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June New Music Playlist out now

The latest edition of the IQ New Music playlist, featuring a selection of tracks curated by international booking agencies, is now live.

The playlist complements IQ Magazine’s popular New Signings page, which keeps the live industry updated about which new, emerging and re-emerging artists are being signed by agents. Click here to read the latest issue of IQ now.

The June edition of the playlist features tracks hand-picked by agents at CAA, Paradigm, X-Ray, WME, Mother Artists and Primary.

Listen to the latest selection using the Spotify playlist below, or click here to catch up on last month’s playlist first.

Separated by agency, the full track list for the June playlist is:

 

AgencyArtistSong
CAATion Wayne, La RouxIFTK
CAAAugust CharlesLately
ParadigmNoahfinnceChasing Daylight
ParadigmSudan ArchivesSelfish Soul
ParadigmJim LegxacyHit It Light It Twist It
ParadigmNate BrazierInertia
ParadigmDexterPressure
X-RayWax WorksPuffer Coat
X-RayPhoebe BridgersSidelines

X-RayThe Afghan WhigsThe Getaway
X-RayHypotheticsNewborn
X-RayMintFall back
X-RayRhodesThe Love I Give
WMECalvin Harris, Dua Lipa, Young ThugPotion
WMEUMIWish That I Could
WMEMoneybagg YoSee Wat I’m Sayin
WMEJordan DavisWhat My World Spins Around
WMEM.I.A.The One
Mother ArtistsJulieFlutter
Mother ArtistsNoSoParasites
Mother ArtistsYoungrAround The Wrld
Mother ArtistsJoy OladokunPurple Haze
Mother ArtistsRJ ThompsonYour Money or Your Life
PrimaryItsWillNo Love Song
PrimaryBlu DeTigerEnough 4 U
PrimaryBenny Mails, SpecsTime
PrimaryTalk ShowCold House
PrimaryChappaqua WrestlingFull Round Table

 


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April New Music Playlist out now

The latest edition of the IQ New Music playlist, featuring a selection of tracks curated by international booking agencies, is now live.

The playlist complements IQ Magazine’s popular New Signings page, which keeps the live industry updated about which new, emerging and re-emerging artists are being signed by agents. Click here to read the latest issue of IQ now.

The April edition of the playlist features tracks hand-picked by agents at CAA, ICM, ITB, Paradigm, UTA, ATC, WME, Mother Artists, Primary and Pure Represents.

Listen to the latest selection using the Spotify playlist below, or click here to catch up on last month’s playlist first.

Separated by agency, the full track list for the April playlist is:

 

AgencyArtistSong
CAAAmelia MooreMoves
CAAThe ShiresI See Stars
CAAElizaStraight Talker
CAAObongjayarTinko Tinko
CAAGuy GerberPyramid Of The Moon
ICMYumi ZoumaAstral Projection
ICMMarlon CraftHans Zimmer
ICMMarzzCountless Times
ICMLarry JuneSmoothies in 1991
ICMMike DimesHome
ITBHot MilkBad Influence
ITBJet VesperKind of Blue
ITBPlaceboHappy Birthday In The Sky
ITBSick JoyI’ve Got More Than I Need (And I Don’t Have Much)
ITBstayMellownowurgone
ParadigmBartees StrangeHeavy Heart
ParadigmDanielle PonderSo Long
ParadigmTiberius BOlivia
ParadigmTom A SmithCrucify Me
ParadigmYunè PinkuDC Rot
UTAStacey RyanDon’t Text Me When You’re Drunk
UTAFrankie Stew & Harvey GunnTears on my Window
UTAYeatMonëy so big
UTAJack KaneGold
UTAJung JaeilWay Back Then
ATCEnumclaw2002
ATCAldous HardingFever
ATCFolly GroupFaint Of Hearts
ATCSprintsDelia Smith
ATCEféKiwi
WMESigueJ Balvin, Ed Sheeran
WMEStrangeMiranda Lambert
WMEStars In The SkyKid Cudi
WMEBam BamCamila Cabello, Ed Sheeran
WMELeave You AloneKane Brown
Mother ArtistsBerSame Effect
Mother ArtistsRY XYour Love
Mother ArtistsThomas HeadonVictoria
Mother ArtistsViolet SkiesNever Be Cool
Mother ArtistsCorookidk god
PrimaryGames We PlayI Hope You’re Happy
PrimaryRussHandsomer (Remix) (Feat. Ktlyn)
Pure RepresentsGeorge EzraAnyone For You
Pure RepresentsThe MysterinesHung Up
Pure RepresentsBilkDaydreamer
Pure RepresentsCompanion23rd Street
Pure RepresentsMychelleYounger Self

