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The New Bosses 2017: the final three

After shining the spotlight on (in no particular order) our first four New Bosses – Anna-Sophie Mertens, Zoe Swindells, Ryan Penty and Andrés Guanipa – in September, then Summer Marshall, Connie Shao and Matt Harrap earlier this month, the final instalment of IQ’s New Bosses 2017 wraps up our annual spotlight on the live music industry leaders of the future.

 


Sam Wald

Agent, WME (AU)
Age: 30

Sam worked in various capacities, including artist management, tour management, talent buying and promotion, before he started working at WME’s head office in Beverly Hills in 2010. He was recruited to the Sydney office as an agent in 2013, where his expertise in electronic music led to his appointment as the territorial agent for WME’s electronic roster in Asia, Australia and New Zealand. In addition to his territorial roster, Sam’s clients also include Broods, Elliphant, Gallant, Gang of Youths, Hermitude, Jarryd James, Julia Jacklin, Matoma, Marlon Williams, Middle Kids, Porter Robinson, Starley and Zhu, among others.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to become an agent?
Get involved early and really take the time to learn as many different sides of the industry as possible. Don’t have any ego, and be willing to take on any tasks (big or small). There is a lot of competition, and not a lot of jobs. You need to make yourself a valuable asset.

Was it a difficult decision to move to Australia?
Not at all. I saw a great opportunity to move to Australia to work with many of the bands I loved, at an agency called Artist Voice. They had an amazing roster and were starting to push hard into Asia at a time when no one else in the region had the same foresight.

What’s the single best thing about being in Australia?
I get to hang out with my grandfather. I’m half Aussie, so grew up coming here as a kid.

What’s the best lesson that you’ve learned while at WME?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. I’m fortunate to be surrounded by a lot of really smart people at WME who have a wealth of knowledge and experience.

 

 


Christine Cao

Agent, Paradigm (US)
Age: 30

Christine Cao, Paradigm Talent Agency

Christine graduated from the University of Colorado and worked as an assistant at AEG Live and CAA before joining the Windish Agency in 2013. Her roster includes Grammy winner Daya, Grammy-nominated R&B singer Gallant, electronic pop phenomenon Alina Baraz and Nothing But Thieves, among others. With the majority of her artists hitting the road in support of upcoming releases, 2018 will be Christine’s busiest year yet.

What made you decide to become an agent?
I was promoting shows for my college and realised I had a massive passion for live music. I’m thankful to have learned that side of things, but I wanted to be part of an artist’s journey developing into various markets.

What’s the worst thing about your job?
If I get a chance to do this forever, I honestly can’t bring myself to think about the worst side of this gig. Maybe aeroplane food when you forget to grab something before leaving for an out-of-town show.

What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in equality during your time in the industry?
I grew up being told that being a minority both in my race and my gender was going to make things harder. A positive shift has occurred over the years, and I’m thankful for the mentors, both male and female, who have been so supportive and inspirational.

Where is your favourite festival, and which three dream acts would you like to see headlining it?
I had the chance to visit Ho Chi Minh City a few times, where my parents are from. That market is aching for live music, though electronic and pop thrive there. I’d headline my festival with the Backstreet Boys, The National and Ryan Adams.

 


Ben Mitha

MD, Karsten Jahnke Konzertdirektion (DE)
Age: 29

Ben Mitha, Karsten Jahnke Konzertdirektion

The grandson of legendary promoter Karsten Jahnke, Ben started promoting hip-hop parties during his school days in Hamburg, and founded full-service events company Digga Events while studying for his degree. In 2014, Karsten appointed Ben managing director and he now oversees a roster of 60 international acts, as well as domestic acts like Johannes Oerding, Max Giesinger and Michael Patrick Kelly.

How has your family’s legacy affected your industry relationships?
It was a gift at the beginning, but it also took quite a while to define my own profile and not be automatically related to Karsten’s musical profile in the industry.

Is there any practice that you would like to change, or introduce, to improve the way the business is done?
More loyalty and fewer global deals. I understand the financial dimensions behind it, but it’s always painful to lose an artist you have discovered early, invested in and helped build to a level where they arouse interest for a global deal and, all of a sudden, you’re out of the picture and there isn’t anything you can do about it.

