Posts Tagged ‘CAA’

DINNER CLUB REPORT

March 8, 2009

Los Angeles, New York and Denver/Boulder took part in the first Aspen Dinner Club, March 5th.  The feedback has been great…with emails pouring in asking when we are planning the next one (“sorry I missed this one, won’t miss the next”, etc).  Indianapolis is going to a quarterly rotation, while Boston, Austin, Nashville, and “Central Coast of California” will be starting up in April.  This is really exciting!  Our next meeting is Thursday, April 2nd (with the possible exception of Central Coast).  If you would like to be an organizer in your city, please let me know jim@theagencygroupevents.com.

Our group in Los Angeles was a great mix of agents (CAA, Agency Group, WMA), promoters (AEG/Goldenvoice, Live Nation, Nederlander), a lawyer (Gene Salomon), insurance guys (Peter Tempkins & his partner), Internet entrepreneurs (Scott Perry), managers (Nettwerk, Bill Silva), and even a record company (Marc Friedenberg from Interscope).  Other than a crazy restaurant manager who complained to me twice that we “took-up his entire dinning room” (why anyone would complain about something like that in these times is just beyond me), the energy was electric.  Maybe you didn’t come out with a way of doubling your bottom line this year, but I bet you did walk away with two or three new contacts and at least one idea you didn’t have before.  And that’s the concept behind the club.  It will just keep growing.

For those of you who attended our first meeting, please try and bring at least one new member to the next.  Know that dinner club members don’t have to be from the Music or Live Entertainment businesses.  We welcome anyone from any business.  The concept is to network, share ideas, meet new people, innovate, and grow your business.  For example, I met Landon Sorgenstein from AEG.  He is their interactive and new media guru…and he knows his shit.  After asking him a few questions he had me up to speed.  That’s what I’m talking about!

Don’t miss out…join the Aspen Dinner Club.  Our next meeting is Thursday, April 2nd.  For more details, please keep reading our newsletter…and spreading the word.

Also wanted to let you know that our friend Barbara Rose has started-up her own management firm and bringing Natalie Cole on as her first client.  Barbara can be reached at: 

 

Speak with you soon…

Jim

 
Barbara Rose 
BARBARA ROSE ENTERTAINMENT
14320 Ventura Boulevard
Suite 450
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
phone:  818-981-5600
BR@BarbaraRoseEnt.com

 

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MOVING FORWARD

March 2, 2009

Many of you have emailed regarding the positive spin I tried to put on the TicketMaster / Live Nation merger in the newsletter a few weeks ago  https://liveworksnews.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?action=edit&post=274.  If the notes I received were actually from SEC regulators, the deal would never happen.  But of course they aren’t.  The hearings on Capital Hill are a near formality in my humble opinion.  The two companies would have never announced the deal if their lawyers didn’t think the merger would pass the “sniff test” both hear and in the EU.  Might they have to sell-off a few businesses to make everyone happy, sure…but this deal is happening and will close, so we might as well move forward.  You know that Irving and Rapino are….Tim and Randy at AEG too. 

It is interesting the way others view our business.  For instance, pick-up the March 2009 issue of Fast Company.  In it are “The World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies”.  As you would expect, the usual suspects are there; Apple, Google, Amazon, Zappos, Disney, Warner Music Group, CAA…wait, WARNER MUSIC GROUP and CAA!!!!  And not just WMG and CAA, both AEG and Live Nation are listed as “Companies to Watch”.  Are we all missing something?  Are we too busy playing armchair quarterbacks to see that the time of innovation is passing us by? 

Truth is there are a lot of good things we can talk about.  WMG now has a merchandising company that makes a profit not only for them, but for their artists too.  CAA teamed clients Will Ferrell and Tony Hawk with Sequoia Capital to create web brands FunnyorDie.com and ShredorDie.com.  AEG continues to invest in our business by building state-of-the-art facilities and Live Nation is about to pull-off one hell of a merger (too bad it probably won’t do anything for my stock). 

The time for innovation is now.  Just think about how many companies were started during the Great Depression.  Banks are going to be put under more pressure to give out business loans.  Have an idea, it is time to Move Forward!

Talk with you soon…

Jim

CMO AT LIVE NATION???

January 29, 2009

There is a rumor circulating that Live Nation, the world’s largest concert promoter, has hired former CAA Marketing agent Seth Matlins in the newly created role of Chief Marketing Officer.  If it is true (and I believe it is), it will be the first time that I’m aware of that a concert promoter has brought in someone from outside music to oversee marketing.  This would be big news. 

Seth is also a good fit in the world of Branded Live Entertainment.  Matlins was one of the senior people at CAA Marketing.  While at CAA he oversaw big-brand accounts including Coke, Visa, Starwood Hotels, eBay, Delta Airlines, Harley Davidson, and Hasbro…and he is smart.  Seth knows how to put the pieces together and is well connected in Hollywood as well as Madison Avenue.  Russell Wallach(who runs the sponsorship side of Live Nation) could find new ways to work with his clients through Seth.  Points to Live Nation on this one.  Now it’s time to tackle customer service.

Speaking of customer service, I’m moderating the Customer Service in the Concert Industry panel at the Concert Industry Consortium tomorrow, January 30th @ 3:30 pm in the Santa Monica Room @ the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in LA.  The panelists are Geoff Boucher, The Los Angeles Times; Rick Mueller, Live Nation; Lee Zeidman, Staples Center/Nokia Theatre, and Patrick May, Skyline Music.  We will have free beer and wine at the event to serve you better.  Please come by.

