Marty Diamond charms ILMC’s Futures Forum
Renowned agent Marty Diamond regaled ILMC with stories of Ed Sheeran, Coldplay and Barack Obama during the Futures Forum 2023 keynote interview.
Having founded the celebrated boutique agency Little Big Man Booking in 1994 and after stints working at International Talent Group (ITG), Arista, PolyGram and Bill Graham Management, US-based Diamond is regarded as one of the most forward-thinking executives in the business. His current roster includes acts such as Coldplay, Sheeran, Liam Gallagher, Janelle Monáe, Sigur Rós and Lorde.
Discussing his path through the agency world, the EVP and managing executive of Wasserman Music brought this year’s conference at London’s Royal Lancaster Hotel to a close last Friday (3 March). Here are a selection of standout moments from his hour-long conversation with BBC Radio 1’s Abbie McCarthy…
“I started to have clients that meant something. But I also realised that I didn’t have the ability to service them the way that I probably should have”
Starting Little Big Man Booking…
“I either was somebody who couldn’t hold down a job, or had the attention span the span of a gnat. But ultimately I worked for a company called ITG, which was owned by Wayne Forte and Michael Farrell. Their clients were Duran Duran, Jesus Jones, David Bowie, Genesis, Phil Collins and The Cure. They were the gold standard of agencies. They were two really good people, but all good things come to an end and I was kind of at a loss because the partnership split up and I was at this crossroad of, what do I do? I was asked by each of them to come to work for them, and I realised that I probably should just go and do something on my own. I moved across the street to my friend Jim Grant’s office. The office he was giving me was a storage closet for one of his bands’ guitars. It was about 5ft x 5ft. But I started Little Big Man in [that] office. I had a handful of clients, and I originally started with one employee, a guy named Larry Webman. Larry is still with me. And then I hired this girl Tammy [Shin-Sprotte], who also worked at ITG.”
Moving to Paradigm…
“We had become a very successful little boutique agency. We moved out of that little space that was a phone closet, to Lower Manhattan on Sixth Avenue, and I started to have clients that meant something. But I also realised that I didn’t have the ability to service them the way that I probably should have. I went to work for a company called Paradigm, which I worked at for 15 years.”
“I remember Chris Martin saying to me, ‘I’m excited to be working with you. I have no intention of ever working in America'”
Discovering Ed Sheeran…
“A very good friend of mine, Scotty Brothman, told me that his label was signing this kid, Ed Sheeran, and I should be on it. I went to see Ed play in, I want to say it was Guilford, in a tiny little club. I’m not very tall, so a lot of times I go to shows and I look at the back of people’s shoulders. And I literally watched the entire show – other than the moment that Ed stood on a chair in the middle of the room – through someone’s cellphone under a dripping air conditioner. I ended up sitting on the steps outside his dressing room talking, and we became friends and I’m very happy to be a part of this team. It started in a little nightclub in Guilford, and now we’re doing 20 sellout stadiums in America.”
Working with Coldplay…
“It’s over 22 years for me and Coldplay. Phil Harvey, who’s part of the management team, was the original manager. Larry and I sat with Phil in a restaurant over by Shepherd’s Bush Empire to try to convince him to sign with us – this is when we were at Little Big Man – and we wouldn’t let him leave the restaurant until he said we represented the band. And then I went to see Coldplay at V Fest. I think it was their first round of festivals and they were on the second stage early in the day. And I remember Chris [Martin] saying to me, ‘It’s really great to meet you. I’m excited to be working with you. I have no intention of ever working in America.’ It was a moment of silence. But they’re amazing, and 22 years later, they’re in the midst of a massive stadium tour.”
