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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.

View the full provisional schedule here, read more about all speakers confirmed for Futures Forum 2023 by clicking here or buy tickets here.

 


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Primary Talent finance chief Peter Maloney retires

Primary Talent International finance director and ILMC stalwart Peter Maloney has announced his retirement.

The Limerick, Ireland-born executive spent 32 years with the agency and was an influential figure in ILMC history, running the conference alongside founder Martin Hopewell for a number of years. His contribution was recognised with the Medal of Honour at the 2014 Arthur Awards, which he received alongside the late ILMC producer Alia Dann Swift.

“Peter has been my adviser and friend for over 30 years,” says Primary agent Hopewell. “He’s probably also the straightest man I’ve ever known. I completely relied on his professionalism during years that I was running both Primary and the ILMC – and I have a feeling that at least one of the two wouldn’t still be here if it wasn’t for his involvement. Everybody who has been involved either over the last three decades owes him a debt of thanks.”

Qualifying as an accountant with Price Waterhouse Ireland in 1982, Maloney moved to London and joined Deloittes (then known as Touche Ross), providing accounting services to actors and musicians.

“With a keenness to work directly in the actual music business, I joined a management company client of mine in 1987 where I gained extraordinary experience working for Steve Weltman,” Maloney tells IQ. “Over a two year period I was exposed to such areas as live touring, merchandise, publishing, record companies , producers, recording studios and collection societies. Steve was a great mentor and prepared me for a long and lasting career in the business.”

“It is hard to compress and summarise those 32 years. The company means an awful lot to me and always will”

During his management days, Maloney first crossed paths with Martin Hopewell at The Manor recording studio in Oxfordshire in 1988.

“It was also my first introduction to clay pigeon shooting, something that Martin was extremely good at,” remembers Maloney. “Martin represented one of the acts that we were managing at the time though on this occasion we were both at the studio to see a band called Walk on Fire.

“By 1989 I was ready for my next challenge and answered an advert in Music Week for an accountant at The Station Agency run by Steve Hedges. I got that job and ‘the rest is history’. Steve is one of the most incredible people I have ever worked for and I truly thank him for supporting me in so many ways that allowed me to flourish and find my niche.”

Primary was formed a year later and opened its doors in October 1990, initially made up of the staff and clients from The Station Agency (Steve Hedges with Andy Woolliscroft and Ian Huffam), World Service Agency (Martin Hopewell with Dave Chumbley, Paul Franklin and Nigel Hassler) and Foundation (David Levy with Richard Smith).

“It is hard to compress and summarise those 32 years,” reflects Maloney. “The company means an awful lot to me and always will. Primary runs through my veins. I was humbly proud of every success that we achieved and personally saddened by every failure.

“I got to work with some amazing artists and their managers and accountants. I consider myself very lucky to have seen so many live concerts and event: Oasis at Knebworth , INXS at Wembley Stadium and the Spice Girls at Wembley Arena were particular highlights.”

“I could write a book on my ILMC reflections alone!”

Maloney describes Hopewell as an “incredible mentor” and “major influence in my development”.

“The ILMC had been going for two years before we started Primary,” he notes. “I subsequently worked with Martin on the ILMC for the next 25 years. That was an amazing, unique and fulfilling experience. I could write a book on my ILMC reflections alone!

“I also got to work with some extraordinarily talented people at Primary, and not just agents. We have to remember those in the engine room that propel the company forward such as Lisa Briggs , the face of Primary on reception for over 27 years, our IT manager Robin, the bookers , the unsung assistants, Tina the cleaner, and my fabulously loyal and hard working accounts team of Kerri, Elaine and Nik.

Thanks too, to the Primary board of Andy, Ben, Matt and Pete – a very unique collection of individuals. We had to make a lot of very hard decisions over the years , particularly during the Covid pandemic. Letting go of ‘our baby’ and selling to ICM was a decision that we took very seriously.”

