As executive director of the North American Concert Promoters Association, I would like to briefly introduce myself and associate director Linda Moody.
I have been involved in the concert business since the mid-90s when I began a career at Pollstar Magazine, which started in my hometown of Fresno, Calif. My original career path involved education. My father was the superintendent of the Herndon School District and I was expected to become a high-school English teacher.
However, one thing they tell you in the state teacher’s credentialing program: There’s a big need for teachers. One thing they don’t tell you: Nobody’s hiring.
At Pollstar, I initially had a data-entry position that helped pay off my school debt.
From there I learned not only the basics of the concert industry (what an agent, promoter, and manager do) but also important names of businesses and individuals involved in the industry.
My introduction to NACPA came through the Concert Industry Consortium of 1998 when it sponsored the keynote address by Tom Ross, the head of the CAA music department.
Over time, I was promoted to national news editor of Pollstar and noted how NACPA continued to play its vital role in the concert industry. My knowledge grew as did my contacts. I rode elevators with Sharon Osbourne, was told by Frank Barsalona why he never smiles (he fell out of a tree as a kid and paralyzed his face), got chewed out by the important people by rites of passage, and met some of the coolest people in the world. I watched my life get immersed by The Station fire in West Warwick, R.I., reported on the the merger of Live Nation and Ticketmaster and saw the head-scratching emergence of e-sports. Along the way there were numerous interviews with the likes of Aretha Franklin, Dan Aykroyd, Taylor Swift, Michael Bublé and many others.
As time presented, again, a change, I left my position to take care of my aging mother up to the time of her passing. In 2019, my career path went full circle when offered to take up where Cynthia and Ben Liss left off – to continue the legacy of NACPA. It’s understood that’s a big assignment.
Alongside with me at NACPA is Linda Moody. Linda is a longtime associate who has an extensive background in banking and office management. We look forward to working with all of you as the concert business begins to reopen later this year and the years ahead.
Brent Daughrity is a partner at Anderson Benson Insurance and Risk Management, leading its Entertainment Practice Group.
In this role, Daughrity works with clients across multiple genres, ranging from baby acts to superstars, providing strategic counsel and tailored coverage solutions to protect artists and their interests. During his tenure Daughrity & team developed a Music & Social influencer program and were named Lloyd’s Coverholders.
He is a current member of the CMA, ACM, Recording Academy and AIMP and sits on the board of Horton’s Helpers, a charitable organization providing financial assistance to deserving Autism programs focusing on the growth, development and adaption of individuals in the autism spectrum.
NACPA asked him about cancellation insurance and in the process the discussion soon incorporated Cyber Security insurance and an effort to get the word out on the newsletter of Michael Strickland, founder of Bandit Lites, who is lobbying DC on behalf of the industry.
Is event cancellation insurance the top conversation you’re having right now with clients?
I think there are a lot of questions that are swirling out there but event cancellation is a big one. Talking about the cancellation market, most of the risks are underwritten in London at Lloyd’s of London by a continency syndicate. Basically, there are eight syndicates that are individual insurers that will accept a risk. For example, if there is a tour and the artist is asked to perform 75 shows over 12 months for a $10 million guarantee, the promoter wants to make sure the advance is covered in case of a death, accident, illness, travel delay, communicable disease like Covid 19, terrorism, civil commotion. I place that risk in the London marketplace.
Again, you have eight syndicates that will take a piece of that $10 million. There will be a lead syndicate that’s 33 percent and the rest will follow. The market is very small. There’s not a lot of entertainment syndicates in London.
Does this mean the eight syndicates will pay out 100 percent to a max combined total of $10 million if the insured risk occurs?
What if five agree but three do not? Is the slack picked up and paid by those five so they end up paying out far more than their initial percentage?
All the syndicates have to follow the lead syndicates’ decision.
What is an example of when a claim was denied for cancellation – when the show did not occur but the syndicate refused to pay?
There could be many reasons why a claim would be denied as any insurance policy it only covers specific perils – i.e., death, accident, illness, unavoidable travel delay, adverse weather. Claims that might not be covered is pandemic, Covid-19, or preexisting illness that wasn’t disclosed on the application.
What is the status of the Tokyo Olympics?
It looks like it will be canceled. Japan is under a state of emergency due to a third wave of Covid infections. If it is canceled, that would be a $2 billion to $3 billion loss to the London contingency marketplace.
If the loss occurs the eight syndicates will go down to probably four. They’ll just get out of the market. It won’t bankrupt them but they’ll just get out of the space.
