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The LGBTIQ+ List 2022: David Jones, AEG

The LGBTIQ+ List 2022 – IQ Magazine’s second annual celebration of queer professionals who make an immense impact in the international live music business – was published in the Pride edition (issue 112) this month.

The July 2022 issue, which is available to read now, was made possible thanks to support from Ticketmaster. 

To get to know this year’s queer pioneers a little better, we interviewed each individual on their challenges, triumphs, advice and more.

Throughout the next month, IQ will publish a new interview each day. Catch up on the previous interview with David Davies, founder and head of live at Double D Live and head of experience at Catapult.

The series continues with David Jones (he/him/his), chief information officer at AEG in the UK.

David Jones is chief information officer for AEG, the global leader in sports and live entertainment. He heads up the AEG Global Technology division, and is responsible for the company’s technology strategy and solutions across the US, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

A digital and technology leader in the broadcast, entertainment, retail and real estate sectors for over 20 years, David is also executive sponsor of AEG’s Pride Employee Network Group which aims to drive change by giving LGBTQ+ colleagues a greater voice and foster a culture of inclusion.

Prior to AEG, David led the technology team at Virgin Radio and Ginger Media Group. He lives on the Isle of Wight with his husband Tony.


Tell us about a personal triumph in your career
I have recently been promoted to the role of global chief information officer. In my new role, I am leading a new division – AEG Global Technology – which brings together AEG’s talented technology staff in the US and Europe.

AEG’s technology teams were historically organised on a regional basis, and I used to head up the European team as Chief Information Officer for AEG Europe. I will continue to be based at AEG’s European headquarters in London, and I am proud to say that this will be the first time that someone in the UK will head up a global team in our company.

What advice could you give to young queer professionals?
Seek out other LGBTQ+ people in your organisation or industry; build friendships and provide support to each other. Being part of the Pride employee network group at AEG has been a wonderful experience. I have made new friends right across the organisation, and our group has been a force for positive change in our company.

Name one thing the live industry could do to be a more inclusive place
Empower and support your LGBTQ+ colleagues. And that means more than simply ‘rainbowing’ your logos, venues and events in Pride month. If your organisation doesn’t have an employee network group then help your LGBTQ+ colleagues to establish one and support them to drive positive change.

What’s the best mistake you’ve ever made?
I wouldn’t call it a mistake, but it wasn’t the ‘conventional’ decision. When I left university, I had an offer to join Andersen Consulting on their graduate scheme. I also had an opportunity to join the Virgin Radio sales team on a short-term contract as an assistant working on their customer databases.

Rather than join the safe world of management consultancy, I opted for media and entertainment. Within six months, Virgin Radio had offered me a permanent job as their Head of IT, which was wild, given that I was only 23 at the time. I’ve never regretted that decision.

Empower and support your LGBTQ+ colleagues. And that means more than simply ‘rainbowing’ your logos…

The queer act you’re itching to see live this year
Steps at Birmingham Pride. Even though they are performing on Sunday evening; I’m too old for such giddiness on a school night…

Your favourite queer space
In 2018, the Isle of Wight hosted UK Pride. Peter Tatchell spoke about how ‘local’ Prides were so much more important than those traditionally held in big cities, because it was important for LGBTQ+ people to be visible, embraced and happy everywhere, not just in places like London or Manchester.

I witnessed an enormous Pride flag paraded down the main street of my hometown, enjoyed drag queens in the cabaret tent on the esplanade, and then sang along with Conchita Wurst on the beach stage. My favourite queer space was the Isle of Wight on Saturday, 21 July 2018.

Tell us about a professional challenge you’ve come across as a queer person in the industry.
I genuinely don’t believe I have encountered any professional challenges. I have been lucky to work for companies which were full of diverse, friendly and inclusively-minded people and I have never had to hide my sexuality from work colleagues.

However, I am a white, cis, middle-class man; I am in a privileged position. My experience will not be representative of everyone in our community.

A cause you support
In my younger days, I was chair of the British Youth Council. The British Youth Council is an organisation which promotes young people’s participation in decisions which affect them. They campaign on issues which affect young people, including climate change, child poverty and votes at 16. I am proud to be an alumnus and to continue to support them.


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AEG names CIO of new Global Technology division

AEG has appointed David Jones as chief information officer of its new AEG Global Technology division.