 


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March New Music Playlist out now

The latest edition of the IQ New Music playlist, featuring a selection of tracks curated by international booking agencies, is now live.

The playlist complements IQ Magazine’s popular New Signings page, which keeps the live industry updated about which new, emerging and re-emerging artists are being signed by agents. Click here to read the latest issue of IQ now.

The March edition of the playlist features tracks hand-picked by agents at CAA, ITB, Paradigm, UTA, ATC and Mother Artists.

Listen to the latest selection using the Spotify playlist below, or click here to catch up on last month’s playlist first.

Separated by agency, the full track list for the March playlist is:

 

AgencyArtistSong
CAANadeem Din-GabisiHoly Wata
CAANaomi SharonHills
CAAIvy SoleDangerous
ITBConradHollow
ITBDaytime TVSide By Side
ITBNaima BockEvery Morning
ITBPorridge RadioBack To The Radio
ITBTashHurricane Man
ParadigmEthan P. FlynnFather of Nine
ParadigmEtta MarcusProvider
ParadigmflowerovloveI Love This Song
ParadigmGoodboysBlack & Blue
ParadigmSpacey JaneSitting Up
UTAJohn HarvieBleach (On the Rocks)
UTAAlicia CretiCongratulations
UTAMaz O’ConnorWhen It Comes for You
UTAMiraa MayBig Woman
UTACleopatrickGood Grief
ATCKathleen FrancesBoy
ATCHurray for the Riff RaffLife On Earth
ATCMurkage DaveUs Lot
ATCLos BitchosThe Link Is About To Die
ATCBlack Country, New RoadAnts From Up There (Album)
Mother ArtistsAlex AmorCan You See Me
Mother ArtistsMy Life As A MonthElectro Junction
Mother ArtistsCMATEvery Bottle (Is My Boyfriend)
Mother ArtistsRY XLet You Go

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Top agents call for action on diversity

Top agents called for a more diverse, inclusive and equitable industry during last week’s ESNS (Eurosonic Noorderslag).

Hannah Shogbola (UTA), Natasha Gregory (Mother Artists), Sally Dunstone (Primary Talent International) and Whitney Boateng (WME) came together for the all-female Agents Panel – hailed as “a long-overdue milestone” by moderator Maria May (CAA).

“We are representing the change we want to see,” said May during her opening gambit for the digital session. “I believe the music industry has a duty to continue to strive forward post-pandemic be even more progressive, more inclusive, and representative of the world that we live in.”

However, WME’s Boateng says there’s a “lot more work that needs to be done in the industry”. “It is still predominantly old white male and it has been for years,” she added. “Change has to come from the top-down and it has to be more than black squares.”

UTA’s Shogbola agreed: “If you are looking around your office and it does not reflect the society that you live in and the roster that you look after, then there is something categorically wrong.”

Black squares were posted on social media as part of the music industry’s Blackout Tuesday movement, a protest against racism and police brutality in response to the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor.

“As a black woman within this industry, it’s frustrating that even 15-20 years into my career, it takes the death of somebody like George Floyd for our industry to finally open its eyes,” said Shogbola.

“The industry has a duty to be even more progressive, more inclusive, and representative of the world that we live in”

Boateng pointed out that it’s not just racial inequalities that the industry needs to fix but also disparities around sexuality and gender, with the panel unanimously agreeing that diversity on line-ups is still “not good enough”.

