x

The latest industry news to your inbox.


I'd like to hear about marketing opportunities

    

I accept IQ Magazine's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

Bob Dylan unveils ‘phone-free’ 2024 European tour

Bob Dylan has unveiled the European leg of his 2024 Rough and Rowdy Ways World Wide Tour, with mobile phones once again banned for the dates.

The 83-year-old songwriting icon has already performed in hundreds of venues across the US, UK and Europe and Japan on the trek, which began in North America in December 2021 at Milwaukee’s Riverside Theater.

Dylan tours his native US between July and September before heading to Europe, starting off with a triple-header in the Czech Republic at Prague’s O2 Universum from 4-6 October. He will then visit Germany, France, Luxembourg and Belgium.

The use of video cameras and mobile phones will be banned for the shows

The UK leg, presented by ITB, kick off in Bournemouth at the BIC Windsor Hall on 1 November before the run heads to Liverpool, Edinburgh, Nottingham and Wolverhampton, wrapping up with three performances at London’s Royal Albert Hall from 12-14 November .

Consistent with recent Dylan tours, the use of video cameras and mobile phones will be prohibited. The shows are being held in partnership with US firm Yondr, which specialises in producing sealed phone pouches.

The full list of tour dates is below:

4 Oct: O2 Universum, Prague, Czech Republic

5 Oct: O2 Universum, Prague, Czech Republic

6 Oct: O2 Universum, Prague, Czech Republic

8 Oct: Messehalle, Erfurt, Germany

10 Oct: Uber Heats Music Hall, Berlin, Germany

11 Oct: Uber Heats Music Hall, Berlin, Germany

14 Oct: Frankenhalle, Nuremberg, Germany

16 Oct: Jahrhunderthalle, Frankfurt, Germany

17 Oct: Jahrhunderthalle, Frankfurt, Germany

21 Oct: Porsche Arena, Stuttgart, Germany

22 Oct: Saarlandhalle, Saarbrücken, Germany

24 Oct: La Seine Musicale, Paris, France

25 Oct: La Seine Musicale, Paris, France

27 Oct: Mitsubishi Electric Hall, Dusseldorf, Germany

28 Oct: Rockhal, Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg

29 Oct: Lotto Arena, Antwerp, Belgium

1 Nov: BIC Windsor Hall, Bournemouth, UK

3 Nov: M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool, UK

5 Nov: Usher Hall, Edinburgh, UK

6 Nov: Usher Hall, Edinburgh, UK

8 Nov: Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham, UK

9 Nov: The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton, UK

10 Nov: The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton, UK

12 Nov: Royal Albert Hall, London, UK

13 Nov: Royal Albert Hall, London, UK

14 Nov: Royal Albert Hall, London, UK

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Best of 2023: Måneskin’s unstoppable rise

Ahead of the return of our daily IQ Index newsletter on Tuesday 2 January, we are revisiting some of our most popular interviews from the last 12 months. Here, Gordon Masson charts Måneskin’s journey to the top…

When Måneskin were voted runners-up in the 2017 season of X Factor Italy, sceptics may have believed that would be the last the world would hear of them. But local promoters Vivo Concerti were already convinced they were on to something special.

“When I saw them performing on X Factor I knew that they had something more, I knew that they were one of a kind,” says Vivo Concerti managing director Clemente Zard. Vivo’s general manager Andrea Ritrovato explains.” At that time, three of them were under the age of 18, so we knew we would be starting a journey with them because although they had experience of TV stages, they knew nothing about live stages, which [are] a completely different place.”

Acknowledging that finding fame on such a high-profile TV show could have opened the doors for Måneskin to immediately sell out arenas in Italy, Zard says that Vivo’s vision for the act was for a long-term career, internationally, rather than simply cashing in.

“We started to do a lot of small clubs, then medium-sized clubs, because our strategy was to keep people out and build demand. So, the first tour was over 30 dates, when they were still under 18, with us acting like their tutors on the road.

“After that, we started to do bigger venues and some summer shows in Italy before we embarked on their first European club tour in 2018, and we did some festivals – I remember them playing Hurricane Festival at about 12 noon, in a tent.”

But Vivo’s belief in the band has been unshakable. In 2021, the band won the San Remo song competition, allowing them to enter Eurovision. And the rest is history.

“We started to do a lot of small clubs, then medium-sized clubs, because our strategy was to keep people out and build demand”

Chosen
Many of those involved internationally have been working with the band since before Eurovision exposed them to fans globally.

“Vivo Concerti asked me to get involved pretty early on, although they had already booked a number of dates directly on the first European run,” agent Lucia Wade at ITB tells IQ. “I remember that first tour vividly because I was literally only able to put aside two hours to see the show in London because I had to get home to feed my baby who was only eight weeks old,” laughs Wade.

“It was February 2019, and we’d sold out two shows at Oslo – around 700 tickets in total – and I distinctly remember Clemente Zard telling me, ‘We’re gonna do stadiums with this band.’ He is a force of nature, and he had a very clear vision for Måneskin. And, of course, now they are going on sale with stadium shows this summer.”

Prior to that run of five stadium shows in Italy this summer, there’s the small matter of the current Loud Kids tour to complete. The tour’s original European dates went on sale in 2021 for a spring 2022 tour. However, when it became apparent that a number of countries were still dealing with pandemic restrictions, the difficult decision was made to postpone that leg of the tour and reschedule for this year instead.

But while some fans may have been disappointed, the enforced delay has been one of the happier stories related to the pandemic, as demand for Måneskin tickets has soared over the past 18 months, allowing the architects behind the tour to upgrade in almost every city on the schedule – much to the delight of all the promoters involved.

“Demand is extremely high – we’ve sold more than 13,000 tickets, and it’s still underplayed”

Are You Ready?
Måneskin’s promoter partners report that demand vastly outstrips supply everywhere. “The show was a great success here,” says Friendly Fire’s Rense van Kessel of the performance at Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam. “We sold out after the upgrade very quickly – we had nearly 16,000 people at the show. The fanbase is very dedicated, and there was a big queue in the morning already – some of whom had actually spent the night in front of the venue.”

The band’s Swiss promoter, Gadget abc Entertainment’s Stefan Wyss, has similar sales success to share for the forthcoming 26 April gig in Zurich’s biggest indoor venue. “The [original] show was scheduled for 2022 in a 3,500-cap room and was sold out within a few minutes,” discloses Wyss. “When the tour was postponed, we decided to go to Hallenstadion, and this show also sold out several months ago. Demand is extremely high – we’ve sold more than 13,000 tickets, and it’s still underplayed.”

Wyss adds, “They are definitely in a position to headline the major festivals in Switzerland now, and hopefully there will be time to play one or two Swiss festivals in 2024.” Acknowledging that the rescheduled tour using bigger venues was one of the better stories to come out of the pandemic, agent Wade nevertheless notes, “Everybody would have loved to see them at Brixton Academy or in a small venue somewhere. But upgrading the venues was the right move, and I definitely praise Vivo and artist management for being so bold. The promoters were also amazing and were really on board, because they knew that they absolutely could sell arenas.”

Citing one such example of promoter faith, Wade adds, “We wanted the band to add a date at Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona to the rescheduled tour. That’s 17,000 people, so for our promoter to actually say yes was fantastic.” That Spanish promoter is Robert De Niento at Doctor Music. “In 2019, we had Måneskin at a 500-cap club in Barcelona and a 400-cap club in Madrid, but for routing reasons we were not on the original tour for last year,” explains De Niento. “When the chance arose to get them back here, we thought about doing a capped arena in Barcelona, but 2,000 tickets sold in the first day, so we put the full 17,000 on sale, and it sold out very quickly – it’s amazing. Next time, we hope we can have Måneskin for a series of shows in multiple arenas or even stadia in the big cities.”

“Management and the band really sat on the fact that they didn’t want to disappoint because they know that the postponement would hit fans hard”

Highlighting the band’s loyalty toward their fans, Wade reveals, “Management and the band really sat on the fact that they didn’t want to disappoint because they know that the postponement would hit fans hard. But in some places, it wasn’t possible to upgrade venues. For example, to upgrade in Belgium we would have had to go somewhere other than Brussels. However, we wanted the fans to be able to go to the show in the same city. So, we added a second date in Brussels. In the likes of Poland and Luxembourg, that was not possible. But the decision was made that it wouldn’t be fair to ask the fans to travel somewhere else, so we kept the shows at those smaller venues.”

Belgian promoter Sam Perl of Gracia Live states, “The shows in Brussels were really special because Forest National is a small arena, and the fans got to see the band up close. So, the production was the same as the Ziggo Dome or the O2 Arena, but the shows were just for 8,400 fans each night – it was very special.

