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LGBTIQ+ List 2024: This year’s queer pioneers unveiled

IQ Magazine has revealed the LGBTIQ+ List 2024 – the fourth annual celebration of queer professionals who make an immense impact in the international live music business.

The list is once again the centrepiece of IQ’s annual Pride edition, sponsored by Ticketmaster, which is now available to read online and in print for subscribers.

The 20 individuals comprising the LGBTIQ+ List 2024 – as nominated by our readers and verified by our esteemed steering committee – are individuals that have gone above and beyond to wave the flag for an industry that we can all be proud of.

The fourth instalment comprises agents, promoters, venue directors, bookers, consultants, sustainability experts, talent buyers, managers and sound engineers from across the world.

In alphabetical order, the LGBTIQ+ List 2024 is:

Anna Sjölund, EU programming director, ASM Global (SE)
Ary Maudit, sound engineer/producer, RAK Studios/Strongroom/Saffron Records (UK)
Buğra Davaslıgıl, senior talent buyer, Charmenko (TR)
Caterina Conti, operations manager, 432 Presents (UK)
Chris May, general manager, BC Place Stadium (CA)
Dustin Turner, music marketing agent, music touring, CAA (US)
Emma Davis, general manager/agent, One Fiinix Live (UK)
Gwen Iffland, senior marketing & PR manager, Wizard Live (DE)
Jason Brotman, founder, Five Senses Reeling (US)
Joona Juutilainen, Booking Assistant, Fullsteam Agency (FI)
Luke Mulligan, director, Circa 41 (AU)
Paul Lomas, booker, WME (UK)
Pembe Tokluhan, production/founder/diversity consultant, Petok Productions (UK)
Priscilla Nagashima, VP of engineering, DICE (UK)
Rhys France, corporate & private events booker, CAA (UK)
Rivca Burns, acting head of music, Factory International (UK)
Ross Patel, green impact consultant & board member, LIVE/MMF (UK)
Sam Oldham, venue director, The O2 (UK)
Sam Booth, director of sustainability, AEG Europe (UK)
Zoe Maras, founder & artist services, Joyride Agency (NZ)

Throughout Pride Month (June), IQ will be publishing full-length interviews with each person on the LGBTIQ+ List 2024.

However, subscribers can read the full Pride edition now. Click here to subscribe to IQ from just £8 a month – or see what you’re missing out on with the limited preview below.

Check out previous Pride lists from 2023, 2022 and 2021.

 


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Private equity & live music: Who owns what?

It was recently reported that Providence Equity Partners-backed live giant Superstruct Entertainment was being readied for a sale, with a formal auction process set to be launched within weeks.

Providence was said to be working alongside banks Liontree and HSBC to gauge interest after planning the sale last summer, with Blackstone and CVC highlighted as potential bidders.

The report once again brought the international touring industry’s relationship with private equity (PE) into focus, with a number of the world’s biggest companies now wedded to that world. Ticketing guru Tim Chambers tackled the increasingly hot topic in a recent op-ed for IQ.

“The corporatisation of the live music industry to form a series of vertically aligned international conglomerates has attracted the attention of a growing number of private equity and capital investment groups, all, it seems, subscribers to the notion of perpetual sector growth,” he said.

“PE investments are made in the belief that they will lead to a profitable return, rather than any abstract concerns such as great art or a vibrant and diverse live music ecosystem.”

Providence expanded its music portfolio in 2022 with a strategic investment in agency giant Wasserman

Superstruct, the second-largest festival promoter on the planet after Live Nation, was founded in 2017 by Creamfields founder and ex-Live Nation president of electronic music James Barton and Roderik Schlosser while at Providence Equity Partners.

Providence expanded its music portfolio in 2022 with a strategic investment in agency giant Wasserman, and also backs Ambassador Theatre Group and Tait (Towers). In addition, it bought into Sweetwater, the leading US retailer of musical instruments and audio equipment, in 2021.

Last year meanwhile, it acquired audio specialist d&b Group along with a minority stake in Populous, an architectural and design firm for sports and entertainment venues, whose portfolio spans 3,000 projects including London’s Wembley Stadium and the Las Vegas Sphere.