“It’s so important that when anybody is going to a show, they feel like it’s a safe and inclusive space for them,” said Dunstone.

Elsewhere during the panel, Mother Artists’ Gregory says that flexibility towards employees’ work hours will also be a key feature in a more equitable post-pandemic industry.

“Working 9–5 is not equality because everybody has a different situation, a different experience and different needs,” argued Gregory. “Being an agent is not a 9–5 anyway so just put trust in your team – working hard is a given in this industry.”

Dunstone agreed: “Adaptability and flexibility are massive takeaways from the last two years. Hopefully, we’ll pick and choose the bits of [pandemic life] that worked for us.”

The 36th edition of ESNS took place under the banner ‘Building Back Better, Together’ and focussed on getting the industry back on its feet after two years of the pandemic.

The hybrid conference and festival wrapped on Friday (21 January) and Dago Houben, director of ESNS said that “despite the fact that there is definitely screen fatigue, we were able to perform our platform function for the national and international music industry.

 


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December New Music playlist out now

The latest edition of the IQ New Music playlist, featuring a selection of tracks curated by international booking agencies, is now live.

The playlist complements IQ Magazine’s popular New Signings page, which keeps the live industry updated about which new, emerging and re-emerging artists are being signed by agents. Click here to read the latest issue of IQ now.

The December edition of the New Music playlist features tracks hand-picked by agents at CAA, ICM, ITB, Paradigm, UTA, X-Ray, WME and Mother Artists.

Listen to the latest selection using the Spotify playlist below, or click here to catch up on last month’s playlist first.

Separated by agency, the full track list for the December playlist is:

AgencyArtistSong
CAADJ ShadowBuilding Steam with a Grain of Salt
ICMMontell FishFall in Love with You
ITBHoneyglazeCreative Jealousy
ITBLIFEFriends Without Names
ITBNaima Bock30 Degrees
ITBOwennBaby Girl
ITBPeaks!Black Guns/White Drugs
ParadigmDvr, Kenny BeatsLowlife
ParadigmNemahsisPaper Thin
ParadigmOliver MalcolmRolling Stone
ParadigmProspaLove Someone
ParadigmTalkSave Me
UTAMaya DelilahNeed a Word with Cupid
UTAPip BlomI Know I’m Not Easy To Like
UTAThe Kingdom Choir, Jake IsaacTogether Again
UTASerena IsiomaCrying In The Club
X-RayShaSimoneHushpuppi
WMELuke CombsDoin’ This
WMEMasked Wolf, Bebe RexhaIt’s You, Not Me (Sabotage)
WMEAnne-Marie and Niall HoranEverywhere
WMEFuture and SprngBrkMushrooms
WMETygaLift Me Up
Mother ArtistsIdlesCar Crash
Mother ArtistsCorookSims
Mother ArtistsFaouziaPuppet
Mother ArtistsThomas HeadonStrawberry Kisses
Mother ArtistsKills BirdsCough up Cherries

 


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November New Music playlist out now

The latest edition of the IQ New Music playlist, featuring a selection of tracks curated by international booking agencies, is now live.

The playlist complements IQ Magazine’s popular New Signings page, which keeps the live industry updated about which new, emerging and re-emerging artists are being signed by agents. Click here to read the latest issue of IQ now.

The November edition of the New Music playlist features tracks hand-picked by agents at ITB, Paradigm, UTA, ATC and Mother Artists.

Listen to the latest selection using the Spotify playlist below, or click here to catch up on last month’s playlist first.

