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ILMC 33: The Open Forum reflects on the year that wasn’t

Fresh off the back of the worst year in the history of the live music business, a quartet of industry titans put their heads together to figure out where we go from here for ILMC’s traditional opening session, the Open Forum, which moved to a mid-afternoon time slot for this year’s one-off digital edition.

Live Nation’s executive president of international touring, Phil Bowdery, kicked off the panel in a different way to usual. “We normally start off this session by talking about the year’s biggest grosses,” he said, before asking panellists how they’d spent the past year in the absence of selling hundreds of thousands of tickets.

Emma Banks, agent and co-head of CAA in the UK, summed up the mood when she said “we’ve all been busy fools”, rearranging tours and shows with no knowledge of when live music might be able to return. “Anybody that claims they know when we’ll be able to do international tours, they know something the rest of the world does not,” echoed Tim Leiweke, CEO of Oak View Group. “This thing has its own path of destruction it has to reap, and we’re going to have to be patient.”

When the time is right, “we have to open up globally,” said Jay Marciano, CEO of AEG Presents. “There was a time last year when everyone was experimenting but socially distanced shows, but at 50% [capacity] we realised we’d basically paid for the lights and the stagehands and then not made any money. And it takes away from the live experience.”

Referring to the number of fans who have kept their tickets for postponed events, Marciano added that he’s been struck by “how patient our fans have been”.

“I want to open up – I have $5 billion invested in nine new arenas. But in order to open up we have to have an agreement [as to when], because if one of us opens up too early it’ll affect the rest of us, too.”

“We’re still losing 2,000 people a day in the United States to this virus. So we need to hunker down” until it’s safe to reopen, he added.

“I’ve never seen this kind of demand … We’re going to get through this”

While “Covid has been horrendous”, there have been upsides to 2020’s time out, said Banks. “One thing that has been good is no planes – hopefully that’s been helping the planet we’ve been wrecking,” she explained. “Travel represents a tiny amount of carbon emissions, but – without taking away the gig – what we’ve learnt with Zoom, Webex, Teams, etc., is that we don’t need all the meetings we have, which we fly all over the world for often, often only for a day. We need to rethink what we’re doing.”

She also highlighted that artists have had time for other projects, whether its working on a book or starting a podcast, because they haven’t been on the road.

Both Leiweke and Marciano also pointed to advances in new technology such as 5G while touring has been on pause. “Technology didn’t take a year and a half off,” said Leiweke. When shows return, “we’re going to be see brand-new technology that will enhance the experience but won’t replace it”, he added.

Whenever it is live returns, none of the panellists were in any doubt about fans’ continued passion for live music, referencing the incredible pent-up demand for shows that has been building throughout 2020/21.

“There’s a whole load of catching up to do,” said Banks. “But it will be OK.”

“I’ve never seen this kind of demand. [For 2021] we have 180 holds in our new arena in New York already,” added Leiweke. “We’re going to get through this.”

Tickets for ILMC 33, which include all panels available to watch back until 5 April 2021, are still available. Click here for more information.

 


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UK CAA agent Ben Kouijzer passes aged 36

Ben Kouijzer, an agent for CAA UK and formerly UTA who represented electronic acts including 808 State and Meduza, has passed aged 36 of kidney and liver failure.

Kouijzer was diagnosed last summer with malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumour (MPNST), a rare and aggressive type of cancer, for which he underwent surgery and radiotherapy.

The cancer later metastasised to Kouijzer’s lungs, which doctors said was incurable.

Kouijzer and his fiancé, Lotte Bowser, moved to Tijuana, Mexico in September for treatment, and Kouijzer tested positive for Covid in late October. He also battled pneumonia, influenza, sepsis and other infections while in intensive care.

His passing was announced on Sunday via his Go Fund Me page, which had been created to draw donations for his treatments. At the time of writing, the campaign has raised over £250,000.

“It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Ben. He fought so hard and we are so so proud of him but in the end it was too much for him. A combination of factors lead to kidney and liver failure and he passed away in the early hours of Sunday morning. We are beyond devastated. We are all hurting together,” the announcement reads.

Emma Banks, co-head of CAA’s London office, issued the following statement to Variety: “Today is such a sad day for everyone at CAA and particularly those who worked closely with Ben in the music department. It’s a testament to the man that while he had only been working with us for a couple of years, we are mourning a lifelong friend. Everyone who encountered Ben immediately loved him – he was a fantastic agent but more than that, he was simply a great human being.