Are there reinsurers involved – meaning the eight have the frontline risk but, if they want, why not layoff some of that risk or bet on a reinsurer (who insures the insurance firm’s policy)? Is that commonplace?
There is no reinsurance on this line of coverage because each syndicate is only underwriting the percentage of the risk they are willing to take in the event of a loss.
The cancellation market as a whole is a big question mark for most managers, business managers, promoters. All three are buying this coverage. And what will rates look like? Can you insure against Covid? Will you ever be for communicable disease or variances of Covid?
The answer, right now, is no. You can’t insure against something that is already present. I think you’ll see some aggressive markets that really try to get a lot of rate to underwrite communicable disease.
I think you will see one come into the market who’ll say, “Look, for a song and a dance, we’ll insure against variants of it,” but it’s still unknown.
There are so many pending claims. I still have tours and events that have canceled that we’re still working through. Syndicates really don’t know how big their total losses are going to be from 2020 and lingering into 2021.
What is the biggest question or top concerns the insurance companies have about paying out those Covid cancellation claims? What is the holdup based on?
Any cancellation claim is a process. The client has to prove the extent of the loss and forensic accounting has to have all the proper documentation to calculate that loss.
You’ll always be able to get cancelation insurance: death, accident, illness, unavoidable travel delay, cyber. You’ll be able to buy all of them. Will prices increase? Absolutely. Will promoters require the artist to carry it? Absolutely. I’ve seen several of the major promoters’ addendums and they are requiring anything and everything. They’re wanting coverages that don’t exist. The promoters are doing it to protect themselves from another catastrophic event like Covid-19.
Regarding promoters’ liability for “causing” a so-called super-spreader event: Some say they are very much in the line of fire; others say it would be difficult to prove an event caused a contagion big or small. Where do you stand on that spectrum?
Yeah, that’s a tough one. If you read the CGL form – Commercial General Liability form – in order for liability to be triggered legal liability has to exist. It exists by the wrongdoer being found guilty of negligent conduct. The injured party suffers actual damage or the wrongdoer’s negligent conduct is the proximate cause of injury or damage.
One of the three has to be triggered in order for liability to exist. In the world of Covid, it doesn’t meet the requirements. I am of the belief that, unfortunately, on the liability portion, if a promoter was sued for Covid, the claim would be denied.
Because it’s excluded from all insurance policies. It would be like someone suing a promoter for getting the flu at a concert. That wouldn’t be covered.
Actions and inactions that would possibly lead to legal liability would include if a promoter, or a client, allowed an employee who is known to be infected to continue working or if they failed to adhere to health prevention guidelines or if they remained open after a civil authority close.
What about a member of the act’s road crew? An employee of the venue? A staffer with the security company or the concessionaire?
The legal liability would be on each vendor’s employees. If an artist allowed a crewmember to continue his job duties knowing that person had Covid, it would go back on the artist.
On the general liability standpoint, I think you’re very limited in Covid defense by way of liability if you were sued for that.
Also, there’s the staff. There’s workers compensation. For that, in most workers compensation forms that I’ve read, there is not an exclusion for communicable disease but there are two guidelines. The illness or disease must be occupational, meaning it arose out of, and was in the course and scope of, the employment and/or the illness must arise out of or be caused by conditions peculiar to the work – e.g., health workers, hospital workers.
It would be potentially tough to even claim workers comp but I find that to be a much grayer area.
Do you believe you are in the majority opinion?
I do. I think most people are saying that. To go a little bit further, there are some actions that are being discussed in Washington D.C. that could potentially hold the insurance carriers responsible. We’ll see.
They are considering passing a bill called the Liability Indemnity Act. Promoters and artists that sell out stadium tours are concerned that without the passage of this bill, there’s the potential they open themselves up to a class action lawsuit for Covid-19 related illness. Until that legislation is passed, there’s the possibility. There’s a push in the industry of having that passed. If not, I think promoters/artist will potentially steer clear of large-scale events.
Are you saying only large-scale events are in danger of class-action? What about clubs or theaters?
It should be a concern and applies to any business and any size room
I think the approach from the management side is to just not do it and see where this goes. I think all of them are saying let’s not do it for 2021 and plan on 2022.
Another year of waiting around.
Yeah, it’s sad. We are seeing just one part of the world, one industry, that is being decimated by Covid-19. I’m on the Academy of Country Music Covid-19 committee and we discuss the hurt and how the Academy can help assist people that are out of work during this time. We’re trying to lobby to Washington DC that our industry needs help.
