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The New Bosses 2021: Flo Noseda-Littler, Paradigm

The New Bosses 2021 – the latest edition of IQ’s annual celebration of the brightest young talent in the live business today, as voted for by their peers – was published in IQ 103 this month, revealing the 12 promising promoters, bookers, agents, entrepreneurs that make up this year’s list.

To get to know this year’s cohort a little better, IQ conducted interviews with each one of 2021’s New Bosses, discovering their greatest inspirations and pinpointing the reasons for their success.

Catch up on the previous 2021 New Bosses interview Age Versluis, promoter at Friendly Fire in the Netherlands here.

Born in London’s Waterloo area, Noseda-Littler was brought up around jazz and soul music by a family of entertainers – her mum is a singer, granddad a pianist, and grandmother a dancer.

At university, where she studied civil engineering, Noseda-Littler started booking musician friends into venues and festivals around the UK, and after graduating she started working under the wing of her cousin at Academy Music Group (AMG), which also provided her with a chance to work at Wireless Festival.

An internship at Brixton Academy followed, before, in 2015, she found herself a job as general agency assistant at Paradigm, where for the last three years she has been on several committees and task forces to bridge the gap between support staff and agency management.


You come from a musical family. What’s the first gig you can remember going to – and when did you decide you should pursue a career in the business?
My first memory was at 8 when we went to Party in the Park, Hyde Park. It was a magical experience seeing live music, and going to a festival for the first time with thousands of people.

What set you on your path in the industry?
At university, I fell into booking my boyfriend’s band. I started a database of contacts and soon managed to get gigs at cool UK venues and festivals. Something ignited in me and I knew I had to do this full-time!

Do you think working on the venues side of the business has helped you in your career on the agency side?
Working at Brixton and AMG gave me the building blocks to understand live shows, from promotion and ticketing to backstage issues and settlements. I got to shadow lots of different staff, which showed me the practicalities of how much it takes to execute a show onsite. It was so useful to draw on those experiences when learning the agency world and routing shows together.

“It’s been vital for both agent and promoter to be transparent and flexible in order to protect the longevity of the industry”

We’ve heard a lot about the closer collaboration between agents and promoters during the past year. What’s your experience of that been, and how do you see it benefitting Paradigm’s clients as the business reopens?
Promoters are usually the first to take big financial risks on a tour, which has never been more to their detriment than in the past 17 months. During these ever-changing times, it’s been vital for both agent and promoter to be transparent and flexible in order to protect the longevity of the live industry. In demanding less from our promoters in the short term, it supports the recovery and prospects of our clients’ live careers. We are all in this together and just want to see the business thriving again!

You’ve become one of the go-to people for younger staff at Paradigm. What advice would you give to other young people who are trying to break into the live music business?
Festivals offer a range of volunteering roles so it’s worth checking them out to gain experience and meet people if there’s nothing music related on your CV. Internships often involve being thrown into the deep end, but you shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions. What really gets noticed is an eagerness to learn and integrity of work.

“A bigger effort is needed across the industry to reduce waste, lower emissions, and protect the future of our planet”

Where would you like to see yourself in five years’ time?
Booking tours in an industry that has fully recovered and is booming once more!

The pandemic has been hard on us all – are there any positive aspects that you can take out of the last 17 months?
During furlough, I discovered a love of running and went on to complete my first half marathon. This new hobby has been a freeing and stress-busting tool for me, that I hadn’t been able to try in my old routine.

Mental health has been a hot topic during the pandemic worldwide which has filtered across the workplace. These unprecedented times have allowed us to make our well-being a higher priority and feel more comfortable in vocalising how we feel. I’m hopeful mental health will remain high on the agenda when touring returns to a normal pace. It’ll result in a healthier and happier industry!

As a new boss, what one thing would you change to make the live music industry a better place?
One of the most urgent issues is energy consumption. There are some great initiatives, like The Green Rider, but a bigger effort is needed across the industry to reduce waste, lower emissions, and protect the future of our planet.


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TM goes fully mobile for £5 Four Tet shows

Marking the first major UK deployment of its new mobile platform, Ticketmaster has partnered with Four Tet and promoter Eat Your Own Ears to power ticketing for the acclaimed British DJ’s return to Brixton Academy this autumn.

