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Top agents weigh up consolidation of the biz

Top execs weighed up the pros and cons of the continued consolidation of the agency business at the recent ILMC.

Alex Hardee (Wasserman Music), Alex Bruford (ATC Live), Charly Beedell-Tuck (Solo Agency) and Ella Street (WME) shared their views on the matter during the Agency Business 2023 panel, moderated by IQ Magazine‘s Gordon Masson.

The panel, which took place at the beginning of March, marked one year since Paradigm UK was acquired by Wasserman Music, with Hardee becoming part of the managing executive team.

He told ILMC delegates he thinks the convergence of the business will continue, leaving a handful of major agencies that operate on a global scale.

“I think that there’ll be fewer and fewer agencies and they’ll fold up into bigger ones,” said Hardee, who represents Liam Gallagher and Lewis Capaldi among others.

“I don’t know how you can survive on a big scale without having a global footprint moving forward because the Americans have rigged the game in streaming and the majority of the new acts that are going to be global acts will come from America and perhaps Korea because that’s where the streaming base is. Branding – even though a lot of its smoke and mirrors – seems to be quite important. We’ve got 300 people working at our company now, just in the UK.

“I think that there’ll be fewer and fewer agencies and they’ll fold up into bigger ones”

“I don’t know how you’d operate on a cottage industry level and retain a world-class band. You’d be under so much pressure from people. I think it will be very hard. I think that there will be four or five main agencies probably like there are four or five main record labels.”

While WME’s Ella Street stressed the importance of independents in a healthy marketplace, she echoed Hardee’s point about the need for agencies to have a global footprint.

“I think competition is obviously important and we need to support those independent agencies, venues and festivals to create a healthy marketplace for everybody,” said Street, a WME veteran who represents the likes of Keane, Goldfrapp and more.

“And obviously, some artists are looking for a more boutique experience and don’t want to sign with WME or Wasserman. But I think Alex does have a point; artists and managers are coming to us and wanting a global plan. We’re having to project 18 months, two years ahead. So unless an artist is just looking to just tour the UK at a certain level, they are eventually going to involve a bigger team – they’re going to be looking for that next part of the conversation.”

Bruford, founder and MD of independent agency ATC Live, argued: “I think it’s well proven now that you don’t need a major record label or a major agency or major management to be a global success. I think there are a lot of artists out there that have managed it with all kinds of different levels of teams. For me, what matters is the quality of the work that you do. Whether you deliver not for your artists, it’s not really about the size of the company.

“It’s well proven now that you don’t need a major record label or a major agency or major management to be a global success”

“For us, the continued consolidation is beneficial because rather than being focused on volume, we’re focused on the creative and strategic representation of our artists. And that’s really our priority, rather than how many acts we represent and how big the numbers are. We’ve had really positive responses to that from a lot of the biggest artists and managers out there who want to have their artists represented in that way. There are obviously different ways of doing it and it just depends on which path artists want to take with their careers. I do totally agree that you need a global footprint – we have one – and I think that that’s a really important part of the business. It’s just part of the game.”

Beedell-Tuck, a senior agent at John Giddings’ boutique Solo Agency, reinforced Bruford’s point about the bespoke service independents can offer artists.

“It’s about how you’re servicing your clients and what kind of service you’re offering,” said Beedell-Tuck, who works with artists ranging from Iggy Pop to Megan McKenna.

“If you’re represented by a smaller boutique agency, you’re likely to get a more tailored experience because, in my opinion, you get more of the agent’s time and you’re not just another number. Having a global footprint is very important but there are other ways of satisfying that.”

Since the panel took place, there has been more movement in the agency business, with Primary Talent returning to being an independent music talent agency following a management buyout.

Primary was sold to ICM Partners in 2020, which was subsequently acquired by CAA.


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Arthur Awards 2020: All the winners

The 26th annual Arthur Awards, the live music industry’s equivalent of the Oscars, took place at London’s Sheraton Grand Park Lane hotel last night. The awards, which take place as part of the ongoing International Live Music Conference (ILMC), honoured the industry’s best and brightest across 11 awards categories.

The prizes were handed out during the Arthur Awards Winners’ Dinner, hosted by CAA’s Emma Banks, who took to the stage in a full hazmat suit and gas mask emblazoned with the letters CAA across her back in hazard warning tape.

As the evening culminated with The Bottle Award, the unique industry achievement gong, Emma was invited back on stage to receive it, to loud applause and a standing ovation. “If I should say anything, it’s that we should all pick up the phone more,” she said. “You can’t have a relationship via text message or Whatsapp. We need to speak to each, to be more nice to each other.”

