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The Future Of Live Music with Kevin Shivers, Partner at WME

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It’s no secret that touring is the lifeblood of most modern-day musical artists. But while most fans only see the finished product — a head-bobbing performance at Coachella or a sold-out nightclub — few get a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes work being done by professionals like Kevin Shivers, a partner in WME’s music division. Let this interview with Kevin be your inside look at what goes into the live performances that fuel the entire music industry.

 

Kevin has been with WME since 2008 after a stint in Hollywood. While with WME, he’s worked with stars such as Tyler The Creator, Summer Walker, Kid Cudi, and plenty more on their touring strategies. Of course, Kevin’s world — much like every other industry — was dealt a massive blow during the past two years. But with live shows seemingly back (knock on wood), Kevin has his eyes toward the future.

 

And the future is an even better fan experience, says Kevin. NFTs, virtual concerts, removing the frictions of going to a real-life show — these are all ongoing evolutions that will better connect superfans with their favorite artists. We covered this near-term future in our interview, plus a whole lot more.

 

We have an insightful talk on what he’s doing with NFT’s and Web 3.0, and discuss broadly about the metaverse. Tune in to discover how Bun has positioned artists and himself in this incredible space!

 

 

Episode Highlights

[2:15] How Kevin Broke Into The Entertainment Business 

[4:00] How Has the Music Business Changed In The Past Two Years? 

[5:25] The Go-Forward Plan For 2022

[6:40] What Spurred Tyler The Creator’s Big 2021

[9:35] What Data Goes Into Entering New Touring Markets 

[13:10] Festival Strategies With Artists

[14:56] How Has Streaming Changed Touring Trajectory

[17:10] The Biggest Touring Mistake

[18:30] Social Media’s Influence On Touring

[19:30] Touring Difference Between Hip Hop And R&B

[21:02] How Kevin Measure Success For Himself 

[23:00] Why Kevin Is So Vested In Mentorship

[25:19] Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives Within The Music Industry 

[28:46] The Impact Web 3.0 Will Have On The Music Industry

[31:20] Will Virtual Concerts Replace Live Shows?

[32:30] Five-Year Predictions For Music Touring

[34:43] How Many Days Will Kevin Spend At Shows In 2022?

[35:40] How Do You Find The Next Musical Star?

 

Listen: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | SoundCloud | Stitcher | Overcast | Amazon | Google Podcasts | Pocket Casts | RSS

 

Host: Dan Runcie, @RuncieDan, trapital.co

 

Guest: Kevin Shivers, Instagram: @bellmeadallstar

 

 

Trapital is home for the business of hip-hop. Gain the latest insights from hip-hop’s biggest players by reading Trapital’s free weekly memo

 

Transcript

The Future Of Live Music with Kevin Shivers, Partner at WME

 

Kevin Shivers  00:00

You gotta ask yourself after arenas, then what? Where are you going after that? I mean, like, you know, you might already have that plan in your head, but like these careers are, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

 

Dan Runcie  00:18

Hey, welcome to the Trapital podcast! I’m your host and the founder of Trapital, Dan Runcie. This podcast is your place to gain insights from the executives in music, media, entertainment, and more, who are taking hip hop culture to the next level. Today’s episode is with Kevin Shivers. He’s a partner at WME, and he represents some of the biggest artists in the game like Tyler, the Creator, Summer Walker, and more. We talked about how he was able to maximize the big year that Tyler had last year. I feel like Tyler headlined so many music festivals, and had so many appearances. Kevin talks about what it took to make that happen, especially given how turbulent things were with COVID, and all of the restrictions and variants that came through and how he was able to still make it happen. We talk more broadly about music festivals in the strategy that Kevin has for making sure his clients can get certain buildings on the roster. We also talked about Summer Walker and how he was able to do the same for her. Then, we talked more broadly about what it’s like as a black executive, especially in representing artists. There are not too many people at agents that are at Kevin’s level that look like Kevin, so we talked about that. Some of the advocacy work and mentoring and giving back that he’s done and he’s prioritized in his career, and so much more. It was great to have Shivers on here. I hope you enjoy this. Here’s my chat with Kevin Shivers. All right, today, we got one of the most powerful agents in the game. Kevin Shivers partner at WME. Welcome to the pod, feels like we’re long overdue.