Four Tet – real name Kieran Hebden – announced yesterday that his traditional autumn all-nighters, preceded by two live shows, would return to the 4,921-capacity O2 Academy Brixton from 10 to 13 October. With tickets for all four nights priced at just £5, Ticketmaster is combining 100% digital ticketing with its Verified Fan technology – which uses “algorithms and unique data analysis” to weed out bad actors, such as ticket touts and bots, from the presale – to ensure all tickets get into the hands of “genuine fans” at the price intended.

The Four Tet shows, says Ticketmaster UK MD Andrew Parsons, are intended to be “a celebration, a party, with the artist giving back to the audience – and the pricing fits with that ethos. So for us, it was about how best to be able to deliver that.”

“Kieran, aka Four Tet, was inspired by a Fugazi show he went to in 1995 at Brixton Academy and paid £5,” says Eat Your Own Ears’ Tom Baker, commenting on the inspiration for the event. “They played with all the house lights on and Kieran wanted to replicate this. I said, perhaps at 4.33am people won’t want to be staring each other in the face with bright lights glaring into their faces, so why don’t we do the £5 ticket at Brixton Academy club shows in the dark…”

“We’ve worked with Tom for as long as I can remember, and this string of shows at Brixton Academy is just another example of their innovative approach,” adds Parsons. “We’ve both got the same goal here – to get fans in the door at £5 – and I’m pleased to say Ticketmaster has the technology to do just that. ”

“The future is definitely digital”

Contrary to much of the non-industry media’s coverage of Verified Fan – most notably around the onsale for Taylor Swift’s Reputation stadium tour last summer, which allowed fans to boost their chance of a ticket by buying albums or merch – the system is, “at its essence, the invitation [to buy tickets], the presale and the weeding out of bad actors,” Parsons tells IQ. While Swift-style boosts may be built into the platform, they aren’t a requirement, he says: “It’s about making sure we go on sale on sale with a clean list and ensure we are selling directly to fans.”

It’s still “comparatively early” days for Verified Fan in the UK, Parsons continues, though TM has already seen success with the platform for several high-profile club shows, including Harry Styles and Jack White at the Eventim Apollo in London.

The second, and arguably more important, aspect for the Four Tet dates is the mobile one: All tickets are digital and – similarly to platforms such as Dice – are tied to the mobile device from which they’re purchased, making resale for profit impossible. (They can, however, be transferred to a friend using the buyer’s Ticketmaster account.)

“It’s something we’ve been building up to for a while,” continues Parsons, who says the new mobile ticketing functionality is part of a “whole host of changes” the company has been making to its core product over the past 18 months, including a more editorially focused homepage, a new responsive check-out process and – most significantly – folding all ticket resale into Ticketmaster proper, following the shutdown of Get Me In! and Seatwave.

“There’s a huge opportunity in tying tickets to mobiles and taking away those little pieces of paper,” he adds. “Fans are ready for it, artists and promoters are fully on board… It’s really going to be ramping up in the coming months.”

“There’s a huge opportunity in tying tickets to mobiles and taking away those little pieces of paper”

As for the multi-step process of becoming a ‘verified fan’, is Ticketmaster worried it’s becoming too difficult to simply log on and buy a ticket for a show? “Everything we do is about balance,” suggests Parsons. “All the work we’ve done with Verified Fan so far shows we can do it in a very slick way – with artist engagement, we can spread the net as wide as possible – and if you speak to fans about whether or not it’s a good thing, they’re very supportive of it.

“The fans really appreciate the artist going the extra mile.”

“I think the future is definitely digital,” adds Baker. “Everyone uses their phones now for almost everything they do, and that will just get more and more easy as venues and promoters and ticket agents all embrace this technology. I think it makes it so much smoother for all involved, and cuts out touts, with the money going to the artists – and fans aren’t unfairly paying over-inflated prices.

“It’s a win win for everyone and I’ll certainly be looking to use both Verified Fan and digital ticketing for more and more Eat Your Own Ears shows.”

 


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He’s only Human: The rise and rise of Rag’n’Bone Man

Last year, Rag’n’Bone Man became the first new British act to truly break through a market that had been stagnant for the best part of a year.

After charting at no1 across Europe with lead single ‘Human’, his debut album hit the top of the UK charts in February and he’s just played three sold-out shows at the 5,000-capacity Brixton Academy in London as part of a 19-date European tour. For those who weren’t behind the scenes, the Sony-signed artist was an overnight success. However, it was a robust live strategy devised three years prior and led by agent Alex Hardee at Coda that built a strong foundation for what was to come.

