Execs dicuss mktg support, scheduling and more.
Though the touring business has improved over the last year, the lack of solid relationships between agents, managers and promoters is creating a "take the money and run" attitude throughout the industry, according to participants at today's (Oct. 25) Billboard Road Work '05 Touring Conference & Awards, taking place at the Roosevelt Hotel in N.Y.
"This used to a business about relationships and as managers today, we don't have that feeling that we're building something together," said Simon Renshaw, president of Strategic Artist Management. "I'm dealing with a guy I don't know at a big corporation and there isn't an alternative out there."
Dennis Arfa, president of Artists Group International, noted that the business today is "more homogenized and sterile. There's no passion and that's the way it is."
Additionally, participants decried the lack of marketing support for tours. "There's such a foot race for on sales. They roll out one after the other," said Bob Roux, president of PACE Concerts. "We need to discipline ourselves and each (tour) roll out five to eight weeks prior with marketing. A concentrated campaign will lift sales tremendously."
Doc McGhee, president of McGhee Entertainment, noted that many on sales are happening as much as seven months in advance of shows, and it is too difficult to sustain a marketing campaign for that long.
Panelists also expressed concern that tours are mostly taking place between May and September, and that more acts want to be on the road than ever before because it's becoming one of the only ways to make money. "How can you get attention when every week, new superstars are on sale?" questioned Arfa.
McGhee said that when it gets colder weather-wise, concert tickets are actually hot business. He added that smaller acts are increasingly wanting to mount their own shows, rather than opening for more established artists. "Acts are doing shows with just one hit," McGhee said. "We need to charge $40 for a $100 show, and we're not teaching that to artists."