Have there been any mistakes that have taught you valuable lessons?
I learn from mistakes daily – passing on an act in the early stages that takes off later on; miscalculating the market potential of an act and losing money; or not seeing enough potential in an idea or project that somebody else is later really successful with. I guess that’s just part of the business. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose…

 


Read the New Bosses 2017 as it originally appeared in the digital edition of IQ 73:

The New Bosses 2017: round two

After shining the spotlight on (in no particular order) our first four New Bosses – Anna-Sophie Mertens, Zoe Swindells, Ryan Penty and Andrés Guanipa – last month, the next instalment of IQ’s New Bosses 2017 features three more live music industry leaders of the future.

Read on to get to know CAA’s Summer Marshall, Truck Festival’s Matt Harrap and AEG Presents’ Connie Shao…

 


Summer Marshall

Agent, CAA (UK)
Age: 30

Summer is based in CAA’s London office, where she has been instrumental in strategically building the international touring profiles of such artists as Sam Smith, who has headlined arenas around the world, including a massive sold-out Australian tour. Summer is active in a number of industry collectives, including the UK Music Futures Group, and is a member of the BRIT Awards voting academy.

Do you think you were always destined for a career in music?
While I once daydreamed of being a professional skydiver, I followed my passion for music. I love being an agent. And some might argue it’s just as thrilling.

Who do you turn to for advice?
I am fortunate to work with an inspirational group of colleagues. Emma Banks, Mike Greek and Paul Wilson, in particular, are three exceptionally wise and wonderful people.

And as a New Boss, what advice would you give anyone who wanted to follow the agency route into the business?
Humanise your approach. We are all in this together to support the artist.

As a New Boss, is there any practice that you would like to change, or introduce, to improve the way the business is done?
I would encourage everyone to make more phone calls. Establishing a personal connection goes a long way in building and sustaining a relationship. Plus, one call can be more effective and efficient than a string of emails.

If you had to choose one highlight from your career, so far, what would it be?
Being part of writing Sam Smith’s extraordinary story.

 


Matt Harrap

Event manager, Truck Festival (UK)
Age: 26

Matt Harrap, Truck Festival, UK, New Bosses 2017

While studying at the University of Portsmouth, Matt and some friends set-up a club night that showcased new acts and local talent. During this period he was approached by the founder of Southsea Fest and asked to help run the event’s social channels. This in turn led to an internship at Count of Ten, which by year two saw him elevated to the position of event manager at Truck Festival at the age of just 23.

What advice would you give to anyone hoping to find a career in the live music business?
It’s nowhere near as glamorous as people tell you. You have to be prepared to really work hard. You need conviction in what you believe in – but, most importantly, you need to be willing to listen to feedback from those attending events.

What’s your proudest achievement to date?
It’s pretty lame, but every year at Truck watching the audience go crazy. It makes me feel very proud of what we as a team have done.

And what about the challenges?
Tight budgets and artist exclusivity. I’ve learned you have to be creative to make budgets last, and in selecting artists you believe the audience will love.

Who do you turn to for advice?
I’ve been really lucky to work with great people since the age of 18, including my old bosses from Count Of Ten, people I used to run nights with at university, the whole team that work on Truck and the wider team at Broadwick Live, who have a vast experience of running awesome events.

As a New Boss, is there any practice that you would like to change or introduce, to improve the way the business is done?
Remove red tape; it completely stifles creativity.

 


Connie Shao

Promoter, AEG Presents (CN)
Age: 27

Connie Shaeo, AEG Presents, China, New Bosses 2017

While studying at the University of Southern California, Connie worked as college promoter, programming and producing concerts for 15,000 undergraduate students while also working an internship at Epitaph Records. Post-uni, she landed a job at ICM, working in domestic and international bookings, then in 2014 moved to Shanghai to join the Asia-Pacific office of AEG Presents.

What are your language skills like?
I grew up speaking both English and Chinese; however, I have a lot more to learn in Chinese reading and writing.

What are the biggest challenges about working in Asia?
There’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to touring in Asia – it’s a fine balance between establishing consistency across the region while maintaining the unique distinctions of each market. Putting on a 12-date tour means working in 12 vastly different countries, 12 currencies, 12 ticketing companies and so on.