“Even back in 2019, we could feel that if we could give them a platform for more people to see them, they would explode. We had them in La Madeleine just after they had been on X Factor Italy and easily sold out the 600 tickets – and it wasn’t just the Italian population that were at the gig. And last year, the band played Rock Werchter in July, so that’s grown their fanbase even more. As a result, I hope they come back again quickly be- cause the demand to see Måneskin is off the scale.”

But Perl won’t need to wait too long before experiencing the Måneskin electricity again. “We’re also promoting the show in Luxembourg, even though keeping that show at Rockhal did not make much sense anymore,” Perl tells IQ. “But they are loyal to their fans, so we are very grateful the date was not dropped.” Another beneficiary of the bigger rescheduled tour is DreamHaus chief Matt Schwarz, who says, “Our first ever concert with Måneskin would have taken place at Berlin Verti Music Hall in February 2022, [but] we had to cancel due to Covid-19.”

“Both sold-out shows were a huge hit, leaving ecstatic audiences and increasing the demand”

Schwarz says the band then wowed the crowds at Rock am Ring and Rock im Park in summer 2022, helping to pull in record-breaking attendances. That made upgrading the Berlin show to the Mercedes-Benz Arena and adding a date at Lanxess Arena in Cologne a simple decision. “Both sold-out shows were a huge hit, leaving ecstatic audiences and increasing the demand. Hence, we have just now put an even larger summer 25,000-cap, open-air show on sale in Hanover, which is en route to sell out,” reveals Schwarz.

“It’s been pure pleasure to work with Måneskin, Vivo, Exit [Music Management], and ITB on the band’s success story, and we are very grateful to write history with them in Germany.”

Close to the Top
Production director and show designer Giorgio Ioan has been working with Måneskin since the beginning of their career and is one of their big- gest fans. “The first shows were in small clubs, with just a neon sign with their name,” he recalls. “The next production involved some video and some lighting in bigger clubs – 2,000, 3,000 capacity. And then, after the explosion of the Eurovision Song Contest, it got much, much bigger.”

When the original Loud Kids tour was planned for 2022, Ioan had designed a show that could happily tour 3,000-capacity venues. However, when it became obvious that the band’s fanbase had multiplied, he was able to use the enforced delay to scale up everything. One of the key elements of the current Måne skin show is an ingenious system of trusses carrying multiple motors so that every song in the set can benefit from a bespoke lighting design.

“When I designed it, I was originally looking at a trussing square, but then moving my eyes to the side of the computer I thought, ‘hey, what about if I turn it 45 degrees?’ It just gives you so many possibilities. So I sent drawings to Jordan Babev, the lighting designer, and we could see that there were tens of thousands of positions we could have. So, we finalised the best ones and concentrated on those for the programming.”

Måneskin’s travelling circus for Loud Kids involves 45 crew aboard three buses

Ioan explains that the build for such a complex setup usually begins in each venue at 7am and, factoring in a proper Italian lunchbreak, by the time the trusses are in place, with the lighting already connected, and the stage is rolled in, it’s usually 3-4pm, just in time for soundcheck.

“It’s really well-engineered,” says Ioan, adding that loading out at Ziggo Dome took three hours, while at the likes of Accor Arena in Paris, where only three trucks at a time could gain access, it was closer to four.

The design also incorporates a B stage at front of house where singer Damiano David and guitarist Thomas Raggi play an acoustic set of two or three songs during the show before re-joining bassist Victoria De Angelis and drummer Ethan Torchio back on the main stage for the remainder of the show. Ioan has also made use of new state-of-the-art equipment for pyro that uses fine fuel nozzles to allow David to stand just 30 centimetres behind a bar of flames.

Let’s Get It Sorted
In addition to the band, Måneskin’s travelling circus for Loud Kids involves 45 crew aboard three buses, while equipment, stages, and sets are transported on nine trucks. “But those trucks are fully packed,” states Ioan.

Vivo Concerti boss Zard tells IQ that given Måneskin’s career has been built on carefully constructed home-grown foundations, the vast majority of those joining them on the road have been involved from the beginning. Indeed, apart from using the expertise of Dutch consultants Frontline Rigging for the motion control, Måneskin’s production crew and suppliers are entirely Italian, ensuring that the core of the touring party has remained intact from day one.

“You never know what the future holds, but once you have a good team, there is no reason to change it”

“You never know what the future holds, but once you have a good team, there is no reason to change it,” comments Zard. “This project with Måneskin has now been three years, non-stop, so it’s important to have the best people because they become a family on tour. If you have good people, it reflects in the performance on stage for the artists.”

And of course, the beating heart of any Italian tour is the catering. “If you eat shit food, everybody is disappointed, and that will reflect the sensibility of each person from the artists to the front-of-house engineer. That’s why we have our trusted Italian catering team, Giromangiando, to make sure everyone is kept happy,” says Ritrovato.

“We try to always offer a different kind of meal, with veggie options,” explains Giromangiando’s Lorenzo Falasca. “Our staff on the road includes three people – the chef, our [maître d’], and a buyer – while we request three local catering helpers in every venue,” he adds, noting that Giromangiando serves around 60-70 meals at lunch and around 100-120 meals at dinnertime.

And while Giromangiando are delighted to be involved on Måneskin’s most successful tour to date, Falasca observes that feeding such discerning diners is not as hazardous as it might have been in the past. “Finding the Italian ingredients is not so difficult because globalisation has made it easier to source Italian products.” But he contends that the nourishment side of things is only one part of Giromangiando’s remit. “A good tour catering company also has to create a good atmosphere… catering has to be like a happy island in the middle of the rough sea so that we can make the band and crew feel at home.”

Recovery
Rather than cramming in as many shows as possible every week, Ritrovato says Vivo Concerti are committed to helping everyone on the road cope with the rigours of touring to help preserve that ‘happy family’ environment.

“We want to work with Måneskin for a long time, so we need to preserve their physique and their mental health and, more importantly, we need to do the same for the crew because without them there is no show,” he says. “Our team is the best in the world and needs to be able to load-in and load-out in one day without any pre-rigging day, so we’re very careful that we don’t overload anyone.”

“At the O2 Arena show in London, we were determined to keep the ticket price the same as it was going to be for Brixton”

That caring attitude does not go unnoticed by the crew. Suppliers Agorà are a key contributor to the success of the Loud Kids tour, having worked with the band since their emergence from X Factor Italy. “We provide all the audio and lighting equipment and the relative crews,” explains sound engineer Remo Scafati. “Agorà is a [leading] entertainment rental company in Italy and supplies the greatest Italian artists. We are really proud to serve the guys in their path to success.”

While the tour poses some tricky challenges across its various arenas, Scafati is unfazed. “We have already worked in most of the venues with other artists and we know the issues of each one – the gear we have on the road with us is proportionate to achieve the best result everywhere.”

Confirming that Agorà will be involved on the stadium dates in July, Scafati says solutions for the next leg of the tour, across the Atlantic, are already in place. “In North America, we have a joint venture with Unreal System, a rental company based in Miami with which we did the last winter tour. But in South America, we will use local rental companies because I believe we will not be able to bring all the gear with us.”

Somebody Told Me
Despite Måneskin’s “good news” post-pandemic story, rescheduling the dates was not without its issues – ticket pricing being a particular problem. “For example, at the O2 Arena show in London, we were determined to keep the ticket price the same as it was going to be for Brixton [Academy] because we didn’t want the fans to be upset,” explains Wade. “The solution is that the pit of the O2 is basically going to be the Brixton tickets, meaning it should be less grief for the fans, while also making sure they have a decent ticket price.”

Working in conjunction with the band’s manager, Fabrizio Ferraguzzo at Exit Music Management, Vivo Concerti have overseen a schedule that has put Måneskin on stage at some of the world’s premiere festivals in the past year, propelling momentum for their growing fanbase. “We will conclude in June with Glastonbury and Primavera Sound, to add to all the others we’ve done – Coachella, Lollapalooza Chicago, Rock Werchter, Rock in Rio, Summersonic – there have been some great moments,” says Ritrovato.

“We ripped up the plans so that Giorgio [Ioan] could create this incredible production”

“We renewed our contract with Måneskin last year, so we practically hold 100% rights to promote, produce, and represent the band worldwide. No Italian band has done this level of business before, internationally, so that has helped Vivo Concerti to break into some new territories and to increase brand awareness about the company”

Indeed, the success of Måneskin has underlined Vivo Concerti’s credentials as a destination for emerging talent in Italy. But with more than 70 acts on the company’s roster, including much international talent and a swathe of comedians and family entertainment productions, the company (which is less than ten years old) was named by Pollstar as being the seventh biggest agency in Europe last year, and 12th in the world.