“I remember President Obama bending down on his knees to talk to my daughter”
“David Gray selling out Madison Square Garden during White Ladder… was an amazing moment. I actually think Ed playing Madison Square Garden might have been one of the most sensational moments in my life. I remember going to see Ed Sheeran on the first tour he did in America. He supported Snow Patrol, who were another client, and I had Janelle Monae in Washington DC the same night – she was doing the White House Easter Egg Roll when the Obamas were in the White House, so I was with my family during the day on the White House lawn with Janelle Monae. We got to meet the president, who I actually really liked – I can’t say that for many of our presidents – and I remember President Obama bending down on his knees to talk to my daughter. That was the beginning of my day. And the end of my day was sitting with Ed Sheeran, who at the time was smoking a cigarette after opening for Snow Patrol. I think we were three days into his presence in America and he’s like, ‘So when we play Madison Square Garden?'”
“I sleep three or four hours a night. My phone is next to my bed – probably not the best behaviour in the world”
What his average day looks like…
“I’ll give you my average day Los Angeles version, New York version and London version. They all start the same. The most important thing in my life is my family. My two girls are the most important thing. If I’m in LA, it’s 3am or 3.30am in the morning, I call my daughter Story to wake her. I called her at 11.30am today from London to wake up. I wake her in New York at 6am or 6.30am. That is the start of my day. Then I put my head down and I have a phenomenal team of people that I work with.”
The secret to his longevity…
“Well, I’ve been clean and sober for over 30 years. I think that’s part of it. Surrounding myself with good people is a really big part of it, and enjoying the people that I’m around. My girls are a big part of my longevity, they keep me strong, and they keep focused about being a sensitive, caring person. I fucking hate Mondays. I guess Bob [Geldof] was right when he said that, but I struggle with Mondays, I have a really hard time finding my rhythm. I don’t sleep a lot: I sleep three or four hours a night. My phone is next to my bed – probably not the best behaviour in the world. I get texts and emails from people saying, ‘When do you sleep? Why aren’t you asleep?’ A lot of times, I have no idea where I am so that sometimes plays a part!”
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Futures Forum: Closing the Generation Gap
The fascinating differences between the generations on the professional side of the business were explored during ILMC’s Futures Forum.
The OK, Boomer: Closing the Generation Gap, Part II session was chaired by Debbie McWilliams, from the Scottish Event Campus, and leaned on the experiences of CAA agents Maria May and Bilge Morden, and promoters Raye Cosbert (Metropolis Music) and Peter Thomsen (Kilimanjaro Live).
While May and Cosbert harked back to a time when their generation helped make the rules and by definition had to be entrepreneurial, Morden noted that millennials and Gen Z staff desire more feedback from their elders, hoping to be guided through their careers, rather than being allowed to follow the wrong path and waste any time.
“The review we get once a year doesn’t really work for millennials – it’s very important to keep them motivated and engaged, otherwise they are likely to move on,” warned Morden. “Millennials will leave a job for less pay, if it has more purpose.”
But underlining just how much busier today’s live music environment can be, Morden disclosed, “We have the Helter Skelter [agency] roster framed on the office wall, and that entire roster is probably smaller than the roster that many agents personally have today.”
“Women in live did not really exist back in the day – and that was the same with colour, people with disabilities… The change has all been positive”
May acknowledged that the commitment to invest in people’s success has brought about significant changes in the business. “We need to create an environment where we can retain staff,” she said. “We spend so long investing in them that you want to keep them and develop them into future bosses.”
However, sounding a note of caution for younger people who want to climb the ladder quickly, May admitted, “It took me about ten years to become a really good agent – and I wasn’t firing on all cylinders until I was six or seven years in. But those years allowed me to make mistakes and learn from that, so it was good that it took a moment.”
Thomsen, who started at Kilimanjaro as an intern, told Futures Forum delegates, “The internship was super-helpful, but very much [because] I figured out how to make it work for me: I sat next to ticketing and learned about that; I asked marketing if they needed help… so, I got to know how the company worked, and when they were hiring promoter reps, I told them that’s what I wanted to do, and they fortunately gave me the break.”
Thomsen also applauded Kilimanjaro for the way it emboldens staff to be creative. “It’s about making sure everyone feels that they contribute, and their ideas can be heard. There’s a lot of intelligence and creativity at all levels of employee,” said Thomsen.