Talk with you soon…

Jim

INTERSCOPE HAS THEIR BLACK FRIDAY

January 23, 2009

The music business continues to take body blows as more of our friends join America’s unemployed.  Interscope records is in the process of laying-off what we here is many as 55 staff (maybe more)  including Robbie Snow, Chris Clancy, Lisa Frank, and Tim Reid.  How does this effect LIVE?  Well, from this side of the fence it would seem that the record labels have always been there to develop the acts over time.  They paid for them to go on the road and learn to be artists.  Labels worked their records in the local markets where the acts toured.  Back in the day, artists were allowed to develop over 3-5 albums.  People like Robbie Snow at Interscope and Nick Light at Sony were a big part of that…so what now? 

No label money or support…no patience for artists to develop over time, and a consolidating industry everywhere you look (radio, print, concerts, label, distribution, retail, etc) has created fans of singles, not artists.  It’s why Rihanna can’t headline a tour.  My two girls, nine and eleven,  love to dance around the house to Rihanna’s songs, but want to go see Greenday in concert.  What will the future hold if the record labels are not around to help develop an artist’s career?  Will the money and marketing come from brand partners?

We at The Agency Group Events & Entertainment believe that Branded Live Entertainment will continue to grow and prosper in the 21 Century.  At the same time, we have also seen managers take on roles previously handled by their artist’s labels.  Azoff/Frontline and Redlight are just two examples of large music management companies that have PR, radio, and marketing staff in-house.  Agencies like William Morris and CAA have brought on marketing and sponsorship people to service their clients.  Will it be enough?  What about the passion and expertise of those label people?  What about tour support…and distribution…and broadcast time?  All things we talked about at the Aspen Live Conferencethis past December…but we didn’t come out with any concrete conclusions (lots of good ideas though). 

What we all do know is that we have talented friends that could use our support right now.  Call or email them…show your support.  As for the above, there is a huge 10X shift going on in our industry.  Keep changing or you will be left behind.  Not sure what to do, try something.

BTW, please visit our new company website at http://www.theagencygroupevents.com 

Talk with you soon…

Jim

Hospitality is a Profession, so Leave it to Pros

November 9, 2008

I was talking with a friend on Friday who told me they wanted to start a conference.  I’m not going to say much more than that since I don’t want to give away my friend’s idea.  Anyway, it became apparent that my friend didn’t know much about the hospitality, event, or conference businesses. This friend could be in touble if they move forward without getting help.

 

On Saturday I got an email from my assitant while I worked at CAA, Nicole Provencio.  She’s now at Sketchers Corporate (the shoe company) where her “main job is to book hotels for all trade shows, conferences, and events.  Finding the newest & hottest hotels, getting the best rates, avoiding attrition, etc.”  Sketchers have over 20 annual trade shows alone each year, so they need someone like Nicole…someone with experience.  Sketchers, just like you, must have an experienced person on the other end of the phone or across the table from the hotel, resort, conference center, cruise ship, tour operator, or whoever you are doing business withs’ sales person.  They are certainly experienced and know just what they can and can’t offer.

 

 

 

When Andy Levine from Sixthman told me that there was a difference between doing a big concert or festival and producing a music themed cruise, my ego got the best of me to be honest.  I thought, if I could handle concerts with 200,000 people or manage tours checking 175 people in and out of hotels, tour buses, limos, vans, town cars and airports around the world, I could handle a few thousand drunken music fans and bands on a cruise ship.  I got spanked.  I’m sure Andy laughed.  Nothing takes the place of experience. 

 

 

So you don’t have the money to hire a pro to take care of your hospitality.  Here are some helpful hints from a guy with a few years on the road.  Some are obvious, but always worth being reminded.

 

 

 

·     In this economy disposable income is declining which means fewer will travel.  It is a buyers market.

·     When dealing with group sales at hotels, try to speak with someone as far up the food-chain as possible since anything out of the ordinary you may request will have to be run up the ladder anyway.

·     Try to avoid contracts whenever possible.

·     When booking groups, most hotels will insist on a contract.  The first things you need to look at are dates and numbers.  The word ATTRITION will become very important if you are managing your room blocks.  Try and get dates in your contracts where you are able to drop inventory you were not able to fill.  Obviously the closer to your event dates, the better for you. 

·     Before you start negotiating room rates, get an understanding of the hotels “rack rates” and the region’s high, low, and shoulder seasons.  Good deals can always be had…even in “high season” for a property. 

·     Deposits are another place you can push properties now.  They should be looking at this as more of a partnership these days as you are taking real risk to produce and market the event or whatever you are doing.  You should make your deposits as close to your event date as possible. 

·     Other mines to look for in hotel and hospitality contracts include: Buy-out rates and fees (rates go up on rooms for taking an entire property, resort, cruise ship, etc…this is a common practice at some resorts and cruise lines), baggage handling fees, gratuities, taxes on gratuities, ballroom and conference room charges, phone and data lines, hospitality desks, room drops (having materials or gifts delivered to guest’s rooms), copying and business center charges, and lets not forget parking (I went to a conference once where guests paid $50 per day to park their cars and it wasn’t in New York).

·     Food & Beverage becomes a whole new world and language in hospitality and you won’t believe the prices.  In this case, those airplane crash drills where you put your head between your legs and pray may work best. 

·     Not booking groups but want to save money on travel?  Look at the “Limited Service Hotels” popping up everywhere. 

 

Reality is hospitality is a profession and it pays to hire someone experienced to handle your needs.  Musical artists, their managers and agents go to producers like Andy Levine to do their cruises because he has seen it all.  Sketchers knows to go to Nicole because she booked Aspen Live Conference (Dec. 11-13 @ St. Regis, Aspen…Shameless plug) hotel rooms, transportation, meals, etc, for two years before coming to their company.  My advice, leave hospitality to Andy, Nicole or The Agency Group Events & Entertainment, Ltd. (another shameless plug).

 

As always, would love your comments and input.

 

 

 

Talk to you soon,

 

 

 

Jim