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CAA completes acquisition of ICM Partners

Creative Artists Agency (CAA) has completed its acquisition of ICM Partners (ICM).

The acquisition, announced last September, was initially planned to close by the end of 2021 but was delayed while the US department of justice (DOJ) investigated its impact on the entertainment industry.

The completion of the deal – valued at $750 million by Hollywood Reporter sources, brings together two of the leading global agencies in entertainment and sports, and is the second major development to impact the agency world in the space of three months, following Wasserman Music’s acquisition of Paradigm UK’s live music business, which was announced in April.

As a result, the international live music agency landscape is now largely consolidated by just four companies – CAA, Wasserman, UTA and WME.

“Today marks a new chapter in the history of our company”

“Today marks a new chapter in the history of our company, positioning us better than ever to deliver extraordinary opportunities for many of the world’s preeminent artists, athletes, thought leaders, brands, and organisations in entertainment, sports, and culture,” says a statement by CAA’s co-chairmen Kevin Huvane, Bryan Lourd and Richard Lovett.

“We are thrilled to welcome our new ICM colleagues to CAA, and look forward to combining their expertise, relationships, and resources with those of our agents and executives around the world. Our diverse range of clients who entertain and inspire large global audiences have never been in more demand, nor have their opportunities been greater. With today’s addition of our new colleagues, the scope of possibilities for helping clients achieve their goals is limitless.”

“We couldn’t be more enthusiastic about our future together”

ICM brings to CAA a global roster of artists in film, television, music, comedy, theatre, games, politics and podcasting. Its music clients include Chaka Khan, Corinne Bailey Rae, D’Angelo, Dan Auerbach, Good Charlotte, J. Cole, Jerry Seinfeld, Jill Scott, Kamasi Washington, Khalid, Migos, Roger Daltrey, Rosanne Cash, Scott Stapp, Sheila E, The Black Keys and Trey Songz.

“Combining with the best-in-class agency to build an even greater representation company for our clients and our colleagues is the core strategic reason for this move,” adds ICM’s Chris Silbermann and Ted Chervin. “We couldn’t be more enthusiastic about our future together, and are energised by the sophisticated, forward-thinking representation we offer clients. This is the ideal next step for our companies.”

 


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UTA announces 26-strong partner class

UTA has announced the largest partner class in its 31-year history, elevating 26 team members across more than 15 divisions.

Music agents Mike “G” Guirguis, Jbeau Lewis and Matthew Morgan have both been promoted to partner alongside the company’s co-head of music brand partnerships Toni Wallace and Joe Kessler, global head of the firm’s UTA IQ research, data and analytics department.

The class also includes three recently announced partners with Stefanie Liquori as general counsel, Carmen Bona as chief strategy and corporate development officer and Richard Siklos as chief communications officer.

“These colleagues’ leadership, hard work, mentorship and dedication helps push our business forward every day”

“As UTA has grown, these colleagues’ leadership, hard work, mentorship and dedication helps push our business forward every day,” says UTA co-president David Kramer. “This partner class encompasses a wide range of expertise and backgrounds and reflects our commitment to providing clients with best-in-class representation and resources across all areas of the company.”

The new partners also include agents and executives from UTA’s motion picture literary and talent groups, unscripted television, ventures, production arts, sports, MediaLink, media rights, UTA Speakers and digital talent, as well as corporate functions such as legal and human resources.

 


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IFF 2022 launches with new central hub, agency partners

The eighth edition of the International Festival Forum (IFF), ILMC’s invitation-only event for festivals and bookers, is now live.

More than 800 delegates are expected to attend this year’s gathering of the international music festival business, with many of the world’s leading booking agencies signed up as partners.

Wasserman Music, WME, CAA, UTA, ICM Partners/Primary Talent, ATC Live, X-Ray Touring, One Finiix Live and Earth Agency are among the first to back the 2022 edition and many of whom will present showcases featuring the hottest new talent.

Alongside the showcases, IFF 2022 will offer the usual plethora of networking, showcases, panels, and parties – all taking place between 27 and 29 September in London.

In addition, IFF has announced a new central hub, the Holiday Inn in Camden, which will be transformed into IFF Central for three days.

IFF has announced a new central hub, the Holiday Inn in Camden, which will be transformed into IFF Central

IFF Central will be exclusive to delegates and will host all conference sessions, complimentary delegate lunches, a late-night bar that’s open until the early hours, and ample space for private meetings.