Sixth Street-backed premium experiences specialist Legends revealed an agreement to purchase venue management giant ASM Global in November last year. The reputed $2.4 billion deal is planned to lead to the creation of a premium global live events company.

Silicon Valley-based PE firm Silver Lake announced last month it is to acquire all outstanding shares WME parent company Endeavor. Silver Lake made its initial investment in WME in 2012 and bought fashion and sports-focused talent agency IMG for $2.4 billion in late 2013, rolling up both acquisitions into WME-IMG. The mega-agency was rebranded as Endeavor in 2017.

Furthermore, Silver Lake acquired Australian live entertainment behemoth TEG from another investment company, Affinity Equity Partners, in 2019, in a reputed A$1.3bn deal, and also owns shares in Oak View Group and invested in sports merchandise company Fanatics.

“Arguably, only other PE-backed entities have the means to undertake such large-scale acquisitions, and so the concentration of ownership within the sector will inevitably continue”

Global investment firm Blackstone got in on the act in 2018, snapping up the UK’s NEC Group in a deal reportedly worth more than £800 million and looks poised to acquire song management company Hipgnosis Songs Fund.

In 2018, Netherlands-based multinational investment firm Waterland Private Equity acquired six leading Scandinavian promoters and agencies – ICO Concerts and ICO Management and Touring (Denmark), Friction and Atomic Soul Booking (Norway) and Blixten & Co and Maloney Concerts (Sweden), bringing them together as All Things Live.

Elsewhere, Artémis, an investment firm led by billionaire French businessman Francois-Henri Pinault, acquired TPG’s majority stake in Creative Artists Agency (CAA) last year. PE company TPG had upped its 35% stake in CAA to 53% for a reported $225 million in 2014. The previous year, “purpose-driven global investment organisation” EQT entered the global touring business to become the largest outside shareholder in United Talent Agency (UTA).

US businessman Ron Burkle’s private equity firm Yucaipa Companies invested in booking agency Day After Day Productions in 2022, adding to existing live music interests such as  booking agencies Artist Group International, X-ray Touring, APA and K2Primavera Sound and Primavera Pro, and promoter Danny Wimmer Presents. APA and AGI merged to form Independent Artist Group (IAG) last year.

Plus, Chicago-based PE company GTCR made a “strategic investment” in American ticket exchange Vivid Seats back in 2017, and South by Southwest’s newly announced SXSW London spin-off will be produced under licence from SXSW LLC by Panarise, a live entertainment company established and owned by private investment vehicle Panarae. According to documents obtained by CMU, Panarae is associated with Ali Munir, an investor and director of SXSW’s majority owner, Penske Media Corporation.

In conclusion, Chambers, who serves as a ticketing advisor, consultant, and non-executive for various live entertainment operators, pondered whether the marriage between private equity and live entertainment had become too big to fail.

“In short, the PE strategy is to increase the volume of events by extending the territorial reach, improving the physical environment where events occur, and by then extracting more from audiences via value-add bundles, packages, and surge-pricing,” he said. “The consolidation of the live entertainment sector by a diminishing number of ever larger congloms has therefore been both a cause and effect of the influx of new capital.

“After the economic impact of layers of (vertical) consolidation and (horizontal) aggregation, the squeezing of costs, and the surge-pricing of audiences, to whom can PE-owned live music congloms sell as part of their exit strategies? Arguably, only other PE-backed entities have the means to undertake such large-scale acquisitions, and so the concentration of ownership within the sector will inevitably continue.”

 


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Green Day announce first-ever Middle East gig

Green Day have announced their first-ever concert in the Middle East, set to take place in Dubai next year.

The American punk-rock band will perform on 27 January 2025 at Expo City Dubai, a 30,000-capacity open-air concert venue.

The historic concert will be the first standalone large-scale concert in the Expo precinct, according to promoter All Things Live Middle East.

The trio, comprised of Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt, and Tré Cool, will be supported by fellow American punk-rock band The Offspring.

“Book your tickets early because we fully expect this show to sell out”

“Green Day need no introduction – they are without doubt one of the most requested rock bands in our region and we are thrilled to be bringing them to the UAE for their first show in the Middle East,” says Thomas Ovesen, CEO, All Things Live Middle East.