Looking back on the strategy for Måneskin, Zard says, “We always knew that in Europe we could play arenas at some point but the surprise was just how quickly we have achieved that. Tick- et sales have been superfast, so when we were forced to postpone the original tour, we talked with the band’s management, Exit, and we decided to go into arenas.

“We also took the opportunity to add some new markets that hadn’t been there on the club tour. And, of course, we ripped up the plans so that Giorgio [Ioan] could create this incredible production – I think lots of people expected it to be more like a pop production. But it’s a big, ground-breaking rock show.”

He adds, “This is something that’s never happened to an Italian band before, but they are now 100% an international rock band. It’s massively exciting to be part of their journey.”

That growing fan base is very important to the promoters later on in the Loud Kids tour. In Austria, Ewald Tatar is looking forward to the band arriving at the Wiener Stadthalle on 28 April. “We’re very happy [that] we were able to [upgrade] the venue – it’s been sold out since 19 October 2022, with a 14,000-capacity,” says Tatar, adding that the band’s Eurovision performance
had convinced him about their potential.

“At this point, it looks like the sky is the limit for them”

That confidence saw Tatar book the act for the stadium-based Nova Rock Encore 2021, as well as Nova Rock Festival 2022. “Måneskin have proven that they have continued to increase their fan- base step by step in our country. But that’s hardly surprising to me because anyone who has already played with the Rolling Stones is truly destined for great things internationally,” he adds.

In Poland, Alter Art chief Mikołaj Ziółkowski comments, “We’ve already worked with the band twice – at Open’er Park in 2021 and at Open’er Festival in 2022 – and each time their live performance has been remarkable and pulsating with raw energy – one not to be missed.

“At this point, it looks like the sky is the limit for them, and we are very proud to accompany them in their growth. The Torwar [arena] show has been a long time coming, as it was supposed to happen last year, but it sold out way in advance, and it’s going to be an amazing night!”

Another promoter who is really looking forward to welcoming Måneskin is David Nguyen at Rock For People Concerts who is preparing for their 14 May appearance at Prague’s O2 Arena. “It’s the first time I will have a headline show at the O2 Arena, and it is already sold out,” he beams. “We had them at the Covid-free version of Rock For People Festival in August 2021, so not long after they won Eurovision, and they co-headlined one of our days.

“After the festival, we also had a 4,000-capacity show, and it sold out in one hour, so when we had to reschedule, we were confident about moving to the arena, with nearly 14,000 tickets.
“We can see the band’s progress: a couple years ago, half the songs they were playing were covers, but now they have a second album and they are everywhere – on magazine covers, at award shows – they have grown and developed a lot.”

Nguyen also admits to being surprised by the Czech fanbase for Måneskin. “When we did the festival show I was expecting a younger audience, but it was actually a nice surprise to see different generations. I also thought it would be a more rock crowd, but it was very mainstream and truly diverse. In fact, we had a lot of local celebrities there interested to see the band, which was very different for our festival.”

“The date in Riga will be the biggest date on Måneskin’s European tour, with a capacity that can go up to 19,000”

Elsewhere, one challenging date on the Loud Kids tour is in Latvia, where the original Arē- na Rīga show had to be moved outdoors to Mežaparks because of the arena’s ice hockey duties. But even that has been turned into a positive.

“The show in Riga is open air basically because the arena is booked for the Ice Hockey World Championships,” says Sara Gigante at Charmenko, which is co-promoting Måneskin in Budapest with Live Nation, while in Latvia and Estonia, L Tips agency is the co-promoter.

“The date in Riga will be the biggest date on Måneskin’s European tour, with a capacity that can go up to 19,000, which is really big for their first show in the country. It is selling well, while Tallinn is sold out and Budapest is very close selling out.

She continues, “We had Måneskin in Istanbul last year in an open-air venue – Maçka Küçükçiftlik Park – and it was very well attended, especially as it was quite early after things had reopened in Turkey,” continues Gigante. And like Nguyen, she observes that the band’s fanbase is extensive. “In the Baltics, people aged between 25 and 34 make up almost 30% of ticket buyers, so that’s the core fanbase, whereas I think many people believe it is teenagers. In fact, when I went to see the show in Amsterdam, I did not feel alone, and I am almost 42 – I was not surrounded by teenagers; it’s a show for people of all ages.”

Such positivity is music to the ears of production director Ioan, who is relishing the idea of going outdoors in Riga for the penultimate date of the Loud Kids tour. “I’m looking at it as a test because this summer we will have other big shows outdoors, so we can use it as a rehearsal for that,” says Ioan.

“The production is amazing, the sound is incredible, and the band just smashes it”

Mammamia
With more than 500,000 tickets sold on the Loud Kids tour, Måneskin’s star power just keeps rising, prompting Exit Management, Vivo Concerti, and the agents at ITB to announce a further tour for the summer and autumn months that will take the band across oceans.

Ahead of that, the band will play stadiums in their home country in July, with more than 220,000 tickets already sold for the performances in Trieste, Rome, and Milan. And with shows at Milan’s Stadio San Siro and Rome’s Stadio Olimpico already sold out, second dates have already gone on sale for those cities.

The band’s new album, Rush!, has been streamed more than 800 million times. It peaked at No.1 in 15 countries, has charted top five in 20 countries, and also claimed No.1 on Billboard’s alternative albums chart.

The Rush! World Tour will see them perform outdoors in Germany and France in early September, before hopping the Atlantic for a date at Madison Square Garden and a further ten dates across America and Canada. The band then heads south to Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, and Brazil, then skips across the Pacific for four dates in Australia, one night in Singapore, and three dates in Japan, before rounding out the year with shows in Dublin’s 3 Arena and the AO Arena in Manchester.

Vivo Concerti boss Zard says, “I’ve had the privilege to work with these talented and humble performers since day one, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us.”

Plans for 2024 are secret, at present, but with countless fans missing out on the current Loud Kids tour, promoters everywhere are already eagerly awaiting Måneskin’s return.

“The production is amazing, the sound is incredible, and the band just smashes it,” says Dutch promoter Rense van Kessel. “It is a big achievement for the whole team that they have put this on the road and made it such a big success. And it was a great pleasure to work alongside them. I would think Måneskin’s future is very bright – these loud kids are here to stay!”

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

WME’s Lucy Dickins to receive 2023 MITS Award

WME’s global head of contemporary music and touring Lucy Dickins is to be honoured with this year’s Music Industry Trusts Award (MITS).

The leading agent, who works with artists such as Adele, Mumford & Sons, Stormzy, Sault, Cleo Sol, Little Simz, James Blake and Jamie T, will be presented with the award at a gala ceremony on Monday 6 November in recognition of her contribution to the music industry.

The event will take place at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel in aid of two UK music charities: The BRIT Trust and Nordoff & Robbins.

“I’m truly humbled by this recognition and honoured by the many colleagues and clients I’ve gotten to work with throughout my career and at WME,” says Dickins. “The live music industry has faced many challenges but we always come back stronger because of the artists and their fans who are at the core of what we do.

“It’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to grow in this industry and serve our clients and their teams and I look forward to coming together to celebrate with the people who have been central to my journey.”

Dickins’ roster also includes Hot Chip, Bryan Ferry, Laura Marling, Rex Orange County and Mabel, as well as rising actst Reneé Rapp , David Kushner and Katie Gregson-MacLeod.

Dickins, who joined WME in 2019 and is a member of Endeavor’s Diversity and Inclusion working group, began her career working as a junior product manager for an independent UK record label PWL before joining International Booking Talent (ITB) as an assistant in the early 1990s and rising through the ranks at the agency.

Her grandfather, Percy Dickins, founded legendary music weekly the New Musical Express (NME), while her father, Barry, formed ITB in 1978. Her uncle Rob was longtime head of Warner Music in the UK, and her brother Jonathan heads up management company September Management with a roster that includes Adele.

“Lucy is a force to be reckoned with within our music industry”

“Lucy’s track record speaks for itself,” says co-chair of the MITS Award committee, Toby Leighton-Pope. “Adele, Olivia Rodrigo, Mumford and Sons, Laura Marling and so many others, all with whom she’s achieved extraordinary acclaim and success. That kind of impact on the industry is undeniable and her contributions continue to shape the industry landscape.

“I’ve known Lucy for more than 25 years and she is above all else one of the nicest people you will ever meet. She is truly deserving of the recognition of her MITS Award. Congratulations, Lucy.”

Dickins will join the ranks of previous MITS recipients including Annie Lennox, Kylie Minogue, Emma Banks, Sir Elton John and Bernie Taupin, Rob Stringer, Sir Lucian Grainge and Michael Eavis. Last year’s ceremony was held in honour of the late music pioneer Jamal Edwards MBE, the first posthumous award given in the history of the MITS.

