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CAA, Wireless, Dice triumph at Music Week Awards

Companies from across the UK’s live music sector were honoured at the 2024 Music Week Awards, held last night (2 May) at the JW Marriott Grosvenor House London.

Presented by Apple Music 1 radio host Dotty, the sold-out ceremony saw 25 awards handed out across the music industry.

Winners included CAA (Live Music Agency), Live Nation UK (Live Music Promoter), Wireless (Festival) and Dice, who triumphed in the Ticketing Company category for the second successive year.

In their acceptance speech, CAA’s Maria May paid tribute to the “amazing artists we get to work with every single day”, while fellow agent Paul Franklin added: “Thanks also to the managers, the labels, the promoters but mainly to the CAA team who work incredibly hard every day.”

In addition, Belfast’s Oh Yeah Music Centre clinched the Grassroots Venue: Spirit Of The Scene award, which is supported by Music Venue Trust and was decided by a public vote.

“Tonight is proof that pop music matters”

The night’s top award, The Strat – awarded annually to an industry icon – went to Fascination Management founder Peter Loraine, who was presented with the honour by his clients, Girls Aloud.

Loraine’s 30-year music career has included stints as magazine editor, label head and artist manager. He also famously gave the Spice Girls their nicknames.

Video tributes were provided by the group’s Melanie C and Emma Bunton, along with artists Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Will Young, Jessie Ware, Jake Shears, S Club 7, Bananarama, All Saints and Steps, in addition to Universal Music Group’s Sir Lucian Grainge, David Joseph and Selina Webb.

“If I think about it for any amount of time, I just think it’s wild,” said Lorain. “I’ve been able to turn my childhood obsession with pop music into a 30-year occupation. As a teenager, I only wanted three things: I wanted to move to London to work for a music magazine, for a record company and to be friends with Bananarama – not much to ask for really… Tonight is proof that pop music matters.”

 


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Metropolis Music launches Birmingham summer series

Metropolis Music has announced a new four-day festival series in the heart of Birmingham, UK.

The 4,999-cap Centenary Square Summer Series will debut across the August Bank Holiday weekend, transforming the city’s Centenary Square into a concert venue featuring “world-class” artists.

The outdoor event, which will be powered solely by the national grid and be single use plastic free, is programmed by Live Nation’s Metropolis Music and produced in partnership with Cuffe & Taylor.

“Birmingham and the people of the West Midlands deserve a flagship summer festival series”

“Birmingham and the people of the West Midlands deserve a flagship summer festival series,” says Dan Roberts, series programmer, Metropolis Music. “In that spirit, we are excited to announce the inaugural Centenary Square Summer Series. Thanks to everyone at Birmingham City Council, [music charity] B:Music, friends and residents around the square for supporting this concept. Bookings are complete; we’ve got some amazing artists lined up for you, more news soon.”

Organisers say the series will mirror the format of the Summer Series at London’s Somerset House and The Piece Hall in Halifax, Yorkshire, Artist announcement is scheduled for Friday 1 March.

“The Centenary Square Summer Series will offer Birmingham residents and visitors the opportunity to see high-profile bands and musicians in the heart of the city centre next summer,” adds Cllr Saima Suleman, cabinet member for digital, culture, heritage and tourism. “The city council alongside B:Music and key stakeholders around Centenary Square have supported Metropolis Music to develop this event which we hope will grow to be a key annual event in Birmingham.”

 


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Live veteran John Probyn joins Solotech

Former Live Nation executive John Probyn has joined AV tech specialist Solotech as head of business development in Europe for the company’s live productions division.

In the newly created role, Probyn will be responsible for the business development of the firm’s touring activities in Europe, cultivating new relationships while continuing to service Solotech’s existing customer base.

“With an outstanding track record in music festival, touring and events, Probyn will be an amazing addition to our team,” says Mickey Curbishley, Solotech president, live productions, US, UK. “He has such a broad live production background and vast experience, he will undoubtedly play a crucial role in supporting Solotech’s continued growth in Europe.”

