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Agent vs Promoter: the presidential debate

IMS Ibiza resurrected its “presidential debate” at this year’s conference to pit Wasserman Music agent Tom Schroeder against leading promoter Richard McGinnis.

Schroeder represents artists such as Fred Again.., Disclosure, FKA Twigs, The xx, Raye, Kaytranada, Nia Archives, Overmono and PinkPantheress, while McGinnis served as head of talent at MAMA Festivals for nearly a decade and is a founding partner of Warehouse Project and Parklife Festival.

Their conversation, held at Ibiza’s Destino Pacha Resort in May, explored the ever-changing dynamic between agents and promoters. Moderated by the Association for Electronic Music’s interim CEO, Finlay Johnson, it can be revisited in full below.

“The way I see the industry is it’s much more collaborative… We have to look after each other a little bit more”

Here is a selection of some of the panel’s key talking points:

The agent/promoter dynamic…

Tom Schroeder: “I think it’s changed. The way I see the industry is it’s much more collaborative, it’s much less secure. We have to look after each other a little bit more. We need everyone to win. Yes, I am here to represent my clients. But that means to make a success of a festival, it doesn’t mean just to take the most I can get out of it. Live music, particularly electronic music, was built [to be] quite combative, but I think everything’s changed and we’re here to make this ecosystem good again.”

Richard McGinnis: “I think the days of drum and bass agents ringing you up and threatening to burn your house down because you’ve not paid the deposit on time have passed! Certainly, pre-Covid, the merging of a lot of the agencies, and the professionalism that the American [companies] brought to the table, alienated a lot of that kind of culture. That kind of street level agency behaviour has slowed down, it’s not as prevalent as it used to be. It certainly used to be a problem.”

“I think it’s good as a promoter to go to an agent who’s given you a headliner and offer them up X, Y, and Z slots”

Leveraging support acts…

TS: Different strokes for different folks. At my company… we don’t really do that. Or I like to think we don’t do that. I don’t want to leverage acts on to Parklife that aren’t suitable for Parklife and are going to play to no one – no one wins.”

RM: “I think it’s good as a promoter to go to an agent who’s given you a headliner and offer them up X, Y, and Z slots. That’s basic etiquette in terms of, if someone’s giving you a big act, you should look after them. But equally, from a promoter’s perspective, that can work both ways. [There are] acts that we’ve booked for a couple of grand as a favour for a big agent, and they’ve played an early slot and hated it. And then 18 months later, they’re the biggest act on the planet and you want to offer them [a slot] and they’re just like, ‘We’re not going back.’ That favour that we did ended up biting us in the bum, because they didn’t have a great time. In the old days, independent UK-based agencies might have tried to shoehorn every single act of theirs onto a lineup. That doesn’t happen [anymore], because the agents rep the acts on a pan-European or a global level, they’re not just reliant on this small bit of England. So it’s definitely changed.”

“When you have 100 acts on a bill, billed A-Z, you’re not getting value for money as a promoter”

A-Z artist billing at festivals…

TS: “When you have 100 acts on a bill, billed A-Z, you’re not getting value for money as a promoter if it takes me a long time to see a headline act. And actually, promoters need to stand up to these idiots and say, ‘This is what’s going to sell my tickets for my festival, this is how my artwork has to work. If you don’t want to buy into that then come off the bill.’ I would support people 1,000,000% doing that. From my end, I can lay out my stall from the start and say, ‘I would only consider it in this position. If you don’t want to book it, you don’t want to book it.’ But this A-Z thing is hurting everyone, and it’s a cop out.”

RM: “It’s a cop out, I completely agree. The human brain looks at the poster and reads the first line from left to right. Those acts there are going to sell the tickets. That is the basics. Once you lose a big act to an A-Z… you might as well not have them on the bill. No one’s read that far.”

“What promoters expect of acts in terms of promoting a festival is not working”

Marketing collaborations…

TS: “I think what promoters expect of acts in terms of promoting a festival is not working. Where it works is when an artist explains to their fanbase why they’re playing a festival and what to expect, so that there’s some ownership. These artists don’t have a lot of ownership of the festivals and I’m telling really important people, like Rich, to watch this for the next few years because it’s a problem. My artists want to play festivals, but they’re not as desperate to play them as they might have been a few years ago. The rite of passage thing has slightly come away as we’ve come through Covid and they don’t want to spend their entire time plastering one poster – of which they’re A to Z with 100 acts – on their socials. And you know what? Their fans don’t want to keep seeing that poster appear. So we’ve all got to work out a much cleverer way of my artists helping to sell your tickets.”