“Lucy is a force to be reckoned with within our music industry,” adds Dan Chalmers, co-chair of the MITS Award committee. “She has always had an innate ability to spot talent and nurture it, she was one of the first to meet an unknown Adele at the time and take her CD and we all know where that led!

“Lucy is extremely popular and it’s those strong industry relationships, unwavering dedication to her clients and fierce reputation that makes her one of the most sought-after agents of all time. It’s clear that her clients trust her implicitly, she always goes above and beyond to ensure their success, and that’s why she is so deserving of her MITS Award.”

Celebrating its 32nd year this year, the MITS Award is sponsored by PPL, SJM Concerts, Voly Music and YouTube.

Revisit IQ’s 2022 feature on Dickins, looking back on her first 25 years in the music industry, here.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Best of 2022: Lucy Dickins – A tale of two cities

This festive period, we are revisiting some of our most popular interviews from the last 12 months ahead of the return of our daily IQ Index newsletter on Tuesday, 3 January. Here, WME’s global head of contemporary music and touring Lucy Dickins reflects on her path to the top…

Having left ITB just three years ago, Lucy Dickins’ rise through the corporate ranks has been extraordinary. Looking back on her first 25 years in the music industry, she tells Gordon Masson about her path to the top, transforming WME, the philosophy behind her clients’ triumphant return to touring and splitting her time between London and Los Angeles.

As the newly appointed global head of contemporary music and touring for WME, Lucy Dickins is one of the most influential people in the global music business. At the time of speaking to IQ, she has just relocated to Los Angeles and is sitting in her new Beverly Hills office suite, complete with a generously stocked bar. “I’m not going to lie, I’ve made a fair old dent in that already, and I’ve only been here a week,” she states, revealing the irreverent, self-deprecating charm that has helped her amass an army of allies throughout the music industry, as well as a steadily growing list of A-list talent.

Her impact on WME has been transformational. Having been appointed to head the company’s music division in London in June 2019, her leadership during the initial months of the pandemic prompted the corporate giant to promote her, one year later, to co-head of the company’s music division globally, alongside Kirk Sommer. At IQ’s press time she was elevated again, taking on the global head of contemporary music and touring role.

And while her confidence and skills as one of the world’s foremost talent agents are undisputed, there’s one significant person who questions her rapid ascent up the corporate ladder. “I’m my own worst enemy,” she admits. “I just get mad imposter syndrome. But then I start actually doing the role and I realise I’m really good at it.”

One long-term admirer is former WME chief Marc Geiger who reveals his campaign to lure Lucy to the company took patience. “To me, the available choices to helm WME in the UK were very low when considering the people who could rise up the ranks,” he says. “I was looking at who I thought had the upside potential to be both an executive and a super-uber signer.

“It’s like being a sports coach: you look at potential, and Lucy was the best choice in the world. I didn’t know how difficult it was going to be to convince her to leave ITB – that legacy and that family business. But I also felt that situation was holding her back from being one of the biggest agents in the world.”

“Everyone else saw my roster, but Marc saw something in me that I didn’t even know existed; that I could be a great leader”

Lucy contends, “The whole process of leaving ITB took about a year. WME approached me first, and then when the rumour got out that I might be looking elsewhere, everyone else came knocking at the door. But I really liked Marc Geiger. Everyone else saw my roster, but Marc saw something in me that I didn’t even know existed; that I could be a great leader. But to achieve that I needed to prise myself away from ITB, and he gave me the confidence to do that.”

Stating that she wanted to make her mark in any new workplace, she continues, “WME’s London office wasn’t necessarily in the best of places – it was a bit of a satellite operation, and if there was a scramble to sign a new act, you’d be up against CAA, and you’d be up against Coda, but you’d never hear the name WME. I wanted to change that and put my imprint on it, and while I didn’t quite know if I had that in me, Marc Geiger believed in me, so I just bit the bullet and trusted him.”

Now WME’s London operation is a very different place with Lucy helping to attract a number of high-profile agents to join the company, as well as a growing number of headliner clients. “It’s thankfully gone brilliantly well, and now everyone wants to be at WME,” she states.

Early days
Although the Dickins family is a rock & roll dynasty, Lucy reports that the no-nonsense way in which parents Barry and Gill raised her and artist manager brother Jonathan kept things grounded. “They were really humble and never made it feel that we were different to anyone else,” she recalls. “When we went to gigs, we never went through the front doors, but it wasn’t made out to be something special. Everything was always really pushed under the radar.”

Lucy’s recollection of her first gig was going to see Abba. “I cried because it was too loud,” she says. Dad Barry remembers it slightly differently. “The kids wanted to meet the band and were really excited. The band themselves could not have been nicer, but Jonathan and Lucy just went quiet – they couldn’t say a word. It’s probably the last time either of them was speechless.”

Another meet-and-greet involved a life-changing moment. “I wanted to be a boy when I was little, so insisted on my hair being cut really short,” says Lucy. “We met Bucks Fizz backstage, and they said, ‘Oh what a cute little boy’ because of my hair and the fact I was wearing these velvet pedal pushers and a little frilly shirt. And I had to tell them, ‘I’m not a boy. I’m a girl!’ And then that changed who I wanted to be.”

“She’s genuine, generous, and funny, and she can spot that sparkle in people that they often cannot see themselves”

Despite her parents’ attempts to normalise their lives, their popularity among childhood friends had a lasting impact. “All the kids wanted to come to our house because mum and dad were really cool – so my brother’s mates would always be around at our house, and my mates would always be around because it was just a cool house,” says Lucy.

While countless people in the live music industry want to be Lucy’s best friend, that accolade goes to Kim Ratcliff, who met Lucy in infant school. She attests to the family’s down-to-earth vibe but has countless tales of meeting artists.

“They treated me like one of their own and took me on holidays and to loads of concerts,” she says. “I remember meeting Claude Nobs in his house in Montreux in 1988 and having lunch with Tracy Chapman who was admiring the Swatch watches Lucy and I had bought. It was another world, but it was all very matter of fact, rather than made out to be special. And there were lots of surreal moments like that.”

Godparent to Lucy’s children, and the Barbara Dickson to Lucy’s Elaine Paige, Ratcliff contends that their friendship affords Lucy one of the few places where she can switch off from the industry and be herself. “She’s the best friend I could ask for – in more than 40 years we’ve never had a cross word. She’s genuine, generous, and funny, and she can spot that sparkle in people that they often cannot see themselves.”

But sometimes that sparkle just isn’t Lucy’s cup of tea.

When her teenage friends queued to meet 80s heartthrobs Bros at a record store appearance, Lucy found herself alone chatting to Aswad, whose promo session was a little less frenetic. “I just didn’t like Bros,” she says. “I always sort of went against the grain of what you’re supposed to like. So I had this long chat with Aswad and ended up going home with their record.”

“Between the ages of about 15 and 30, Lucy and I didn’t have much in common. But from 30 onwards, we’ve become really close”

With less than three years separating them, Lucy admits her brother influenced her musical tastes. “I have a strong memory of Jonathan playing music really loud in his bedroom. He did a Doobie Brothers remix, and I remember him playing them for ages before he came up with that tune. He’d play a lot of Neil Young, and then he’d go into Keith Sweat: he’d just play all different types of music. So that influenced me. But courtesy of my parents, I also grew up on a lot of Dylan and Diana Ross and Paul Simon, so I have pretty good breeding.”

For his part, Jonathan says, “Between the ages of about 15 and 30, Lucy and I didn’t have much in common. But from 30 onwards, we’ve become really close.” Indeed, when IQ speaks to Jonathan, he’s in the process of relocating from New York to Los Angeles into a neighbourhood near his sister – a move that he notes will also allow their children to spend more time together.

Accidental career
Despite music being the family business, Lucy initially railed against the idea of following those footsteps. “I didn’t want to go into music because all the men in the family were in it,” she declares. “I wanted to go into film. I wanted to be a distributor or a film agent.”

Dad Barry says, “When she finished school, I told her she had one week to find a job. When she didn’t, I brought her into ITB to help out, and she worked for me for a while before becoming David Levy’s assistant.”

However, the pressure of the family business could be overwhelming. “Jonathan was like a breed of racehorse because he had to be the next person to keep the Dickins name up there, which was shit for him because there was so much expectation on him,” says Lucy. “But that meant there was very little expectation on me. So while Jonathan might have been the thoroughbred, that allowed me to kinda quietly creep up on the outside.”

“I’d tell her that I wanted her at ITB because she was good, not because she was my daughter, so I was pretty tough on her”

With music running deep in the veins, pursuing other career paths soon became a fleeting distraction, but not before she explored other pathways in the business.

Her years at ITB were punctuated by a brief sojourn at record label PWL. “I vividly remember the job interview,” she tells IQ. “It was my first lesson in how to wing it.