“It’s a testament to the man that while he had only been working with us for a couple of years, we are mourning a lifelong friend”

“He was so brave tackling his cancer and with his beloved fiancée Lotte by his side he was determined to try every possible option to beat the disease. Ben is an inspiration to us all. He may be gone but he will never be forgotten and his spirit, soul and the love that he shared will remain with us forever. We send all of our love and condolences to Lotte and to Ben’s family and friends.”

Tributes have been pouring in from across the live music industry, with Kouijzer’s client, Meduza, writing: “Throughout the last 2 years you have been inspirational for us. We had so much more to do together, so many more fun times to share, so many more plans to implement and enjoy together, you made our teams craziest dreams come true in such a short period of time.

“From the moment we met you, we knew what our team were telling us about you was true. A truly magical human being, full of love and not a bad word about you from anyone. We were proud to have you in our corner.”

 

 

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A post shared by Lotte Bowser (@lottebowser)


DJ and producer Roger Sanchez tweeted: “Ben Kouijzer was not only the best agent I have ever worked with, he was one of the kindest, honest and universally loved person I know. A true warrior – from the dojo to the agency, to the way he faced cancer, he always gave 100% and never backed down. Ben, we will miss your presence on this planet tremendously but we will love you and remember you forever. In the words of the 100: Your fight is over Ben-Com-Skai Kru. May we meet again.”

Elsewhere in the electronic community, SG Lewis tweeted: “Heartbreaking news about Ben Kouijzer. One of the nicest guys in music, and loved by so many. RIP Ben.”

While DJ Got Some wrote: “Gutted to hear about Ben Kouijzer passing away. I want to send my regards to his family & GF. This guy was a proper stand up dude.”

Kouijzer is survived by his fiancé, Lotte Bowser, who wrote: “You had suffered so much these past 7 months, and you were too tired to go on. Fly high and return home to peace now my love.”

 


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Sheeran agent Jon Ollier to launch own company

Jon Ollier has become the latest agent to use 2020 as a springboard to launch his own independent company, after CAA today confirmed he will be leaving the agency within weeks.

Ollier will be taking his biggest client, Ed Sheeran, with him, alongside fellow British stars Anne-Marie and Calum Scott, but at the moment it is unclear who else from his roster might also be part of the new venture.

Ollier was at Free Trade Agency until March 2015, when he joined CAA’s London office. His departure from the company is amicable, with CAA offering their full support for his yet-to-be named new venture.

“Starting my own company has been a dream of mine and I appreciate CAA’s support in this transition”

“CAA has been a wonderful experience and one I am incredibly grateful for,” says Ollier. “It has been an absolute privilege working alongside so many outstanding people who care deeply about their clients and each other.”

He adds, “Starting my own company has been a dream of mine and I appreciate CAA’s support in this transition.”

CAA co-head, Emma Banks tells IQ, “Jon has been a great colleague and friend. We wish him the very best as he pursues an entrepreneurial path, and look forward to working with him in his new role.”

Ollier will be handing over and wrapping up with the company until mid-November and more details about his new company will be released in due course.

 


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IFF puts finishing touches to biggest programme yet

The Interactive Festival Forum (iFF) has announced two Soapbox Sessions panels for the event taking place on 2 and 3 September.

The first 55-minute session will invite five industry experts to deliver quick-fire presentations on a range of specialist topics including agency roster analysis, socially distanced events and mental health.

Soapbox Sessions: Five in 55 will see ROSTR co-founder and CEO, Mark Williamson, present highlights from an analysis of 650+ agency rosters with ROSTR: The Agency World in Numbers.

Deer Shed director and AIF member Kate Webster will deliver a Soapbox Session on Deer Shed Basecamp, the festival’s socially distanced, sold-out camping weekender with AIF presents: Touching Base.

Tim O’Brien – professor at Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics at the University of Manchester (the site of AIF member festival Bluedot) – will reprise a much-loved talk from a previous AIF Festival Congress with AIF presents: Sounds of Space.