 

Kevin Shivers  01:49

Thanks for having me, Dan. It’s a pleasure. 

 

Dan Runcie  01:51

Yeah, it’s funny because I feel like this time of the year, I always see the festival posters come up for all of the music festivals. And I’m sure you’ve seen the one where they replace the names of the festivals with the agencies that they’re all part of. And whenever I see the WME, I’m like: Man, Kevin was on his game this year. 

 

Kevin Shivers  02:10

It’s definitely not all me, man. There are so many great agents at work here. Happy to be a part of this team. 

 

Dan Runcie  02:15

So you’ve been in the game for a while now. But let’s take a step back. Because I know you’ve been working at the agency for some time. But what was it that first attracted you to the business?

 

Kevin Shivers  02:27

I had to say it was my mother. When I was a kid growing up, my mother would drag my brother out of movies every weekend. And that’s the first time in my head where I got: Wait, I would love to work in entertainment because I love the movie so much. My mother loves movies so much. Even during COVID, she was still going to the movies. And that’s like the really, my first interest into the business. When I graduated from high school, I went to college at University of Texas. I majored in film with the plan of moving out to LA and being a producer. And I did move out to Los Angeles, I started interning at The Weinstein Company at the time. And then I went on to this Company Cost of Beanie films, they had a deal at Weinstein. And from there, I kind of entered into the film business, and I got my first taste into: This is not for me, this is not what I want to do in my life. Partly because I was really bad at my job, like I tried, but I didn’t want to read 30 scripts a week. This is not what I wanted to do. And then I pivoted, I left there. And I went to this place called Cats Media Group, which is like they did TV sales. And I knew that, that wasn’t long term. And I went there to stay in Los Angeles, and to figure it out. And from there, I figured out I wanted to be an agent and WME. I had some experience in music and in Austin like going to shows. I knew a promoter, this guy Charles Adler, Ramsay Three. And at the time, it was the William Morris Agency. And that’s my first interest into entertainment. 

 

Dan Runcie  03:56

Nice. And I feel like the past year and a half, almost two years now. It’s probably been unlike any other time period since you’ve been in this. What’s that been like for you?

 

Kevin Shivers  04:05

You mean like COVID, and the ways impacted shows? It’s been wild, right? Like if I go back to 2020, there was so much going on in the picture of even the world and in all of our lives. You had George Floyd, you had Trump and you had COVID and uncertainty. So 2020, being an agent, it was moving shows from the beginning of the year to the end of the year. That doesn’t work for all the social things that are going on in the world to 2021. The first six months were kind of the same of 2020, and the first light in the tunnel I think was Rolling Loud, like Rolling Loud played, and then Lollapalooza was maybe a week or two later. And then you start seeing Austin City Limits and Outside Lands playing off in some tours. And then we started; it started to make sense, then Omicron came along, and we’re like back for a period of time back at square one. But it seems like 2022 is gonna bring a lot of joy, you know. Shows are planned, Superbowl is happening in a few days, Pro Sports are going along. So it seems a lot of positivity.

 

Dan Runcie  05:10

What do you think will be different for 2022 and 2023 thereafter? Because I feel like it’ll be this gradual shift where eventually things will start to feel like the touring schedule is maybe back to somewhat of what it was before COVID. But how long do you think that will really be like? What do you think will be the first year that we can look back at and say: Okay, this is the first year that doesn’t feel like it was impacted in any way?

 

Kevin Shivers  05:36

I think there’s some hope in 2022. If we just changed the way that we’re thinking that this is the new world. Things might pop up, the virus might flare back up and flare back down. But let’s try to figure out how to move forward. I think I’m starting to see that people are out and about in shows, they are playing sports, you know. The NFL season went through the whole season, they had ups and downs. And I think that like we’re starting to see some positivity, lots of hope for 23. Hopefully 23, we get back to some sort of, or we get to some sort of a new normal, where we’re living in this new world, and we’re just going with the punches.

 

Dan Runcie  06:12

I hear that. So I think the good thing for you though is that even, until we got to that point, you’ve been moving a lot. And I know that Tyler the Creator is one of your bigger clients and 2021 was a big year for him. Headlined a bunch of festivals, dropped his album. What was it like making sure that everything could line up and that you could have everything set for him despite everything else that was going on with the touring business?

