Ian Copeland, a pioneering booking agent and music promoter credited with helping launch the "new wave" alternative rock movement of the 1970s and '80s with such bands as the Police, the B-52's and R.E.M., died on May 23 at age 57, relatives said.
Copeland succumbed to melanoma at his home in Los Angeles where he was surrounded by family members, including younger brother Stewart Copeland, a founder and drummer of the Police, his publicist said.
With the help of older brother Miles, Copeland began his career in show business as a booking agent in London, where he discovered the Scottish funk outfit Average White Band, who made their debut in 1973 opening for Eric Clapton .
Copeland moved in the mid-1970s to Macon, Georgia, to work for the Paragon Agency, which booked tours for popular southern rock acts like Charlie Daniels, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers Band.
But it was Copeland's role in helping brother Miles, founder of the International Records Syndicate (I.R.S.) label, introduce the British band Squeeze to the United States that transformed his career.
The brothers adopted a strategy of building fan support for Squeeze by booking the group on a tour of smaller nightclubs, and successfully repeated that formula to launch other bands, including the Police and the B-52's.
Their work was pivotal in establishing the "club circuit" that helped usher in the punk rock and new wave scenes to the United States.
After the demise of Paragon, Copeland moved to New York and started his own booking agency, Frontier Booking International (F.B.I.), which represented such acts as Adam Ant, the Bangles, R.E.M. , nine inch nails, the Go-Go's, UB40, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Oingo Boingo, the Dead Kennedys and the Cure.