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Concerts are on the way back. Don’t just take our word, that’s the prediction from Brett Murrihy.
The veteran live music professional and former Premier Harbour Senior Agent is more than five years into his role as WME’s Head of Asia Pacific for Music.
Sydney-based Murrihy joined WME in 2015 when the U.S. live entertainment giant snapped up Artist Voice, the company he co-founded with Matt Gudinski, Managing Director of the Melbourne-based Illusive Entertainment, through a joint venture with Michael Gudinski’s Mushroom Group.
Murrihy leads WME’s activities in the region and is now partner with the company, whose clients include Dua Lipa, Lizzo, Nine Inch Nails, Hugh Jackman, The Killers and young chart-topping stars Olivia Rodrigo, 24kGoldn and The Kid Laroi.
With Murrihy at the wheel, WME has a slate of initiatives and events across Asia from Beijing Fashion Week to Miss Universe in the Philippines to The Color Run in Hong Kong and Sneaker Con in China.
Of course, the touring landscape has been torched by COVID. But the signs are there for a rebirth.
“Given the state of low infection rates compared to other regions in the world, it is feasible to suggest that the first return internationally for live touring will be Australia/New Zealand,” Murrihy says.
With COVID jabs rolling out from this week in Australia, and vaccination safeguards already commencing in many regions in Asia including Indonesia, Singapore, China, Hong Kong and India, live should return sooner rather than later.
“After this,” notes Murrihy, “we hope to begin international touring in Q4 2021. This highly anticipated return will see international artists prioritise the Australia and Asia Pacific markets as the destination of choice.”
The situation will be “similar to the many Hollywood stars currently undertaking film and televisions projects in Australia. Those artists that commit and announce early will be the beneficiaries of the pent-up demand and the safer health environment.”
Murrihy is the longstanding rep for Crowded House, which is reuniting for their first album release in a decade and a national NZ tour, kicking off next month for 12 shows up and down the country.
It’s set to be the first fully-national tour post-pandemic.
Today, WME’s Sydney office alone has over 100 staff, and the business has Australian offices in Melbourne and Townsville.
For more on Murrihy’s thoughts on APAC touring, the state of live and his studies to learn a new language, read here.