UTA duo reveal Take That touring masterplan
UTA agents James Wright and Olly Ward have spoken to IQ about their ambitions and touring strategy for British pop icons Take That.
The duo began working with the beloved group – Gary Barlow, Howard Donald and Mark Owen – last year, and have a huge year planned ahead.
This Life on Tour kicks off in the UK in Sheffield on 13 April, promoted by SJM Concerts, and includes six nights at The O2 in London, six at Birmingham’s Utilita Arena and seven shows at Manchester’s new Co-op Live, as well as multiple dates in Leeds and Dublin, with support from Olly Murs.
It will also take in stadiums in Middlesbrough, Nottingham, West Bridgford, Norwich, Bletchley, Southampton, Plymouth, Swansea and Bristol, followed by outdoor concerts in Cork, Dublin and Belfast.
“I think it’s fair to say that anyone in the industry would bite their arm off to work with Take That”
“I think it’s fair to say that anyone in the industry would bite their arm off to work with Take That,” says Wright. “We have great existing relationships with their manager Chris Dempsey and SJM, so when the opportunity arose to work with them and we got to know Gary, Howard and Mark as well, it felt like a great fit from the off.
“Take That’s legendary status in popular culture, as well as their enduring prominence and value to the music industry over the years made this such an enticing prospect.”
The band, who were previously represented by Wasserman Music, were joined by original members Robbie Williams and Jason Orange on their 2011 Progress Tour, which sold more than 1.8 million tickets to become the biggest in UK history. Barlow, Donald and Owen have continued as a trio since Williams returned to his solo career and Orange retired from the spotlight ten years ago.
Their 2024 European tour, which is being staged in support of their ninth studio album This Life, will go on to visit Germany, Hungary, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Spain and Portugal in June/July. A slate of dates in Australia and New Zealand have also been added for October/November.
“When it comes to touring, the band are hard working, committed and eager to break new ground”
“The new album is something special, such a positive record that adds to their impressive catalogue of hits, and feel like the group are in a great place right now,” adds Ward.
Here, Wright and Ward delve further into their plans for the group both at home and abroad…
What can you bring to a legendary band like Take That at this stage of their career?
OW: “From our initial meetings, it didn’t take long to establish a multitude of tangible things that we could bring to the project, and add to the wider narrative as they build into their fourth decade together. It also became clear that UTA are best placed to deliver the band’s creative and business ambitions; to represent them as a band and as individuals.”
JW: “As a band we can really service them well at UTA, and given the various interests of Gary, Howard and Mark our full service agency can add value to them all as artists at every turn, and we can help craft their careers across a range of industries. When it comes to touring, the band are hard working, committed and eager to break new ground. Our team is here to realise an ambitious creative strategy which is driven by the band and management as much as us, to take them into new territories and explore their global reach.”
OW: “UTA is truly global, so this is something we know how to drive forward and deliver in terms of touring. Then we have the full breadth of our departments, including but not limited to Music Brands Partnerships, Corporate and Private Events, Music Marketing, Music Crossover, IQ, UTA Foundation and Ventures, which are already bringing exciting conversations and opportunities to the table.”
“We’ve detected particular demand from German, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese-speaking countries”
What is the strategy behind their upcoming tour?
OW: “There’s been unprecedented demand for the upcoming This Life on Tour, with same-day sell outs and new dates added to the UK run, which now has 41 arena and stadium dates in 17 cities. Plus we have 20 dates in eight European countries already announced, including two countries the band have never been to before.”
What are your plans for the group internationally?
JW: “Using the data and analytics of UTA IQ we’ve identified audiences for Take That in places they didn’t believe they existed. By pairing this incredible tool with the experience of the team we’re quickly building valuable insights into new primary markets. For example, digging deeper than streaming and social media metrics, we’ve detected particular demand from German, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese-speaking countries. Given they hadn’t visited places like Spain since the 2010’s, the strategy is to build in those burgeoning territories and more. There’s a whole host of new countries for us to explore, which we’ll be announcing in 2024.”