Michael Strickland, founder of Bandit Lites, has made it his mission and has taken it upon himself to lobby for our industry. He is just a force to be reckoned with. He is staying in Washington a lot. He’s probably doing 10 television programs a week. He is communicating with them and just really trying to get the CARES Act and Safe Stages Act passed as well as the Liability Indemnity Act passed so we can all go back to work and live our lives.
For those interested in receiving the newsletter, Michael Strickland, owner of bandit Lites and a voice for the concert industry inside the Beltway, has offered to contact him through his email, MStrickland@banditlites.com.
We’ve never had one, single occurrence of this magnitude that has affected our industry where we needed a lobbying group. There is no common voice in Washington D.C. that is looking after us as an industry. Michael has change that for the industry. It’s amazing the billions of dollars the industry represents and we don’t have anybody lobbying on our behalf. What’s been a little disheartening but not surprising in Washington is that the perception is that everyone works for a big, rich, famous artist and we are all getting paid. It couldn’t be further from the truth. Strickland has had to educate them that it’s not the case.
Any other insurance topics on people’s minds right now?
The big three we’ve hit – general liability, workers compensation, cancelation contingency. But I will add one other thing. When you go from 10 syndicates down to four, five, and that’s very likely, you run into a capacity issue. Think about it in terms of a bank: you’ve got a billion dollars and all you can loan out is that billion. Once it’s gone there is no more capacity to loan. To go back to the contingency side, it is a really big worry that I’m talking to a lot of people about. I think we need to be smart on how place any of the risk that comes forth because, again, the capacity in the London market just isn’t going to be there. It’s already truncated because the syndicates that are still there have lessened their capacity limit, which lessens their exposure.
The last thing that is a very big topic that people are very unaware of is cyber insurance.
Can you discuss more about cyber insurance? This sounds awful but it’s a topic other than Covid.
I know, right?
I have calls weekly with London and when you hear insurers start talking about the Next Big Thing, you know there’s truth to it. Lloyd’s having offices in 37 countries across 6 continents you hear what is happening globally.
I’ve already gotten a lot of calls about cyber insurance. I believe London and others have commented that 2021-22 being one of the worst cyber warfare years the country has ever seen.
From an artist’s standpoint: say you’re set to announce 75 shows at 75 venues. The exposure is they can choose to shut down everything to a venue. And they feel it’s going to be targeted. Entertainment is a target. There are a lot of fans, a lot of people, that can be affected by it. They can show the power of what they can do through interruption.
Can you give an example of promoter exposure?
For instance, the promoter is having a show and the hour before doors open an attack happens and the show doesn’t go on. The promoter could be covered by business interruption or contingent business interruption which can be found under your cyber coverage.
Cyber has already become a huge conversation with artists, management and promoters. How do we insure it, how do we protect ourselves in this situation? Cyber insurance has many components but one important is Business Interruption, meaning it could pay a claim if a show went down due to a cyber-attack.
If it is something people don’t know about, they need to ask the question. It’s an inexpensive coverage that is in the client’s best interest to have. We are seeing cyber exposure showing up on the personal side of insurance as well. Many personal lines carriers have added cyber as an added coverage.
We have seen cases where personal computers have been attacked and the attackers hold personal pictures or data ransom until they are paid. The cyber policy would trigger coverage and an expert hired by the insurance carrier would negotiate with the attackers to get your personal items back.
If you start reading about it, it will frighten you.
I think it’s the “c” word of 2021. When Covid is behind us, ahead of us is Cyber.
Brent can be reached at:
3322 West End Ave., Suite 500 | Nashville, TN 37203
As 2020 finally comes to a close, North American Concert Promoters Association would like to wish everyone the best for next year.
Notes from the Executive Director
It has certainly been a year of transformation, and that includes inside NACPA, with the formal announcement that its leadership will transfer from executive director Cynthia Liss and Ben Liss to West-coasters Joe Reinartz and Linda Moody beginning Jan. 1. In our next edition, we will share some information on who we are and our experience. For now, we look forward to leading NACPA into 2021.
Below are links to some articles we have found to be worth a read.
December COVID-19 Relief Bill – Shuttered Venue Operator Grants
Michael Strickland, CEO of Bandit Lites, has always been an advocate for topics like workplace safety, and he recently testified in front of the US Senate’s Subcommittee on Manufacturing, Trade, and Consumer Protection seeking financial relief for the live industry. Below is his testimony, among others:
Meanwhile, Pollstar has ambitiously announced its annual Pollstar Live! Conference, combined with the VenuesNow Conference, for June 14-17 at The Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles.
