Hoping to offer a significant challenge to deep-pocketed SFX, 11 of the industry’s top promoters have formed the Independent Promoters Organization.
The move, sparked by the wave of consolidation in the industry led by SFX, will help IPO partners compete for their share of the nearly $2 billion concert industry, and offer developing acts an alternative to the concert industry titan.
At its heart, Indie Promoters partners believe the linking of regional promoters can offer acts an alternative to SFX and others, while also maintaining the traditional agency-promoter system.
Each partner will maintain autonomy, but work closely together. The partner’s will work on a tour-by-tour basis, with each member putting in funds to make a competitive bid for landing major acts.
SFX has come under fire for frequently cutting the agent, who routes a tour, out of the loop by dealing directly with the act on major tours.
It is also accused of not supporting the up-and-coming acts, many of which will be the industry’s future headliners, preferring instead to sign the big-grossing superstar acts.
SFX frequently says it is committed to the agency system and developing lesser-known acts into headliners.
IPO asserts SFX’s top dollar payments to major artists have contributed to escalating talent and ticket costs.
Until SFX, tours were typically structured through a patchwork of regional promoters, each of whom dealt with an act’s agent.
But with SFX’s command of the marketplace, agents fear an act that may need to play a major market in order to boost its career won’t be able to because the local promoter there won’t be part of the SFX network.
“Together we believe we can come up with creative and innovative ideas to compete more effectively with bigger companies coming into our markets,” said Jam Prods. chief Jerry Mickelson, CEO of IPO. “One size fits all … most certainly does not apply (in the concert biz) if you’re concerned about developing artist careers and responding to the needs of local audiences. We need to end the smoke and mirrors that is plaguing our business.”
Industry vet Ben Liss has been tapped as prexy of Independent Promoters Org. The company’s board will boast execs from each of the partners.
IPO’s initial partners include Metropolitan Entertainment, Universal Concerts (soon to be dubbed HOB Concerts) Evening Star Prods., Belkin Prods., Stone City Attractions and others.
Ironically, most of the new company’s members received buyout overtures from SFX execs.