It was a successful night all round for CAA, as Summer Marshall won the Second Least Offensive Agent award.

The prizes were handed out during the Arthur Awards Winners’ Dinner, hosted by CAA’s Emma Banks

Elsewhere, Live Nation’s Kelly Chappel took the best promoter gong, French festival Eurockéennes was crowned best festival, All Points East won best new event, London’s Roundhouse received the best venue award and Charly Beedell-Tuck from Solo Agency won the Tomorrow’s New Boss award, which recognises the industry’s most promising new business talent.

Notably, all Arthurs for individuals – the prizes for best assistant, professional services, new business talent, agent and promoter, as well as the Bottle award – went to women.

The full list of winners is below:

Venue (First Venue To Come Into Your Head)
Roundhouse, UK

Promoter (The Promoters’ Promoter)
Kelly Chappel, Live Nation

Festival (Liggers’ Favourite Festival)
Eurockéennes, France

Agent (Second Least Offensive Agent)
Summer Marshall, CAA

Production Services (Services Above and Beyond)

Professional Services (Most Professional Professional)
Tina Richard, T&S Immigration Services

New Gig on the Block (New Event)
All Points East, UK

Assistant (The People’s Assistant)
San Phillips, Kilimanjaro Live

Ticketing (The Golden Ticket)

New Business Talent (Tomorrow’s New Boss)
Charly Beedell-Tuck, Solo

The Bottle Award
Emma Banks, CAA

Prior to the Arthurs, ILMC head Greg Parmley presented two special ILMC Medal of Honour awards for longstanding service to the organisation. Production manager Bill Martin and agenda consultant Allan McGowan were both invited to the stage. “Bill is nothing short of a magician,” Parmley said,  “He juggles set design, lighting, stands, stages, and a hundred other elements to make the conference and this dinner happen every year.”

And speaking of McGowan, he said, “Across two decades, Allan has been a central figure in all of ILMC’s panels, putting hundreds of them together. And for ten years, his role as associate editor on IQ was instrumental in the magazine’s growth.”


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The New Bosses 2019: Charly Beedell-Tuck, Solo

The New Bosses 2019 – the biggest-ever edition of IQ‘s yearly roundup of future live industry leaders, as voted for by their peers – was published in IQ 85 last week, revealing the twelve promising agents, promoters, bookers and execs that make up this year’s list.

To get to know this year’s cream of the crop a little better, IQ conducted interviews with each one of 2019’s New Bosses, to discover their greatest inspirations and proudest achievements, pinpoint the reasons for their success and obtain advice for those hoping to be a future New Boss. Snippets of the interviews can be found in the latest IQ Magazine, with all interviews being reproduced in full online and on IQ Index over the coming weeks.

The second New Boss is 29-year-old Charly Beedell-Tuck, an agent at UK-based Solo. Londoner Beedell-Tuck graduated from Cardiff University in 2012 and went on to intern at various management companies before joining WME in 2013. Starting as a receptionist, she became Russell Warby’s assistant, working with acts including Foo Fighters, the Strokes and Johnny Marr.

In January 2017, Beedell-Tuck left WME for Solo, where her roster includes Rothwell, Wild Front, Chinchilla and Paradisia. She also books acts such as Boyzone, James and Imelda May with Solo managing director John Giddings. (Read the previous interview with Ticketmaster’s Bonita McKinney, here.)


What are you busy with right now?
Just wrapping up the last of my 2019 bookings: seeing through the last shows with James, who are coming to the end of their current cycle, finalising Wild Front’s headline tour and concluding the Boyzone farewell tour.

I’m working on a new project for 2020 called Generation Sex, which I am really excited to be a part of. It’s a supergroup that includes Billy Idol and Tony James of Generation X and Steve Jones and Paul Cook of the Sex Pistols, performing material from both bands. I’m also beginning to plot the touring strategy for Imelda May’s new album, working towards seeing one of pop artists, Rothwell, on her first European tour.

I will also continue to develop my roster of emerging artists, including Cruel Hearts Club (who will be touring with the Libertines), brilliant new signing Chinchilla and, following a successful summer of festivals, planning the next London headline show for afrobeat collective The Compozer.

Did you always want to work in the music business?
Yes, that is something I have always known. Growing up in London, there was a huge culture surrounding the live music scene, when I was at school I used to spend all my money on gig tickets. I probably went to at least three shows week (it drove my mum mad), so it feels surreal that my hobby has turned into a career.

