The Hot Seat: Paul Dainty

Published in The Music Network

 

Paul Dainty, Chairman, Dainty Consolidated Entertainment (DCE) talks to TMN about touring Eminem and more.

Let’s start with Eminem. What hoops did you have to jump through to land that tour?
In one word, persistence. That’s what it was. It took a long time and a lot of persistence.

How long?
Probably nine or ten months.

It’s been ten years since he was last here. Anyone might think he wasn’t interested in coming this far from home.
He’s not a touring artist in the traditional sense. So he does these huge one-off shows, like he did Lollapalooza and V Fest the other week. That’s the issue. He’s not a touring artist in the traditional sense. It’s getting him to do these big one-off events.

There’s only two shows on the slate. Is there a chance for more?

Well, the way we saw Melbourne go in a blink – which is north of 60,000 – that’s one of the biggest onsales for a long time. We’d love to, and we’re going to try. We’ve got the first ones out the way, and they’ve been huge. Maybe that’ll spur the momentum to get more shows. Is there potential for a handful of extra shows? I don’t think there’s room for a number of dates. It would be a case of would he stay on for another day or two? It’s a little bit premature. But we’re trying. It won’t be for lack of trying, that’s for sure.

Will you be showing him Australia?
Perhaps take him to a beach. I don’t know if he’s a beach guy (laughs). If he is, we will. But we’ll have to wait and see what he wants to do when he gets here. Who knows, it might be a novelty.

We talked late last year about it being the busiest summer in about a decade. On reflection, how did it hold up?
Last summer was awesome. A lot of people came into it wondering can the market sustain all those tours. It was one of the busiest summers ever. From our company’s point of view, we had tours with Bon Jovi, Michael Bublé, Miley Cyrus, Enrique, and they all did storming business. Especially Bon Jovi and Michael Bublé. Bon Jovi did incredible numbers. Bublé sold out something like 16, 17 arenas a year ahead of time. It was a phenomenal summer. We had no complaints. Basically everything we did was sold out. You can’t ask for more than that. Was there any softness? Not for us, no. Across the board, most people had a good summer. The market was incredibly resilient and most tours did great.

Any cause to think there’ll be a slowdown in future?
We’re seeing a little bit of tightening, definitely in relation to tours that have very high premium ticket prices. People are smart enough to look around at the prices and buy the cheaper tickets. If you see a $300 ticket, it’s getting much tougher to get those away. People are targeting those second price tickets, which might be $150-$170. That’s the big difference between last summer and what’s happening now. [Ticket price] is the most important issue now. We’ve all talked about this in the past. But now, it’s really starting to bite and become a real issue. We have to be really sensible about fighting to keep prices realistic and attractive to the public. If you want to have successful tours and sell-outs and everyone making money, it’s going to be more crucial than ever before.

You’re mentioned a number of times in Michael Chugg’s biography.
Is there a book in you?
There is, but I don’t think it will ever be written. I’m not sure I’d want to go there. You never say never, but it’s not particularly my style to do that sort of thing.

So what is your style in the way you do business?

We try to make a tough deal, but a fair deal and make it a win- win for everyone. And do the right thing by people. We trade on our reputation, which to me is the No. 1. Reputation is everything. Contracts don’t mean a lot. It’s your handshake and reputation.

You’ve a deal with Sandalford. How much growth is left in the wineries market?
We’re looking at expanding in that area. We just signed up with Tempest Two in the Hunter Valley on the same basis as Sandalford. We’ve got two or three people we’re in partnership with working on expanding that whole winery concept. But it’s like everything. As much as you can create a great ambiance and setting, you’ve still got to have the talent. If you don’t have the great talent to put on the shows, you’re not going to sell the tickets.

Ticketek Australia recently announced it was seeing a “strong shift” toward mobile. Apparently, 10% of tickets for the 2011 Foo Fighters summer tour were sold via mobile. What are you thoughts on mobile ticketing?
It’s inevitable and it’s probably a good thing. You can’t fight it, you just join in and go with it. Mobiile ticketing will grow, big time. It’s going to become 40-60% (of the business) faster than you think.


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