Geoff Dixon will present exclusive new research on festivalgoers’ confidence about returning to live events over the next 12 months

In Soapbox Session Covid-19: You Are Here, Dr Mark Salter, consultant for global health at Public Health England, will update delegates on the latest international developments in the fight against Covid-19, including the search for a vaccine, as well as how public health authorities are planning for the months ahead.

Finally, Getting Back to Work: The Fan’s Perspective Vivid Interface will hear Geoff Dixon present exclusive new research on festivalgoers’ confidence about returning to live events over the next 12 months.

Another new addition to the conference schedule is The Lost Causes, a series of presentations from specialists covering diversity, accessibility, and mental health and welfare.

Attitude Is Everything‘s Gideon Feldman will deliver Accessibility: Building Back Better, Keychange‘s Francine Gorman will present Equality: Representation Matters and festival booker-turned-psychotherapist Tamsin Embleton will educate delegates on Mental Health: Minding the Gap.

Today’s announcement follows the news that CAA board member and London co-head Emma Banks, Paradigm’s head of global music, Marty Diamond, and FKP Scorpio MD Folkert Koopmans are joining the conference.

With just over one week to go until iFF, and with passes increasing in price on 1 September, secure your place and save money by registering here. Tickets are still just £50 inc. ALL fees.

 


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Next wave of industry elite announced for iFF

Another round of free-thinkers, ground-breakers, and industry stalwarts has been announced for the Interactive Festival Forum (iFF) in two weeks’ time.

The two-day livestream event, taking place on 2 and 3 September, is expected to host over 400 professionals from festivals and agencies across the globe.

Among the most recent speakers to join the programme is CAA board member and London co-head Emma Banks, Paradigm’s head of global music, Marty Diamond, and FKP Scorpio MD Folkert Koopmans.

The three industry heads will discuss adapting deals, escalating fees and the impact of the “lost year” on ticket pricing during the Ticket Price, Artist Fees and Deals panel, moderated by ILMC head Greg Parmley.

Elsewhere in the iFF schedule, Live Nation Belgium/Rock Werchter CEO Herman Schueremans joins the lineup for The Big Rebuild: Festivals bounce back.

Fullsteam Agency promoter Aino-Maria Paasivirta will chair the Refunds, Deposits & Force Majeure session, with Mojo Concerts’ Kim Bloem joining Sziget Festival CEO Tamás Kádár, Primary Talent partner Peter Elliott, and Glastonbury Festival’s general counsel, Ben Challis, to complete the panel.

Emma Banks and co. will discuss adapting deals, escalating fees and the impact of the “lost year” on ticket pricing

Meanwhile, Live Nation Sweden’s president of festivals and concerts, Anna Sjolund, will chair This Is Why We Do It, with Independent Talent head Duncan Heath, Fruzsina Szep, Paradigm partner/agent Alex Hardee and Martin Elbourne (Glastonbury/DMZ Peace Train) completing the lineup.

Also announced, Sophie Roberts from United Talent Agency is added to Shifting Landscapes: Covid’s effect on corporate relationships, joining Alex Bruford (ATC Live), Arnaud Meersseman (AEG Presents), Matchbox Live CEO Theresho Selesho,  and IQ Magazine staff writer Lisa Henderson.

IFF also welcomes Henrik Bondo Nielsen & Morton Therkildsen (Roskilde Festival) and Nick Morgan from We Are The Fair to the New Threat, New Risks workshop, which features Paleo Festival/iSSUE’s Pascal Viot too.

Lastly, Bella Concerts head Isabelle Pfeifer and MightyHoopla’s Jamie Tagg join the already announced Rob Gibbs (Progressive Artists) and Nika Brunet from MetalDays on Survival Stories: The Independents and psychotherapist Tamsin Embleton (Music Industry Therapist & Coaches) will speak about mental health and wellbeing during Soapbox Sessions: The Lost Causes, alongside Attitude is Everything’s Gideon Feldman and Youth Music’s Daniel Williams.

To view the full conference schedule, click here. Passes are currently £50 including fees until September, register here.

 


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Indie promoters talk challenges, post-corona recovery

The latest IQ Focus virtual panel, The State of Independence: Promoters, checked in with independent concert promoters in the UK, Europe, India and South America to discover how these entrepreneurs are preparing for the live industry’s return to normality.

