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Memorial events planned for the late Steve Strange

A trio of events have been planned to commemorate the life of Steve Strange, the X-ray Touring director and co-founder, who passed away last month following a short illness.

The London event takes place at O2 Academy Brixton, and friends of Steve and colleagues who knew and worked with him are invited to email sslondon@xraytouring.com to RSVP.

Dubbed ‘The Farewell Tour’, celebrations are also planned in Los Angeles on 17 November and Belfast on 19 December.

Born in Lisburn near Belfast, Strange worked with an eclectic roster of artists including Coldplay, Eminem, Queens of the Stone Age, Phoebe Bridgers, Ash, Snow Patrol, The Charlatans and Jimmy Eat World, many booked with longtime colleague Josh Javor.

The X-ray team remembered a “universally known, hugely respected and loved character”, as tributes poured in from across the industry upon Strange’s death aged 53 in September.

Strange was a longstanding ILMC member, and in March had picked up the top agent award (‘second least offensive agent’) in a special decade showdown at the Arthur Awards. Strange had topped the category twice before. He appeared in person to collect the gong at the Royal Albert Hall, thanking his clients, and “all the people at Team Strange and Xray Touring who’ve all had a very difficult year but we’re getting through it”.

IQ published a surprise feature article in May 2018, to celebrate Strange’s 50th birthday.

 


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X-Ray’s Javor: “Coldplay are leading by example”

In mid-October, X-ray Touring-repped heavyweights Coldplay announced their first tour in four years in support of their new album Music of the Spheres.

Having previously put touring plans on hold to investigate how to make their concerts more sustainable, Coldplay’s new announcement came hand-in-hand with a 12-point plan for cutting their carbon footprint.

The eco-friendly 2022 tour is currently slated to visit 40 stadiums around the world and one festival, with more dates to be announced, meaning that it could end up being the highest-grossing tour of the year.

For X-ray Touring’s Josh Javor, who planned the tour alongside his late partner, Steve Strange, seeing the groundbreaking tour come to fruition is bittersweet.

Here, Javor tells IQ about how the pair planned a tour of this nature; when he sees the industry recovering; and how he’d celebrate with Strange if he were here.

 


IQ: How would you describe the on-sale for the European leg of Coldplay’s Music of the Spheres – World Tour?
JJ: It was insane… we pretty much sold out. We sold more than a million tickets just in Europe and added extra dates in the UK, France, Germany, and Belgium. At the moment, we’re discussing adding more dates. The US also went on sale that day and Latin America had already gone on sale and sold out.

You planned this tour with your late partner, X-ray Touring co-founder Steve Strange. On a personal level, what is this moment like for you?
This is one of the most bittersweet moments of my life. This tour is something Steve and I planned for a very long time and because he’s not here to revel in the success, it feels very bittersweet to me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m ecstatic at how well it’s done, but the fact that Steve, unfortunately, didn’t make it to see our plan come together and work so well, brings things down to earth. It’s not the same on my own. My constant thought has been, I wish Steve was here to see this.

How do you think Steve would react to the success of Coldplay’s on-sale?
He would be on another planet. He was a member of the family when it came to this band and he would’ve been jumping for joy. We’ve all talked about it – management and ourselves – and about how amazing Steve would have thought this is. Normally, Steve and I would get to 12 o’clock on the day of an on-sale – after selling a million tickets – and we’d be on our second bottle of champagne.

“[At] 12 o’clock on the day of an on-sale – after selling a million tickets – [Steve and I] would be on our second bottle”

How did you approach ticket pricing post-pandemic?
Just being realistic. You just have to know what the market is and what people can afford. One way of doing that is to stay very grounded and down to earth. I think we’ve got ticket prices spot on. Tickets for this tour are slightly more expensive but not by much. Without the pandemic, we could have leant towards increasing them from what they are now, but you have to take everything into account.

