Press Play Presents launches agency ready for post-COVID
A new national agency Press Play Presents launched in Melbourne today (August 25) with a huge roster of Australian and international names and a strategy for facing a post-COVID landscape.
Owner Sean Simmons’ has spent 25 years in the biz, including seven years as an agent at Premier Artists and programming for City of Yarra’s Leaps & Bounds.
He emerged in a number of bands and did a series of shows on community radio stations RRR and PBS that showcased left-of-centre alt-rock.
Much of his agency’s roster is probably shaped by the spirit of those shows.
Press Play Presents acts include Mick Harvey, Black Cab, Cash Savage & The Last Drinks, The Scientists, Cookin’ on 3 Burners, Kid Congo & the Pink Monkey Birds, Lydia Lunch, Freya Josephine Hollick Mick Thomas, Truckload of Sky: The Lost Songs of David McComb, Pop Crimes: The Songs of Rowland S. Howard, Blackeyed Susans, Rob Snarskii and Ben Salter.
“These are acts that I love and admire,” Simmons says. “An effective agency keeps all lines of communications open, and avoid the one-for-all formula.
“Having been a musician myself, I know how they think and what their needs are.
“Every artist has different goals, and each one has their path and you have to tap into each one.”
We put it off due to the pandemic but can't put it off any longer so… FINALLY – We have officially LAUNCHED!Check out…
He noticed a change in the live music landscape in the last few years.
“The spotlight on diversity and gender equality has really shifted,” Simmons points out. “That was really important to see and be part of, because it was always a mission statement for me.
“The bands I played in always had females, and I’m multicultural myself as an Anglo-Indian.”
By the nature of his different roles, Simmons always made it his business to keep an eye on the grassroots scene.
But it was an eye-opener for him when Leaps & Bounds was forced to go online. He had to hastily learn about the latest new platforms to stream on, and the importance of timeslots.
“If an act had a European and US profile, you’d put them on in a Sunday afternoon slot to get the Saturday night crowd in America. The festival got a 30% overseas audience going online.”
Post-COVID, Simmons says there will definitely be ‘a new normal’, and that’s being worked out at the moment.
“You can’t sustain touring endlessly. You have to plan your runs and have a real strategy around them, and try a different approach with each.
“Staging a gig is no longer just lobbing into a venue and selling a bunch of tickets.
“Social distancing obviously causes limited capacities so you look at options like two shows a night with no support, or increased ticket prices for bigger acts, and adding a streaming element because you can target the international market.
“Because you’re tapping not just people who’ve been affected by the pandemic, but also those who’ve not gone out for years and are now virtually waited for the show to come to them.”