“My advice to those fans wishing to watch this historic event is to book your tickets early because we fully expect this show to sell out.”

Ticket prices for the concert range from AED 445 (€113) to AED 3,000 (€759), further details can be found here.

Green Day’s global stadium outing, The Saviors Tour, kicks off in Europe on 30 May 2024. The band are booked by CAA worldwide and managed by Crush Music.

 


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CAA, Wireless, Dice triumph at Music Week Awards

Companies from across the UK’s live music sector were honoured at the 2024 Music Week Awards, held last night (2 May) at the JW Marriott Grosvenor House London.

Presented by Apple Music 1 radio host Dotty, the sold-out ceremony saw 25 awards handed out across the music industry.

Winners included CAA (Live Music Agency), Live Nation UK (Live Music Promoter), Wireless (Festival) and Dice, who triumphed in the Ticketing Company category for the second successive year.

In their acceptance speech, CAA’s Maria May paid tribute to the “amazing artists we get to work with every single day”, while fellow agent Paul Franklin added: “Thanks also to the managers, the labels, the promoters but mainly to the CAA team who work incredibly hard every day.”

In addition, Belfast’s Oh Yeah Music Centre clinched the Grassroots Venue: Spirit Of The Scene award, which is supported by Music Venue Trust and was decided by a public vote.

“Tonight is proof that pop music matters”

The night’s top award, The Strat – awarded annually to an industry icon – went to Fascination Management founder Peter Loraine, who was presented with the honour by his clients, Girls Aloud.

Loraine’s 30-year music career has included stints as magazine editor, label head and artist manager. He also famously gave the Spice Girls their nicknames.

Video tributes were provided by the group’s Melanie C and Emma Bunton, along with artists Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Will Young, Jessie Ware, Jake Shears, S Club 7, Bananarama, All Saints and Steps, in addition to Universal Music Group’s Sir Lucian Grainge, David Joseph and Selina Webb.

“If I think about it for any amount of time, I just think it’s wild,” said Lorain. “I’ve been able to turn my childhood obsession with pop music into a 30-year occupation. As a teenager, I only wanted three things: I wanted to move to London to work for a music magazine, for a record company and to be friends with Bananarama – not much to ask for really… Tonight is proof that pop music matters.”

 


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CAA strategy chief discusses potential of AI

Creative Artists Agency (CAA)’s head of strategic development says dead artists will able to continue reaching fans for generations to come thanks to AI.

“We’re seeing versions of that here in the UK with Abba Voyage,” said Alexandra Shannon at the Fortune Brainstorm AI conference in London.

“I think those sorts of experiences and ways to continue reaching fans for generations to come is a powerful opportunity.”

“They are still able to reach fans and engage with fans in the right way,” Shannon added, with the caveat that “they were in control of that.”

Shannon’s comments come as big-name artists such Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry, and Billie Eilish endorse an open letter calling for a crackdown on their material being used to train AI without their permission or fair compensation.

In a bid to counter this, CAA are proactively creating “digital doubles” of its clients under a recent initiative called CAA Vault.

“We are scanning their image, we’re scanning their voice, we’re scanning likeness, and we are then storing that on their behalf,” Shannon said.

“We know that the law is going to take time to catch up, and so this is a mechanism for our clients to actually own and have permissions around their digital identity.”

“I think those sorts of experiences and ways to continue reaching fans for generations to come is a powerful opportunity”

“This provides a way for us to help set a precedent for anyone who wants to work with one of our clients in their digital identity,” she added. “There’s a mechanism to have them be compensated.”

Shannon also warned that using digital doubles of celebrities won’t be a cost-effecient alternative to the real deal.

“If you’re going to work with somebody’s digital self, you aren’t working with that business because you think you can work with that person in a cheaper way that is creating some big cost efficiency for you,” she said.

“At the end of the day, you’re working with somebody—the value is still in that person representing your brand.”

Abba Voyage is case and point, as one of the most expensive productions in music history at £140m (€164m) with an average ticket price of around £85 (€100).

