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Wine, brie & rock’n’roll at Bureau Export Session

Four of France’s most hotly tipped young acts played a special showcase, hosted by French export office Bureau Export, at the International Live Music Conference (ILMC) in London in March.

The first ‘Testing 1 to 3: The Bureau Export Session’ transformed Bodo’s Schloss (350-cap.), next to the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, into a little piece of France on this side of La Manche, bringing together the best of emerging French talent with a selection of wines and cheeses.

The four acts – Sônge, Juveniles, DBFC and Bantam Lyons – then went on to play the first of Bureau Export’s new Oui Love London club nights the next day.

Sônge, “with her sci-fi-tinged look and futurist R&B sound”, was the “most striking performer” at the showcase, reckons Bureau Export, winning over ILMC delegates with her blend of “hooky pop and accessible experimentation”.

Juveniles, Bureau Export Session, Bodo's Schloss, ILMC 29

Bantam Lyons, meanwhile, performed “intense sets” at both ILMC and the Oui Love event, showcasing their brand of (in the words of Mojo) “’80s bedsit goth angst married to ramming-speed drumming, torn-edges guitar and a voice of Gallic gut-ache beauty”, while Juveniles’ (pictured above) elegant disco-pop similarly “went down a treat” at both events.

Psychedelic electro-rockers DBFC – a favourite at The Great Escape 2016 – wrapped up the event, “rounding out the showcase beautifully” as they prepare for the June release of debut album Jenks.

Bureau Export’s London director, Sylvain Thollon, comments: “Bureau Export was delighted to participate in the first ever daytime showcase during ILMC. It was a great platform for the four chosen artists, Sônge, Bantam Lyons, DBFC and Juveniles, to impress international professionals on 8 March before going on to inaugurate the Oui Love nights at Birthdays on the 9th.”

 


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Beese: Balance key for venues promoting own shows

The Roundhouse’s head of music, Jane Beese, has spoken of the challenges involved in venues producing their own shows – and the importance of not “pissing off” promoters in the process.

Beese appeared at ILMC’s new Venue Summit on 9 March, where she was a panellist for the Industry relationships session alongside AEG Ogden’s Tim Horton, Emporium Presents’ Jason Zink, Kilimanjaro Live’s Stuart Galbraith, UTA’s Paul Ryan, Ticketmaster’s Doug Smith and chair Lucy Noble, of the Royal Albert Hall in London.

Noble asked all three venue operators (Beese, Horton and Noble) on the panel whether they promote their own shows – and, if so, how much friction it causes with promoters. Noble said part of her role at the Royal Albert Hall is to develop its own and co-productions, which currently make up around 14% of the venue’s total programming. These shows – although still a relatively small part of its business, so “no one should panic yet!” – are good for the venue as “we can control the brand more, have an input on artistic quality and link in our education and outreach programme,” she continued, “and, being honest, we do quite well financially out of them as well.”

Beese said the north London venue welcomes more than 100 shows a year from external promoters, so “balance is important: balance between promoters coming in, corporate events and our own programming, which also includes circus, spoken-word and performing-arts events.”

“We’ve had steal shows from us – and that’s the last time we’ll work with that venue”

“Promoters are a huge chunk of our business,” she continued, “so it’s not in our interest to be pissing them off.”

UTA agent Paul Ryan said he “see[s] it from both sides.” “The word ‘balance’ was used – I think that’s a good term,” he explained. “As an agent working across multiple territories, we’ve got to look at what’s good for the artist. Venues like the Royal Albert Hall and Roundhouse are a bit different, but if it’s a standard rock ’n’ roll venue […] there’s got to be a good reason why you’d want to go into a venue directly instead of dealing with a national promoter.”

Noble asked Kilimanjaro CEO Stuart Galbraith if he’d be angry if the Royal Albert Hall bid against him for a one-night show. “Yes!” he replied, to laughs. While “there are a lot of reasons why venues should self-promote in certain circumstances,” Galbraith said going promoter-free only works if the show is a “slam-dunk sell-out. If you’ve got a show that stops at 60% there’s nowhere else to go,” he commented. “That’s where we [the promoter] would make a difference.”

