“She’s one of the kindest, most supportive people”: Emma Banks collects MITs
Some 1,200 people, including hundreds of international promoters who’d flown in for the occasion, gathered at Grosvenor House Hotel in London last night to celebrate with CAA agent Emma Banks as she picked up the 2018 Music Industry Trusts (MITs) Award.
The charity event, in aid of the Brit Trust and Nordoff Robbins, saw Banks join the ranks of previous MITs recipients including Sony Music CEO Rob Stringer, Universal Music CEO Sir Lucian Grange, Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun, Syco’s Simon Cowell and Glastonbury Festival founder Michael Eavis.
Banks, announced as the recipient of the 2018 award in May, was introduced by Peter Mensch, manager of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Muse and Metallica, then presented her award by Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Chad Smith, who paid tribute to “one of the kindest, most supportive people” he knows.
Video tributes, meanwhile, came from Smith, Kylie Minogue, Katy Perry, Tenacious D, CAA’s Mike Greek and Rob Light, Norah Jones, Kraftwerk, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Arcade Fire and others, while there were live performances by Florence and the Machine, Beth Ditto and Texas.
Banks, the co-head with Mike Greek of Creative Artists Agency (CAA) London, is a six-time winner of the best agent (‘second-least offensive agent’) award at the Arthur Awards, the live music industry’s Oscars equivalents. In addition to Florence, Kylie, Perry, the Chilis and Arcade Fire, Banks’s roster includes Lorde, Muse, Green Day and Haim.
“This is a cross between your wedding reception and your wake,” she joked as she took the stage to receive the award. Banks then gave a speech paying tribute to women in the music industry, using the occasion to highlight that while things are better than they were, there’s still work to do.
“I’ve come to realise how important this is for women in the industry in general”
“I started a couple of years before the MITs started [in 1992], and there weren’t women that were recognised in the industry,” she said. “It took 16 years for the MITs to recognise a woman: my lovely friend, Kylie Minogue.”
After namechecking two of her mentors – Ian Flooks, who “I don’t think ever saw me as a woman, just one of his name”, and Gail Colson, who “was a trailblazer, running Charisma Records in the ’70s, then went on to become one of the most important managers in the UK” – Banks told the packed room that she sees her MITs win as an important milestone for women in music.
“Since being honoured earlier this year, and the award being announced, I’ve come to realise how important this is for women in the industry in general,” Banks explained.
“In 2018 we look at a live music business that has so many strong female performers. […] These are women who are running their own businesses, and who are regularly part of the highest-grossing tours list. There are now more women in senior positions at labels, and management companies and talent agencies, at publishers, on the radio – across the whole music business.”
“We’ve come a really long way,” she concluded. “There’s always more to do – but I’m sure that everyone who has been around for a while will acknowledge that we’re making steps in the right direction. And all the other diversity issues that we have in this business – and it’s probably more than just the male-to-female ratio these days – will soon get addressed, I’m quite sure.”
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