RM: “There are so many shows that we’ve worked on together where the artists who’ve created the show, from Annie to Disclosure… And the symbol of authenticity that comes from that is undeniable. Where I see the difference is, it’s all right if you’re Fred Again and he’s on this path that he’s on, but what about the kids in the mid tier? Those kids that are grafting doing three shows a week for £2,000 need to start pushing these shows. Their shows need to be busy. They haven’t got all these opportunities like the big acts have, so there’s another side of it.”

As part of IQ‘s enhanced coverage of the electronic music business, check out DJ Mag editor’s Carl Loben healthcheck here, or in our latest issue.

 


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Live sector fuels dance music industry growth

The resurgence of the live sector has helped power the global dance music to new heights, according to a new report.

Presented during today’s opening day of the International Music Summit (IMS) in Ibiza, the IMS Business Report 2023 is authored by MIDiA Research’s Mark Mulligan and puts the valuation of the electronic business at $11.3 billion (€10.2bn) – 16% higher than pre-pandemic and 34% growth year-on-year.

Festivals and clubs represented nearly half of all dance industry revenue in 2022, while Ibiza club ticketing revenue reached €124 million, up from the €80m generated in 2019, as ticket sales rose 25% to 2.5 million. However, live revenues of $4.1bn still fell short of the $4.4bn garnered in the last pre-Covid year.

“The pandemic shone a harsh light on the industry’s heavy reliance on live,” notes the report. “Now, that reliance is even higher because of live’s huge growth.”

The publication describes 2022 as “a big year overall” for the live industry, as the top 100 global tours reported a 276% increase in revenue, while Live Nation revenues soared 166%. Elsewhere, bookings for the top 100 DJs increased by 314%, according to Viberate.

“After a couple of pandemic-impacted years, the global dance music industry is back in top gear”

Electronic music artists made up 39% of all festival bookings, up from 33% the previous year, although female DJs saw their share of the top 100 DJ bookings fall from 21% to 15% in the same period.

“MIDiA Research is proud to have compiled the 2023 edition of the IMS Business Report, building on the great work of its previous authors,” says Mulligan. “After a couple of pandemic-impacted years, the global dance music industry is back in top gear and this report reflects how growth has returned across all the various aspects of its thriving business.”

The dance sector’s increase in value has also been attributed to a resurgent creator tools sector, plus music publishing, which grew more than two times faster than recordings in the previous year “underpinned by steady improvements in rates paid to publishers and songwriters”.

“Overall the indicators are positive and the future is bright, with more recovery in live still to come as well as future growth in the publishing sectors,” it states. “In addition, the long term growth of creator culture is set to make dance music even more influential on wider music culture in the immediate future.”

“We’ve always been very transparent about the business report – every year it needs to get better and better, more robust and more bulletproof”

Discussing the report with IQ ahead of publication, IMS co-founder Ben Turner predicted it would highlight a “strong bounceback” for the scene, adding that what began as a “bit of fun” had “turned into something very serious”.

“The value has become quite a talking point in the industry and the business world, with so many eyes on electronic music and so many big companies invested into it,” he said. “We’ve always admired the work that MIDiA do around music and data, and Mark’s come at it with a fresh approach.

“There are two elements to the report. One, last year’s report was a return but was based on 2021 numbers, so I expect a big uplift in terms of the actual valuation. But MIDiA have also integrated some new metrics in there based around creative economy and even music publishing, which was [previously] very lightly looked at in our business report.

“We’ve always been very transparent about the business report – every year it needs to get better and better, more robust and more bulletproof.”

Around 1,500 delegates are expected at this year’s IMS, which runs until Friday (28 April).

 


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CM.com plots ‘significant’ global expansion

Customer engagement and ticketing platform CM.com has marked the start of its “significant” global expansion by inking new deals with iconic Ibiza nightclub Amnesia and TixBox.

Netherlands-founded CM.com will act as Amnesia’s primary online ticketing partner and will also provide the venue with its customer service and marketing software, in a deal that represents CM.com’s ticketing business’ first venture into the Balearics and wider Spanish market.

