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Adele plans 80k-cap residency in ‘bespoke stadium’

Adele has announced a series of 80,000-capacity outdoor shows in Munich, Germany, this summer.

The four concerts (2–3 and 9–10 August) will take place in a “bespoke stadium” with a combination of grandstand seating and standing areas, based at convention centre Munich Messe.

These exclusive European dates, promoted by Live Nation, mark the first time Adele has performed in mainland Europe since 2016.

“So a few months ago I got a call about a summer run of shows,” Adele wrote in a statement shared on social media. “I’ve been content as anything with my shows in London’s Hyde Park and my residency in Vegas, so I hadn’t had any other plans.

“However, I was too curious to not follow up and indulge in this idea, a one-off, bespoke pop-up stadium designed around whatever show I want to put on? Ohh!? Pretty much slap bang in the middle of Europe? In Munich? That’s a bit random, but still fabulous!”

“I couldn’t think of a more wonderful way to spend my summer”

The singer’s 100-night Weekends with Adele run at The Colosseum (cap. 4,100) at Caesars Palace is due to wrap up in June this year. The first 24 dates grossed US$52.8 million (€48.8m).

The Live Nation-promoted residency, which was postponed just 24 hours before opening night in January 2022, ultimately kicked off that November before being extended in spring 2023.

Aside from the Vegas run, Adele has played only limited live dates in support of her most recent album, 2021’s 30 – performing two nights at the 65,000-cap BST Hyde Park in London, UK in July 2022.

Adele last went out on the road for her 2016/17 Adele Live tour, which grossed US$278.4m across 120 shows at the box office. The Australian leg of the tour made concert history down under after playing to more than 600,000 people over eight stadium dates in 2017, breaking attendance records at all eight venues.

The 35-year-old star is represented by Lucy Dickins and Kirk Sommer at WME.

 


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WME announces first-ever regional office leads

WME has announced a new organisational structure in the contemporary music department that includes the agency’s first-ever regional office leads.

The office leads include Josh Javor (London), Kevin Shivers (Beverly Hills), Michael Coughlin (Nashville), Stephanie LaFera (New York) and Brett Murrihy (Sydney). Brian Ahern oversees operations for the music team.

The news was revealed in a memo from the global co-heads of contemporary music, Lucy Dickins and Kirk Sommer, to the department.

The pair wrote that Endeavor-backed WME will continue to build upon its “multiple regional servicing groups, including an Asia-Pacific presence, Latin-American team, and a robust European operation.”

Ron Opaleski will lead global bookings and international touring strategy across North America, while Tony Goldring will lead similar efforts for the company’s international clients.

Josh Kurfirst will lead efforts on behalf of festivals, Clint Mitchell will lead non-traditional touring and Ryan Jones will cover the company’s private and corporate events.

WME will continue to build upon its “multiple regional servicing groups, including an Asia-Pacific presence, Latin-American team, and a robust European operation”

Dickins and Sommer also detailed changes at the company’s crossover department, which the two leaders said “is our #1 differentiator.”

“Given its importance,” the memo explained, “WME partner Keith Sarkisian will be stepping in to oversee the coordination of non-touring services for the agency’s roster, working with divisions from across WME and Endeavor.” That includes working with Dvora Englefield, WME partner/head of new music strategy, “who will continue to identify new business opportunities and strategic partnerships on behalf our artists.”

For A&R, Kevin Shivers will be leading efforts to “coordinate new artist discovery across all genres and regions on behalf of the team,” working with regional and genre leads.

The memo also announced the promotion of seven agents to partner: Kyle Bandler, Mark Claassen, Andrew Colvin, Beth Hamilton, Sloane Logue, Austin Mullins and Travis Wolfe.

Meanwhile, 16 employees have been promoted to agent: Sam Dolen, Janelle Flint, Jacob Fox, Josh Green, Lindsey Hastings, Carly Huffman, Dan Kuklinski, Sean McHugh, Meera Patel, Adam Sherif, John Showfety, Jeremy Upton, Carlile Willett, Laura Williams, Cecilia Yao and Ben Yekuel.

 


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Lucy Dickins receives 2023 MITS Award

WME global head of contemporary music and touring Lucy Dickins collected the 2023 Music Industry Trust Award at a star-studded ceremony at London’s Grosvenor House.

