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ASM Global taps Jason Oberlander

ASM Global has named Jason Oberlander as chief commercial officer as it looks to dramatically expand its partnerships.

Formerly SVP, national sales at Learfield IMG College, Oberlander will take responsibility for overseeing ASM’s plans to grow its position in naming rights and marketing partnerships for its venues.

“We have the scale, consumer touchpoints and ability to integrate brands in – to music, sports, business, tech and more – that will drive value for the brands, content providers, venue partners and guests,” says ASM president and CEO Ron Bension.

“Jason’s extensive experience, particularly with IMG in forging new national partnerships with Fortune 1000 brands, will provide far and away the most diverse and enriching opportunities the industry has ever seen.”

ASM’s growth potential is unlimited

With AEG Global Partnerships, ASM Global has secured recent key naming rights and other ASM Global corporate partnerships for venues such as the Coca-Cola Music Hall and Distro T-Mobile in Puerto Rico; the renamed T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, Missouri; and the AO Arena in Manchester, England.

Other recent alliances include a multi-year technology partnership with Mobilitie and a multi-year agreement with Honeywell.

“ASM’s growth potential is unlimited,” adds Oberlander. “We’re the world’s largest live-event marketing platform, which enables us to deliver fan-engagement opportunities to brands across the guest journey; and we can do it on a scale that no one else can deliver.

“Fans are craving live event experiences more than ever, and brands will want to be a part of those moments. No one has the breadth of events, venues, tenant partners and boots on the ground like ASM. At a full run, there are 164 million people coming through our venues. That’s more than the four major US professional sports leagues combined. We are very excited to show brand partners what we’re planning.”


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Live Nation appoints first chief brand officer

Live Nation has appointed Nicole Portwood to the newly created role of chief brand officer.

Portwood, formerly vice-president of marketing for Mountain Dew and other soft drinks at PepsiCo, is tasked with “further enhanc[ing] the Live Nation brand across all channels by exploring new opportunities that develop deeper relationships with both artists and fans worldwide”, says Live Nation, including on-site experiences and digital offerings such as NFTs.

“Joining an innovative company like Live Nation, which is cherished by music and live entertainment fans across the world, is a dream come true,” says Portwood. “This work bridges my personal and professional passions, and I am excited to work with the incredibly talented and entrepreneurial people here to develop a robust brand strategy that strengthens loyalty and heightens the entire live experience for fans.

“We look forward to the new opportunities and growth Nicole will help shape”

“With the return of live events, this is such an exciting moment for the company and in culture more broadly, and I cannot wait for what’s ahead.”

Prior to joining PepsiCo, Portwood was vice-president and chief marketing officer of Tito’s Handmade Vodka, where she won Ad Age marketer of the year in 2017.

“We built Live Nation into the leading live music brand by promoting and investing in artists around the world at every level from clubs to stadiums, and with Nicole’s expertise we will continue to expand our Live Nation product offering for both artists and fans,” comments Michael Rapino, president and CEO of Live Nation. “We look forward to the new opportunities and growth Nicole will help shape, from onsite experiences to developing new digital content offerings such as NFTs or membership options.”


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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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AEG European festivals expands leadership team

AEG’s European festivals division has appointed former MAMA marketing director Clare Lusher as its first marketing and brand director.

Lusher, who prior to MAMA held positions at the Walt Disney Company and Sony Music, will lead on all aspects of brand and marketing across events, partnerships and artist channels, as well as developing strategies for future events.

As part of the European festivals leadership team, which is led by CEO Jim King, Lusher will build on AEG’s presence in the European festival market, with a portfolio that includes London events British Summer Time Hyde Park and All Points East, as well as Rock En Seine in Paris.

Taylor Swift, Pearl Jam and Little Mix are among those headlining BST this year, whereas Kraftwerk and Tame Impala will head up All Points East, with more acts to be announced.

“The creation of this new leadership position was a hugely important part of the festival division structure”

“The creation of this new leadership position was a hugely important part of the festival division structure,” comments King. “It underlines AEG’s commitment to invest in high-quality marketing, brand and partnership strategies so we can offer even greater value for the fans, artists and partners.

