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Craig D’Souza joins WME as partner

Agent Craig D’Souza, known for his work with UK rap and hip-hop artists such as Stormzy, Dave, J Hus, and Krept and Konan, has joined WME as a partner.

Based out of the company’s UK office, D’Souza brings a roster that includes Aitch, Arrdee, Dave, D-Block Europe, Fredo, Headie One, Jacob Banks, J Hus, Joy Crookes, Krept and Konan, Mist, MoStack, and Young T and Bugsey. His hiring was announced today (3 August) by WME Music co-heads Lucy Dickins, Kirk Sommer, and Scott Clayton.

D’Souza (pictured) began his career at nightclub agency Mission Control, becoming managing director in 2007, and went on to oversee the growth of the business into the live touring market over the next three years. He left to join Primary Talent International in July 2010.

With Primary Talent, D’Souza guided Stormzy’s live career from 250-capacity club shows in 2015 through to his 2019 Glastonbury headline performance and a sold-out world tour. The grime superstar recently signed a global deal with CAA, while Primary has brought on board Anderson Paak agent Beckie Sugden (formerly of X-ray) as its latest hire.

D’Souza, who was Music Week’s UK agent of the year in 2020, moves into his new position at WME immediately. He is the agency’s latest new partner, following the hiring of hip-hop agents Caroline Yim and Zach Iser in the US earlier this year.

 


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TikTok displays live potential at 2020 Brits

The 2020 Brit Awards took place on Tuesday night (18 February) at the O2 Arena in London in a special, live-focused ceremony.

Performances on the night came from double award-winner Lewis Capaldi (best new artist, song of the year), album of the year winner Dave, Brits rising star Celeste, Mabel (female solo artist), Lizzo, Sir Rod Stewart and international female solo artist winner Billie Eilish, who debuted the new James Bond theme song at the event.

The Brit Awards changed a few things up for 2020, reducing prize categories from 14 to 9, upping the number of live performances and allowing artists more creative freedom.

Another new addition for this year was the partnership with video-sharing social networking platform TikTok.

The partnership, which is part of a wider programme to showcase TikTok’s potential for the live industry, saw the platform transmit key moments from the Brits directly to digital screens at London’s Piccadilly Circus.

“We see this BRITs partnership as one of the major milestones in a big education push we have for the UK music industry this year”

Via TikTok, Lewis Capaldi became the first artist to perform on the Brits red carpet, later singing a duet backstage with male solo artist winner Stormzy. TikTok users were also encouraged to take part in the #RedCarpetReady hashtag challenge – an interactive competition in which users post videos with a specific hashtag – and use the Brits ‘Jump In’ sticker.

To further elaborate on the platform’s compatibility with live, TikTok’s head of UK music operations Paul Hourican is delivering a workshop at the International Live Music Conference in March, explaining how artists, promoters, agents and festival organisers can capitalise on TikTok’s reach.

“On TikTok, artists can reach listeners at lighting speed and build authentic fanbases – it’s a unique connection between artists and fans that we want even more artists and fans to benefit from – as well as the discovery opportunities TikTok brings for success off-platform,” says Rich Waterworth, general manager of TikTok UK.

“We see this BRITs partnership as one of the major milestones in a big education push we have for the UK music industry this year.”

The full list of Brit 2020 winners can be found below:

Female solo artist: Mabel
Male solo artist: Stormzy
Best group: Foals
Song of the year: Lewis Capaldi – ‘Someone You Loved’
Mastercard album of the year: Dave – Psychodrama
Best new artist: Lewis Capaldi
International female solo artist: Billie Eilish
International male solo artist: Tyler The Creator
Rising star: Celeste

 


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Billie Eilish to debut Bond theme at 2020 Brits

Billie Eilish will perform the official theme song to the new James Bond film live for the first time at the Brit Awards 2020 on Tuesday 18 February.

The Paradigm-repped artist, who recently became the second artist ever to take home all four top awards at the Grammys, is debuting ‘No Time to Die’ with her brother and producer Finneas, former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr and an orchestral arrangement by Hans Zimmer and Matt Dunkley.

