Corporatisation: The masters of the universe

Saturday 7 March 2015
11:30 – 13:00
Room 1
Chair: Ben Challis, Glastonbury Festival (UK)

Ten years ago, ILMC 17 looked at the effects of corporatisation (a word not recognised by some spellcheckers in those days!) on the live music industry, following on from Bob Sillerman’s buying spree with SFX, which had changed the face of the business. A decade later, Ben ‘I am the law’ Challis considers the state of a dramatically different international industry that sees even the most successful of independents dwarfed by the corporates in all sectors of the business. With the involvement of representatives from all levels, we consider the effects of these seismic changes, and just how ongoing consolidation might shape the business over the next ten years.

Guest speakers include:
Pete Wilson, 3A Entertainment (UK)
Rainer Appel, CTS Eventim (DE)
Thomas Miserendino, AEG Europe
Wayne Forte, Entourage Talent Associates (US)
Barry Dickins, ITB (UK)
Chris Carey, Media Insight Consulting (UK)

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About Ben Challis:
Ben is a UK lawyer specialising in music and entertainment law. His clients include the world famous Glastonbury Festival, where Ben is executive producer for television and also general counsel. Ben also acts for Africa Express, Damon Albarn's eclectic collaboration of African and Western musicians; for the Prince's Trust; for Arcadia Spectacular; and for Yourope, the European festivals association. 

Ben is a board member of the International Centre for Crowd Management and Security Studies and co-founded A Greener Festival, the global environmental campaign group that works with music and arts festivals to promote environmental good practice. 

Ben is a graduate in law from Kings College London and The City University. He also holds the degree of Master of Arts in Mass Communications from the University of Leicester and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

He was called to the bar as a barrister in 1985 and is now a visiting professor in law at Buckinghamshire New University. 

Ben regularly writes articles and other material; lectures on the music business and intellectual property law; contributes to books; is a regular conference speaker with particular reference to the live music sector; edits and is a guest blogger for

About Pete Wilson:
Pete worked for eighteen years for Harvey Goldsmith, initially as a touring manager, representing the company’s interests at venues, both in the UK and internationally. From the Crystal Palace Garden Parties to touring with The Who, Pete built up invaluable experience and relationships with venues, artists, technicians and record companies. It was during this time he developed a real understanding of the different needs of the many parties involved in producing a live event, the possible pitfalls and the importance of being able to think clearly and quickly on one’s feet.

This hands-on experience and his key role as one of three stage managers of the legendary Live Aid concert paved the way for his next role as promoter.

Promoting tours by acts including Wham!, The Grateful Dead, Paul Weller and The Cure, and large outdoor concerts by the likes of David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen, and the Rolling Stones, he combined acute business skills and an appreciation of the realities of live touring with highly creative marketing abilities. In the increasingly popular and lucrative pop genre in particular, he built up a hugely successful roster of artists and a renowned reputation within the industry for his use of innovative marketing strategies, which he used to develop the potential of touring artists.

Outside the pop arena, he has been instrumental in developing non-musical talent, playing a key role in the evolution of Paul McKenna’s career, establishing Cirque du Soleil in the UK market, as well as working to develop and expand the WWE wrestling brand in the UK into a household name.
Also under his guidance The Original Cornbury Festival has been revitalised in its new home in Oxfordshire.

About Rainer Appel:
Rainer Appel was born in 1963 in Germany. He studied electronic engineering and the law and also worked as a performing artist.

Rainer went into the ticketing and live entertainment industry in 1998, where he took an active part in the development of CTW Eventim from German ticketing company to an integral global player.

About Thomas Miserendino:
Tom Miserendino is President and CEO of AEG Europe, having previously been Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of AEG Live from 2002 until October 2013.

Miserendino is responsible for overseeing all activity and business units of AEG throughout nine European markets, which includes 20 music and entertainment venues as well as standalone divisions including AEG Europe Ticketing (AXS), AEG Global Partnerships-Europe, AEG Live Europe, AEG Europe Development and AEG Facilities, Europe.

In addition he has oversight of AEG Europe’s more diverse businesses, which include the Barclaycard British Summer Time concert series at Hyde Park; Thames Clippers (the London river boat service); sports franchises such as German ice hockey clubs Eisbaren Berlin and Hamburg Freezers; and the Swedish Hammarby Sports Association, which owns Stockholm football club Hammarby Fotboll. 

During his time as COO at AEG Live he oversaw the operational and business affairs of the worldwide regional offices, clubs and theatres, and merchandising activities. He was also instrumental in determining the strategic direction of the Company and in the negotiation of all mergers and acquisitions. 

From 1998 to 2001 Miserendino was COO of TBA Entertainment, and prior to that he was President and Chief Operating Officer at Eric Chandler Ltd.

About Wayne Forte:
Entourage Talent Associates’ owner, principal, and entrepreneur Wayne Forte is a seasoned and well experienced veteran of the music industry, having achieved major success milestones by age 26, opening his first privately held business at 30 and booking and developing artists beginning with small clubs and quickly progressing them to sold out arenas and stadiums, on a worldwide basis. Through all the years and successes, Forte’s philosophy has never changed; to look for music “with [an] identity that seems to open up new side roads” and “people who set trends”, not follow them.