Cosbert pointed out that it has been the younger generation that has driven change when it comes to concerns like gender balance, equality and diversity. “Women in live did not really exist back in the day – and that was the same with colour, people with disabilities,” said Cosbert. “It’s the younger generation that have made my generation embrace that a lot
more. The change has all been positive – being more inclusive. People did not consider it years ago.”
“WhatsApp does not work for me. I urge my team to pick up the phone because you can solve multiple things quickly, rather than send multiple emails”
Such concepts, said Cosbert, are also changing the way companies conduct themselves strategically. “Rather than think what’s the best for your company, the change is that you need to think what is best for your people,” he stated.
May agreed, “We need young people to come into the business and work with us: it’s the job of senior management to adapt and make that happen… People are choosing to work at different places based on how the [employers] treat their workers.” Indeed, May urged young delegates at Futures Forum to “Ask questions in interviews – what is your gender split? What is your diversity policy?”
While CAA colleague Morden admitted to liking the office environment, he observed that many younger people do not feel the need to be in an office to get the job done. May opined, “If we’re together three days a week, we can see where things are going wrong and can help each other.”
On communications, she added, “WhatsApp does not work for me. I urge my team to pick up the phone because you can solve multiple things quickly, rather than send multiple emails.”
On the related subject of the work/life balance, each guest spoke about music being a vocation, meaning those working in live music often view that balance in a different way. Thomsen summed this up by saying, “Our work and personal life intertwine and it depends how people handle that from person to person. If I only think about and care about music, that does not make me the most productive person.”
“My advice to younger folk is if in doubt, ask. There’s always someone who will have an experienced view that you can use”
Addressing mental health and the work/life balance, May, concurred it can be a tricky tightrope. “When I was in my 20s, in the 1990s, it was a bit of a blur, so I’ve realised I need to take breaks – a week here, three days there. But even then, I’m still on my phone quite a lot. I’m trying to reach that place where I do have balance – but I love what I do, so I think I do have balance.”
While Cosbert and May urged others to use their ears, rather than rely too heavily on data, the latter conceded that technology had undoubtedly made their lives easier. “Leading a department that churns out thousands of contracts, tech has obviously made that easier,” she said. However, she countered, “Sometimes it turns me off when people are spouting data rather than talking about a track and how it makes them feel.”
That struck a chord with Cosbert. “The younger generations have access to immediate information that I did not have coming up through the industry,” he said. “But there’s so much information coming in now, it’s about putting filters in place… [In turn] I have to pass on my knowledge correctly to help them grow. My advice to younger folk is if in doubt, ask. There’s always someone who will have an experienced view that you can use.”
While the session’s panellists highlighted a slate of differences between the ways that each generation operates, Cosbert concluded, “Our priorities and pathways and goals are pretty much aligned. The live business is a people business. We get paid for doing something we love, but we often tend to forget how it can affect you when you are engrossed in it, and how it can burn you out.”
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Talking points: Futures Forum preview
ILMC’s Futures Forum, the one-day discussion and networking event for the next generation of live music industry leaders, takes place this Friday 3 March at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London. With the days counting down to the event, we spoke to a trio of the individuals who will be chairing sessions in the main room during the conference to quiz them on their expectations for their respective debates…
THE YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR (11:30–12:30)
CHAIR: CAROLINE REASON, MATA AGENCY (UK)
Funding is a central dilemma for any entrepreneur. From your experiences, what insight can you give to those in the room looking to launch a new venture?
If you are building a product or something physical, it’s hard not to rely on investment, but if you are building an agency/working on idea, then hold out as long as you can.
As per music recordings, the more you can keep hold of your copyright, the better advantage you have later on, but at some point, strategically it might be the only way to grow and make the impact you want. The best thing I did was not to take any funding, and I talked to investors before I set up, but once I saved and knew I had enough money to bankroll myself for the first six months, I took the risk to do it alone. Even a small amount of investment in those early stages can have a significant effect later on, so hold out as long as you can.
If you’re looking for investors, literally just ask people, read books about setting up a company and investment, do the research and ask the ones that strategically make the most sense or just the ones with the most money and will have smallest amount of interference. I also recommend reading The E Myth by Michael Gerber.