“Clare is highly creative and has a proven track record in leadership and delivering excellence so we’re delighted she has chosen to join AEG to drive this key part of our business.”

Lusher adds that she is “delighted” to be joining AEG, saying that “the new position presents the ideal opportunity to nurture and develop a multifaceted, creatively insightful and future-fit marketing team.

“I look forward to maximising the wealth of collaborative potential across brand and media partnerships combined with overarching strategic clarity”.


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‘A world of opportunity’: TikTok talks music marketing

With an estimated 500 million monthly users – the majority under 30, and many of them teenagers – short-form video app TikTok has quickly established itself as the go-to social platform for many Gen Z-ers.

Along with its predecessor, Musical.ly, TikTok has made stars out of ‘influencers’ like Baby Ariel, Jacob Sartorius, Riyaz Afreen and the Dobre Twins, and its young users helped meme Lil Nas X’s ‘Old Town Road’ – which went viral on TikTok (as part of the ‘Yeehaw challenge’) before receiving mainstream recognition – to the top of charts worldwide.

IQ caught up with Farhad Zand, head of music partnerships for TikTok Europe, to find out why TikTok works well for music discovery and marketing, the appeal of short-form video, and how concert businesses can reach its growing user base…


IQ: Let’s start with the basics. In layman’s terms, what is TikTok and what does it do?
FZ: TikTok is the leading destination for short-form mobile video. Our mission is the best way to understand what our platform is all about: we want to inspire and enrich people’s lives by offering a home for creative expression and an experience that is genuine, joyful and positive.

For our users, TikTok offers a window to the world with an intelligent discovery process. Video recommendations are personalised to each user based on their preferences, meaning everyone receives a unique and compelling viewing experience.

Our platform empowers creativity through 15- or 60-second videos; we believe short-form videos are an effective way to lower the barrier for content creation. This has empowered our community to create their own internet culture and trends. Fun music-related trends started on TikTok include the Adele gummy-bear challenge and the recent #GitUpChallenge, featuring ‘The Git Up’ by Blanco Brown.

How long has TikTok been around, and how does lip-syncing app Musical.ly fit into the picture?
TikTok launched globally in 2017 and later that year, ByteDance, TikTok’s owner, bought Musical.ly and merged the two apps. We entered the European market in August 2018 and TikTok is currently available in 150 markets and 75 languages.

When people talk about Musical.ly, they often know about how it was used for lip-syncing. Today, however, TikTok is about much more than just lip-syncing. We have a truly global community of authentic creators. Some of the most popular content includes comedy, sports, pets, music and dance.

“Our community enjoys creating and sharing content that is authentic and fun. This opens a world of opportunities to music and festival promoters”

How many users do you have, and what does the average TikToker look like?
I don’t think we have an average user, which is what I love about TikTok. You will find some celebrities on TikTok, you will find our own ‘TikTok stars’ – and you will also find that we have lots of brilliantly creative people using the platform to have fun, from nurses to firefighters to grannies. This represents the essence of the platform: a place where you can be genuine, real and discover other people like you.

While we don’t currently disclose our usage figures, we are growing fast and we’re thrilled with the growth that we have seen so far.

What are some of the ways live music companies can incorporate TikTok into their marketing?
TikTok supports the music industry by offering a unique platform for music to live. Artists can promote their music to a global audience and build a strong and engaged fanbase. We have seen new musical talents discovered due to unprecedented viral trends created on TikTok, such as Lil Nas X or, most recently, DJ Regard.

Over 70% of our videos have music attached to them and their content is often created as a response to the song. The TikTok community loves music and our community enjoys creating and sharing content that is authentic and fun. This opens a world of opportunities to music or festival promoters, and we have a dedicated music team that can support promoters and marketers to achieve their goals.

Every campaign is different; there is no one size fits all. Our music team has the knowledge and expertise to advise promoters and marketers on the best strategy to achieve their results, whether they are big or small players in the market.