OW: “Gary recently visited Australia to announce their Australian tour for the end of the year to a great reaction, and we have Sophie Ellis-Bextor as main support.”
What sort of demand are you seeing and how does their popularity abroad compare with the UK?
JW: “Domestically, they are as popular as ever – the new album saw the strongest week one sales of any British act in 2023 as it landed at No.1 – and what is especially exciting to see is the growing popularity around the world and the potential that brings.”
Ultimately, what do you hope to achieve with the band?
OW: “Take That possesses a curiosity and genuine appetite, and UTA are here to match it. We want to see the biggest and best shows of their career, open doors globally and help inspire the next step in Take That’s incredible career. The band are excited about the prospect of reaching such significant new audiences for the first time, and we want to nurture that growth and sustain the enthusiasm. Whilst we’re excited and proud of how the new team have hit the ground running with these major announcements for 2024, we’re already plotting years beyond that. There’s a long term vision at UTA for all the members of Take That which we can’t want to see unfold.”
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Kylie Minogue signs with UTA for US & Canada
UTA has signed pop icon Kylie Minogue for live representation in the US and Canada, and acting worldwide.
The Australian singer has sold more than 80 million records worldwide over the course of her career, racking up five billion streams and nine UK No. 1 albums. She is the only female artist to score a No. 1 album and top 10 singles in five consecutive decades in the UK.
Minogue won the inaugural Grammy for best pop dance recording for her viral smash Padam Padam at this month’s awards.
It was also revealed today that the 55-year-old will receive the BRIT Global Icon Award and perform at this year’s BRIT Awards at The O2 in London on 2 March. Dua Lipa and Raye have also been confirmed for the ceremony.
“Her music is fun. Her spirit is absolutely infectious. And she’s at the top of her game”
The BRITs Icon is the highest accolade given by the BRIT Awards, with previous winners being Elton John, Robbie Williams, David Bowie and Taylor Swift.
Minogue is currently performing her maiden Vegas residency at The Venetian Resort’s new 1,000-seat venue, Voltaire. Launched in November, the sold-out More Than Just a Residency show will extend through May.
“Everything about Kylie reflects the essence of Voltaire,” said show producer Michael Gruber. “Her music is fun. Her spirit is absolutely infectious. And she’s at the top of her game, which makes this a truly special moment for fans to connect in such an intimate environment.”
Minogue, who is represented by CAA for the rest of the world, is managed by Polly Bhowmik of A&P Artist Management.
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ESNS 2024: Touring heads unpick ‘new normal’
Leading European live executives have advised that ticket pricing is “more important than ever” as the business navigates its current challenges.
The subject was pored over during today’s Touring In ’24: Are There Bumps In The Road? session at the Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS) conference in Groningen, the Netherlands.
Moderated by IQ MD Greg Parmley, the panel featured agents Beckie Sugden of CAA and UTA’s Carlos Abreu, as well as Mojo Concerts head promoter Kim Bloem and FKP Scorpio CEO Stephan Thanscheidt.
Netherlands-based Bloem reported the market appeared in rude health at all levels from her viewpoint.
“Tickets are flying out,” said Bloem. “It’s not just the blockbuster shows, it’s the club shows too. We’re not struggling.”
Thanscheidt, who is based out of Germany and is also FKP’s head of festival booking, painted an overall positive if more mixed picture.
“We have so many artists touring. But there are also shows that are not doing so well. It depends on demographics, genre and level of act”
“As a company, we don’t have a problem,” he said. “We have so many artists touring. But there are also shows that are not doing so well. It depends on demographics, genre and level of act.”
Sugden, whose roster includes artists such as Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals, GloRilla, Noname, Chronixx, implied it was a constant work in progress.
“It’s a supply and demand market,” she said. “As agents, we have to make sure artists aren’t touring too much. And they’re going to other regions. It’s a constantly changing and dynamic market.”