What do you see yourself doing in five years’ time?
I’d love to continue expanding and developing the Asia touring region – we’re starting to see tours go to more markets, also new markets, and doing record-breaking ticket sales. There’s also great potential for global festival brands to launch with a tailored approach in many Asian markets.

As a New Boss, is there any practice that you would like to change or introduce, to improve the way the business is done?
I would encourage artists to maintain a presence in Asia beyond the touring cycle. It’s so important to develop and nurture the fan base in these markets, which touch half the world’s population.

 


The remaining three New Bosses will be profiled in future editions of IQ’s Index newsletter. Alternatively, read the feature in full now in the digital edition of IQ 73:

Introducing… the New Bosses 2017

Welcome to the new New Bosses 2017, the tenth outing for IQ’s annual spotlight on ten future live music industry leaders, as decided by their peers.

With the feature entering double figures, we’ve witnessed many past winners go on to actually become bosses – and this year’s crop already includes company leaders.

The selection process for this year’s New Bosses shortlist was fiercer than ever, but the calibre of young professionals who are helping to improve the entertainment industry around the world underlines the maturity of the live music sector in particular – and its ability to attract some of the brightest and the best.

 


Anna-Sophie Mertens

Promoter, Live Nation (UK)
Age: 30

Hailing from Hamburg, Anna-Sophie completed a BA in music, theatre and entertainment management at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) in the UK. During her studies, she also worked on projects including Rock am Ring and Rock im Park. She joined Live Nation UK in 2008 as a freelance promoter rep, but in 2015 became a promoter in her own right, working with talent such as Sigrid, Lewis Capaldi, Ariana Grande, John Mayer, Emeli Sandé, Ward Thomas, The Cadillac Three, Greta Van Fleet, Billy Lockett, Joy Crookes, Isaiah Rashad and many more.

Was it a difficult decision to move to London?
I didn’t have much of a choice. I stopped by Live Nation’s office for a coffee on Friday afternoon and next thing I know I was offered a temp role starting immediately. I went back to Liverpool, packed a suitcase and was living in London three days later.

What are you currently working on?
Wrapping up the last few tour on-sales for 2017 and plotting the next steps for acts like Sigrid… If 2017 is anything to go by, she is going to have an incredible 2018!

Would you encourage people to study at university before coming into the live music industry?
I had the best three years in Liverpool and you gain access to an incredible network of people. I continue to bump into alumni, and because you shared the same experience at LIPA they are more inclined to help you out, put you in touch with someone or point you in the right direction.

What would you like to be doing in five years’ time?
More of what I am doing now!

 


Zoe Swindells

Programming manager, The O2 (UK)
Age: 25

Zoe Swindells, The O2, New Bosses 2017

Zoe’s love of music led her to the University of Salford in the UK, where she graduated with a first-class honours degree specialising in music production and music business. Directly after her degree, she moved to London, where she landed a position managing recording studios. At The O2, Zoe started out as programming assistant, gradually taking on more responsibility until she was promoted to programming manager in October 2016.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to find a career in the live music industry?
If you can’t find someone to give you experience, make it yourself! Organise a gig, produce a band, network and make friends with as many people as possible. Just put yourself out there.

What’s the best thing about your job?
Witnessing the growing buzz of the crowd, from when they walk into the arena to the point the house lights dim and the show begins. Nothing beats the power of that one song bringing the artist and audience together – it’s such a ‘goosebump’ moment.

What do you see yourself doing in five years’ time?
As long as I’m happy and still working in music in five years, that’s all that matters to me!

Is there any practice that you would like to introduce to improve the way the business is done?
I really like the ReBalance project, aimed at female musicians and audio engineers. I’d love to promote and encourage similar initiatives across the whole of the music industry.

Where is your favourite small venue and which dream act would you like to see playing there?
It has to be Islington Assembly Hall and my dream act to have seen there would have been Jeff Buckley. However, Portishead might be more of a possibility!

