The fast-growing and prosperous international live-music industry must avoid complacency, attendees at this year's International Live Music Conference were told.

During his keynote speech on the opening day of the March 9-11 event in London, veteran mega-agent Carl Leighton-Pope told attending promoters, agents and venue operators that struggling record labels will not lie down and die.

"Our business is doing particularly well, but the record companies will need to get into more of the business; they have to think more laterally and learn that it is not all about selling records," Pope said. "They are definitely going to take a different position within the industry. They will sign new acts and get involved in their merchandise and e-commerce."

For much of his 40-year career, hit recordings drove fans to concerts, observed Pope, whose London-based agency LPO includes crooner Michael Buble, Brian Adams and Keith Urban among its clients. These days, he added, it is the other way around.

As signal to times ahead, Pope cited EMI Records' groundbreaking 2002 deal with U.K. Robbie Williams, which gave the label a share of the artist's live-concert earnings.

"It gave (EMI) an insight into the kind of money Robbie was making from everything he was doing live," Pope explained. "We also need to think laterally and have to invest in (new) acts."

Pope also declared that the legal secondary-ticketing market will have a major impact on live music because the U.K. government, despite frowning on ticket "scalping," refused to make the activity illegal.

Speaking from the audience, Stuart Galbraith, U.K. managing director of promotion giant Live Nation, said officials felt "the issue was not worthy of legislation" during a recent "ticket touting" summit with the British government.

Harvey Goldsmith, the impresario who organized the Live Aid and Live 8 global concerts, advised the various sectors within live music, including artists, promoters and venues, to join forces to lobby for the necessary law.

"The only way our industry will resolve this and other issues is for us as a whole, and that includes artists, to stand up as one. Otherwise, the governments of most countries will not take enough notice," Goldsmith declared.