“We’re delighted to enter this partnership with CM.com, allowing us to optimise our customer’s ticketing experience,” says Amnesia Ibiza partner Sergi Blaya. “We look forward to innovating with them by introducing crypto payment with our partner KlubCoin and using their marketing suite to create new ways of engaging with our online customers.”

CM.com has also entered into a new multi-year deal with TixBox, the ticketing partner for Alchemy Project, the leading entertainment and event management agency in the MENA region. ​​As part of the strategic deal, all events running through TixBox will use enhanced integrated systems and solutions for customers powered by CM.com on their website and app.

“We’re thrilled to be kicking off 2023 as we mean to go on, announcing two deals which represent the start of a significant global expansion for CM.com within our live division”

Since the partnership launched in October 2022, CM.com has already supported TixBox for a host of events, including 31 during the 2022 Qatar World Cup. Artists performing included Black Eyed Peas, Robbie Williams, J Balvin, Akon, Tamer Hosny, Tiesto, Armin van Buuren, Artbat, Timmy Trumpet, Oliver Heldens, Camelphat, Claptone, Major Lazer, Alesso and more.

Both the Amnesia and TixBox deals were facilitated via CM.com’s London ticketing division, which launched in 2021 and marked the division’s first expansion outside of the Benelux region, where clients include Lowlands Festival and the Dutch Grand Prix.

CM.com’s music & live team is led by former Eventbrite Europe head of music Paul Everett.

“After launching 18 months ago and delivering significant growth in 2022, we’re thrilled to be kicking off 2023 as we mean to go on, announcing two deals which represent the start of a significant global expansion for CM.com within our live division,” says Everett. “Amnesia and TixBox are both internationally recognised brands, leaders in their respective fields and like us, progressive in approach. We are proud to be partnering with them long term to provide our innovative suite of solutions, ensuring their attendees can enjoy the very best customer experience possible.”

 


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Ibiza gears up for April reopening

Ibiza nightclubs will open in April this year – two weeks earlier than normal – as the Spanish island bids to rebound from the pandemic.

José Luis Benítez, manager of venues organisation Ocio de Ibiza, said the White Isle’s major nightspots were actively preparing for the 2022 season. He added it would already be possible to open at 65% capacity for those with Covid passes, with fewer restrictions possible in a few months’ time.

“The idea is that the opening will be at the end of April, two weeks ahead of what is normally done,” Benítez told Diario de Ibiza. “Then, “to hang on until October… November if all goes well.

“Even so, we will proceed with caution and in collaboration with the authorities.”

“This summer, the discotheques will be able to open”

Speaking at the annual international tourism fair Fitur in Madrid, Balearic tourism chief Iago Negueruela was similarly confident.

“This summer, the discotheques will be able to open,” he said. “The covid passport serves as a security tool “.

While tourism revenue staged a partial recovery in 2021 compared to 2020, there will be an added focus on consolidating the domestic market, which spent €405 million last season – €40m more than in 2019.

Super clubs have begun confirming their 2022 opening parties, among them Defected (29 April), Es Paradis (1 May) and Amnesia (21 May). The iconic Space Ibiza, which closed in 2016, is also due to make a comeback in 2022 in a new format as a club night, bar and restaurant in the Posta del Sol Building in San Antonio.

Benítez said he had no concerns over demand, insisting the sector had been flooded with letters asking “whether they are opening this year and when”.

“I am quite optimistic,” added former minister Abel Matutes. “The crucial point is that individuals continue to be vaccinated and customers are keen to travel.”

 

 


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Dance music festivals and clubs lose 78% of value

Prevented from opening by Covid-19 restrictions, nightclubs and dance music festivals lost more than three quarters of their value in 2020, according to new data from the International Music Summit (IMS).

Using data from Viberate and Reisdent Advisor, the IMS Business Report 2021, a copy of which can be requested by clicking here, calculated that €3.4 billion, or 78%, was wiped off the value of venues and festivals last year, as more than 200 electronic music festivals were forced to cancel.

Compounding the damage was a late, scaled-back 2020 season in Ibiza, while searches for flights for 2021 have yet to take off amid ongoing uncertainty, according to the report. IMS’s own flagship event, IMS Ibiza, was among the summer 2020 casualties.