Likewise, the ILMC has announced is virtual conference for March 3-5. Registration is available here.
The Legendary Dick Alen
Finally, before I took on the role of executive director for NACPA, I was a longtime writer/reporter for the music industry. One project included assisting Dick Alen, former head of William Morris’s personal appearances department, developing a book documenting his interesting life. Dick passed away recently so sadly that project never saw the light of day. However, Alen’s contribution to music history is significant. He was essential in putting black artists in front of national TV audiences. He had a lifetime business relationship and friendship with acts like Chuck Berry, Woody Herman and Aretha Franklin. He was involved with everything from bringing Julio Iglesias to America to writing the lyrics to “Here Comes The Judge,” made famous by his client Pigmeat Markham. He offered advice to beginning agents like “Be honest” and “Your first day working with your client is the beginning of the end. They will leave you.”
He was also a man who was incredibly sweet, played a lot of tennis and loved tongue sandwiches.
Please enjoy a quick story (never published) Alen shared about signing Jerry Lee Lewis to William Morris. Some artistic liberties were likely taken:
In 1973, I got a call from Judd Phillips. Judd was the brother of famed Sun Records founder Sam Phillips had been working at Sun for many years, handling promotion. He had also worked promotion for artists the likes of Ray Acuff and was known as a radio man. For a short time, he even had his own record company, Judd Records.
He was now managing Jerry Lee Lewis, a position he was going to hold for many years. By this time, Lewis had patched his differences with Sam – they had a well-known fallout regarding Jerry Lee’s marriage to his cousin; Jerry Lee had thought Sam was not supportive during the crisis. That was a long time ago at this point. Now Jerry was finding his way in country music, and Judd and I knew each other because of my relationship with Charlie Rich, and because of William Morris’s new Nashville office.
In a world filled with new rock heroes like The Rolling Stones and The Who, Jerry Lee had discovered a second career in country music. He was already five years beyond his No. 1 country single “To Make Love Sweeter For You” and had already recorded songs that would be classics like “What’s Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made A Loser Out Of Me)” and “Another Place, Another Time.” He was about to play his first and only appearance at the Grand Ole Opry. He was a year into a marriage with wife Jaren Pate, and they had a newborn. Within a year of Judd’s phone call, the 38-year-old Jerry Lee Lewis would lose his son, Jerry Lee Jr., in a car accident.
Judd wanted more for his client than just a country music career. He still saw Jerry Lee as a viable rock and roll act and he thought Jerry deserved to return to that scene.
And I was willing to take Jerry Lee as a client. Of course, we still had to go through several calls’ worth of negotiations, with Judd and I taking several long-distance phone calls between Los Angeles and Memphis.
Contracts are simple things, on one level: an agent books dates and an artist plays them. But every contract has variables. There are details to be ironed out. An agent needs to know the commission rate and how many dates will the client be willing to do a week. What is the pricing? What is the artist worth? Does he like to work in clubs? Does he like to play big concerts? Does he want to be on big shows? Does he just want to play by himself?
These, of course, have to be covered in writing. And the client has parameters, too: Will William Morris make a guarantee on television? Will the agency have the client meet with the commercial department? Will the client get a commercial? What are the chances of getting into a movie?
One of the unique points Judd wanted was television. He believed Jerry deserved four television specials, one each for spring, summer, fall and winter. William Morris, and my connections, definitely provided the best leverage for that. Still, we told Judd that was one thing we could not guarantee. We were very happy to try but in 1973 rock music on television was not popular. People weren’t watching music and they certainly weren’t watching rock and roll – maybe Andy Williams or Barbra Streisand. But for Jerry Lee, especially 10 years after his popularity, we suggested the best thing would be to get a couple of guest spots on some major variety shows. And, at that time, most of the variety shows were gone. Johnny Carson was more like it.
So I had to talk Judd out of his request. I reminded him that William Morris was one of the biggest agencies in the country, or the world, and we had a television department of between 50 and 100 people. They were selling everything from major movie stars to movies of the week – the Bill Cosby television series, for instance. Jerry would have a better chance with us of getting some type of TV coverage than he would at some independent agent based in Nashville that didn’t have a regular conversation with TV buyers. That’s how it works: You promise best effort. You give them a history of what best effort has done for some people. It works for some, it doesn’t for others.
Also, we’re assuming everything we say to Judd goes to Jerry Lee. And we felt Jerry Lee could upgrade where he’s playing and get more of a pop audience instead of a strictly country crowd.