The reason he’d be angry if Kili and a venue both bid on the same show, he added, is because “you’d only bid on shows you think are going to sell out,” leaving the promoter to handle the riskier prospects.

Emporium Presents talent buyer Jason Zink said he’s had venues that have “stolen shows from us – and that’s the last time we’ll work with that venue.”

“Promoters are a huge chunk of our business. It’s not in our interest to be pissing them off”

The discussion also touched on ticketing: specifically the merits and drawbacks of venues operating their own box offices. Ticketmaster’s Doug Smith said it’s up to venues whether they want to ticket their own shows, but by doing so they miss out on Ticketmaster’s “good technology line [and] huge market reach.” “We want to assist you in selling out your venue,” he commented.

Zink said venues have be to sure that if they do go the self-ticketing route, they have the infrastructure in place to deal with demand. “We had a case last year – an arena show – where the website went down for an hour after on-sale,” he said. “That’s not acceptable: if people can’t buy tickets when they want to.”

Beese said the Roundhouse holds on to 70% of ticket inventory, with the remaining 30% going to the promoter. That’s not enough, said Galbraith: “Many venues now are saying you need to give us 60–70%, and then the only tickets that aren’t selling are the venue’s allocation. I have to pay to take them out of the box office, which is wrong. […] Venues are stopping us being able to effectively promote.”

“The proportion held back is sometimes an issue,” agreed Ryan. “As an agent, all I really care about is having those tickets spread as widely as possible.”

 


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Full ILMC 29 conference report goes live

The full report from last week’s 29th International Live Music Conference (ILMC) is now live on the ILMC site.

Featuring photos, delegate feedback and summaries of all conference sessions, showcases, workshops, parties and events, including the new Venue and Festival Summits and the tenth ILMC Production Meeting, the report – at 29.ilmc.com/report – serves as a comprehensive round-up of all the chilling goings-on at the murder mystery-themed event, which attended by more than 1,100 live music professionals from 7 to 10 March.

“Curious to know who was voted the second least offensive agent, or whose performance at the karaoke was bordering on criminal?,” says ILMC, “or what happened when Ed Bicknell met Paul McGuinness at The Breakfast Meeting? It’s all online here.”

A condensed report will also be published in issue 71 of IQ Magazine, which will hit your desks next month.

 


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Amazon Tickets: “Fair prices”, no fees, no resale

Ahead of its rumoured international launch, Amazon Tickets’ general manager, Geraldine Wilson, has discussed Amazon’s fledgling UK ticketing operation, outlining its commitment to “fair prices for fans” with booking fees included in tickets’ face value.

Speaking at the 29th International Live Music Conference (ILMC) in London last week, Wilson said concert ticketing is an “obvious” area of expansion for Amazon given the ecommerce giant’s strength in physical musical sales and streaming. “Our customers love music, and this was an obvious place to go,” she said.

On pricing, Wilson said Amazon its mission is to be “competitive on prices”: “When we are selling theatre tickets, for example, we don’t want the customer to pay any more than they would at the box office,” she explained. “We try and work within that.”

She also criticised the practice of charging booking fees on tickets at check-out, saying she “personally [has] a real problem” with hidden charges. “We always show an all-inclusive price,” she commented.

“We are all about getting tickets to fans in our customer base at a fair price. I think secondary is wrong on every level”

When the panel (Ticketing: The survival plan) moved onto secondary ticketing, Wilson was adamant Amazon was not going to move in that direction. “We are all about getting tickets to fans in our customer base at a fair price,” she said. “I think it [ticket touting] is wrong at every level.”

Wilson also appeared briefly during ILMC’s opening session, The Open Forum: The big round up, joining panellists as they discussed the ramifications of Amazon’s potentially disruptive entry into the international ticketing market.

Reactions were mixed: From a manager’s point of view, said Biffy Clyro’s manager, Paul Craig, Amazon Tickets’s launch – and more ticket sellers in general – are a good thing, as each has different reaches and user-bases. CAA agent Emma Banks, however, cautioned that too many cooks could make it difficult to effectively price shows. “Ticketing is very complicated in the UK,” she said. “You have arena box-office deals, promoter deals with ticketing companies… another ticket agency further squeezes the allocations.”