“A huge rebound can be expected as the live industry finds safe routes to reopening”

However, “a huge rebound can be expected as the live industry finds safe routes to reopening”, it continues, while the demand for live dance music events events is bigger than ever: the value of festival tickets sold in March 2021 was more than the whole of 2020 combined, an increase of 4,000% year on year.

The decline in the value mirrors that of the live music industry more broadly, which analysts have put at 75% (Goldman Sachs) and 64% (PwC).

In total (including recorded music and DJ software/hardware), the global electronic music market declined 54%, to $3.4bn, the IMS Business Report estimates.

 


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Event Genius expands with new ticketing deals

Ibiza superclub Amnesia and German festival promoter Cosmopop have signed primary ticketing deals with UK-based Event Genius.

Amnesia, one of the island’s most established clubbing destinations, will use Event Genius’s egTicketing, egMarketing and egTravel products from its 2021 season onwards, while while Cosmopop – whose events include Love Family Park and Time Warp (both 20,000-cap.) – will utilise the company’s entire end-to-end solution, including egTicketing, egMarketing, egTravel and egAccess.

Festicket and Event Genius CCO Yonas Blay says: “Cosmopop and Amnesia are both huge organisations in Europe’s clubbing community and it’s an honour to be working alongside them both. It’s been a tough year for everyone across the events industry, which makes it all the more encouraging when promoters of this nature put their faith in us to help them in the return to live events.”

“Cosmopop and Amnesia are both huge organisations … and it’s an honour to be working alongside them both”

“Ibiza has always been a melting pot for clubbers across the world. For that reason, we need a ticketing provider who is as equally at home in Ibiza and Spain as they are in the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and beyond,” comments Sergi Blaya Cutillas, brand manager for Amnesia. “Having the ability to sell and promote our events to clubbers all across the world in their native language, currency and payment method through Event Genius’s egTicketing, egTravel and egMarketing solutions is a great bonus for us.”

Robin Ebinger, director of Cosmopop adds: “We’ve been working with Festicket for some time as a ticketing allocation and travel partner, so we always trusted their ability to deliver great results. As soon as they partnered with Event Genius and explained their new tailored, end-to-end primary product that we could use across all our events and venues to help streamline our operations, we knew it was the right decision to take our relationship to the next level.”

 


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IMS: Covid-19 set to cost electronic sector $4bn

After slight growth in 2019, the value of the global electronic music industry is estimated to fall by 56% this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the latest edition of the annual International Music Summit (IMS) business report has revealed.

The yearly report, which is usually presented at the IMS conference in Ibiza, this year cancelled due to the pandemic, states the value of the electronic is sector is set to fall from $7.3 billion to $3.3bn this year, with dance and electronic clubs and festivals set to lose 75% of their income, equivalent to $3.3bn.

By 20 April, around 350 electronic music festivals had been cancelled or postponed, the majority in Germany, with almost 9 million fans unable to attend. According to event discovery and ticketing platform Skiddle, around 4,000 electronic music events in total have been affected by Covid-19 so far.

In Ibiza alone, 2m club tickets were sold last year, with clubbers spending €260m and contributing €500m to the local economy. Bigger clubs and mid-sized venues (over 300-cap.) on the island are to remain shut this season.

DJ and artist income is predicted to fall by as much as 61%, from $1.1bn in 2019 to $400m in 2020. Earnings of the top-ten electronic artists had increased 4% year-on-year in 2019, with the Chainsmokers ($46m) and Marshmello (40m) coming in as the highest earners.

Despite a bleak outlook for 2020, the IMS report notes that the positive trends that led to growth in 2019 – the first since 2016 – “should help fuel a strong recovery in the coming years”.

“The value of the global electronic music industry is estimated to fall be 56% this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic”

The report also details the sector’s livestreaming success. It it predicted that streaming will grow by 18% in 2020, with continued growth expected to generate around $100m in additional revenue for the dance and electronic sector this year.

In May 2020, seven of the ten most watched music streamers on Twitch were electronic focused, totalling 6m viewer hours. EDM promoter Insomniac racked up 2.6m viewers hours by running virtual versions of their events, including the Electric Daisy Carnival rave-a-thon. The promoter is putting on digital editions of Secret Project, Peekaboo and Awakening festivals later this month.

The IMS report also shows that DJs who performed in the video game Fortnite, following the initial success of Marshmello, saw their Instagram followers grow by ten times during and after the event.