“I feel very strongly that one area that needs to disrupt the industry is an improved amount of transparency across all areas”
Are there any particular parts of the live music business that you believe are in need of disruption?
Whilst I had 20 years in the heart of the live music business, I’ve been out of the day-to-day side for the last five or so, so I feel one step removed now. However, I feel very strongly that one area that needs to disrupt the industry is an improved amount of transparency across all areas. I fiercely believe in this and feel that the live industry and the music industry as a whole suffer because of the lack of it within the business, as well as personal relationships.
Being transparent has served me and the company well and sets MATA apart from many others. Being a small company, people need to trust you, and you them, so transparency is a guiding principal to MATA.
On a more practical level, I am very interested to see what the effect of the success and advancement of the technology that a show like ABBA Voyage will have. I sense it will be much more disruptive than people are considering at present, especially the impact on ticket sales. I highly recommend anybody interested in the live music industry to go and see the ABBA show and stand in the middle of the floor. Whether you like ABBA or not, it’s a formidable live music experience with a high ticket price.
Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely business. What tips can you and your guest speakers provide when it comes to support networks or mentorship?
Don’t expect people to care, so you will really have to seek out or pay for the ones that do. Don’t expect to have a mentor but keep looking for one. Also, working in the industry long-term and setting up your own company are two very different things, just because someone is a highly regarded employee of a big company may not necessarily make them good at running a small business, so seek [out] the ones that have already and ask them questions – most people in small business are happy to share.
Also, keep a thick skin, read, find balance, look for perspective, don’t be rash. You can have a great network and mentors, but ultimately, you have to rely on yourself and your decisions more than anything.
“Never stop asking questions, and don’t be afraid to ask questions because nobody knows everything”
MEET THE NEW BOSSES: CLASS OF 2023 (10:00–11:00)
CHAIR: SALLY DUNSTONE, PRIMARY (UK)
As a former New Boss yourself, what insight can you pass on to the Class of 2023 about your experiences in the business?
Never stop asking questions, and don’t be afraid to ask questions because nobody knows everything. Also, don’t be afraid to give a different viewpoint or collaborate.
Futures Forum offers young professionals a unique opportunity to network with their peers, but also some of the top executives in the live music business. What tips would you give to people to make sure they make the most of the day?
Don’t be afraid to talk to people or put your hand up. When I was on a panel at ILMC, a new agent put their hand up and asked a question and everyone remembered that. He wasn’t afraid to get involved. Also, have an awareness of who people are before you go and who you want to speak to.
The panellists in this session will become some of the industry’s decision makers in the near future – what topics do you hope to discuss with them (and the room) during your session?
Sustainability, diversity, and equality.
OK BOOMER: CLOSING THE GENERATION GAP, PART II (15:30–16:30)
CHAIR: DEBBIE MCWILLIAMS, SCOTTISH EVENT CAMPUS (UK)
What tips can you and your guests provide about identifying the right companies to work for – where young professionals will be listened to and offered an environment that they can thrive in?
A good starting point would be to research how a company presents itself to the future workforce. Key areas of focus would be its mission statement and company values and the overall ambition of both. How does it stand out within its peer group, and is this reflected in any industry achievements or awards, confirming a ‘best in show’ status?
Typically, young people measure their interest in a new role by reading the first three lines of an ad. How engaging are the job ads presented, and do they inspire a young professional to believe they will have a voice and thrive within the company?
“Young people have high expectations and a drive to succeed and escalate up the career ladder quickly”
Everyone is crazily busy in today’s business environment. How do you and your senior colleagues make sure you devote sufficient time to helping younger team members in their career development?
A top strategic priority in our business is investment in people. We have a comprehensive People Strategy, crafted and supported by our senior leadership team.
Young people have high expectations and a drive to succeed and escalate up the career ladder quickly. Through training and mentoring, we focus on harnessing that energy and channelling it in the right way. We engage team members in a development plan to provide focus and a clear path to hit career milestones.