 


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McGuinness: Zoo TV tour changed the biz forever

Former U2 manager Paul McGuinness has spoken of the significant role he and the band played in the emergence of major multinational promoters such as Live Nation and AEG Live/Presents.

Interviewed by Ed Bicknell for the ILMC 29 Breakfast Meeting, McGuinness related how U2’s 1992–93 Zoo TV world tour indirectly laid the foundations for the rise of Live Nation et al. Describing the tour production as “extraordinary – but bank-breaking”,  he said U2 were then “still operating like a punk band, with low ticket prices. If one of the promoters on that tour hadn’t paid, we’d have been ruined.”

“At the end of that tour – which made no money – I said we’d never do it again,” he continued. “I had to tell [then-agents] Ian Flooks and Frank Barsalona that I wasn’t going to use them anymore. That was quite an event…

“I decided the next tour was going to be underwritten by a single promoter. We worked with Arthur Fogel and Michael Cohl – that deal became SFX, then Clear Channel and now Live Nation.”

The interview, as is tradition, took place on the final morning of ILMC, following the previous evening’s Gala Dinner and Arthur Awards (see the winners here).

Bicknell began by asking how much of a role luck has played in McGuinness’s long career. McGuinness highlighted luck as one of the four key qualities needed in a manager – along with talent, stamina and ambition – and related an anecdote about Napoleon’s choice of marshals: “He said, most of all, they have to be lucky. Luck has an enormous amount to do with success in popular music.”

“U2 always understood they had two parallel careers: one in live and one in recording”

Reflecting on his pre-U2 management career, McGuinness said his first gig was for a Celtic rock band (a “poor man’s Horslips”) called Spud. “I managed to get them a record deal, and we did a little bit of touring, mostly in Germany and Sweden,” he explained. Spud, however, had “wives and responsibilities” and were loath to buy anything for the band – even guitar strings – feeling they were committed elsewhere. McGuinness said he thought they were “too old to make it” and resolved that “the next band I manage is going to be younger than that.”

Introduced to U2 by late rock critic Bill Graham, McGuinness said band and manager’s famous five-way royalty split was established from the outset. “I used to read about Brian Epstein, Andrew [Loog] Oldham… in the groups I was interested in there was an officer class and then the soldiers,” he explained. “In the Rolling Stones you had Mick and Keith and then everyone else; in The Beatles it was John and Paul, and then George and Ringo. That’s what broke up those groups.

“So, I said to U2: ‘There isn’t going to be any money for a while, so what there is you should split equally. And since there’s four of you and one of me, why don’t we split everything five ways?’”

On U2’s early touring career, McGuinness outlined how important the band’s live act was to establishing their reputation at a time when their records weren’t selling. “U2 always understood they had two parallel careers: one in live and one in recording,” he said. “We weren’t successful [with the latter] in the beginning – the first two records didn’t perform well, and there was the constant threat of being dropped.

“Only with the third album [War] did we have success on record. By then we were known across America, Europe… we had a very military style: we targeted each country one by one and tried to build ourselves in each at the same speed.”

“In the early ’80s,” he continued, “we’d do three months in the US in one go every year. That meant playing in as many cities as possible ­– and major cities twice each, so you’d hopefully see progress from a club to an auditorium [when you returned].

“Everyone liked the idea of touring an in-the-round stadium production, but it took a lot of money and imagination to turn it into a reality. I don’t think anyone will ever do it again”

“The first show we played in LA was the [600-cap.] Country Club, and because we had support from K-Rock and the LA Times, it was sold out. When we returned three months later, we were able to sell out the 3,000-seat Santa Monica Civic [Center].”

McGuinness said a consequence of that early focus on live is that a lot of the promoters of their first shows “grew up with us.” Adding “Very often they’re now Live Nation territory bosses, so the sensation is often of still doing business with the same people.”

