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We Want Live Shows Again! Concerts in a Post COVID World | SXSW 2021

Adam Shore
General Manager at Driift Live Ltd
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SXSW 2021
March 16, 2021, Online, Austin, USA
SXSW 2021
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We Want Live Shows Again! Concerts in a Post COVID World | SXSW 2021
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About speakers

Adam Shore
General Manager at Driift Live Ltd
Tom Windish
Head of A&R and Business Development at Wasserman Music
Michelle Cable
Owner at Panache Booking & Panache Management

Programming & Production Leader with access to thousands of artists, a passion for music content across genres, an eye for talent that resonates with the cultural sensibility, and experience across platforms.All-in producer who draws upon a differentiating consumer brand, network, agency, artist management, editorial, and record-label background to deliver first-of-their-kind music stories and performances. Relentless in the pursuit of industry insights. Champion of independent artists with original and diverse voices.Hs been featured in Billboard, Forbes, The New York Times, 4 feature-length documentaries, and music industry podcasts. Connector who bridges the gap between artists, brands, and production teams, translating creative vision into original content that engages new and existing audiences across generations.

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Veteran booking agent Tom Windish has developed the touring careers of some of the hottest names in music, including Billie Eilish, Lorde, alt-J and The xx. Working with these artists and other top talent from the early days of their careers, hundreds of clients have grown from playing small local venues to dominating stages at major festivals and arenas under his purview.Universally recognized as one of the industry's most successful music agents, Windish joined Paradigm in 2017 from The Windish Agency, which he started in his Chicago apartment and built into an unstoppable industry force with a staff of more than 80 in six cities and over 1,000 clients. The highly acclaimed agency won Pollstar's Independent Booking Agency of the Year Award three times and received seven nominations.

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About the talk

Most performers make most of their money from shows and touring, with streaming music services otherwise bringing artists much less royalties than before. We’ve had almost no in-person live shows for the past year, but now we have some hopeful forecasting about maybe having in-person shows later this year. So what will the future hold for concerts as COVID still lingers and fans skittishly wonder if it’s safe to congregate again? Plus, how much of a role will streaming concerts continue to play? Part of the problem is that streamed shows may only get bands a fraction of what they can earn from touring. Where are the ideas to help keep performers and the whole live/touring industry afloat until we can all gather again? Ideas and experiments are needed badly and they are in short supply now. We will focus on what’s working, what isn’t and what still needs to be done to save the music we love.

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SXSW dedicates itself to helping creative people achieve their goals. Founded in 1987 in Austin, Texas, SXSW is best known for its conference and festivals that celebrate the convergence of the interactive, film, and music industries. An essential destination for global professionals, this year’s online event features sessions, showcases, screenings, exhibitions, professional development and a variety of networking opportunities. For more information, please visit sxsw.com.

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Hi everyone. Welcome to the panel. My name is Adam Shore. I'm the US GM of drift. We're doing high-quality live streams with artists. I'm here with Michelle table from Michelle as a manager and a longtime booking agent. And with Tom Winters from the Paradigm Agency, is also a longtime agent, as well as a just started a record label and has a, a livestream serious as well that he started this year. So let's begin with some of the greatest art has evolved from

periods of struggle. The music industry is in real pain right now. The artist that make music that people that support those artists, the structures that support those people. I quite often great new ideas rise from this type of pain. A recent example, being the download frenzy around Napster in the early two, thousands of piracy evolved into streaming the easily, the biggest revolution in the music industry in a generation. Live music is closed now for the first time ever and the industry has a giant opportunity to reinvent itself

going to start with Michelle. Michelle went over to start working again. What aspects do you see being different than they were free covid? I think a lot of going to be different in the Tauranga district and in the music industry in general. But I think the way we planned chores and the protocols that screw venues and festivals, promote are going to have to take. It's going to be much more specific. It's not going to be as relaxed down from guest list, to ordering drinks, to get a loading into a venue and have a special deals and confirm shows and help. Last-minute changes will

happen up until the day of the show because of your, the precariousness of the situation in this country. So he's going to be expecting Pauli work and Goliath Brewing industry, and I don't really know what that's going to be yet. We'll just have to see how the next month's start to happen and hopefully I'll be in a concert, you know, even if it's fast and socially distanced watching live music cuz I sure miss it longest time of my life. So, Uuu manager in Australian artist. It's already starting to play live