However, the game-changing smash-hit production — which has sold over two million tickets — reportedly grosses more than $2 million (€1.6m) per week and the show’s producer has hinted at plans for global expansion earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Pophouse Entertainment, the Swedish entertainment firm that helped bring ABBA Voyage to life, recently closed a US$300 million with Kiss for the rights to their name, music, image and likeness.

As part of the deal, the firm has confirmed plans for an avatar show in 2027, along with a biopic and themed experience.

“Our mission is to fulfil the band’s vision to become immortal, and to let new generations discover and be part of the KISS journey and carry it forward,” says Johan Lagerlöf, head of investment at Pophouse. “With the help of the fans’ energy, the band, our expertise, and creativity – we will make that vision happen.”

 


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CAA appoints nine MDs, expands agency board

Creative Artists Agency (CAA) has named nine managing directors and expanded its agency board in an evolution of its leadership team.

The revised structure will see MDs Rob Light (music), Howard Nuchow, Paul Danforth and Michael Levine (sports), Joe Cohen, Chris Silbermann and Tiffany Ward (TV), and Joel Lubin and Maha Dakhil (motion picture),  work alongside co-chair and CEO Bryan Lourd, co-chairs Kevin Huvane and Richard Lovett, and president Jim Burtson.

The agency board members, meanwhile, include Katie Anderson, Emma Banks, Lorrie Bartlett, Matt Blake, Alan Braun, Austin Brown, William Brown, Libby Bush, Ben Dey, Jaime Feld, John Garvey, Liz Gray, Sloan Harris, Jeff Krones, Franklin Latt, Brandon Lawrence, Michelle Kydd Lee, Joe Machota, Lisa Joseph Metelus, Matthew O’Donohoe, Praveen Pandian, Dan Rabinow, Rachel Rusch, Roeg Sutherland, Nick Thimm, Natalie Tran, and Ida Ziniti.

Variety reports the MDs will work on an array of strategic and operation matters, while the agency board will focus on organisation, dealmaking, sustained innovation and development and training.

CFO Carol Sawdye and chief legal officer Hilary Krane will continue to serve in leadership roles.

“We have always been clear in our mission – to deliver world-class personal service to world-class clients”

“Today’s announcement highlights not only the strength, momentum, breadth and depth of today’s CAA, but the incredibly exciting promise of our future, with two new teams of exceptionally talented, proven leaders, committed to serving our clients and colleagues,” says Lourd.

“We have always been clear in our mission – to deliver world-class personal service to world-class clients. With our expanded corporate leadership structure and an entire company of the world’s best dealmakers, creative thinkers and career representatives, CAA has never been better positioned to help clients capture the best opportunities and navigate the challenges of today’s media and sports industries.”

Artémis, an investment firm led by billionaire French businessman Francois-Henri Pinault, acquired a majority stake in CAA last September. Pinault is chairman and CEO of Paris-headquartered luxury goods company Kering, owner of brands such as Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, Gucci, Alexander McQueen and Yves Saint Laurent.

Founded in 1975, CAA is headquartered in Los Angeles, and has offices in New York, Nashville, Memphis, Chicago, Miami, London, Munich, Geneva, Stockholm, Shanghai and Beijing, among other locations.

 


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Twenty One Pilots announce global headline outing

Twenty One Pilots have announced their biggest-ever headline tour, with stops in North America, Europe, the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

The Clancy World Tour, produced by Live Nation, will span 60 arena dates worldwide between August 2024 and May 2025.

Kicking off in North America, the tour stops off at venues including Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena, LA’s Inuit Dome and Las Vegas’s MGM Grand Garden Arena, before wrapping on 12 October.

On 21 November, the duo will perform one show in New Zealand at the Spark Arena before heading to Australia for a trio of dates.

The Clancy World Tour will resume on 7 April for the European and UK leg, visiting venues such as The O2 in London, WiZink Arena in Madrid and Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam.

The tour will mark the release of their forthcoming album, Clancy, to be released on 17 May via Fueled By Ramen.

Twenty One Pilots are represented by CAA worldwide.

