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ILMC 33: The New Bosses reflect on a year of turmoil

While Futures Forum, ILMC’s conference within a conference for young professionals, took a year off in 2021, its traditional opening session survived ILMC’s move online, welcoming another five emerging execs to take the temperature of the business from an under-30’s perspective.

Chair Marc Saunders (The O2 London) opened by asking about how the panellists had spent the last 12 months, with panellists describing the usual mix of holding dates and moving shows, as well as listening to plenty of podcasts.

“It’s been a year and a half since my last show, and I’m very uncertain about what’s going to happen this summer,” said Sziget’s Virág Csiszár, reflecting on a difficult year. “It’s been a really tough time – we’ve had to let go of a lot of good colleagues and friends.”

Livestreaming has filled the gap to a certain extent, said Metropolis Music’s Alexandra Ampofo, winner of the 2021 Tomorrow’s New Boss award, although it will never replace the real thing. “Livestreaming is here to stay,” she said, pointing out how the format can enable people, such as those with disabilities, who wouldn’t normally attend a ‘real’ gig to see a show. “It’s really great from an accessibility point of view,” she continued. “It’s a real progressive move for our whole scene, given that there are people who can’t go to [physical] gigs.”

“When we return, I think it will be a mix of shows and concert streaming,” agreed Csiszár.

Bilge Morden from CAA added: “The ones that work are the ones like Dua Lipa’s [Studio 2054] with a very strong concept, that aren’t just a livestreamed concert.”

“2022 is going to be amazing. It’s packed with shows”

With talk turning to panellists’ routes into the industry and their obligations to the next generation, Morden said it’s essential that even internships and entry-level jobs are well paid, to ensure a diversity of voices. “Even when I was doing a paid internship, I was still putting on shows in Liverpool” to make ends meet, he said.

The legacy of Black Out Tuesday and the Black Lives Matter movement makes the conversation about diversity particularly important, said Kedist Bezabih from FKP Scorpio in Norway.

“It’s not just race – it’s gender, and even disability,” added Ampofo. “When you listen to people you’re able to make the tangible change you need to make. Companies need to put their money where their mouth is.”

Looking ahead to the immediate return of concerts, Bezabih said she believes we’re going to see enhanced cleaning and sanitisation for years to come, adding that “2022 is going to be amazing. It’s packed with shows already. I’m very hopefully for 2022.”

“I’m also really optimistic for the coming years,” added Ampofo, saying she also thinks that greater “sanitisation is here to stay – and it should, to be honest.”

Concluding on a positive note, Morden said: “I’m the most optimistic I’ve been in a long time. Keep the faith.”


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ILMC reveals provisional agenda for 2021 edition

The International Live Music Conference (ILMC) has unveiled the provisional agenda for the 33rd edition, which will go Virtually Live between 3–5 March.

This year’s agenda boasts three days’ worth of sessions with the industry’s top players, focusing on touring, agency, livestreaming, diversity, greener touring, mental health, ticketing, gender equality, Brexit, Covid and more.

ILMC’s Winter Rate ends before 6 pm GMT on 29 January, after which the price of registration increases. See the provisional agenda below.

Wednesday 3 March
Day one at ILMC 33 sees The Open Forum: The big build back and an all-star panel of guests answering the big questions, and Klaus-Peter Schulenberg: The five-year plan, in which the CTS Eventim founder and CEO lays out his five-year vision for live entertainment in Europe.

Insurance: The big update looks at what impact the last few years have had on insurance and changes in the market; guest speakers from across the industry take a look at the revolving world of A&R in The Talent Pipeline: bringing new artists online; and in Agency Business: Enter the new players a collection of new kids on the agency block present their different approaches to the business.

We assess the long-term effects of Covid-19 on the venue sector in The Venue’s Venue: Rooms to manoeuvre and grassroots music venue operators discuss the challenges facing their rooms in Grassroots Venues: Route to recovery; in Sustainability: The best of GEI, the team behind the Green Events & Innovations Conference presents the key takeaways from their event; and in Collaboration: The multiplayer experience, a panel considers whether the industry needs a representative body.

Wednesday also features the previously announced Pulse@ILMC, a new industry platform to sit at the intersection of technology and live events.

Wednesday also features Pulse@ILMC, a new industry platform to sit at the intersection of technology and live events

Thursday 4 March
Day two of ILMC starts with Brexit: The endgame, in which a panel of experts assesses the new normal in European touring; while Covid-19: The strategy game discusses the measures and strategies the industry can utilise to get back up and running. Ticketing: Moving beyond 2020 looks at how the relationship between ticketers, venues, promoters and fans has changed; whilst Artists: The view from the stage provides creators with an opportunity to discuss what’s new and what’s changed from their point of view.

The Engine Room: The IPM review will see a panel of production experts present the key takeaways from the ILMC Production Meeting, which took place the day ILMC kicked off; The Agency Business 2021 asks company heads and leading lights from the agency world to discuss the future of the agency; Race Matters in Live: Levelling up looks at strategies to repair the race deficit; whilst the challenges and opportunities of domestic touring are discussed in Touring in 2021 & Beyond: The long game.

Thursday’s line-up also includes Mobile Ticket and Covid Testing & Mitigation workshops, and an entire day dedicated to the exhibition and experience economy – TEEM.

Thursday winds up with The (late) Breakfast Meeting in which veteran artist manager and ILMC host-with-the-most Ed Bicknell chats with industry legend Irving Azoff.

Thursday winds up with The (late) Breakfast Meeting in which Ed Bicknell chats with industry legend Irving Azoff

Friday 5 March
The final day’s topics include Mental Health: Talking heads, which takes an annual look at the mental health of the live music industry; Sponsorship: Reinventing the deal contemplates what branding will look like in 2021; and Festival Forum: Reboot & reset looks at the lessons festivals have learned since the industry closed down in March 2020.

We ask who is taking care of out-of-work professionals during the pandemic in The Workforce: Protecting our ecosystemFestival Futures: Core priorities sees festival operators consider what their events mean to them and their audiences; and Gender Equality: The next level takes a keen look at diversity in the workplace.

Working Culture: Getting a live examines home-working and the evolving concept of the office; and in Live-streaming Rights: Wrongs & rates we analyse the confusing topic of rights around live-streaming.

Rounding up ILMC 33, Futures Forum: Meet the new bosses sees a group of junior execs discuss how the pandemic has changed the business for them; Rock: The mother of invention examines this unique and dynamic genre; and finally, the ever-changing topic of health, safety and security are discussed in E3S: Safety & security 2.0.

Click here to see the full ILMC agenda.


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