How are you feeling about the business in general next year, and has this on-sale given you extra confidence?
Yes and no. It’s very difficult to predict what will happen. I think it’d be stupid to give any assurances, but I still worry about the industry between now and next summer. We’ve got a lot of shit to go through and a lot of hoops to jump through to get to where we want to be, but the on-sale is very positive, definitely. I think the industry as a whole is very happy and proud that the public is still interested in going to concerts on a grand scale. I think, in this instance, when one of us succeeds, in a way, we all succeed because we’ve been up Shit Creek for so long.

“It’s very difficult to do an eco-friendly tour when you’re at a smaller level than Coldplay”

Do you think this eco-friendly tour will become a blueprint for other bands of the same calibre?
I hope so. It’s something that everyone should be striving for, and just as Coldplay have said, they might not get it right, but at least they’re trying. They’re not just talking about doing something, they’re leading by example. I think you do need bigger artists to show other people how it could be possible to change.

It’s very difficult to do an eco-friendly tour when you’re at a smaller level than Coldplay. You have fewer decisions that you can make about how you tour when you’re a smaller artist. If you’re playing a club or a theatre, you don’t have the same choices as if you’re playing a stadium. It’s about the amount of control you have, the amount of money you can generate, and about the different kinds of venues and different rules that you have. It all goes hand in hand.

How involved were you in the creation of the 12-point plan to cut the band’s carbon footprint?
I was involved in the parts I could be, like figuring out how we can try and cut the carbon footprint by staying in the same place and playing more shows. It’s very different from the standard tour where artists do one or two shows and then move on in order to visit as many places as possible. We’re not visiting most of Europe. If you look at the tour, it’s cut down to a few cities.

“We’re staying in one place for a longer period of time and cutting emissions. It’s about staying put.”

What we’ve done is we’ve recognised that it’s not possible to tour everywhere in one summer or in one year. It’s going to take longer to visit everywhere, but by doing it this way, we’re staying in one place for a longer period of time and cutting emissions. It’s about staying put.

What advice would you give to other agents attempting to plan an eco-friendly tour?
It’s the little things sometimes. It’s not having single-use plastics or not having plastics at all. There are basics that everyone can be doing. The live industry has been at the forefront of trying to be greener since festivals started changing years ago.

Tell us about the time period in which you booked this tour.
It has been very difficult to put these shows in because, at the time of making these decisions, a lot of places were in lockdown. At the time, you couldn’t even go on-sale with shows in certain markets – let alone full-capacity stadium shows.

 


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Coldplay sell more than one million tickets in Europe

More than one million tickets have sold for the European leg of Coldplay’s Music of the Spheres world tour, which went on sale last Friday (22 October).

X-ray Touring’s Josh Javor, who planned the ‘eco-friendly’ stadium tour along with the late Steve Strange, told IQ that the on-sale was “insane”.

According to Javor, the European leg has “pretty much sold out” and the team is currently discussing adding more dates.

The 20-date run, which kicks off on 2 July 2022, has already expanded with an extra date apiece at Deutsche Bank Park (Germany), Stade de France (France), King Baudouin Stadium (Belgium) and Hampden Park (UK).

Notably, an extra three dates have been added at Wembley Stadium (cap. 90,00) in the UK, on top of the three already announced.

According to Javor, the European leg has “pretty much sold out” and the team is discussing adding more dates

The world tour – which is mostly promoted by Live Nation, with SJM as the main partner in the UK – is also visiting the US and Latin America (which is completely sold out), taking in 40 stadiums and one festival (Rock in Rio) altogether.

The groundbreaking tour is one of the last projects that legendary booking agent and X-ray co-founder Steve Strange worked on before his tragic passing in September.

“This is something Steve and I have planned for a very long time and because he’s not here to revel in the success, it’s one of the most bittersweet moments of my life,” says Javor.

He continues: “Don’t get me wrong, I’m ecstatic at how well it’s done but the fact that Steve, unfortunately, didn’t make it to see our plan come together brings things down to earth.

