23 Things I Learnt At ILMC 28

The International Live Music Conference (ILMC) takes place every year in London, and attracts booking agents, concert promoters, artist managers, tech companies and suppliers from all over the world for three days of panels, workshops and networking events. Incorporated into the ILMC is the ILMC Production Meeting (IPM), a one-day conference, where specific concert production issues such as tour transportation and logistics are discussed by concert production suppliers. I attended this year’s ILMC and IPM and learnt, amongst other things, the following:

  1. The average UK music fan goes to 3.4 shows a year. The market constantly regenerates though, as new 18 year old music fans, start going to concerts.
  1. Reading Festival, in England, contributes £60 million pounds a year to the local economy.
  1. Youtube Insights allow you see total plays of both your original, and user-generated, music videos in the top 100 countries and cities. Useful for determining demand for an artist, and to see which songs should be included in the set list each night.
  1. Michael Rapino, President, Chief Executive Officer and Director of Live Nation, thinks that tickets are under-priced – the secondary market proves this. He understands, however, that it is a hard-sell to persuade artists that front row seats should cost $2000 or so.
  1. European festivals go on sale way too early, especially in Scandinavia. This then prevents bands who have been announced on those festivals from touring in Jan – May, either because of exclusivity clauses set by the festival, or because it cannibalises demand from fans.
  1. Non-music theatres in the UK are exempt from paying business rates. Why aren’t music venues?
  1. There has been a huge increase in demand for acts to perform private, corporate shows.
  1. A new or unknown festival risks being asked for 100% of the fee offer, upfront, in order to secure certain bands. Booking agents are asking for these 100% deposits to protect their artists against the cancellations of festivals due to poor ticket sales.
  1. You should have booked your sleeper tour bus before Christmas if you need one this summer.
  1. You should ask your fans to Tweet their name and seat number to you at your next show. Then pick a random fan from the tweets and ask them on-stage, or dedicate a song to them. Or something equally special.
  1. Streaming music services will become like social media services.
  1. The Music Venues Trust calculates that small venues pay 126% of the ticket price towards actually putting on a band. This amount includes the bands fee, fulfilling any rider stipulations and marketing the gig.
  1. The US festival market will lure established US headliners away from the European festivals, opening up opportunities for mid-level bands to move up to those Euro headline slots.
  1. A fund from the German state government allows small venues there to apply for money in order to buy modern production equipment, such as digital consoles, the latest Pioneer CDJs and moving lights. Great idea, apart from the digital consoles…
  1. There is a club in York, England which has a sign saying that no artist who are registered with the PRS (the UK performing rights organisation) may play there. The owner says he can’t afford to pay the minimum fee to PRS of £38, as the artists playing are local singer songwriters who don’t bring in a lot of ticket buying fans.
  1. Twitter has some kind of groovy GoPro/Periscope integration. Fantastic for real-time, inexpensive, concert streaming and backstage broadcasts.
  1. The usual fracas surrounding secondary ticketing was overshadowed this year by news of rebates involving money collected by performing rights societies (PROs). Apparently some PROs, notably BUMA in the Netherlands, have given money back to promoters from the performance royalties it has collected on behalf of rights holders – the songwriters – from their concert and festival performances. However, it is alleged that promoters have not then passed the money back to those rights holders, which is obviously a bit naughty.
  1. The 1975, everyone’s favourite ‘new’ band, have early exclusive merch sales at their shows. Die-hard fans are let into the venue early, before the official ‘doors’ time, to take their pick of special items. Could you do the same with your band?
  1. Beat the Street sleeper buses (the Rolls Royce of entertainer buses) cost £500,000 each to build. They build six per year.
  1. Google Customer Match allows you to import your email list into Google Search, Gmail and YouTube. Your existing customers can then be served relevant advertising about you when they search using Google, or watch your YouTube videos. A customer casually viewing a few videos of her favourite artist may therefore see your ad about the festival she went to last year, which featured your artist.
  1. William Morris Endeavour owns Winter Wonderland, a Christmas market in Hyde Park, London, which has become extremely popular in the last 5 years.
  1. I knew this but was reminded that the US had huge, big, successful festivals a long time before Europe – Woodstock, Monterey, Altamont, Newport Jazz…ok, perhaps not Altamont.
  1. Festival headliners are already being discussed for 2018!



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