Not to say that wouldn’t be difficult. In Los Angeles there was The Palomino, which was a great club that paid really well but the only people who went there were country fans. It became the first place we booked Jerry Lee, but it was so we could invite television and newspaper contacts. We knew that was a place that would be packed with Jerry’s fans. Once we had that taken care of, the next step would be to bring him to Universal Amphitheatre or Santa Monica Civic Center – someplace more likely to bring in a pop crowd.
Eventually we reached an agreement. It was just the formality of getting Jerry Lee’s signature.
Judd wanted a photo op for the event. I would fly to Memphis, go to his office, meet Jerry Lee, we’d shake hands, take pictures and tell each other how much we loved each other.
That was the plan, anyway.
I flew to Memphis, landing in the afternoon. I got a rental car – not only because it’s convenient but I had learned that it’s a good idea to have my own wheels in times like these because if a problem crops up, I can get out immediately. That experience was about to pay dividends.
Judd met me at the airport and I followed him to his office. It was around 4 p.m. But, unlike what I expected, Jerry Lee was not there. Instead, I sit listening to Judd talking on the phone. I’m told Jerry will be there at 5. Then, the story is, Jerry will be there in another hour.
“Hey look,” I finally tell Judd. “I got to get to the hotel. I haven’t even checked in yet.” I wanted to check my suitcase, wash my face and get something to eat.
Judd understood and came up with Plan B. Jerry was going to be at a club that night, right across the Mississippi in Arkansas. He suggested we have dinner then drive out there to meet Jerry at around 10 p.m.
And that’s what we did. I went to the hotel, checked in and had dinner with Judd. Then I followed him to the club and got there around 10 o’clock.
Jerry wasn’t not there. And he wasn’t there at 11 p.m., either.
Around midnight, Jerry arrives. He was glad to see me and, obviously, I ws glad to see him. We took a table and had lighthearted conversation while we waited for the next show to start.
Jerry Lee ordered up some drinks. Not for us, but for him. He’d order a Brandy Alexander and a double Tequila Sunrise. Over and over.
Now, stories about The Killer’s drinking are plentiful, and there are legendary stories about things he may have done when he wasn’t sober. But that’s not the whole story. He is, at heart, a Southern gentleman. When he was straight, he was fun, nice and very pleasant to be around. But when he had one too many in the afternoon, he could become unpleasant.
The show ended around 2 a.m. and Jerry Lee was probably had about four rounds to himself, although I wasn’t keeping track. But I was definitely getting nervous.
“Jerry,” I said, “You know, I’ve got to take a 9 o’clock plane. Can we take care of the business?”
“Sure,” he says. He wanted to sign the papers in the manager’s office.
So we go there, along with Judd and a few others. I take the contract from our legal department out of my briefcase.
“Wait a second,” Jerry Lee said. “I don’t want to just sign it. This is a very important event. Jerry Lee Lewis is going with WEEliam MORris!”
He turned to his manager.
“Judd, go out and get the photographer.”
Judd left the office. Meanwhile, Jerry Lee turned to one of the hangers’ on. “Bring me a Brandy Alexander and a double Tequila Sunrise.”
The drinks come first and Jerry Lee didn’t waste any time. The photographer came in and stood next to Jerry. The Killer grabbed the pen and got ready to sign.
That’s when Jerry finally got a good look at the photographer.
“I know you.”
The photographer looked puzzled, or at least pretended to.
“I know you,” Jerry Lee said again. “You’re that photographer from the paper.” Apparently, it was a professional photographer from the Commercial-Appeal.
“You took that picture of me drunk, didn’t you?” Jerry Lee said. “You took that picture, the one with that caption. You published that damned photo.”
We really didn’t know what he was talking about, but the photographer did. And the photographer was definitely not apologizing, and an inebriated Jerry Lee was not about to let bygones be bygones. The minutes kept on clicking by.
“Hey Jerry,” I said. The two stopped and looked at me. “I gotta get out of here. My plane’s coming. Come on. I got to get this done.”
“OK,” Jerry Lee said, and looked down at the contract. “OK.”
He picked up the pen again, squiggled his name on the line, dropped the pen, stood up, turned and round-housed the photographer with a vicious right.
Judd jumped in to separate them, and the rest of the room clustered around the men, pulling them apart.
I looked down at the table and grabbed the papers. The signature was definitely on the right page. I shoveled the papers back into my case, ran out of the room, got into my car and tore down the highway to Memphis.