There were one or two groans in certain quarters last week when Live Nation gobbled up one of the UK’s fastest growing promoters, Cuffe & Taylor, only days after welcoming former rival Metropolis Music into its ever-expanding family.
In an increasingly consolidated live business, Cuffe & Taylor shone as a beacon of what can still be achieved by an independent start-up. Launched in 2009 by two friends with no previous promoting experience, initially to resurrect their local Lytham Proms event, the firm carved out a niche by delivering shows in unusual or unfashionable venues.
Within five years, it was selling more than 300,000 tickets a year and working with the likes of Rod Stewart, Little Mix, Tom Jones and Noel Gallagher - proof that, in a market dominated by a select few, it is still possible to make headway.
Such success stories are vital to ensure the UK does not follow the lead of other territories where it has become near impossible to stage shows without the input of the market leader. Greater competition equals higher standards for customers and more choice and bargaining power for artists.
Consolidation has also been the name of the game in the festival industry, as evidenced by Live Nation’s continual growth of its global footprint and Global’s string of deals in late 2016. Yet cast your eyes over to the Association Of Independent Festivals and you’ll see a dozens of innovative, game-changing events built from scratch by vibrant minds who put their money where their hearts are.
It is this sort of creative, entrepreneurial spirit that the music industry was built upon and must continue to foster. Here’s hoping the next Cuffe & Taylor are right around the corner.