again. What kind of protocols have gone into those shows. Yes, I work with a lot of Australian artists and I'm one of them has a big Festival coming up in the coming months, and another artist play the show on New Year's Eve by the show. Airs on Meridian Place, contact, tracing for anyone who's actually within the venue. On the artist the crew and fans you have to check in at any place you go from. State-to-state if you got a coffee, grocery store, if you scan a QR code. And so that is

one thing that the venue has to pay for is a coded Marshall, which is someone who pretty much at the show. I like an additional security guard ever seeing that people actually wear masks and are following training for any artist. Ignore like larger venues and festivals is in train discovered, safe method that I think it's going to be another thing that has to happen which is going to take a lot of planning is every artist crew and team have to provide a safety Plan before the show is actually happening and confirmed in. So those are ready to take months

and months of planning Festival take month to month of planting. So it's just this whole other layer of educating ourselves from the Roadie up until the artist on stage. Tom, how are you? How do you see things going forward in there in the short-term, while we're still in a pandemic? And in further out being different from the way they were before covid. I think I think the things that Michelle was talking about it's really really interesting. I feel like in America artists in their Crews will take on that responsibility

themselves. There won't be a national protocol that says you need to do it like this there. I don't even think they'll be a state protocol that says you need to do things like this, there might be some regulations or guidelines for venues in certain cities or states and and some artists who are fortunate to have really high quality crew and to Romanticism everything. Well, go out there and learn how to do this and plenty of bands won't have that don't have that

luxury or just won't have the means to be able to do that, you know, just like Some bands get their friends to drive the van to the show. That's different than than a professional tour manager has been doing this for a really long time and take it upon themselves to figure out what covid protocol even mean, I think Yeah, I'm in a very envious of Australia and and some other countries that that are treating this pandemic much differently. I think it's early to have

any sort of idea of how it's really going to pan out I think in our industry. All we really want to do is be able to plan and know I've read book two words five times. You know, it's like, that's what I'm good at. You know, an end the promoters. They just they just they want to book the shows to, you know, festivals as soon as they got a green light or an inkling that they might be able to do something at a certain time. They've got a lineup and and some of them are announcing, you know, and then Sometimes they end up pushing it back. I think a big thing

we don't know yet. Is how how will the money the additional costs that are incurred for any sort of covid-19, whether it's government-mandated or not, how does how will that affect the artist? And I am confident. And unfortunately, I'm sure that it will affect the artist negatively that the venues are they're going to pay their bills. and their and their staff before they pay the Vance just like in the old days, if I know it's the it's the Ben you need to have an extra security guard for

some reason. That's the cost that the the band's ultimately incurs they might not realize it or maybe they do, but they do. So we'll see. And it's going to be different from every every venue I just heard about a venue today. In New York that has kind of changed their deal structure completely and it's just they're just doing door deals after a pretty high amount of cost. And this venue used to give guarantees and the costs were much lower. I think it's too early for really any venue to really

know what they're the finances will look like and I'm sure they based on how they going to pay their bills all year and they open and maintain a level of profit. To keep going. You know, the other thing is like a lot of these venues weren't making that much money before. So the money's got to come from somewhere. Another place, single happen is ticket, prices will increase. I don't know that like bands will just say sure I can play for half as much as I used to make no problem and

Another obvious place to get that money's is from the fence. And I suppose, I mean, I haven't thought about this much but I suppose like Ticket prices have been kind of low for a really, really long time. When you see like the movie business and it, you know, the cost is 15 to $20 to buy a ticket to a movie. Not to mention all the other stuff. And a lot of bands are charging the same amount of money to get into their show but what you're actually getting is all these humans that travel there and and now I have to go through all these how things