“Normally, Steve and I would get to 12 o’clock on the day of an on-sale and we’d be on our second bottle of champagne”

“Normally, Steve and I would get to 12 o’clock on the day of an on-sale and, after selling a million tickets, we’d be on our second bottle of champagne. But, on your own, it’s not the same. My constant thought has been, I wish Steve was here to see this.

“He would be on another planet. He was a member of the family when it came to this band and he would’ve been jumping for joy.”

Coldplay announced the tour earlier this month after a four-year hiatus from touring while they investigated how to make their concerts more sustainable.

The Music of the Spheres tour is bolstered by a 12-point plan to cut the band’s carbon footprint, which supports new green technologies and sustainable, super-low carbon touring methods.

A full interview with Josh Javor will appear in the next edition of IQ magazine at the end of this month.

 


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ESNS shares Steve Strange’s last interview

Steve Strange’s last interview before his tragic passing has been released today, courtesy of Chugg Entertainment, X-ray and Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS).

The renowned booking agent and X-ray co-founder took part in a 45-minute keynote interview – pre-recorded remotely due to the pandemic – interviewed by veteran Australian promoter Michael Chugg in January this year.

According to the Chugg Entertainment founder who went on to co-manage Australian act Sheppard, he and Strange met in the 80s and became “best mates”.

During the interview, Chugg quizzes Strange on weathering the pandemic, reimagining businesses models, and how he came to represent Eminem, Coldplay and Queens of the Stone Age from the beginning of their careers.

Read more about Steve Strange’s remarkable life and career in this IQ feature, which marked his 50th birthday.

ESNS will return to Groningen between 19–22 January 2022. For more information, visit esns.nl.


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Steve Strange: A strange half-century

This article was originally published in May 2018, and has been republished following the sad news of Steve Strange’s passing. 

 


A party on 13 April 2018 to celebrate Steve Strange’s 50th birthday marked the reopening of London’s Subterania, which long-time friend Vince Power has resurrected after a 15-year hiatus. Picking a grassroots club as the destination for his landmark birthday party sums up a man who has dedicated more than half his life to the live music business – and who can be found more often than not in small venues scouting for new talent, or introducing promoters to another of the up-and-coming acts on his roster.

For the purposes of this cloak-and-dagger operation, we relied on some of the historic articles that we’ve written in the past about Strange. However, we were able to corner him for an interview for a non-existent profile piece, where he gave us a fascinating insight into how he sees the business developing in the future.

But more on that later. First, here’s a potted history of the birthday boy’s life and career to date…

Strange beginnings
Born in Lisburn near Belfast on 17 April 1968, Strange was raised in Carrickfergus in nearby County Antrim during the Troubles in Northern Ireland. At the age of 11, after his cousin took him to see UFO at Ulster Hall in Belfast, Strange’s love of hard rock was born, which saw him devote his youth to the likes of Rush, AC/DC, Kiss, and Def Leppard.

The allure of music also encouraged Strange to become a musician himself and having been introduced to drumming in the Boys’ Brigade youth group, he was able to hone his skills when his father bought him a drum kit at the age of 12, leading to jam sessions with friends at school.

“I was intrigued by it – how tours were routed, why some bands played clubs not halls, etc. It was very exciting.”

His first band, Slack Alice, didn’t reach the heights its members had hoped for, so Strange found himself sitting behind the drums for a couple of cover bands before becoming part of the line-up for popular Belfast outfit No Hot Ashes in 1986. A record deal with GWR, thanks in no small part to Strange’s powers of persuasion, saw the band move to London a year later to record a debut album that, unfortunately, failed to hit the shops after the label’s distribution arm, Pie Records, went bust.

In need of income, Strange accepted an offer from Jon Vyner to join the Bron Agency and book some gigs. “I used to do [that] anyway – it was always left to the drummer to chase support tours and gigs,” Strange told IQ in 2009. Tapping up GWR’s Doug Smith to secure his acts occasional support slots with the likes of Motörhead and Girlschool, Strange worked tirelessly, making himself known around London’s gig circuit, making friends with bands and offering to book shows. “I did a lot of analysing about how the business worked, and it was a steep learning curve. I was intrigued by it – how tours were routed, why some bands played clubs not halls, etc. It was very exciting.”

