Annabella Coldrick

Annabella Coldrick
– Annabella Coldrick

Impact International: UK/Euro Honors

Annabella Coldrick

Chief Executive Music Managers Forum 

The Long Road Back: Annabella Coldrick Manages The Crisis

It’s hard to imagine that the Music Managers Forum’s chief executive, Annabella Coldrick, has ever had more on her plate. The UK may be opening up, but to her, the end of the crisis still feels a long way off.

“All countries are making touring harder not easier,” she explains. “We’re unlikely to see a swift return to ‘normal’ due to increased bureaucratic barriers and costs for touring the EU as well as extremely high additional visa costs for the U.S.”

While Coldrick is glad artists are playing festivals again, the lack of insurance for artists makes booking tours and incurring upfront costs risky. The UK insurance scheme only covers promoters in the event of further lockdowns, and doesn’t cover cancellation if a band or crew member contracts COVID or distancing mandates return.

“This means many tours are again being postponed into 2022/2023, causing lack of availability of venues and making it even harder for emerging artists,” Coldrick says. “There is no COVID insurance at all for touring beyond the UK. It’s going to be a long road back.”

While the government’s financial aid and furlough schemes offered lifelines during the pandemic, many fell through the cracks. With the help of PPL, the BritTrust, Hipgnosis, Spotify and others, the MMF set up a fund of its own, which helped sustain almost 100 previously viable management companies. MMF is also a founding member of the UK’s first industry body for the live music business, LIVE, which was instrumental in the UK’s #letthemusicplay campaign, helping direct government money to those in need. Managers and their clients helped raise over £1 million ($1.4 million) for crew. Finally, MMF launched the artist led #lethemusicmove campaign, which calls on government to find solutions to the problems posed by Brexit, like increased costs for carnets, cabotage and work permits, which disproportionally affect up-and-coming artists. 

Despite the uncertain future, there’s a lot to celebrate. Since Coldrick joined in 2016, MMF membership tripled to more than 1,200 managers. The MMF Board comprises an equal number of males and females, as well as 30% people of color. Coldrick isn’t satisfied, though, saying, “There is more to do in terms of representing our wider membership in all its variation and thinking also about regions, genres, sexuality and all other characteristics that make up society and should make up the music industry. Shout out to Nadu Placca of The Zoo XYZ who runs our MMF Unite program and who has just set up a new network for Black event professionals.” Positive feedback from members is what’s “kept us all going.”