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LGBTIQ+ List 2024: Jason Brotman, Five Senses Reeling

The LGBTIQ+ List 2024 – IQ Magazine’s fourth annual celebration of queer professionals who make an immense impact in the international live music business – has been revealed.

The ever-popular list is the centrepiece of IQ’s fourth Pride edition, sponsored by Ticketmaster, which is now available to read online and in print for subscribers.

To get to know this year’s queer pioneers a little better, we interviewed each of them on the development of the industry, the challenges that are keeping them up at night and more.

Throughout the next month, IQ will publish a new interview each day. Catch up on yesterday’s interview with Gwen Iffland (she/her), senior marketing & PR manager at Wizard Live, recently rebranded from Wizard Promotions Konzertagentur.

The series continues with Jason Brotman (he/him), founder of Five Senses Reeling/Obsessed and partner/head of global touring at PEG.

Jason Brotman is the founder of touring company Five Senses Reeling/Obsessed and recently joined the Producer Entertainment Group team as a partner and senior manager via a company acquisition. Jason has devoted his professional life to championing queer causes and voices, giving traditionally underrepresented artists and global, mainstream platforms. He lives in Seattle, Washington and has a husband, two kids (Jackson & Hartley), and two pups (Sake & Guinness).

Tell us about the professional feat you’re most PROUD of in 2024 so far.
The combination of Five Senses/Obsessed with the team at PEG. We’ve worked closely for years and it was great to pull off one of the best mergers in our industry. We are still defining the results of our merger and what it means to run management vs touring and production as two closely partnered companies, but it is already bearing great fruit.

Many of your clients are drag queens. What’s the current state of the touring drag market?
The touring drag market has hit an interesting plateau. The virtual explosion of drag artists becoming known – either locally or internationally through Drag Race – has oversaturated the touring market. We helped lead this market with our world tour of Trixie & Katya Live right after the post-pandemic reopening but since then we’ve had to be selective due to so much competition.

“All the drag bans have done is embolden our community and allies to be even more dedicated to bringing artists to their spaces”

Have drag bans in the US affected your business at all?
All the drag bans have done is embolden our community and allies to be even more dedicated to bringing artists to their spaces. We know that the drag bans were a very thinly veiled attempt to go after our trans brothers and sisters, so we knew it was our duty to dig deeper and find ways to work around such bigotry. While we didn’t feel the heat so much ourselves, we know of other companies that had a difficult time with protestors. Safety is always our first priority and we were really lucky not to see our talent put in danger.

Your company is dedicated to amplifying queer artistry, how do you customise your services for your clients?
We are very careful to employ crew and support staff that represent our community. We’ve led the way in hiring women, people of colour, and queer people across the alphabet. This, along with focusing our planning to fully meet the unique needs of our artists, has set us apart from others in our industry. We take a full 360 approach to our touring and production, which artists have come to thoroughly enjoy because they see that we have thought ahead, planned for almost any complication, and have helped them grow and thrive in this newly competitive marketplace.

“Hire more women, POC, queer, and allied crew”

What is the biggest industry challenge you’re facing right now?
Costs of touring have almost tripled since the start of the pandemic. Buses that used to cost $X before the pandemic are now going for three times the amount and that’s if you can find a bus provider with capacity and availability. Also, honestly, there are too many amazing artists that want to go out on the road and it’s so hard to pick and choose those that we can take out. If we had it our way, we’d have twenty tours running at a time, all the time. We have to take a strategic approach to ensure we can fully support our artists, their creative integrity, and ticket sales.

Name one thing the industry could do to be a more equitable place.

“Kylie, Beyonce, Taylor, Madonna — these women have been incredible allies”

Name one queer act you’re itching to see live this year.
I would love to see Tracy Chapman live. She’s always been a favourite of mine and I really hope that her recent time back in the spotlight will convince her to go back on tour or, at the very least, do a couple of shows. I’d travel almost anywhere to experience her amazing talent live.

Shout out your biggest ally in the live music industry.
Kylie, Beyonce, Taylor, Madonna. These women have been incredible allies and it’s been amazing to see our community not only recognised but celebrated on their tours this year!

Shout out any LGBTIQ+ cause(s) you support.  
Our own Drag isn’t Dangerous Foundation, The Trevor Project, ACLU Drag Defense Funds.


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