Marc Geiger began and ended his talk at IEBA with the same message: we must eliminate frustrating experiences for our consumers, we must deliver music to consumers with ease, and we must make the process better for consumers.
“Business is spectacular. Anyone in live entertainment – no matter what role you play – is probably having the best year of their career. Independent or major. Agent, promoter, tour manager, lighting company, trucking, venue, ticketing company – everything is up. And I think it’s going to continue for a while. We’re lucky to be here. We have to protect it, and obviously there are some things to sort out…”
Steinberg synopsized Roux’s 40-year resume: “You’ve had an amazing career, starting at the University of Illinois at Champaign in 1978. Building a relationship with Bruce Capp in Chicago in ‘84. Your first job in ‘87 in Milwaukee at Stardate Productions then, in 1990, you started in Houston at Pace Concerts. In ’99, Pace sold to SFX. In 2002, SFX sold to Clear Channel. In 2006, it spun off into Live Nation, giving you yet another business card and, in 2010, you became Co-President of U.S. Concerts at Live Nation…”
Manning noted that when he started as an agent, industry roles were more compartmentalized and well-defined. Agents and promoters booked shows, lawyers worked on record deals, labels worked with artists to create and distribute music, and ticketing companies sold tickets. With the advanced development of the internet, all of those roles had to change and the lines became blurred. “Now we have to be a jack of all trades and have knowledge across publishing, sponsorship, endorsements, ticketing (both primary and secondary). It just gets more complicated by the day.” He continued, noting, “If we’re not always learning more skills to sign, service, and retain our clients, then we’re not going to be around very long…”
Matthews welcomed 2016 panelists Brent Daughrity with Anderson Benson Insurance and AEG’s Jason Bernstein. In his role as Senior Counsel for AEG Presents, Bernstein deals with artist and venue agreements, and is on both sides of venue agreements for dates at AEG’s clubs and theaters. For tours like Taylor Swift or Ed Sheeran, Bernstein reviews all arena and stadium deals. Bernstein added, “When we have a show on Friday, and someone decides there’s a problem on Wednesday, I am usually the guy they call in.”
Matthews welcomed attorneys Berkeley Reinhold and Tim Epstein, who were new to the panel this year. As an introduction, Reinhold said, “I walked into the William Morris agency back in 1996 and was there for 20 years. When I left in 2015, I was running business affairs for the music department. I am now general counsel for Lollapalooza, LLC. I have clients all over the space: venues, artists, agencies, promoters, and all types of things. I see all sides of the deal. And now that I see all sides, deals get done a lot faster.”
Market pricing, loyalty programs and fan engagement, the artist’s POV, a gigantic distributive marketplace, and facing the fact that there’s no such thing as a sold-out show anymore – Matthews’s panel of experts discussed these topics and more in this hour-long session.
She began by reading the copy on the back of a ticket, “’A ticket is a revocable license.’ It’s a bundle of rights, including the right to occupy a specific space for a specific period of time. ‘This ticket is not transferrable. Unauthorized and unlawful resale or attempted resale is grounds for seizure and cancellation without compensation.’ Tell me what that means in the real world. We can enforce some of this with federal laws?”
Powell and her panel of experts considered the fan experience and shared real life examples of eliminating pain points and creating “wow moments.”
“I think a lot of us started out in this business as fans,” said Powell. “So this resonates with all of us – how we can help create a better experience? We are going to talk about the end-to-end experience, first with the announcement of the show and the on sale.”
Four of IEBA’s 2016 Industry Award winners kicked off IEBA 2017 by sharing their thoughts on the state of the industry and spotlighting issues to watch. Moderator Ali Harnell opened by asking, “What were some of the major themes for your business this past year? What did you try that worked?”
For Jeff Nickler, fan engagement and fan loyalty topped the list. The BOK Center identified their top 100 fans – locals who purchased the most tickets over the past five years. After working with Ticketmaster to weed out scalpers, they found these loyal patrons spent tens of thousands of dollars in the venue. By acknowledging and honoring these guests (and occasionally offering them free tickets), Nickler said, “We created 100 advocates who can’t stop saying nice things about our venue.”
The Casino Entertainment panel featured a lively discussion of VIP meet ‘n greets, artist pricing, backend deals, and social media marketing.
Wright began the panel by prompting an examination of how social media is used by artists, agencies, and casino properties. Newman led off by stating that artists are responsible for marketing their shows in tandem with the marketers who are marketing the same shows, and the best way to encourage this synergy is to utilize social media. He pointed to Mickey Dolenz, a client that successfully runs meet ‘n greet giveaways through social media, usually Facebook, without charging the property, and continues to promote each show individually.
Beverly Keel, award-winning journalist, pop culture commentator, and chair of Middle Tennessee State University’s Department of Recording Industry, began her conversation with Ice-T with a list of his many accomplishments. “I have lots of questions for you,” she said. “But first I want to brag on you a little bit because you’ve had such an amazing, multifaceted career. Ice-T is known as the creator of gangster rap, which makes him the real and true OG. This is just the beginning of his firsts. He was the first rapper to use real street language in his songs. His debut album was the first hip-hop album to carry an explicit content sticker. He was the first L.A. rapper to become respected in New York. He was the first rapper to write a book, the first rapper to appear on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and the first rapper to bring back the black heavy metal band to his generation with Body Count. He ran his own label, which was the first company to try hip-hop on the internet. He was the first rapper to act in a film, the first rapper to land a role in a network television show, and the first rapper to star in his 19th season of a network television show. I’m not done…”
Our Annual Membership Meeting video reports on IEBA’s activities, membership, and educational outreach opportunities. The video was animated by Grayscale Entertainment Marketing.