From the start, Hardee’s strategy has been to underplay capacity in order to keep building demand. He explains: “We knew at an early stage that Rag’n’Bone Man was going to have a successful live career as we could see the reaction among fans, and he was selling tickets even before things took off on radio. We always believed in his live talent; even when we had no headline media we knew it was just a matter of time before radio caught up.” When radio did catch up, it was with ‘Human’ in Germany, where the track ended 11 weeks at no1 on the singles chart in November 2016. It also peaked at no2 in the UK and France, and charted at no1 in Austria, Belgium and Switzerland.

Rag’n’Bone Man’s first headline tour took place in four club venues across the UK in 2014, followed by six more shows in March 2015. In November 2016, he played four shows on Tom Odell’s tour and then sold-out the majority of an 18-date European headline run ranging from small clubs to 2,000-cap. venues. He returned to play 21 more dates in bigger venues in early 2017, including two at the 2,000-cap. Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London. His latest headline tour, the Overproof tour, took in two shows at Glasgow Academy (2,500) and Manchester’s O2 Apollo (3,500), alongside the three at Brixton and ten across the rest of Europe in October and November. A further European run will take place from February to May 2018 under the name of the Grande Reserve tour, and he’ll visit Australia and New Zealand in between.

In London, a sold-out show at the 10,000-cap. Alexandra Palace will take place in March 2018. Hardee’s booker Matt Hanner, who took over from Andy Clayton a year ago, says: “We’ve slowly stepped up his profile in London where we’ve always sold out, and we continued to try and do that to make sure there was demand for that next jump. That meant we felt comfortable doing three Brixtons, and instead of pushing on to doing arenas, we’ve sold out Ally Pally and left demand in the market for the next campaign.”

“Instead of pushing on to doing arenas, we’ve sold out Ally Pally and left demand in the market for the next campaign

Kilimanjaro Live promoter Carlo Scarampi has been working London and Rag’n’Bone Man’s hometown of Brighton, where he sold out the 4,500-cap Brighton Centre in November. “It all started to come together at the beginning of summer 2016 when people were getting to know ‘Human’,” Scarampi remembers. “When Shepherd’s Bush went on sale at the end of 2016, the tickets just flew, and the three Brixtons sold out in a morning, as did Brighton Centre.” The Brixton shows were the last to be promoted by Kilimanjaro, with Live Nation set to take over from Alexandra Palace onwards.

The London story mirrors that of Germany, where the first show Live Nation GSA promoter Ioannis Panagopoulos got involved with was at Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg in 2015. “We’ve gone from playing 200-cap. club shows to 1,500-cap. venues, and now we are between 3,500- and 5,000-capacity all in one year,” he says. There was a standalone show at Hamburg Stadtpark in the summer, followed by dates at the Columbiahalle in Berlin and Samsung Hall in Zürich. Further dates in Germany and Austria will take place next year.

Mojo’s Kim Bloem joined the team after being blown away by Rag’n’Bone Man at Eurosonic in 2016. She got him on five festival bills in the Dutch market that summer, including Lowlands and North Sea Jazz Festival. A sold-out, 700-cap. club show in Amsterdam in November last year was swiftly followed by a sold-out date at the Melkweg (1,500) in April. Capacity doubled again for a sold-out October show at 013 in Tilburg, and Bloem is confident about shifting 6,000 tickets before the end of the year for a show at AFAS Live in April 2018.

So what are the factors behind Rag’n’Bone Man’s live success story?

 


Continue reading this feature in the digital edition of IQ 75:

O2 renews Academy naming agreement with AMG

O2 has agreed a new ten-year deal with Academy Music Group (AMG) and Live Nation, with the British telco retaining naming rights for AMG’s network of O2 Academy venues.

The agreement secures O2 – a subsidiary of Spanish multinational Telefónica – as the naming partner for AMG’s 19 venues in 13 UK cities, and follows a similar extension of its naming-rights deal with AEG’s The O2 in February.

The renewed alliance will see O2 double the number of 48-hour priority tickets made available to its customers for O2 Academy shows and Live Nation-promoted non-festival events across the UK, as well as offering fast-tracked entry, free cloakrooms, drinks offers and complimentary wifi.

The company also plans – as at The O2 – to install new technology to track crowd movements in all O2 Academy venues, generating data on crowd noise, calories burnt and the most popular songs and offering it as a free ‘digital momento’ after the show.

O2 CMO Nina Bibby comments: “We know our customers love live experiences, and O2 Academy venues are a huge part of the UK’s live music scene, which is why we’re extremely pleased to be continuing our longstanding relationship with both Live Nation and Academy Music Group.