Eilish is nominated for the international female solo artist award at the Brits, along with Ariana Grande, Lana Del Rey, Lizzo and Camila Cabello.

Taking place at London’s 20,000-capacity O2 Arena, other performances at the live-focused event will come from Brits rising star winner Celeste, Dave, Harry Styles, Lewis Capaldi, Lizzo, Mabel and Stormzy and will be hosted by comedian Jack Whitehall.

London rapper Dave and scottish singer Lewis Capaldi lead the way with Brit nominations this year, with four apiece for male solo artist, song of the year, album of the year and best new artist.

Billie Eilish will perform the official theme song to the new James Bond film live for the first time at the Brit Awards 2020

Mabel is also nominated for multiple awards, appearing in the female solo artist, song of the year and best new artist nominees. Across the eight categories awarded on the night, the singer is the only woman to receive a nomination outside of the female-only awards, asides from Miley Cyrus’ feature on Mark Ronson’s ‘Nothing Breaks Like a Heart’ in the song of the year category.

Stormzy – who is this year headlining Reading and Leeds, Pohoda and Sziget – is up for male solo artist, song of the year and album of the year.

The Brits is this year partnering with short-form mobile video platform TikTok, which will livestream the arrival of nominees and others on the Brits red carpet, including an exclusive live performance from Lewis Capaldi.

“Our BRITs 2020 partnership is part of a wider UK programme that aims at collaborating with and educating labels, managers and artists to make the most out of the platform, taking advantage of TikTok’s unique creativity to engage with their fans and connect with a new global audience,” comments Paul Hourican, TikTok’s head of music operations, UK.

Hourican will be delivering a workshop on how music industry professionals can make the most of TikTok at the International Live Music Conference (ILMC) on 4 March.

The Brit Awards 2020 is taking place on Tuesday 18 February at the O2, broadcast live on ITV from 7.30 p.m.

 


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IQ 87: Special end-of-decade issue out now

Optimism about the future of the live entertainment business is high as we enter a new decade, with business leaders predicting further global growth throughout the 2020s in IQ’s end-of-decade issue, which is now available to read online.

Issue #87 sees IQ host a ‘virtual panel’ with some of the industry’s most important execs – including CAA’s Emma Banks, Oak View Group’s Tim Leiweke, Artist Group International’s Marsha Vlasic and Frontier Touring’s Michael Gudinski – as they reflect on the 2010s while offering their predictions for the decade ahead.

Move Concerts’ Phil Rodriguez, another panellist, says he sees opportunities in “consolidation on all fronts – promotion, venues and ticketing”, while Banks is looking to Asia, explaining that while China is “still not an easy market”, the potential for “certain acts” is huge. (If you can’t wait for the online version, read more on page 38.)

Covering the final IQ of the 2010s is Stormzy, as shot at Glastonbury by legendary rock photographer Jill Furmanovsky, who explains the story behind the photo in an online Q&A, published today.

IQ 87 also sees the return of the annual European Festival Report, which finds a mixed picture characterised by increased ticket prices, falling attendances and lower capacities; and The Gaffer award, which goes to John ‘Lug’ Zajonc, production manager for Metallica.

Issue #87 sees IQ host a ‘virtual panel’ with some of the industry’s most important execs

Elsewhere, Derek Robertson goes on tour with Dido to learn about the British star’s touring comeback, while Adam Woods heads to Russia for this issue’s market report.

There’s also everything you need to know about the Game of Live – aka ILMC 32 – ahead of the conference’s return to the Royal Garden Hotel in London in March.

All that, plus your usual dose of news analysis, new signings, emerging tech, comment from industry experts and much more.

As always, most content from the magazine will appear online in some form over the next few months. However, if you can’t wait for your fix of essential live music industry features, opinion and analysis, click here to subscribe now.


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‘Nothing beats a photographer who loves music’: Jill Furmanovsky Q&A

In 1972, Jill Furmanovsky attended a two-week course on photography at the Central School of Art and Design in London. A lucky break gave her the chance to be in-house photographer at London’s Rainbow Theatre in the 1970s, shooting concerts and rehearsals by the likes of Pink Floyd, the Faces, Led Zeppelin and Miles Davis.

