Introducing Crosstown Concerts: ‘We’ve Got To Offer More’

There’s a new promotion company and record label in London town: Crosstown Concerts, which is helmed by established promoters Paul Hutton and Conal Dodds, as well as business expert Fraser Duffin.  
Paul Hutton, Conal Dodds and Fraser Duffin.

Hutton and Dodds left Metropolis Music to do their own thing, taking their acts with them. The company launched with two offices in London and Bristol, respectively, with a roster that includes Massive Attack, PJ Harvey, Rizzle Kicks, Barenaked Ladies, M83, Richard Hawley, Teenage Fanclub, Billy Talent and Savages.

The label side of the business – a “lifelong dream” for Hutton and Dodds – is called Crosstown Recordings. The first two EPs released on it are from Moses, a London-based guitar band, and Keir, a singer and songwriter from Bristol. Pollstar spoke to Paul Hutton about the company’s philosophy. “In a sense, we’re going back to how we did things 15 years ago,” Hutton said. “Simplify things a bit, make life easier for everybody.

Sometimes promoters make it too complicated.” Ticketing is one example. According to Hutton, “there’s too many people trying to take out of music that don’t really put an awful lot in.” He believes what makes Crosstown unique is its ability to make sure “everybody gets a fair deal, that’s the band and the public. I do think for too long the great British public has not had the best treatment from our industry.” Crosstown is taking “a big stance on secondary ticketing. We now have a chance to do that. We can make those decisions ourselves without going to a committee about them.”

This means that Crosstown won’t be working with any ticketing agents that have secondary ticketing ties, but rather companies like Twickets, Dice, Gigantic, See Tickets and, primarily, Songkick.

There are occasions when the venue box offices are controlled by different companies, of course. In such cases, Crosstown’s hands are more or less tied.

But in all other cases, “unless someone can show me a good reason why we should sell tickets through them, we won’t do so,” Hutton explains. The promoter says secondary ticketing bleeds the market dry.

“There’s always been touts, there always will be touts. But effectively it was a supply-and-demand thing,” he said. “When the tickets ran out someone would have a few, and then therefore they’d be able to charge an exorbitant price. That’s been around for hundreds of years. The difference is, now these people are putting tickets on concurrently.

“We’ve got to offer more to the customers, because there’s only a finite number of them, and only so much leisure money people have got. You’ve got to give them the best experience you can, and if you don’t do that, they’ll find something else to do.”