Billboard Live Music Summit and Awards Kick Off

Shawn Mendes
– Shawn Mendes
Billboard Live Summit

Billboard magazine Tuesday kicked off the first day of its two-day Live Music Summit and Awards at Beverly Hills Montage Hotel in Los Angeles with a dense day of programming. The day’s myriad  panels and Q&As gave credence to the live entertainment business being filled with talent, artistry, innovation, dynamic personalities with great stories and a diversity of business approaches.
This included everything from Shawn Mendes, holograms, cannabis and a podcaster to the head of a major talent agency’s music division, the founder of a hip-hop festival inspired by Earth Day, comedian Sebastian Maniscalco and Bandsintown’s managing partner. Each, as wide-ranging as they were, are part of a larger ecosystem that helps nourish the live business.
Here, 20-year-old Mendes, with manager Andrew Gertler and Billboard’s Melinda Newman, discussed the singer’s issues with anxiety as well as Taylor Swift’s performance advice (it’s OK not to be perfect); while earlier an all-female power panel featuring executives Marsha Vlasic, Corrie Christopher Martin, Alli McGregor, Cheryl Paglierani, Nadia Prescher and Samantha Kirby Yoh was informative as it was impressive without focusing on gender issues; and UTA’s head of music David Zedeck described his jump from Live Nation to the agency (literally across the street from each other) as well as how his firm this year came to acquire Circle Talent Agency. 
Elsewhere, Dan Steinberg, of the recently Live Nation-acquired Emporium Presents and co-host of the Promoter 101 podcast, interviewed Activist Management’s co-founder Bernie Cahill who discussed the “deep state” behind Dead & Company and his departure from ROAR; Billboard senior correspondent Dave Brooks, who programmed the conference, led an in-depth conversation with comedian Maniscalco, whose fear of failure has led him all the way to four upcoming sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden; and a rollicking hip-hop festival panel led by Vibe editor-in-chief Datwan Thomas chronicling the rise of Broccoli City, Rolling Loud and ScoreMore Shows. 
If there is any criticism of the conference (full-disclosure: I formerly worked for Billboard), it’s that too much of a good thing can be tough to absorb especially when stacked 10 panels in one day and in 30- and 45-minute chunks. The format sometimes only allowed for scratched surfaces of complex topics – as compelling as those surfaces can be.