The Clancy World Tour dates:

August 15, 2024 Denver, CO Ball Arena

August 18, 2024 Salt Lake City, UT Delta Center

August 21, 2024 Portland, OR Moda Center

August 22, 2024 Seattle, WA Climate Pledge Arena

August 24, 2024 Oakland, CA Oakland Arena

August 25, 2024 Sacramento, CA Golden 1 Center

August 27, 2024 Los Angeles, CA Intuit Dome

August 28, 2024 Los Angeles, CA Intuit Dome

August 30, 2024 Phoenix, AZ Footprint Center

August 31, 2024 Las Vegas, NV MGM Grand Garden Arena

September 3, 2024 Austin, TX Moody Center

September 4, 2024 Houston, TX Toyota Center

September 6, 2024 Dallas, TX American Airlines Center

September 10, 2024 Duluth, GA Gas South Arena

September 11, 2024 Orlando, FL Kia Center

September 13, 2024 Raleigh, NC PNC Arena

September 14, 2024 Philadelphia, PA Wells Fargo Center

September 15, 2024 Baltimore, MD CFG Bank Arena

September 17, 2024 Newark, NJ Prudential Center

September 18, 2024 Brooklyn, NY Barclays Center

September 20, 2024 Boston, MA TD Garden

September 25, 2024 Montreal, QC Bell Centre

September 27, 2024 Toronto, ON Scotiabank Arena

September 28, 2024 Cleveland, OH Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse

September 29, 2024 Detroit, MI Little Caesars Arena

October 1, 2024 Chicago, IL United Center

October 2, 2024 Chicago, IL United Center

October 4, 2024 Columbus, OH Nationwide Arena

October 5, 2024 Columbus, OH Nationwide Arena

October 8, 2024 Indianapolis, IN Gainbridge Fieldhouse

October 9, 2024 Nashville, TN Bridgestone Arena

October 10, 2024 St. Louis, MO Enterprise Center

October 12, 2024 Minneapolis, MN Target Center

November 17, 2024 Auckland, NZ Spark Arena

November 19, 2024 Melbourne, AU Rod Laver Arena

November 21, 2024 Brisbane, AU Brisbane Entertainment Centre

November 24, 2024 Sydney, AU Qudos Bank Arena

April 7, 2025 Hamburg, DE Barclays Arena

April 8, 2025 Berlin, DE Uber Arena

April 9, 2025 Lodz, PL Atlas Arena

April 12, 2025 Prague, CZ O2 Arena

April 13, 2025 Vienna, AT Wiener Stadthalle

April 16, 2025 Zurich, CH Hallenstadion

April 17, 2025 Bologna, IT Unipol Arena

April 21, 2025 Madrid, ES WiZink Center

April 22, 2025 Barcelona, ES Palau San Jordi

April 24, 2025 Lyon, FR LDLC Arena

April 27, 2025 Munich, DE Olympiahalle

April 28, 2025 Milan, IT Forum

April 30, 2025 Amsterdam, NL Ziggo Dome

May 1, 2025 Cologne, DE Lanxess Arena

May 2, 2025 Paris, FR Accor Arena

May 5, 2025 Glasgow, UK OVO Hydro Arena

May 6, 2025 Birmingham, UK Resorts World Arena

May 8, 2025 Belfast, UK SSE Arena Belfast

May 9, 2025 Dublin, IE 3Arena

May 11, 2025 Manchester, UK AO Arena

May 13, 2025 London, UK The O2

May 14, 2025 London, UK The O2

 


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CAA promotes trio to agents

Global talent firm Creative Artists Agency (CAA) has announced a trio of promotions in its music touring department.

Lola Castillo Murphy, Hugh Parsons and Matthew Rutledge have each been elevated to agents at the company.

London-based Murphy began her career as an intern in The Agency Group (now UTA) a decade ago before joining CAA in 2015 as a general department assistant. She worked with Jon Ollier, Rebecca Nichols, Ben Coles, Emma Banks, and Mike Greek prior to being promoted to coordinator in 2022, before being accepted to the agency’s trainee programme Elevate in 2023.

CAA’s Elevate programme is designed to nurture the talents of its agents and executives in training

Parsons, who is also based in London, started out at Island Records in 2016, where he worked in their Marketing team. In 2017, he joined CAA as an assistant to Laura Newton, and subsequently to Ben Kouijzer and Jen Hammel. He was accepted into Elevate in 2022 and promoted to coordinator in 2023.

