TAG and AAM unite to provide better deals for touring artists
Travel services company The Appointment Group (TAG) has inked a commercial partnership with the Association of Artist Managers (AAM) that’s set to advance Australia’s music industry and its emerging artists.
The strategic alliance focuses on the touring sector, using TAG’s long-standing domestic and international relationships with hotels, airlines and ground transportation to consolidate all areas of travel for AAM members.
Specifically, the AAM’s more than 230 members – who manage artists including Gotye, Daniel Johns, Cold Chisel, Tkay Maidza and The Rubens – now have access to corporate prices on almost every cost related to touring. This includes accommodation, flights and transfers for AAM members, their artists and the artist’s crew, as well as waived flight change fees, free WiFi, early check-ins, additional baggage allowances, airport lounge passes and room upgrades.
The deal is quite unique in that the cost savings for the AAM members will be passed on directly to the benefit of the music managers and their artists. The association runs almost entirely on membership fees but with this deal any travel booked through the AAM corporate account will go towards a pool that the AAM can use to access financial rebates for its members.
Yvette Myhill, Executive Director at AAM, told TMN: “[The rebate is] a really important thing for us because at the moment it’s a big cost for us to go out and meet the expectations of all our members all over Australia.
“We have members in every state and territory, and we need to make sure that they’re getting access to the communications and the workshops that all the members in [metro areas] get.”
AAM’s Yvette Myhill and Greg Carey
Shane Barr, Managing Director at TAG Asia Pacific, told TMN: “TAG is very pleased to announce a new commercial partnership with the AAM which will assist the association to achieve quantified savings across the travel program of their members.”
“The partnership will see TAG provide a reward incentive for the AAM and its members, this will provide much needed support for the association as TAG continues to back the Australian music industry and specifically emerging artists,” Barr added.
Another unique aspect of the deal is the inclusion of TAG’s 24-hour, global, on-ground support. The TAG team operates 24/7, 365 days of the year covering all time zones from offices in London, Manchester, New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Nashville, Melbourne, Sydney and Singapore. Under the agreement AAM members will widen their reach in the travel sector and have access to real time solutions from anywhere in the world.
Shane Barr, Managing Director Asia Pacific at The Appointment Group
Greg Carey, AAM Acting Chairperson and Director of nine-year-old management, PR and events company Umbrella, has named the partnership the AAM’s “most sophisticated” yet.
“The nature of touring is that there is a lot of outside risks that you just can’t predict,” Carey said. “So to have a robust system where you have up-to-date communication and someone to help problem solve – especially when you’re on the road with a big touring party – is really great.”
Carey said that while the AAM does offer many benefits to its members, like discounted travel, merchandise, conference passes and insurances, this is the first time it’s entered a partnership of this scale.
“For us to be able to use the AAM as the conduit to access those larger benefits [for artists and managers] that The Appointment Group are able to facilitate is such a positive thing,” he said.
“The beauty of it is, even if you’re developing an act and they’re just starting out, given the fact TAG is an international company, you kind of grow up with them,” he added. “You build that relationship over the band’s career.”
Interestingly, the partnership stemmed from a conversation between Myhill and Barr at US travel conference LE Miami.
“[The AAM] had a strategy planning session just before I went away, said Myhill. “We were talking about benefits for members and […] one of the big things was travel and touring, not just for the artists but for the managers themselves as well.
“[Managers] do go to a lot of conferences and events trying to do deals on behalf of their artists,” she said. “[…] We felt like if we could help managers themselves then we could subsequently help their artists.”
Historically, touring is where bands make the most of their profits, but ironically, tours can be a costly venture. A report by Live Performance Australia found concert-goers purchased 18.54 million tickets in 2014, spending an average of $91.57 per ticket. But according to the AAM’s recent, still-to-be-released study into Australia’s management sector, many local artist managers diversify their incomes to support their career. A survey conducted by the Australian Music Industry Network (AMIN) made a similar finding in 2014; 96% of those surveyed said their careers actually cost them money.
“Many [managers] don’t make enough money just by managing bands,” said Myhill. “They’ve often got other arms to their business or other things that they do on the side. Artist management obviously is tough because they’re making money as the bands make money.”
The AAM’s partnership with TAG is an extension of the initiative’s supportive posture in the artist management space. Its lobbying for Australian artists at radio and with the NSW State Government saw the launch a National Code of Conduct for artist managers in 2014. The AAM has also contributed to senate enquiries, assisted in the organisation of the National Contemporary Music Industry Roundtable, and helps six emerging managers every year with its two mentorship programs.
To find out more about AAM or to become a member, head to www.aam.org.au.