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The New Bosses 2019: Matt Pickering-Copley

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 month 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.

New Boss number seven is Matt Pickering-Copley (28), a booking agent at Primary Talent. Cape Town-born Pickering-Copley started booking bands from his bedroom before moving to London aged 19.

After interning at [London music venue] the Old Blue Last, he became a full-time member of the events team for the Old Blue Last, Vice and Birthdays. One day he got a call from Primary asking if he’d like to work with the late Dave Chumbley, and the rest, as they say, is history. (Read the previous interview with The O2 Arena’s Marc Saunders here.)

 


What are you busy with right now?
I’m thankful to be able to work on a broad spectrum of artists, most of which are starting out new album campaigns/touring cycles. So I’m busy booking shows into theatres, arenas, clubs and even punk squats. One of my favourite things about my job is that every artist has different wants and needs – I pride myself on being able to cater to all of them.

Did you always want to work in the music business?
Yes. As a teen I was obsessed with the DIY sub-cultures in (seemingly, at the time, very exotic places) Chicago, New York and even London. I knew I wanted to be involved somehow, but didn’t know how. Most of my peers were not interested in going to shows, so putting shows on was not an option.

I became friendly with a set of bands that felt the same way and I started booking tours for them throughout Europe when I was still in sixth form. When I was 19 I moved up to London and starting interning at the Old Blue Last which was headed up by Ross Allmark and Russ Tannen at the time. They taught me so much about the way things worked from a promoter perspective and how to deal with real music industry people. It also opened up a whole new musical world to me and I could finally see how things operated outside of my immediate bubble.

“One of my favourite things about my job is that every artist has different wants and needs – I pride myself on being able to cater to all of them”

I eventually became a full-time member of the team and they let me promote shows with some of my favourite artists. I also ended up getting involved in some of the infamous Vice events. The Old Blue Last had a great reputation and we had a lot of fun convincing massive acts to do underplays in the venue. I think Kylie Minogue played there the week I left.

What are some of the highlights of your career so far?
The best shows are the ones that mean the most to the artists, when everyone teams together to pull off something special. Rufus Wainwright at the Royal Albert Hall on Easter Sunday this year was a very special show. A couple of years ago, Lana Del Rey played a last-minute show at Brixton academy in the summer, it was her first show in the UK in many years. We once had Show Me The Body play in Gillet Square in Dalston, mimicking the guerrilla shows they do in NYC.

How has your role changed since you started out?
It hasn’t changed much, I’m still booking shows and working with people I like.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt at Primary?
To never be afraid to ask for help or advice. No-one benefits when someone thinks they know it all.

“Dave Chumbley really taught me everything I know about being a booking agent”

What, if anything, would you change about how the live industry is run today?
The egos

What do you do for fun?
Obviously I love going to gigs and listening to music. I love cooking, getting out of London and (I think?) running.

Do you have an industry mentor?
Dave Chumbley really taught me everything I know about being a booking agent. I’m sure most people that knew him would agree that he had a unique approach to the music industry and life in general. It was inspiring and terrifying in equal measures.

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to get into, or is new to, the business?
Be patient and try not be a tosser.

Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
Hopefully still doing this.

 


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Primary announces Dave Chumbley memorial event

Primary Talent International is to celebrate the life of its late agent and director, Dave Chumbley, with a memorial event in north London on 1 February.

The event will take place the Garage in Highbury on the evening of Thursday 1 February 2018. Anyone wishing to attend should email davesmemorial@primarytalent.com.

Chumbley died suddenly last August after a short illness, prompting tributes from shocked and saddened colleagues across the music business.

 


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2017: The year in review

Missed our regular news updates this year (or recently emerged, Brendan Frasier in Blast from the Past-style, from a nuclear fallout shelter)? Team IQ are logging off for Christmas – so here, in no particular order, are some of the key stories that shaped the year in live music…

#UsToo
In a story that’s set to continue into the new year and beyond, the final few months of 2017 have seen #MeToo – the campaign to stamp out sexual harassment and assault in Hollywood, spurred by the allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein – cross over into the music business, with a growing number of female musicians and execs reporting similar behaviour in our industry.