“They put me in this boardroom and gave me a scenario where I was a product manager. I didn’t even know what a fucking product manager was. But they were obviously impressed by whatever bullshit I came up with, as I started out as a junior product manager and just kept getting elevated – label manager and then head of international.”

A wave of consolidation in the label business closed that chapter in Lucy’s career when she was made redundant. “I was back into the realms of ‘what do I want to do?’ Some people wanted me to move into management, and lots of people were knocking on my door saying ‘we want you to do this’ and ‘you should do that,’ but I wasn’t sure.”

A somewhat reluctant return to ITB led to some testing times. “I’d tell her that I wanted her at ITB because she was good, not because she was my daughter, so I was pretty tough on her,” confesses Barry. “For instance, I taught her how to promote a show, knowing that she might never use it but that it would help her when it came to negotiating deals.”

“I heard her yelling down the phone at a promoter ‘Woah woah woah! I don’t get paid enough to take this shit!’ At that point, I knew she was going to make it”

He adds, “It’s difficult being a Dickins – people used to say I only got acts because of my dad, Percy, even though he wasn’t an agent. And then they’d say I’d get them because of my brother [Rob] who ran Warner Music. So I can sympathise with the same accusations that get thrown at Lucy and Jonathan.”

Increasingly frustrated with the menial tasks delegated her way, Lucy finally confronted her father. “He told me, ‘If you’re such a fucking know-it-all, here’s a map: go and route a tour.’ And I was like, ‘Fuck you. I will.’ I sat there for about three hours, didn’t know what I was doing. But when I delivered my plan, he was pretty impressed. And that was the start of it.”

Asked when he knew that Lucy could make the grade as an agent, Barry recalls one key moment. “I heard her yelling down the phone at a promoter ‘Woah woah woah! I don’t get paid enough to take this shit!’ At that point, I knew she was going to make it,” he laughs.

Building a roster
Having taken on a couple of baby acts, Lucy says that the foundations for her entire career boil down to one band, Hot Chip, whom she still represents 20-plus years later. Recalling her introduction, Lucy points to record label executive Ferdy Unger-Hamilton. “He told me to check them out. They were supporting Athlete, I think, at Shepherd’s Bush Empire, and I just loved them.”

After meeting co-founders Joe Goddard and Alexis Taylor, they asked her to sit down with the rest of the band. “We met in a pub – the Newman Arms – and they were all lined up like at a fucking job interview,” says Lucy. “I didn’t have a roster, and I knew other big agents with rosters who were battling to sign them. But I’d really done my due diligence and thought about the strategy of how I’d do things for them. So when Alexis called later that day to say they’d chosen me as their agent, I just remember being beyond delighted and promising that I’d never let them down.”

That studious approach to signing acts, says her father, is a particular forte. “She puts together brilliant strategies and plans and has creative ideas that I’d never come up with, such as using unusual venues and stuff,” says Barry.

“When you’re an agent, you just need that one act that’s going to actually believe in you and give you a chance”

Lucy notes, “When you’re an agent, you just need that one act that’s going to actually believe in you and give you a chance. Hot Chip were that band for me. They have a very, very special place in my heart because they’re the band that basically made me who I am.”

Indeed, the act is giving Lucy one of her first transatlantic dilemmas. “I’m desperately looking at how to get back for their show on 23rd September, when I’m supposed to be in Aspen, because I’ve never missed a London show by Hot Chip. I even went to their Brixton show the day before my son was born,” she reveals.

Artist relations
Look down the names on her roster and it’s apparent that most clients have been with Lucy since the beginning of their careers, highlighting a trait that breaks one of the unwritten rules of the music business: don’t believe you can be friends with the artist.

“She’s friends with lots of her clients,” observes Barry. “She’s amazing at networking, she’s fiercely loyal, and people genuinely like her– she’s even remained the agent for some acts when they’ve decided to change manager, which is unheard of,” he adds

That doesn’t mean to say that Lucy Dickins hasn’t been dumped by clients.

“I lost a band called Tilly and the Wall,” she says. “They fired me because they wanted to play the Scala, and I didn’t think they were there yet. I’m in the game of selling shows out, but I’m not someone who pushes my artists to take out every single ticket in a market for the sake of playing a bigger venue. I want to play a venue that we’re going to smash because I want an artist to have a career. And I’m always quite vocal on that. Tilly and the Wall disagreed.

“I also lost Vance Joy, who had that one big song, Riptide. But I’m not crying over either of them, and I genuinely don’t think there’s been anyone else I’ve lost, so it’s not the worst record over 25 years.”

“It’s not about family: it’s about the best people. I work with Lucy because she’s one of the best, not because she’s my sister”

Rather than naming a side-of-stage moment, Lucy contends her “made it” moment covers a particular period in time, during the early noughties, when immersing herself in an emerging underground scene started to reap dividends.

“It was around that kind of Jamie T, Laura Marling, Blueflowers, Jack Peñate, Mumford and Sons time… there was a whole scene, and I was just very lucky to be in it, signing the acts who were just getting bigger and bigger. I had that entire scene sewn up, and that was a real ‘wow’ moment in my career.”

Jonathan also looks back on that time as key to his working relationship with his sister. “It really started with Jamie T,” he says. “He was looking for an agent. I recommended Lucy, but told him that if he only met her there would be a load of people in the business who would say she only got the act because of me. So I advised Jamie to go and meet a few agents on his own – I didn’t need to be there – and then he could come back to me and tell me who he wanted to hire. And he loved Lucy. So the choice was his, although you’re always going to get fuckwits who say otherwise.”

And addressing charges of nepotism, which he too has suffered, Jonathan adds, “It’s not about family: it’s about the best people. I work with Lucy because she’s one of the best, not because she’s my sister. If people don’t believe that or don’t get it, I don’t fucking care. We don’t run our lives based on other people’s opinions or prejudices.”

One and only
Her friendships with artists have delivered numerous additions to Lucy’s roster over the decades, thanks to word-of-mouth and her professional achievements, and it was a Hot Chip connection that led to her finding her most famous client.

“I had Hot Chip playing at King’s College, and Jack Peñate asked if he could come along and bring his friend, Adele, a singer. She sat on the steps at the back of the stage ordering Jack to run around and do things for her. She was hilarious, and I just really warmed to her.

“At the end of night, I said: ‘You’re a singer,’ and she asked if I wanted her CD. Then she literally tapped this bloke on the shoulder and said, ‘Excuse me, you know that CD I gave you? Give us it back, I need to give it to her.’ It was hilarious, and I remember it like it was yesterday.

“Actually, when I think back to a lot of the artists I’ve signed, it’s really vivid – I remember the tiniest details of meeting Mumford & Sons; I remember the minutia of speaking to Jamie T. Those moments are really stuck in my head. And now, when I meet new artists, I look for that kind of mad connection. And if I get it, I’m all in. It’s a gut thing.”

She continues, “Anyway, the day after that Hot Chip show, I was doing some housework, and I thought I’d give the CD a listen. Hometown Glory came on. ‘Fuck off, what is this?’ It was insane. Then Daydreamer came on and then My Same. I’d never heard a voice like it, so I rang my brother to let him listen, and he told me he’d already had meetings with her.”

“People don’t remember but it took a while with Adele – it wasn’t an overnight thing”

The rest may be history but it hasn’t all been plain sailing.

“People don’t remember but it took a while with Adele – it wasn’t an overnight thing,” she states. “The press were appalling, and I heard some really shitty comments, all about the way she looked. Thankfully, the world is changing now, but it’s Adele and people like Ed Sheeran who paved the path for everyone else.”

Her relationship with Adele has led to some incredible career highs.

“There was the 2011 BRIT Awards when Adele sang Someone Like You; Mumford and Sons won best album; and Laura Marling won best female. It was the best night of my life. I felt like I owned the BRITS,” she beams.

Other significant moments include: “Hot Chip playing the Astoria; Adele on the Australian stadium tour, and this year’s BST Hyde Park shows; James Blake winning the Mercury Prize; Mumford & Sons on the Gentlemen of the Road tour and also when they played my 40th birthday.

“And lately, this Jamie T thing. I think it’s pretty fucking impressive 15 years into his career that he lands his first number-one album, and now we’ve announced this huge London show for next summer, so I’m super-excited about his career going forward.”

Flying the nest
Having built such an impressive roster at ITB, the offers were never going to be lacking when Lucy Dickins decided to look to pastures new.

But it was not a simple decision.

Brother Jonathan opines, “Leaving ITB took a lot of courage. It was a big deal to come out from my father’s shadow. And it also took great humility for my old man to allow her to spread her wings without playing any kind of emotional card – it showed really great characteristics in both of them.”