On a poignant note, Maloney also pays tribute to his former colleagues Dann and Primary director and booking agent Dave Chumbley, who both passed away five years ago.

“For all the great things that happened at Primary over the years, 2017 was a very bleak year when we lost both Alia Dann and Dave Chumbley,” he says. “I worked with Alia for so many years at the ILMC . She was a great support and confidant to me, as I was to her.

“Dave was a gloriously unique and flamboyant character. The productivity of the office rose dramatically once he breezed through the door each morning! A force of nature , an action man with a big generous heart. Still sadly missed. When dealing with various scenarios in recent years I would often ask myself ‘what would Dave think?’”

Maloney reveals that, now he has retired, he plans to continue to travel and take longer holidays, as well as maintaining his fitness.

“I have been running for over 50 years,” he adds. “It has kept me sane and I intend to run until I am no longer able to do so. I am more of a speed merchant than a long distance runner and have a few Parkrun age category course records that I am jealously guarding!”

 


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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.

 


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AGF announces first speakers for GEI 15

A Greener Festival (AGF) has announced the first speakers for its Green Events and Innovations Conference (GEI 15), set for 28 February 2023 at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London.

The conference will delve into the challenges of delivering green global events, venue construction and operational impacts, genuine carbon removals vs misleading offsets, impactful truthful communications vs greenwashing, and the power and responsibility of using high profiles for positive change.

Dale Vince, founder of the world’s first green electricity company Ecotricity and chairman of ‘the world’s greenest football club’, will discuss the transformation of Forest Green Rovers into the world’s first Vegan football club.

The conference will delve into the challenges of delivering green global events

In addition, major event organiser Rosanna Machado will share the social and environmental ambitions and achievements of HM the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Pageant.

Mark Stevenson of CUR8 will deep-dive into credible and durable carbon removals and the pitfalls of offset claims that lack credibility and efficacy.

Plus, award-winning creative Zed Anwar will speak about the importance of creativity when communicating about climate issues and his campaign concept for WWF about brands becoming extinct.

And Andy Cato, regenerative farmer, cofounder of Wildfarmed and one-half of the electronic music band Groove Armada, will give insight into transforming our agricultural practices to support biodiversity and store carbon.

More speakers for GEI 15 will be announced soon. For more information on the conference, or to purchase tickets, click here.

GEI is AGF’s flagship event and is organised in partnership with the ILMC, which takes place at the Royal Lancaster Hotel between 28 February and 3 March.

 


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The ILMC 1994 World Cup

In the summer of 1994, when England failed to qualify for the World Cup in America, ILMC ran its own “far better” version with England in it. Calling on ILMC members to form national teams while raising money for charity, it took place at “the only place you could hold a proper World Cup” – the hallowed turf of Wembley Stadium in London.

The original VHS recording of the day was lost in the dark annuls of the ILMC archives until recently, and now it’s released online for your viewing pleasure for the very first time.

The video features many familiar faces from across the international live music business (albeit somewhat younger looking), as well as highlights of each match. The day itself raised funds for Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy and Great Ormond St Children’s Hospital, with trophies awarded by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II…or at least someone who looked a lot like her.

The teams were led by captains Martin Horne (England), Petri Lunden (Scandinavia), Frank Van Hoorn (Holland), Geoff Ellis (Scotland), Carlos Fleischmann (Germany), Peter Aiken (Ireland), John Tyrell (Australia) and Anna Reznik (Russia), while the full list of players are below.

“ILMC was getting playful to see what we could get away with,” recalls conference founder Martin Hopewell. “We had a go-karting red-eye league once a week with its own newsletter and looked at doing a skiing event called ILM-Ski, and clay shooting championship called ILM-Skeet.

“It started out as a fun idea and grew into a monster, legendary event”

“The World Cup was in America and England hadn’t qualified for it, so we had the idea of having the real world cup with England in it, in the only place you could do a proper World Cup – Wembley Stadium.