A strange business
Strange’s initial steps into the business side of live music involved him hopping from agency to agency. From Bron he joined Adam Parsons’ Big Rock Inc., and from there he switched to Prestige Artists, working with Clive Underhill- Smith and Rob Hallett. Disenchanted with the acts he was asked to book, Strange made the decision to move back to Northern Ireland, where, in 1992, he found a job at The Limelight and spent a year on the other side of the fence promoting shows with Eamonn McCann.

That move led to one of Strange’s biggest breaks, when a trio of school kids in a band called Ash started relentlessly hassling him for support slots in the venue. The band’s bass player, Mark Hamilton, recalls that Strange’s office in the Limelight doubled as the cloakroom at the weekend: “You had to push past the rails where the coats were to get to Steve’s desk at the back.” The teenagers’ tenacity impressed Strange enough to give the band slots supporting the likes of Elastica, Babes in Toyland, and Ride, and as the fan-base began to grow, he accepted an offer from Ash manager Stephen Taverner to become the band’s agent, and soon found himself working with Rob Challice at Forward Artist Booking.

Adding acts to his roster, Strange soon got itchy feet again and felt the need to move to a bigger agency: John Giddings’ Solo.

Strange’s office in the Limelight doubled as the cloakroom at the weekend: “You had to push past the rails where the coats were to get to Steve’s desk at the back”

The next rung of the ladder saw Strange move to Fair Warning/Wasted Talent where Ian Huffam and Jeff Craft took him under their wings. “It just felt like the right place to go,” says Strange. “It was much more a demographically suited agency for me.” Other colleagues at that company, which would later morph into Helter Skelter, were Ian Flukes, John Jackson, Pete Nash, Paul Bolton, Jim Morewood, Emma Banks, Mike Greek, Ian Sales, Paul Franklin and Nigel Hassler.

Strange breaks
That career move coincided with Strange’s move into the big time. Within months of settling into his new environment, he was invited by Interscope Records’ label head Martin Kierszenbaum and A&R chief Don Robinson to take a look at some of the acts they were developing.

“I’ve always listened to American music, and a lot of the bands I liked when I was younger were from the United States,” says Strange. “So I started to sign bands from the US or who were America-based, and I spent a lot of time building relationships with people who work in the American business. My relationship with Interscope, for instance, on the back of representing Smash Mouth, led to Martin and Don putting Eminem on my radar before there was even a record released. I remember hearing ‘My Name Is’ before it had even gone to radio and just being blown away. So I’ve been very fortunate to work with Eminem for a long time now.”

While that introduction to Eminem may have been a piece of good fortune, the circumstances owe everything to Steve Strange’s philosophy when it comes to making a mark in the North American music sector.

 


Continue reading this feature in the digital edition of IQ 77, or subscribe to the magazine here

 

Agent Steve Strange passes

Renowned booking agent and X-ray co-founder Steve Strange has passed away after a short illness.

A statement issued last night from X-ray reads: “We have lost a legendary figure in our personal and professional lives that we will all deeply miss.

“Steve was a unique individual within our industry, his overwhelming love of music lead to a 30 year plus career guiding the touring of an eclectic mix of artists from all genres of music that he adored.  A universally known, hugely respected and loved character – if you hadn’t already seen him at a gig or festival, you’d most certainly hear his infectious and infamous laugh.

“Steve had the best ears in the agency business, signing and developing the careers of countless world class Artists from small club venues to vast international multi-stadium tours.

“He will always be remembered with love by his friends & colleagues at X-ray and the world over.”

“The life and soul of every occasion, a music man to the core and dedicated to his clients, friends and family.”

Tributes to the agent began flooding social media from Friday night (24 Sept.). Amongst those, was CAA’s Emma Banks, who wrote that Strange was “a truly good and loving person without a bad bone in his body. The life and soul of every occasion, a music man to the core and dedicated to his clients, friends and family. If you knew him you will understand why everyone is devastated by his passing and if you didn’t know him you missed out big time.”