Thanscheidt argued that show calculations were “more challenging and complicated than before”, triggering a debate around the impact of rising costs on ticket prices.
“Getting ticket prices right is more important than ever,” stressed Abreu, who works with the likes of Rosalía, Bad Bunny, Anitta, Morad, Tokischa and Ayra Starr. “There are also creative ways to structure deals with artists who are looking to do meet and greets or VIP packages, etc. You have to understand the demographic you’re selling to.”
Sugden said it was necessary to analyse the market “with forensic detail and check that your ticket prices are competitive”.
“It’s the perfect storm. Everyone’s prices are increasing”
“VIP doesn’t work in every market, so you have to know what works for each market,” she added. “It’s the perfect storm. Everyone’s prices are increasing. But actually with K-pop fans, they’re willing to stick their hands in their pockets. In times of crisis, people want to be entertained.”
Bloem felt the business has been “timid” regarding raising ticket prices in the past and felt the present level of demand indicated there was room for an increase.
“Given how fast tickets are selling, I think we can increase,” she said. “We added €30 to festival tickets this year, but festival tickets can’t be pushed too quickly.”
“This is a real problem,” advised Thanscheidt. “We had sold out festivals but the margins were complete shit. It’s getting better now but you still see festivals struggling.
“Ticket prices are at the limit. Some festivals overpriced and had only 70/80% of their usual audience, which German promoters know is terrible.”
The conversation then turned to dynamic pricing, with Abreu noting it had become “the norm” in the US. “It’s the way the world is going.” he added.
“We have to think differently about how we approach first steps for artists”
Thanscheidt appeared open-minded about the prospect, but pointed out that the European industry was still some way behind its US counterpart in terms of adoption. “I think it will take time but all sauces that can add to the pot,” he said.
In closing, the panellists shared their thoughts on keeping tickets affordable for fans. Thanscheidt brought up the concept of ‘social tickets’, where a small portion of tickets are available to unwaged citizens for a lower price.
“I had a show recently where the artist did a collection after the concert and the artist ended up tripling the guarantee,” responded Sugden. “We’re getting more creative. We’ve got to keep creative with the club scene. We have to think differently about how we approach first steps for artists.”
Abreu added that some artists could afford to do underplays to “give back” to their fans, but accepted it wasn’t always possible.
“We need to think in career terms for artists,” he concluded. “Not just ‘what do we want to make on this next tour’. It’s about where are we going to be in five years.”
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Julian Jacobs to lead UTA’s New York office
Julian Jacobs, a longtime UTA executive who has helped the firm expand into entertainment marketing, will lead the agency’s New York office, effective March.
Jacobs takes over from Allan Haldeman, a partner and co-head of TV Lit, who has led New York operations with 300 staffers since September of 2022.
Haldeman is expected to continue his work with TV Lit while co-heading Theatre and will travel between New York and Los Angeles.
Jacobs, also a UTA partner, will continue his entertainment marketing efforts, which include brand consulting for several New York-based clients.
“Jacobs will build on the momentum of expanding opportunities for our clients, our people, and our business”
His team includes more than 40 executives who work in Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta and London. Clients include Amazon, Ancestry.com, The Coca-Cola Company, Delta Air Lines, General Motors, Google, Hulu, Hyatt, LinkedIn and Lyft.
UTA played a key role in helping General Motors devise two standout Super Bowl commercials in 2022 that featured Michael Myers and Sopranos creator David Chase. Last year, the agency helped pair GM and Netflix in a single ad that featured actor Will Ferrell and the streamer’s popular TV series Squid Game.
“We are grateful to Allan Haldeman, who, along with our New York leadership team, have expanded and heightened UTA’s presence in this global centre of entertainment, culture and business,” says David Kramer, UTA’s president, in a statement. “With Allan’s return to the West Coast, I am excited that our partner Julian Jacobs will be taking on the role and building on the momentum of expanding opportunities for our clients, our people, and our business.”