 

Kevin Shivers  06:38

First of all, I want to say Tyler’s a star and a one of a kind of talent, and he knows exactly what he wants. I’m lucky to be a part of his team, and he has an excellent team around them. It starts with the managers Chris and Kelly Clancy, who are amazing people. The business manager, Joe Colone, amazing lawyer, my partner James Ruby, who does International Day watch after her at the agency and all the other people that touchTyler. But 21 was a great year; we got the headline target the headlines for festivals, but it was also we had some goals from, it was also challenging. First thing is the record comes, the record is amazing and it’s also finding a window when we can go on sale when COVID is not surging, and I think that the team and I,we all got lucky because we found a window.We knew Tyler was going to headline Lollapalooza and the goal was after you get all the media, the media hype coming from Lolla. We knew he was going to bring an amazing show; that Monday after Lolla, finding that window where we can go on sale and luckily for us, no COVID spikes out Lolla, nothing crazy. And there’s no COVID spikes in the world. So that was the first thing, right? I think the second thing when we thought about touring, is trying to find the markets for him to play Tyler, somebody that wants to push the envelopes. And we ended up putting up 35 arenas, breaking in some new markets. I saw last night a show in San Diego. He was like: I could have done 50 shows. I mean, granted, it was nice to have, you know, the tour. And I was like: Okay, we’ll see how you feel at, like, night 33 or something. But we were able to break into new markets. Columbus, Vegas, El Paso, Pittsburgh, to name a few. I think the third thing is that Tyler really, really wanted to give the fans the ultimate experience. This is the lineup: Teezo Touchdown, Vince Staples, Kal Uchis. And I think the last thing is, you know, making sure that we hit the sweet spot in pricing. So we, you know, give the fans a place where they can feel happy, a place where they can buy tickets, but also maximizing the gross, keeping ticket sales in the gross. And this was a joint effort with the managers, Chris and Kelly, Michelle Bernstein, who’s an excellent marketing ticketing person and AG team led by Cody over there.

 

Dan Runcie  08:56

Talk to me a bit more about the new markets and picking those.You mentioned in Pittsburgh, you mentioned El Paso. What are the data that insights are the field that you look for when you’re like: Hey, this is somewhere that we want to consider going to that we haven’t gone before. And if we do it, is this the type of venue that we should go in this market as opposed to somewhere like LA or New York where he’s already proved himself? 

 

Kevin Shivers  09:20

Well, I think there’s a few things, so one is whenever Tyler, any of my clients, I’m always trying to figure out, I want them to play as many places that they can. Just reach all the fans and maximize the opportunity we’re on the road because if it’s a Tyler recording or whoever it is, or Cody, you’re not gonna get to see them every single year. That is a unique experience. But to answer your direct question, it’s one looking at the data if it’s from Spotify, or our past sales. Two is looking at the markets and seeing if there’s a building or venue that makes sense like Columbus. We know that’s a place, there’s a college town where Tyler’s played there before, played there, sold out. I think a smaller room on the onsale, knew there was demand, didn’t realize, I mean, the Columbus sales are insane. But this didn’t realize like: Wow, that’s, I mean that is really like that’s a smaller market that has turned into a market, right? I think it’s looking at our diverse lineup of talent on the bill, you know, going to a place like El Paso and looking at: Oh, there’s probably going to be some Kali fans, and Vince fans and Teezo fans, right? That’s a good place. And that’s also a place that doesn’t get a lot of entertainment. So like, and that ended up being like a home run. So it’s like, kind of looking at the whole picture of what you got and talking to a lot of people that are smarter than you in kind of coming up with a plan. And also just working with good people that have a point of view.

 

Dan Runcie  10:47

What are the trade-offs that you have to make for those kinds of decisions? Because I imagine that there’s the ones that do cross the threshold to be like: Okay, let’s make this happen. But you know, kind of like you were saying before, it’s tough to try to do 50 shows in a specific short amount of run or whatever it may be. What are some of those considerations you may have to make in terms of the markets that you can’t pick? Or the ones you know, that you may not be able to put in this time, right?