“It started out as a fun idea and grew into a monster, legendary event. This was pre-email, pre-anything really, so we called and faxed ILMC members to see who wanted to put a national live music business team together.”

ILMC producer Rob Hollingsworth organised the day alongside Hopewell, with former Wembley Stadium execs John Drury and Charlie Shun managing to green-light the venue.

“For the opening ceremony everybody marched out onto the pitch waving at 80,000 invisible people cheering through the loudspeakers,” says Hopewell. “The whole event was just magic; people contacted me years later to say it was the best day of their lives, including their wedding day, or the birth of their first child.”

If you played in 1994’s ILMC World Cup, or were involved, we’d love to see your comments on the video on our YouTube channel.

The Teams:

Australia
John Tyrell
Peter Ryan
Gavin Charles
Janette Stuart
Rod Woolley
Dorina Morelli
Peter Kent
Lisa Nadal
Andy Zweck
Paul Franklin
Dave Chumbley
Nigel Hassler
Tim Elwes
Ben Winchester
Sean Fitzpatrick
Frankie Enfield
Robert Delicata

England
Martin Horne
Richard Hermitage
Jeff Craft
Mick Griffiths
Paul Buck
Mike Greek
Pete Nash
Paul Bolton
Tim Parsons
Simon Moran
Martin Goebbels
Ian Huffam
Andy Woolliscroft
Steve Knott
Martin Hopewell
Rob Hollingsworth

Germany
Dirk Matzke
Stefan Puriss
Axel Horn
Henry Klaere
Ralf Weihrauch
Sven Kohl
Holger Statmann
Thomas Wundald
Jorg Schafer
Jorg Lengauer
Rainer Mund
Gunter Linnartz
Marc Liebscher
Richard Hamilton
Carlos Fleischmann
Pala Maini

Holland
Dries van de Schuyt
Peter van de Schuyt
Gert Kok
Philip Schuller
Dick Molenaar
Jochem Kroon
Wim van Antwerpen
Leon Mooijman
Richard Janssen
Rob Takken
Edwin Zomer
Michiel Berg
Arie Martin van Tol
Barry Smith
Frank Van Hoorn
Saskia Blom

Ireland
Gerard Skelton
Joe Webb
John Reynolds
Conor Kelly
Mark McGinley
Greg Finnegan
Niall Stokes
Dune Stokes
Kevin McKay
John McGuigan
Eamon O’Connor
Tommy Higgins
Paul Maxwell
Peter Aiken

Russia
Grigori Kouzmine
Oleg Gazmanov
Alexandre Ivanov
Iouri Loza
Igor Kouprianov
Vitali Bondarchouk
Eugeni Lovtchev
Andrei Serychev
Eugeni Chliakhovoi
Nikolai Safonov
Igor Silverstov
Igor Belikov
Rafail Isangulov
Oleg Scugarev

Scandinavia
Christian Schoyen
Knut Akselsen
Pange Oberg
Ben Marlene
Palle Lidell
Billy Bolero
Martin Roos
James Hoffman
Johan “Redtop” Larsson
Sean Morgan
Neil Thorns

Scotland
Scott Fyfe
Tony Kerr
Pedro McShane
Jim McDermott
Gerry McEllhone
Geoff Ellis
Rob Ballantine
Brian Reid
Steph Fleming
Callum McLean
Kevin McDermott
Paul Westwater
Cathaill
Dougie Souness

 


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ASM Global extends ILMC bursary scheme partnership

ASM Global and the International Live Music Conference (ILMC) have announced that their partnership to dramatically expand the conference’s Alia Dann Swift Bursary Scheme will continue into 2023.

The link-up, which promotes and encourages the next generation of young executive talent, is supported by ASM Global’s corporate social responsibility platform, ASM Global Acts, which launched in October 2021.

The Bursary scheme will see 30 young executives given a place at next year’s ILMC, which takes place in London from 1-3 March and welcomes 2,000 leading professionals across the week. Through the Bursary scheme, the selected young executives will also have access to invitation-only networking events during ILMC, and a dedicated industry mentor via the ASM Global family; a chance to share knowledge, ideas, and to build new contacts within the industry.