The hotel also features 100 rooms for delegates in a range of categories, which can be booked at the same time as registering your pass. Room rates are discounted for IFF delegates but there’s a limited number available. Click here for more details.

Since launching in 2015, IFF has gained a reputation for showcasing the most talented emerging artists at early stages of their careers, including Idles, Slaves, Loyle Carner, Public Service Broadcasting, Lewis Capaldi and Shame.

Last year, IFF enjoyed a successful return to a physical event, with a programme that featured a double keynote interview with Melvin Benn and Folkert Koopmans.

More details of IFF 2022, including the provisional schedule, will be announced in due course. If you have an idea for a panel topic, speaker or presentation, please email Ruud Berends.

A limited number of super discounted earlybird passes are now available for just £345 (saving £150 on the full rate). Each pass includes access to all sessions and showcases, lunches, dinners, and some drinks. Click here to register.

 


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One Fiinix Live taps senior agent Sean Goulding

Jon Ollier’s independent agency One Fiinix Live has made a statement of intent with the hiring of experienced agent Sean Goulding from UTA.

New Yorker Goulding, who will continue to be based in London, has worked with artists such as Post Malone, Waterparks, Princess Nokia, Che Lingo, Denise Chaila, and Illenium. It is yet to be confirmed which of his existing clients will join him in his new role.

One Fiinix Live, which represents the likes of Ed Sheeran, Years & Years, 2Cellos, Calum Scott and Tessa Violet, was founded by Ollier in 2020 following his departure from CAA.

“I’m thrilled to be a part of building a progressive and innovative new company with Jon and the team”

“I’m thrilled to be a part of building a progressive and innovative new company with Jon and the team,” says Goulding. “Being surrounded by people courageous enough to venture out independently is precisely where I want to be. That’s the type of energy that will enhance the services provided to our clients as we move forward.”

Goulding joined The Agency Group, which was later absorbed into UTA, in 2006.

“I cannot express how excited we are to have Sean joining us. Sean is a real thoroughbred veteran of our game; he is incredibly experienced and knowledgeable but at the same time as hungry and passionate as anyone I have met,” says Ollier. “We share a vision for the future of business in general and I think this collaboration makes a real statement of intent for both parties.”

One Fiinix made its first hire in early 2021, recruiting ex-Paradigm agent Jess Kinn. Kinn recently spoke to IQ about her first year with the firm.

 


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UTA hires Paul Yoo as SVP of ventures

UTA has hired Paul Yoo for the newly created role of SVP of ventures.

Yoo, who will be based in Los Angeles, will focus on building out the group’s private equity practice by identifying opportunities for the agency’s clients to acquire or make substantial investments in existing businesses.

UTA’s ventures department builds and invests in businesses at the intersection of media, entertainment, consumer products and technology, working with various divisions across the agency to leverage UTA’s expertise and relationships within the entertainment business landscape.

“Paul has extensive experience in private equity and venture capital, and he is well-respected within the financial industry,” said Sam Wick, head of UTA Ventures. “With his deep knowledge of the space, he will be able to find innovative ways for clients to become more involved in companies that align with their interests. We are thrilled to welcome him to UTA.”

“Building a strategic investment platform for its clients is a natural extension of the agency’s DNA”

Yoo was previously a partner at Transom Consulting Group and M&A Services, where he built and led the Consumer Goods/Retail Practice of the consulting firm and investment bank.  He was also an advisor to A-list celebrities and athletes in the formation of and investments in consumer brands.

“UTA has long displayed an entrepreneurial spirit and ability to create lasting value to its client base,” he says. “Building a strategic investment platform for its clients is a natural extension of the agency’s DNA, and I’m excited to help develop unique opportunities for our creators, talent, artists, and athletes.”

Earlier this week, UTA announced the appointment of London-based Irene Agbontaen to another newly created role of director of artist brand strategy on the music brand partnerships team.

The company represents artists including Post Malone, Bad Bunny, YG, Jonas Brothers, Demi Lovato, Bebe Rexha, Guns N’ Roses, Lil Wayne, Burna Boy, Halsey, Machine Gun Kelly, Paramore, Rosalía, Florence and the Machine, Bring Me The Horizon, Christine and The Queens and Dolly Parton.

 


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WME enhances brand partnerships team

WME has strengthened its brand partnerships department with the appointments of Adam Bulleid, Carolyn Massey and Bernard Tyler as agents.