“Continuing this deal with O2 ensures that these venues remain a vibrant part of their local communities and an integral part of Britain’s healthy live music market”

“Just under ten years ago we pioneered the pre-sale model with [O2] Priority Tickets, giving our customers exclusive early access to tickets for the best shows around. This new, long-term deal takes that even further, with double the number of tickets available for O2 customers to not just every show at 19 O2 Academy venues, but also all Live Nation shows across the UK.”

“We are incredibly proud of our partnership with O2, which has revolutionised the way brands work within the live sector,” adds Paul Latham, COO of Live Nation in the UK and Republic of Ireland. “This is more than just a naming rights deal. Over the last nine years, we have worked tirelessly together to build the O2 Academy brand, investing in these iconic buildings and giving O2 customers access to millions of Priority tickets.

“Close to four million live music fans come through O2 Academy doors each year to see the artists they love across the UK. Continuing this deal with O2 ensures that these venues remain a vibrant part of their local communities and an integral part of Britain’s healthy live music market.”

The O2–AMG/Live Nation partnership dates from late 2008, with all former Carling Academy venues rebranded on 1 January 2009. Three former Mama venues acquired by Live Nation in August 2015 were renamed as O2 Academies in October that year.

 


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Bowie honoured in tribute concerts

After a David Bowie tribute gig at London’s Brixton Academy on Sunday, an EP has been released of the late star’s final recordings and European concert film screening dates announced.

Today would have been Bowie’s 70th birthday and the occasion was celebrated over the weekend by a number of superstar artists playing a three-hour show in his birthplace of Brixton. Similar events also took place in New York, Los Angeles, Sydney and Tokyo.

The London tribute was held in aid of Children and the Arts charity, and Bowie’s keyboardist Mike Garson and tour band members guitarist Mark Plati and bassist Gail Ann Dorsey opened the show with Gary Oldman.

It’s one year since Bowie died of cancer on January 10th just after the release of his 25th studio album, Blackstar.

Simon Le Bon, La Roux, Keane frontman Tom Chaplin, Tony Hadley, Fishbone’s Angelo Moore and Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott all made an appearance for select songs from Bowie’s back catalogue.

It’s one year since Bowie died of cancer on January 10th just after the release of his 25th studio album, Blackstar.

Today an EP, No Plan, has been released. The four-song set includes Blackstar song Lazarus, as well as three songs written for the musical he composed of the same name.

On March 7, documentary and concert film Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars will screen in cinemas across Europe.

The film features Bowie and his band performing at London’s Hammersmith Odeon in July, 1973. Mojo magazine is working with CinEvents to host the screening, which will include a new film featuring an interview with Spiders From Mars drummer Woody Woodmansey.

 

 


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Giddings, Parkes, Denny for Festival Congress ’16

Isle of Wight Festival promoter John Giddings, LeeFest’s Lee Denny, Zac Fox of Kilimanjaro Live and the Network of Women in Events (NOWIE) and Brixton Academy founder Simon Parkes are among the first speakers announced for the 2016 edition of the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF)’s Festival Congress.

Taking place at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff on 1 and 2 November, the event will host over 400 UK festival delegates and this year have a ‘day of the dead’ theme, with props from production company House of Bestival.

It will also once again include the Festival Congress Awards, at Cardiff’s Depot warehouse venue, which has four new categories for 2016 – new festival on the block, smart marketing, mind-blowing spectacle and festival live act of the year – and will feature a performance of Bestival founder Rob da Bank’s tribute to prince, ‘Purple Rave’.

Giddings and Denny will take part in a fireside chat, ‘Songs of Innocence and Experience’, while Fox will lead a discussion exploring gender issues in the UK festival industry.

“It’s going to be a really special, jam-packed couple of days”

Parkes, meanwhile, will host a quick-fire ‘Talking Heads’ session, in which he will discuss buying the Academy for £1 and turning it into one of Britain’s best-known venues, while industry consultant Sammy Andrews will speak on the connection between streaming and ticketing and the potential of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).

“Festival Congress is the one time in the year when independent festival professionals and the wider industry can get together and share their experiences, so we have started putting together a fantastic programme of events to maximise our time together,” says Paul Reed, general manager of AIF. “From our legendary congress party and awards to a brilliant line-up of speakers, it’s going to be a really special, jam-packed couple of days.”

Tickets are on sale now through headline sponsor and ticketing partner TheTicketSellers. More speakers are still to be announced.

 


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