“At ASM Global we are committed to investing in people and strengthening communities all over the world,” says Chris Bray, EVP, Europe at ASM Global. “Through the company’s ASM Global Acts platform, we’re able to take action and create real opportunity for the next generation of industry leaders, so we are delighted to continue our partnership with ILMC on the Alia Dann Swift Bursary Scheme and look forward to meeting with the chosen delegates at next year’s event.”

Founded in 2018, the scheme is named after the late Alia Dann Swift, ILMC’s longstanding producer who was instrumental in both bringing talent into the industry and supporting and encouraging new ILMC members.

“The scheme is a firm step towards supporting the next generation of business leaders across the live sector”

“We’re thrilled to welcome ASM back for the second year as supporters of ILMC’s bursary scheme,” adds ILMC head Greg Parmley. “Just how the business can encourage and foster a new and diverse range of executive talent is a primary focus for all right now, and the scheme is a firm step towards supporting the next generation of business leaders across the live sector.”

To apply, applicants should already be working in the live music business and not have previously attended an ILMC. Full details of the bursary scheme and an application form are available here. The first 10 places on the scheme are now open to applicants internationally, with further places to be released closer to the event.

ASM Global is the company responsible for management and operations at major venues including AO Arena (Manchester), OVO Arena Wembley, Avicii Arena (Stockholm), Tele2 Arena (Stockholm), P&J Live (Aberdeen), first direct Arena (Leeds).

Click here for more information on the ILMC Alia Dann Swift Bursary Scheme.

 


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Event welfare consultant Penny Mellor honoured

Event welfare consultant Penny Mellor was presented with the female lifetime achievement award at this year’s UK Events Summit.

A longstanding member of the International Live Music Conference (ILMC) team, Mellor has racked up 50 years’ worth of experience in the sector.

Fifty years ago, she became a field worker for a recently founded charity, Festival Welfare Services, which she ended up running for nearly 20 years and whose remit was to take care of the health and safety of audiences and crew at events.

From the late seventies onwards, Mellor has arranged welfare services, written welfare reports, and consulted for many events both in the UK and abroad. More recently, she has worked as an environmental assessor for A Greener Festival.

“Her work has always been for wellbeing and safety and concerned with the people and kindness, rather than status and profit”

She has been involved with government departments and universities, and has written extensively about event safety, crowd management, and drug safety at events. And in 2018, she contributed the section of the Purple Guide dedicated to worker welfare.

“The female lifetime achievement goes to a woman who has served the industry for over 50 years,” said the presenter at the 26 October ceremony.

“Her work has always been for wellbeing and safety and concerned with the people and kindness, rather than status and profit. As well as being a published author and still travels to complete Greener festival assessments amongst many other great projects. Congratulations Event Welfare Consultant, Penny Mellor.”

 


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IFF 2022: First agency showcases revealed

With less than a month to go until kick-off, the International Festival Forum (IFF) – the invitation-only event for festival professionals and booking agents – has revealed the first partner agency showcases. The announcement comes as the programme for the event is finalised, with over 800 attendees expected from 40 countries.

Wasserman Music, X-Ray Touring, UTA and Earth Agency are among the world-class booking agencies that will be showcasing festival-ready talent at this year’s IFF in Camden, London.

Following the 27 September opening parties, X-Ray Touring will kick off IFF’s daytime showcase schedule at PowerHaus in Camden on 28 September, presenting Gigi Moss, Psymon Spine, The Native and Zheani.

The following afternoon, Wasserman Music will present Dead Pony, Debbie, flowerovlove, and Piri & Tommy , and Earth Agency showcases Deijuvhs and Haviah Mighty.

Capping off IFF’s showcase schedule later that night, United Talent Agency will present three artists – FAT DOG, Panic Shack and ZAND – under its up-and-coming music brand, Hear This.

