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Marsha Vlasic on the ’20s: “There will be fewer independents”

As we enter the new decade, IQ caught up with leaders from the global live music business to reflect upon the development of the industry over the past ten years, as well as looking forward to what we can expect in the 2020s.

Following on from Q&As with UTA’s Neil Warnock, AEG’s Jay Marciano, and Move Concerts’ Phil Rodriguez, in the hot seat today is Marsha Vlasic, president of Artist Group International and agent to the likes of Neil Young, Iggy Pop, the Strokes and Elvis Costello…

 


IQ: The role that agents play in artists’ careers has undoubtedly changed over the last ten years. Considering the advent of global touring, and the various new income streams available to artists, how do you see this role evolving?
MV: As far as the agent’s role and the other income streams, unfortunately we are not a part of that. We are not directly involved in the other streams, but hopefully it helps us increase ticket buyers.

Looking ahead, what do you perceive will be the biggest challenges for the live music sector in the 2020s?
To continue building careers that will be long lasting.

What more could the constituent parts of the music industry be doing to deliver a better proposition to both artists and fans?
Figuring a way to exploit and share music that will allow an artist to gain new fans.

“My personal highlights have been keeping my clients and enjoying what I do”

Consolidation has been a constant theme of this decade. Looking ahead, how do you see the balance between the industry’s key corporations and the remaining independent players?
I think there will be fewer and fewer independent players.

Topics such as inclusion, diversity and mental health are commonly discussed these days. How is the live business shaping up compared to other sectors?
These are topics that cannot be buried or ignored anymore. It is completely out in the open, and hopefully that will continue to help people with problems feel safe to come out with it. There are many avenues and places in the music industry that people can seek help.

What are your own personal highlights from the last decade?
Staying relevant! Keeping my clients and enjoying what I do.

 


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Decade’s End: Phil Rodriguez’s 2020 predictions

As we enter the new decade, IQ caught up with leaders from the global live music business to reflect upon the development of the industry over the past ten years, as well as looking forward to what we can expect in the 2020s.

Following Wednesday’s Q&A with UTA’s Neil Warnock and yesterday’s chat with AEG’s Jay Marciano, in the hot seat today is Phil Rodriguez, founder and CEO of Move Concerts, who talks festivals, data, industry consolidation and more…

 


IQ: Consolidation has been a constant theme of this decade. Looking ahead, how do you see the balance between the industry’s key corporations and the remaining independent players?
PR: I believe there’s room for everyone in the food chain. Independents have to up their game and focus on whatever their particular strengths may be.

As with everything in life, one size does not fit all.

One of the great success stories of the last decade has been the growth of the festival market. In terms of format, scale and programming, how might the festival scene develop in the coming years?
Some will remain, others will fade away… and the great ones will evolve with with the times.

What, in your opinion, are the most significant developments (positive and/or negative) in the live music industry over the past ten years?
Data. The amount of data that is now available, and will certainly grow in the future, is fantastic.

Long gone are the days of calling the local record store to check on sales!

“The amount of data that is now available, and will grow in the future, is fantastic”

The growth of the live business has been impressive in the last decade and the current level of investment by financial institutions seems to indicate that they think that growth will continue. Where do you see those growth opportunities, and how do you predict this growth will compare to this decade?
International expansion and consolidation on all fronts: promotion, venues and ticketing.

To continue the growth curve the emerging international markets hold the most potential for growth.

Looking ahead, what do you perceive will be the biggest challenges for the live music sector in the 2020s?
There are so many fronts – ticketing, international expansion, and worldwide stability, both politically and economically – but the most important challenge is to keep music important and relevant to the next generations. Everything else springs from that.

What are your own personal highlights from the last decade?
The creation and growth of Move Concerts in five years – plus my daughter going to graduate school for her master’s degree!

 


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Decade’s End: Jay Marciano on 10 years at the sharp end

As we enter the new decade, IQ caught up with leaders from the global live music business to reflect upon the development of the industry over the past ten years, as well as looking forward to what we can expect in the 2020s.

Following yesterday’s Q&A with UTA’s Neil Warnock, in the hot seat today is Jay Marciano, COO of AEG and chairman/CEO of AEG Presents. IQ quizzes him on the biggest changes of the 2010s and his personal highlights, as well as the venue of the future…

 


IQ: This decade is ending with a long list of new buildings slated for development internationally. What does the venue of the next decade look like?
JM: Form follows function.

From the artist’s perspective: Robust production capabilities, flexible, artist-friendly features.

From the fan’s perspective: Emphasis on a warm environment that has great audio fidelity, superior service, multiple food and drink options, features for every price point.