IQ asked in October if live music has a “Harvey Weinstein problem”, and a number of prominent international female industry figures told us they, too, have been subject to, or witnessed, inappropriate behaviour or sexual assault while working in the live business.

Since then, organised movements campaigning against sexual misconduct in music have sprung up in Sweden (#närmusikentystnar, ‘when the music stops’), Australia (#meNOmore) and the UK (Stop 2018), while the Association for Electronic Music (AFEM) has launched a dedicated, confidential helpline for victims of sexual harassment in the electronic music business.

In the agency world, meanwhile, reps from all major multinational agencies told IQ last month they are intensifying their efforts to ensure the safety of their employees and clients – and CAA has confirmed to IQ it has cancelled its annual Friday pre-Golden Globes party in order to establish a legal defence fund for sexual harassment cases.

Annus terror-bilis
The Manchester Arena attack, the shootings at Route 91 Harvest and BPM Festival, the Reina nightclub bombing and other attacks on innocent fans of live entertainment this year will forever live in infamy – and remain a stark reminder that, despite increased security and the willingness of fans to keep coming to shows, they remain attractive targets for terrorism.

What should also be remembered, however, is the way the industry responded to the evil of these attacks: From the One Love Manchester and We are Manchester charity concerts to the candlelit vigils and fundraising for victims of the Route 91 Harvest attack, those working in live music, just as after the Bataclan attack, stepped up to plate to lend a hand to the victims and all those affected.

Those working in live music stepped up to plate to help to victims of terror

Festival FUBARs…
Who could forget Fyre Festival? Cancelled flights, limp cheese sandwiches and disaster relief tents? A festival that went so badly wrong it’s become a byword for badly organised events – the Giant Cheeseboard, for example, was only this week called “London’s answer to Fyre Festival” – and its promoter arrested by the FBI?

Yes, Fyre Festival this year became the gold standard for festival disasters, but it wasn’t alone. The inaugural Hope & Glory festival – described in the NME as “Fyre Festival with none of the lols” – was called off on its second day amid reports of bottlenecking, queues for facilities and sets being cancelled or running over, while Y Not Festival was cancelled after the site turned into a mudbath as a result of heavy rain.

Canada’s Pemberton Music Festival 2017, meanwhile, was axed with less than two months to go, after its parent companies were placed into administration with debts of almost $10m.

… and tours de force
Despite these headline-grabbing disasters, however, the 2017 summer festival season was a largely successful one compared to last year, when severe weather, including lightning strikes, forced the cancellation of open-air events in Europe and North America.

The organisers of festivals as diverse as Trsnmt (UK), Haven (Denmark), Download (UK), Istanbul Jazz Festival (Turkey), Hurricane/Southside (Germany), Baloise Session and OpenAir St Gallen (both Switzerland), Lollapalooza Paris (France) and BST Hyde Park (UK) all reported healthy attendances in 2017 – and IQ’s recent European Festival Report 2017 revealed that despite increased competition, a majority of the continent’s festival operators feel optimistic about the future of their events.

A majority of Europe’s festival operators feel optimistic about the future of their events

Nation-building
By IQ’s reckoning, Live Nation/Ticketmaster made three more acquisitions than in 2016, when eight companies came under the Live Nation Entertainment umbrella, further bolstering its credentials as the world’s largest live entertainment company.

They were: Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion (venue) in December; United Concerts (promoter) in October; Strobe Labs (data platform) in August; Openair Frauenfeld (festival) in July; Isle of Wight Festival in March; Bluestone Entertainment (promoter) and Ticketpro (ticket agency) in February; and Metropolis Music (promoter) Cuffe & Taylor (promoter), Bottlerock Napa Valley (festival) and CT Touring (promoter) in January.

Rain-grey town, known for its sound…
An IQ/Songkick study revealed in September that the British capital is by far Europe’s live music capital by number of events – and the third-biggest concert market in the world, behind only New York and Los Angeles.