Last night’s event, which raised funds for The Brit Trust and music therapy charity Nordoff & Robbins, was attended by around 1,000 music business executives, many of whom had flown in from Europe and the United States to honour Dickins.

Video tributes from the likes of Adele, Mahalia, Little Simz, Ben Lovett, Rex Orange County, Denis Desmond, Jason Isley, Kelly Chappel, Emma Banks, Matt Wooliscroft, Ben Mortimer, Marc Geiger, Rob Stringer, David Joseph, Simon Moran and Pete Tong were screened, while artists Loyle Carner and Hot Chip provided the live entertainment, along with an ensemble of students from The Brit School, which directly benefits from the fundraising gala.

“I grew up watching some of my favourite people and idols winning this, so it’s incredible to be here”

Dedicating the award to her children Ezra and Audrey, Dickins received the award from her artist manager brother Jonathan, and stated, “I grew up watching some of my favourite people and idols winning this, so it’s incredible to be here.

“I’d like to thank each and every one of you for this moment. May we continue to nurture, support and empower great talent and may we continue to live and love in music. I’m truly humbled to receive this award tonight and I hope that in some small way I’ve inspired the next generation of women in music, which translates into the live music business in the future.

“Life in this industry, as you know, is extremely busy. But being a working mother is another beast altogether. I have so much respect for you mothers who are fighting the fight because it is not easy. We’re constantly feeling that we’re sacrificing one part of our life for another… So whatever way you look at it, you have guilt… And it’s really, really hard to balance it all and often people say “I don’t know how you do it all”. But you absolutely can’t do it all.. All you can do is just do your best. That’s what I tell everyone.”

“I have a newfound respect for what it means to be a working mum”

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.

Before presenting her with the award, Jonathan Dickins told the crowd: “I’m really proud because I think I’ve learnt one thing, and that is that I have a newfound respect for what it means to be a working mum. Anybody that holds a career, and especially the level that she does, and happens to be a present parent is… I’m in awe of that. And that, to me, goes well beyond any achievements in music.

“She’s a fierce negotiator, strategic, loyal, and most importantly, the greatest sister I could possibly ever have.”

“I started going on about being a singer and I whipped a demo right out of my bag and I said, ‘You’re gonna be my agent'”

Adele, meanwhile, recalled the time she and Lucy met: “I started going on about being a singer and I whipped a demo right out of my bag and I said, ‘You’re gonna be my agent.’ I didn’t hear back from her for quite a while and my details were on the demo. But I told my manager, who I was newly managed by, I told him that I found my agent. And he was like ‘Great, what’s their name?’ and I was like ‘Lucy Dickins’ and he said ‘That’s my sister!’ So, we met separately and they’ve both worked with me since I was 18 years old.”

Dickins joins the ranks of previous MITS recipients including Annie Lennox, Kylie Minogue, Emma Banks, Sir Elton John and Bernie Taupin, Gary Barlow, Simon Cowell, Rob Stringer, Sir Lucian Grainge and Michael Eavis.

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

 


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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.

 


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Adele adds 34 dates to Las Vegas residency

Adele has extended her Las Vegas residency with the addition of 34 dates from 16 June to 4 November 2023.

The singer made the announcement on Saturday (25 March) evening, during what was due to be the final concert of the 30-plus show Weekends with Adele.

“Playing to 4,000 people for 34 nights is not enough. I know that, so I am coming back,” Adele told Saturday’s audience at The Colosseum (cap. 4,100) at Caesars Palace.

“Playing to 4,000 people for 34 nights is not enough. I know that, so I am coming back”

The residency will face a hiatus for three months before returning on 16 June. The singer, who is represented by Lucy Dickins and Kirk Sommer at WME, also announced that upcoming performances in June will be filmed.

“I’ll be back for a few weeks in June, and I’m going to film it,” the singer continued. “I’m going to release it to make sure that anyone who wants to see the show [can].”

Ticket prices have ranged from US$85 to $685 for the Live Nation-promoted run, which was postponed just 24 hours before opening night in January and ultimately kicked off in November, with two New Year’s Eve shows later added.

Fans can now register for tickets to the second run, with the presale starting on 5 April.

 


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Touring powerhouses back Fair Ticketing Reforms

Live Nation, CAA, UTA, Wasserman Music and WME are among more than 20 music organisations to come out in support of ticketing reforms.

