Gersh: As a super young guy starting to look at talent in general, the deciding factor for me was always whether someone could play live. I learned from being a fan. And, as a student of the business, I followed guys like Chris Blackwell, Ahmet Ertegun, Arif Mardin, Jerry Wexler, Berry Gordy. They all understood the difference between good talent and great talent. I always felt, and then I learned, that we can teach people to make records but we couldn’t teach them to be great on stage…
At our annual chat with some of the industry’s most influential players, IEBA’s Agents Power Panel tackled topics of workplace diversity (or the lack thereof), developing new artists, tour promoter deals, and perhaps most importantly – a continuing passion for music and the artists who create it.
Harnell began the discussion by citing some facts about equality of representation for women in the music industry. Billboard’s Power 100 list for 2018 was 17% female and only 10% female in 2017. Of all individuals nominated for Grammy awards over the last six years, only 9% were female. “How do we create change,” she asked. “How are you dealing with it for yourselves, and what are we doing as female leaders in the industry to address this?”
Four of IEBA’s 2017 Industry Award winners kicked off IEBA 2018 by sharing their thoughts on the state of the industry and spotlighting issues to watch.
Taking advantage of secondary and tertiary markets has been a major boon for Jim Cressman and Invictus Entertainment. Operating mainly in Canada and Alaska, in “places that are off the beaten path,” Invictus strategically books artists that have been through the major markets multiple times in smaller cities — such as a 22-day run for John Mellencamp — with runaway success…
IEBA’s Pam Matthews opened this session by welcoming her panelists and making the blanket statement, “None of this should be construed as legal advice. It is information and insight.”
“Although, if any of my clients are in the audience,” Epstein chimed in, “I will be billing you for this.”
Matthews set the panel agenda: “A lot of what we will talk about today is allocation of risk and transferring risk through insurance. Insurance can cover attorney fees, court costs, settlements, and judgements…”
IEBA’s Executive Director Pam Matthews welcomed John Beiter of Beiter Law to this discussion of copyright law and music licensing. Beiter is IEBA’s board counsel and also represents SESAC. “I have a unique perspective,” Beiter said, “Representing a trade organization of buyers and promoters and also artists, songwriters, and a PRO.”
“I know many of you have received hounding phone calls or emails from a PRO,” Matthews began. “For example, this email is reads ‘Dear Ms. Matthews, we’ve reached out on many occasions about your legal responsibility to obtain permission to publically perform copyrighted music.’ Perhaps you work at a building and you received BMI’s ‘Interim Extension’ letter in April. Maybe you’ve gotten calls from Vinnie with GMR. Perhaps you are a member of NACPA and are part of the BMI lawsuit. We understand the struggles promoters and venues have with the PROs…”
“I will be the first to say that I am not a security expert,” Nickler began. “I have no law enforcement background. No police training, no secret service training, and no military background. But I am the general manager of a 19,000-seat concert arena. I have been entrusted with the job of protecting the safety of hundreds of thousands of fans each year. That is a very daunting task, one that I don’t take lightly. For that reason, it has become really important for me to stay engaged in the discussion about security. In fact, everybody in this room has an obligation to be engaged in a discussion about security. As the threats have changed over the past decade, there is a real probability that something will happen in one of our venues over the next few years. It’s something that we can’t be complacent about…”
Newman began the panel by asking Bedier and Zimmerman to discuss the impact of family entertainment shows on their communities. Bedier obliged, noting that the Tacoma Dome is an iconic building in her locale that residents are very familiar with. She believes that this effect can be generational. “We want to get those kids when they’re three years old and have them thinking that this is the place that they go for their entertainment for their whole life. If we can get them to come to a thrilling family show, then that implants the first memory…”