McGuinness stepped down as U2’s manager in 2013, two years after the conclusion of the innovative 360° tour, which saw the band play ‘in the round’ with the audience in a circular configuration around the stage ­– still the highest-grossing concert tour of all time.

Despite the tour netting him and his band more than US$736 million, McGuinness said his favourite U2 show is still their first performance at Madison Square Garden, in 1985. (The same is true for Dire Straits, agreed ex-manager Bicknell.) “Even though you get paid less, as the union has cottoned on to how sentimental bands are over the venue – I think there are union stagehands from New Jersey who haven’t left their houses in 20 years that are still getting paid – the vibe is just extraordinary,” he commented.

With discussion – inevitably – turning briefly to secondary ticketing, McGuinness said the price scaling for the 360° tour was “pretty good. We had $25 tickets further from the stage, with prices going all the way up to $120, $150, all sold out.”

“Everyone liked the idea of touring an in-the-round stadium production,” he concluded, “but it took a lot of money and imagination to turn it into a reality. I don’t think anyone will ever do it again.”

 


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Arthur Awards 2017: The winners

Taking place in the sumptuous Victorian ballroom of London’s 8Northumberland, the ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ Gala Dinner & Arthur Awards saw a number of the live music industry’s most distinguished and decadent don their best bibs and tuckers in order to get mirthful during a glamorous evening of top nosh and diversion.

Taking place last Thursday, on the second day of the 29th International Live Music Conference (ILMC), the dinner saw world-famous magician Nigel Mead provide some incredible entertainment for the 300 assembled guests, while ILMC’s very own conductress extraordinaire, CAA’s Emma Banks, took charge of passengers, checking their ticket stubs and issuing Arthur Awards to those deemed most deserving by the ILMC membership.

The main accolade of the evening, the Bottle Award, went to a very surprised and emotional Herman Schueremans, of Live Nation Belgium/Rock Werchter. The other winners are:

Venue (First Venue to Come into Your Head)
Royal Albert Hall

Production services (Services Above and Beyond)
Eat to the Beat

Professional services (Most Professional Professional)
Selina Emeny, Live Nation

Festival (Liggers’ Favourite Festival)
British Summer Time

Ticketing (The Golden Ticket)
CTS Eventim

Assistant (The People’s Assistant)
Sarah Donovan, Live Nation UK

New business talent (Tomorrow’s New Boss)
Oliver Ward, UTA

Agent (Second Least Offensive Agent)
John Giddings, Solo

Promoter (The Promoters’ Promoter)
Stephan Thanscheidt, FKP Scorpio

 


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ILMC 29 sells out

With exactly a week to go until kick-off, the 29th International Live Music Conference (ILMC) has sold out.

While all tickets have been snapped up for the main conference, a handful remain for the ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ Gala Dinner, which takes place next Thursday at 8Northumberland Hotel and also includes the Arthur Awards – the live music industry’s equivalent of the Oscars.

A few tickets are also still available for the tenth ILMC Production Meeting (IPM), on Tuesday 7 March, and the Green Events & Innovations (GEI) conference on the same day.

“With the keenest investigators and most super sleuths in the business all heading to London, the scene is now set for a great edition,” says ILMC head Greg Parmley. “With both new Festival and Conference Summits, the mid-week format and a stellar line-up of guest speakers and discussion topics, we’re excited to open the doors next week.”

More than 1,100 live music professionals from 60+ countries will congregate at the Royal Garden Hotel in London from 8 to 10 March for ILMC 29.

“With the keenest investigators and most super sleuths in the business all heading to London, the scene is now set for a great edition”

This year’s highlights include the aforementioned Festival Summit 2017 and Venue Summit 2017, produced in partnership with key industry associations and operators; The Agency Business 2017, an annual update on the global artist booking sector; and The Think Tank series, featuring a trio of renowned industry figures.

Elsewhere, Ticketing: The survival plan will consider major global trends and the entrance of new deep-pocketed multinationals into the market, and The YouTubers: Money in millennials will look at the trend of vloggers developing touring and festival shows.

Direct Licensing: Rates, rights and wrongs draws together promoters, direct licensing agents and collection societies for a pan-European discussion on this recent, often controversial, development, and Elastic Artists: A cautionary tale sees Jon Slade tell the story of his London agency, which went into administration in late 2015.