What topics do you envisage the different generations on your panel (and in the room) will most want to discuss?
I think it’s important that we focus on bridging the generation gap. We are an industry that deals with all five generations at the same time, with one thing in common – we are all going through the same things at the same time. Understanding how each generational type likes to consume and share information is pivotal in bridging the gap.
Sustainability continues to be a headline topic across all generations. With a variety of environmental initiatives having already been implemented, this clearly demonstrates our industry’s dedication to move the live business towards a greener future.
Staging live events requires a huge network of experts and skill, that’s why a concerted focus on diversity and inclusivity within our business really matters. Ongoing discussion should drive the equality agenda to ensure our industry is open to everyone.
Finally, technology will always generate lively discussion. As new tech is implemented, we continue to see enhancements to productions, greater efficiency in accessing tickets, purchasing, and seamless secure entry to venues, all of which amplify the fan experience.
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ILMC 35 hails record sell out
The 35th edition of the International Live Music Conference (ILMC) has sold out, shifting a record number of tickets.
More than 1,300 professionals from over 60 countries will attend next week’s (28 February – 3 March) conference at London’s Royal Lancaster Hotel, ILMC’s new five-star location.
This year’s conference includes a Hot Seat keynote with futurist Gerd Leonhard and a (Late) Breakfast Meeting conversation between Ed Bicknell and legendary KISS manager Doc McGhee.
Plus, a recently announced all-female Dragons’ Den will see Lucy Noble from (AEG Presents), Jacqueline Zich (DEAG) and Jolanda Jansen (The Ahoy) sit down for an up-close conversation with host Marie Lindqvist (ASM Global).
Other top guest speakers for ILMC 35 include Jessica Koravos (Oak View Group), Marcia Titley (Eventim), Melvin Benn (Festival Republic), Phil Bowdery (Live Nation), Alex Hardee (Wasserman Music), Mark Davyd (MVT), Tommy Jinho Yoon (ICA-Live-Asia), Amy Bowerman and Patrik Meyer (Deutsche Bank Park), Steve Reynolds (LS Events), John Langford (AEG Europe), Kim Bloem (Mojo Concerts) and Lisa Ryan (EFM).
“More of the world’s top promoters, agents, venues and festivals have signed up to ILMC than ever”
This year will also see ILMC’s first-ever central London showcase, London Calling, take place across four intimate Soho venues, featuring some of Europe’s most talked about emerging artists.
Plus, the Arthur Awards will return on Thursday 2 March as The ILMC Gala Fiesta & Arturo Awards, reflecting this year’s focus on the Latin live music market. More than 400 guests will attend the live music business’ best-loved awards, hosted by CAA’s Emma Banks.
“After a challenging but record-setting previous 12 months, the international live industry is clearly fully geared up for the year ahead, and business is back,” says ILMC managing director Greg Parmley. “That more of the world’s top promoters, agents, venues and festivals have signed up to ILMC than ever reflects this fact… and we’re looking forward to welcoming everyone to London next week.”
While the main ILMC conference is now sold out, a number of passes remain for Futures Forum, the one-day event for young live music professionals which takes place as part of the main conference on Friday 3 March.
Futures Forum: Emma Banks, Sammy Andrews & more
Emma Banks (CAA), Sammy Andrews (Deviate Digital) and Kirstie Loveridge (AEG) are among the latest slate of execs to join ILMC’s Futures Forum, taking place on Friday 3 March at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London.
Banks, CAA’s co-head, and agent Bilge Morden are set to trade perspectives on the industry during OK, Boomer: Closing the Generation Gap, Part II.
Also joining the one-day discussion and networking event for the next generation of live music industry leaders are Lizzie Ford (CAA) on Now That’s What I Call 2023, Mira Silvers (FORT Agency) on The Young Entrepreneur and Seny Kassaye (FORT Agency) on Meet the New Bosses: Class of 2023.
Alongside new speakers, Futures Forum has unveiled its ever-popular mentoring scheme.