 

Kevin Shivers  11:11

I think there are a few things. One, it’s like really talking to your clients and letting them know, we might, we’re going to try to go in this market. This possibility, it might not go the way that we want, but we have to, to me if you’re not trying if you’re not putting risk on the line, and what are we doing, right? It’s like, I’m actually somebody who’s okay with failing, right? And I’m not saying that we fail or anything, but I’m okay with doing that risk for the bigger reward. So it’s like really, really like getting in there and talking to them about, you know, the strategy, right? And like, the goal, I think the goal should be like, when you go out every two, three years is gaining new fans, gaining that new network.

 

Dan Runcie  11:50

Right, especially now. I feel like for someone like him, it’s probably been interesting. I know, you’ve been with him to see the rise and just to see how the fan base has continued to evolve over time. So I imagine he probably even sees things where he’s like: Okay, these are the Tyler fans that ,you know, have been with me since the Globin days. If I go to this city versus, you know, you go to this other city. They may not have discovered me as much until Flower Boy or something like that. I’m sure he does. Yeah, it’s fascinating. And I think with him too, if we talk a bit more about the festival side of things, he obviously was a headliner, as you mentioned, his Lollapalooza show was broadcasted. I didn’t go to the show, but I was able to see it through Hulu, because they had it coming through there. When you’re trying to have someone like him, obviously, you have many different artists and they have different levels that they may want to perform at. And ideally, you want to have everyone maximizing and performing at the highest level or being like the highest row on that festival poster. But for someone like Tyler, is it going into the year like: Hey, headline or buster; if we can’t be a headliner for this festival, we’re not going to do it. Or does it depend on who some of the others are? What are those conversations like? 

 

Kevin Shivers  13:07

I think when you start a campaign with any artist, it’s just like sitting down with the team and figuring out what the goals are, right? And it’s all a trajectory and building on the last. I think you want to, the goal is always to build on the last time you were out, to build on the last year, right? And having that conversation. And you know, different artists have different things. Some people want to specifically target these particular festivals, or you know, you’re going out in his window, and you could maybe use a festival to route in and out to get the gross-up for the whole tour. It’s just like, really just, it’s really spending time with the client spending time with the manager to find out, figure out what the goal is in maximizing the opportunities.

 

Dan Runcie  13:49

Is it any tougher to do that though? The way that artists can just rise so fast now, especially in the streaming era. Because I know that there’s normally the standard, you know, you do your clubs, you can do a, you know, ballrooms or amphitheaters, and then maybe if you get to arenas or stadiums, that’s their trajectory. But with people just getting so big, so fast, does that change the dynamic? Or it’s like: Okay, how do you still balance what they may have done last time and use that as a reference point versus how quickly they can rise in this era?

 

Kevin Shivers  14:19

I mean, look, you have to have a point of view, and you have to have a plan. And you have to have some thoughts, right? And I think that people can really jump up really, really quickly. But we like to use this thing: don’t skip steps, right? You know, sometimes if, you know, you can go play in an arena, why not go play multiple nights at a smaller room and build the momentum, build a buzz, meet people on the streets, leaving, not being able to get to the show. So that when you come back around, you still have gas in the tank. I mean, there’s no one size fits all plan. It’s like, you have to just know who you’re working with, spend time and really kind of draw that. Draw that sketch up and map it out and let it listen. A plan is just a, it’s just a roadmap. It can be amended along the way. There’s no like set in stone thing, but other than like, no knowing where you want to go, knowing what you think, you know, going to be doing the next year, the next five years. That is what’s most important.

 

Dan Runcie  15:13

That makes sense. And that reminds me of something I heard. I think it was Olivia Rodrigo, who said in some recent interview when he announced her tour. And someone must have asked her something along the lines of: Hey, you had one of the biggest years in pop music this past year, could you have done arenas? And I think she said that same line, you said: I don’t want to skip any steps. This is where that is. So I think that’s something that definitely rings true. And we’re seeing examples of that.

 

Kevin Shivers  15:39

Yes. And you gotta ask yourself after arenas, then what? Where are you going after that? I mean, like, you know, you might already have that plan in your head, but like these careers are, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

 

Dan Runcie  15:49

So what do you think are some of the mistakes that artists can make? Like, I mean, you don’t have to drop any names. You don’t got to put anybody on blast. But is there anyone that you think maybe made a touring misstep? Or there’s something where you can look back and be like: Ah, if they had done that a little differently, things could have worked out a little bit, you know, whether it’s better or worse, or however for them.