UK-based Bulleid, who was most recently VP business development for Universal Music UK’s Globe division, will work across WME’s agency and talent roster, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

US-based Massey, meanwhile, joins from ICM Partners, where she worked with the likes of Migos, Khalid and J.Cole, and will focus on WME’s hip-hop and R&B roster alongside ex-CAA Sports executive Tyler.

WME has been responsible for recent brand pairings such as Elton John with Uber Eats, Miley Cyrus with Gucci and John Legend with LG Signature

The hirings follow the additions of Ikenna Ezeh, Andrés Paz Micheo and Francesca Ballentyne to its brand partnerships team, along with the promotions of agents Jenna​ Praeger and Joshua​ Upfal.

WME has been responsible for recent brand pairings within the music division such as Elton John with Uber Eats, Miley Cyrus with Gucci, Selena Gomez with Rare Beauty, John Legend with LG Signature and Solange with Moncler.

 


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Wasserman Music hires agent Adam Brill

Veteran agent Adam Brill has joined Wasserman Music as VP, fairs & festivals.

Previously an agent at CAA for six years, Brill also worked at UTA and APA earlier in his career and has represented and developed artists including Conan Gray, Tate McRae, Zara Larsson and Imagine Dragons.

Los Angeles-based Brill, who has also consulted for Atlantic Records on prospective young talent, started out in the live business by leading the concert committee at the University of Iowa, where he oversaw a team of more than 20 students and promoted arena shows by John Mayer and Bob Dylan, among others.

“I am thrilled to be joining the Wasserman family,” he says. “Their success as a company is reinforced by their entrepreneurial and innovative mindset. I am excited to help build a division that will further benefit all Wasserman clients.”

His extensive artist development track record fits perfectly with our ethos

Marty Diamond, EVP & managing executive at Wasserman Music, adds: “We’re very excited to have Adam join our team at Wasserman. His extensive artist development track record fits perfectly with our ethos, and he brings valuable perspective and experience to the important space of fair and festival bookings.”

He joins a growing department that recently added Shannon Casey as SVP, and has also promoted agent Mike Sosin as a newly promoted agent.

Sosin joins Wasserman’s fairs & festivals department following five years as coordinator for Wasserman SVP, Trey Many. He previously worked in radio promotion at Bloodshot Records and as an artist manager.

“Mike is a close friend, a valuable colleague, and an amazing human being,” says Many. “I’m thrilled that he’s now growing into this new role, and his extensive knowledge and bright spirit will continue to enhance our agency.”

 


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UTA bolsters Nashville team with string of hires

UTA has confirmed the appointment of Matthew Morgan as co-head of the agency’s Nashville office as part of a series of hires.

Morgan and music agents Marissa Smith, Emily LaRose and Buster Phillips join from WME in a move that sees the trio reunite with former colleague Scott Clayton, who was unveiled as UTA’s latest co-head of global music last month.

Morgan, who will work alongside co-head Jeffrey Hasson, has worked with the likes of  Zac Brown Band and Lizzo. He previously spent 13 years at CAA and two years at CMT. UTA opened its Nashville HQ in June 2021.

“Our Nashville office is rapidly expanding, and that momentum will continue under Matthew and Jeffrey’s leadership,” says David Zedeck, partner and co-head of global music.

We are honoured to welcome this powerhouse group of industry professionals into our Music City headquarters

Smith had served as an assistant to Clayton and was responsible for booking concerts at colleges and universities along the US East Coast. She was also the company’s first social action music agent and headed up the music department’s virtual appearance group.

LaRose has worked with artists such as Sasha Alex Sloan and Andrew McMahon, while Phillips has represented acts such as Devon Gilfillian, Gov’t Mule, Ida Mae, Iron and Wine, Kathleen Edwards, Low Cut Connie and Nicole Atkins.

Additionally, Elisa Vazzana switches to UTA from CAA as a music agent, while Emily Wright comes on board as a music brand partnerships agent. The hirings are completed by Amy Lynch, who becomes an agent for the company’s comedy touring division, and Brandi Brammer, who is named senior HR business partner.

“We are honoured to welcome this powerhouse group of industry professionals into our Music City headquarters,” adds Zedeck. “The collective breadth and scope of our new colleagues will be a tremendous addition as we continue to expand our footprint in Nashville and beyond.”