The industry heavyweights that are joining the scheme as mentors are:
Alan Day (promoter, Kilimanjaro Live)
Beckie Sugden (booking agent, Primary Talent International)
Guy Dunstan (managing director, ticketing & arenas, NEC Group)
John Talbot (business development director, AXS)
Lucy Fenner (commercial director, Alexandra Palace)
Lucy Wood (head of music, Roundhouse)
Marc Saunders (programming manager, AEG Presents/The O2)
Marcia Titley (managing director, Eventim Norway & Sweden)
Ollie Rosenblatt (director, Senbla)
Raye Cosbert (managing director, Metropolis Music)
Rebecca Prochnik (creative strategy and growth, UTA)
Ruth Barlow (director of live licensing, Beggars Group)
Summer Marshall (agent, CAA)
Futures Forum 2023: Topics, speakers revealed
The full provisional schedule and the first round of speakers have been unveiled for ILMC’s Futures Forum, the one-day discussion and networking event for the next generation of live music industry leaders.
Taking place on the last day of the International Live Music Conference in London, the event brings together the people that currently define the business with the emerging execs who are driving its evolution.
Discussions during the conference will include developing TikTok stars for the stage, closing the generation gap, alternative business models and new ways of working, emerging genres and holistic sustainability.
Discussions will include developing TikTok stars for the stage, closing the generation gap and alternative business models
The first round of speakers for the event includes Raye Cosbert and Alexandra Ampofo (Metropolis Music), Sally Dunstone (Primary Talent International), Caroline Reason (MATA Agency) and Nastassja Roberts (DreamHaus).
Will Holdoway (Method Events), Paul Bonham (Music Managers Forum), Ross Patel (Whole Entertainment), Stella Scocco (Södra Teatern), Sönke Schal (Karsten Jahnke Konzertdirektion) and Debbie McWilliams (Scottish Event Campus) are also lined up for Futures Forum.
Futures Forum will take place on Friday 3 March at ILMC’s new location, the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London.
Passes for the one-day event cost £149, which includes all sessions, a five-star lunch, refreshments and a closing party.
ILMC announces Futures Forum, London Calling
The International Live Music Conference (ILMC) has heralded the return of Futures Forum, a one-day discussion for the next generation of live music industry leaders.
Created and shaped by young professionals, the event brings together the executives that currently define the business with the emerging stars who are driving its evolution.
Futures Forum launched in 2019 and also took place in 2020, with keynote interviews with Dua Lipa and her father Dugi, as well as Team Mumford & Sons (Lucy Dickins, Ben Lovett and Adam Tudhope).
The 2023 edition will continue to experiment with non-traditional conference formats, mixing connected discussions with immersive workshops, peer-to-peer networking and TED-style ‘Soapbox’ presentations by thought leaders.
Also returning are the career-boosting mentoring sessions that proved a highlight of previous events. The one-on-one meetings provide a rare opportunity for Futures delegates to meet face-to-face with some of the most successful figures in live music.
The agenda is once again being steered by our Futures council – made up of some of the most exciting young executives in the industry – alongside affiliated associations, the ILMC agenda team and the IQ editorial team.
The council comprises Alexandra Ampofo (Metropolis Music, UK), Clara Cullen (Music Venue Trust, UK), Dotun Bolaji (Runway Artists, UK), Flo Noseda (Wasserman Music, UK) and Kedist Bezabih (Goodlive Artists, DE).
London Calling is a ‘first-of-its-kind’ central London showcase featuring some of the best emerging artists in the world
Plus Nastassja Roberts (Dreamhaus, DE), Seny Kassaye (For Agency, CA), Stella Scocco (Södra Teatern, SE), Théo Quiblier (Takk, CH), Will Holdoway (Method Events, UK) and Zoe Williamson (UTA, US).
Futures Forum will take place on the last day of ILMC (3 March 2023) at its new location, the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London. Passes for the one-day event start from £149. For more information or to buy tickets, click here.
ILMC has also announced a new major feature on the Wednesday evening (1 March) of the 2023 conference.
