‘Imagine Lunch At Ours’: The Dickins Family At ESNS 2020

Dickins Dynasty
Gideon Gottfried
– Dickins Dynasty
From left: Jonathan Dickins (September Management), Barry Dickins (ITB), Lucy Dickins (WME), and moderator Greg Parmley (ILMC)

Pollstar was on site during ESNS 2020 in the Dutch town of Groningen, Jan. 15-18. No matter your profession in this business, the day-time conference program tried to offer something for everybody, from sessions on innovative ways of hip hop promo ad PR, video content strategy, A.I. in songwriting, to interviews with influential personalities of this business, including Swiss singer/songwriter Sophie Hunger, Solo Agency founder John Giddings, and the founders of Wacken Open Air, Holger Hübner und Thomas Jensen.
The stand-out session, however, was one dubbed The Dickins Dynasty, a keynote interview with Barry, Lucy and Jonathan Dickins, the founder of ITB, the head of WME UK’s music division and the founder of September Management, respectively. The interview was led by ILMC head Greg Parmley. Pollstar picked a few highlights.
– Throughout the first half of her life, Lucy Dickins had no idea what the main entrance to London’s Wembley Arena looked like, since she only ever entered the venue through the artist entrance with her father
– Jonathan Dickins, who worked for Warner Music UK where his uncle Rob Dickins used to be chairman, said working with family was a gift and a curse. “Finding my own identity took a minute,” explained, adding that there was a lot of pressure on young people these days to know what they wanted to do too early in life.
– Barry Dickins didn’t encourage his children to follow in his footsteps: “I spent a fortune on education so they wouldn’t end up in the music industry.”
– Lucy Dickins didn’t take much notice of the fact that it was a male-dominated industry, when she first set foot in it: “I’ve always surrounded myself with men, maybe because I had an older brother. It wasn’t something that stood out to me when I first got in there, definitely not.”
– Johnathan Dickins first checked out music by Adele on MySpace. The meeting that led to them working together took place at his house, where his office was located at the time. They drank tea.
– Lucy Dickins met Adele through Jack Peñate, who brought the singer down to a Hot Chip gig at London’s former landmark venue Astoria. Dickins remembered Adele yanking back a CD she had just given too somebody else and handing it to Lucy – oblivious to the fact that she was speaking with her manager’s sister
– Both Lucy and Johnathan Dickins go with their gut when it comes to deciding who to work with, even data-driven times. It was important to not just focus on giving people what the data showed they wanted, but the stuff they didn’t even know they wanted, Johnathan Dickins explained.
– His father confirmed, that he had always relied on his gut instinct as well, but added that “I really don’t understand the rap thing. 
– “We seem to have a million acts, but no fucking stars,” Barry Dickins continued, adding that he found everything boring these days.
To which Jonathan Dickins replied that he found rock music these days “so boring,” and that “any band’s a shit version of Led Zeppelin.” 
To which Lucy Dickins added: “Imagine lunch at ours.”
– Lucy Dickins on her brother: “He’s taught me loads. He’s a good person to bounce ideas off of. He tells me straight how it is.”
– Jonathan Dickins on working with his sister: “Once it’s about work, it’s fuck family. If anything I’m harder on her, because she’s my sister.”
At which point Barry Dickins intervened and joked: “Personally, I think I’ve made both their careers.”
Lucy Dickins, head of WME
Gideon Gottfried
– Lucy Dickins, head of WME
Won the Agent of the Year award at the European Festival Awards, which traditionally kick things off in Groningen

Lucy Dickins left ITB for WME in order to move out of the shadow of her father. She said she was getting a lot of comments about her just getting acts because of her father or brother.
“I was comfortable at ITB. And I’m not sure being comfortable is the best thing. I knew by my leaving all eyes would be on me, that’s why I did it,” she explained.
– Barry Dickins obviously wasn’t thrilled about losing an agent of his daughter’s caliber. However, he said the moment she had made her decision, he took off his work hat and only wore his dad hat from then on.
– Jonathan Dickins thought you had to move away from family at some point, and said: “Hat’s off to dad, because no one running a business likes to lose good people.”
– For 14 years ITB was a part of Live Nation, when it was still SFX. “14 very happy years, but we weren’t getting any benefits,” Barry Dickins recalled, adding that “they had paid a lot of money. You might have noticed by now, I’m a whore.”
– Today, at ITB, everyone does everything. “The secretary is an essential part of the team,” said Dickins.
– Looking at the state of business in 2020, Johnathan Dickins said that while deals for artists have become fairer, the role of people to amplify the artist’s career has gained in importance as well.