The American executive and Wasserman CEO has been revealed as one of a number of heavyweight keynote speakers set for ILMC 34
Sign up for IQ Index
The latest industry news to your inbox.
"For us not to have a global music business that is integrated and operates as one unit would be a mistake," he said during his Hot Seat interview
By IQ on 28 Apr 2022
Casey Wasserman has discussed Wasserman Music’s acquisitions of Paradigm’s North America and UK live music businesses.
The latter deal took place earlier this week and comes a year after the launch of Wasserman Music, which itself followed the completion of its acquisition of Paradigm’s North American live music business.
Speaking yesterday (27 April) at the International Live Music Conference (ILMC), Wasserman revealed that his company had always planned to buy both of Paradigm’s businesses.
“We’re not myopic,” he said. “I don’t sit in Los Angeles and think the world operates and rotates around the United States. Building a global music business is fundamentally important to the clients we serve and the business we operate in.
“I don’t sit in Los Angeles and think the world operates and rotates around the United States”
“We can’t say to our clients, ‘We can only serve you in this little area or in this little way’. For us not to have a global music business that is integrated and operates as one unit would be a mistake.”
Explaining the reason for buying the businesses separately, Wasserman said: “Because of the different shareholdings, we separated those transactions to give them both the appropriate attention and focus.”
The entertainment mogul hailed Paradigm’s UK leadership team – which includes Dave Hallybone, Alex Hardee, Tom Schroeder and James Whitting – as “world-class” and says that the company weathered the pandemic incredibly well.
Discussing the tie-up between Wasserman Music and Paradigm’s North America business, Wasserman says the deal was “incredibly complex” and took more than 14 months.
“Building a global music business is fundamentally important to the clients we serve and the business we operate in”
“We brought on 80 employees and created a new music division and [because of the pandemic] we never had an in-person meeting to get that done,” he explained.
According to the American executive, the US deal came about after a “quasi-affair” with Sam Gores, founder and CEO of Paradigm.
“I had coffee with him once a week for multiple years, trying to buy the business,” he said. “Then February of 2020, Paradigm stepped on multiple landmines and kind of blew themselves up. And so I actually said to our guys, ‘Okay, enough of the dating game with Sam Gores, we’ll just move on to other things.
“And to their credit, Sam and his brother Tom called a couple of months later and said, ‘We’ve got some struggles here, we really needed to solve this situation and we’d like to talk about you buying the music business,’ which is kind of all we wanted anyway. And so we began that process on 4 April 2020 and end of May 2021 we closed.”
“[The Paradigm acquisitions are] the first two steps, not the last two steps”
He continued: “We went through a lot together over those 14 months to get close. And we knew coming out of it, we’ve got to bring that team together and go forward together. We don’t operate an agency to create structures and bureaucracy because that’s not how agents work. Our job is to sort of put the guardrails in, let them do their job, give them resources to do that, and help them when they need help and otherwise stay out of the way.”
Now Wasserman Music has both Paradigm businesses under its belt, the plan going forward is “to continue to put ourselves in the best position to succeed”. “We want to represent the best clients, help them drive their careers, and be incredibly relevant and influential in the music business. We’ve got a great leadership team, we’ve got great relationships, and we’re going to continue to be aggressive,” he said.
The American executive also hinted at future acquisitions to build a global music business, saying that the Paradigm acquisitions are “the first two steps, not the last two steps”.
“If we think [a company] adds value to our business and to our clients, we’re gonna go after it. We want to make ourselves the best place for an agent to pursue a career for themselves and for their clients,” he added.
Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.