London Calling is a ‘first-of-its-kind’ central London showcase featuring some of the best emerging artists in the world.
The showcase will take place in multiple venues across Soho, just minutes from the Royal Lancaster, featuring artists carefully curated by a select number of cultural bodies and companies.
Early supporters of the night include Mad Cool Festival, Music Venue Trust’s Revive Live programme, Gigseekr and ILMC’s Latin Live partners, Loud and Live, Grandmove, and OCESA. ILMC delegates will have access to all London Calling shows.
ILMC Spa & Last Resort will welcome over 1,200 of the world’s top live music professionals from over 40 countries to the recently upgraded Royal Lancaster Hotel in London from 28 Feb–3 March 2023.
Full information about the conference is at 35.ilmc.com.
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.”
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 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 ecosystem; Festival 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.
The industry’s new bosses shine at Futures Forum 2020
Futures Forum, ILMC’s event within an event for the next generation of live music industry leaders, returned for its sophomore outing on Friday 6 March, welcoming more than 200 young professionals for a packed day of panels, workshops, networking, TED-style ‘Soapbox’ sessions and career-boosting mentoring.
As in year one, Futures Forum, which takes place on the final day of the International Live Music Conference (ILMC), was also open to all ILMC delegates – bringing together the people that currently define the business with the emerging stars driving its evolution. This intra-generational ethos was reflected in the day’s programming, which included sessions on moving on from early career setbacks (Life After Your Star Act), learning from one’s seniors/juniors (OK, Boomer: Closing the generation gap) and more.
Futures 2020 kicked off with Meet the New Bosses: Class of 2020, which saw a quintet of IQ New Bosses, including Tomorrow’s New Boss 2020 winner Charly Beedell-Tuck (Solo Agency), discuss their respective routes to the top, as well as some of the most pressing issues facing under-30s in live music today, including wellness, sustainability, the importance of finding time for oneself, and loving what you do.
“You have to love it,” said Primary Talent’s Matt Pickering-Copley, “otherwise it can become unsustainable very quickly.
“A lot of people who don’t work in the [music] industry don’t understand why I’d fly to Sweden for one night to see a band, or go to all these events – Eurosonic, IFF, ILMC, etc. – but it’s so important to see people and be seen to be there. […] What’s the saying about working a job that you love? If you don’t actually really want to do this, that’s when it becomes unsustainable.”
“The people you work with end up being your friends,” added Karolina Hansen of Live Nation Sweden, “so if you get a stressed-out email, you know where it’s coming from. If you treat everyone like you want to be treated, when you find yourself in that situation – you’re the one sending the stressed-out email – you understand.”
“If you don’t actually really want to do this, that’s when it becomes unsustainable”
Supporting each other is really important, said Beedell-Tuck, who described being nominated for Tomorrow’s New Boss as “so important to me because so many of the nominees were my friends. It’s a small industry, so you end up seeing the same people all the time.”
Her advice: “Be mindful, and help each other. Some of my best friends are at other agencies, but we don’t see the need to be ultra-competitive. Be supportive; we ultimately all have the same interests.”
Running alongside Meet the New Bosses was the Ticket of the Future workshop, hosted by Ticketmaster’s Bonita McKinney and festival ticketing expert Lou Champion, as well as the first round of mentoring sessions, which provided a rare opportunity for delegates to meet face to face with some of the most successful figures in live music.
Mentors this year included Live Nation president of international touring Phil Bowdery, Paradigm agent Mike Malak, Dice UK managing director Amy Oldham, MAMA Festivals director Dave Newton, Mercury Wheels founder Barnaby Harrod and AEG Europe’s VP of venue programming, Emma Bownes.
Other highlights of the morning included two half-hour workshops – Getting Smart About Digital Marketing, led by Orchard Live’s Richard Samuel, and Assertiveness & Effectiveness at Work, hosted by leadership coach Prince Laryea – and the first four 15-minute Soapbox Sessions, with Eclipse Live’s Chin Okeke (‘Hello, Lagos!’), Blackstar Lodnon’s Olivia Hobbs (‘Being the boss sucks’), Dice’s Dave Brooks (‘Getting your dream gig’) and Extinction Rebellion’s Helena Farstad (‘The climate crisis and you’).