Separated by agency, the full track list for the November playlist is:

AgencyArtistSong
ITBBeatrichHands Tied
ITBConradWeightless
ITBStrawberry GuySun Outside My Window
ITBThe Inspector CluzoA Man Outstanding In His Field
ITBPortlandAftermath
ParadigmAlewyaPlay
ParadigmMartha Skye MurphyStuck
ParadigmOvermonobby
ParadigmShallouHeartaches
ParadigmThe Royston ClubInfatuated
UTAAuroraGiving In To The Love
UTADITZDet Wurst
UTAGrandsonDrop Dead
UTAPa SalieuBad
UTAYoung ThugPunk
ATCGrace CummingsHeaven
ATCHurray for the Riff RaffRhododendron
ATCMetronomyIt's Good To Be Back
ATCSurfbortHappy Happy Halloween
ATCTonstartssbandhtPass Away
Mother ArtistsIDLESThe Beachland Ballroom
Mother ArtistsCMATNo More Virgos
Mother ArtistsCate le BonRunning Away
Mother ArtistsEnola GayScrappers

 


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Rebecca Nichols joins Mother Artists as agent

Rebecca Nichols has departed FKP Scorpio’s UK business to join artist management and live agency Mother Artists as an agent.

Former CAA agent Nichols will build her own roster at Mother and be charged with growing the live side of the business alongside co-founder Natasha Gregory and agent James Tones.

Nichols was most recently head of live coordination at FKP, where she helped set up multiple UK shows and tours for artists such as Ed Sheeran, The War on Drugs and Self Esteem. She also worked on special events and festivals for the European promoting giant as it established a footprint in the UK.

“I’m really grateful to FKP Scorpio for the fantastic year I’ve spent with them but very excited to be returning to the agency side where my passion for working with artists and being a part of building their careers can flourish,” she says.

Mother Artists was founded in late 2020 by ex-Paradigm agent Gregory (nee Bent) and her brother, Mother Artist Management boss Mark Bent.

“I have huge respect for what Natasha and Mark are building at Mother Artists, their commitment to the artists is at the heart of everything they do alongside a strong company ethos of integrity, inclusivity and empowerment, which really connects with me,” adds Nichols.

It’s amazing and humbling that Rebecca is joining us

“They care and they want to make a difference whilst creating a supportive and empathetic environment which is mirrored in the culture at Mother Artists. These values are important to me and how I connect with people and are what I will offer to the artists that I work with too.”

Earlier in her career, Nichols worked for over a decade as an agent at CAA with acts such as Lianne La Havas, NAO, Villagers and Charlotte Day Wilson amongst others.

“It’s amazing and humbling that Rebecca is joining us,” says Gregory. “She is quite simply a wonderful woman; kind, smart, personable, universally liked and respected and is just going to fit into the Mother Artists ethos and culture perfectly. I have personally wanted to work with Rebecca for a while and we are all just excited to learn from her and continue building Mother Artists as a team. Let’s go!”

Kelly Chappel, Live Nation SVP, touring, international, adds: “Beck is an absolute diamond, she loves new music and has exceptional ears. Most importantly she’s very easy to deal with, she listens and has a vision of where the artist should go and you’re part of that.

“I’m so excited to see her grow and flourish as part of Mother Artists ‘family’.  They are building such an exciting culture and team.”

Mother Artists (live) currently works with Idles, First Aid Kit, Tom Misch, Cate Le Bon, Fever Ray, Foster The People, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, RY X, CMAT, Thomas Headon and Do Nothing, while Mother Artists (management) represents the likes of Idles, Heavy Lungs, Mouth Culture and Blair Davie.

 


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October New Music playlist out now

The latest edition of the IQ New Music playlist, featuring a selection of tracks curated by international booking agencies, is now live.

The playlist complements IQ Magazine’s popular New Signings page, which keeps the live industry updated about which new, emerging and re-emerging artists are being signed by agents. Click here to read the latest issue of IQ now.

The October edition of the New Music playlist features tracks hand-picked by agents at CAA, ICM, ITB, Paradigm, 13 Artists, ATC, WME and Mother Artists.

Listen to the latest selection using the Spotify playlist below, or click here to catch up on last month’s playlist first.

