The A&R Report hosts an event entitled ‘Northern Lights” We pride ourselves on finding the best up and coming talent and curating a one of a kind experience for current and new fans alike. So I was particularly interested in attending this panel…
I was even more excited to hear the thoughts and opinions from experienced veterans in this realm, which included Fabrice Sergent, Founder and CEO of BandsinTown; Peter Shapiro who’s accolades include the Brooklyn Bowl/Relix Magazine/The Capitol Theatre and Lockn’Music Festival; Tom Poleman, President of programming at iHeartMedia; John Sykes, President of entertainment Ventures at iHeartMedia; Phil Hruska, Manager of Media and Strategy at Honda/Acura; Perry Ferrell, Lollapalooza Founder and Producer and Lee Anderson, Agent at AM Only.
Not knowing exactly what to expect from this diverse panel was a blessing in disguise. The personalities of these panelists shined brightly, however probably none as bright as Perry Ferrell who’s passion for the live experience was evident, he implored us to follow social trends and not to go against what is inevitable. while still providing us with unique theories on how he envisions the future of running live entertainment events. Perry Ferrell’s big idea, was to look at how sports teams are run, with organization, rules and support, and implore those same values for live entertainment. So in essence Festival owners would be the equivalent to League team owners. Although a provoking outside the box idea, I do foresee a few problems. Who Would be the commissioner? would there be an artists/performers union? Would this include all festivals or only the largest festivals? Obviously this idea still has some kinks to work out, however innovation starts with a bold new concept.
In today’s day and age, the panel couldn’t neglect discussing the impact technology has on the music industry, festivals and the live experience. Peter Shapiro mentioned “Where one door closed another one opened. Technology has helped the event side of the music business”. An accurate statement, technology has severely impacted record sales in the music industry; reference 2014 as the first year an artist has not went platinum. However the live event space has grown and the opportunity for artists to make bank from the live show has grown. Fabrice Sergent said “Technology is enabling better connections with artists and fans”. Those connections make for a better experience for the fans.
Music Trends at Festivals and Live Events: A friendly debate on the future of EDM and the evolution of music.
Lee Anderson believes EDM is the “sound of now” and is changing the way music is made. How can you argue with that when you have festivals literally packing open space fields with 80+ thousand people. Lee Anderson believes DJ’ing is an art form which went from turntables to cdj, serato etc. With EDM you’re not going to see a DJ, you’re going to see producers. I think this is where music has evolved with EDM, the concept of going to see a producer spin his own tracks and essentially break his own records has not yet transferred over to other genres. Perry Ferrell believes in 5 years Lollapalooza will have one side EDM and another side just as packed with more “authentic” music using live instruments etc. At the end of the day whether you love EDM or any other genre of music, the stats show that fans are listening to all kinds of music that ranges from all sorts of genres. John Sykes said “15 years ago there wasn’t the mix there is today, this is the ipod generation”.
Last words: Perry Ferell ” Don’t be in a hurry. I started putting on parties 30 years ago” and he runs one of the most successful Festivals in the world; Lollapalooza.