Dillon Francis, Steve Aoki and Deadmau5 played the launch of the game’s virtual hang-out Party Royale mode, adding a collective 55,000 to their Instagram followers in four days.

Overall, however, it is believed that livestreamed events, as well as other alternatives including drive-in shows and socially distanced club nights, are “unlikely to be commercially viable, with live streams serving predominantly to raise money for good causes and capacities art physical shows greatly reduced.

Some platforms have started to adapt to paid-for models, the report notes, with Soundcloud introudincing a ‘support link’ button for fan contributions; TikTok launching ‘donation stickers’ for good causes; and Festicket allowing the sale of merchandise. Brands including Coca-Cola, Amazon and Henieken have also sponsored DJ live streams.

The full report is available to download here.

 


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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Ibiza clubs remain closed as Spain enters phase 3

The world-famous nightclubs of Ibiza will remain closed for the foreseeable future, even after being granted permission to reopen by the Spanish government, local authorities have announced.

‘Phase three’ of Spain’s post-coronavirus reopening plan began on Monday (8 June), with clubs and bars allowed to reopen at a third of their capacity and with a maximum of 80 guests. This follows phase two – under which capacities were limited to 50 people indoors and 400 outdoors – which ran from 25 May to 8 June, and during which a number of live events, including several open-air concerts, took place.

However, under Spain’s federal decentralised, quasi-federal structure, the country’s various autonomous communities are entitled to set their own timetable for restarting live entertainment. In the Balearic Islands, which include Ibiza, clubs such as Pacha, Amnesia, Hï Ibiza, O Beach and Privilege will remain closed for the time being, according to Balearic president Francina Armengol.

“We are not in a position to allow nightlife. It is not a priority”

In a press conference on Sunday, Armengol told reporters that in order to “guarantee safety at all times”, venues in Ibiza, Majorca, Minorca and Formentera will stay closed, further delaying the start of the traditional Ibiza season, which transforms the island into a party mecca throughout the summer.

“We are not in a position to allow nightlife; it is not a priority,” she said, adding that the spike in Covid-19 reinfections in other countries (ie South Korea) has been caused by the reopening of leisure and entertainment, and the “celebration of holidays”. “We will not take any wrong steps,” she explained.

Summer tourism is worth more than €750 to Ibiza. The island will welcome back its first foreign tourists this month as part of a trial scheme for nearly 11,000 Germans.

 


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Pino Sagliocco: 40 years in the music business

Just how do you organise a surprise feature for the shrewdest, most organised man in the music business?

It began when Pino Sagliocco took part in the Think Tank at ILMC 30 and a number of “accidental” meetings and conversations since: lunch, drinks and enough scribbled notes to fill a book. But as we go to press, Pino is still blissfully unaware of our birthday/work anniversary surprise, so thank you to each and every one of you who managed to keep this secret.

It’s somewhat ironic that Spain’s most popular promoter is an Italian. Born in the village of Carinaro on the outskirts of Naples, in 1959, Pino contends that he never really fitted in.

“I was an alien in my own village,” is how he describes his childhood. “I was pretty good at school but I had no passion for it and I became used to just sitting in class and reading by myself. I was tall and looked a lot older than I was and I simply didn’t belong in my village any more,” is his explanation of why he left home at just 12 years old.

Setting off on his adventures, Pino simply walked to the village railway station with no clothes other than the jeans and t-shirt he was wearing and boarded the first train. When the train stopped, he found a hotel next to the station, asked for a job and began his working life carrying luggage for guests. Next, he found himself selling fruit in the local market, building the foundations of what would become a highly successful entrepreneurial career.

Making Friends with Folk
“At the age of about 15 or 16 I joined a hippy community and entered an alternative cultural world,” he says. It was in this environment that he started to become involved in music, organising concerts and events for the likes of The Chieftains and other folk acts.

“Franco had recently died and the city of Barcelona was just full of energy, so it was an exciting time and place to be”

Then, as is the case in so many epic tales, along came a girl. “She was from Barcelona, so at the age of 18, I moved to Spain,” he recalls. “Franco had recently died and the city of Barcelona was just full of energy, so it was an exciting time and place to be.”

Now, with a growing appetite for promoting, Pino set about building his business, starting out with a show by Celtic harp legend Alan Stivell using a local Barcelona church as a venue. “I wanted to do things that nobody had done before, so everything had to be a bit different to make the experience special – I remember doing shows with Greek singer Georges Moustaki, who was the boyfriend of Edith Piaf.”

