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Top agents call for action on diversity

Top agents called for a more diverse, inclusive and equitable industry during last week’s ESNS (Eurosonic Noorderslag).

Hannah Shogbola (UTA), Natasha Gregory (Mother Artists), Sally Dunstone (Primary Talent International) and Whitney Boateng (WME) came together for the all-female Agents Panel – hailed as “a long-overdue milestone” by moderator Maria May (CAA).

“We are representing the change we want to see,” said May during her opening gambit for the digital session. “I believe the music industry has a duty to continue to strive forward post-pandemic be even more progressive, more inclusive, and representative of the world that we live in.”

However, WME’s Boateng says there’s a “lot more work that needs to be done in the industry”. “It is still predominantly old white male and it has been for years,” she added. “Change has to come from the top-down and it has to be more than black squares.”

UTA’s Shogbola agreed: “If you are looking around your office and it does not reflect the society that you live in and the roster that you look after, then there is something categorically wrong.”

Black squares were posted on social media as part of the music industry’s Blackout Tuesday movement, a protest against racism and police brutality in response to the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor.

“As a black woman within this industry, it’s frustrating that even 15-20 years into my career, it takes the death of somebody like George Floyd for our industry to finally open its eyes,” said Shogbola.

“The industry has a duty to be even more progressive, more inclusive, and representative of the world that we live in”

Boateng pointed out that it’s not just racial inequalities that the industry needs to fix but also disparities around sexuality and gender, with the panel unanimously agreeing that diversity on line-ups is still “not good enough”.

“It’s so important that when anybody is going to a show, they feel like it’s a safe and inclusive space for them,” said Dunstone.

Elsewhere during the panel, Mother Artists’ Gregory says that flexibility towards employees’ work hours will also be a key feature in a more equitable post-pandemic industry.

“Working 9–5 is not equality because everybody has a different situation, a different experience and different needs,” argued Gregory. “Being an agent is not a 9–5 anyway so just put trust in your team – working hard is a given in this industry.”

Dunstone agreed: “Adaptability and flexibility are massive takeaways from the last two years. Hopefully, we’ll pick and choose the bits of [pandemic life] that worked for us.”

The 36th edition of ESNS took place under the banner ‘Building Back Better, Together’ and focussed on getting the industry back on its feet after two years of the pandemic.

The hybrid conference and festival wrapped on Friday (21 January) and Dago Houben, director of ESNS said that “despite the fact that there is definitely screen fatigue, we were able to perform our platform function for the national and international music industry.

 


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ESNS: ‘The digital edition will still fulfil our mission’

ESNS (Eurosonic Noorderslag) organisers have promised that the upcoming digital-only edition will still “fulfil our mission to network, connect, inspire and promote”.

For the second consecutive year, the European festival and conference in Groningen, Netherlands, has moved entirely online from 19–22 January 2022 in response to the government’s latest Covid-19 measures.

Conference director Ruud Berends says that, while the biggest challenge was accepting that they could not hold an in-person event again, the team has worked to make this year’s event “the best online edition ever”.

“We learned a lot from our first online conference and festival. It was beyond our expectations – the standard is high,” added head of programme Robert Meijerink. “We would like to service both our audience, artists and delegates even better than last year.”

Confirmed speakers for the conference include Claire O’Neill (A Greener Festival), Fruzsina Szép (Goodlive), Hannah Shogbola (UTA), Henk Schuit (CTS Eventim NL), Lotje Horvers (Backstage Pass), Mia Ternström (Keychange/Musikcentrum Öst), Mikko Niemelä (Ruisrock), Morten Therkildsen (Roskilde Festival/RF Experience),

Natasha Gregory (Mother Artists), Ruben Brouwer (Mojo Concerts), Sally Dunstone (Primary Talent International) and Stuart Galbraith (Kilimanjaro Live) will also be making appearances during the conference.

“I really think the programme is very relevant and diverse and really captures the whole music sector”

The conference last week announced an opening keynote speech from executive VP of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, who is responsible for the Green Deal – aligning with the conference’s ‘Building Back Better Together’ theme.

Also confirmed last week was blockbuster panel ‘Festival Season 2022’ with Marta Pallares (Primavera), Codruta Vulcu (ARTmania), Paul Reed (AIF), Christof Huber (Yourope) and Stephan Thanscheidt (FKP Scorpio).

Delegates can expect a conference programme that spans the metaverse, ticket scalping, cancel culture, mental health, diversity, equity and inclusion, streaming, Brexit, Covid, gender equality, the agency business and more.

“I really think the programme is very relevant and diverse and really captures the whole music sector – focussing on solutions, information and answers we all need to hear so we can move on in the most beautiful industry in the world,” says Berends.