“The old boys’ club meant promoters were always calling up dad about Adele, and that really pissed me off. ‘Barry didn’t sign Adele. I signed Adele. Why are you asking him if she’s available for things?’”

As difficult as the decision was, Lucy believes the timing was spot on. “I’m not sitting where I’m sitting today without being taught by the best person there is in the business. Dad is my absolute idol, and to learn from him was an absolute blessing.

“But I realised that I needed to move on. The old boys’ club meant promoters were always calling up dad about Adele, and that really pissed me off. ‘Barry didn’t sign Adele. I signed Adele. Why are you asking him if she’s available for things?’ It was really undermining.

“It’s definitely a misogynist thing because Jonathan doesn’t get the same shit. And it’s a major reason why I moved to WME – I had to show people that I’m not doing what I’m doing because I’m Barry’s daughter. I’m doing what I’m doing because I’m really good at it. And the proof has been in the pudding. I left ITB and I’ve gone from strength to strength.”

Commenting on Lucy’s new role from his artist manager perspective, Jonathan states, “WME’s a giant, but there was a lot of room for improvement, and that’s nothing against some very good agents who were in the company – stellar people, especially in the UK. But Lucy has given it an energy and a youthful focus that I think it needed.”

“Lucy is one of the only British people to run a global agency, and I know she’s going to be spectacular”

Recruiter Marc Geiger, whose departure as WME’s head of music facilitated Lucy’s latest promotion, was never in any doubt she would flourish. “The first time Lucy interrupted me five times in a conversation, I knew she was the right person – she took the verbal wrestling match and slammed me to the ground like a WWE champion,” he tells IQ.

“Lucy is one of the only British people to run a global agency, and I know she’s going to be spectacular. She has all the tools, it’s her time, and it’s incredible to watch where she and Kirk are going to take this thing. They get to run the world, and I think they’re going to be amazing.”

WME co-head Kirk Sommer is similarly enthused. “I’ve known Lucy a long time. I don’t know exactly how many years it’s been, but we always seem to have similar interests and admiration for the same people – we’ve shared Adele as a client for many years,” he says.

And reporting on the working relationship they’ve now established, he adds, “I don’t think I could hope for more. I don’t think it could go any better. You know, we laugh very hard. And we work a lot harder.”

Californian dreaming
Having enjoyed a whirlwind 2022 that has included Rex Orange County selling out Gunnersbury Park in London, and in the same city, Adele’s massively successful hometown return – headlining a female-only line-up at BST Hyde Park – Lucy has never been busier. “I’ve signed something nearly every week for the last three months,” she tells IQ. “I’m not going to be someone who just sits back and rests on their laurels because if I’m not relevant to my artists, or the people that I’m mentoring, I’m not relevant to the company.”

She cites Loyle Carner, and Max Richter as well as grime superstar Stormzy as new signings that prove the new WME regime’s plans are working well. “I’ve also got this new girl, Ruti, who I’m excited about. And since I landed in the States, I’ve had some meetings that hopefully will result in a few more new signings. I love music so I’m never gonna stop.”

“I’m an absolute nightmare for people in corporate – I swear like a trooper, I’m opinionated, I’m loud, but I’m 47 years old so that’s not going to change. My dad says I’m like a van driver”

Having only been in her new L.A. home for a few days, she understandably is reticent to start publicly naming areas where she thinks WME needs strengthening. Instead, she is scathingly honest about her own shortcomings. “I’m an absolute nightmare for people in corporate – I swear like a trooper, I’m opinionated, I’m loud, but I’m 47 years old so that’s not going to change. My dad says I’m like a van driver,” she laughs.

“But I think that’s probably refreshing in the corporate environment. Someone at WME asked me recently what is the one thing that I want everyone to know about me. It’s what you see is what you get. I’ll tell you straight. I’ll be upfront, friendly, and I’ll treat everyone the same. There is no other side of me.”

While the step-up to the top job at WME obviously entails a heavier workload, the relocation to Los Angeles has, she says, given her more of a life/work balance than she latterly had in London.

“Being a mum is the hardest bit with a job like this,” she states. “My kids are seven and nine and it’s, ‘Mommy, you’re always working.’ That was a major reason for moving to L.A. because the 17-hour days in London were brutal – when my kids were sitting having dinner, I’d be in another room on a Zoom call, and then I’d miss bedtime. It’s hard for kids to understand.

“Swapping the days around is a bit of a challenge. I start very early in the morning with the London side, but then my day finishes with everyone else in L.A., which means I can actually go out and have a normal life in the evening. It’s much better.”

“Even if I’m in London one week per month, I can be really productive”

Despite the improved home life, there are no immediate plans to make the Californian residence permanent. “I don’t want to feel that I’m not in London,” she pleads. “The bottom line is that I’m going to stay in Los Angeles for as long as I feel I’m needed and as long as they want me around. And in the meantime, I’m going to flip flop between L.A. and London – I’m flying back for my shows all the time this year. Even if I’m in London one week per month, I can be really productive.”

Pandemic planning
While many peers endured a tough time during the pandemic, Lucy used the time to concentrate on revolutionising WME’s London operations and, having been promoted to the top job globally, formulating plans for the company’s future.

“I was very lucky that a lot of my big acts were writing records,” she reveals. “I didn’t want to be one of those agents that was constantly rescheduling dates – none of us knew when Covid was going to be over, so I saw little point in rescheduling or rerouting until we knew things would be ok.”

She continues, “The fact my artists were not touring gave me the ability to structure my thoughts: that ‘why?’ and ‘where?’ and ‘when?’ stuff. And there were, of course, lots of conversations with promoters, because Covid was shit for everybody, and we’re determined to be the best partner to everyone we possibly can.”

With business now picking up, that calm, considered approach is continuing. “I’m always upfront with my acts, so I’ve been warning them about the bottleneck of shows at the moment. And if they want to tour, they need to look at what’s going to make them stand out from every- one else. And they need to think about the size of venues they’re going into because what they were worth pre-Covid versus post-Covid could be very different.”

“Part of my job is making acts aware that in different places there are different issues – you need to brief clients as thoroughly as possible before deciding on a tour”

She highlights the cost-of-living crisis and ticket prices as another concern. “Part of my job is making acts aware that in different places there are different issues – you need to brief clients as thoroughly as possible before deciding on a tour. But some acts are having a great time: Jamie T flew out the door, while Marcus Mumford ticket sales have been brilliant, for example.”

Business prospects
On a day-to-day basis, Lucy relies heavily on her core team, including assistant Phoebe Holley, Whitney Boateng and long-term colleagues James Simmons and Chris Payne, who also made the move to WME from ITB.

Simmons tells IQ, “You enter Lucy’s office with a dilemma, an issue you’ve been stressing about for days and you need her help, but in actual fact you spend 25 minutes in there, both chatting about everything other than the subject you had planned to talk about. Then, as her mobile rings (‘I’d better take this, babe’), she’ll solve your problem in 15 seconds flat, and you’ll leave the room far wiser than when you entered. In summary, she’s constantly good fun, it’s never boring and her advice is always spot on.”

Payne agrees, “Lucy is a force. Working with her for the last decade or so has been an exercise in keeping up with an unreal pace and breadth of ideas. There’s no problem that can’t be fixed, and her energy and positivity can make you think anything is possible.”

“I’ve never known anyone as fiercely loyal as Lucy”

Her assistant, Phoebe Holley, notes, “I’ve never known anyone as fiercely loyal as Lucy. We joke a lot that I’m her carer, and I regularly catch myself putting on an Essex accent and saying ‘babe’ at the start of every sentence. The way she has supported, pushed, and mentored me throughout my time working with her, is something I’ll never take for granted. Such a creative mind that runs at a thousand mph but never misses a trick. No problems, just solutions (and a few tequilas). There is absolutely no one like Lucy Dickins.”

That’s something that the newest member of her team, Whitney Boateng, is learning quickly. “To say it is a blessing to work with Lucy is an understatement, she is exceptional beyond words,” says Boateng. “Lucy’s work ethic, her drive, her ideas, and her ability to make sure everyone can still access her support are unmatched, and these are just a few things that make working for her so easy.”

Having assembled such a tight unit to run her operations, Lucy successfully integrated her mantra companywide in London and is now focussing on plans to do the same globally.

“We’re having an incredible year,” she reports. “We’re on course to where we were in 2019, which is pretty outstanding given what we’ve all just come through.”

“It would be remiss to say that I don’t think there’s going to be some hurdles next year. The cost of living and the sheer number of acts going out in the market is going to affect things”

However, she’s a realist when it comes to targets. “It would be remiss to say that I don’t think there’s going to be some hurdles next year. The cost of living and the sheer number of acts going out in the market is going to affect things. There’s going to be some bumps in the road, 100%. But I’m a massive believer that you just attack those when they come along.