Interested in anything avant garde, Pino found himself falling in love with Studio 54 in Barcelona and, exercising his legendary powers of persuasion, cajoled the club’s owners into allowing him to put on similarly branded events in Ibiza and Madrid.

“At the time, all the bands that were coming to Spain were big and established acts – Guy Mercader had the likes of The Stones etc, sewn up. But I got bands like ABC, Spandau Ballet, Talk Talk, Imagination, Simple Minds and Sade to start coming to Spain when they were still relatively unknown,” says Pino.

Having established Ibiza as his second home, one evening Pino bumped into Queen drummer Roger Taylor in one of the island’s nightclubs. “It was 1985 and Roger was kind enough to introduce me to the band’s manager, Jim Beach, and on the back of that, I got to work on the Magic Tour.”

Pino’s association with Queen and iconic frontman Freddie Mercury started there. The Queen tour broke the mould in Spain, as it visited the country in August, a month when everything traditionally closes down for holidays. Anxious that the three dates in Barcelona, Madrid and Marbella would flop, Pino convinced Mercury to do a press interview ahead of the first show – something that the singer rarely did – and the result was three massively successful nights.

“I wanted to do things that nobody had done before, so everything had to be a bit different to make the experience special”

“Around the same time, I was getting an idea to do something big for television in Ibiza and one night I was hanging out with a Spanish band at my house when an interview with Queen was shown on TV that I had never seen before. During the programme, Freddie was asked if there were any Spanish artists he would like to work with and he mentioned the opera star, Monserrat Caballé.”

Following much collaboration with Jim Beach, Pino managed to arrange a meeting between the two singers on 24 March 1987 at a hotel in Barcelona, where Mercury brought along a demo of a song he had co-written in the hope Cabellé would agree to record a duet with him.

“On 29 May they opened my Ibiza 92 show with the premiere of the song ‘Barcelona’ – it was magical,” says Pino, adding that acts also on the bill for that TV extravaganza from the White Isle included Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, Chris Rea, Poison, Nona Hendryx, Marillion and Spanish acts Hombres G and E Último de la Fila.

“The TV show was seen in 31 countries worldwide and the collaboration between Monserrat Caballé and Freddie Mercury was a huge hit. They performed together for the last time in 1988 when they sang the song to celebrate the arrival of the Olympic Flag in Barcelona from Seoul.

“I had been asked to organise something for the occasion, so they performed to 100,000 people in front of the Fountains of Montjuïc and shared a stage with Spandau Ballet, Eddie Grant, Jerry Lee Lewis and Suzanne Vega, as well as Rudolf Nureyev and flamenco dancers, with Freddie and Monserrat closing the show. It was amazing – I won a gold medal for the show, which I like to joke was the first gold given for the Barcelona Olympics.”

 


 

Continue reading this feature in the digital edition of IQ 82, or subscribe to the magazine here

Trailblazer: Tony Truman, O Beach Ibiza

Welcome to the latest edition of Trailblazers – IQ’s regular series of Q&As with the inspirational figures forging their own paths in the global concert business.

From people working in challenging conditions or markets to those simply bringing a fresh perspective to the music world, Trailblazers aims to spotlight unique individuals from all walks of life who are making a mark in one of the world’s most competitive industries. Read the previous Trailblazers interview, with Cambridge Folk Festival’s Becky Stewart, here.

Next up is Tony Truman, co-founder and operating partner of O Beach Ibiza, a beach club which debuted as Ocean Beach Ibiza on the Mediterranean party island in 2012.

Alongside business partner Duane Lineker, Truman’s vision was to create a ‘daytime destination’ on the west coast of Ibiza. Specialising in daytime parties, the 2,000-capacity venue has hosted performances by the likes of Ibiza House Orchestra, Sandy Rivera, Horse Meat Disco and DJ Spoony, and is now firmly established as a clubbing institution in the highly competitive Ibizan market.