Hosted by agent Emma Banks (CAA), yesterday’s session welcomed British promoters Anton Lockwood (DHP Family) and David Messer (DMP), Munbir Chawla from India’s The Wild City, Melanie Eselevsky from Argentina’s Move Concerts and Karsten Jahnke Konzertdirektion’s Roman Pitone to discuss the current difficulties unique to their sector, as well as the opportunities and challenges of a post-Covid-19 world .

Speaking about emerging concert formats such as drive-in shows, Pitone said Karsten Jahnke has done a number of drive-in events in Germany over the past few months. “Overall, they went well,” he said, but enthusiasm has declined over time as fans increasingly miss ‘real’ shows: “You could see when we started it that people were really eager to see shows [in some form] again, but it slowed down as time went on as people realised it’s just not the same.”

He added that the company is only breaking even on its drive-in and other socially distanced events. “With the income, we’re just paying for what we’re doing,” he explained. “This is just to keep doing something that is our passion and our livelihood, until we can do something [else]…”

In India, where live music is still invariably sponsored, brands have realised the coronavirus crisis isn’t going away and are spending less on live events, creating a headache for promoters, said Chawla. “The brands have realised they’re in it for the long haul, and cultural marketing spend is now being put back into marketing the products” directly, he commented.

“I want to remain independent. It’s not all and gloom”

“Unlike a lot of other scenes, the Indian scene is pretty reliant on brands. So, with the brands spending less money, that will also affect shows and the scale at which they can happen.”

Giving an overview of the situation in countries where Move Concerts operates, Eselevsky brought panellists up to date on the latest developments in Latin America, from the furlough scheme in Argentina to ticket vouchers in Brazil and drive-in concerts in Puerto Rico.

She also touched on the challenge of organising concerts in Argentina when the value of the local currency fluctuates so often: “Three years ago, the exchange rate was 18 pesos [to the US dollar],” she said. “Now it’s 75 pesos.”

Banks described her own experience of playing Argentina, relaying how one of her acts once oversold a show in Buenos Aires and still didn’t break even. “Try explaining that to the manager!” she said.

Turning to 2021, Messer said he’s “finding that because so many things have been moved into next year, things are fully booked” for late 2021 already. “So it’s very hard to know what you can book – the dates are going very quickly, but you can’t book the artists” because the situation around international touring is still so unclear.

“People are talking a lot more to each other … We’re all in the same place”

Lockwood said he can understood why many artists, especially American ones, could be reluctant to travel internationally well into next year, even if it’s a “depressing” thought. “Imagine the nightmare of being a US band,” he explained, “you get to the border of Spain and Portugal, and your bus driver gets a cough and you have to quarantine for 14 days. So, your whole tour’s just gone.

“Whereas, at least if you’re a US band and you tour the US, you won’t get caught in that.”

While the crisis has thrown into sharp relief the vulnerability of the independent sector, none of the panellists responded in the affirmative when Banks asked, tongue in cheek, if they wish they’d sold to Live Nation before coronavirus hit.

“It’s not all and gloom,” said Chawla, highlighting the quality of the music being released and the increasingly global nature of the industry as among the bright spots, while Messer praised how “people have come together” to mitigate the impact of the concert shutdown.

“People are talking a lot more to each other – people from different sides of the industry,” he said, in a sentiment echoed by Banks. “We’re all in the same place, and luckily everyone’s helping each other, which we have to do. We all need each other – we’re not going survive unless we can all exist.”

For more discussion and debate, including on ticket pricing, refunds and vouchers, ‘Swiss-cheese touring’ and much more, watch the session back on YouTube or Facebook now.

 


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Indie promoters in spotlight for next IQ Focus

Continuing the weekly series of IQ Focus virtual sessions, State of Independence: Promoters will see independent event organisers from across the globe come together to discuss the specific obstacles facing their business.

The tenth panel of the popular IQ Focus series, the session will be streamed live on Facebook and YouTube on Thursday 16 July at 4 p.m. BST/5 p.m. CET.

Across the touring world, independent promoters are facing a similar challenge when looking ahead to a post Covid-19 business.

While this current period presents many unique challenges for this creative and entrepreneurial sector, it’s one of many pressures they face. So what’s the state of play in Europe, South America and India? And what alternative show formats, and business models are independent promoters adopting to stay ahead?

CAA’s Emma Banks hosts the session to ask, as the industry emerges from its current crisis, where the opportunities might lie?