Probyn, who brings almost 20 years’ experience in leadership positions at Live Nation UK, started out in the industry in the late 1980s and was responsible for creating and producing the Party in the Park series of sponsored music events for several radio stations throughout the country.

“Solotech’s global vision for the future in terms of growth and development excites me and I relish the challenge of helping them to achieve their ambitions”

In 1997, he started his own consultancy offering health and safety planning and management, before joining LN forerunner Clear Channel Entertainment as operations director in 2001, rising up the ranks to become Live Nation UK COO. He has worked on stadium tours by the likes of U2, Madonna, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Bon Jovi, along with festivals such as Download, Wireless and Hard Rock Calling, and special events including Live 8, Live Earth, The Concert for Diana, Nelson Mandela’s 90th Birthday concert and the 2012 London Olympics.

In 2015, Probyn stepped down from LN but later joined Festival Republic in 2017 working for Melvin Benn on a range of festivals and projects.

“I’ve worked with Solotech UK brands Capital Sound, Wigwam and SSE Audio for many years and they have always been an important part of what I have achieved,” says Probyn. “Their global vision for the future in terms of growth and development excites me and I relish the challenge of helping them to achieve their ambitions.”

 


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Live Nation UK elevates Maddie Arnold to promoter

Live Nation UK has elevated Maddie Arnold to promoter in its concerts division.

Arnold, who has spent five years with the company working with the likes of J Cole, Machine Gun Kelly, Halsey and Idles, is now responsible for her own growing roster including Ashnikko, Jazmin Bean, Cassyette, Lauren Sanderson, Matt Maltese, Bleach Lab, Caity Baser, Ellie Dixon and Jazmine Flowers.

“Since Maddie joined us she has proved herself to be someone really special,” says Andy Copping, Live Nation UK executive president. “Maddie picked up the promoting side of our business very quickly and it soon became clear that she would become a bona fide promoter in her own right.

“Maddie has fast tracked her way from being an assistant, then an associate promoter to becoming a full-time promoter with consummate ease. Maddie’s knowledge of the business, her connections and aptitude completely set her apart from her contemporaries. I am proud to have Maddie on my team.”

“Having worked in a few areas of the music industry, it was at Live Nation where I finally found my feet”

Arnold has previously held positions at Festival Republic and WME.

“Having worked in a few areas of the music industry, it was at Live Nation where I finally found my feet,” she says. “I soon realised promoting was something I was passionate about, I wanted to learn quickly and was eager to get stuck in.

“The support I’ve had throughout the last five years has been outstanding, constant mentoring, guidance and encouragement from my peers and managers. Although I’ve been building my roster for a few years now, I’m over the moon to now be doing this full time and to continue breaking new and exciting artists.”

Last week, IQ revealed that IME Music owner Ian Evans has joined Live Nation UK, while the company has further bolstered its ranks in the past few months by acquiring London-based music and arts live events company Parallel Lines Promotions.

Stephen Vondy of Liverpool Sound City and I Love Live Events also recently joined the firm as a promoter.

 


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Live Nation UK bolsters ranks

IME Music owner Ian Evans has joined Live Nation UK. Evans, who founded Derbyshire-based IME in 2005, has worked as a programmer/booker across festivals such as Victorious in Portsmouth, Tramlines in Sheffield, Derbyshire’s Y Not, Truck Festival in Oxfordshire, Rewind North, South and Scotland, and the multi-venue 2Q in Lincolnshire.

IME has also staged high-profile shows in touring venues and provided event management services to clients around the UK.

A spokesperson for Live Nation confirmed Evans had joined the company but was unable to provide further details.

It has also emerged that Live Nation has acquired London-based music and arts live events company Parallel Lines

In the past few months, the UK promoter has also bolstered its ranks by acquiring London-based music and arts live events company Parallel Lines Promotions.

Created by Jon Dunn in 2013, Parallel Lines works with acts such as Arcade Fire,Ezra Furman, Fat White Family, Future Islands, Glass Animals, Jarvis Cocker, Joanna Newsom, Jose Gonzalez, Jungle, Parquet Courts, Perfume Genius, Sharon Van Etten, St Vincent and The National.

