The moratorium on live music events affects more than just artists. From sound technicians to catering people, the universe behind your favorite bands’ tours is significant. That’s why a group of independent booking agencies created the National Independent Talent Organization (NITO). The nonprofit group seeks to promote the welfare of its members, advocating for a membership of U.S.-based artists and various crew personnel as the economy gradually recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.
This community “need and want to be assured that our voices are heard in Congress and Washington.” Therefore, NITO sees the need for strength in numbers. That’s why the collective is welcoming performers, crew members and other professionals to join as non-dues-paying associate members.
“As the organization that represents music’s creators, we welcome our new allies at NITO,” says Harvey Mason Jr., chairman and interim president/CEO of the Recording Academy. “As citizens turn to music during these troubled times, it demonstrates that music makers must survive and thrive. We look forward to working with NITO as partners in improving the lives of artists.”
Stormy Shepherd of Leave Home Booking—whose roster includes Rancid, Me First And The Gimme Gimmes, the Aquabats and Sick Of It All—is also a founding member of NITO. “Collaborating with this group of courageous agents, united toward a common goal, has turned a period of loss and uncertainty to one of hope and progress as we forge a new path forward to support our artists, independent agents and all of those who work in the live music industry.”
While industry professionals are saying that concert events may return next year, there’s still a legion of live-touring entities that need to survive. NITO intends to keep this ecosystem flourishing until it is safe for bands and fans to once again enjoy the beauty of live music.
“NITO stands with the artists and all of those who make up the world of live performances,” says High Road Touring founder Frank Riley. (The High Road roster includes the Regrettes, Kississippi and Phoebe Bridgers.) “It’s a fully integrated world, that is reliant on and supportive of one another. Because no one can productively and successfully navigate this environment on their own. When all things come together in the best way, these shows and this music bring joy and happiness in an otherwise troublesome and dangerous world.”
NITO’s collective of independent booking agents include Entourage Talent; Ground Control Touring; High Road Touring; Leave Home Booking; Madison House; Mongrel Music; New Frontier Touring; Panache Booking; Partisan Arts; Pinnacle Entertainment; Sound Talent Group; Skyline Artists Agency; TKO; and the Kurland Agency. The founders represent approximately 2,000 artists selling close to 13 million tickets.