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Live Nation Sweden appoints new head of agency

Live Nation Sweden has appointed booking agent Lina Pettersson as the new head of its agency division.

Pettersson, who formerly both an agent and head of sales for the company, says it feels “fantastic” to have been chosen to “lead and develop the business going forward. I am driven by being part of, and strengthening the work of, a progressive agency that manages and develops the artists’ live careers, from booking to touring.

“I think it is great that we as a company are focusing our resources and expertise, so that we can prioritise the initiatives which are most beneficial for the entire company and for our artists.”

Mattias Behrer, who was appointed Live Nation Sweden MD earlier this year, comments: “We have fantastic talent within the company, including many future leaders. I am incredibly happy about the opportunity to promote Lina Pettersson to take over responsibility for Live Nation’s agency operations. Lina has solid experience as both agent and manager of our booking team and is appreciated throughout the organisation, as well as by our artists and partners. She stands for strong and inclusive leadership, relationship building, strategic maturity and creativity.

“Lina stands for strong and inclusive leadership, relationship building, strategic maturity and creativity”

“I look forward to working with Lina, the entire agency team and all our resources to continue to give Sweden’s most exciting artists the best conditions to build their live careers at clubs and arenas around the country, as well as at the largest festivals and new digital platforms.”

LN Sweden’s international scope will also be expanded, adds Pettersson, “to give local artists a broader platform and take part in Live Nation’s global network”, with the company offering everything from marketing to partnerships, sponsorships, production services and promotion.

Live Nation Sweden’s roster of domestic talent includes the likes of Zara Larsson, Jonas Lundqvist, Agnes, Jëlly, Sabina Ddumba, the Ark, Per Gessle and Den Svenske Björnstammen.

Other Live Nation businesses in Sweden include leading promoter Luger, festivals Summerburst, Sweden Rock and Lollapalooza Stockholm and agency Appelgren Friedner, which joined Live Nation last year.

 


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Tales from Covid: Thomas Johansson, Live Nation

Ahead of the next issue of the magazine – which features concert business leaders offering their predictions for the industry’s post-coronavirus recovery – IQ is running a series of Q&As online looking at how our panel of experts are weathering the current crisis, as well as their forecasts for the months ahead.

Following the inaugural Tales from Covid with Australian veteran Michael Chugg, Live Nation’s chairman of international music and the Nordics, Thomas Johansson, chats working from home, Crew Nation and why live music will be a “tonic” after months in lockdown…

 


IQ: What professional lessons have you taken away from the Covid-19 outbreak?
TJ: My key takeaway has been to witness the outstanding dedication and hard work of our staff and promoters, who have responded to this unprecedented situation with flexibility and aplomb.

Live Nation in particular has stepped up with Crew Nation, a global fund to support the live infrastructure and the essential parts of our business who are experiencing a tough time at the moment. It makes me very proud to be a part of Live Nation when we all pull together in times of need.

Also, anyone who said home working doesn’t work was wrong!

“Live music is a major tonic and the whole world needs that”

When do you think the recovery might start, and what shape will it take?
It looks likely that the recovery will follow the pattern of the spread of the virus, with Asia opening up first, and Europe next, hopefully over the summer. Of course, we are planning for the other outcomes, too.

I’ve every faith in our business. It’s resilient and adaptable. I’m pretty sure that demand for live music will be stronger than ever when we get there.

What challenges do you think the industry will face in getting back up to speed?
We’ll need to bear disposable income in mind, of course, but we also need to remember that live music is a major tonic and the whole world needs that.

I have immense faith in our fans.

 


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Live Nation Sweden appoints Mattias Behrer as MD

Mattias Behrer has been appointed as the new managing director of Live Nation Sweden, effective from 10 August.

Behrer joins Live Nation from media and marketing consultation agency group Dentsu Aegis, where he served as CEO.

Prior to Dentsu Aegis, Behrer spent ten years at Viacom in a number of positions including as head of global marketing for MTV and senior vice president of Viacom’s youth division in eleven European countries.