Following a five-star buffet lunch, the afternoon began in earnest with a triple-header of Mental Health: Next steps for live, the MMF-hosted workshop Actioning Change in Live Music and the aforementioned Life After Your Star Act panel, with agents Geoff Meall, Mark Bennett and Dan Silver and promoter Barnaby Harrod.
The mental health session was hosted by agents Matt Hanner and Sarah Joy of ATC Live, who opened by talking about their late colleague, Chris Meredith, who took his own life last year.
“The younger generation coming in now are wondering why people aren’t looking after themselves”
Adam Ficek, the Babyshambles drummer-turned-psychotherapist, spoke on the unique challenges posed by live: “There are no other industries like the music industry. It’s open-access, and open all hours, and you’re expected to put in as much time as you can.”
“The industry we work in is very interesting,” added Polish promoter Sara Maria Kordek, offering the artist’s perspective. “Suddenly you’ve got an artist [who achieves fame] and has lots of privileges, so they can get away with things you wouldn’t be able to do in a ‘normal’ job – you wouldn’t be able to have a drink before you check your emails in an office. But they’re expected to be at 100% all the time, to deliver, so they’re celebrating nearly every day.”
This is something that filters down to crew and other industry professionals, suggested Kordek, who described how she made a point of finding something to do (other than drinking) for her team on a recent 50-show tour. “We found cool things to do in each city, or went to a movie,” she explained. “You shouldn’t be partying every evening.”
Things are changing for the better, said Rich Mutimer from Paradigm, who spearheads the agency’s wellbeing initiatives. “The younger generation coming in now are wondering why people aren’t looking after themselves,” he said, “and that gives everyone a kick up the bum.”
The second round of Soapbox Sessions – ‘5 leadership lessons in 15 minutes’ with Key Production’s Karen Emmanuel, Tracie Storey’s ‘Finding balance with vibrational sound’ and ‘Show me the data!’ with Leon Neville – followed, running alongside ‘OK, Boomer’, a new session that paired up senior executives from leading concert businesses with their more junior counterparts to compare experiences and ways of working.
ICM Partners’ Kevin Jergenson opened the panel explaining he had interned with his now-colleague Scott Mantell for two summers, then started in the mail room before becoming Scott’s assistant and then an agent. Mantell said everyone needs a mentor, and for him, mentorship is about identifying young talent. And learning goes both ways – he said he’s learning a lot from Jergenson.
“Be kind. Do business with a smile”
Live Nation’s Phil Bowdery said encouragement is important. “You don’t want to stop people making mistakes, but one of the quickest ways to learn is to mess something up,” he explained. His colleague, Live Nation UK promoter Joe Schiavon, said for someone like him there’s a lot to learn from Bowdery, especially about working on arenas.
Jen Hammel joined CAA in 2013, having reached out to agent Maria May to say she wanted to work for her. May said the two are like a partnership, adding Hammel is fearless because she is so supported. “She inspires me to push further and do more,’ said May.
To conclude, the panel was asked what advice they would you give their younger selves. Jergenson said: “Remember you’ll get through it and you’ll still love it despite the personal sacrifices.” Mantell added: “Be kind. Do business with a smile.”
Bowdery agreed, adding he said it’s important to listen, learn and watch. Schiavon said the best way you can learn is by your mistakes – and be OK to make mistakes. May said she would advise her younger self to be brave and find people to work with that make you feel good about yourself. Hammel said her advice would be don’t be afraid to voice your opinion, especially if you’re the youngest in the room.
Futures Forum 2020 concluded with the Futures Forum Keynote: Team Mumford & Sons, which welcomed band member Ben Lovett, manager Adam Tudhope and agent Lucy Dickins to reflect on the band’s journey from banjo-plucking west London folkies to global superstars, with journalist and friend of the band, Paul Stokes, providing the questions. Read the full report here:
Futures Forum will return in March 2021.