Christina Aguilera signs with UTA worldwide
Christina Aguilera has signed with UTA for worldwide representation.
The pop icon joins a roster that includes the likes of Lil Wayne, Post Malone, Karol G, Jonas Brothers and Guns N’ Roses.
The news comes shortly after Aguilera kicked off her latest Las Vegas residency at the Voltaire Belle de Nuit at The Venetian Resort.
The Grammy Award-winning artist has sold over 75 million records worldwide. On Spotify, she has nearly 31 million monthly listeners and on YouTube, she has nearly six million subscribers.
The Grammy Award-winning artist has sold over 75 million records worldwide
Aguilera has charted 30 songs on the Hot 100, including five No. 1 hits. On the Billboard 200, she’s scored two No. 1 albums (her 1999 self-titled debut and her 2006 album Back To Basics).
In 2022, she released her ninth and latest album, Aguilera, which was composed of two EPs: La Fuerza and La Tormenta. It arrived via Sony Music Latin and marked her second Spanish language album following Mi Reflejo in 2000.
Beyond music, Aguilera is an advocate and entrepreneur. She has served as a global spokesperson for Yum! Brands’ World Hunger Relief effort, raising over $150 million for the cause.
She has also helped raise awareness around domestic violence and also LGBTQ+ equality and won the Advocate for Change Award at the 2023 GLAAD Media Awards. Her recent ventures include co-founding the sexual wellness lifestyle brand Playground.
She continues to be represented by Roc Nation and imPRint.
Latin star Karol G plans debut European tour
Colombian reggaeton superstar Karol G has announced her long-awaited European tour debut, bringing Mañana Será Bonito (Tomorrow Will Be Nice) to arenas and stadiums across the continent.
The 10-date outing, produced by Live Nation, will kick off on 8 June 2024 at Hallenstadion (cap. 15,000) in Zurich, Switzerland.
Stops include Cologne, Amsterdam, London, Paris, Milan, Antwerp, Berlin and Lisbon, with the tour closing at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium (65,000) in Madrid, Spain, on 20 July.
The European leg will follow her 27-date trek across 14 cities in Latin America, which stretches from 8 February to 10 May.
The announcement comes at the end of a historic year that saw the singer-songwriter gross $145 million with 843,000 tickets sold in just 18 shows. She also became the first female artist to reach #1 on Billboard Top 200 with a Spanish-language album.
At the end of last year, some of the biggest executives in the Latin music industry placed their bets on Karol G breaking through on an international level this year.
The 32-year-old, whose real name is Carolina Giraldo Navarro, is represented worldwide by Jbeau Lewis and Ryan Soroka at UTA.
Tomorrow Will Be Nice 2024 European Tour Dates:
08 June 2024 Zurich, Switzerland Hallenstadion
11 June 2024 Cologne, Germany Lanxess Arena
June 14, 2024 Amsterdam, Netherlands Ziggo Dome
18 June 2024 London, UK The O2
22 June 2024 Paris, France Accor Arena
25 June 2024 Milan, Italy Milan Forum
June 29, 2024 Antwerp, Belgium Sportpaleis
02 July 2024 Berlin, Germany Mercedes-Benz Arena
07 July 2024 Lisbon, Portugal Altice Arena
20 July 2024 Madrid, Spain Santiago Bernabeu Stadium
UTA report breaks down live music’s resurgence
Millennials are driving live music’s post-pandemic resurgence, according to a new report by UTA and Variety VIP+.
The Peak Performance study combines Billboard and Pollstar data with a survey of more than 4,000 US consumers – including 1,500 active live music attendees – aged 15-69 about their concert and festival attendance from August 2022-23.
Ticket sales are forecast to hit a record $9.5 billion (€9bn) by the end of 2023 and as high as $10.5bn by 2027, as per PwC.