Alongside the conference programme, the digital edition of ESNS 2022 will feature the usual festival programme of Noorderslag, Eurosonic, as well as the Music Moves Europe Awards award ceremony.

Tickets for the digital conference cost €99, and are available via www.esns.nl. The festival will be available – free of charge – with sessions recorded by Dutch broadcaster NTR in collaboration with NPO 3FM, to be broadcast by NPO 3FM, NPO 3 and the digital festival platform, hosted by VPRO 3VOOR12.

 


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ESNS bolsters 2022 programme

ESNS 2022 is taking shape after organisers confirmed a keynote interview with DreamHaus CEO Matt Schwarz and inked a long-term deal with See Tickets.

Eurosonic Noorderslag, which returns to Groningen, the Netherlands from 19-22 January 2022, will also feature talks from Urgenda director Marjan Minnesma, Dutch music entrepreneur André de Raaf and psychologist Anne Löhr of Mental Health In Music.

See Tickets will handle all ticketing for the conference and festival as part of a new four-year partnership.

“ESNS is always on the lookout for new possibilities to take the customer journey to a higher level,” says Dago Houben, CEO of ESNS. “Especially in this time, smart data interpretation and personal communication with our visitors are key. We’re looking forward to building a strong partnership with See Tickets.”

This partnership fits in perfectly with the experience we have in the dance industry and our ambitions in live music

Under the agreement, all products will be selectable in one single transaction and ESNS will also be one of the first partners to benefit from the new See Tickets CRM-tool Identity.

“The combination of history and heritage of the festival/conference and our scalable e-commerce solutions promises a lot for our joint future,” adds See Tickets Benelux MD Marijke van den Bosch. “This partnership fits in perfectly with the experience we have in the dance industry and our ambitions in live music.”

Meanwhile, 60 up-and-coming European acts have been added to the ESNS line-up, including 10 new Spanish acts (Marta Knight, Marina Herlop, Mundo Prestigio, Pódium, Biznaga, Gabriela Richardson, Santa Salut, Maika Makovski, Derby Motoreta’s Burrito Kachimba and Dora) for Eurosonic, along with five Dutch acts (Don Melody Club, Flemming, Hang Youth, Kuzko, and Son Mieux) for Noorderslag. Spain has already been announced as the focus country

“[The focus on Spain] will bring a wide palette of young, emerging and talented acts from all over Spain to show how fresh, alive and exportable artists we have in our country,” says César Andión, of The Spanish Wave and Live Nation Madrid.

The 2021 edition of ESNS was held entirely online and welcomed nearly 4,000 people from 124 countries to its digital conference and festival platforms.

 


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ESNS announces Spain focus for 2022

Spain will be the focus country for Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS) 2022, the Dutch conference and showcase event has announced.

Eurosonic typically puts the spotlight on a single European nation each year (Switzerland was the focus country in 2020) but opted instead to focus on Europe as a whole for this year’s virtual edition, which took place in January. In partnership with Live Nation Madrid and export initiative the Spanish Wave, ESNS 2022 will highlight the diversity of musical talent in Spain.

César Andión of the Spanish Wave/Live Nation says: “We are thrilled to bring to ESNS 2022 a great roster of panels and artists that will showcase the strength, quality and diversity of the Spanish music industry and future stars. For years Spain has had artists performing in Groningen, and professionals attending the conference, so it was about time that we became the focus country to show how professional, large and diverse Spain is for touring, releasing music and trade.

“We look forward to getting started on bringing an eclectic selection of new music to Groningen”

“The Spanish focus will join forces and work together with labels, promoters, media, festivals, artists and private and public agencies to make this special spotlight a success in business, networking and talent. The Spanish Wave showcase will bring a wide palette of young, emerging and talented acts from all over Spain to show what fresh, alive and exportable artists we have in our country. Thanks to ESNS for giving us the support and opportunity to do so.”

“The Spanish music scene has a lot to offer for the international market,” comments Robert Meijerink. “While there is a growing interest in music in the Spanish language in Europe and beyond, we’d like to focus on all its different regions and lively scenes, from emerging electronic acts to the new wave of indie bands hailing from the big cities, the islands and everything in between. Together with the Spanish Wave and Live Nation Madrid and their partners, we look forward to getting started on bringing an eclectic selection of new music to Groningen.”

Eurosonic Noorderslag 2022 takes place in Groningen, Netherlands, from 19 to 22 January. Artist applications open on 1 May; registration for delegates will open later this year. To pre-register, sign up here.

 


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All-digital ESNS 2021 attracts 4,000 visitors

The first edition of Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS) to be held entirely online “exceeded all expectations”, say organisers, welcoming nearly 4,000 people from 124 countries to its digital conference and festival platforms.