Siren Artist Management’s Adam Parsons says: “His talent and expertise coupled with his never ending enthusiasm has made him one of the World’s leading music executives and one of the most loved beings I have ever known.”

Paradigm’s Rob Challice wrote, “His enthusiasm for music and life was contagious and inspirational. He changed the world around him. I can’t believe we’ll never hear that big laugh of his again.”

“His enthusiasm for music and life was contagious and inspirational. He changed the world around him.”

Born in Lisburn near Belfast on 17 April 1968, Strange was raised in Carrickfergus in nearby County Antrim during the troubles in Northern Ireland. At the age of 11, after his cousin took him to see UFO at Ulster Hall in Belfast, Strange’s love of hard rock was born, which saw him devote his youth to the likes of Rush, AC/DC, Kiss, and Def Leppard.

His first band, Slack Alice, didn’t reach the heights its members had hoped for, so Strange found himself sitting behind the drums for a couple of cover bands before becoming part of the line-up for popular Belfast outfit No Hot Ashes in 1986. A record deal with GWR, thanks in no small part to Strange’s powers of persuasion, saw the band move to London a year later.

Strange later accepted an offer from Jon Vyner to join The Bron Agency and book some gigs. “I used to do [that] anyway – it was always left to the drummer to chase support tours and gigs,” he told IQ in 2009. Tapping up GWR’s Doug Smith to secure his acts occasional support slots with the likes of Motörhead and Girlschool, Strange worked tirelessly, making himself known around London’s gig circuit, making friends with bands and offering to book shows. “I did a lot of analysing about how the business worked, and it was a steep learning curve. I was intrigued by it – how tours were routed, why some bands played clubs not halls, etc. It was very exciting.”

Strange moved to Adam Parson’s Big Rock Inc, and then to Prestige Artists working with Clive Underhill Smith and Rob Hallett. In 1992 he moved back to Northern Ireland promoting at the Limelight with Eamonn McCann. The move led to one of his biggest breaks when he discovered a trio of school kids, Ash, becoming the band’s agent and working with Rob Challice at Forward Artist Booking.

“His talent and expertise coupled with his never ending enthusiasm has made him one of the world’s leading music executives.”

Feeling the need to work at a larger agency, Strange moved to John Giddings’ Solo, before another move to Fair Warning/Waster Talent where he met fellow X-ray founders Ian Huffam and Jeff Craft. Adding Scott Thomas and Martin Horne to the mix, the five individuals launched X-ray in 2005, fast becoming one of the UK’s most respected booking agencies.

Strange was renowned for signing and developing US artists. “I’ve always listened to American music, and a lot of the bands I liked when I was younger were from the United States,” he told IQ in 2018. His relationship with Interscope Records’ label head Martin Kierszenbaum and A&R chief Don Robinson led to an introduction with Eminem, who alongside Queens of the Stone Age became a cornerstone of an eclectic roster that included Coldplay, Maximo Park, Feeder, Snow Patrol, The Charlatans, Jimmy Eat World and more, many booked with longtime colleague Josh Javor.

Strange was a longstanding ILMC member, and in March had picked up the top agent award (‘second least offensive agent’) in a special decade showdown at the Arthur Awards. Strange had topped the category twice before. He appeared in person to collect the gong at the Royal Albert Hall, thanking his clients, and “all the people at Team Strange and Xray Touring who’ve all had a very difficult year but we’re getting through it.”

More recently, in May, X-ray announced a strategic partnership with New York-based AGI, part of the Y Entertainment Group, which also includes UK agency K2. “I am personally excited and delighted by our renewed joint venture partnership with my good friend Ron Burkle and the Yucaipa group,” said Strange of the announcement. “I am also looking forward to our new strategic partnership with AGI in the US.”