“The bottom line is that people still want to go out and see live music, which is very refreshing. As long as the appetite is there with the fans, things will be good.”

Enthused about the future they can deliver for WME’s music division, Sommer says, “We’re just generally very excited about our plans. Obviously, it’s been a very difficult couple of years for the industry: nobody has been immune to this thing, but we’re back, and business is great.”

Keeping specific strategies close to his chest, Sommer adds, “We all know it’s a dynamic marketplace, and it’s always evolving. Thankfully, we have the support to kind of lean into different areas that we think are important to our clients.”

Noting the multiple avenues that WME can exploit, Lucy comments, “It’s not something that happens overnight, but the ability to be able to tell an artist that at WME there’s a million things that we can set up for them is massively exciting.”

“We’re trying to encourage younger talent to come through so we can develop new superstars in this agency”

Indeed, looking ahead to the next 25 years, it’s obvious that Lucy Dickins will be piloting an agency business that would have been unimaginable when she first cut her teeth back in 1997. “There are so many different areas where artists can grow their careers now, and at WME we’ve got experts in all of those areas. So we’ve got people working on Web3, and we’ve got people looking for opportunities in the metaverse, for example.

“That’s another of the many reasons I joined WME, because it allows you, as an agent, to pivot and learn different things so that you can offer your artists that full-service thing. And we’re going to use that to bring in new talent – both on the agents and the artist side.

“We’re trying to encourage younger talent to come through so we can develop new superstars in this agency. There are loads of really talented people at WME that just need that chance to prove themselves, so we’re ramping up mentorship and support systems to allow that to happen.”

With 25 extraordinary years under her belt and a job title that only a handful of agents will ever attain, Lucy’s goals for the future remain refreshingly simple.

“It’s just to be the best version of myself I can possibly be,” she concludes when asked about ambitions. “To learn as much stuff and meet as many people and make new relationships as much as I can. And that hopefully will reflect on the company, and the company will be in a great position.”

This article originally appeared in Issue 113 of IQ Magazine.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Blink-182 reunite for biggest-ever global tour

Blink-182 have announced their biggest-ever tour, spanning 70 dates across Latin America, North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

The global outing sees all three founding members – Tom DeLonge, Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker – reunite for the first time in 10 years.

DeLonge quit the group twice and, from 2015 until now, the band was instead fronted by Matt Skiba, with whom Hoppus and Barker recorded two albums.

The reformed band’s tour, produced by Live Nation, will kick off in March 2023 with their first-ever performances in Latin America.

It will then continue to North America in May, Europe in September, and Australia and New Zealand in February 2024.

Venues on the arena tour include New York’s Madison Square Garden, London’s The O2 and Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena

Venues on the arena tour include New York’s Madison Square Garden (cap. 20,789), London’s The O2 (20,000) and Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena (21,000).

The outing also includes festivals such as Lollapalooza (in Brazil, Chile and Argentina), When We Were Young (Las Vegas) and Stereo Picnic (Colombia).

Tour support comes from Wallows (Latin America), Turnstile (North America), The Story So Far (Europe) and Rise Against (Australia/New Zealand).

Blink-182 are represented by Mike Dewdney at ITB worldwide excluding North America, which is handled by Darryl Eaton at CAA.

The band has also announced a new single, ‘Edging’, out this Friday (14 October) which also marks the first time in a decade that Hoppus, DeLonge and Barker have been in the studio together.

See all dates for Blink-182’s world tour here.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

October New Music Playlist out now

The latest edition of the IQ New Music playlist, featuring a selection of tracks curated by international booking agencies, is now live.

The playlist complements IQ Magazine’s popular New Signings page, which keeps the live industry updated about which new, emerging and re-emerging artists are being signed by agents. Click here to read the latest issue of IQ now.

The October edition of the playlist features tracks hand-picked by agents at ITB, UTA, ATC, Mother Artists and Solo.

Listen to the latest selection using the Spotify playlist below, or click here to catch up on last month’s playlist.

Separated by agency, the full track list for the October playlist is:

 

AgencyArtistSong
ITBAvivaLove and War
ITBCall Me KarizmaBlood
ITBCemetery SunMetamorphosis
ITBRed Rum ClubVanilla
ITBTyler Bryant & The ShakedownGhostrider
UTATobe NwigweLord Forgive Me
UTAPommeNelly
UTAShae UniverseYou Lose
UTAIda MaeClick Click Domino
UTAHoly WarsLittle Godz
ATCBlondshellSepsis
ATCBalming TigerSexy Nukim
ATCFrankie CosmosAftershock
ATCGilla BandPost Ryan
ATCSan SoucisAll Over This Party
Mother ArtistsGrandmas HouseBody
Mother ArtistsN.O.A.HStay Here
Mother ArtistsBerSuperspreader
Mother ArtistsSupershyChange
Mother ArtistsCate le BonTypical Love
SoloGermeinGood for a Girl
SoloThe KairosTime Keeper
SoloMegan McKennaStronger
SoloBlondieSunday Girl
SoloDanny ElfmanKick Me

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

September New Music Playlist out now

The latest edition of the IQ New Music playlist, featuring a selection of tracks curated by international booking agencies, is now live.

The playlist complements IQ Magazine’s popular New Signings page, which keeps the live industry updated about which new, emerging and re-emerging artists are being signed by agents. Click here to read the latest issue of IQ now.

The September edition of the playlist features tracks hand-picked by agents at CAA, ITB, Wasserman Music, UTA, Mother Artists and Solo.

Listen to the latest selection using the Spotify playlist below, or click here to catch up on last month’s Loud and Proud playlist from IQ Magazine‘s Pride edition.

Separated by agency, the full track list for the September playlist is:

 

AgencyArtistSong
CAASophie MayWith The Band
CAANell MescalGraduating
CAAWarren ZeidersRide the Lighting
ITBCemetery SunBreak Me Down
ITBEat Your Heart OutSour
ITBTyler Bryant & The ShakedownAin’t None Watered Down
Wasserman MusicgrentperezEgo
Wasserman MusicFLOImmature
Wasserman MusicNieve EllaGirlfriend
Wasserman MusicThe ClauseForever Young
Wasserman MusicEwan McVicarHeather Park
UTAVibe ChemistryBaddest
UTAElanor MossSoundings
UTALåpsley32 Floors
UTALaa LeeBong Bing
UTAMusa KeysSelema (Po Po)
ATCBlondshellSepsis
ATCSurf CurseLost Honor
ATCCar Boot SaleOdoyewu
ATCZella DayRadio Silence
ATCStella DonnellyHow Was Your Day?
Mother ArtistsFirst Aid KitOut of My Head
Mother ArtistsFazerdazeCome Apart
Mother Artistsjuliepg.4 a picture of three hedges
Mother Artistscorookit's ok!
SoloThe K’sHometown
SoloThe KairosLazy Lethargic
SoloDagnyBrightsider
SoloSleep Well BeastOut of Date
SoloMegan McKennaSingle

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Road stories: Barry Dickins and Leon Ramakers

Live industry greats Barry Dickins and Leon Ramakers shared stories from their legendary careers in an intimate Dragons’ Den chat at ILMC 34 in London.

Dickins started his career more than 50 years ago arranging gigs for the likes of The Who, Jimi Hendrix Experience and Otis Redding. Going on to form agency International Talent Booking (ITB) with Rod MacSween in 1978, he still represents artists such as Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Neil Young, and ZZ Top.

Former Mojo Concerts director Ramakers, meanwhile, made his music business debut in 1970 at Holland Pop Festival, which featured Pink Floyd, The Byrds, T. Rex and Santana. Ramakers remains involved with Mojo – a company he has helped to maintain its market dominance in the Netherlands for more than half a century, latterly as part of Live Nation.

Here are a handful of highlights from their hour-long conversation…

“I’m so sorry I missed Sinatra, and that’s because I was too nice”

Selling Mojo to SFX in 1999…

Leon Ramakers: “[SFX founder Robert Sillerman] said, ‘Do you want to sell your company?’ I said, ‘It depends on what you want to pay for it?’ And he mentioned a figure. I said, ‘No, no, I’m not interested’ and I put the phone down. And I thought, ‘What have you just done?’ The next day, he called again and he doubled [the price]. He had no idea of my finances, they were crazy times. Finally, we went to see Sillerman in Madison Avenue. The door opens, Sillerman comes in and says, ‘Is this Holland? Today, I’m going to buy Holland.’ There were three reasons [to sell]. They were going to buy all of Europe and I didn’t want to be the island like Asterix and Obelix, like the Gallic village within the Roman Empire. The second thing, the money was good. And thirdly, I thought that we would have creative input from all these people from all over the world, although that never happened.”