Separated by agency, the full track list for the October playlist is:

AgencyArtistSong
CAALaurelScream Drive Faster
CAAGabby MartinMe & You
ICMDana DentataPantychrist
ICMJ.I the Prince of N.YMorning
ICMOtis KaneLost
ICMPhabo4K
ITBHoneyglazeBurglar
ITBPizzagirlBullet Train
ITBW.H. LungFigure With Flowers
ParadigmDora JarScab Song
ParadigmMini TreesSpring
ParadigmNala SinephroSpace 2
ParadigmPorijCan't Stop
ParadigmUltra QBowman
13 ArtistsOrlando WeeksLook Who's Talking Now
13 ArtistsHolly HumberstoneScarlett
13 ArtistsKid BrunswickBiploar Rhapsody
13 ArtistsHelveCabin Fever
ATCThe LumineersBrightside
ATCMetronomy, PintyHalf an Inch
ATCJoe & The ShitboysManspredator
ATCRosie AlenaGod's Garden
ATCGustafThe Motions
WMESam Smith, Summer WalkerYou Will Be Found
WMESteve Aoki, Armin van BuurenMusic Means Love Forever
WMECamila CabelloDon't Go Yet (Major Lazer remix)
WMEZac Brown BandFun Having Fun
WMECarly Pearce, Ashley McbrydNever Wanted To Be That Girl
Mother ArtistsThomas HeadonNobody Has To Know
Mother ArtistsUnknown Mortal OrchestraThat Life
Mother ArtistsCheap TeethI Am The Mud
Mother ArtistsKills BirdsGlisten

 


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Loud and Proud: IQ pride playlist out now

The Pride takeover edition of the IQ New Music playlist, featuring a selection of tracks curated by major international booking agencies, is now live.

Launched last year, the playlist complements IQ Magazine’s popular New Signings page, which keeps the live industry updated about which new, emerging and re-emerging artists are being signed by agents. Click here to read the inaugural Pride edition of IQ now.

The Loud and Proud (July) playlist features contributions from CAA, ICM, ITB, Paradigm Talent Agency, UTA, ATC, WME, Mother Artists, Primary Talent International, FMLY and Hometown Talent, each of which have picked several tracks apiece, showcasing some of their best queer touring artists.

Listen to the latest selection using the Spotify playlist below, or click here to catch up on the June playlist first.

Separated by agency, the full track list for the Loud and Proud (July) playlist is:

AgencyArtistSong
CAATodrick HallQueen
CAAJodie HarshNo Sleep
CAAMAY-AApricots
CAAMUNANumber One Fan
ICMTayla ParxDance Alone
ICMAmorphous, KehlaniBack Together
ICMdrumaqInsecurities
ICMTygapawFacety
ICMMarzzCountless Times
ITBAnnabel Allumordinary life
ITBBrandi CarlileThe Joke
ITBCherymListening to My Head
ITBDream NailsKiss My Fist
ITBHot MilkI Just Wanna Know What Happens When I'm Dead
ParadigmPabllo VittarModo Turbo
ParadigmLynksThis Is the Hit
ParadigmEzra FurmanI Can Change
ParadigmPerfume GeniusOn the Floor
Paradigmgirl in redSerotonin
UTABitch FalconGaslight
UTAJake Wesley RogersMomentary
UTAMadeline The PersonAs a Child
UTAPrincess NokiaIt's Not My Fault
UTASam LeeThe Tan Yard Side
ATCJoe & The ShitboysDrugs R'4 Kidz
ATCBeverly Glenn-CopelandEver New
ATCAlice LowLadydaddy
ATCALMAChasing Highs
ATCAnjimileMaker
WMEMaya Jane ColesRun to You
WMEJazmin BeanHello Kitty
WMECarla PrataCertified Freak
WMEserpentwithfeetFellowship
WMEKim PetrasHeart to Break
Mother ArtistsJoy Oladokunsorry isn't good enough
PrimaryRina SawayamaChosen Family
PrimaryRufus WainwrightGoing To A Town
PrimaryMoore KismetFlourish
PrimaryJoesefLoverboy
PrimaryMarika HackmanClaude's Girl
FMLYEliza LegzdinaEat Your Greenz
FMLYRalph TV4 U
FMLYDu BlondeAll The Way
FMLYLazy DayReal Feel
FMLYRome FortuneLovezone
Hometown TalentJerry PaperCholla
Hometown TalentAngel HazeBattle Cry

