IEBA’s Agents Panel Dishes: $1.5 Million for Top Festival Acts

Pictured (L-R): Tom Lord, Jeff Krones (CAA), Kevin Neal (WME), Jonathan Adelman (Paradigm), Nick Nuciforo (UTA), and Andrew Colvin (The Billions Corp).

Pictured (L-R): Tom Lord (Red Light), Jeff Krones (CAA), Kevin Neal (WME), Jonathan Adelman (Paradigm), Nick Nuciforo (UTA), and Andrew Colvin (The Billions Corp).

Tom Lord of Red Light Entertainment Management hosted the Agents Power Panel during the 45th Annual International Entertainment Buyers Association (IEBA) three-day conference at Nashville’s Omni Hotel today, Oct. 12.

Among those agents represented were Jeff Krones (CAA), Kevin Neal (WME), Jonathan Adelman (Paradigm), Nick Nuciforo (UTA), and Andrew Colvin (The Billions Corp). The five provided insightful information to a room of buyers from around the globe.

Among the highlights, Neal revealed he just returned from a trip to Brazil in scouting more territory for country music. Top-tier performers in festivals have been paid upwards of $1.5 million. In addition, Colvin noted The Billions Corp has uniquely begun focusing attention toward podcasts.

Managing Expectations:

Adelman noted the juggle when managers want to prematurely push their artist. “We are not an employment agency. There’s got to be real value and a plan. Everyone is enamored by this festival circuit lately. Well, I don’t know that playing at 12 p.m. on a Friday is the best choice for us. And you’re not most likely going to be able to play that festival for the next 3-5 years. Maybe the power of no is louder than yes.”

Neal: “The first of three openers on a tour is somewhat overrated for those who aren’t ready. If they haven’t developed their live show and they get on a tour, it achieves nothing. I tell managers, ‘You want your artist playing the midnight beer tent, opposed to the 12 p.m. main stage because they may be converting many more fans. You have to look at what’s happening locally, too.

“A lot of festivals are paying bigger than I have ever seen in my career but include radius clauses. You may see an artist play a festival in New York then not in the Northeast at all and we try to pare those down.”

Artist Development:

Krones: “I’m not involved in creative, but am in terms of creating a plan with the record cycle. I don’t want to work with artists who don’t have a vision. After we get the direction from the artist, that’s when our teams can get together to be creative to create growth.

“Ten of the last 15 new country acts CAA has signed have not had a record deal—maybe a publishing deal. But we seem to be passing on rock acts with label deals in search of natural growth [acts that can sell out before radio].”

Adelman: “You’re looking for additional revenue streams if you’re a new or established artist. So you may look at sponsorship wraps to get a bus. We’re welcoming that now and open to every venue possibility.

Relationships and Incentives:

Neal: “One thing we should look at is working cross-genre. People get tired of seeing the same people play together year after year. When Florida Georgia Line played ballparks, it ended up making more money than the arenas could offer—you just have to gamble on yourself.”

Nuciforo: “A lot of times the artist teams have a reason for the market or venue they want to play. It sucks because that doesn’t always make sense to buyers. With social stats now, we literally have a department that analyzes the numbers.”

Adelman: “Most of us try to honor the history with that promoter or buyer. If the buyer has done their job right, they understand the expectations and hopefully take into account their food and beverage in tickets fees. If its above the red line then it’s a winner, but if its below we’ll try to work to get it above. It’s a partnership. It’s the little things we make note of, like a deli tray or laundry service that filter back to us, that make us push for that market again.

“But remember without the artist, none of us are employed. It’s all about their development, so [buyers] think about how to help that artist move their career in your marketplace and want to return.”

International Opportunities:

Neal on the opportunities brought my WME’s merger with IMG: “Brett Eldredge had an IMG supermodel in his “Lose My Mind” video. We’re trying to work country music into the different opportunities like IMG colleges and golf. WME just bought the Miss Universe Pageant from Donald Trump and we’re trying to figure out which artists will work for that, which is broadcast in many countries. C2C has also been phenomenal for opening up Europe for our artists. CMC Festival in Australia opens that up for our artists too.”

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Eric T. Parker oversees operations and contributes editorial for MusicRow's print magazine, MusicRow.com, the RowFax tip sheet and the MusicRow CountryBreakout chart. He also facilitates annual events for the enterprise, including MusicRow Awards, CountryBreakout Awards and the Rising Women on the Row. [email protected] | @EricTParker

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