Dunn previously worked for Live Nation and Festival Republic from 2004 to 2012, curating the music line-up for Latitude Festival from its inception.

LN UK recently revealed it was on track for its biggest outdoor season ever, claiming that nearly six million fans are expected to attend its live shows this summer.

 


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Live Nation selected for new Cardiff arena

Live Nation has been identified as the preferred bidder to manage a new 15,000-capacity indoor arena in Cardiff.

The new venue, which will become Live Nation’s second arena in the Welsh capital, will cost around £150 million to build and, it is hoped, attract more than 1m visitors and an estimated £100m into the local economy annually.

A Live Nation-led consortium – which also includes venue company Oak View Group (OVG) and property firm Robertson – was behind one of two offers to Cardiff Council, which was seeking a private-sector partner to “deliver a top-tier UK venue that that will enable events of all sizes to be hosted in the city.”

Live Nation also operates the 5,000-capacity Cardiff International Arena (formerly Motorpoint Arena Cardiff), as well as converted warehouse venue Titan Warehouse. OVG, meanwhile, is currently constructing a new arena, Co-op Live, in Manchester, England.

Russell Goodway, Cardiff Council’s cabinet member for investment and development, says: “The city’s strategy is to establish the Cardiff Arena as a top-tier UK arena and to make it the premier arena in the south-west region of England and Wales.”

“Our combined experience in the delivery and operation of facilities of this nature will result in a world-class facility”

A rival arena in Bristol, in south-west England, YTL Arena, is now expected to open in 2023, after years of delays. It was originally due to open in 2018, with SMG Europe (now ASM Global) managing, but is now under construction at a new site.

According to Cardiff Council leader Huw Thomas, the council will commit less than 15% of the arena’s cost, with the remaining 85%+ of capital investment coming from the council’s private-sector partners.

In a joint statement, Live Nation, Oak View Group and Robertson say: “We are delighted to have been announced preferred bidder today to deliver the new Cardiff arena. We look forward to working in partnership with Cardiff Council to bring this ambitious vision to life over the next few years.

“Our combined experience in the delivery and operation of facilities of this nature will result in a world-class facility that will bring economic benefits to the entire region, both during its construction and for many years to come once it’s open. In 2021 we will embark on the next phase of the planning process, which will provide the wider community the opportunity to see our exciting proposals for the site.”

 


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Live Nation, AEG report UK gender pay gap stats

Several UK-based live music businesses have voluntarily reported their most recent gender pay gap (GPG) statistics.

Despite the government ruling early into the Covid-19 pandemic that companies do not have to meet the deadline this year, Live Nation UK, AEG Europe and Ticketmaster UK have shared their pay gap data for the 12 months from 5 April 2019.

From 2017, all companies in mainland Britain with more than 250 employees have been required to report their GPG – defined as the “difference in the average hourly wage of all men and women across a workforce” – for the previous year to the government equalities office.

However, with that requirement on hold amid the coronavirus pandemic, many of the companies which appeared on last year’s list, including SMG/ASM Global, Academy Music Group, NEC Group, DHP Family and PRS for Music, have not reported their statistics this year. Global, meanwhile, is no longer in the festival game, and its successor entities do not hire more than 250 people.

This article will be updated if any of the companies that are missing add their GPG reports at a later date. For now, though, here are pay gap statistics – as well as links to the full reports – for the four companies which voluntarily met the original deadline…

 


Live Nation (Live Nation (Music) UK Ltd)

Pay gap (mean): 44.5% (-44.3%)
Pay gap (median): 25.7% (+11.7%)

Live Nation UK slashed its mean pay gap (the difference in average hourly wage across the entire company) to 44.5% in 2019–2020 – the lowest figure since GPG reporting began in the UK in 2017. However, its median GPG (the gap between the middle-paid man and middle-paid woman) grew slightly.