Born and raised in New York, Forte began booking student association concerts while enrolled at North Carolina State University, where he went to get a degree and start a career in a world away from the music industry entirely, so he thought. Instead, he re-discovered his inner-music-self, which he had buried in the attic with his old guitar.

Straight out of college, Forte started his career in the 70’s, soon landing at one of the first full-service powerhouse agencies, Creative Management Associates (CMA), where he quickly took on the representation of young musicians and bands, creating longstanding relationships with artists, managers and promoters. From this foundation and following the company’s merger with another large music, television and theatrical agency (International Famous Agency – IFA) Forte was able to further develop his knowledge, skills, and relationships at the new company, International Creative Management (ICM). During this period he represented then-fledgling artists Hall and Oates, Chick Corea and Return to Forever, Weather Report, Billy Cobham and the now-legendary British rock quartet Status Quo, as well as beginning a relationship with a soon-to-be worldwide mega-star named David Bowie.

Within a few years, and just prior to his move to the world-renowned William Morris Agency (WMA), Forte had set his sights on signing the best of what was then termed “punk” or “new wave”, music that most music agents had no interest in. While at WMA, his conviction to ‘make something happen’ at almost ‘whatever cost’ was so strong, Forte flew to England against department management approval, to recruit and eventually sign a UK underground fledgling band, virtually unknown to the masses in the U.S – The Clash. Having done so was a blessing and a curse; he then had his work cut-out for him, having convince promoters to ‘take a risk’ on a less than popular band with no track record what-so-ever outside the U.K. But, the risks paid off when the 1978 Give ‘Em Enough Rope Tour virtually sold out, surprising nervous American promoters and record executives alike.

In a short time, Forte added to his personal roster Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Iggy Pop, Joe Jackson, The Cure, The Stranglers and The Jam, to name a few, and was later tapped to be head of WMA’s East Coast Music Department, until this time (and perhaps until this day) the youngest to have been chosen to do so.

With visions of taking a different approach to the business of booking Artists and developing careers, Forte and a fellow WMA agent, the late and great Michael Farrell, took a gamble on themselves, a few clients and their vision, risking all they had (literally), to start their own agency: International Talent Group. Born in 1981, ITG was committed to breaking new artists and establishing and maintaining long-term careers. Within a year, ITG represented some of the hottest talent in the industry including but not limited to: Duran Duran, The Jam, Joe Jackson, Killing Joke, The Clash, The Vapors, The Cure, Depeche Mode, Adam and the Ants, David Bowie, Peter Gabriel, Genesis, King Crimson, Billy Idol, etc., etc., etc., bringing most of theses artists to North American shores for the very first time.

Growing by leaps and bounds, in 1983 ITG not only booked, but also co-produced David Bowie’s world renowned Serious Moonlight Tour – said by many to have been the artist’s most successful tour to date (and certainly resulting in the artist’s best selling album of all time) – playing arenas and stadiums throughout the world. But why stop there? Soon followed Forte and ITG, again, co-produced 1985-86 worldwide Glass Spider Tour, performed predominantly in stadiums with (then) state of the art large-scale concert/theatrical production, and in 1987 Duran Duran’s worldwide Strange Behavior Tour, which played stadiums in Europe and Japan as well as multiple arena shows throughout the rest of the world, including Manila, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. In addition to these ground-breaking activities, Forte continued to sign clients both domestically and internationally, including Howard Jones, The Psychedelic Furs, Joe Satriani, Sade, Paul Young, Radiohead, Yazoo, Scandal, Erasure, Eric Johnson, Spandau Ballet, Midge Ure, (the legendary) Power Station, Sarah McLachlan, Candy Dulfer, Simply Red, The Blue Nile, among many others, most on a worldwide basis.

The successes continued over the next ten years with many more ITG stadium and arena tours throughout the world, for clients The Cure, Depeche Mode, Genesis, Pink Floyd, Phil Collins, Roger Waters, David Bowie, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Robert Plant, among others, as Forte honed his expertise in foreign negotiation, planning and booking tours outside the U.S. as well as domestically; while at the same time establishing and overseeing multiple joint ventures for the ITG business. One of the most successful of these ventures was with the Labatt Entertainment Group, enabling the once fledgling agency and the ‘partners with an idea’ to realize many of their long term goals, including the establishment of offices in both Los Angeles and London.

After twelve years as CEO and President of ITG, having been responsible for signing more than 50% of the agency’s eighty, or more, clients, Forte resigned his position, sold his ownership and left the ITG partnership to set up a more personalized agency and consulting firm, Entourage Talent Associates, Ltd.; focusing his knowledge and expertise on introducing talented young artists to the business and helping to develop their international success, while at the same time helping to grow and maintain the careers of established artists and longtime clients, as he has continued to do for the past 15 years. And the rest, as they say, is history!

About Chris Carey:
Chris is CEO of Media Insight Consulting, a London based research consultancy specialising in consumer surveys and big data analytics for the music industry. The company exists to ensure the music industry has better access to data and a better understanding of what to do with that data, at all levels.  Clients include Sony, Spotify, CISAC, PRS for Music and they recently worked with Ella Eyre.

MIC have research in the UK and are expanding in to Canada, Australia, Holland and the US in the coming months.  

Chris started his career as an Economist at PRS for Music - where he co-authored the Adding Up the UK Music Industry papers - before moving to be Global Insight Director at EMI (where he started and ran their Big Data team) before moving to Universal after their purchase of EMI.