are very proud to be partnering with them to work with agencies and brands across Asia.”

“Live music fans are among the world’s most receptive audiences with 90% of fans believing that brands can enhance the live experience,” adds James Dick, SVP at marketing partnerships at Live Nation Asia.

“Live Nation Connects can enable brands to be a meaningful part of culture and engage with fans through the power of live.”

Live Nation Asia has promoted tours by the likes of Backstreet Boys, Green Day, Maroon 5, Troye Sivan and U2, along with festivals including Creamfields Hong Kong and Download Japan.

The marketing division has partnerships with Budweiser, Pernod Ricard, SingTel, Hilton, Monster Energy, Citi, Amex and Mercedes-Benz.

 


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Maverick’s Alisann Blood joins UTA as music partnerships head

United Talent Agency (UTA) has hired Alisann Blood as co-head of music brand partnerships.

Working alongside other co-head Toni Wallace and reporting to David Zedeck, UTA’s head of worldwide music, Blood will lead UTA’s growing music partnerships division, based out of the agency’s offices in LA, New York, Nashville and London.

The division – launched under Wallace in 2017 – has secured more than 250 partnerships for over 1,000 artists globally, and built an eight-figure brand business for the agency giant, working with acts including Post Malone, Chance the Rapper, the Jonas Brothers, HER, X Ambassadors, Common, Tierra Whack, Young Thug and Jimmie Allen.

Alisann Blood joins UTA from Live Nation-owned management firm Maverick, where she was vice-president of brand partnerships. Prior to joining Maverick Management, she held senior marketing/partnership roles at Crush Music and Capitol Music Group.

“Alisann’s skillset and experience will exponentially impact opportunities for all of our music clients”

“With Alisann’s addition to our world-class team, we are further solidifying our market-leading position in the music brand partnerships space,” Wallace comments. “Alisann’s skillset and experience will exponentially impact opportunities for all of our music clients around the globe.”

Blood is also a board member for Musicians on Call, an organisation that brings music to hospital patients, and an adjunct professor at Syracuse University.

“I have long admired UTA as a best-in-class company for the work they do on behalf of their clients,” she comments. “Toni has built a remarkable business and an incredible team in music brand partnerships, and I couldn’t be more excited to jump in and contribute to the group’s continued growth and success.”

 


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