Fellow X-ray director Adam ‘Rad’ Saunders posted, “Friend, ally, mentor and the single most influential person in my career. Steve was an irrepressible juggernaut of a person. Full of passion, talent and a ridiculous laugh. I will miss him hugely. I can’t really imagine a music business without Steve in it. It leaves a hole so big it cannot be filled.”

In May 2018, to celebrate Strange’s 50th birthday, IQ published a surprise feature article with comment and congratulations from many of his friends and colleagues.

 


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UK’s X-ray Touring forms alliance with US’s AGI

London-based X-ray Touring has extended its joint-venture partnership with private-equity firm the Yucaipa Companies, continuing a relationship that began in 2017, and formed a new strategic alliance with New York’s Artist Group International (AGI), part of Yucaipa’s Y Entertainment Group.

The partnership will see the two agencies will work together internationally, with X-ray remaining under the control and direction of founding partners Martin Horne, Ian Huffam, Steve Strange and Scott Thomas and newly added board member Josh Javor.

X-ray’s roster of more than 400 acts includes Coldplay, Eminem, Robbie Williams, Gorillaz, Queens of the Stone Age, Linkin Park, Pixies, Stereophonics, Bombay Bicycle Club, Enter Shikari and Fever 333, while AGI represents Billy Joel, Metallica, Rod Stewart, Neil Young, Linkin Park, Motley Crue, Def Leppard, the Strokes and Cage the Elephant, among others.

Yucaipa also has interests in two other London-based agencies, ITG and K2, Los Angeles-based APA, US promoter Danny Wimmer Presents and Spain’s Primavera Sound festival, as well as management company LBI Entertainment and sports agencies ISE and Steinberg Sports.

X-ray was also formerly allied with Paradigm Talent Agency (then Coda) in London, in which Yucaipa held a stake, though that relationship has now come to an end.

“The synergies between these companies creates even more opportunity for their clients”

“This had been a long time coming and I know all of X-ray is excited by this strategic partnership with AGI and Y Entertainment,” says Huffam. “There will be many changes over the next few years but our proven collective track records offer artists the best route forward to live success.”

“I have long admired what the X-ray team led by Ian, Steve, Scott and Martin have built,” says AGI’s Dennis Arfa. “We have wanted to work with X-ray for many years and are thrilled to finally have the opportunity to do so.”

AGI president Marsha Vlasic adds: “I am thrilled and excited to be joining forces with X-ray, a company that I have long admired and respected. I feel extremely positive about all of us being able to do great things together. During a time like this, which has been so difficult for all us, having this come together has been such a breath of fresh air and energy.”

“I am personally excited and delighted by our renewed joint venture partnership with my good friend Ron Burkle and the Yucaipa group,” says X-ray’s Strange. “I am also looking forward to our new strategic partnership with AGI in the US. I have known Dennis and Marsha and others at AGI for many years and I truly believe that our alliance will work fantastically well. We already feel that the chemistry between both companies can only strengthen our global impact.”

“AGI and X-ray’s leadership and innovation in the industry is unparallelled,” comments Yucaipa founder Ron Burkle. “The synergies between these companies creates even more opportunity for their clients. This is a perfect match both culturally and strategically and I look forward watching their collaboration as they continue to grow globally.“

 


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Beckie Sugden moves to ICM Partners/Primary Talent

Beckie Sugden has joined ICM Partners/Primary Talent International as a concerts agent in the company’s London offices.

Sugden moves to ICM/Primary from X-ray Touring, which she joined in 2014.

Over the last seven years, she has built a roster including Anderson Paak & The Free Nationals, Russ, Noname, Mick Jenkins, T-Pain, Ghostemane, Mac Ayres, Soulection, Joe Kay and more, which will move with her to ICM/Primary.

“Beckie is an agent whose reputation in the industry precedes her,” says Matt Bates, managing director, Primary Talent International and ICM Partners head of International/Europe, who announced the news today. “She has an exciting and diverse roster and we are excited to welcome her into the ICM/Primary family.”