“Our desire to do this study was spurred by the anecdotal evidence we were seeing from our own music representation and music brand partnerships business,” Joe Kessler, UTA partner and global head of UTA IQ tells Billboard.
The report found that 49% of millennial (ages 26-41) respondents had been to a gig in the past 12 months – more than any other generation – compared to 42% of Gen Z (15-25), 32% of Gen X (42-57) and 24% of Boomers (58-69). It was a similar story at festivals, which enticed 39% of millennials, 32% Gen Z, 20% Gen X and 12% Boomers.
“As the economy improves and [millennials] have more disposable spending, I think we’re going to see a continued rise in the desire to want to see live shows,” says Kessler.
Concerts were the most well-attended live entertainment events for all 15-69-year-old consumers, with 36% of respondents having attended at least one show during the 12-month period.
“No one can know how long it will last, but I don’t think this is a temporary blip on the map”
Repeat attendance was strong, with 79% saying they had seen the same artist more than once and 59% having seen the same act at least four times. One in two millennials and one in three people overall have seen an artist more than once on the same tour.
The list of the top 5 events was rounded off by food or beverage festival (32%), professional sporting event (29%) and music festival (26%), with a total of 30% of participants saying they had travelled to another country specifically for a live music event.
The most attended shows by genre were rock/metal/punk, pop, hip-hop/rap and country, while the cost of ticket prices was put forward as the number one barrier for why consumers who hadn’t recently attended. Nevertheless, one in five people said they would be willing to spend more than $500 on a ticket.
In addition, 34% of survey participants said attending live music had become more important to them since the pandemic, with 73% saying they have been to just as many, if not more, concerts post-Covid.
“No one can know how long it will last, but I don’t think this is a temporary blip on the map,” concludes Kessler. “The data that came through the study tells us that, this is here to stay for the foreseeable future.”
Finally, 51% of 15-69 consumers said they anticipated attending a gig over the next 12 months.
“With all the headlines around live music’s triumphant return post-pandemic, UTA IQ sought to elucidate fans’ habits, behaviours, and preferences around these experiences to inspire the industry’s continued success,” reads a UTA statement. “And as we look ahead, the future appears bright. With half of live music fans expressing a desire to increase their concert attendance in the year ahead, the vibrancy of live music remains a testament to its place in the hearts of fans.”
Asika: Potential of Africa’s event economy is huge
Afro Nation co-founder Obi Asika discussed his ambitions for the pioneering festival during Easol’s new masterclass series.
Since launching in 2019, Afro Nation has become the world’s biggest Afrobeats festival, spawning editions in Accra (Ghana), Miami (US), Detroit (US), Portimão (Portugal) and Balneario De Carolina (Puerto Rico). A Mexican edition had also been planned for September 2020, before the pandemic intervened.
Later this year, the festival will debut in Lagos, Nigeria – a country with “huge potential” according to Asika.
“Lagos is a huge one for us,” he said, during last week’s Creators in Session. “It’s been in the making – mentally, for me – for years. I feel like it opens up the whole continent and the whole country.
“There’s so much potential there – restaurants and clubs are packed – but large-scale events have been where things fall down. I’d love to prove the point that something large-scale can be done safely and in a quality way in Lagos because I think that would open up a lot of opportunities for everybody.”
“Lagos is a huge one for [Afro Nation]… it opens up the whole continent and the whole country”
Launching in Nigeria was also a personal goal for the British-Nigerian executive, who said that big agencies lacked knowledge about the market.
“In big agencies, I’d always hear conversations about promoters and they’d treat Nigeria a lot like Dubai or Saudi Arabia now where people ask for like three times the amount of money,” he said. “It really used to affect me, what I used to hear about it because obviously the promoters are not used to dealing with us. A lot of people made mistakes or didn’t understand how certain things work or certain deals work. I want to get respect for the continent.”