 


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A Brave New Agency World: Meet the independents

Last year presented the agency world with a raft of unforeseen hardships, from the shutdown of the concert business to widespread job losses. Faced with the choice to adapt or founder, many agents rose to the challenge of the former, ushering in a new age of entrepreneurship. Some agents banded together in the wake of redundancy and others decided to strike out of their own accord, spurring a wave of brand-new independent agencies across the globe.

The UK gained the likes of Mother Artists, One Fiinix Live, Route One Booking, Marshall Live Agency, Runway Artists and Playbook Artists; the US welcomed Arrival Artists, Mint Talent Group, TBA Agency and Paladin Artists; and the Spanish agency landscape expanded with Rebel Beat Agency – all “born out of the most unlikely of scenarios,” as Arrival puts it.

For the founders of Arrival, the most unlikely scenario was being laid off from Paradigm Talent Agency in the US, along with hundreds of others. But co-founder Ali Hedrick says this turned out to be a blessing in disguise: “I’d hoped that one day I would be my own boss, but I’m not sure if I ever would have done it, so it’s kind of fortuitous that it happened and forced my hand, in a good way.”

Hedrick founded the agency in October 2020 with her former Paradigm colleagues Erik Selz, John Bongiorno, Karl Morse and Ethan Berlin, as well as Matt Yasecko, former COO of Chicago- based agency The Billions Corporation – where she previously worked for nearly 23 years. A

Arrival’s roster includes the likes of Everything Everything, Denai Moore, Sons of Kemet, Wild Pink, Andrew Bird, and LOMA, booking from offices in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Seattle.

After clocking in time at other agencies, both major and independent, Hedrick says that setting up her own shop has given her a new lease of life as an agent. “It’s made me love booking again and being an owner just feels right… all agents are entrepreneurs in their own way.”

Jon Ollier, an ex-CAA agent who used the pandemic as a jumping off point to launch his new UK-based agency One Fiinix Live, echoes that sentiment: “As agents, we’re problem solvers – we make things happen – but the whole live business was being asked to just sit things out [because of Covid restrictions], and I’m not very good at doing that.”

Ollier took the likes of Ed Sheeran, Anne-Marie, JC Stewart, Lauv and 2Cellos to One Fiinix, which he set up following his exit from CAA in October 2020, after nearly six years at the agency.

“No one single factor led me to this decision. If that was the case, I’d probably be foolish – but a major factor is the reaction to Covid-19. I’ve got young kids and I want to be able to look them in the eyes in years to come and tell them I did all I could to make sure we came out of this stronger.”

“I always really just hated the competitiveness among agents and agencies – or even agents within the same agency”

A sense of fortitude is something Amy Davidman, founder and partner at US-based TBA Agency, is striving for too, after the “emotional upheaval” of the pandemic and her own redundancy from Paradigm.

“I chose optimism. I choose to believe in my work and my clients and my partners, and our ability to start a company and be successful and do right by our clients,” she says.

Davidman formed TBA in September 2020, alongside Marshall Betts, Avery McTaggart, Ryan Craven, and Devin Landau, to whom she felt “a natural gravitation.”

The new agency has unveiled a clientele that includes The War on Drugs, Courtney Barnett, Chvrches, Tune-Yards, Cut Copy, Beirut, Guided by Voices, Jungle, Cuco, Purity Ring, José González, Tycho, Caribou, and Alvvays, operating from offices in Los Angeles and New York.

“As a group, the five of us really could cover all the bases of what we needed to launch the Sons of Kemet are one of the acts helping to launch Arrival Artists company. Typically, none of our contracts would have ended at the same time so it would have been very difficult for all of us as partners to come together at the same time and launch a company,” Davidman says, pointing out the fortunate timing.