But before he was a nightclub baron, Truman was a tearaway youth who just wanted to go to his school’s end-of-year party…

 


How did you get your start in the industry?
I started out in the business when I was very young. I was 15 when I was expelled from school for being somewhat of a naughty boy, and because of that I was banned from going to the famous final-year party. Even though I’d been chucked out of school I still asked if I could go, because it had a reputation of being so good – but they said no, obviously! I was absolutely devastated as everyone went to this party, including all my friends. It was actually my mum who suggested I have my own party… and, with that, I did! I hired a boat on the Thames in London, but the only night I could hire it was the same night as the school party. I took a gamble, hired it and had 250 people turn up to my party. Only 17 attended the school party! It was then I found my making and started my path as a party promoter.

That same year was the first-ever trip I made to Ibiza with my family and friends. We met some older lads that showed us the ropes, taking us to all the big superclubs such as Ku, and I was blown away at the scale of the venues and the events. I knew for sure that this is what I wanted to do and where I wanted to be.

Tell us about your current role.
I, along with Duane Lineker, one of my business partners, am an operating partner of O Beach (formerly Ocean Beach) Ibiza, as well as a number of other businesses we have collectively on the island. The role differs between winter and summer: in the winter there is a lot of planning – whether that be recruitment or events, as well as dealing with many day-to-day business decisions – so this is where a lot of my time is taken up with work.

As soon as summer begins, this is where the fun part of my job starts. I spend a lot of days hosting at my table in the beach club, which consists of a lot of partying with lots of people from the island, other industry associates and friends, celebrity guests and, of course, my own family and friends. It really is lots of fun and I get to see the venue in action – but now I’m getting older, it may be time to reduce that to maybe three or four times a week!

There is obviously serious daily work to do but, luckily, I have an amazing team and partner to do most of mine for me.

“I am proud we took an derelict old car park in the wrong end of town and turned it into one of the most famous beach clubs in the world”

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
Standing on the stage day after day and seeing all the happy faces on the dancefloor and all around the beach club – people having the time of their lives, having fun, laughter all around and, ultimately, making happy memories that will last forever. The fact that I am in a position to give people that opportunity to have real fun and be themselves, and also for my staff, who love doing the job they do.

And the most challenging?
The most challenging is to keep at the forefront of what we are doing – making sure you are constantly giving people what they want in a world where trends change all the time. Staying on top of a competitive market like Ibiza is hard work, as you are up against some of the biggest and best clubs in the world, but a bit of competition is what keeps the magic alive and keeps you spontaneous.

What achievements are you most proud of?
I am most proud of my family and the close bond we share, as well as the fact I have so many lifelong friends from school and my younger years who are still around me and working with me.

From a business perspective I am proud that we took an old derelict car park in the wrong end of town – they said – and in six short years have become one of the most famous and best beach clubs in the world, all without putting on the biggest promoters and biggest artists. It’s all been down to our core values, determination and an amazing team.

How has the business changed since you started out?
The biggest change I have seen is the volume of people we get through the doors. We are sold out most days of the week now, and when you host 155 parties back to back there’s a lot of work involved for the entire team. The first year, we only had one semi-busy day a week, and the following year three busy days – and from there, it just grew and grew into the machine it is today.

“Never forsake your dignity for the sake of your destiny”

What, if anything, could the music industry do better?
A saying we created, and stand by in our values, is, “We are here to celebrate, not educate”, and this is directed at our music policy. This is because we play what our crowd want and not necessarily what is current and supposedly ‘cool’.

When we opened, the music industry was at a point where you could be looked down on if you weren’t playing the ‘right’ music and most up-to-date sounds, which I personally felt was wrong. For me, there is room for all types of music that’s right for the occasion, and that’s where I feel we got it right with O Beach Ibiza.

Who, or what, have been the biggest influences on your career so far?
One of my best friends has been one of the biggest influences. When things were not going quite right in my life a number of years ago, he was one of the loyal people who stood by my side, who always believed in me and who always pushed me by telling me not to give up. So, Mr Barry, I still thank you from the bottom of my heart!

I also think one of the biggest things that has had an impact on my life is becoming a father, as suddenly I realised I had to grow up fast as I had another life depending on me. I am so grateful this happened, as it put all of the surreal crazy life into perspective and made me realise what was important.

What advice would you give to someone hoping to make it in music?
Anything is possible if you are determined and set your mind to it, and believe in it – and above all in yourself. Never forsake your dignity for the sake of your destiny.

 


If you’d like to take part in a future Trailblazers interview, or nominate someone else for inclusion, email IQ’s news editor, Jon Chapple, on [email protected].