I think it's reasonable to charge more more for tickets. Another long-term effect that he has no idea what's going to happen when there's twice as many bands to ring at the same time. And maybe tickets are higher than they've ever been. How long will? How long will the interest? Last, you know, how long will music fans be able to support that? Who knows? We got a ways to go before we can figure it out. Michelle, how have you seen your band's? Take advantage of this time away from the road. A lot of your bands are real rode horses and haven't been

able to talk for so long, what have they been doing with their time? Yeah. It's it's been a very young different experience for most of the Bands. I work with a substantial amount of money of their careers on the road. A lot of Records artists, I work late, especially the ones I manage has been able to take this time and get Lee created with it. Some of the artists I work with are used to be on the road for a decade who were such Road Warriors now and get healthy and become a little more human again because there's a lot of

expectations when you're in a touring cycle. 2 week, annual tour, it's a lot. Even if you're only playing, a lot of people have been able to sit back and accomplish goals in a market that has gone from, you know, A lot of artists I work with has gotten more into producing other artists, collaborating, working on writing that could plan more steaks, just getting rotated, the more open-minded about that. Cuz I think artists that were you know may be hesitant about doing certain things with other artists and just taken

to writing our own music. A lot of distribution companies directly where they have more control and you know, I'm very Hands-On with a lot of my clients so I like and I think it's it's really important moving forward that anyone who's going to be out there putting themselves at risk, have to make sure they're working with a team of people that care about them. That's, that's really important that you must be really difficult to implement here and no state to say, there's so many different

rules. So it might be this thing where people have to pick and choose what area of the country. They feel the safest to Turin. And one of my artist has been craving, some weird inventions, you know, it's been really fun to watch to go get really creative, but I didn't know when saw this happening for the next for the last year or so, but it's been more like a healing time of time to restructure their time to really think about like how you approach your even me. You're

like, I'm getting my agency management company in the step back and decided, like, how they might be stretching things. So that this time is that the silver lining of this time? I actually do that here. A lot of artists that were going to start a family and it's time to which is pretty cool, but I think people have gotten really creative of ways to your likes, scientists and ability in the music industry outside of your being on the road, which is very wearisome. And Hard on an artist and a crew. And, you know, it and I

agree with what Tom was saying about you. A lot of ticket prices. People are unhappy sometimes paying over $10 for a ticket price but the other so much that goes into a concert and someone has been in a car accident, getting from point. A to point B or higher ticket isn't isn't a bad thing. He knows we're still being reasonable. And I know most of the artists I work with, don't want to raise to gets too much. I think it's, it's fair to consider that. Maybe being away for like, help put more money into the show structure.

But, of course, you know, being aware, it's like the market you're playing and basing, the tickets on atom with the local wages are there. And you don't know what I work with her and focusing on their stores, which I think is really help the people in touch with fans, and it's really real level, it doesn't happen sometimes when you're playing a larger venue or Stadium or Festival, Tom the agency world is has been really shaken up a lot of layoffs and furloughs a lot of new companies and started. What do you think that

how do you say agents in the service of agent provide the artist being different going forward? I meant, I think about this a lot and Further to Michelle's points. I think. Previously, there was heard of this hamster wheel a fact that that we've had for dozens of years. Where band makes a great song gets interest meets with tons of labels signs. A record deal, puts out the record tours for like a year and then does that again for as long as possible.

And there wasn't much like There wasn't much more thought, put into into things than that, how we going to make the most on the shows. How we going to have the most dream. Sell the most records. This time has given given artist a chance to sort of step back and evaluate all of the different sections of their business. All the ways, they, they communicate with their fans and they gathered new fans and and try and make them better. I think there's a lot of tools out there that

most artists and entertain Barely Used, just use the Tony has been very well. I mean, in example is selling merch on your website but everything is God t-shirt up there and a beanie and vinyl but there's a lot more that can be done with it than just that I'm not just talking about more products. Like how do you communicate with your audience? The best also like all the socials and everything now to your, to your question, I think a lot about services that agencies provide that they

traditional traditionally provided versus services. That artist really need social media, for instance, is that it's a big one. And I think most most artists don't have like experts that are helping them with their social media strategies. Another is like all this e-commerce stuff and I I wondered why I don't I don't know that agencies will really do it but People that help like look at your eCommerce or your, your strategy across everything are really, really interesting. I'm I'm I'm talking to two different people that they kind of go out to any type of crater on the internet,