Venues like the Astoria, Mean Fiddler, Metros and the Borderline were instrumental in our youth. Last week saw one of my artists, Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly, play one of the last-ever gigs at the Borderline, before closing for good, which was incredible to be a part of but also bittersweet, as it was the last of the venues that we grew up in, that made such an impact on our lives.

“Being a part of the process and seeing your artists reach new milestones is what makes it all worthwhile”

What are some of the highlights of your career so far?
Watching any of the artists I have worked with reach new milestones in their careers, whether it’s Foo Fighters finally headlining Glastonbury after being forced to cancel the first time round, to Wild Front opening the main stage at the Isle of Wight Festival, being a part of the process and seeing your artists reach new milestones is what makes it all worthwhile.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt while at Solo?
Make sure you don’t email John Giddings anything that you don’t want to be forwarded on!

What, if anything, would you change about how the live industry is run today?
I think we are moving in the right direction, but certainly ensuring the structures within companies are shifting to allow for more women in higher positions. I think there is still a running narrative within the industry that tells young women, that at a certain point it becomes impossible to have a family and maintain a successful career. From my days starting out on reception at WME, to being an agent at Solo, I have always balanced my career with being a parent, something that I feel women should know is an option, and be confident about being able to achieve.

What do you do for fun?
Eat burritos and listen to the Vengaboys, something that has become a Friday tradition at the Solo offices!

Do you have an industry mentor?
I have been very fortunate to have two great mentors in my career thus far: Russell Warby and John Giddings. Russell Warby was the first agent I ever worked for, and he truly believed in me, giving me a lot of responsibility early on that helped shape me into becoming the agent I am today. We were a great team, and he will always remain someone that I look up to.

“John Giddings is the true definition of the word ‘mentor’ in every sense”

As for John Giddings, he is the true definition of the word ‘mentor’ in every sense, and I am so thankful for him taking me under his wing. He is the most loyal person I know, and has taught me so much about being an agent and conducting business in a fair and respectable manner. He constantly pushes me to succeed, giving me credit, when credit is due, something that is quite rare in such a competitive industry, and which I am so grateful for.

I think it is also important to mention some of my peers, who have been instrumental in the growth of my career. Kara James (WME) and Sophie Lobl (C3) whom I started alongside at WME and have since gone on to do incredible things in their careers; and Lily Crockford (Crockford Management) who I have developed a strong relationship with over the years, by helping each other and working closely together on a number of artists. I really respect and look up to all of these women, and think it’s just as important to recognise the power of your peers, as that of your bosses.

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to get into, or is new to, the business?
My nine-year-old son, Evann, recently told me he wants to get into the business, as he has decided he wants to be a DJ. To which my immediate response was, “Don’t do it, get a real job!”

For anyone new to the business, I guess my advice would be, as consuming and stressful as it may seem at times, it’s always worth remembering no one is dying, even if the font size on a poster is smaller than you agreed. (Trust me, I have got my ruler out many times!)

Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
Hopefully at the ILMC, being nominated for the Second Least Offensive Agent award!


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The New Bosses: Meet the class of 2019

The latest edition of IQ’s New Bosses goes live today, celebrating the brightest talent aged 30 and under in the international live music business.

The New Bosses 2019 – the 12th outing for IQ’s annual list of  future live music industry leaders, as decided by their peers – is the biggest to date, with no fewer than a dozen promoters, bookers, agents and other young execs making the cut:

IQ’s 2019 New Bosses will be automatically shortlisted for the Tomorrow’s New Boss award at the Arthur Awards at ILMC in March 2020, voting for which opens in November. “It was an incredibly rewarding experience to have won the Tomorrow’s New Boss award this year,” says ICM Partners agent Kevin Jergenson, who picked up his award at ILMC 31.

Full interviews with all the New Bosses 2019 will appear online in the coming weeks

“As an award that is voted on solely by my peers within the industry, it means a great deal to know that the passion and time I have put into this job and industry has been noticed and well received. I truly am blessed to be working with so many amazing people and artists within such an incredible industry. Congrats and good luck to all of this year’s New Bosses!”

Short profiles of, and brief interviews with, all 2019 New Bosses are featured in the latest issue of IQ Magazine, which can be read in the digital issue embedded below. These individual profiles use heavily edited versions of the full interviews, which will appear online in the coming weeks.

These promising emerging execs will also play a key role in forthcoming editions of Futures Forum, the discussion and networking event for the next generation of industry leaders that debuted at ILMC 31 in March.

Read on, then, to learn more about this year’s roster of young, talented professionals who are shaping the future of our business…

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