Women occupy 36% of the highest-paid jobs and 72% of the lowest-paid jobs, while median bonus pay is 41.2% lower for women.

 

Ticketmaster (Ticketmaster UK Ltd)

Pay gap (mean): 25.9% (-41.1%)
Pay gap (median): 28.9% (+25.7%)

At Ticketmaster, it’s a similar picture to parent company Live Nation, with a drastic reduction in the mean GPG but a slight widening of the median gap. At 25.9%, the pay gap across the entire organisation is also the narrowest it’s ever been.

Women occupy 21% of the highest-paid and 43% of the lowest-paid jobs; on average, women’s bonus pay is 32% lower than men’s (on a median basis).

 

AEG (Anschutz Sports Holdings Ltd)

Pay gap (mean): 34.5% (-20.9%)
Pay gap (median): 39% (+6%)

In the most recent 12-month epriod, AEG Europe had a mean pay gap of 34.5% (down 20.9% on 2018’s 43.6%), meaning the UK’s big two live entertainment companies both reported their lowest average GPGs since reporting began.

At AEG UK, women occupy 34% of the best-paid jobs and 59% of the lowest-paid jobs, while women’s median bonuses are 15.6% lower.

 

PPL PRS (PPL PRS Limited)

Pay gap (mean): -9.6%
Pay gap (median): -16.8%

Performance rights organisation PPL PRS Ltd, a joint venture between PRS for Music and PPL, had a negative gender pay gap – or a GPG in favour of women – in 2019/20.

Women occupy 49.1% of the highest-paid jobs and 27.3% of the lowest-paid, while a bonus gap of 0% means men and women take home the same average bonus pay.

 


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Thank you, Black Out Tuesday

Black Out Tuesday was created by Jamila Thomas, senior director of marketing at Atlantic Records, and Brianna Agyemang, the senior artist campaign manager at Platoon. Tuesday 2 June 2020 saw business as usual halt in solidarity for black lives.

The entire world was shaken by the inhumane loss of George Floyd. Sadly he is not the only one whose life has been stolen at the hands of police brutality and racism – there are hundreds more, including recent cases Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. This had an effect on the black community I personally have never seen in my lifetime. Over the last week or so, I have seen and felt a sense of togetherness and support for black people, which we deserve… it is about time.

For me, Black Out Tuesday was a day of reflection and homage, and an opportunity to encourage a profound, uninterrupted level of education within our respective organisations. We used the opportunity to have an open dialogue, amplify black voices, address imperfections in our own policies, and discuss next steps towards tackling prejudice, discrimination and the outright racism black people are forced to endure.

Without this day, a lot of us wouldn’t have been able to gain the attention of our non-black counterparts; we wouldn’t have been able to open the dialogue with the same altitude of poise and tenacity.

Failure to address these key issues makes you complicit

So, what are the next steps?

The issues have been identified – now it’s time to present the facts. Where are your ethnicity pay gap and employee satisfaction reports? If they don’t exist, now is a good time to populate that data and work towards a safer space for black employees. Data is an extremely important tool and necessary for change.

If you have the capacity to roll out anti-racism training, do so. Educate where possible, and call out racist behaviour, because failure to address these key issues makes you complicit.

If you’re reading this and you’re an executive, a business owner, a manager, a CEO, a founder or anything in between, please ask yourself, “What can I do to spark change? What can I do to make sure my company policies reflect the black square I posted on Tuesday?”

This isn’t a gimmick: systemic and institutionalised racism affects people’s lives, and you have a duty of care.

This is a battle we have been fighting since the beginning of time and will continue to fight until there is real change. If Black Out Tuesday taught me anything, it’s that there is strength in numbers.

 


What else can you do?

Watch

Jane Elliot: Blue-eyed/brown-eyed experiment
Jane Elliot, an anti-racist activist and educator, devised this experiment following the assassination of Martin Luther King.

BFI collection: Black Lives
Portraits of public and private lives against the shifting social climate of 20th-century Britain.

BBC documentary: Will Britain Ever Have a Black Prime Minister?