a podcaster or audiences. And they know they're like, let me get under the hood of your of your business and your business online and looking at how you're doing everything and barely, anyone is doing it very well. Because why would they know? They're they're experts at the one, that's the thing. They do being Creator and then there's all this other stuff that you are also expected to know how to do really well. I mean, it's like Instagram is just like, one of the easiest examples like why is every you just assume everyone knows how to

be great as communicating with their, their fans are Instagrams. Where do you learn about that? Is there like one book everyone reads? They're awesome. Who do you hire? Yeah, there's a few people to hire but that's who the biggest artist in the world are using Yeah, I don't know that agencies will do it but those are valuable additions that I think they should consider doing. So since the since there seems to be so many have new services that to have Tuesday, that it would

come down to the responsibility of the agent or the manager to support the artist. Did you see it as a manager and an agent? How where do you see their responsibilities lie in and how to how to adjust the managers ramp-up? Really. I mean, I think, I think right now what's happening with live streaming where you a lot artists have been live streaming at doing merch. Add-ons are the tickets to generate more revenue on a lot of taking on this role. And a lot of managers are taking this roll, summer working together or summer, treat, like some agencies, you know,

who created something as well live in a world of creating their own platforms, you know? So that there is no third party that you have to pay because a lot of the streaming platforms, take a percentage, which is a small percentage. But when this is a matter so I know some German platforms and then do a platform and then even depends on the artist unit like where maybe they commissioned a little bit. Also emerged. I don't really know how other agents are doing this. I'm it's it's different for me from case to case, but I think I found was saying, we've all been so reliant on this order

was like, okay touring is the way most artists make money. So this is why it's just going to I'm festivals, make so much money. So this is just how we focused on, you know, I sustain herself and I don't have a step back and get really creative. And and I think that's going to continue our descent. Now figured out at the way to make money, engage with their fans more and you know, and and do it well as, as a manager who also has run as fast as possible when I started doing only a few lifestreams started, I was apprehensive about doing it because I never posted it a

story on Instagram and I know a lot of a promoter because as a booking agent Ashley Market until I joined forces with a promoter to help me with the social media outrage and now after doing that Facebook to a certain degree, but it's always evolving and changing and I think those are the structures of hiring a social media person within the agency management team or someone who's really stabbing at that, it has suddenly become much more real, because that's what it's like Street marketing that we're so used to

happen to me, to Flyers, or I used to love making ham and I know how to use Photoshop and make flyers. But you know that that's what does a dying industry print media. And now it like social media besides being the story is the algorithms of how to get your post. Those are all things that we need to teach ourselves. And you know what, I think the more people that got to do with the artist of looking into the manager and just working together, whoever's in the And in the world, you know, but especially in the

Life entertainment industry and we were the first to shut down. And so we really need to think about how we can all work together and I'm and, of course, because that's why we all because of artistry work with keeping them safe and happy. And you know, I think that's I think a wonderful thing. It would be wonderful if Except what came out of this was the artists who are a little bit less figure out how to make the same amount of money as they were before, and have more time to focus. On other things, between, between songwriting

and families. And doing other things, you don't mental health is something that I think thanks, nearest more attention paid to it in the last few years, but not nearly enough, and People need it like an artist need to step back and get off the hamster wheel. A lot and I hope that this is actually being a good thing for them in that regard in a lot of ways. I know financially, it's devastating, but I do hope that they. And I talked to a lot of my clients. I think. I think they do appreciate, like, not being

on the road all the time and seeing their family more often, it's really important and it's weekends, they can figure out how to do that, more in the future, that would be great. We've had a lot of success adrift by helping fill. These kind of directed fan ecosystems with artists. It is these live streams are really a way where you can not only connect directly with the fam. But monetize that experience and reach a global fan in a way that you really weren't able before, have you seen success on that front with your artist and places where it could go?

Building, more direct-to-fan relationships. Yeah, definitely definitely. I mean, I've seen a bunch of my clients to spending a lot more time with her social. I'm building much bigger audiences there and my advising them and then, you know, artist doing all sorts of streaming stuff from just the streaming live from their Instagram to, you know, the ticketed ones and and everything in-between and having much much larger audience is there. Then they then they would have been the past. So yeah. Definitely. Excellent. Thank you both and

we will end up having them.

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Adam Shore
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Michelle Cable