Welcome to the latest edition of Six Questions With..., a new, short and sharp interview with a live music figure. This feature forms part of the Music Week Live newsletter. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to take part or put someone forward for inclusion.
This week's Q&A is with Adam Brooks, head of marketing for live entertainment website Ents24.
What was your first job in music?
I started off presenting late night student radio in Cardiff, later becoming the head of music there - which in turn led to work experience at Radio 1 (when Zane Lowe was just starting) and my first paid music job scouting bands for Island Records which in turn led to jobs at Atlantic, Warp and Modular before the jump to live music (and to Bristol) a few years ago. Proof that there’s no one simple route into the industry I guess!
How long have you been in your current role?
A little over two years.
What is your favourite thing about working in the live music industry?
Knowing that giving people a clear, easy path to finding tickets could result in one of the best nights of their lives - every ticket leads to an experience that matters for the person holding that ticket - and also that whether it’s promoting events for free and without needing allocations, or putting reliable information about 70,000+ shows in one place, we can almost always act as the solution, rather than the problem.
What is the one thing you would like to change about the live business?
I’d like to see more people considering the fan as the most important part of the equation, and more companies looking at the long term satisfaction of customers, rather than treating them like a captured market or looking at them purely on a by-show basis. All of Ents24’s innovation, be it introducing the UK’s first mobile site in 1999, pioneering artist tracking in 2005 or developing the UK’s biggest live guide on iPhone, has been done with the aim of simplifying the cluttered/fractured live market, for the fans we all rely on.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
There was a period back when I was at Warp Records where Grizzly Bear broke through with Veckatimest, Flying Lotus hit the top 40 with Until the Quiet Comes, Boards of Canada returned and took an instrumental album into the top 10, and Brian Eno signed to Warp, preceding one of his most prolific periods. That was a particularly fun and inspiring time to work at an independent label. Many high fives were exchanged.
In terms of recent months, for Ents24, an independent company based in Bristol with no ticket allocations of its own, to be nominated for the Music Week award for Best Ticketing Company felt like recognition that a London postcode is not a prerequisite to making positive change, reaching huge scale and a having a significant impact on the live industry.
What's the best gig you’ve ever been to?
Million Dead at Camden Barfly in 2004 (I think). A £10 ticket, a small sweaty room and one of the hottest, most ferocious shows they ever played, not long before they split. I absolutely lost my mind.