ESNS 2021 – originally announced as a hybrid event, retaining an in-person component in Groningen, but later forced fully online – took place from 13–16 January, marking  the 35th edition of the Dutch conference and showcase festival.

“We are truly overwhelmed by the positive feedback, with many saying a new standard has been set, which is amazing,” says Robert Meijerink, ESNS’s head of programme, “and the digital edition has exceeded our wildest expectations.

“The ESNS platform is focused on new emerging acts from Europe, and to bring together music professionals from all corners of the world to discuss the current and future of the music sector and its industry. Thanks to NPO 3FM and members of the EBU, ESNS was able to reach an even bigger audience in Europe and beyond. We really hope we can organise a physical edition in 2022 and be together once again, but we will also expand our online ventures next year.”

“We really hope we can organise a physical edition in 2022 and be together once again”

Built in partnership with NPO 3FM, the festival platform hosted live sets from 189 acts across 36 European countries, broadcast daily on four channels. All ESNS showcases, many of which saw Dutch acts performing at (empty) venues in Groningen, are still available to watch back at 3fm.nl/esns.

The conference’s 66 panels, meanwhile, featured 274 speakers, with the most viewed including ‘Successful Covid festival formats’, ‘Streaming is here to stay!’ and ‘Platform workshops with Bandcamp & Spotify’. Keynote interviews included Wendy Ong (a manager of Dua Lipa), Scott Cohen (Warner Music) and Neil Warnock (UTA).

On Friday 15 January, the winners of the Music Moves Europe Talent Awards 2021 were revealed on the ESNS digital platform and the NITE Hotel, presented by Melanie C. The eight winners are Inhaler (IE), Julia Bardo (IT), Lous and the Yakuza (BE), Melenas (ES), Rimon (NL), Sassy 009 (NO), Vildá (FI) and Alyona Alyona (UA), with Alyona also winning the Public Choice Award 2021. This was publicly announced by the European commissioner for culture, Mariya Gabriel.

Eurosonic Noorderslag will return next year, with ESNS 2022 taking place 19–22 January 2022 – “preferably as a physical edition” in Groningen, the Netherlands, say organisers.

 


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ESNS announces keynote with Dua Lipa’s manager

Dutch conference and showcase festival Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS) has announced a keynote interview with Wendy Ong, Dua Lipa’s manager and US president of Tap Music and Tap Records.

Ong will be in conversation with artist manager and board member of Music Managers Forum (MMF) Netherlands, Lijne Kreupeling, discussing the evolving profession of modern artist management.

As president of Tap Management and Tap Records US, Ong oversees all US-related management and label activities for a diverse roster of artists including Lana Del Rey, Dua Lipa, Ellie Goulding, Hailee Steinfeld, and more.

The US music manager and executive is the latest addition for the 35th edition of the Groningen-based festival, which will take place digitally between 13 to 16 January.

The digital edition will consist of Eurosonic, the showcase festival for emerging European talent; an online edition of the Music Moves Europe Talent Awards ceremony; the celebration of native talent, Noorderslag; and this year’s conference, titled Road to Recovery.

Ong oversees all US-related management and label activities for artists including Lana Del Rey, Ellie Goulding and Hailee Steinfeld

Highlights of the Road to Recovery programme include:

Other confirmed speakers for the conference include: Annabella Coldrick (Music Managers Forum), Beverley Whitrick (Music Venues Trust), Claire O’Neill (A Greener Festival), Eric van Eerdenburg (Lowlands/MOJO), Fruzsina Szep (Goodlive), Hannah Shgbola (Echo Location), Helen Sildna (Tallinn Music Week), Helen Smith (Impala), Henrick Bondo (Roskilde Festival), Jess Partridge (Face-value European Alliance for Ticketing), Keith Harris (Keith Harris Music Ltd), Michal Kascak (Pohoda Festival). See the full conference programme here.

Tickets for Eurosonic Noorderslag 2021 are available at a discounted price of €50, which includes access to the digital environment with live streams, on-demand panels, keynotes, sessions and showcases, access to a networking platform and database. The showcase part of the festival will be completely free.

 


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ESNS 2021 to go ahead in hybrid format

Dutch conference and showcase festival Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS) will go ahead in a part-virtual, part-physical format next January.

Taking place in Groningen from 13 to 16 January, the in-person aspect of ESNS 2021 – the event’s 35th edition – will be “widely supported in a digital form”, including both the conference programming and showcases, say organisers.

All parts of the programme will be “organised with the safety of visitors, delegates and artists as the highest priority”, they add.

Eurosonic creative director Robert Meijerink comments: “There’s all the more reason to get together again in Groningen in January 2021 and to review and anticipate the future. It is precisely these uncertain times that call for an opportunity to open the dialogue, to support and inspire, to learn from each other and, ultimately, to regain trust for hopeful times ahead.

