British sound rental company, SSE Audio Group and California-based Sound Image have announced the launch of a transatlantic joint venture. Dubbed UAC (United Audio Companies), the venture has been designed to enable both firms to improve the international support they can offer to their clients on both sides of the Atlantic.
This new arrangement means clients touring in Europe and the USA will benefit from a common touring infrastructure and around-the-clock support, so acts can work seamlessly on either side of the Atlantic. “The arrangement works because it places the full resources of a national PA company at the disposal of the touring act in the locality, whether in the States or in Europe,” the companies’ statement says.
“It’s not just a US Company operating via an EU satellite office or vice versa in the US,” explained SSE Audio Group MD John Penn, “It’s two full-service national PA companies with a full complement of staff, service facilities, vehicles, production managers and their long-developed support networks that are made available to the touring production – in addition to the equipment inventory and crew.
It means that when a tour hits a snag, SSE in Europe or Sound Image in the States are far more likely to resolve the issue quickly.”
Each of the partnering companies has introduced common technologies so touring acts will have a simple transition when they travel between the continents. All productions will have additional local contacts assigned to assist planning and coordination and reduce down-time.
Neil Diamond’s current world tour is the first to officially use UAC, although both companies have been testing the waters over the last year with acts like Linkin Park, Tame Impala, Culture Club, Pharrell Williams, Rob Zombie, Five Finger Death Punch, Maroon 5 and Billy Idol. As part of the move towards common technologies, SSE Hire has invested in the JBL VTX system. This, together with SSE’s extensive L-Acoustics inventory, means clients can now use either system on both sides of the Atlantic.
SSE’s new JBL system has been deployed for the first time on the European leg of Neil Diamond’s tour, following his successful North American outing in April and May with Sound Image.
Commenting on the new venture, Dave Shadoan, President of Sound Image explained: “Sound Image and SSE have very similar company philosophies. We both continue to invest heavily in today’s leading technology and we both put a heavy focus on our personnel and service. That is what sets us apart.”
John Penn added: “I’ve known Dave for many years and we’ve worked together on tours. This latest strategic development is logical for both of our companies as we recognise the importance of offering our clients proper technical and logistical support around the clock in both Europe and the United States.”
In the USA, Sound Image has offices in San Diego, Nashville, LA and Phoenix, while in Europe, SSE Audio Group has UK offices in London, the Midlands and the North of England, plus three locations in France.
Jesse Adamson, director of Business Development for Sound Image, says: “SSE is a dominant force that is gaining serious momentum in Europe. It’s clear that United Audio Companies can offer a level of infrastructure and support that can’t be found with any other touring audio company in the industry.”