The Roskilde team is inviting all IFF delegates to raise a glass at a special birthday celebration in IFF’s host hotel

With a schedule of events that includes daytime conference sessions, pop up agency office spaces around Camden, the eighth edition of IFF “must be the most involved, and wide-reaching yet,” says co-founder Ruud Berends.

As part of this year’s programme, IFF has also announced 50th-anniversary celebrations for Denmark’s marquee festival, Roskilde. On 28 September, at 12:00, IFF will host a unique conversation with the Roskilde team that will cover everything from its 70s roots, to how it thrives today as an organisation linked to the latest trends and ideologies.

Later that day, between 21:00–23:00, the Roskilde team is inviting all IFF delegates to raise a glass at a special birthday celebration in the Glasshouse of IFF’s host hotel, the Holiday Inn in Camden (more details here).

Agencies still to announce showcasing artists over the coming weeks include Primary Talent, ATC Live, Solo and One Fiinix Live. Meanwhile, supporters of this year’s IFF include Ticketmaster, Universe, Tysers, Vatom, eps, Oooosh! Tours, Music Venue Trust, John Henry’s and the UK’s Department for International Trade.

View the full artists’ lineup here, and listen to all the showcasing artists via the official IFF 2022 playlist here. For more information on the IFF’s 2022 schedule, click here.

 


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Inside the changing face of live music sponsorship

The pandemic has changed the game for live music sponsorship, according to prominent figures across the business.

With question marks arising over whether brand tie-ins have lost its allure or remain a premier choice for brand leaders, most signs appear to point towards the latter.

Bijal Parmar, head of consumer marketing for Virgin Media O2, indicated much of the appeal for sponsors was derived from music’s “immense power” of connectivity.

“It’s a common culture and a universal language that during the pandemic – and even post-pandemic – has been able to unite people,” she said. “It’s something that has kept people connected, so we’re able to use it to articulate our brand strategy and provide an experience for our customers… So it’s a memory that we’re creating, not just an event.”

Dukagjin ‘Dugi’ Lipa, founder of Republika Communications Agency and co-organiser of Kosovo’s Sunny Hill Festival, with his daughter, Dua Lipa, discussed the evolving relationship.

“Rather than just being that transactional stance between the artist and the brand, we see a lot of changes and different approaches from brand partners,” he said. “Now it’s more connected to brand values: do they see anything that can have longevity rather than just one kind of interaction between the artist and the brand?”

“We get a lot of brand offers, but it’s never about the money”

Dugi pointed out that although the global success of Dua Lipa’s second album Future Nostalgia had placed her in even higher demand with would-be sponsors, there were additional considerations to take into account.

“We get a lot of brand offers, but it’s never about the money,” he insisted. “It’s always about the long term partnership and the values. You become part of the brand and the brand becomes a part of you for that period of time.

“Even though you have a lot of offers, you have to be very, very careful what your next step is and who you are going to be affiliated with, etc. We are living in a new kind of world, where everything is online, everything is reachable, everything is accessible to you. So you have to be very careful who you work and why you do it.”

US-based ASM Global EVP of marketing Alex Merchan summed up the venue company’s approach.

“A key thing we find is really looking beyond just the transactional relationship,” he said. “What is in it for both parties? We’re looking for partners that we can find unique, creative things that add value to the fan experience, or to the facility itself.”

Music Venue Trust CEO Mark Davyd explained the organisation’s formation in 2014 marked a turning point for the grassroots sector’s relationship with brands. Davyd referenced the Revive Live showcase, launched in July 2021 with support from the UK National Lottery, which contributed £1 million to directly underwrite the touring and production costs of hundreds of live performances.

“Post-pandemic, it seems to me like a lot of the brands are becoming smarter and not overlaying quite so much,” he suggested. “Our deal with them doesn’t really involve us saying ‘the National Lottery’ very much at all. What they’re looking to do is own the space where an artist broke through, from being unknown to being a touring artist. They want to own that across a number of years.

