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Live Nation acquires Canadian promoter Embrace Presents

Live Nation Entertainment has acquired a majority stake in Embrace Presents, a Canadian venue operator and promoter of concerts, festivals and events in the Toronto area.

The announcement follows the acquisition of Singaporean promoter One Production at the end of January, and an acquisition-heavy 2018 in which Live Nation acquired 16 companies, including Argentine promoter DF Entertainment, Swiss promoter Mainland Music and UK festivals Bestival and Camp Bestival.

The companies plan to combine Embrace’s experience developing emerging talent, boutique festivals and mid-size venue operations with Live Nation’s resources to bring more live events to Canada.

“Embrace has grown to become one of Toronto’s most influential leaders in live events,” says Riley O’Connor, chairman of Live Nation Canada. “We are excited to collaborate with them on new events and utilise their ingenuity and promotion tactics to further strengthen our presence in the marketplace.”

“We are looking forward to growing Embrace in concert with Live Nation to present bigger and more exciting live events”

Embrace continues to oversee all operations in its portfolio, including management of local festivals and the booking and running of Toronto venues Danforth Music Hall (1,425-cap.) and Velvet Underground (400-cap.).

Launched in 2001 by founder and president Adam Gill, Embrace began as an electronic music promoter. The company now presents a more diverse range of live music events including Toronto’s Electric Island (7,000-cap.) festival. Embrace has promoted shows for acts including Leon Bridges, Skrillex, Vance Joy and LCD Soundsystem.

Gill comments: “We are very excited to join Riley [O’Connor] and the entire Live Nation team as we embark on Embrace’s newest chapter. We are looking forward to growing Embrace in concert with Live Nation to present bigger and more exciting live events.”

 


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O Canada: market report

Canada’s economy has led G7 nations in growth in 2017, and that momentum seems to have carried over to the live music industry to a large degree.

“It’s robust,” says Jim Cressman, president of Pentiction, British Columbia-based Invictus Entertainment Group, which books and promotes 500-700 concerts per year at multiple venues. “The right artist at the right price almost always does predictable business.”

Though no national study has yet been done on the live music industry, an economic impact analysis of the business in Ontario – Canada’s most populous province and home to the music hub of Toronto – illustrated how important it is. The Live Music Measures Up study showed that the industry was responsible for 20,000 full-time equivalent jobs in 2013 and that spending by live music companies and the tourism activity generated by music festivals together contributed just under C$1.2billion (€0.8bn) to Ontario’s gross domestic product.

Those numbers have likely increased, and can be extrapolated across the country, according to Erin Benjamin, executive director of Music Canada Live, which was created in the fall of 2014 to advance and promote the live music industry’s many economic, social and cultural benefits.

The concert industry received an extra boost in 2017 due to Canada’s sesquicentennial, as communities across the country often included live music in their celebrations of the nation’s 150th birthday.

While the Canadian recording industry has benefited from national sources of funding – including the Canada Music Fund, the Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings (FACTOR), Radio Starmaker Fund, VideoFACT, PromoFACT and the SOCAN Foundation – and broadcasters being legally obliged to play a minimum amount of Canadian content, the federal, provincial and municipal levels of government also provide grants for events and festivals where live music is a major component.

“That support really makes the Canadian music business the envy of the world, quite frankly,” says Jack Ross, who heads the newly opened Canadian office of the Los Angeles-based APA talent agency along with Ralph James.

The concert industry received an extra boost in 2017 due to Canada’s sesquicentennia

But that’s not stopping Music Canada Live and its more than 125 members – including concert promoters, festivals, presenters, venues, agents, ticketing companies, industry associations and suppliers – from advocating for policy advancement and increased funding, public awareness and research.

“Live music hasn’t effectively told its story with a united voice, and it’s my job to do that,” says Benjamin. “When we’re truly united by this association, whether it’s with me or ten executive directors from now, we will be the most powerful piece of Canada’s music industry because of the connection between artists and fans.”

Shawn Sakamoto, vice-president of Lethbridge, Alberta-based live event production and management company Sakamoto Entertainment, would like to see Canadian content regulations introduced to the domestic live music sector, which he believes has suffered due to “monopolisation of the touring market by entities such as Live Nation” and other multinational companies. He advocates Canadian artists being added to national tours by international performers in order to give them further exposure.

Confidence in Canada from American companies was shown this summer when, after LA-based United Talent Agency closed its Canadian office, APA and LA-based Paradigm Talent Agency both opened up shop in Toronto. They join the Feldman Agency and Paquin Artists Agency as Canada’s largest, while several smaller domestic agencies are also active.

“That competition is going to be a good thing for Canadian artists, and it will be a good thing for the music industry overall,” says Ross.

 


Continue reading this feature in the digital edition of IQ 74:

Ken Craig to head up new Live Nation Ottawa office

Live Nation has announced the opening of a new office in Canada’s capital city, Ottawa.

The new operation will be overseen by Ken Craig, an independent promoter with a long relationship with Live Nation Canada, who becomes vice-president of the Ottawa region. The company currently promotes around 70 shows a year in the city, which has a population of just shy of a million.

“Ken has been a colleague for 30 years,” comments Riley O’Connor, chairman of Live Nation Canada. “His passion for the entertainment business is reflected in his work ethic, as well as in making everyone feel welcome and excited to be participating in live concert experiences.

“We are proud to officially welcome Ken to the Live Nation family”

“We are proud to officially welcome Ken to the Live Nation Canada family as we continue upon our path of bringing the most vibrant and exciting live entertainment to fans across Canada.”

Craig is a long-time senior contract producer for Live Nation Canada, overseeing the production of arena, stadium and outdoor sites across the country, including the development of a venue production strategy at the new Videotron Centre (20,396-cap.) in Quebec and the development of several greenfield sites, including Magnetic Hill in Moncton and Wesley Clover Park in Ottawa. He has also promoted and produced Jerry Seinfield’s Canadian dates for the past ten years.

 


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Executive reshuffle at Live Nation Canada

Live Nation Canada has made two internal hires, announcing that Erik Hoffman has become its new president in Toronto and John May been brought in as president of media and corporate partnerships.

PRS Concerts co-founder Hoffman (pictured) was formerly Live Nation’s vice-president of talent in Vancouver, while May was previously executive vice-president of business development.

In his role as president of Toronto, Hoffman will be based at the 16,000-capacity Molson Canadian Amphitheatre and oversee Live Nation’s operations in one of North America’s largest concert markets. May, meanwhile, will “continue to direct the unprecedented expansion of Live Nation Canada’s corporate and strategic partnership portfolio”, says the promoter.

“Erik and John have proven track records in concert and business development across the country, as well as extensive experience in successfully spearheading and fulfilling a number of initiatives, benefitting not just Toronto, but the entire national organization,” says Paul Haagenson, president of Live Nation Canada, reports FYIMusicNews. “We are excited to deepen our footprint in Canada’s most vibrant concert market.”