Outside of Africa, Asika said his sights are set on Brazil for further expansion of the Afro Nation brand. “We went to see [a location] and we love the idea. Once we’ve done Brazil, the loop will be closed. That, to me, will be an incredibly special show.”
In just four years, Afro Nation has achieved aggressive expansion but Asika, who is also the co-founder of Event Horizon and co-head of UTA’s UK office, said it wasn’t originally his intention.
“It wasn’t about doing a festival,” he explained. “It was about proving a point to the artist. As an agent, you’re trying to prove tickets. You take acts to certain levels to prove their worth and in the end, the big money made is at the festivals.
“I used to do Afro Nation for the artists, I don’t anymore…”
“We did some shows with Wizkid [who is represented by UTA] and we’d go back and say ‘He’s worth this now’ and I’d get knocked back. We got to the O2 arena [in London] with a show and that was basically Wiz’s headline show but we put a lineup underneath to make it a bigger ticket, like a festival, for the fans. Wiz came up with the name Afro Republic and I trademarked the whole thing. The partners were me, him and his manager.
“It was such a huge amount of work for me as an individual. You’re dealing with acts from different countries, who have not worked at these sorts of venues, and need visas etc. And then after the show, Wiz and his manager fell out and decided the brand was dead. I was so pissed off.”
Asika decided to call up SMADE, who promoted Afro Republic alongside Live Nation, and enlist him to help keep the idea alive. They would call the new incarnation Afro Nation.
“Then I called up Denis Desmond [head of Live Nation UK and Ireland] and told him about it. I asked if he wanted to be involved and he said ‘Yes, I’m going to buy it now’ and he did.”
The first edition of Afro Nation took place in Portimão’s Praia da Rocha beach in 2019, followed swiftly by an instalment in Ghana later that year.
“I’d rather not do [Afro Nation] than do it on the cheap”
“I don’t know how we got through [the Ghana edition] at times,” he said. “But it happened through the grit and determination of this team. I wanted to show the potential of the continent. That is a gift and a curse because it gets us into mad situations sometimes.
“Then we did Puerto Rico [in 2022] which was another challenging situation but it was a much easier location to do than Ghana. Pre-Covid, Puerto Rico was not a place that Americans visited much. But in Covid, a lot of Americans went because it was easier to get to. At the time we picked it, it was a perfect location because they needed events like ours – they don’t anymore.”
The Puerto Rico event didn’t return in 2023 but the Afro Nation team have kept busy with 2023 editions in Portugal and the US, alongside preparations for the Lagos debut. And while the brand has stayed the same, continuing to showcase Afrobeats hip-hop, R&B, amapiano, dancehall and reggae, Asika says the intention behind it has changed.
“I used to do Afro Nation for the artists, I don’t anymore… I do it for the customers,” he said. “For me, as a proud English person and a proud African who was often a minority, seeing the people who come to our show and what it means to them to be represented is why I’m so set on the quality of the brand. I’d rather not do it than do it on the cheap. I’d rather not do it for money.”
IFF 2023: Execs talk driving audience engagement
A handful of top agents and festival bookers reflected on the power of festival lineups, audiences’ spending patterns and the impact of social media in the second panel of the 2023 International Festival Forum (IFF).
Moderated by Ticketmaster’s Dan Pearce (UK), today’s ‘The Audience Session — Community Matters’ panel brought together Niek Murraij (Pinkpop Festival, Netherlands), Virág Csiszár (Sziget Festival, Hungary), Sophie Roberts (United Talents Agency, UK), and David Mogendorff (TikTok, UK) at London’s Omeara venue.
As TikTok’s head of artist services across Europe, Mogendorff praised the impact the app has had in driving engagement and excitement towards annual summer festivities.
“It’s been an incredible year for festival content on TikTok,” he said. “We saw a huge amount of growth during the lockdown period. And over the last two years, we’ve seen some great content coming from artists and festivals, but mainly from fans.”