“In five years’ time, they’re hoping that one of the 60 or 70 tours we’ve already put out will be by the next Adele or Dua Lipa – and they want that reputational branding, rather than a big ‘look what the National Lottery has done’ shout, and that feels quite different. I’ve done a lot of branding where quite often you weren’t really sure why the company was there, but you liked their money. But what we’re now seeing is a lot more of a focus on, ‘What is the authentic experience and how can our brand sit alongside that?'”

“The reaction from the audience is tangibly different than it was before Covid. And I think brands can see that and want to be part of it”

Davyd added that Covid-19 had acted as a “wake-up” call for people who had previously taken their local venue for granted.

“They had to drive or walk past it when it was closed for nearly two years and they really thought, ‘Wow, I could lose that,'” said Davyd. “In this pandemic, a lot of the audience reconnected with what they’ve missed. I’ve been to about 200 shows already and the reaction from the audience is tangibly different than it was before Covid. There’s a real atmosphere in the room of being so happy to be there. And I think brands can see that and want to be part of it.”

CAA UK’s Bradlee Banbury continued on a similar theme, saying many brands had been forced to rethink their relationship with live music due to pandemic.

“They had been lazily badging tours or festivals, but not really activating in a different way with music fans,” he said. “And when we went into the pandemic and there were no live events happening, I think everyone had to reinvent the wheel a little bit. There were some brands that already had strong connections with musicians established for years and they lent into it quite easily. But there were others that were just completely shocked by the whole experience.

“Post-pandemic, I think everyone will have a bit more of a strategy to spread the money a little bit further and make that connection with the actual fans, rather than just badging a tour [although] there’s a place for that as well.”

Banbury spoke highly of drink brands White Claw and Jagermeister’s link-ups with All Points East.

“They’ve got their own stages,” he said. “So you’ve got a lot of fans seeing a show, drinking Jagermeister or White Claw; they’re having a party and they’re really enjoying it. Those brands have brought something to the table.”

This discussion took place as part of the Sponsorship: Falling through the cracks? panel at ILMC 34 in London.

 


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Livestreaming: What happens next?

A panel of industry experts debated what the future holds for livestreaming following the return of touring.

The ILMC session: Livestreaming: On trial was presented by Eleven Management’s Estelle Wilkinson, with speakers Ric Salmon of Driift, Grazia Tribulato of LiveNow, Max Wentzler of Zart Agency and agent Steve Zapp of ITB on hand to pass judgement.

While the format flourished during the pandemic, concerns have been raised that it has fallen down the list of priorities amid the return of IRL concerts.

But Driift CEO and co-founder Salmon, whose company has sold hundreds of thousands of tickets for livestreamed gigs with acts including Nick Cave, Niall Horan, Kylie Minogue, Biffy Clyro, Andrea Bocelli and Laura Marling, said he is convinced it is here to stay.

“I’d be shocked if it doesn’t become just part of the standard lexicon of what we do”

“I think we need a couple of years for us all to work out where this is going and hopefully, businesses won’t lose too much money through that process,” he said. “Unfortunately, development in [the digital] sector tends to be slowed down and stymied by arguments and disagreement, and it would be nice if we can find a way of that not happening this time.

“But in long term… I’d be shocked if it doesn’t become just part of the standard lexicon of what we do.”

Germany-based Zart Agency launched Zart.tv in 2020, with the first hybrid livestreaming concert with AR content in the country. Wentzler said he had been left scratching his head at the reluctance of certain parties to embrace the fresh opportunities created.

“There’s a potential revenue stream… And people are shutting their doors to it”

“What I think is a bit mind boggling about this whole conversation is there’s a potential new revenue stream… And people are shutting their doors to it,” he said.

“In five years, I would love to see labels really understanding the potential, especially with younger artists and up and coming hot artists.