Superstar clients – and the ones that got away…

Barry Dickins: “Dylan is still going. It’s very hard when you talk to a billionaire and say, ‘I’ve got this good gig for you Bob, it’s paying a million dollars.’ It’s like, ‘What? I get that for a painting!’ I’m very lucky because I worked with Jimi Hendrix; I worked with The Doors; I worked with Jefferson Aeroplane; I worked with Canned Heat. I’d like to have done Bruce Springsteen, I must admit, but so would everybody else. But I’ve been fortunate I’ve worked with some great clients.”

LR: “I’m sorry I missed Sinatra, and that’s because I was too nice. The previous promoter was [Dutch impresario] Lou van Rees, so I went to the Lou, and I said, ‘Shall we share?’ But then it turned out that the manager or the agent hated Lou van Rees, so they gave it to somebody else.”

BD: “I had Hendrix and I thought, ‘If anyone sees me at a Frank Sinatra concert, it’s all over.’ That was my mum and dad’s thing, and I never went. But I did go and see him the last time he played, which was a little bit sad, because had all the teleprompters around him and his son Frank Sinatra Jr. was playing the keyboards and leading the band. But he was a real pro and I’m glad I saw him, I just wish I’d seen him [earlier in his career].”

“You’re not entitled to keep an act forever”

Losing acts…

BD: “Nothing’s forever. We don’t live forever. You’re not entitled to keep an act forever. I’ve been very lucky I’ve had Dylan for nearly 40 years and it’s a bloody long time. Diana Ross was a bit difficult. I did have 32 years with her and earned every penny. She got pissed off once when I said, ‘I’m having an indoor pool put in my house, would you mind if I call it the Diana Ross pool?’ And she said, ‘What are you talking about?’ I said, ‘Well, every time I do well on a tour, I buy something for my house – and I want to know if you’re happy to have the swimming pool named after you.’ Fleetwood Mac paid for a snooker room. You’ve heard of the house Jack built, this was the house that Fleetwood Mac built! No one enjoys losing a band, and sometimes you lose them for no reason. Other times, I’ve really fucked up on something and haven’t been fired. The hard thing when you’ve got the older acts is they want a younger audience. My way of thinking is that with any artist, their core fans are 10 years older and 10 years younger. You’re not going to start getting 20-year-olds. Dylan, funnily enough, crosses over a bit because he’s Dylan, but it’s still mainly older people. And, of course, he’s 80, so my audience is 70 to 90. I’ve got to tell you, that’s a dying business mate!”

LR: “Also, it’s scientifically proven that the vast majority of people don’t change their musical tastes after 30. Obviously there are exceptions to the rule, but the vast majority stick to what they like [after] 30 and that’s it.”

“You see some reluctance now in ticket buying”

Worst deals…

BD: “I did a Michael Jackson show in Cardiff and the ticket [sales] were really slow. About two weeks from the show, we were losing £250,000, which was a bloody lot of money. To cut a long story short, we actually made money [in the end]. That was probably one of the worst deals, but it ended up okay.”

LR: “The worst half a second of my life was on stage. I was supposed to announce the support act in Utrecht for a show and said, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, please now welcome…’ and I’d forgotten the name. It took about a second, but it was the worst second of my life.”

BD: “I bet it felt like five minutes!”

Biggest hope for the industry…

BD: “Getting the business back to what it was, and I think we’ve got a shot at it. It was always a problem when it was just England [that was open]. Everyone kept saying, ‘Oh well, England is fine.’ I said, ‘Yeah, England’s fine, but nowhere else is.’ Try and say to an American act, ‘Come and do five shows in England: five arenas in England and that’s it.’ ‘No, I want Germany! I want Scandinavia!’ So now we’re kind of an even playing field.”

LR: “But you see some reluctance now in ticket buying. It’s the war; it’s the fact that they have got three tickets in their pocket already for shows that were postponed; it’s the inflation. Anything that went on sale before Christmas did very well, but what has been established this year is a bit soft… I’m not a pessimistic guy, but with ticket prices [going up and up], it could be that in three, four years time, we thought we saw the writing on the wall, but we didn’t act. I’m doing now a show with a really well known artist and the average ticket price is €110.”

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

April New Music Playlist out now

The latest edition of the IQ New Music playlist, featuring a selection of tracks curated by international booking agencies, is now live.

The playlist complements IQ Magazine’s popular New Signings page, which keeps the live industry updated about which new, emerging and re-emerging artists are being signed by agents. Click here to read the latest issue of IQ now.

The April edition of the playlist features tracks hand-picked by agents at CAA, ICM, ITB, Paradigm, UTA, ATC, WME, Mother Artists, Primary and Pure Represents.

Listen to the latest selection using the Spotify playlist below, or click here to catch up on last month’s playlist first.

Separated by agency, the full track list for the April playlist is:

 

AgencyArtistSong
CAAAmelia MooreMoves
CAAThe ShiresI See Stars
CAAElizaStraight Talker
CAAObongjayarTinko Tinko
CAAGuy GerberPyramid Of The Moon
ICMYumi ZoumaAstral Projection
ICMMarlon CraftHans Zimmer
ICMMarzzCountless Times
ICMLarry JuneSmoothies in 1991
ICMMike DimesHome
ITBHot MilkBad Influence
ITBJet VesperKind of Blue
ITBPlaceboHappy Birthday In The Sky
ITBSick JoyI’ve Got More Than I Need (And I Don’t Have Much)
ITBstayMellownowurgone
ParadigmBartees StrangeHeavy Heart
ParadigmDanielle PonderSo Long
ParadigmTiberius BOlivia
ParadigmTom A SmithCrucify Me
ParadigmYunè PinkuDC Rot
UTAStacey RyanDon’t Text Me When You’re Drunk
UTAFrankie Stew & Harvey GunnTears on my Window
UTAYeatMonëy so big
UTAJack KaneGold
UTAJung JaeilWay Back Then
ATCEnumclaw2002
ATCAldous HardingFever
ATCFolly GroupFaint Of Hearts
ATCSprintsDelia Smith
ATCEféKiwi
WMESigueJ Balvin, Ed Sheeran
WMEStrangeMiranda Lambert
WMEStars In The SkyKid Cudi
WMEBam BamCamila Cabello, Ed Sheeran
WMELeave You AloneKane Brown
Mother ArtistsBerSame Effect
Mother ArtistsRY XYour Love
Mother ArtistsThomas HeadonVictoria
Mother ArtistsViolet SkiesNever Be Cool
Mother ArtistsCorookidk god
PrimaryGames We PlayI Hope You’re Happy
PrimaryRussHandsomer (Remix) (Feat. Ktlyn)
Pure RepresentsGeorge EzraAnyone For You
Pure RepresentsThe MysterinesHung Up
Pure RepresentsBilkDaydreamer
Pure RepresentsCompanion23rd Street
Pure RepresentsMychelleYounger Self

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

March New Music Playlist out now

The latest edition of the IQ New Music playlist, featuring a selection of tracks curated by international booking agencies, is now live.

The playlist complements IQ Magazine’s popular New Signings page, which keeps the live industry updated about which new, emerging and re-emerging artists are being signed by agents. Click here to read the latest issue of IQ now.

The March edition of the playlist features tracks hand-picked by agents at CAA, ITB, Paradigm, UTA, ATC and Mother Artists.

Listen to the latest selection using the Spotify playlist below, or click here to catch up on last month’s playlist first.

Separated by agency, the full track list for the March playlist is:

 

AgencyArtistSong
CAANadeem Din-GabisiHoly Wata
CAANaomi SharonHills
CAAIvy SoleDangerous
ITBConradHollow
ITBDaytime TVSide By Side
ITBNaima BockEvery Morning
ITBPorridge RadioBack To The Radio
ITBTashHurricane Man
ParadigmEthan P. FlynnFather of Nine
ParadigmEtta MarcusProvider
ParadigmflowerovloveI Love This Song
ParadigmGoodboysBlack & Blue
ParadigmSpacey JaneSitting Up
UTAJohn HarvieBleach (On the Rocks)
UTAAlicia CretiCongratulations
UTAMaz O’ConnorWhen It Comes for You
UTAMiraa MayBig Woman
UTACleopatrickGood Grief
ATCKathleen FrancesBoy
ATCHurray for the Riff RaffLife On Earth
ATCMurkage DaveUs Lot
ATCLos BitchosThe Link Is About To Die
ATCBlack Country, New RoadAnts From Up There (Album)
Mother ArtistsAlex AmorCan You See Me
Mother ArtistsMy Life As A MonthElectro Junction
Mother ArtistsCMATEvery Bottle (Is My Boyfriend)
Mother ArtistsRY XLet You Go

Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.