“Last but not least, ESNS wants to organise an event that does justice to its mission: stimulating and promoting the circulation of new European music. The necessity has never been so great.”

“There’s all the more reason to get together again in Groningen in January 2021”

ESNS 2021 will be preceded by European Music Week, a new digital platform showcasing the best new European music. Whereas ESNS has previous chosen focus countries, the 2021 event will focus on Europe as a whole.

“The music sector has been hit hard. But we feel strengthened by the hundreds of music professionals from home and abroad who have still bought a registration for ESNS 2021 in recent months, despite the restrictions imposed by the pandemic,” says ESNS director Dago Houben. “We feel that as a call from the sector”

Tickets for Eurosonic Noorderslag 2021 will go on sale “as soon as possible”, say organisers, and will available at a substantial discount compared to previous years: €195 for a full conference ticket, or €50 for digital only.

“[W]e receive tremendous support from a large number of partners, not to mention the authorities who indirectly supported us to let us do what we are good at: stimulate the circulation of European music. This extra support gives us the opportunity to drastically reduce the price of our event to make it as accessible as possible for everyone,” continues Houben.

“We are developing an accessible digital edition for people who are not yet allowed, or who are otherwise not able, to travel.”

 


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ATC Live acts dominate first Etep charts of 2020

ATC Live acts are off to a strong start in this year’s European Talent Exchange Programme (Etep), making up half of the top ten most-booked artists so far.

A total of 58 acts from 23 different countries have secured 94 festival slots through the Eurosonic Noorderslag-run programme this year.

Squid and Black Country, New Road – who are both repped by ATC outside of the US – top the charts with six shows a piece, followed by fellow ATC-repped act Georgia with five.

In the US, the acts are represented by Paradigm, Ground Control and Partisan Arts respectively.

A total of 58 acts from 23 different countries have secured 94 festival slots through the Eurosonic Noorderslag-run programme this year

Altin Gün (four shows) and Los Bitchos (two shows) are the other ATC artists to make it into the top ten. Altin Gün are booked by Paradigm in North America.

Italian electronic trio Meduza (Spin Artist Agency in North and South America; CAA in RoW), Greek-Sudanese singer Marina Satti and Fonés (Dionysiac Tour in Europe), Muthoni Drummer Queen, Arlo Parks (UTA) and Inhaler (WME in North America; 13 Artists RoW) make up the remainder of the Etep top ten.

Dublin post-punk band Fontaines DC topped the 2019 Etep charts, with appearances at 14 festivals. The band is represented by ATC in Europe and Paradigm in the US.

 


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European Festival Awards unveils 2019 shortlist

The nominees for the 11th edition of the European Festival Awards have been revealed, with the ceremony due to take place on 15 January at Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS) in the Netherlands.

Over 350,000 votes have been cast for the 2019 awards across the main public categories, which include best major, medium and small festivals, as well as the best new and best indoor events.

The awards will present accolades across 15 categories in total, with the shortlists available for all but one category – the lifetime achievement award – which last year went to ESNS co-founder Peter Smidt.

The nominees for the 11th edition of the European Festival Awards have been revealed

The shortlists can be viewed here across categories including the year’s best line-up, promoter, agent, new artist and brand activation, as well as awards for social activism, excellence and passion, and green operations.

Last year’s awards saw Wacken Open Air and Roskilde Festival pick up the biggest prizes of the night – best major festival and best line-up respectively. The Netherlands’ Mojo (Pinkpop, North Sea Jazz, Down the Rabbit Hole, Lowlands) won best promoter, with CAA’s Mike Greek earning the agent of the year award.

Tickets for the 2019 awards ceremony at De Oosterpoort, Groningen, are available here, with tribune tickets priced at €30. Premium tickets, which include access to the cocktail hour, a three-course dinner, a seat at the awards show and access to the after party, cost €100.

See all the winners from last year’s European Festival Awards here.

European Festival Awards 2018: The winners


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Ticketmaster signs Waves Vienna

Ticketmaster has added Waves Vienna, the Austrian conference and showcase festival, to its roster of industry events.

The company is now the lead ticket agent for Norway’s by:Larm, the UK’s the Great Escape and the Netherlands’ Eurosonic Noorderslag, and also tickets Wide Days in Scotland.

“We’re happy to welcome Vienna’s first music showcase festival, Waves, to the family,” says Jon West, Ticketmaster artist services marketing director.

“The magic of these events is their dual nature – the music right alongside the conference”

“We’ve been supporting important showcase festivals like the Great Escape, Eurosonic, by:Larm and more for many years now. We get a big kick out of supporting and spotlighting new artists, and festivals like Waves help us do exactly that.

“The magic of these events is their dual nature – the music right alongside the conference – and we have the technology and experience to handle both.”

 


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