 


Ryan Penty

Agent, Coda Agency (UK)
Age: 27

Ryan Penty, Coda Agency, New Bosses 2017

Ryan graduated from the University of Hertfordshire in the UK in 2011 with a degree in music and entertainment industry management. He joined Coda as an intern and worked his way up to join Alex Hardee’s team in 2013. Since then he has been working with the likes of London Grammar, Sean Paul, Clean Bandit, John Newman, Mika, Hurts and Ella Eyre, as well as hotly tipped newcomers Mullally, Lewis Capaldi and Billy Lockett.

What made you decide to get into the agency side of the business?
I originally wanted to be a promoter, but there is a lot more strategic planning involved in being an agent. I love being completely hands-on with the direction of an artist’s career.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned to date about being an agent?
Get the money in early!

How competitive is it being an agent?
You need to be on acts really early now. Being an agent is becoming more and more about scouting new talent and that’s definitely a strength of Coda.

Who do you turn to for advice?
There is no better mentor than Alex Hardee. He’s done it all, seen it all, told some terrible jokes and still come out on top.

If you had to choose one highlight from your career, so far, what would it be?
I’m really proud of how I’ve helped Coda to become the company it is today. It is forward thinking, constantly
adapting to the changing industry and a real testament to all the hard work everyone puts in daily.

 


Andrés Guanipa Figueredo

Marketing social media manager, Move Concerts (AR)
Age: 28

Andrés Guanipa Figueredo, Move Concerts, New Bosses 2017

Born and raised in Maracaibo, Venezuela, in 2010, Andrés graduated with a degree in marketing and public relations. For two years, he worked as a production assistant at agency/promoter Tresymedio, before moving to Argentina in 2013, where he became a marketing assistant and social media manager at Move Concerts.

Was it a difficult decision to move to Argentina?
I knew the decision was the right one. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t tough to leave my family, friends and my comfort zone, but if I had to choose, I’d do it again.

What would you like to be doing in five years’ time?
Hopefully, I’ll be back in Venezuela bringing international shows and entertainment to big venues again. We need a change of government ASAP, and when it happens this will be an option.

What one thing would you like to see happen in Argentina to improve the live music business there?
More quality venues. There are few venue options for a country that receives so many great talents, and none of them offer the whole package when you organise a big concert.

As a New Boss, what advice would you give to anyone wanting to become involved in the music business?
Never say no to an invitation; don’t stay at home. Opportunities are real and come from real people. Only by communicating will you get results.

What is the biggest challenge about working in Argentina?
Everybody knows everybody. So, when I arrived, nobody knew who I was, and the challenge has been making a good impact on everyone I’ve worked with, because once you make a mistake everyone will remember you for that.

 


The remaining six New Bosses will be profiled in future editions of IQ’s Index newsletter. Alternatively, read it in full now in the digital edition of IQ 73:

 

Nominations open for New Bosses 2017

Nominations are now being sought for the 2017 edition of the New Bosses, IQ’s annual list of ten future music-industry leaders as decided by their peers.

Anyone working in the live music industry, anywhere in the world, is eligible, provided they are aged 30 or under and they have not featured in our New Bosses list before. Ideally, we’re looking for those who are making a difference – the young players already changing and shaping the industry.

If you know someone who deserves recognition, please help to make their year and let us know. All votes remain strictly anonymous.

We’ll be publishing a profile on each of the ten most nominated rising stars in the next issue of IQ Magazine, and your votes will also form the nominations for the Tomorrow’s New Boss award at the Arthur Awards in March 2018.

To nominate someone you know to become one of the New Bosses 2017, email gordon@iq-mag.net before Friday 14 July.

Click here for a recap of the New Bosses 2016.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

New Bosses 2016

With nine years of IQ’s New Bosses now under our belt, we’ve watched as many of our past winners actually became bosses – and this year’s crop already includes company leaders, including ‘brandtrepreneur’ Matt Thorne and artist managers Tobe Onwuka and Tommy Bruce, the latter of whom established Full Stop Management earlier this year with Jeffrey Azoff, a New Boss winner in 2015.

As usual, it has been a competitive process, but our ten winners represent a good spread of professionals and nationalities, proving that the future of the international business is in good hands.

Click the image below read the feature in full, including interviews with our ten New Bosses, in issue 67 of IQ Magazine…

New Bosses 2016

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.