(VIP-Booking) — We spoke to Michel Vega, CEO at Magnus Talent Agency (MTA) in the USA, to get an update on the status of the Live Industry across the pond, when we can expect to see US artists again in Europe and European artists touring the US.
How’s the re-opening schedule looking in your country?
Finally I can say we are open for business. Foo Fighters just performed the first full capacity show at Madison Square Garden this past weekend. Our particular agency currently has 55 shows on sale in the US just for 2021, beginning in mid-August. All in indoor arenas or theaters.
Do you sense a positive trend now and if so in what ways?
Hundreds of new shows are being announced each week now. On-sales are strong across genres and across geographies. VIP packages are selling out.
What steps have you taken over the past year to ensure that you’ll be ready for the re-opening of the Live Industry?
Like most companies that are heavily invested in this sector, we’ve implemented drastic measures to insure survival. Aggressively cutting expenses, seeking public and private financing options, and using the down time to revamp our operating processes. We also made important strides to move forward peripheral business opportunities, several of which have borne fruit, and are now an important part of our overall portfolio. Every decision was made with the focus on being ready for when shows could commence again. Most importantly, thankfully we’ve retained our key employees throughout the process.
When do you think European artists will be able to tour the U.S. again?
That’s difficult to predict, as it’s controlled at the federal government level. The most important influencing factor I suppose rests upon vaccination rates in the country of origin. I’m hopeful that we will see it this very year.
Have you started booking European tours for the autumn and onwards? If so which acts and when?
MARC ANTHONY will tour arenas throughout Europe (stadiums in Spain) beginning in early June 2022. CIMAFUNK, FONSECA, GENTE DE ZONA, and MAU Y RICKY are all accepting festival offers for the summer.
Do you expect to see more “independent” booking agencies and promoters in your country in the future and why?
It’s already happening with agents. The pandemic forced massive layoffs at the major agencies – hundreds of talented execs and future execs. These people are passionate about our industry, won’t leave it, and are finding ways to band together. On my own I’ve seen at least 10 serious new boutique agencies form in the last year, all with substantial rosters.
How important do you think Live Streaming will be in the future, both for major and upcoming acts?
Live streaming was never going to replace the physical live experience. But I do believe that some Covid-era innovations will now become woven into the traditional concert model. Certain iconic venues and concerts will lend themselves to be simul-streamed to a worldwide audience. Imagine being at home and able to control what camera angle you want to view the show with in real time. Virtual Meet & Greets. Those sorts of things.
Will the demand for Live Events be stronger than ever once we get back to normal?
There will be a surge in demand at the beginning due to the “claustrophobia effect”. We’re already seeing that in the ticket counts. But there is also a simultaneous rush from an unprecedented number of artists to all go out at the same time. Right now we are fighting for real estate on Monday and Tuesday nights. That will lead to an over saturation of content. Every venue cannot sell out every day of the year, all at the same time. After the surge, some will get hurt along the way. But ultimately there will be a levelling off and return to a healthy, sustainable industry.