“There’s huge potential for the music industry to connect with its global community in a meaningful, engaging and positive way”

How are artists utilising the TikTok platform?
Over the past 12 months, we are proud to have welcomed outstanding British musicians including Ed Sheeran, Mabel, Lewis Capaldi, Four Diamonds, Jax Jones, Little Mix and many more to the TikTok community.

One of the most popular hashtag challenges was launched by Ed Sheeran. With over 300 million views during the first six days, the #BeautifulPeople challenge incentivised our community to share a moment with the most special and beautiful people in their lives.

For any artist considering how best to use TikTok, it’s important to remember that our platform is all about positivity and having fun. It’s why Lewis Capaldi was an immediate success – his content is fun and spontaneous.

For the music industry, what advantages does TikTok have over other social media services?
Unlike other platforms, TikTok is based on a content graph instead of a social graph. What this means in practice is that the quality of the content you see is what’s most important – not who you follow or how many followers you have.

Our community loves content that is authentic, entertaining and which reduces the distance between the fans, artist, band or show. There’s huge potential for the music industry to connect with its global community in a meaningful, engaging and positive way.

Our focus is on building the best product for our users while creating a community that is joyful, positive and safe. We want to continue to be a platform for music to live in its various forms, working closely with artists, labels and other industry players to support them connect with our global and engaged community.


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Mama founder launches events agency BeSixth

Live music veteran Dean James, formerly CEO of Mean Fiddler and Mama & Company, and Gavin Aldrich, managing director of youth marketing firm Campus Group, have launched BeSixth, a live events agency with offices in London and Sydney.

The pair, which also own multipurpose London venues Oval Space and the Pickle Factory, say BeSixth – which incorporates Campus Group, as well as a production division, BeLive – will provide clients with a “credible and effective route to bring brands into the worlds of entertainment, music and live experience”.

James left Mama, which he co-founded in 2005, in 2013, and established a new artist services business, Sixth, the following year. (Under his leadership, Mama acquired festivals and venues including the Great Escape, Lovebox, Wilderness and the Hammersmith Apollo. Live Nation acquired the company in 2014.)

BeLive client services include brand activations, experiential and live content, event sponsorship, event production, festivals, pop-up shops and artist partnerships.

The company expects to announce details of a third office, in the US, in the coming months.

“Matching artist and brand profiles correctly allows for campaigns that really tap into youth culture”

James, BeSixth’s chairman, says: “The youth demographic is the largest in the world and music is key to reaching them. Brands want to engage with these audiences; they appreciate the importance of authenticity and understand music is key to reaching young audiences effectively.

“BeSixth’s offering is designed to allow brands to access the best live experience and entertainment has to offer. Matching artist and brand profiles correctly allows for campaigns that really tap into youth culture, generating results you can’t get via other means.”

Adds managing director Leslie: “As venue owners and event programmers, we work face to face with our audience 24/7. The detailed audience analysis and targeting this enables, combined with our unrivalled music expertise, means we’re able to deliver creative strategy for brands that celebrates shared passions through experience.

“Combining our existing and new offerings under the new BeSixth brand is all about utilising these capabilities for new brands in new markets, making sure they’re in the right place with the right execution in order to maximise impact.”


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Data that drives ticket sales: Music to a marketer’s ears

With live performances accounting for the largest portion of an artist’s income, it’s no wonder that selling tickets is high on their priorities list.

In the digital music era, listeners are prioritising experiences with their favourite artists. But while other industries have committed to data-driven marketing techniques, there’s been a disconnect between the data collected via ticketing platforms and an event manager’s ability to use the data to drive ticket sales. These platforms are built for facilitating sales, not customer relationship management (CRM).

It’s the data collected on ticket buyers – from demographic information, to merchandise purchases, to past ticket purchases – that holds the secret to personalising marketing efforts to increase ticket sales.

In fact, a personalised fan experience is expected by concertgoers. An artist’s biggest fans want to be recognised for their commitment with limited-edition merchandise and meet and greets to stay engaged with an artist performance after performance. It is only through the careful analysis of fan data that these super-fans can be identified and given the special treatment that will encourage ticket sales for years to come.