Fans & Artists Insisting on Reforms (FAIR) Ticketing is appealing for policymakers to combat ticket touts by giving artists the right to decide how their tickets can be sold, transferred and resold, and for speculative ticket selling and other deceptive practices used to sell tickets to be made illegal.

In addition, the coalition is demanding the expansion and and stricter enforcement of the 2016 BOTS Act and for resale sites that serve as a “safe haven” for touts – and knowingly sell tickets that are illegally acquired – to be fined.

Finally, it is calling for all-in pricing across all ticketing marketplaces introduced nationally so that fans know the full cost of a ticket plus fees right upfront.

“Bots and scalpers cause chaos in the current onsale process, leaving lots of fans disappointed,” says Michael Rapino, president and CEO of Live Nation, which launched the Fair Ticketing Act last month. “Artists are fiercely protective of their fans and we need to make sure laws help artists control their concert intellectual property and how their tickets are sold. That would be a big step forward in helping fans buy tickets at the prices artists set.”

“FAIR Ticketing reforms give more control over ticketing to the artists so they can get tickets to real fans and prevent unauthorised resellers from charging exponentially more than face value”

Other high-profile supporters of the reforms include The Azoff Company chair and CEO Irving Azoff, Wasserman Music EVP and managing executive Sam Hunt and WME global head of contemporary music Lucy Dickins.

“No one cares more about fans than the artists,” says Azoff. “FAIR Ticketing reforms give more control over ticketing to the artists so they can get tickets to real fans and prevent unauthorised resellers from charging exponentially more than face value. I hope Congress will pass legislation for the good of artists and their fans.”

“Ticketing can be a frustrating and confusing experience for fans, and technological advancements in the space often end up being double-edged swords,” says Hunt. “FAIR Ticketing reforms are a crucial leap toward creating a process that is equitable and transparent to all parties.”

Dickins adds: “There is no doubt that change is needed in the current ticketing ecosystem to protect our clients and their work. The FAIR Ticketing reforms would provide the necessary tools to empower artists and creators who know their fans best while putting an end to deceptive ticketing practices.”

The artist coalitions, management groups, music labels and agencies to have signed on to back the “artist and fan friendly reforms”, include the following:

724 Management
Black Music Action Coalition (BMAC)
Creative Artists Agency (CAA)
Crush Music
The Core Entertainment
Endeavor
Faculty Inc.
Full Stop Management
Gellman Management
Laffitte Management Group
Live Nation Entertainment
Music Artists Coalition (MAC)
REBEL
Red Light Management
Salxco
Songwriters of North America (SONA)
United Talent Agency (UTA)
Universal Music Group
Vector Management
Wasserman Music
Wolfson Entertainment Inc.
WME

 


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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.

 


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WME promotes four to agent in music and touring division

WME has promoted four team members to agent in its Contemporary Music and Touring division: Justin Edwards, Mary Hannon, Phoebe Holley and Matt Smith.

“We are thrilled and beyond proud to announce these much-deserved promotions,” says Lucy Dickins, global head and Kirk Sommer, global co-head of WME’s Contemporary Music and Touring.

“Justin, Mary, Phoebe and Matt have all excelled in what they do and have brought tremendous passion, energy, and creativity to their work for our artists and internally to the WME team. It’s so exciting to see their growth, and we are honoured to have them be part of the future of WME.”

Justin Edwards’ career at WME began in 2017, and he has worked alongside six agents in six unique departments of WME. He currently handles The Revivalists and The Main Squeeze, alongside their WME agent teams, and oversees bookings for over 75 festivals for the agency, including Bonnaroo, Summer Camp, Wonderstruck, Wonderbus, Capitol Hill Block Party, SunFest, Rifflandia, Mempho, and Desert Daze. Edwards specialises in booking WME’s alternative/rock/indie clients on festivals across North America and his focus is to grow WME’s contemporary music presence in Nashville.

“Justin, Mary, Phoebe and Matt have brought tremendous passion, energy, and creativity to their work”

Mary Hannon started her career at WME in 2016 in the mailroom after graduating from Ohio State University. She worked in country music in WME’s Nashville office, and in 2020, transferred to the Beverly Hills office to work in hip-hop, initially in the festival department and most recently working for the co-head of hip-hop and R&B, Caroline Yim. Hannon’s focus is on booking WME’s Music roster and will work closely on client teams including Anderson .Paak, DOMi & JD Beck, Earl Sweatshirt, Jhené Aiko, Kehlani, Rico Nasty, Steve Lacy, Syd, Willow, and many others.