“Beckie is an agent whose reputation in the industry precedes her”

Sugden added: “I am absolutely thrilled to be joining the team at ICM/Primary, bringing my 15 years of experience to an already stellar international team. As we all begin to rebuild from the ashes of the pandemic there feels like no better time to join such a progressive, representative and forward-thinking company.

“I’m extremely proud to represent some of the most exceptional and groundbreaking artists around and I look forward to continuing our work together utilising the incredible breadth of resources ICM has to offer as artists’ careers become more multi-dimensional than ever.”

Prior to X-ray Touring, Sugden spent five years at The Agency Group (UTA), and she worked at WME before that. She began her career in live music from her bedroom as founder of her own agency, Mixedtape.

The recruitment of Sugden follows the appointment of Sally Dunstone earlier this year.

Primary Talent International joined forces with ICM Partners in March of 2020 and Matt Bates was named head of international/Europe of the combined entities in February 2021.

 


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The New Bosses 2020: Sally Dunstone, X-ray Touring

The New Bosses 2020 – the latest edition of IQ’s annual celebration of the brightest young talent in the live business today, as voted for by their peers – was published in IQ 93 this month revealing the twelve promising promoters, bookers, agents, A&R and production experts that make up this year’s list.

To get to know this year’s cream of the crop a little better, IQ conducted interviews with each one of 2020’s New Bosses, to discover their greatest inspirations and proudest achievements, pinpoint the reasons for their success and obtain advice for those hoping to be a future New Boss. Snippets of the interviews can be found in the latest IQ Magazine, with all interviews being reproduced in full online and on IQ Index over the coming weeks. Catch up on the previous New Bosses interview with Artur Kasper from Der Bomber Der Herzen here.

Our next New Boss is Sally Dunstone (30), an agent at X-ray Touring in the UK. Admitting to a lifelong passion for live music, Dunstone moved from Barnsley to London to study music and events management at university. After completing many short-term internships and spells as a casual broadcast assistant across various BBC programmes, she joined Live Nation as a receptionist. After working a year at Live Nation, she moved to X-ray six years ago and has been building an impressive roster ever since.

 


What are you working on right now?
I am currently working on implementing live strategies for my roster at X-ray. I am grateful to work with a broad spectrum of artists including but not limited to, Jack Harlow, Rina Sawayama, Kelly Lee Owens, Places+Faces, Roosevelt, Maxo Kream, Walt Disco & many more. A part of my job that I love is having a varied roster and I take pride in catering to the differing needs of my clients.

What are some of the highlights of your career to date?
It’s tough to ring-fence specific moments as there have been so many incredible experiences throughout my career so far. The shows that mean the most to me are the ones which feel like a significant turning point in an artist’s career.

A few that immediately come to mind are Places+Faces at KOKO, Rina Sawayama at Heaven and Kelly Lee Owens’s late-night set at End of the Road 2019.

Kelly’s show at End of the Road was the final live show of her first album campaign. The set was flawless, and the crowd had incredible energy. It felt like a celebration for all the team’s hard work on the first album and the beginning of an exciting new chapter for the next album.

Walt Disco’s show at AMP Presents in March also has a poignancy for me as it was the last gig I went to before Covid-19 took hold and venues closed.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt working in live music?
Never be afraid to ask questions or take advice. Learning from my colleagues has helped benefit my clients greatly throughout my career.

“Right now, I’m concentrating on ensuring that all bases are covered for my clients in all eventualities”

Did you always want to be an agent?
I have been passionate about music for as long as I can remember. From attending Leeds Festival and seeing The Strokes for the first time aged 11, I knew that live music was my vocation. As a teenager, I would often attend three or four shows a week and did whatever I could to get my foot in the door within the industry.

What impact has Covid- 19 had on your job?
The impact of Covid-19 across the entire industry has been profound. It has been heartbreaking to see the rug pulled from under the live sector and very little financial support to help venues and businesses continue operating.

From a business perspective, there is a lot of uncertainty in the industry right now, so I am concentrating on ensuring that all bases are covered for my clients in all eventualities. I am also focusing on being proactive and continuing to keep the long term goals and vision for each artist at the forefront of everything.