 

Kevin Shivers  16:09

I think sometimes when people overthink it and end up doing nothing, that’s like a bummer for everybody. That’s a bummer for the artist. That’s a bummer for the fan, that’s a bummer for the culture, like, like you’re hot, you’re popping right now. We really need to see you really, really need to see you show up and pull up on us and see what you have. I think that, that’s a mistake, not a mistake, but that’s just a bummer for everybody. We want to see, we want to see you do your thing. And I would love it if instead of doing nothing that artists, sometimes people would do something.

 

Dan Runcie  16:39

So you think part of it is that there’s a hesitancy to try to capture the moment, or sometimes they can be a bit more resolute or hesitant to do things when there is an opportunity to go back out there.

 

Kevin Shivers  16:51

Or they just don’t know, or they just are trying to get it perfect. And like, you know, you’re going to we’re all going to make mistakes, there’s going to be ups and downs. I think sometimes you just got to go play, you know, you got to give the fans what they want.

 

Dan Runcie  17:04

Do you think any of this has become any more challenging in the social media era? Because one thing that I’ve heard both on the talent side is that artists are even more so particular about how everything looks from a live perspective, because that shot that goes on Instagram or that shot that goes on Tik Tok, that influences ticket sales, especially from, you know, whether it’s the first show or whatever it is. Do you feel like artists are feeling like they need to have things more perfect even though deep down, you know, that it shouldn’t be that way?

 

Kevin Shivers  17:33

I mean, it’s got to be really, really tough because the cameras are always on somebody always, you know, whether you like it or not, is documenting things that you do. So I think that I couldn’t even imagine how much pressure that is and how tough that has to be. You know that social media can be good. And there can be some other sides where you’re like: Wow, this is tough.

 

Dan Runcie  17:52

Yeah, I know, we’ve talked a lot about Tyler and about hip hop overall. But I know another one of the major artists you represent is Summer Walker. And you know, she had a big year, last year as well. And I wanted the differences whether you’re planning a tour for, or you’re planning live events, in general, for R&B artists, as opposed to someone in hip hop.

 

Kevin Shivers  18:14

I don’t think there’s really many differences, I just think you have to just, it goes back to the same. There’s no any artist planning and really just get, you know, in figuring out what the goals that they have and how you can best service them, right? I don’t really think there’s a different strategy or a different lane. I think if you love Summer Walker, you love Summer Walker, you’re gonna go out and see it, right? And she has, she has an incredible fan base.

 

Dan Runcie  18:40

Yeah. Okay, that makes sense. Because one of the things I was wondering with someone like her.Knowing how passionate her fan base is, I was wondering if there was a connection of like: Oh, you know, the streams may show this and the data may show this, but because of how R&B fans are, there may be a bit more likelihood that that could translate to ticket sales or purchases as opposed to other genres.

 

Kevin Shivers  19:02

You know, I think the fans are going to come out that they love somebody and Summer respects our fans. People like Summer Walker followers, or they just, they love her. I think they’re just going to come out and show up and see her play.

 

Dan Runcie  19:14

Now. That’s real, that makes sense. So for you, I mean, I know, you got a full roster, and you’re always making sure that you can maximize them to the best of their abilities. So how do you measure success for yourself as a partner and as someone that’s representing them on their behalf? 

 

Kevin Shivers  19:30

The answer is really simple: Helping others, right? I got into this business because I wanted to help artists grow. And it’s like, it starts with the clients like you start thinking about, about people that I work with, like: What can I do to help them? What can I do to help them grow or give them everything that they need? Are we, you know, from last year to this year? Are we showing up every day to help them get to that next level? That’s the first thing. I think also the way I measure success. It’s like the same thing with helping others. Like it starts for me every day when my assistant Ebony, I think she’s gonna be a great executive one day, but am I showing up for her? Do I slow down enough to answer her questions? Do I mentor her? Do I spend time with her? Because like, that’s important to me. We have many, many amazing young agents that work here. Am I showing up enough to help them sign up clients? Am I giving them what they need? I think you know, measuring success. Is everybody around you doing well? Are you doing what’s good for the organization? I co-run hip hop with Zach, Isaac, Caroline and James Rubby. And Caroline’s always saying we got to take care of youngs, you know, it’s Justin neighbor’s getting what he needs? Is Sarah and Ronnie getting what they need? And then I think it’s just, it’s really about creating that culture, creating a universe, that the people you will arise into the next level of being selfless. And then also from a DNI perspective of like: What diverse people can we grow? Can we hire? Are we retaining them? These are all the ways that I measure success. I try not to look at what other people are doing. Because I mean, it doesn’t really matter. I want to make sure that the organization and the people around me are set up for success.