With the right tools and marketing strategies, artists and event managers can get more concert and event tickets into the hands of fans.

The goal is to collect as much data as possible on past and potential concertgoers


Data integration tools
First and foremost, a robust data integration tool is required to take the data captured via a ticketing platform and integrate it into the tools used to automate sales and marketing processes. Because ticketing platforms were never intended to be CRM tools, more often than not, the most basic information that could personalise an artist or event manager’s marketing campaigns, like birthdates, geographic information and past ticket and merchandise purchases, are only available within the ticketing platform.

The proper data integration tool should remove the manual work that is the current standard for connecting ticketing platform data to a marketing campaign. Data on demographics, attendance, purchases and more should regularly and automatically update as ticket purchases are made.

Customer relationship management
 Just as important as the data integration tool is the CRM that it’s integrated into. This is the tool that is most important to a ticket seller’s marketing journey – though it can’t function properly without the data integration tool it’s paired with. A CRM should allow for the development of marketing initiatives in tools like Marketing Cloud, Pardot, HubSpot, Eloqua or Marketo and automatically send emails and text messages, as well as target customers with social media ads.

Ticketing platforms were never intended to be CRM tools


With the proper data integration and CRM tools in place, data-based marketing strategies can be put in place. The goal is to collect as much data as possible on past and potential concertgoers in order to use that information to personalise outreach ahead of an event.

Begin by using previously collected information
When an event attendee purchases a ticket online, it is likely that they have already submitted key information like their email address, phone number and address. They also have given information on the area they are likely to attend in a concert in. Using this data, automatic marketing campaigns can be targeted to fans that are likely interested in seeing the artist again.

Move merchandise ahead of the concert
Merchandise sales are a reliable indicator of a strong relationship between a fan and an artist. Fans who go to an artist’s website to purchase merchandise will likely be interested in joining the artist’s mailing list for insider information ahead of a tour. Take this mailing list a step further by collecting data on those willing to buy merchandise ahead of an event. This data can then be used to retarget an artist’s biggest fans with early-bird access to tickets, meet and greets and more.

Offer preferred access to previous concertgoers
Using the data collected within a ticketing platform, past ticket purchases can be viewed, evaluated for patterns and used for personalised campaigns. By leveraging already available data, an artist or event manager can offer personalised messages to those who meet certain criteria.

Of course, an artist’s most loyal fans deserve special attention when possible. Using attendance data, it is easy to identify committed fans and offer them an unforgettable experience. This data can also be used to identify not-so-committed fans and reengage them with the artist – securing ticket sales for this event and increasing likelihood of purchase of another ticket in the future.

Leverage social media
Any marketer worth their salt understands the value of a robust social media strategy ahead of an event. Targeting social media ads to those who already like and follow an artist is obvious, but lookalike ads can be created to target new fans.

A Facebook event for the concert can help target fans in the area of the event. Creating a robust mailing list can also help identify the accounts of fans and reach them on their social media channels, in addition to appearing in their inbox. With emails receiving only a 20% open rate, the more channels used to engage with fans, the better.

An artist’s most loyal fans deserve special attention when possible

Once the hurdle of connecting data to a CRM and marketing tools is overcome, data-based strategies are much easier to implement.

By personalising outreach to an artist’s biggest fans, potential new fans and touching them through as many mediums as possible, the gold mine that is ticketing data can be fully realised.


Jon Robinson is the president of Lunar, a Salesforce consulting and SaaS product development company that automates and integrates technology to get more out of its clients’ existing sales and marketing. A Ticketmaster Nexus partner, Lunar uses its product TicketBeam to integrate Archtics and Salesforce to help the entertainment industry visualise and take action off of customer data without having to leave the Salesforce environment.

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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The rise of influencer-based marketing strategies

Are you seeing email open rates decline? Possibly higher cost-per-clicks in social advertising? Are website visitors spending less and less time on your site? If so, you’re not alone.

Businesses are struggling to stay relevant and to get in front of the right customer, at the right time, with the right call to action. This decline in relevance could be contributed to the ever-growing world of influencer-based marketing.