There were 19,940 total live music events in London in 2016 – more than San Francisco (13,672), Paris (11,248) and Chicago (11,224) – and the city is on course to hold its no1 spot in 2017.

Looking ahead to 2018, a raft of new festivals looks set to further cement London’s status as the live music capital of Europe, with AEG and Live Nation/Festival Republic both planning new events and local councils opening up more green space to meet the growing demand for live entertainment.

Live Nation/Ticketmaster made three more acquisitions than in 2016

Google to touts: Don’t be evil
Google last month dealt what could be a fatal blow to the likes of Viagogo and Seatwave, announcing that from January 2018 secondary ticketing sites would be subject to stringent restrictions on their use of Google AdWords.

Under the new measures – which come on the back of UK politicians accusing sites such as Viagogo, StubHub, Seatwave and Get Me In! of violating Google’s Adwords policies on misrepresentation, and increased scrutiny of ticket touting in Britain, Italy, Japan, Spain, Ireland and more – Google will force ticket resellers to list the face value of tickets, make clear they are resale sites and stop implying they are an ‘official’ seller or lose access to AdWords.

Google’s crackdown comes as national authorities, especially in the UK, continue to make life harder for touts, with National Trading Standards last week making four arrests as part of an investigation into the “practices of businesses that buy and sell tickets in bulk”.

The end of the road for ‘industrial-scale’ secondary ticketing, or merely another hurdle to be overcome? Time will tell…

Agency turntable
The booking agency world continued to consolidate in 2017 with a number of acquisitions, mergers and partnerships. Notable was Paradigm which 
entered into a strategic partnership with the UK’s X-Ray Touring in April and acquired Chicago- and California-based agency Monterey International in August.

Among other moves, July saw Helsinki-based Fullsteam Agency announce that it had acquired Rähinä Live, while September saw K2 Agency swoop for Factory Music. Meanwhile, the ongoing merry-go-round of agents swapping desks between companies continued – and if rumours are to be believed, 2018 will see this trend continue apace.

The booking agency world continued to consolidate in 2017 with a number of acquisitions, mergers and partnerships

In memoriam
In addition to the beloved performers we lost in 2017 (RIP Tom Petty, Chester Bennington, Chris Cornell, Chuck Berry, Greg Allman and many others), several equally revered live music business figures also passed away this year.

Peter Rieger, the founder of Cologne-based promoter Peter Rieger Konzertagentur (PRK), died on 29 January at the age of 63 – “far too young,” said friend and colleague John Giddings. “This has been a sad and dismal week,” added manager and former agent Ed Bicknell. “I’ve lost three dear pals: John Wetton of King Crimson, Asia and UK, Deke Leonard of Man, and now Peter. […] He was a total professional, a pleasure to deal with and funny – definitely funny. Which is what every promoter needs: a sense of humour.”

Another live industry veteran who passed far too young was tour manager, artist liaison and ILMC’s longtime producer, Alia Dann Swift, who died aged 57 in May. “She was the best,” said CAA’s Emma Banks. “A beautiful human being, a great friend, a smart and an inspiring woman.”

“Alia was renowned for her warmth, her tireless support of those around her, a perennial sense of humour and a no-nonsense approach,” added ILMC head Greg Parmley. “She was a widely loved and respected figure in the touring world who will be deeply and entirely missed.”

The live music world was once again rocked in August by the shock death of well-liked Primary Talent co-founder Dave Chumbley after a short illness.

“Dedicated to his artists to a fault, Dave was responsible for many hugely successful careers in the global music industry,” said manager Terry Blamey, with whom Chumbley worked for years representing Kylie Minogue. “He was a talented, wonderful man taken from us way to soon. Lynn and I loved him like a brother, dear friend, and we will miss him dreadfully.”

Other tragic losses to the business in 2017 included ShowSec founder Mick Upton, tour travel agent Mary Cleary, Israeli promoter Shmuel Zemach, Reading Festival founder Harold Pendleton, Washington, DC, promoter Jack Boyle and Live Nation Belgium booker Marianne Dekimpe.