Behrer takes over as MD of Live Nation Sweden in August and will report to John Reid, president of Live Nation Europe.

“I am very happy to lead Live Nation Sweden’s amazing team and continue to develop the experience for fans and partners”

“I am very happy to lead Live Nation Sweden’s amazing team and continue to develop the experience for fans and partners – before, during and after the event,” says Behrer.

“The live music industry is an extremely exciting area with great potential and a very interesting business model that brings together fans, artists and brands and creates experiences to remember for life.”

Reid adds: “We are very pleased to welcome Mattias to the team. With his extensive background in business and with expertise in marketing to young audiences, it is no doubt that he will be a strong addition to Live Nation Sweden.”

Live Nation Sweden is country’s largest concert promoter and organises festivals including Lollapalooza Stockholm, Sweden Rock, Summerburst and Way Out West.

 


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DTD’s Karolina Hansen joins Live Nation Sweden

Danish promoter Karolina Hansen, formerly of DTD Concerts, has joined the international concerts division of Live Nation Sweden.

A Copenhagener, Hansen started her career as an intern at UTA in London and joined DTD (Down the Drain) Concerts, then known as Beatbox Entertainment, in 2015. Her roster roster includes Khalid, Billie Eilish, Ski Mask the Slump God, Little Simz, 070Shake, Men I Trust, Steve Lacy, Emotional Oranges, Conan Gray and Refused.

She was also one of IQ’s New Bosses in 2019, and will appear on the Meet the New Bosses panel at Futures Forum this March.

“I’m really excited to have Karolina join our team – in Denmark she has proven herself to be a great promoter and gained wide experience in the business in a short time,” says Anna Sjölund, Live Nation Sweden’s president of festivals and concerts.

“Working outside of Denmark is a new role for me that I’m really looking forward to”

“Karolina’s love for music and her passion for the talent she works with is exceptional, and it makes me really proud that she has chosen to become a part of our team.”

Adds Hansen: “I look forward to starting this new adventure in Stockholm, and to join a team of great promoters at Live Nation Sweden. Being a part of a Scandinavian team and working outside of Denmark is a new role for me that I’m really looking forward to take on.

Hansen’s first day at Live Nation – Sweden’s largest promoter of concerts, tours and events – will be on Monday 2 March 2020.

 


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Sweden’s Summerburst turns fans into influencers

Sweden’s Summerburst will this year invite all festivalgoers to work with it on campaigns and around events leading up to the festival this summer.

The Live Nation-owned dance music event, which this year celebrates its tenth edition, is asking fans to become ‘Summerburst Icons’ via a partnership with influencer marketing platform Society Icon.

Using Society Icon’s technology – which connects companies with fans and customers, or ‘icons’, who market the brands via their own channels – the festival is aiming to “build a community of its own where everyone, regardless of their number of followers on social media, are welcome and can enjoy exclusive material and offers,” according to a Society Icon statement, and “apply for campaigns they want to work with – both with the festival directly [and] even with the festival’s partners.”

Kristofer Åkesson, the longtime marketing and communications director for Live Nation Sweden, joined Society Icon in July. In addition to Live Nation, with which it has worked for a year and a half, the company’s clients include Warner Music, H&M and magazine publisher Aller Media.

“This partnership with Live Nation and Summerburst is completely in line with how the market is moving”

“Summerburst is and has always been about our fans; we are nothing without them,” says festival founder Anders Boström. “The fact that, with the Society Icon technology, we can now can start working with and creating Summerburst 2020 together with the fans, on their own social channels, is […] super exciting.”

Mose Haregot, founder and CEO of Society Icon, adds: “Society Icon is all about putting the individual at the centre of communication and marketing, regardless of who you are or how many followers you have.

“To keep developing this partnership with Live Nation and Summerburst like this is completely in line with how the market and behaviour is moving, and proves that it is in the meeting between people and brands that we can create completely new values ​​and business, and let consumers create together with the brands they love.”

