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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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CAA promotes agents Del Granado and Krones

Creative Artists Agency (CAA) has promoted veteran music agents Bruno Del Granado and Jeff Krones to leadership positions.

Del Granado, who works with Latin artists including Maluma, Gloria Estefan, Luis Fonsi and Becky G, will serve as head of the agency’s global Latin Music touring group, while Krones, whose clients such as Dan + Shay, Twenty One Pilots, Brett Young, Needtobreathe and NF, becomes c0-head of CAA Nashville Music.

“Today’s appointments of two superbly talented new leaders attest to the tremendous momentum CAA is experiencing across our touring business,” says CAA’s head of music Rob Light. “Jeff and Bruno’s individual instincts, taste, and experience have made them world-class agents, and we look forward to them expanding their impact for clients and CAA in their new leadership roles.”

Miami-based Del Granado joined the agency in 2013 from RM Entertainment Group, which he formed in partnership with Ricky Martin. Previously, he founded Entertainment Media Factory, Inc and was president of Maverick Recording Company’s Latin Division, and VP of programming for MTV LatAm.

He has also served as a marketing advisor to Enrique Iglesias and held senior executive positions at EMI Music Publishing and CBS/Sony.

“As the reach and influence of Latin music continues to grow across the globe, I’m thrilled to work alongside the incredible artists driving the success and cultural impact of the music,” says Del Granado. “With the continued support of the broader CAA team, our Latin Music group will create even more opportunities ahead.”

I’m honoured to join my fellow co-heads in helping to build on our success in Nashville

Over the past year, the agency’s Latin music touring division has crafted a series of high-profile deals, including facilitating a lucrative brand partnership for Ricky Martin with Chilean beauty brand Kumiko, helping secure a role for Gloria Estefan to co-star in Plan B/Warner Bros’ Father of the Bride remake, and negotiating Becky G’s recently launched beauty line Treslúce Beauty.

Krones, who was elected to the board of the Academy of Country Music in 2017, began his career as an intern at CAA in 2004 and was promoted to agent in 2007. He joins Nashville Music co-heads Marc Dennis, Brian Manning and Darin Murphy in his new role.

“I’m honoured to join my fellow co-heads in helping to build on our success in Nashville,” he says. “As a team, we’re passionate about discovering, developing and serving a wide range of artists that touch many different genres and cultures. I’m fortunate to have spent my entire career at CAA, surrounded by the best agents, and I’m excited by the opportunity to help shape our future.”

CAA’s Nashville touring team of 38 agents works with a roster of country music talent including Alabama, Lady A, Zac Brown Band, Sam Hunt, Tim McGraw, Maren Morris, Willie Nelson, Shania Twain, Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban, among others.

The agency’s Nashville office also works with the likes of Glass Animals, Maroon 5, Mumford & Sons, Harry Styles, and Vampire Weekend.

 


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Memorial events planned for the late Steve Strange

A trio of events have been planned to commemorate the life of Steve Strange, the X-ray Touring director and co-founder, who passed away recently following a short illness.

The London event takes place at O2 Academy Brixton, and friends of Steve and colleagues who knew and worked with him are invited to email [email protected] to RSVP.

Dubbed ‘The Farewell Tour’, celebrations are also planned in Los Angeles on 17 November and Belfast on 19 December.

Born in Lisburn near Belfast, Strange worked with an eclectic roster of artists including Coldplay, Eminem, Queens of the Stone Age, Phoebe Bridgers, Ash, Snow Patrol, The Charlatans and Jimmy Eat World, many booked with longtime colleague Josh Javor.

The X-ray team remembered a “universally known, hugely respected and loved character”, as tributes poured in from across the industry upon Strange’s death aged 53 in September.

Strange was a longstanding ILMC member, and in March had picked up the top agent award (‘second least offensive agent’) in a special decade showdown at the Arthur Awards. Strange had topped the category twice before. He appeared in person to collect the gong at the Royal Albert Hall, thanking his clients, and “all the people at Team Strange and Xray Touring who’ve all had a very difficult year but we’re getting through it”.

IQ published a surprise feature article in May 2018, to celebrate Strange’s 50th birthday.

 


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UTA hires Erika Savage, CAA taps Mark Bennett

Following a raft of promotions at both agencies, UTA has appointed Erika Savage as SVP of global music operations, while CAA has bolstered its music touring department with the hiring of agent Mark Bennett.

Savage led strategic development at Interscope Records prior to becoming SVP of partnership development at beauty firm Forma Brands.

Based in Los Angeles, she will play a key role in the agency’s strategic planning and business development across its music division.

Bennett, meanwhile, joins CAA from MBA Live, the agency he founded and that worked with a diverse roster of artists such as KSI, Polo G, S-X, Digital Farm Animals, Deco, BRYN, and The Paper Kites.

I could not be more proud of what was achieved with MBA Live

Prior to forming MBA Live, Bennett spent five years at The Agency Group for five years, where he nurtured emerging talent including Arizona, Fickle Friends, Fletcher, Jain, Milburn, Saint Motel, The Regrettes, Willow and Zella Day.  

“I am incredibly excited to join CAA’s team of hard-working agents, many of whom I’ve had the pleasure of working with for years,” says Bennett. “I could not be more proud of what was achieved with MBA Live, and look forward to the opportunities that CAA will provide for my artists and I, as we continue to grow, develop, and learn from some of the greatest minds and people in this industry.”