Joining Banks are DHP Family’s Anton Lockwood, Karsten Janhke Konzertdirektion’s Ben Mitha, DMP UK’s David Messer, Melanie Eselevsky from Argentina’s Move Concerts and Munbir Chawla from the Wild City in India.

All previous IQ Focus sessions, which have looked at topics including the challenges facing festivals, diversity in live, management under lockdown, the agency business, large-scale venues and innovation in live music, can be watched back here.

To set a reminder about State of Independence: Promoters session on Thursday head to the IQ Magazine page on Facebook or YouTube.

 


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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)
Showsec

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)
Ticketmaster

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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Emma Banks, Rick Roskin appointed to new CAA board

Creative Artists Agency (CAA) has announced the formation of a new management structure, the CAA Board, which will be responsible for the day-to-day management of the agency.

The board comprises two music agents – London office co-head Emma Banks, a six-time Arthur Award winner who looks after acts including Red Hot Chili Peppers, Muse, Katy Perry, Green Day and Florence and the Machine, and Rick Roskin, co-head of contemporary music in North America, whose roster includes Eagles, Iron Maiden, Slipknot and other rock greats – as well as Risa Gertner (film), Michael Levine (sports), Joe Cohen (TV), Maha Dakhil (film), Paul Danforth (sports), Joel Lubin (film), Sonya Rosenfeld (TV), Tiffany Ward (TV) and Michelle Kydd Lee (CAA’s chief innovation officer).

Each board member will also continue in their existing leadership role at CAA.

“This new group will build upon our tremendous momentum and accelerate the agency’s growth”

“This is an exciting and important moment for our company,” comments agency president Richard Lovett. “The members of the new agency board have distinguished themselves in our highest priorities: embracing our culture and working in support of colleagues, while also succeeding in our company’s mission to be the best in the world in creating opportunities for and serving our clients.

“This new group will build upon our tremendous momentum and accelerate the agency’s growth, through laser-focused ways in which we can support our clients’ goals and aspirations.”

With offices in major cities including Los Angeles, New York, Nashville, London, Beijing, Shanghai, Munich, Stockholm and Geneva, CAA was the first booking agency to build a sports business (CAA Sports), launch a venture-capital fund (Evolution Media Capital) and establish a business in China (CAA China).

 


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One week countdown for ESNS 2019 begins

Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS), the largest showcase of promising European music talent, kicks off next Wednesday in Groningen, the Netherlands. This year’s festival promises to host 350 acts and more than 4,000 conference delegates, including festival bookers, expert panellists and other important industry figures.

ESNS serves as a key exchange for emerging European artists, combining a packed daytime conference schedule with an equally jammed evening live music programme. The De Oosterport conference centre in Groningen acts as the festival hub, a centre for industry networking, engaged debate and live music expertise.

Each year, the festival concentrates on showcasing talent from a specific focus nation. For ESNS 2019, the focus becomes double, with acts from both the Czech Republic and Slovakia taking centre stage.

ESNS serves as a key exchange for emerging European artists, combining a packed daytime conference schedule with an equally jammed evening live music programme

The festival opens on 16 January with the European Festival Awards (EFA), at which Peter Smidt, ESNS founder and creative director, will accept the prestigious lifetime achievement award.

Hungary’s Sziget Festival is once again nominated for the best major festival award, having taken home the prize for line-up of the year at last year’s EFAs. It contends for the top spot with Open’er Festival, Hellfest, Pinkpop and Roskilde Festival, among others. CAA agent and 2018 Music Industry Trusts (MITs) award winner Emma Banks appears among the nominees vying for success in the agent of the year category.

The European Talent Exchange Programme (ETEP) returns to ESNS following another record-breaking year spreading and promoting the newest and best in European music. Festival shows played through the programme numbered 457 last summer. The programme’s 2018 winner, Superorganism, appears alongside fellow ETEP hits Zeal & Ardor and Sigrid on EFA’s newcomer of the year nominee list.

A change to proceedings sees the Music Moves Europe Talent Awards replace the long-running Europe Border Breaker Awards. The inaugural awards look to support new acts, offering winners the chance to play live at ESNS, and providing them with tailor-made training programmes, as well as financial help. British artists Bishop Briggs and Pale Waves find themselves among the triumphant 12 winners revealed in November.

 


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