 

Dan Runcie  21:14

I hear that. And I think a lot of the themes you mentioned there align with mentorship, and whether it’s being a mentor or support for the artists that are looking to you for guidance, your co-workers and your colleagues. Can you talk a little bit more about why that’s so important to you? Because even in reading and hearing other interviews, I know you’ve been active on that front, making sure that you can use your platform and where you are to pass the torch and help others along the way.

 

Kevin Shivers  21:40

I think mentorship is one of these things like, if we’re not mentoring, then what  are we doing? Why are we even showing up? You have to always be trying to look out for other people. I’ve had people that looked out for me and my career, people that still look out for me. And I think that is one of the key things. One of the reasons that makes me want to get up every day and come into the office is, like, helping others. I think that’s one of the reasons why we’re put on this earth to help people. A non-negotiable thing is mentorship. I mean, the crazy fact about, I’ll go do an interview, or I’ll do a panel and everybody that writes to me on IG or LinkedIn, I write everybody back, everybody. I mean, I probably send more people to the HR department here for jobs than anybody. Because I just want everybody back. I think that’s important, because I was once the young kid who wanted to figure this out. And like I didn’t know, I had no clue and people helped me. So I think that’s a very important aspect of the job.

 

Dan Runcie  22:35

100%. And even on a personal level, I remember the first time you reached out to me, Hey, love what you’re doing. Hey, how can I help? And you’re just like: Oh, who do you want to interview? Oh, I was listening to them yesterday, boom, let’s get this done. So even on a personal level, I need you out. You’re looking out for me, man. I appreciate that. 

 

Kevin Shivers  22:52

Yeah, I mean, well, you’re doing it. I listen to your podcast every week. I think it’s amazing. I think what you’re doing for the culture is great. And I just wanted to get to know you and just to help where I can and, and that’s just, that’s what I think is important.

 

Dan Runcie  23:05

Definitely, definitely. And one of the things that you had put out, because a couple years back, but it really stuck out to me was this was right after George Floyd’s murder and the music industry had the show must be paused response. And you had written these guest posts on Pollstar and you were talking about how this industry just needs to do better by its black execs specifically on the recruiting front. And I know you were just talking about how, you know, you’re always pushing things forward to HR. And I’m sure this must be really personal for you as well, you are one of the few folks that looks like you in the position that you have in this whole industry. So I’d love to hear how you feel like the industry has responded since everything had happened after George Floyd’s murder and the response to where we are now in 2022.

 

Kevin Shivers  23:57

You know, in response to your comment about I wanted a person who looks like me in the industry. I always say to everybody, I’m amazing, but I’m not that amazing. There’s, there should be more people that look like me doing what I do and and you know, partners in hire, right? And I think we still have a lot of work to do. There’s good news though. There’s positive conversation around DNI, people are aware, people are aware that there needs to be more black people and more diverse people need to have more opportunities. I still think that we need to keep pushing the envelope, we still have a lot more to do in terms of hiring and creating opportunities for black people. The organization’s know they have to do better, but they have to buck the old status quo. They have to go outside of the norm. And today to some people, it might be like: Oh, we’re taking a risk. No, DNI has to be inside of your lifeline, inside of your blood, inside of your everyday practices. It’s not something that you can just talk about once a quarter, you gotta live it, you got to be in it every day. And I believe that the black people need to be promoted, they need to be elevated. They need to be given the same opportunities and shots. When we were interviewing for jobs, I think in any, in any industry, not just entertainment, you need to be interviewing black people, people of color, LGBTQ, there just needs to be more opportunity. We need more Sylvia Rhone’s, more Ethiopia’s, more tons Jay-Z and Def Jam. We need more leaders, more partners. I mean, we have to just keep our foot on the gas, keep pushing the envelope because this, we’re not there yet. But we’re going in the right direction. And we need to keep the momentum.