Bennett, who will be based in CAA’s London office, began his music industry career more than a decade ago as a tour manager.

The news comes days after UTA announced 50 promotions across 20 divisions, including three in its music department, and CAA promoted nine employees to agent/executive within its music touring team.

 


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Bogus Justin Timberlake booking agent admits fraud

A woman has admitted scamming a charity out of $100,000 by posing as a booking agent for artists including Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake, Drake and Ed Sheeran.

Atlanta, Georgia-based Carissa Scott pleaded guilty to one count of fraud following a hearing in a New York federal court earlier this week.

Under the name Canvas Media Group, Scott and fellow defendant Nancy Jean were charged with conspiring to defraud investors in events including a December 2019 benefit concert for the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation, set up by relatives of victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Prosecutors said Canvas Media “falsely represented that they could book top-tier musical acts to perform at the concert”, and sent organisers a contract asking for $500,000 for his performance and a $275,000 deposit. One investor in the benefit show subsequently sent a $100,000 partial deposit to Jean and Scott.

Law360 reports that bank records allegedly show Scott and Jean immediately started using the money on leasing a Mercedes-Benz, making large cash withdrawals and going shopping.

Scott also reported she could book other artists for the concert, including Drake, Flo Rida and Ed Sheeran

According to legal papers, the investor requested proof of the booking when Timberlake’s social media account failed to mention or promote the event.

The investor then received a telephone call from an “unidentified male”, who falsely claimed to be Timberlake’s manager. He stated that Timberlake would perform at the benefit for an increased fee of “between $800,000 and $1 million”. When the investor baulked at the demands, Canvas Media said Bruno Mars could perform instead for $600,000.

Scott also reportedly claimed she could book other artists for the concert, including Drake, Flo Rida and Ed Sheeran.

The real managers for Mars and Timberlake later told investigators they had never heard of Canvas Media and had never spoken to Scott and Jean, who were arrested in January 2020.

Scott, who has been ordered to pay $100,000 (€86,500) in restitution, is due to be sentenced on 24 February next year. The status of the case against Jean is currently unclear.

 


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UTA promotes trio of music agents

Leading agency UTA has announced 50 promotions across 20 divisions in multiple offices, including three in its music department.

The promotions encompass employees at various levels of the company and represent a wide range of backgrounds and experiences across gender and ethnicity. In addition, more than 90% of those promoted to agent and over 80% of those promoted to coordinator started their careers in the Agent Training Program, and over 80% of those promoted to executive started as assistant. 

Nikos Kazoleas, Alaina Latona and James Osgood have been elevated to music agents, with Brennan Duffy, Shaq Millington and Jamie Waldman becoming coordinators.

We are grateful for our colleagues’ dedication and resilience as UTA continues to succeed in an evolving business landscape

“We are grateful for our colleagues’ dedication and resilience as UTA continues to succeed in an evolving business landscape,” says UTA co-president David Kramer. “We look forward to seeing all of the great achievements this group will continue to accomplish in their new roles as the company innovates, expands and flourishes.”

The promotions have arisen during a period of significant growth for the company. Most recently, UTA and its partner company Klutch Sports Group established a full-service base of operations in Atlanta. UTA also plans to establish a second UTA artist space gallery in its new Atlanta offices.

The agency also announced the opening of its new Nashville headquarters earlier this year.

 


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Scott Clayton set to join UTA after WME exit

WME has confirmed the departure of music co-head Scott Clayton, who is expected to join rival agency UTA.

Clayton, has worked with artists including Kings of Leon, John Mayer, Dead & Company, Train and the Zac Brown Band, was co-head of CAA Nashville prior to switching to WME in 2017.

At WME, Clayton was partner and co-head of its Nashville office and also led the Beverly Hills-headquartered agency’s rock division, working with its global music team to identify new rock signings and support its existing clients.

He was one of three music co-heads at the company, alongside UK-based Lucy Dickins and US-based Kirk Sommer, who remain in their current roles.

We appreciate all of Scott’s contributions to the agency

“We appreciate all of Scott’s contributions to the agency over the past four years and wish him all the best,” says a WME statement.

WME’s worldwide head of music, Marc Geiger, left the agency after 17 years in 2020, while co-head of music Sara Newkirk Simon moved into a consultancy role in the wider Endeavor business..

UTA has not commented on Clayton’s rumoured appointment, which has been reported by Variety.

 


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Wasserman announces five newly appointed agents

Wasserman Music, the new booking agency formed following Wasserman group’s acquisition of Paradigm’s North American live music business, has announced five newly promoted agents.

The new agents include Amanda Ilgunas, Paige Maloney and Lauren Marker, as well as brand partnership agents Edenized Perez and Mallory Smith.

Additionally, Wasserman has appointed Stephanie Gherini and Mika Posecion as tour marketing directors.

“We take great pride in developing strong careers for our colleagues, as well as for our clients”

“We take great pride in developing strong careers for our colleagues, as well as for our clients,” says Wasserman Music EVP and managing executive Lee Anderson.

“Amanda, Paige, Lauren, Edenized and Mallory have grown into outstanding professionals, and we’re honoured to welcome them to our agent team.

“The addition of Stephanie and Mika to our exceptional tour marketing team represents a big step forward in Wasserman’s ability to empower and guide our clients’ touring careers.”

Today’s news follows the appointment of veteran agent Brent Smith as executive vice-president and managing executive, in July.

 


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