Legendary artist manager Paul McGuinness, who managed U2 for more than 30 years, will be interviewed for the Breakfast Meeting, while workshops tackle Snapchat, Instagram, mental health, visas and immigration and grassroots venue activity.

A full conference programme, including the agendas for IPM 10 and GEI 9, is available from 29.ilmc.com.

 


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Paul McGuinness joins ILMC 29 for breakfast

One of the industry’s best-known artist managers, Paul McGuinness, will join host Ed Bicknell for The Breakfast Meeting at the 29th International Live Music Conference (ILMC) on 10 March.

McGuinness founded Principle Management in 1982, managing U2 from the start of their career until 2013, during which time they won 22 Grammy Awards and sold more than 160 million albums worldwide.

He has also managed The Rapture and multiple Mercury Prize-winner PJ Harvey, and is widely known in the film business, in which he remains heavily involved.

Previous Breakfast Meeting interviewees include CAA’s Emma Banks (ILMC 26), Live Nation’s Arthur Fogel (ILMC 27) and WME’s Marc Geiger (ILMC 28).

ILMC last week unveiled its full conference agenda for 2017, including the new Festival Summit Venue Summits and panels on ticketing, direct licensing, visas, mental health and YouTubers.

 


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ILMC reveals 2017 agenda

The agenda for the 29th International Live Music Conference (ILMC) is now live at 29.ilmc.com/schedule, with the long-running conference this year introducing several new elements to reflect innovations in the global live music business.

New to ILMC are the Festival Summit 2017 and Venue Summit 2017, produced in partnership with key industry associations and operators; The Agency Business 2017, an annual update on the global artist booking sector; and The Think Tank series, featuring a trio of renowned industry figures.

Other highlights include Ticketing: The survival plan, which considers major global trends and the entrance of new deep-pocketed multinationals into the market, and The YouTubers: Money in millennials, which looks at the trend of vloggers developing touring and festival shows.

“We wanted this year’s agenda to reflect the accelerating pace of change across the global live music business”

Direct Licensing: Rates, rights and wrongs draws together promoters, direct licensing agents and collection societies for a pan-European discussion on this recent, often controversial, development, while Elastic Artists: A cautionary tale sees Jon Slade tell the story of his London agency, which went into administration in late 2015.

“From ticketing, security, fan engagement, streaming and YouTubers to workshops on Snapchat, Instagram, mental health, visas and VIP upgrades, we wanted this year’s agenda to reflect the accelerating pace of change across the global live music business,” comments ILMC head Greg Parmley.

The invitation-only conference, which this year has a murder mystery theme, takes place from Tuesday 7 to Friday 10 March at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, London.

 


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Calling all sleuths: ILMC 29 is a go

The International Live Music Conference (ILMC) will for the first time move to a midweek format when it returns for the 29th year next March.

The invitation-only conference, which, following last year’s classic videogame theme, will next year be a murder mystery-styled event, will take place from Tuesday 7 to Friday 10 March at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, London.

The change of dates comes after a poll of ILMC members earlier this year showed overwhelming support for moving to a midweek format. “We’ve used the opportunity to expand the number of panels and workshops we can run, add more events and revamp the networking areas in the hotel to allow for more private meeting space,” says conference head Greg Parmley.

“We’ve used the opportunity to expand the number of panels and workshops we can run, add more events and revamp the networking areas in the hotel to allow for more private meeting space”

Other events to orbit the main conference include the ILMC Production Meeting (IPM) and Green Events & Innovations Conference (GEI), both of which take place on Tuesday 7 March, and the Arthur Awards – the live music industry’s equivalent of the Oscars – which will be presented during a Gala Dinner at new venue 8Northumberland on Thursday 8 March.

ILMC 29 event partners include Live Nation, Ticketmaster, CTS Eventim, Amazon Tickets, Intellitix, Malaysia Major Events, Feld Entertainment, Showsec, .tickets and Buma Cultuur.

The new ILMC 29 website is live now.

 


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