Phoebe Holley originally joined WME in 2019 and began working with Lucy Dickins at the beginning of 2021 with clients Knucks, Abra Cadabra, Ruti, Chrissi, Bonnie Kemplay, and Sam Akpro. A graduate of UHI, Holley grew up in Spain and returned to her native UK to pursue a career in music, booking a club night at King Tuts and showcasing the likes of Lewis Capaldi, The Snuts and Vistas. She is currently based in the Beverly Hills office.

Matt Smith joined WME’s London office in 2018. He served as the assistant to Steve Hogan, Ella Street, Andy Nees, Jenna Dooling and Brendan Long, and in 2021 was promoted to agent trainee working with Steve Hogan on tours for clients such as Peggy Gou, Eric Prydz, Groove Armada, ARTBAT, Madeon, Porter Robinson, and many more. With his promotion to agent, Smith will continue to be based in the London office, working in the electronic music department and booking shows across various European territories.

WME’s global head of contemporary music and touring, Lucy Dickins, is profiled in the latest issue of IQ, available to read here.

 


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IQ 113 out now: Coldplay, Lucy Dickins and more

IQ 113, the latest issue of the international live music industry’s favourite monthly magazine, is available to read online now.

The August edition sees IQ Magazine editor Gordon Masson go behind the scenes of Coldplay’s Music of the Spheres global tour and explore the band’s record-breaking success.

Elsewhere, he profiles WME’s global head of contemporary music and touring, Lucy Dickins, charting her extraordinary rise through the corporate ranks.

Meanwhile, our metal expert James MacKinnon tracks the genre’s impressive post-pandemic recovery, and Adam Woods learns about the mixed fortunes confronting touring artists and productions in an otherwise buoyant Swedish live music market.

For this edition’s columns and comments, Professor Chris Kemp examines the changing landscape of crowd behaviour in the post-Covid environment, and Music Support‘s Lynne Maltman provides a sobering reminder of the collective promises we made for our mental health.

As always, the majority of the magazine’s content will appear online in some form in the next four weeks.

However, if you can’t wait for your fix of essential live music industry features, opinion and analysis, click here to subscribe to IQ for just £7.99 a month – or check out what you’re missing out on with the limited preview below:


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WME elevates Lucy Dickins to new global head role

WME has elevated Lucy Dickins to the position of global head of contemporary music and touring.

Dickins, whose clients include Adele and Mumford & Sons, was previously the company’s co-head of music and recently relocated to WME’s Beverly Hills office from London, having joined the agency in 2019 from ITB.

In her expanded role, she will oversee all aspects of WME’s contemporary music and touring business across Beverly Hills, New York, Nashville, London and Sydney.

“Lucy is a dynamic leader who brings strategic vision, energy and passion to every artist and colleague she encounters,” says Lloyd Braun, chairman of WME and president of Endeavor Client Group. “Lucy is the ideal leader to guide WME’s contemporary music business as we continue to expand our offerings and opportunities for our clients.”

“There is no place like WME, and I’m excited for what we will achieve together on behalf of our clients”

During Dickins’ time at WME, the agency has made several new key agent and executive hires, and has booked over 30,000 dates alone in 2022.

“I am grateful to the leadership at WME for supporting me in this role, and for my partners and team members I have the privilege of working with every day in the music division,” says Dickins. “There is no place like WME, and I’m excited for what we will achieve together on behalf of our clients.”

Kirk Sommer will continue in his role of global co-head of contemporary music and touring, while Becky Gardenhire, Joey Lee, and Jay Williams will continue in their roles as co-heads of WME’s Nashville office, managing the agency’s country music touring business.

Recent WME signings have included Stormzy, Saucy Santana, Meek Mill, Ozuna and Nataneal Cano, while the company also hired Dvora Englefield as head of music artist strategy.

“We’re on course to where we were in 2019, which is pretty outstanding given what we’ve all just come through”

Dickins is profiled in the new issue of IQ, out next week, which reflects on her 25 years in the business so far and looks ahead to her future at WME.

“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. 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.”

 


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