Timing has been a crucial factor for Route One Booking founder Ben Ward, who says that his redundancy from United Talent Agency (UTA) in London, along with the pandemic, has provided the perfect storm in which to launch his UK-based agency.

“I’d previously thought about going independent and the redundancy just accelerated things. I thought I’m not going to sit around and feel sorry for myself… I’m going to see which clients I can retain. There was nothing I could do but throw myself wholeheartedly into it,” he says.

The veteran rock agent and Orange Goblin frontman launched his new booking agency in November 2020, alongside co-director Jules Chenoweth, during England’s second national lockdown.

“When you want your numbers to be good, you’re thinking in a different way. Going independent has lifted a layer of self-inflicted stress that I didn’t need”

“If touring and festivals were all going ahead at the time, we would have been scrambling around trying to get things sorted in time for the summer,” he says. “But because there was nothing happening, we could reschedule shows and look to 2022 and 2023 and have time to get everything in place and bring everything up to speed.”

The new agency’s roster includes the likes of influential punks Discharge, fuzz-rock legends Fu Manchu, Canadian thrash act Voivod and country artist-producer Shooter Jennings, alongside emerging acts such as King Creature, Video Nasties, Daxx aand Roxane, and Blind River. In addition to bookings, Route One offers clients transport options for touring, backline, and links to digital music distribution company RouteNote, of which Chenoweth is a board member. The company also owns The Yard, a music venue in Cornwall.

Like Hedrick and Davidman, Ward says that going independent has renewed his “enthusiasm and clarity” for the job, which had diminished during his time working at a major agency.

“You can get really down and lose focus on what it’s all about. I had periods of that at UTA,” he explains. “If you want to be really hands-on with your artist, then being a small fish in a big pond isn’t as good as being the big fish in a small pond. A lot of artists fail because they were swept under the carpet at bigger agencies, and I feel that a lot of agents probably felt the same way as well.

“You get your big hitters at every agency who deliver millions of pounds worth of commission each year, and younger agents won’t be regarded in the same light. That’s understandable because every company is in it to make money, but the money comes secondary – it’s the artists’ satisfaction and seeing bands’ careers develop that comes first for me. I think with bigger agencies that satisfaction is lost with the pressure to deliver and keep the big wheels rolling.”

Davidman, who spent three years at Paradigm, agrees that both artists and agents are at risk of “slipping through the cracks” in a major agency. “I saw the benefits at a larger full-service agency, and yet I’ve maybe felt a little bit less in control of those benefits,” she says. “I think major agencies can work for a lot of artists and managers, and then I think others really slip through the cracks. There should really just be space for everybody to be successful and have access to a lot of different opportunities.

“I always really just hated the competitiveness among agents and agencies – or even agents within the same agency. I have hoped that there could be a way that we could all just say, ‘Yeah, you offer that thing, and you offer that thing,’ but if a lot of people are going after the same artists it just naturally becomes competitive.”

Davidman says that being her own boss has alleviated that sense of pressure and competition and has helped reaffirm her unique offering as an agent.

“If you want to be really hands-on with your artist, then being a small fish in a big pond isn’t as good as being the big fish in a small pond”

“After we launched TBA, there were a couple artists that I tried to sign that I didn’t, and I was less broken up about it than I maybe would have been before. I was, like, ‘Yeah, if this doesn’t fit what you’re looking for then cool, go and find the thing that you’re looking for, because this is what I’m doing and I’m really in it.’ Now I don’t have to wake up every day wondering what my value is or how I fit into a larger picture or what my numbers are going to be.”

The pressure to hit targets and go up against peers are two things Hedrick says she won’t miss either. “You have to do projections a couple times a year at a major agency,” she explains. “You’re always looking at your numbers and when you’re not one of the top agents at the company, there is that pressure to be doing well. There’s in-built competition. When you want your numbers to be good, you’re thinking in a different way. Going independent has lifted a layer of self-inflicted stress that I didn’t need.”