Do you have a mentor in the industry?
I am grateful to Beckie Sugden who has provided endless support to me throughout my time at X-ray and taught me a lot about being an agent and the wider industry landscape in general. Beckie’s determination continues to inspire me every day. I have also learned a lot from Josh Javor at X-ray whose encyclopaedic knowledge of venues, capacities and festival routings never ceases to amaze me. Both Beckie and Josh have done a lot to shape my career and I appreciate that greatly.

“I have had many doors slammed in my face over the years and have always found a way to get myself in the room”

What does the live music industry do well, and what can we do better?
The live music industry still has a long way to go in terms of equality and diversity. There have been improvements in recent years however there needs to be more inclusion and opportunities for BAME and LGBTQ+. There is also space for attitudes towards women in the workplace to improve and I would welcome seeing more women in senior management positions.

What advice would you give to someone who’s new to the business?
Ask questions and take advice. Believe in yourself and be determined. I have had many doors slammed in my face, figuratively and literally, over the years and have always found a way to get myself in the room. Where you can, surround yourself with people you enjoy working with. To build a viable business for yourself, you are going to need to work a lot of hours and this is so much easier when you like the people you work with.

What are the biggest challenges you’re facing currently?
Much like all the live sector, navigating Covid-19 and the unchartered territory is currently the biggest challenge I face.

Where would you like to see yourself in ten years’ time?
I plan to continue expanding and building my artists’ careers and still see myself working as an international touring agent.

 


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IQ launches monthly agency playlist

IQ has today launched a monthly new music playlist, with tracks curated by a selection of major booking agencies. The first playlist features contributions from agencies including CAA, Paradigm, ICM Partners, 13 Artists, X-ray Touring, United Talent, ITB and ATC Live.

The playlist complements IQ’s popular New Signings page, which keeps the live industry updated about which new, emerging and re-emerging artists are being signed by agencies.

“Each track is handpicked by our agency partners…we want to spread the word on some of the best new music out there.”

“The touring and festival businesses may be at a standstill, but there’s no shortage of great music that’s being discovered and represented by the world’s leading booking agencies,” says IQ editor Gordon Masson.

“Each track is handpicked by our agency partners. By bringing together some of the most compelling emerging artists, and new tracks by established names, we want to spread the word on some of the best new music out there.”

The tracklisting for the first playlist, ordered by agency, is below…

 

AgencyArtistTrack Title
13 ArtistsHolly HumberstoneFalling Asleep at the Wheel
Max PopeJust Friends
Nito NBToo Late
The AcademicAnything Could Happen?
Russ MillionsOut of Order
ATC LiveLazarus KaneNight Walking
Fontaines D.C.Hero's Death
Fenne LilyHypochondriac
Chicano BatmanColor My Life
Nayana IZWalking
CAAJack CurleyAlice
Isabelle BrownArmour
DylanGood Enough
RayowaThe Only Night
NOISYOi (ATM)
ICM PartnersIndia ShawnNOT TOO DEEP (feat. 6LACK)
Flo MilliBeef FloMix
Jelani AryehStella Brown
Anna of the NorthDream Girl
Emotional OrangesWest Coast Love
ITBThe White BuffaloProblem Solution
Vincent DarbyBaby Oh I
Megan O’NeillDevil You Know
Bad TouchToo Much of a Good Thing
Lonely The BraveBound
Paradigm AgencyLola YoungSame Bed
Oliver MalcolmKevin
Remi WolfPhoto ID
Bruno MajorThe Most Beautiful Thing
KhurangbinTime (You and I)
United Talent AgencyArlo ParksBlack Dog
Serena IsiomaSensitive
House of PharaohsAM to PM
Daði FreyrThings About Things
Samantha HarveyGet to Know You
X-Ray TouringKodalineSaving Grace
Dead PonyEverything is Easy
Chubby & The GangSpeed Kills
Cemetery SunHaunted
Howard KayFake

 


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