More information about Summerburst 2020, which will take place in June, will be released later this month. Last year’s festival, at Stockholm Olympic Stadium, featured performances from Calvin Harris, Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike, Tiësto, Will Sparks, R3hab and more.

 


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Live Nation SE’s Kristofer Åkesson joins start-up Society Icon

Kristofer Åkesson, formerly marketing and communications director for Live Nation Sweden, has joined Swedish marketing start-up Society Icon.

Åkesson, whose achievements at Live Nation this year include Swedish House Mafia’s Stockholm comeback shows and the first Lollapalooza Stockholm, becomes COO and partner at Society Icon, which connects companies with influential fans and customers – ‘icons’ – who market the brands via their own channels.

Existing Society Icon clients include Live Nation, Warner Music, H&M and magazine publisher Aller Media.

The company recently closed an investment round, and is valued at 81 million kr (US$8.6m).

“With his knowledge, experience and ideas, he will be invaluable in our continued expansion”

“I leave one dream job for another,” comments Åkesson, who had been with Live Nation for nearly a decade. “Throughout the years at Live Nation I’ve met many companies that offered different solutions for influencer marketing, but never found a good and efficient alternative.

“When Mose [Haregot], CEO and founder, presented Society Icon one and a half years ago, I immediately saw that the unique idea and technology behind it – where the ordinary person and their followers are central – is not only is the future of influencer marketing, but ultimately also for marketing and consumer loyalty in general.”

Haregot adds: “Kristofer is a dream hire. I have always been impressed by his ability to understand and foresee trends and behaviours, and as a client to us for one and a half years, he has also made the product better. Since day one he has understood the long-term potential of Society Icon, and with his knowledge, experience and ideas, he will be invaluable in our continued expansion.”

 


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Swedish agency Appelgren Friedner joins Live Nation

Live Nation has joined forces with Appelgren Friedner, a Stockholm-based booking agency representing some of Sweden’s most popular artists.

Founded in 2015 by agent Lisa Appelgren (formerly of Pitch & Smith Sweden and the Agency Group) and local promoter Uno Friedner, Appelgren Friedner and its roster become part of Live Nation Sweden on 15 August 2019. Making the jump include artists Sabina Ddumba, Jëlly, Jonas Lundqvist, Cherrie, Movits! and Tensta Gospel Choir, as well as Appelgren Friedner’s Georgios Kalafatidis.

“I am very happy to welcome Appelgren Friedner into the Live Nation fold,” says Markus Wiking, Live Nation Sweden’s COO, local artists. “I have great respect for both Uno and Lisa, and together we will develop and continue to build on the artists they work with today. It will be fantastic to bring their knowledge and expertise in house.”

“I have great respect for Uno and Lisa, and together we will develop and continue to build on the artists they work with”

Other Live Nation businesses in Sweden include leading promoter Luger and festivals Summerburst, Sweden Rock and Lollapalooza Stockholm.

“We have run Appelgren Friedner for four years and now we are ready for new challenges,” say Friedner and Appelgren in a joint statement. “Becoming part of Live Nation and getting an expanded platform creates fantastic opportunities for our artists. We are excited to take us, and our artists, to the next level.”

The agency is Live Nation’s 13th acquisition or equivalent of 2019, following the buy-out of Polish promoter Go Ahead, announced on Monday.

 


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3 years of gender-balanced line-ups for Way Out West

Sweden’s Way Out West festival, promoted by Live Nation-owned Luger, has announced Solange as the final headliner for its 2019 edition, completing a 50/50 gender split line-up for the third year running.

The singer joins previously announced headliners Cardi B, the Cure and Stormzy. Other acts to play at the Gothenburg-based festival include James Blake, Earl Sweatshirt, Zara Larsson and Christine and the Queens.

First obtaining gender-balanced programming in 2016, Way Out West signed up to the Keychange pledge in 2018 with over 150 other festivals, which commits participating festivals to achieve a gender-balanced line-up by 2020.