Having analysed around 100 festivals across the UK, Pearce pointed out that 2023 saw a 15% increase in ticket sales compared to last year. While it’s a “standout statistic”, he noted that it tends to change on a yearly basis, confirming a long-held theory that festival-goers care more about who’s on the lineup than the actual festival experience itself — which includes being in a safe environment, on top of other factors such as food & beverage and availability of facilities.
“Festivals have to be clever with the way they announce lineups… so that tickets can be purchased much earlier”
It’s a sentiment Roberts agreed with. “The lineup remains king,” she said. “It’s great that people care about the music, but that’s also been difficult for festival organisers because of the huge amount of stadium business happening right now,” also citing how vital lineup announcements are when it comes to selling tickets as quickly as possible.
“Add the fact that there’s only a finite amount of ad space, and people will only have a certain amount of attention for lineups coming out. Nowadays, festivals have to be clever with the way they announce lineups to ensure maximum attendance so that tickets can be purchased much earlier than they have been in recent times.”
“It’s a tricky situation to navigate, but we always want to announce lineups as early as possible,” Csiszár said. “Lineups are still very important to people, and the data being shown reflects this. Their satisfaction correlates with the acts booked to perform upon the official announcement.”
Another major talking point was the role of volunteer staff contributing to festivals, with Pearce also mentioning how some UK festivals received bad press for making volunteers pay a deposit that they will get back if they turn up to their allocated shifts accordingly. However, the rest of the panel were effusive in their praise for volunteers (Pearce stated they were the “lifeline of the post-pandemic festivals”), highlighting the important role they played as the industry continues to recover from the pandemic.
“We had a lot of last-minute volunteers this year,” Murraij said. “However, we were able to foster a great community with those who attended for work and did their duties in a diligent manner. We’re thankful for working with a focused group of volunteers, who consistently showed up for their shifts, and we can create a great bond with them for many years.”
“While it’s important to have local acts in our lineups, we have to manage international fans’ expectations”
Alongside the increased role of volunteers in ensuring that festivals run smoothly, the panel rounded off their discussion with the rising prominence of local/domestic talents in major shows — which has been another knock-on effect brought about by the pandemic.
“Over the last few years, we’ve seen a massive growth in local music and in the UK and other markets around Europe,” Mogendorff said. “Some of it has been caused by the decreasing influence the US has over the musical landscape as well, with talents from Africa and the Far East also racking up huge listener numbers in recent years.”
“I’m not sure that we’ll see a Dutch act headline a major festival yet, but compared to a decade ago, we’re certainly seeing more Dutch acts on our bill,” says Murraij. “They’re selling out venues like the 17,000-capacity Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam right now, and there’s bigger demand for domestic acts these days.”
However, Murraij did note that headliners will retain an international majority for the time being, which Csiszár agreed with. “While it’s important to have local acts in our lineups, we have to manage international fans’ expectations and have those global talents as headliners on the main stage,” she said. “Saying that, it’s very pleasing to see Hungarian artists do very well in stadium shows across the country.”
The New Bosses 2023: Parker Glenn, UTA
The 16th edition of IQ Magazine’s New Bosses was published in IQ 121 this month, revealing 20 of the most promising 30-and-unders in the international live music business.
To get to know this year’s cohort a little better, IQ conducted interviews with each one of 2023’s New Bosses, discovering their greatest inspirations and pinpointing the reasons for their success.
Catch up on the previous interview with Niklas Magedanz, promoter at Goodlive (DE) here. The series continues with Parker Glenn, a music agent at UTA (US).
Parker Glenn is an agent in UTA’s Music division representing a diverse range of clients including Chance The Rapper, FKA twigs, Polo & Pan, Yves Tumor, Durand Jones, Jordan Ward, Dorian Electra, Major League Djz and more. With a deep understanding of artists’ unique needs and unwavering support for their artistic vision, Glenn has emerged as a future leader in the music space.