Nashville-based Rutledge, meanwhile, held positions at The Agency Coalition and Agency for the Performing Arts (APA) before joining CAA as an assistant to Brian Waymire in 2021. He was upped to booking professional for the agency’s country fairs and festivals division within the music touring department last year.

CAA Elevate is the firm’s next-generation training and practical development curriculum with “an emphasis on entrepreneurialism, inclusion, curiosity, collaboration, service, and a growth mindset”. It is designed to cultivate best practices, encourage innovation, foster global strategic-thinking and nurture the talents of CAA’s agents and executives in training.

 


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Emma Banks named chair of Nordoff and Robbins

CAA’s Emma Banks has been appointed as chair of Nordoff and Robbins, the UK’s largest music therapy charity.

The agent and co-head of CAA’s London office/co-head of international touring replaces David Munns, who is stepping down after 30 years.

A longstanding supporter of Nordoff and Robbins, Banks has chairing the committee of the charity’s flagship O2 Silver Clef Awards for the past decade. She joined the Board of Trustees in 2019 and also sits on the Nordoff and Robbins Race Day committee.

In her role as chair, she will oversee Nordoff and Robbins’ mission of using music therapy to help break through the barriers caused by life-limiting illness, disability and social isolation.

As part of its new strategy, the charity will continue using music to address injustice across society, lobby for policy change on behalf of its clients – some of the most isolated children and adults across the UK – and encourage a more diverse pool of musicians to train as music therapists.

Supporting Banks in her new role is AEG Presents’ artistic director, Lucy Noble, who will take on the role of vice chair after joining the charity’s Board of Trustees in April this year. She replaces lawyer Howard Jones, who steps down after over 13 years of support.

“I embrace the responsibility of building on David’s legacy with the support of Lucy and the Board of Trustees”

Legendary music agent Neil Warnock, Trustee Board member and chair of the charity’s Fundraising Committee, is also stepping down from his trustee role at Nordoff and Robbins. He will continue to serve on various fundraising committees.

Emma Banks says: “It is a true honour to become chair of Nordoff and Robbins. The music industry has loyally supported and championed this vital charity for many years, and I embrace the responsibility of building on David’s legacy with the support of Lucy and the Board of Trustees, continuing this essential advocacy far into the future. We have an incredibly strong Board that we will be looking to add to in the coming months as our new strategy develops, and I welcome anyone who is interested in becoming involved with Nordoff and Robbins to reach out to me.”

David Munns comments: “I am delighted that Emma Banks and Lucy Noble have agreed to take over the chair and vice-chair positions at Nordoff and Robbins. After 12 years as a trustee and then the chair role I feel it is time for someone else to help steer this wonderful organisation. I have Nordoff and Robbins in my blood because we don’t just use music to entertain, we must also use the power of music to help those who find it difficult, if not impossible, to communicate any other way. There is a huge need for Nordoff and Robbins’ work and the people there are completely dedicated to making it available to as many people as possible – it’s a truly remarkable organisation. Emma and Lucy will make a huge contribution to the future of Nordoff and Robbins and they need your support.”

Lucy Noble adds: “In my time on the Board of Trustees at Nordoff and Robbins, I have seen first-hand the power of music to transform lives – from adults living with dementia reconnecting with their family, to children with autism finding their voice. I thank the Board for placing their trust in me to take on the role of Vice Chair and am excited to work with Emma as we enter a new phase for this increasingly important charity.”

Sandra Schembri, CEO, Nordoff and Robbins, says: “We are thrilled for Emma Banks to be stepping into the role of chair of Nordoff and Robbins, supported by the excellent Lucy Noble as vice chair. A hugely respected figure in the music industry and beyond, we are grateful for Emma’s time, presence and energy as we now leave the challenges of recent years behind and look ahead to a bright future.

“It is impossible to explain in just a few sentences the transformational impact that David Munns has had to Nordoff and Robbins in his time as a Trustee and Chair. From overseeing the merger with our Scottish sister organisation, and us becoming a UK-wide charity to weathering the storm of Covid-19 and making it through to the other side, alongside many, many unforgettable fundraising events and unwavering support for the clients we work with. We also owe both Howard Jones and Neil Warnock, a debt of gratitude and sincerely thank them for their focus on our mission.”