The Swedish live music scene came under fire in 2017 after almost 2,000 female agents, managers, promoters, production managers and artists signed an open letter detailing experiences of sexual harassment or assault within the music industry.

Talking to IQ for the Sweden market report, Luger co-founder Ola Broquist stated that the music industry in the country was working to resolve its issues. Broquist referenced “gender equality progression in festival line-ups” as an important part of this improvement process.

“Way Out West is one of a small number of festivals to present a line-up in which female artists are not outnumbered by their male counterparts”

Way Out West is one of a small number of festivals to present a line-up in which female artists are not outnumbered by their male counterparts.

This year, Barcelona’s Primavera Sound festival will feature its first-ever 50/50 line-up, with artists including Miley Cyrus, Carly Rae Jepsen, Janelle Monáe and Robyn. Way Out West headliner Cardi B cancelled her performance at Primavera Sound in April, due to promotional commitments.

In 2018, Sena Live’s Iceland Airwaves became the first major festival to have more women than men on the bill.

However, festivals participating in IQ‘s European festival preview stated that more needed to be done to encourage young, emerging female artists, as organisers struggled to find sufficient numbers of top-level female performers.

In addition to its efforts to promote gender equality, Way Out West is also committed to improving sustainability. The festival has been meat- and largely dairy-free since 2012. Last year, organisers invested in extra emission-reducing measures, in a bid to become climate neutral.

Way Out West takes place from 8 – 10 August 2019 in Gothenburg, Sweden. Three-day passes start from £140. More information can be found here.

 


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Swedish government honours LN’s Thomas Johansson

The Swedish government has awarded Thomas Johansson, Live Nation’s chairman of international music and the Nordics, the Music Export Prize.

The prize is awarded to leading figures in the industry who have excelled over the course of their careers, making a long-standing contribution to Swedish music and promoting the country’s music industry worldwide.

The Swedish government created the Music Export Prize in 1997 to recognise contributions made to exports by music industry figures.

Previous recipients of the award include ABBA in 2013, Max Martin in 2014 and Roxette in 2011.

The prize is awarded to leading figures in the industry who have made a long-standing contribution to Swedish music

Johansson has been an important part of the Swedish music industry for years. He founded live entertainment company EMA Telstar in 1969, bringing international acts to Sweden and managing ABBA’s touring, as well as that of many other Swedish acts. EMA Telstar joined Live Nation over ten years ago.

As chairman of Live Nation Sweden, Johansson has delivered concerts, tours and events to over one million Swedes a year.

Johansson has worked with acts including Roxette, The Cardigans, Peter Jöback and Zara Larsson, in addition to his global tours with ABBA.

Live Nation has recently strengthened its foothold in the Nordic market, acquiring Norwegian rock and metal festival Tons of Rock and Finnish hip-hop festival Blockfest.

 


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‘A lot of good things are happening’: Sweden market report

Politically idealistic, economically sturdy, and with a knack for a bittersweet pop song, Sweden is the kind of country other European nations might easily envy. Who wouldn’t want to futuristically lead the world in cashless payments, or be the planet’s biggest exporter of pop music per head? But to imagine Sweden doesn’t have everyday problems of its own is to succumb to an unrealistic stereotype.

Last year, for example, Sweden became the first country to lose a music festival – its biggest, no less – to a rape scandal, after reports of four rapes and 23 sexual assaults at Bråvalla’s 2017 event forced organiser FKP Scorpio to shelve it for 2018, and then scrap the tainted brand entirely.

Meanwhile, in November 2017, performers including Zara Larsson, Robyn, First Aid Kit and Icona Pop were among almost 2,000 women in the Swedish music business who put their names to a petition decrying the sexual harassment they point out is endemic in the industry.

But what perhaps still marks Sweden out is its reaction to such issues. Numerous major festivals worldwide have unwittingly played host to sexual assaults, but only in Sweden – where the problem was undeniably extreme – has the event in question fallen on its own sword. And in another pointed response, Gothenburg this summer saw the launch of  The Statement, the world’s first large-scale festival exclusively for women, transgender and non-binary people.