One Fiinix Live’s Ollier believes the crisis of 2020 will have highlighted these issues and suggests that a paradigm shift may be on the horizon. “When the times were good, agents were being paid well and looked after by a company that seemed like it cared. But now, that whole concept has been shaken to the core. Agents need to feel a bit more like they’re in control.

“The business models of the big companies are not designed to withstand a pandemic. That’s not a criticism of anyone in particular – everyone has been far too complacent,” he says. The reality is that the major agencies have a huge amount of overheads, huge numbers of staff, and they’re not really able to move quickly in terms of making decisions and engineering their way out of it [the crisis]. There’s a unanimous sense that the shackles are off for these agents, and with a greater sense of autonomy each is revelling in their ability to abandon traditional ways of working and reinvent the wheel.

For Ward, breaking away from an established agency has empowered him to take a more “hands-on approach.” “We have that freedom to sign the acts we want to sign – whether it’s rock and metal bands or we want to get a bit more diverse with our roster. And you know there’s no fear anymore, just opportunities,” he says.

Davidman is also keen to ditch the traditional “strict rules” about who gets to work on which projects, and instead is adopting a more ad-hoc approach to TBA’s services, especially during the pandemic. “We have to be flexible about who we’re talking to and what opportunities we are putting in front of folks,” she says. “Whether that’s being open to an artist who doesn’t have a manager, or a manager who is independent but wants a team to help them with different things, or someone who’s asking for help in a realm outside of touring – those things are not what an agent would traditionally do, but we at least want to be open to these opportunities.”

Ollier has had a similar vision for his agency, revealing plans to be less “departmentalised” and more focused on the people within the company.

“We’re ripping up the old-school contracts and the old-school way of working”

“At the moment, all I’m saying to people is, ‘How can I be supportive? Come and talk to me and let’s generate some ideas,’” he says. “Ultimately, we would like to help some people out. I’ve been helped out over the course of my career, and we all need that – no one is an island. So, what I’m saying to people is: let’s get collaborative, let’s get creative, and let’s build our way out of this, however that manifests, in a mutually beneficial way.”

Hedrick, who has been an agent for over two decades, is looking forward to diversifying Arrival’s workforce and mentoring aspiring agents – something she’s never had the chance to do before. “[Arrival Artists] could easily just hire the people we’ve worked with before – that have done the job and that we know are fantastic – but we’re doing our due diligence to make sure that we include a more diverse set of people. We’ll probably even hire some people who haven’t done the job before that we need to train,” she says.

Hiring is also top of the agenda for Natasha Bent, who left Paradigm in December 2020 to set up UK-based artist management and live agency Mother Artists, along with her brother Mark Bent. “We’re ripping up the old-school contracts and the old-school way of working, and really trying to be diverse in not only who we work with but who comes on board in our team,” she says.

“It’s not only about clients but it’s about us and creating a company that – in my mind, wherever I’ve gone – I always thought should exist. A place where ourselves, our families, and those who decide to join in the future, are really well looked after,” she says.

Another thing that was important to Hedrick was the implementation of a profit share for all the employees at the company. “I want to make sure that we share the profits with all employees so they can buy a home someday and show that not everybody at the company needs to become an agent to make decent money. If the company has a banner year and profits, that will be spread throughout the entire company,” she says.

As for the sense of cut-throat competition that each agent has referred to: that has been replaced with a desire to collaborate – something Hedrick chalks up to the pandemic, “which made us all a little bit softer and nicer to each other because we’re all in this together.”

The Arrival Artists boss says she has calls with new agencies including Mint and TBA on a regular basis, as well as weekly meetings with UK agency ATC Live, with which Arrival has formed a strategic partnership to “facilitate dynamic global representation for shared artists.”

Davidman, meanwhile, hopes that this new spirit of collaboration will not only better the agency world but the industry as a whole. “The agency world should not be so divided, fighting over power,” she says. “We should collaborate and use the collective power to try to figure out the important things, like how to break down systemic racism within the music industry.”

Welcome to a brave new agency world…

 


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