 


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Primary announces Dave Chumbley Stories memorial site

Primary Talent International has announced a plans for a memorial event and ‘storytelling’ website in memory of its late director and agent, Dave Chumbley.

Chumbley died on 22 August after a short illness. Speaking to IQ, Primary co-founder Martin Hopewell paid tribute to a “larger-than-life character” with a “big, booming voice” and “equally big heart” – a sentiment echoed by many of his acts and industry colleagues.

Primary Talent’s Dave Chumbley passes

Chumbley’s funeral and burial will be a private, family event. However, given his “enormous popularity”, Primary says it plans to organise a public memorial event in conjunction with his family, details of which will be revealed closer to the time.

The agency has also set up a dedicated website, davechumbleystories.blogspot.co.uk, for colleagues and other people who knew Chumbley (pictured) to share “treasured stories and/or photographs”. Those who wish to submit a story, or simply a message of condolence, should email davechumbleystories@primarytalent.com.

Finally, a crowdfunding campaign is now live to raise £30,000 to bury Chumbley in Highgate Cemetery in London. Described as a “beautiful and intriguing site, rich in history, architecture, landscape and romance”, Primary notes that very few plots become available in Highgate each year – so it is “therefore rightly fitting that Dave’s final resting place will be in a sold-out-venue with a rare access-all-areas pass”…

 


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Primary Talent’s Dave Chumbley passes

Dave Chumbley, director and booking agent at Primary Talent International, passed away on Tuesday after a short illness.

A statement from Primary reads: “Dave was a great man, a world-class agent, esteemed director and colleague whose dedication to his artists was unmatched. We are extremely lucky to have been touched by his unique humour, exceptional kindness and infectious joie de vivre.”

A charismatic and well-liked character, Dave left Warwick University in 1982 where he was cultural affairs officer, before working at The Agency Group and, briefly, Performing Arts Network. He later joined World Service before becoming one of the founding members of Primary Talent.

“I was a music agent for 20 years – but it was not until I met Dave Chumbley that I found out what a real agent should be,” says manager Terry Blamey, with whom Dave worked for years representing Kylie Minogue.

“Dedicated to his artists to a fault, Dave was responsible for many hugely successful careers in the world music industry. He was a talented, wonderful man taken from us way to soon. Lynn and I loved him like a brother, dear friend, and we will miss him dreadfully.

“I was a music agent for 20 years – but it was not until I met Dave Chumbley that I found out what a real agent should be”

“We had an amazing time together! Our hearts go out to Rom, Raph and Tom.”

Acts represented by Dave included Bloodhound Gang, Lana Del Rey, Dropkick Murphys, Rufus Wainwright, Gwen Stefani, No Doubt, Imogen Heap, Rebecca Ferguson, Rufus Wainwright, The Toy Dolls, and Tony Hadley.

George Akins, owner of DHP Family, describes Dave as a “great friend and supporter”. “He was instrumental in helping DHP family become the national promoter it is today, with key tours by Dropkick Murphys and Rufus Wainwright putting us on the map,” he says. “A big hole is left in the music industry today.

“He was a true maverick who ripped up the rulebook and made sure he looked after his artists and supported the good guys. We will be forever in his debt.”

“The live business is quite literally not going to be the same without him”

Primary co founder and former MD Martin Hopewell says: “I’m in a state of complete shock – as hundreds of people around the world who knew Dave must be at the moment. He was such a larger-than-life character, and had such a massive impact on the live business, that this just doesn’t seem possible.

“I worked with Dave since the ’80s when he joined the team at our old agency, World Service. Most people will know him as a tenacious and skilled representative for his clients, but those who were lucky enough to be among his many friends and colleagues will know that that big, booming voice of his was matched by an equally big heart.

He was a generous, funny and intelligent man, but – most of all – for many of us he was a loyal and trusted friend. The live business is quite literally not going to be the same without him.”

Dave is survived by his wife Romilly and two children, Raphaella and Tom.

 


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