“What I’m seeing right now in Germany – because of state funding – is that a lot of venues now have five, six cameras, all remote controlled. The house technicians are actually learning to do sound and do video at the same time. We’ve seen this a lot in jazz clubs in Germany, and they’re doing a lot of revenue – some that I’ve talked to have been doing six figures. I would love to see that business model being extrapolated on to bigger areas.”

Zapp’s artist roster includes Biffy Clyro, who played a behind-closed-doors global livestream show from Glasgow Barrowlands in 2020 to launch their A Celebration of Endings album. He spoke of the advantages offered by the format, particularly geographically.

“[There are] certain countries that you can’t tour because it’s too expensive to get to,” he said. “The streaming scenario is an opportunity to get the artist to be seen in those countries. You could put a bit of a spend behind it and maybe try and build it to then be able to afford to tour in the future.”

“If it’s a standalone livestream, completely outside of any campaign that’s going on, it’s really difficult to market”

LiveNow’s most successful livestream to date was Dua Lipa’s Studio 2054 livestream, which saw more than five million people tuning in live, according to organisers. However, more generally, Tribulato advised a certain amount of education on livestream events was still required for consumers.

“I think everybody is still quite confused on what are they going to get when they buy a ticket for a livestream,” she said. “When they get a ticket, what do they get? Are they watching the show live? Are they watching a pre-recorded show? Can they watch it after 24 hours? Can they watch it forever? There’s still a lot of confusion. and a lot of marketing is spent on actually explaining what it is.”

Tribulato suggested it makes more sense to position livestreams as part of an artist’s wider promotional campaign, rather than a one-off concert.

“If it’s a standalone, completely outside of any campaign that’s going on, it’s really difficult to market,” she said. “So what we tend to do is ‘tentpole events’, as we call them: big events… in the campaign of the artist. So I think the main task is to find a way to incorporate the livestream in the cycle.”

Salmon countered that Driift had seen considerable success with The Smile’s groundbreaking trio of gigs in London in January, where each performance by the Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood side project was held in front of a seated audience of 1,200 and livestreamed in real time for a different timezone.

“I don’t think you can make a blanket rule that they don’t work in isolation,” he said. “Admittedly, it was with a couple of famous people from a very famous band, but it was the definition of ‘in isolation’, because it was a launch event, and the first time they’d ever done anything, and the first time anyone had ever heard any of the music.

“Now it’s slightly different, of course, because it’s an offshoot from Radiohead so you’ve got a ready made fan base. But it was phenomenally successful and vastly outperformed our expectations.”

“The pandemic accelerated the understanding of the sector so rapidly”

Driift sold more than 85,000 tickets for Little Mix’s livestream from The O2 in London last month, which marked the final date on the group’s Confetti Tour.

“There’s loads of evidence that consumers want this stuff,” said Salmon. “There’s a convenience to it and there’s a geographical reach that you can achieve with with livestreams that you can never reach with physical shows, so there’s a demand for it.

“We were very fortunate that we were working in this vacuum of the pandemic, so we had this captive audience. But it accelerated the understanding of the sector so rapidly. It’s now a case of us as an industry catching up with that and working out how best to use it. Because, frankly, we’d be fucking mad not to find a solution for it going forward.”

Salmon also addressed discussions with performance rights organisations (PROs) over the livestream tariff, including the well-documented dispute with PRS for Music.

“One of the biggest realisations we had at the beginning of all of this was there was there was no precedent,” he said. “There was no licensing structure for this stuff, which was kind of remarkable in the fairly advanced industry we think we are, and so it’s been a challenge.

“The labels have  a very vocal view. The publishers have a very vocal view. Artists, managers, songwriters and everybody in between have a very vocal view. Some PROs have been very robust in their negotiations, others have been a lot more understanding and open-minded. But generally speaking, we’ve got it to a fairly good place and I think we’re getting to a point now where [Driift] will be signing some licensing agreements with the PROs that don’t set a terrible precedent.”

 


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