She went on to shoot for the music press, as well as directly for bands such as the Police, the Pretenders, Oasis and, most recently, Catfish and the Bottlemen. Nearly 40 years on from her first shoot, she is one of the most respected rock and roll photographers in the world, and is also the founder and artistic director of Rockarchive.

Following her recent interview at Festival Congress – and as issue 87 of IQ Magazine, whose cover features her photo of Stormzy at Glastonbury Festival, hits the shelves – IQ catches up with Furmanovsky to talk Rockarchive, Instagram, Bowie and more…

 


IQ: What’s the story behind the cover of IQ’s end-of-decade issue?
Jill Furmanovsky: This is Stormzy at Glastonbury 2019. I thought he put on a superb show (much better and infinitely more human than Kanye West’s a few years earlier). The Eavis family has championed new artists from the word go and taken risks with giving them the best stage in the world – the Pyramid – in front of the best audience in the world: Glastonbury!

Why did you choose it?
I gave IQ quite a choice, but for me this was the right one to celebrate the end of a decade and the beginning of a new one.

What motivated you to set up Rockarchive in 1998?
Well, we don’t have a rock and roll museum in the UK, which is beyond belief. Rockarchive was set up in 1998 as a way for the public to find out about rock and roll photography. We encourage our 60-plus photographers to dig out unseen work that forms the basis of the whole history of the rock and roll era – which is now nearly over, but will be an inspiration to coming generations.

We fund ourselves by selling prints, but barely survive. Really we should be brought into the public arena by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and given a permanent space for fans and scholars.

“We don’t have a rock and roll museum in the UK, which is beyond belief”

You’ve previously mentioned Magnum Photos as an inspiration. Why?
Their support for truth in reportage, copyrights for photographers, and promoting the art of photography. Their business model no longer works as it used to in the analogue era, but it’s good that they’ve survived.

How has concert photography changed since Rockarchive launched?
Less access, more photographers and, of course, the endless phone cameras!

With user-generated content now so excessive, what to you is stand-out concert photography today?
Phone pictures can be good but nothing beats a good professional photographer who loves music and knows how to shoot it. It’s the classic ‘the right moment’ shots that do it for me every time.

Would you ever archive a great photograph from an unknown photographer? For example, a great iPhone photo taken by a fan that you found on Instagram?
I don’t have time to look through Instagram! But I’ve nothing against the equipment and never have. I use a phone to take my personal pictures all the time. They tend to be better in bright light than concert lighting, I find.

“It’s the classic ‘the right moment’ shots that do it for me”

Do you shoot in digital, or film, or a mixture of both? Why?
I mainly shoot digital, as it’s more practical for clients who want the images quickly. However, I do still shoot a bit of film on a Leica M6, mainly B&W, and I love the economy of exposures available and the process of developing and printing images in a wet darkroom.

Looking ahead to the next decade, what’s the future for Rockarchive?
We are working with Manchester University to make our There is a Light That Never Goes Out exhibition remains in Manchester.

I also have my eye on a building I’d like as the headquarters for a Centre of Rock and Roll Culture. It’s in the borough of Camden… will someone on the council there come and speak to me soon?! If we don’t find a long-term solution to keeping Rockarchive going, we are in danger of losing our rock history archives to the US or China, which would be terrible.

For now, just buy a print – each one sold keeps us going for a bit longer, and is a good investment, too!

Who’s the greatest performer you shot live, and the greatest that you wished you’d had?
James Brown, Bob Marley, Jeff Buckley, Kate Bush, Chrissie Hynde, Bob Dylan, Neil Young… I can’t chose just one!

I would love to have shot the Beatles, but I was too young – and more on David Bowie. I only photographed him live once and a bouncer ripped the film out of my camera…

 


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Numerous arrests made post Wembley Arena show

Police in London responded to “significant disorder” following a Kiss FM-promoted concert at the 12,500-capacity SSE Arena, Wembley, on Friday night (25 October).