In answer to the petition, not only have the local and regional bosses of Sony, Universal and Warner lent their support and pledged to act, but trade association Musiksverige announced that the quest for a more inclusive industry – “free from antagonistic behaviour, sexual harassment and abuse” – would henceforth take precedence over all its other activities.

All right, Sweden has its failings, but no one can accuse it of refusing to address them.

“I think a lot of good things are happening – the whole #MeToo movement, gender equality progression in festival line-ups – all of that I think is great,” says Ola Broquist, co- founder of booking agency and Way Out West promoter Luger.

All right, Sweden has its failings, but no one can accuse it of refusing to address them

He suggests that, in airing its dirty laundry, Sweden is ahead of many countries who would prefer to bury their own. “In Sweden, we are starting to look at the solutions. I think if you don’t address these things, then you definitely have a problem.”

Setting these things to one side, if it’s possible entirely to do so, live music fares very well in Sweden. Domestic and international revenue from the Swedish music industry amounted to SEK10 billion (£852 million) in 2016, of which concert revenue accounted for 55% (SEK5.5bn or £466m). Between 2009 and 2016, Swedish music industry revenue, domestic and international, increased by just over 50%.

Individual festivals may rise and fall, but overall audiences remain strong and incoming tours are generally guaranteed to stop in Stockholm. There are practical concerns: the krona is toiling at its lowest levels against the euro since the financial crisis of 2009; the club scene in Stockholm is under a familiar kind of threat from high rents and typical city pressures; the touring market often verges on saturation; and there has been a rash – not music-related but still dramatic – of hand grenade attacks in Swedish cities. But by and large, Sweden is bearing up.

“I think generally we have a pretty healthy business up here,” says Live Nation Sweden’s joint managing director Anna Sjölund. “We have a steady flow of acts that want to play here and people who want to go to shows. From time to time, we have acts who say they don’t want to come up here and they finish in Germany, but most of them, we do get.”

Promoters
There’s no disputing that Live Nation is by far the strongest promoter in Sweden. In fact, given its full concert schedule and the imminent arrival of a Swedish Lollapalooza due to take place in central Stockholm next June – to add to Way Out West, Summerburst, Sweden Rock and other festivals in its stable – some argue that Live Nation is more dominant in Sweden than in any other nation in the world.

In many ways, it earned its dominance fair and square, building its modern business on the foundations laid down by EMA Telstar, which was bought up in 1999, and whose founder Thomas Johansson remains Live Nation’s Stockholm- based chairman of international music.

“Live Nation has, and always has had, a firm grip on the Swedish market”

Live Nation Sweden added Luger to the fold in 2008, and has more recently bought majority shares in Summerburst and Sweden Rock festivals, as well as shaping up to bring in Lollapalooza in 2019.

“Live Nation has, and always has had, a firm grip on the Swedish market,” says Tobbe Lorentz, United Talent Agency’s Malmö-based senior vice president. “With this expansion, Live Nation controls most aspects of the festival circuit in Sweden.”

Since November 2017, Live Nation Sweden has been under Sjölund and Therése Liljedahl, with a staff of about 115, and business is predictably good.

“We have had a very good year, lots of great shows,” says Sjölund. “We had the fantastic stadium shows with Guns N’ Roses, Jay-Z & Beyoncé, Foo Fighters, and Eminem through Luger. For once, the Swedish summer didn’t get rained away – it’s been really hot, really nice. Really healthy arena business, too. And we are catching our breath now and putting things in place for next year.”

Luger operates as a distinct company within Live Nation, while sharing expertise on certain projects, says Broquist. Lollapalooza is one such joint venture, and Luger is also upping its game in big shows, with Eminem, Coldplay and Mumford & Sons among those it has lately promoted on the biggest stages.

“We will never stop doing the smaller ones – that’s the backbone of the whole thing for us – finding new acts and growing with them,” Broquist adds. “But it is interesting to step up and do some bigger shows as well.”

 


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