Over the past 12 months, he has closed significant deals for his clients including: helping launch Chance The Rapper’s highly anticipated Acid Rap 10-Year Anniversary Shows in New York, Los Angeles and a sold-out show in Chance’s hometown of Chicago; guiding Polo & Pan’s rise by booking closing sets at renowned festivals like Lollapalooza, Outside Lands and Osheaga and booking milestone headline shows at iconic venues such as The Hollywood Bowl, Red Rocks and more; and facilitating South-African musical duo Major League Djz’s highly successful North American tour which marked the first Amapiano artist to tour North America.
Elevating Venezuelan artist, Arca’s career over the past two years, culminating in Glenn booking a groundbreaking new show and residency at the prestigious Park Avenue Armory in New York this October. Glenn’s commitment to the music industry extends beyond traditional dealmaking. As a proud member of UTA’s Justice Now initiative, Glenn actively contributes to the success of the organisation’s mission to dismantle boundaries based on social or racial identity in the industry.
Why did you choose to pursue a career in live music – is it something you studied at university, or is anyone else in your family in the business, for example?
It was kismet. I essentially got my start in music when I bought my first set of turntables and speakers in high school. I was already a music head so DJing and putting on shows quickly became a business for me. In college, I started organising shows at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and as soon as I started working with agents, I knew that was what I wanted to do. It all hit very quickly.
What advice would you give to anyone who is trying to find a job in live music?
Be open, keep at it, and take every meeting you can get. You never know where a conversation might take you.
Who on your roster should we all be looking out for in the year ahead?
Jordan Ward is about to have a breakout moment. He’s an incredibly hungry and versatile artist from St. Louis signed to Interscope/No I.D.’s ARTium Recordings, and managed by Eddie Sikazwe. His debut album FORWARD has been one of 2023’s best and received cosigns from SZA and Tyler, the Creator, among others. His whole debut headline tour sold out immediately, and we’re backing that up with tours with Smino, JID, and also 6LACK coming this fall. Simply one of those artists you cannot deny – check him out.
Where is your favourite venue?
For me, you can’t beat an evening at the Hollywood Bowl – it’s always a privilege to be there.
“I always say I’d like to see more kindness. I’m big on that in my business…”
You brought Major League DJz to North America. How was that tour received and can you see the market for Amapiano acts growing?
Major League DJz tour was a smashing success. There’s so much excitement around the guys and the shows right now. I remember the first time I ever saw them – the energy in the room was palpable. I couldn’t stop raving about my experience for weeks.
The market for Amapiano acts is booming and Major League DJz is a major reason for it. The project with Major Lazer was a milestone. Wizkid, Burna Boy, Black Coffee and others have all been supporting as well. It’s a fairly new market in North America but the growth has been organic and we’re excited for the future of the genre.
UTA’s Justice Now initiative sounds interesting. Can you tell us a bit more about it?
Justice Now is an internal initiative that was created in response to George Floyd’s murder in 2020 to address social injustices within the music and entertainment industries. There are four different subgroups that make up Justice Now: Education, Empowerment, Mentorship and Fearless Imagination. I’m a member of the Education group where we meet quarterly to discuss various topics and create an open dialogue amongst our team.
As a new boss, what would you like to change to make the live music industry a better place?
I always say I’d like to see more kindness. I’m big on that in my business and always try to foster an environment where we treat others with respect, especially in the tough moments.
What events, tours or festivals are you most looking forward to in the year ahead?
There are quite a few events coming up in the next year that I’m looking forward to. From the client side, we have a very exciting show coming up for Major League Djz in October. Polo & Pan’s penultimate slot at Portola in San Francisco will also be a special one. And I’m shamelessly excited to see what U2 brings to the Las Vegas Sphere for Achtung Baby.
As an agent, are there any particular events, forums or platforms that you visit to try to discover the next big act?
For me, the two keys to finding the next big act are making it a point to listen to others, and the second is to never stop being curious. If you do those two things well and believe in your taste, the rest will follow.