 


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Paradigm’s Alex Hardee talks 2022 ticket sales

Paradigm Agency’s Alex Hardee has spoken to IQ about how the last two years of disruption has impacted on ticket sales for 2022.

The London-based agent, who represents acts including Liam Gallagher, London Grammar, Rag’N’Bone Man and Grace Jones, says the middle tier of shows is being squeezed by the bottleneck of live events.

“Hot things are selling and some of the new things are selling, but the middle stuff is proving problematic,” says Hardee, speaking in the latest issue of IQ Magazine.

“Stuff that’s been around a bit and maybe not having reactive records, that’s where the squeeze is. That’s always been where the squeeze is, it’s just more accentuated at the moment because there is so much stuff out there. There is a lot of touring going into next year so there’ll be a few misses, I think.”

Hardee, who discusses Gallagher’s forthcoming return to Knebworth here, was gearing up for a quiet start to 2022 even before concerns over the Omicron variant threatened to complicate matters further.

Everyone has announced and gone on sale further in advance

“A long time ago, we said to leave all our tours in Europe to April/May and miss the winter out, and that probably was the right move,” he says. “We hardly have anything going out in January and February apart from one-offs, but no European touring.

“We’re definitely further ahead of booking ’22 than we would be at this point in a normal year, because most of ’22 is all booked. Everyone has announced and gone on sale further in advance so there are a lot less slots left for festivals than there would normally be at this stage.

“The tours are all booked, all avails were held, so there isn’t much left to do for ’22 now, so ’23 will start. I don’t think they’re going to necessarily start looking at ’23 festivals that early, but they’re starting to talk about the headliners.”

Asked about the likely impact the shortage of slots will have on emerging bands, Hardee adds: “There’s a myth that if you go on at a festival, you’re going to play in front of someone. You’re not going to play in front of someone unless people want to see you. It’s not like the old days where people would just wander around, everyone knows everything [now].

“For newer acts, it probably takes a year before you get to a point where you’re ready to play festivals. You need to build your streaming, your tickets and your worth up before you get on them.

“You shouldn’t be obsessed by playing a festival for the sake of it; you’ve got to be obsessed with playing the festival at the right time, when it’s going to enhance your career.”

 


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Mushroom Group splits from The Harbour Agency

Australia’s Mushroom Group has split from booking firm The Harbour Agency following complaints about management behaviour and workplace culture.

An investigation was launched after several former Harbour Agency staff contacted Mushroom with historical allegations about Harbour, reports The Australian newspaper.

While the nature of the complaints remain “unclear”, they have prompted Mushroom to “formally separate the business from the group”.

“External investigators were appointed and the concerns raised were investigated, including via interviews with a number of former staff,” reads a Mushroom Group statement. “The issues raised by the investigation have been taken seriously and are now being addressed by the directors of Harbour Agency.

“Mushroom doesn’t have a controlling shareholding in Harbour, nor input into the decision making process at Harbour. The findings of the investigation emphasised the lack of direct day to day visibility and influence we have over the running of the Harbour business.

“At Mushroom, we take the creation of a positive and creative workplace culture seriously and, without the ability to influence the culture at Harbour, Mushroom has made the decision to formally separate the business from the group.”

Any previous issues within the Harbour Agency have been assessed and dealt with over a period of time

The Harbour Agency has responded in a statement shared with The Music Network, saying the firm’s shareholders remain unchanged, despite the Mushroom Group’s decision.

“There have been suggestions of historical workplace culture issues within the Harbour Agency,” it says. “The Harbour agency takes workplace culture very seriously. We are proud to promote an inclusive, culturally diverse and safe environment which nurtures the skills of budding industry leaders as well as extending these values to our clients and the industry as a whole. In effect, any previous issues within the Harbour Agency have been assessed and dealt with over a period of time as is consistent with our values.

“At no point during Mushroom’s external investigation were any current employees interviewed… had these accounts been included, the findings may have told a different story.

“The agency has remained fully operational over a very difficult period of time for the live music industry. We have stood unwavering, in our service to our employees, our client base and the wider community.”

It adds: “Moving forward, The Harbour Agency will continue to operate independently. Whilst the company is being restructured, it will not preclude or prohibit our dealings with the many great companies within the Mushroom group.”

Mushroom Group appointed Matt Gudinski as its new CEO in April following the sudden passing of his father, Frontier Touring/Mushroom Group founder Michael Gudinski, on 2 March.

 


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