Acts playing at the sold-out, Halloween-themed Kiss Haunted House Party included Stormzy, Sean Paul, Young T and Bugsey, Anne-Marie, Liam Payne, Jax Jones and Aitch.

“Officers are on scene at Wembley Arena following significant disorder after the Kiss Haunted House event,” read a post on the Twitter page of the local police service at 11.44 p.m. on Friday evening.

“Numerous arrests have been made, officers are asking people to disperse immediately to the nearby tube stations.”

No injuries were reported.

“The safety of event-goers is of huge priority to us”

“The safety of event-goers is of huge priority to us. We have cooperated fully with the venue and police to ensure a swift resolve to any issues,” said a spokesperson for the event.

The unrest followed the sixth edition of Haunted House Party, hosted by UK urban and dance music radio station Kiss, which has seen past performances from the likes of Rita Ora, Stefflon Don and Jess Glynne.

The SSE Arena, Wembley, which is operated by the newly formed ASM Global, celebrated its busiest year on record in 2018, with an even busier year expected for 2019.

 


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Third outing cements Trnsmt as Glasgow staple

The third edition of DF Concerts’ Trnsmt took place at Glasgow Green over the weekend, with headliners Stormzy, Catfish and the Bottlemen and George Ezra playing to sold-out crowds.

Around 150,000 festivalgoers descended on the event from 12 to 14 July to see acts including Lewis Capaldi, Bastille, the Snuts, Gerry Cinnamon and Years and Years. Organisers confirmed the return of the event immediately after the close of the main stage on Sunday, projecting the 2020 dates onto buildings in the centre of Glasgow.

“After three hugely successful years, Trnsmt is now an established part of Glasgow’s annual cultural calendar,” says festival director and DF Concerts chief executive Geoff Ellis.

“This year’s sold-out festival was the best yet with so many highlights. We can’t wait to return to Glasgow Green next summer for another phenomenal weekend of music.”

“Trnsmt is now an established part of Glasgow’s annual cultural calendar”

The festival was smaller in scale than the 2018 event, which took place over two consecutive weekends. A new addition to the 2019 festival came in the form of the female-only Queen Tut’s stage, which aimed “to close the gender play gap”.

Trnsmt launched in 2017, after DF Concerts put major camping festival T in the Park on hold due to “onerous site restrictions”. Ellis recently confirmed that T in the Park would not be making a return.

“It’s all about Trnsmt for us now,” states Ellis, who last year told IQ that the appetite for large-scale camping festivals in Scotland had declined.

Trnsmt also garnered the support of the local council, with Glasgow city council leader Susan Aitken naming Trnsmt an “integral part” of the city’s offering and commending the “vibrancy and enjoyment” it provides.

Trnsmt 2020 will take place from 10 to 12 July on Glasgow Green.

 


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Snowbombing “deeply saddened” after Stormzy cancellation

The organisers of Snowbombing have apologised to Stormzy after the UK grime star cancelled his much-anticipated appearance at the Austrian festival, citing “racial profiling”.

The Brit Award-winning rapper had been due to headline and curate a ‘#Merky Takeover’ at the Broadwick Live-promoted event, but pulled out at the last minute yesterday (11 April) after alleging on his Instagram story that he and his entourage had been “racially profiled” and “aggressively handled” by security personnel searching for weapons.

In a statement, released shortly after Stormzy’s announcement, the festival apologised to the artist and his team for its handling of the situation.

It reads: “Snowbombing regrets to inform you that Stormzy will no longer be performing at the festival this evening. Last night (Wednesday 10th) Snowbombing’s security were alerted to the possibility that an individual at the festival was allegedly carrying a weapon. In accordance with protocol, a small number of attendees, including Stormzy’s manager, were escorted to the nearest exit, searched and no weapon was found.

“We are deeply saddened that any individual would feel uncomfortable at Snowbombing”

“Stormzy’s management were unhappy with the manner by which this took place and, as a result, Stormzy will no longer be performing tonight. […]

“We are deeply saddened that any individual would feel uncomfortable at Snowbombing.