Unfiltered with James O’Brien: Akala deconstructs race and class

BBC documentary: The Secret Windrush Files

 

Read

Reni Lodge: Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race

Afua Hirsh: Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging

Ibram X. Kendi: How to Be an Antiracist

Ijeoma Oluo: So You Want to Talk About Race

Robin DiAngelo: White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People to Talk About Racism

Michelle Alexander: The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

 

Donate

Black LGBTQIA Therapy Fund

Support RECESS

Women Connect
A collective creating safer, all-inclusive spaces, good fortune and equal opportunities for women and non-binary folks in the creative industry.

Black Ticket Project
Award-winning initiative creating cultural access points for black young people.

Exist Loudly Fund to Support Queer Black YP

 


This article originally appeared in issue 90 of IQ Magazine (July 2020). 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.

LN-Gaiety’s purchase of MCD cleared by CMA

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has cleared the acquisition of Ireland’s MCD Productions by the UK-based Live Nation-Gaiety joint venture, after finding last month the merger does not raise competition concerns in Britain.

The UK competition watchdog referred the merger for an in-depth, ‘phase-2’ investigation, after finding the coming together of Live Nation and MCD could lessen competition in Northern Ireland.

However, the findings of the phase-2 inquiry said the opposite: that the merger is “not likely to raise competition concerns, as Live Nation would not be expected to have the incentive to harm rival music promoters by making it harder for them to sell tickets through Ticketmaster”.

“Having consulted on this provisional finding”, the CMA today (19 December) confirms the merger has been cleared.

“Having consulted on” its provisional findings, the CMA has formally cleared the merger

LN-Gaiety Holdings – a joint venture between Live Nation UK and Denis Desmond’s Gaiety Investments – announced last August it planned to acquire Desmond’s company MCD Productions. Cork-born Desmond succeeded John Probyn as Live Nation’s chairman in the UK and Ireland in 2015, although MCD – founded by Desmond and Eamonn McCann in 1980, and now co-owned by Desmond and his wife, Caroline Downey – remained independent of Live Nation/Gaiety.

The company is one of the big two promoters and venue operators in the Irish republic, alongside Peter Aiken’s Aiken Promotions.

The LN-MCD merger has already been cleared by the CCPC, the CMA’s counterpart in the Republic of Ireland.

 


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Scott Barton to lead LN UK’s Electronic Nation

Live Nation has launched Electronic Nation, a new electronic music-focused division, in the UK.

Led by Scott Barton, managing director of Live Nation’s Cream brand, Electronic Nation will be based in London and will be responsible all electronic music activities at Live Nation UK, including the Creamfields festival, touring, shows and clubs.

Creamfields (70,000-cap.), launched in 1998, is one of the biggest electronic music events in the world, and has spawned spin-offs Chile, Abu Dhabi, Ibiza, Malta, Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Australia and Hong Kong. Taking place in Cheshire over the last weekend in August, 2019 performers include Swedish House Mafia, Calvin Harris, Tiesto, Skrillex, the Chemical Brothers and the Chainsmokers.

The Creamfields also birthed Steel Yard, a 15,000-capacity arena structure which hosts shows by the biggest names in dance music in London and Liverpool.

“This new division is a major advance for Live Nation and for artists and acts in this genre”

“With Scott’s outstanding record managing global brands Cream and Creamfields, this new division is a major advance for Live Nation and for artists and acts in this genre,” comments Denis Desmond, chairman of Live Nation UK and Ireland.

Barton – whose older brother James, co-founder of Cream, now leads fast-expanding European festival operator Superstruct – says he hopes to drive Live Nation’s  “continued expansion into the electronic arena, with the aim of connecting big-name dance acts to more fans across the UK through tours and festivals”.

“Electronic music has always been at the heart of what we do,” he says. “We have a dedicated team who work hard to connect fans to electronic music events across the UK. As the scene continues to grow, the knowledge and experience we have is key to our success.”

Live Nation formed a similar division in east Asia, Live Nation Electronic Asia, in August 2017.

 


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