Individuals who are experts within their respective fields – be it an Instagram swimsuit model or an incredible athlete – are able to engage with their followers in a more intimate and connected way than individual brands can achieve via direct marketing efforts such as email or SMS.

The reason? Those direct messaging and direct marketing outlets have become so frequently used that consumers are almost immune to their effect. As a result, the outlets no longer have the strong impact that they once had. The text messages come in and consumers immediately ignore them or request for them to stop, whereas the emails go straight to junk or promotions folders.

On the other hand, as consumers, we extend trust to influencers that we recognise and admire. We award them credibility. These internet stars now have more ability to influence than ever before, due to the increasing popularity and prevalence of social media.

Direct messaging and direct marketing outlets have become so frequently used that consumers are almost immune to their effect

In a recent study conducted by Vamp Brands, 61% of people reported that they have interacted with an influencer on social media in some capacity, at least once a day. It was also reported that 87% of shoppers were inspired by an influencer to make a purchase.

However, in many cases, the best “influencer” is a customer, regardless of what their Instagram following may be. Why? Because a customer isn’t doing a mass promotion, they are selecting those of their friends who would be most likely buy. It’s a much more personal approach.

Right now, most e-commerce sites are not taking advantage of the most opportune time to convert existing customers into promoters. The best moment to ask a customer to share a promotion or product with friends is immediately post-checkout – no sooner – in order to avoid any disruption of the checkout conversion flow.

Furthermore, the customer is most excited and engaged just after buying, presenting the ideal opportunity to ask them to share the purchase with friends, or to encourage them to share coupon codes, offering rewards for the recruitment of any new customers.

In many cases, the best “influencer” is a customer, regardless of what their Instagram following may be

Therefore, when brands market to that customer – or to the people they recommended – they are going to convert a lot higher percentage than standard, direct marketing efforts, that go out to an audience of people without any basis of trust.

This is the foundation of influencer marketing and the reason why it works so much more effectively. Referral marketing tools are getting more advanced as machine learning algorithms become more refined, meaning that overall effectiveness and conversions will only continue to improve.

Essentially, influencer marketing is word-of-mouth marketing and, in the future, influencer and peer-to-peer marketing efforts are going to merge even more closely. As direct marketing becomes less and less effective, these modern kinds of marketing are only going to have more room to grow.

It’s time to make sure that, as a brand, you are properly enabled with the right tools and campaigns to support this shift.


Mark Miller is the co-founder and chief executive of TicketSocket, a white label ticketing and registration service for venues and events.

UTA continues London expansion with new hire

Talent and entertainment company United Talent Agency (UTA) has appointed marketing expert Sean Hill to its music division in London.

Hill joins the agency as director of tour marketing and will focus on promotional initiatives for UTA’s music clients worldwide, excluding the Americas.

“We are thrilled to have Sean join our expanding global team,” says Eddie Clemens, head of tour marketing for UTA. “His wealth of experience working on marketing initiatives across both labels and management is hugely beneficial to the new role and we look forward to being able to add value to our clients’ campaigns out of the London office.”

“[Hill’s] wealth of experience working on marketing initiatives across both labels and management is hugely beneficial to the new role”

Hill has spent the last five years working at ATM Artists (Amy Thomson), initially in the role of head of digital. In this position, Hill worked across the company’s live agency and artists management divisions to provide digital and social strategy to artists including Swedish House Mafia, Alesso and Axwell Ingrosso.

Following ATM Artists’ acquisition by Azoff MSG Entertainment in 2014, Hill relocated to Los Angeles to set up the company’s US office. Returning to London in 2016, Hill took on the position of head of marketing, overseeing all tour marketing, recorded music marketing and partnerships.

Prior to ATM, Hill worked for music promotions company Lucid Group, which was acquired by Sony Music Entertainment in 2010.

UTA Music’s roster includes the Spice Girls, Mariah Carey, Craig David, Foals, Pink Floyd, Ringo Starr, Post Malone, Brian Wilson, Muse, Christine & The Queens, Underworld and many more.


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