“Snowbombing would like to wholeheartedly apologise to Stormzy’s team. We are doing everything we can to understand the full situation and are treating this with the utmost seriousness to ensure this does not happen again.”

Snowbombing 2019, the 20th, runs until Saturday 13 April at the Mayrhofen ski resort in the Austrian Alps. Other performers include Fatboy Slim, Andy C and Chase & Status, who host a tribute to the late Keith Flint tonight.

 


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The Killers, the Cure final Glastonbury headliners

Glastonbury Festival today released the first line-up poster for its 2019 edition, announcing the Killers and the Cure as the final two Pyramid Stage headliners to join previously released headliner Stormzy.

The line-up release includes more than 60 acts, including Janet Jackson, Liam Gallagher, Miley Cyrus, Tame Impala, Vampire Weekend, Two Door Cinema Club, Wu-Tang Clan, Jon Hopkins and the Streets.

The Cure join Coldplay as the only groups to have headlined the festival four times, following slots in 1986, 1990 and 1995.

 

London grime artist Stormzy had already been revealed as the Friday night headliner, while Kylie Minogue will play the “legend slot” on Sunday afternoon.

In a bid to makes its 2019 festival more environmentally-friendly, Glastonbury Festival 2019 will free of single-use plastic, with attendees encouraged to bring reusable water bottles and traders instructed only to sell canned drinks.

Glastonbury Festival will take place from 26 to 30 June on Worthy Farm.

 


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‘We’ve been stepping up for years’: Brits’ #MeToo moment

Performers and awards nominees used last night’s Brits, the UK’s leading music awards ceremony, to express solidarity with the global campaign against sexual harassment in the entertainment industries, with both male and female artists donning white roses in support of the Time’s Up movement.

Ellie Goulding, who presented the award for best international female solo artist to Adwoa Aboah, summed up the mood when she said: “It’s so amazing to see so many people tonight wearing the rose. We’re very proud to be women, and actually I think we can all agree that we’ve been stepping up for years.”

The “stepping up” comment was a pointed reference to Grammys chief Neil Portnow, who caused a furore last month when he told women they needed to “step up” if they wanted greater representation in the music industry, leading to calls for his resignation.

Dua Lipa, who took home both the best British female and British breakthrough artist prizes, similarly used her acceptance speak to highlight women’s role in music.

“I want to thank every single female who’s been on this stage before me that has given girls like me – not just girls in the music industry, but girls in society – a place to be inspired, to look up to, and that have allowed us to dream this big,” she said. “Here’s to more women on these stages, more women winning awards and more women taking over the world.”

“Here’s to more women on these stages, more women winning awards and more women taking over the world”

Artists of both sexes, including Ed Sheeran, Paloma Faith, Stormzy, Rito Ora, Sam Smith, Little Mix, Rag’n’Bone Man, Cheryl Cole and Liam Payne, Emma Bunton, Jess Glynne and Kylie Minogue, wore the roses on the red carpet (and Faith was later seen berating a confused Royal Blood for their conspicuously bare lapels, telling them, “You should be carrying these, in camaraderie with women”).

Also notable was the level of success for non-white artists, perhaps reflecting the greater number of “BAME” (black, Asian and minority-ethnic) members of the judging panel following 2016’s #BritsSoWhite debacle.

In a surprise result, black grime star Stormzy beat Ed Sheeran to the best British male and best British album awards (for Gangs Signs & Prayer), with Kosovar Albanian-origin Lipa the only other artist to pick up two gong. American rapper Kendrick Lamar, meanwhile – known for his politically charged lyrics dealing with black empowerment – took home the best international male prize.

A full list of winners is below:

British album of the year
Stormzy – Gang Signs & Prayer

British artist video
Harry Styles – ‘Sign of The Times’

British breakthrough
Dua Lipa

British female solo artist
Dua Lipa

British group
Gorillaz

British male solo artist
Stormzy

British single
Rag’n’Bone Man – ‘Human’

International female solo artist
Lorde

International group
Foo Fighters

International male solo artist
Kendrick Lamar

 


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