October 27 – 29 | JW Marriott | Nashville, TN
THANK YOU FOR A WONDERFUL YEAR!
IEBA’s Annual Conference stands alone in the entertainment industry. The conference schedule includes live music from the most current artists, providing diverse entertainment options for buyers. Built in are unparalleled networking opportunities including the long-standing IEBA tradition of Agents Alley. IEBA constantly strives to grow the industry by providing information and offering educational opportunities throughout the conference.
IEBA 2019 Panel Recaps
The Promoter 101 guys returned to IEBA to spend time with AEG’s Debra Rathwell. Rathwell is SVP of Global Touring and founder of AEG’s New York office. One of the most influential executives in touring today, nothing in Rathwell’s childhood hints at the industry powerhouse she would become. She was raised in an isolated Canadian village of 300 citizens, where her father worked at the local hydro-electric power dam and her mother taught school. “We grew up very poor. We didn’t have any money for anything,” she recalled. “If you wanted money, you looked for bottles in the ditch. You took them to the store and you got five cents or ten cents. But we were able to run wild and use our imaginations…”
Alex Hodges kicked off on this session, addressing the subject of risk. “The market today is really for the artist,” he said. “Their guarantee is set by the largest promoter, a publicly-owned company. I’ve never seen the business more challenging and more risky.”
Susan Rosenbluth added, “What’s important is taking reasonable risk, and the best way to take reasonable risk is to look at ticket prices first, with the agency and artist management, and back your way into the rest of the equation, especially the artist guarantee…”
The discussion began with panelists describing what drives their individual decisions to sign clients. Sara Bollwinkel recalled how she discovered meteoric superstar Billie Eilish: “Someone sent me a Soundcloud link for “Ocean Eyes,” five years ago. I couldn’t sleep – I was just firing off emails in the middle of the night to find a way to meet this human. She is so strange and she’s wonderful. I am not the agent who signs things as a business decision. I only sign artists that I love…”
For Kelly Kapp, whose dual roles at Live Nation are VP of Touring and Executive VP of HOBE Talent, being on a national tour means having more people on your team who wake up thinking about selling more tickets and advancing your career. “A local team mixed with a national team means you get all the bells & whistles,” she said. “I think we see those artists rise quicker than others who may be going market-to-market to book.”
Messina Touring has been the sole promoter for Kenny Chesney for 20 years, and Kate McMahon knows Chesney’s fans. “There’s so much in my head I couldn’t teach someone; I just know it,” she said. “And we can change on a dime, if we need to, versus having to call 40 people to make something happen…”
Moderator Yves Pierre began by asking how analytics are used in booking and marketing decisions. Joe Hadley responded, “From my perspective, the analytics really help if we’re looking to go into new markets where we haven’t been before. Occasionally, the analytics will tell us Detroit or San Antonio are really strong markets that we may have overlooked. But it’s not something we rely on heavily when looking for ticket sales. The correlation is not as strong as you might think between streaming numbers or Instagram likes and tickets sales…”