 

Dan Runcie  25:30

Right. And I think even an example of that, the folks you just mentioned, I think a lot of folks in this industry are all on a first name basis. And as incredible as all those folks are, how do we get to the point where they’re not on a first name basis, because they aren’t just the few black execs in there. I mean, it’s definitely going to continue to take time. And I think whether it’s conversations like this, or the efforts you’re doing will help. But I’m hopeful that it can get there eventually. 

 

Kevin Shivers  25:55

I’m hopeful, too. I think we got to stay targeted and focus. But also at the same time, remember, like, this just didn’t happen overnight, right? It’s not going to change overnight. But we have to like, we have to keep, we have to stay on this because it can change and it needs to be better.

 

Dan Runcie  26:11

Definitely. So let’s switch gears a bit. Let’s talk a little bit about the future, specifically with regards to touring and technology and what things will look like in, the potential with Web 3.0 and the metaverse. Because now you have agencies that are specifically I’m sure WME likely also has a division where they focus specifically on digital environments, or getting artists lined up on that perspective. How do you look at that? Specifically, with the artists you have on your roster, what the potentials are for them in these digital worlds.

 

Kevin Shivers  26:50

I think Web 3.0 is just it’s massive, huge, huge opportunity. You know, if you think about the evolution started in virtual, went over to Fortnite, but I just think it brings control back to the artists in a way. Artists had an act like this the whole time, these music artists, they’ve had fan clubs, they’ve had social media, but what Web 3.0 does, it gives more control to them. It’s gonna give them more power, but like, it kind of cuts out the middleman and I think you know, things are gonna change in the next six months, next five years, it’s gonna be an exciting world. If you look at what Coachella did, by selling the NFT, a lifetime Coachella pass. I mean, I think artists are gonna come up with these things where, you know, if you want to be in the front row of my show, here’s the NFT for the chance to buy the front row tickets, or maybe it just goes inside of there. And they figure out what to promote, but I just think like, it’s an exciting time. Like, it’s the, it’s endless. I was just on the phone with A Jones the other day, I love what he’s doing with Royal. And I think the deal that he did with Nas and Antony Silay is, like,amazing; that looks like where things are headed. I mean, it’s just, you know, like any of these things, it’s gonna be ups and downs, right? In the Web 3.0, but I just think the opportunity is endless.

 

Dan Runcie  28:01

Yeah, things are early, things are also moving really fast. Six months from now, it’s gonna look completely different. And I am excited for the artists that are taking advantage early. I feel like I can already imagine Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival having some type of digital environment or some type of experience in the metaverse.

 

Kevin Shivers  28:21

I’m sure it will, I’m sure Lollapalooza and some of these other properties. That’s where they’re headed. I mean, it’s gonna be a really exciting time. I just hope people get off the couch, you still come out to show.

 

Dan Runcie  28:35

Is that a concern you have though? Like, do you wonder about that in the future?

 

Kevin Shivers  28:39

No, no, I was just joking. I mean, I don’t think anything can replace the live experience, just like the Zooms are great, right? But I think when you’re in a meeting with somebody, it’s 10 times better. And I think a concert is 100 times better. I love, I love going to festivals, I’ve been to them all over the world. And I love seeing the reactions in real time on people’s faces from their favorite artists hidden in the stage. So I don’t think anything can replace it. I think it’s going to only enhance the experience.

 

Dan Runcie  29:07

Agreed. That’s what I always go back to. Everything in these experiences are additive and isn’t a replacement for anything. And I think it’ll probably just force more creativity for every aspect, because you’re not just trying to have something be a catch all. So I think I’m interested to see how it’ll continue to shape live performances and what that can look like from the, you know, the IRL experience. Yeah. And on that note, do you have any predictions for what you think the next three to five years or so will look like specifically in the lifespace? I mean, pandemic notwithstanding, I mean, obviously, I think we’ll continue to see the after effects of that, but any type of, you know, evolutions are any type of future changes that you think will see over time.