Formerly CIO for AEG Europe, the London-based digital and tech veteran will be responsible for the company’s technology strategy and solutions across the US, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

AEG Global Technology is designed to help facilitate the use of data and customer-facing technologies to drive revenue across the business and provide “best-in-class” customer experiences.

“The development of AEG Global Technology further underscores AEG’s commitment to ensuring all of our venues, teams and businesses have the digital infrastructure necessary to continue delivering differentiated live, event customer experiences, says Ted Fikre, AEG’s vice-chairman and chief legal and development officer.

“With his exceptional background and history of creating innovative solutions to AEG’s technology needs, David is ideally qualified to oversee and spearhead the development of technology required to continue to transform our business into the future.”

“As we look ahead, consumer-focused and data-rich technology capabilities will be core to AEG’s success”

In the newly created role, Jones, who is executive sponsor of AEG Europe’s PRIDE Employee Network Group, will also be tasked with overseeing the firm’s information security and privacy teams, “providing a consolidated infrastructure that aligns the company’s core pillars of technology, data, and innovation globally”. He will work in close alignment with the technology teams at AEG venues such as The O2 in London and Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, and will also partner with the company’s AEG Presents, AEG Sports and AXS subsidiaries to deliver expertise, services, and support globally.

“As we look ahead, consumer-focused and data-rich technology capabilities will be core to AEG’s success,” says Jones. “The formation of our new AEG Global Technology division will bring together our talented technology staff in the US, Europe and beyond into one team and will ensure that we are able to deliver best-in-class technology solutions today, and in the future.

“Our ambition is to deploy technology to help fans have the very best experience at our events, whether they are watching the LA Kings at Crypto.com Arena, the LA Galaxy at Dignity Health Sports Park, rocking out to a legendary performer at The O2, or enjoying a weekend at one of our renowned festivals.”


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Report: 5G to bring £2.3bn to live industry by 2030

Research from mobile operator O2 has shown that 5G, or super high-speed mobile internet, could be set to boost the live entertainment industry by as much as £2.3 billion in the next ten years.

In the wake of the launch of O2’s 5G mobile internet in October 2019, and the concomitant partnership with music-focused virtual reality platform MelodyVR, the company commissioned consultancy Ovum to conduct the 5th Generation Entertainment report.

Up to 100 times faster than 4G internet and with the capacity for 1 million users per square kilometre (as opposed to 4,000 with 4G), the rollout of 5G presents many opportunities for the live industry, as will be discussed in detail at the 5G workshop at the International Live Music Conference in March.

The report findings show how 5G will improve fan experience and engagement through the enhancement of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), live streaming and smart ticketing.

Fans unable to attend a show will be able to purchase a high-quality livestream and watch in VR or AR. Viewers will also be able to personalise the experience, opting to focus on specific elements of a live event, enabling brands to target advertising. O2 is also looking into the possibility of broadcasting live through high-definition cameras on British television network ITV.

Pre-show opportunities include AR-assisted shopping that allows fans to virtually try on merchandise and order for collection at the show. Similar advance ordering systems can also apply to food and drink purchases, with real-time analytics allowing fans to find the quietest bar, easily navigate around venues and meet up with friends.

“5G will revolutionise live entertainment”

Event organisers may also capitalise on the superfast network to send personalised highlight reels directly to fans’ devices after the show.

“Through our sponsorships with England Rugby, The O2 Arena and 20 iconic O2 Academy venues, we aim to engage fans with relevant, useful and exciting experiences before, during and after a live event,” comments O2’s head of sponsorship Gareth Griffiths, who will present ILMC’s 5G workshop along with AEG Europe’s David Jones, O2/Telefónica UK’s Brendan O’Reilly and production manager Chris Vaughan on 5 March.

“The low-latency and superfast connectivity of 5G, underpinned by fan insights, bold branding and customer benefits, enables us to tailor these experiences to the diverse audiences we see at our venues in real-time.

“Whether for an England Rugby fan at Twickenham, a Kano fan at O2 Victoria Warehouse Manchester or an Elton John fan at The O2, 5G will revolutionise live entertainment.”

David Jones, senior vice president of IT at AEG, owner of the O2 Arena, adds that 5G is set to particularly enhance the use of augmented reality and virtual reality technology.

“The O2 is at the forefront of O2’s 5G rollout in the UK, and I’m eager to see how the creative people who produce the hundreds of events each year at The O2 will embrace 5G and the technologies it enables, and use it to deliver fun and engaging experiences for fans,” says Jones.


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