Consolidation has been a constant theme of this decade. Looking ahead, how do you see the balance between the industry’s key corporations and the remaining independent players?
The major companies need to provide excellent administrative functions, build out and maintain ticketing and digital marketing capabilities, and provide growth capital in an environment that allows our promoters to provide artists and audiences with the excellent personalised and creative service that independents are known for.

What, in your opinion, are the most significant developments (positive and/or negative) in the live music industry over the past ten years?
Unlocking what was, for four decades, a static box-office gross. Dynamic price points which allows artists to fully capture the true gross at all levels.

Streaming has helped artists create global fan bases in ways we never dreamed of

Digital marketing, data capture and mobile ticketing. We are on the precipice of a truly personalised marketing and ticketing experience that will benefit the concertgoer while creating new revenue opportunities and increasing consumption.

Streaming. This has already helped create more new artists than any other time in the history of pop music. Streaming has helped artists create global fan bases in ways we never dreamed of just ten years ago.

What are your own personal highlights from the last decade?
The sheer amount of new talent. It has been exhilarating just trying to keep up!

Looking ahead, what do you perceive will be the biggest challenges for the live music sector in the 2020s?
Any downturn in the global economy.

 


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Decade’s End: Neil Warnock on the challenges ahead

As we enter the new decade, IQ caught up with leaders from the global live music business to reflect upon the development of the industry over the past ten years, as well as looking forward to what we can expect in the 2020s.

In the near future we’ll share the insights of execs including CAA’s Emma Banks, Frontier Touring’s Michael Gudinski, Oak View Group’s Tim Leiweke, AEG’s Jay Marciano and more. In the hot seat, first, though, is Neil Warnock MBE, global head of touring for United Talent Agency, who talks global touring’s ups and downs, the importance of fan experience and his personal decade highlights…

 


IQ: The role that agents play in artists’ careers has undoubtedly changed over the last ten years. Considering the advent of global touring, and the various new income streams available to artists, how do you see this role evolving?

NW: Global touring is not a new phenomenon. It has been in place one way or another since before Michael Cohl became the promoter of the Rolling Stones. Elvis Presley, although he did not come to Europe, signed a global touring deal.

Global touring has its advantages and disadvantages. I always want my artists to play to their strengths for the promoters they are working with. In confirming global deals, it’s essential that the strength of each promoter in each market is evaluated, not only financially which can be an issue, but also ensuring that venues and marketing are strategically considered so that an artist can be taken forward in their aspirations.

Streaming has become a more sophisticated marketing tool along with all other social elements available to each artist, but essentially these should be viewed as extra add-ons available to artists, and not the be-all and end-all of making touring decisions. Our UTA IQ department is extremely useful when it comes to evaluating the data available to our artists.

In confirming global deals, it’s essential that the strength of each promoter in each market is evaluated

Consolidation has been a constant theme of this decade. Looking ahead, how do you see the balance between the industry’s key corporations and the remaining independent players?

Consolidation in the industry is interesting. When we see labels, agencies, managers consolidate, it also throws up a number of independents. My view is that it’s great to have both.

Consolidated companies give managers what they want but some managers like to have an independent view over the lives and professional status of an artist.

What more could the constituent parts of the music industry be doing to deliver a better proposition to both artists and fans?

The constituent parts of the music business being live, recording, publishing, merchandise, branding – all these elements should be fused together by good management and we should all work together so that our artists are getting the best service from each area. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always happen.

Topics such as inclusion, diversity and mental health are commonly discussed these days. How is the live business shaping up compared to other sectors?

The fact that these topics are out in the open and are being discussed is fantastic and we are now seeing that the industry is working hard to continue to drive awareness to these areas.

Consolidated companies give managers what they want, but some managers like to have an independent view

UTA is a company that believes that diversity and inclusion are fundamental to our success as a business. This year we launched our employee-led, company-funded Employee Inclusion Groups (UTA Proud, Unity, Wellness and Women’s Interest). Two of our last three board appointments, Blair Kohan and Tracey Jacobs, have been women, and we are the first major talent agency ever to name a woman, Lyndsay Harding, as our CFO.

Looking ahead, what do you perceive will be the biggest challenges for the live music sector in the 2020s?

In my opinion, the touring outlook for artists is looking good. The challenges are to ensure artists give value for money to customers, and to ensure that the fan experience is outstanding so that a customer will want to come back and see that artist for another show.

What are your own personal highlights from the last decade?

I have many highlights from over the years, but from the last decade I would have to say the highlight that jumps immediately to mind is Dolly Parton live at Glastonbury in 2014.

Additionally, the tremendous steps that Nordoff Robbins have made as a charity and on a personal note, being awarded an MBE was tremendous for myself and my family.

 


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