 


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ESNS 2024: Touring heads unpick ‘new normal’

Leading European live executives have advised that ticket pricing is “more important than ever” as the business navigates its current challenges.

The subject was pored over during today’s Touring In ’24: Are There Bumps In The Road? session at the Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS) conference in Groningen, the Netherlands.

Moderated by IQ MD Greg Parmley, the panel featured agents Beckie Sugden of CAA and UTA’s Carlos Abreu, as well as Mojo Concerts head promoter Kim Bloem and FKP Scorpio CEO Stephan Thanscheidt.

Netherlands-based Bloem reported the market appeared in rude health at all levels from her viewpoint.

“Tickets are flying out,” said Bloem. “It’s not just the blockbuster shows, it’s the club shows too. We’re not struggling.”

Thanscheidt, who is based out of Germany and is also FKP’s head of festival booking, painted an overall positive if more mixed picture.

“We have so many artists touring. But there are also shows that are not doing so well. It depends on demographics, genre and level of act”

“As a company, we don’t have a problem,” he said. “We have so many artists touring. But there are also shows that are not doing so well. It depends on demographics, genre and level of act.”

Sugden, whose roster includes artists such as Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals, GloRilla, Noname, Chronixx, implied it was a constant work in progress.

“It’s a supply and demand market,” she said. “As agents, we have to make sure artists aren’t touring too much. And they’re going to other regions. It’s a constantly changing and dynamic market.”

Thanscheidt argued that show calculations were “more challenging and complicated than before”, triggering a debate around the impact of rising costs on ticket prices.

“Getting ticket prices right is more important than ever,” stressed Abreu, who works with the likes of Rosalía, Bad Bunny, Anitta, Morad, Tokischa and Ayra Starr. “There are also creative ways to structure deals with artists who are looking to do meet and greets or VIP packages, etc. You have to understand the demographic you’re selling to.”

Sugden said it was necessary to analyse the market “with forensic detail and check that your ticket prices are competitive”.

“It’s the perfect storm. Everyone’s prices are increasing”

“VIP doesn’t work in every market, so you have to know what works for each market,” she added. “It’s the perfect storm. Everyone’s prices are increasing. But actually with K-pop fans, they’re willing to stick their hands in their pockets. In times of crisis, people want to be entertained.”

Bloem felt the business has been “timid” regarding raising ticket prices in the past and felt the present level of demand indicated there was room for an increase.

“Given how fast tickets are selling, I think we can increase,” she said. “We added €30 to festival tickets this year, but festival tickets can’t be pushed too quickly.”

“This is a real problem,” advised Thanscheidt. “We had sold out festivals but the margins were complete shit. It’s getting better now but you still see festivals struggling.

“Ticket prices are at the limit. Some festivals overpriced and had only 70/80% of their usual audience, which German promoters know is terrible.”

The conversation then turned to dynamic pricing, with Abreu noting it had become “the norm” in the US. “It’s the way the world is going.” he added.

“We have to think differently about how we approach first steps for artists”

Thanscheidt appeared open-minded about the prospect, but pointed out that the European industry was still some way behind its US counterpart in terms of adoption. “I think it will take time but all sauces that can add to the pot,” he said.

In closing, the panellists shared their thoughts on keeping tickets affordable for fans. Thanscheidt brought up the concept of ‘social tickets’, where a small portion of tickets are available to unwaged citizens for a lower price.

“I had a show recently where the artist did a collection after the concert and the artist ended up tripling the guarantee,” responded Sugden. “We’re getting more creative. We’ve got to keep creative with the club scene. We have to think differently about how we approach first steps for artists.”

Abreu added that some artists could afford to do underplays to “give back” to their fans, but accepted it wasn’t always possible.

“We need to think in career terms for artists,” he concluded. “Not just ‘what do we want to make on this next tour’. It’s about where are we going to be in five years.”

ESNS, which recently appointed Anna van Nunen as its new general manager, wraps up its 2024 edition tomorrow. The event also featured the 2023 European Festival Awards. Check out the winners here.

 


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