 

Kevin Shivers  29:51

Yeah, I think 2022 is going to be bigger than we thought. I think that hopefully, I think we’re headed to a healthy tour environment. I think there’s going to be new players in terms of buyers and festivals. And I think the fan experience will that’s going to be the thing of the future. I think everyone has realized they have to zero in on the fan from artists curated weekends and festivals to I think even super service in the fan. Think about this, think about a world where service lets you buy a ticket, has a car that picks you up, dinner reservations, great seats, even find you a babysitter.I think that’s where we’re going, we’re going to this place, we’re like: Okay, I can’t even be, I’m busy. I didn’t want to deal with this, boom, hit a button. And this is where we’re going. I think that’s exciting. Because you know, getting inside of the mind of the fan, what they really want is going to be the next evolution. 

 

Dan Runcie  30:42

Yeah, even you mapping that out. If you literally could press one button and solve that, I think you’d also just increase the amount of people that can come through, right? You mentioned the babysitter, the amount of people that have young kids, and it’s like, you know, just the thought of them needed like, oh, you know, we got to find someone for this to cover for this night. Like, yeah, if all that can be taken care of.

 

Kevin Shivers  31:00

Because I think people love live music, and live music is such a treat. But when you think about the hurdles you have to do, you got to put on some clothes, maybe, you know, show starts at seven, get homework, feed your kids, do this, do that. And if you could just take some of that away from them. That’s like, you know, bringing the fan experience to a new level.

 

Dan Runcie  31:21

Definitely. So I know that you’re always on the go with festivals. And you know, I know you love going into them. But I know it’s also for your work as well. If you have to guess, how many shows do you think you’ll go to in 2022?

 

Kevin Shivers  31:33

I can tell you this. I’d rather answer this way. How many days I plan on hitting a lot of festivals in 2022. So I think I’m going to be, I call it 50 to 60 days watching music, right? That’s what I’d say.

 

Dan Runcie  31:48

Okay. Yeah. All right. And even that, I mean, that’s a lot more than the average person. But I mean, it’s just incredible. Because you get to just see all the fine tunes, you get to just see everything. And like you mentioned, this is interesting, you’re traveling all across the world for this stuff.

 

Kevin Shivers  32:02

Yeah. I mean, that’s, that’s one of the reasons I love doing what I do. I mean, like, really, I get to go see live music in different parts of the world. I mean, I can’t even imagine anything better than that.

 

Dan Runcie  32:12

Yeah. So last question. Before we let you go. I know we talked a lot about Tyler. And I know from our conversations, just the uniqueness of you seeing that star power and star potential, even from the first time you connect it. How do you find that next tile? Or how do you find that thing to know? Okay, yeah, this is the one that we need for this next generation. 

 

Kevin Shivers  32:34

Oh, wow. I think when I’m looking to sign somebody, I’m looking for somebody that has a unique point of view, for somebody that is fearless, and then wants to do the work.

 

Dan Runcie  32:43

That makes sense. Hear that man. Hey, before we let you go, man, this was great. I’m glad you could come through and make this happen. But is there anything else you want to plug? Or let the Trapital audience know about it?

 

Kevin Shivers  32:54

I think everybody should go out and see some shows this year. I think 2022 is going to be a good year, and then one thing I want to say is to somebody who wants a career in entertainment, I think you should go for it. I think you should move to LA, move to New York, move to Atlanta, move to Nashville. Call, email some people; call, email me. I’ll probably write you back pretty soon and just go for your dreams.

 

Dan Runcie  33:15

What’s your email address?

 

Kevin Shivers  33:17

Kshivers@wmeagency.com. It’s all good.

 

Dan Runcie  33:23

Now appreciate that, man. I welcome man. Thanks for coming through this as a pleasure.

 

Kevin Shivers  33:27

I appreciate you Dan.

 

Dan Runcie  33:31

If you enjoyed this podcast, go ahead and share it with a friend. Copy the link, text it to a friend posted in your group chat, posted to your Slack groups. Wherever you and your people talk, spread the word. That’s how Trapital continues to grow and continues to reach the right people. And while you’re at it, if you use Apple podcast, go ahead, rate the podcast. Give it a high rating and leave a review and tell people why you liked the podcast that helps more people discover the show. Thank you in advance. Talk to you next week.

Dan Runcie

Dan Runcie

Founder of Trapital

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