Wasserman Music unveils new exec hires
Global talent agency Wasserman Music has added four new executives to its team as it continues to grow its international workforce.
Brad Goodman and Taryn Haight join as Los Angeles-based SVP and VP of strategy, electronic music, respectively, while New York-based Sam Bartlett is named VP casinos/performing arts centres and Guy Mason is appointed as the firm’s London-based legal counsel, supporting its European Business Affairs team.
“The addition of Brad, Sam, Taryn, and Guy helps us continue to strengthen our organisation”
“Since the launch of Wasserman Music in 2021, we have always put a premium on our culture and on super-serving the artists we have the honour to represent around the world,” says Wasserman Music EVP & managing executive Lee Anderson. “The addition of Brad, Sam, Taryn, and Guy helps us continue to strengthen our organisation and solidify our place as the premier global music representation agency.”
Headquartered in Los Angeles, Wasserman operates across 27 countries and more than 62 cities, including New York, London, Abu Dhabi, Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Madrid, Mexico City, Toronto, Paris and Sydney.
Goodman, who comes on board following a lengthy stint at WME, brings a roster of clients, including Melissa Etheridge, “Weird Al” Yankovic and Ziggy Marley, and Bartlett joins after a decade in the music and comedy touring departments at CAA and ICM.
In a newly created role, Haight will oversee brand-building and non-touring opportunities for the company’s roster of electronic music artists. Haight previously spent more than a decade in dance music marketing at labels including Ninja Tune, Warner Records and Ultra Records, and most recently served as head of strategy for creative incubator HIFI Labs.
In addition, Mason joins from VCCP Group LLP, where he served as a commercial and intellectual property solicitor covering a multi-disciplinary international group of affiliate agencies in areas including advertising, marketing, branding and data.
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DEAG sets out ambitious growth strategy for 2023
Deutsche Entertainment AG (DEAG) has set out ambitious expansion plans for 2023 in the company’s H1 financial results.
The German-headquartered live entertainment group is aiming to generate revenue of over €300 million (compared to €325m in 2022) and a further improved EBITDA compared to the previous year (€30.9m).
Throughout the ongoing fiscal year, DEAG plans to stage approximately 6,000 events across its key European markets and sell 10 million tickets (compared to nine million in the previous year).
These aims will be bolstered by the restart of DEAG’s M&A activities in the second half of 2023. The company says it currently has “several acquisitions in advanced stages of negotiation”.
In today’s H1 2023 results, DEAG says it is on track to achieve these full-year targets. Revenue in the first half of the year was at around €123m, compared to €133.4m in the previous year and €63.9m in the pre-corona year 2019.
EBITDA was over €5m, compared to €10.1m in the same period of last year – though DEAG notes that its major tours and festivals are primarily scheduled for the third quarter.
“We are leading our company into a new, exciting era that will be characterised by profitable growth”
Explaining 2023’s lower H1 results compared with 2022, the company says figures from the prior year still reflected rebound effects stemming from the pandemic, financial support from European funding programs, alongside significant events and tours in the second quarter of 2022.
The company’s results also reveal a shuffle on the executive board, with Detlef Kornett becoming a co-CEO alongside founder and CEO Peter Schwenkow.
Kornett, who has been a board member since 2014, will continue to head off international business affairs and marketing at DEAG and, together with Schwenkow, oversee corporate strategy and drive further growth.
“We are excellently positioned and will continue the dynamic growth of previous years”
Elsewhere, David Reinecke will take on the position of chief financial officer, effective 1 October. He succeeds Roman Velke who has worked at the company for five years, and who will continue to support DEAG in an advisory capacity.
Reinecke brings to the role global management experience in finance, particularly in capital markets and investor relations, garnered from his previous roles across cities such as New York City, Los Angeles, London, Frankfurt, and Munich. His most recent position was director of corporate finance and CFO at the German bank N26.
Other board members include Christian Diekmann who is responsible for the business in Germany and leads the expansion of the Christmas Garden, and Moritz Schwenkow who is responsible for ticketing and technology.
“Just in time for DEAG’s 45th anniversary, we are leading our company into a new, exciting era that will be characterised by profitable growth as well as innovation and expansion into European markets and ticketing,” says Schwenkow.
“I am very pleased that the supervisory board has agreed to my personal request to expand Detlef Kornett’s position to the role of co-CEO. I welcome David Reinecke as the new CFO and at the same time thank – also on behalf of the supervisory board – Roman Velke for his excellent work and great commitment over the past years. We will use the combination of a competent team, excellent business and attractive market opportunities to fuel DEAG’s further growth momentum.”
Kornett adds: “DEAG has already founded around 20 new companies or successfully integrated them after acquisitions in recent years. We want to continue our successful track record in our M&A activities, with a focus on further expansion into new European markets as well as acquisitions to expand our ticketing platforms. As one of Europe’s leading live entertainment providers, we are excellently positioned and will continue the dynamic growth of previous years.”
In the first half of this fiscal year, DEAG organised events such as Disney on Ice and Riverdance as well as concerts and tours with Sam Fender, Limp Bizkit, Rod Stewart, The Who, Iron Maiden and Kiss, among other artists.
The company also had a strong festival summer with open-air events in the genres EDM, classics & jazz and rock/pop and welcomed more than 800,000 visitors to its festivals between late June and early September.
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Neil O’Brien Entertainment appoints two new agents
Entertainment agency Neil O’Brien Entertainment has hired two new agents and launched a new theatre division.
The London-based company has added Jamie Kelly and Ross Leslie to it’s existing team.
“I am excited to be able to welcome two new members to our team, both of whom I believe can work with us to deliver specialist and artist focused approaches to touring – something we have developed over the last 16 years in business,” says agency owner Neil O’Brien.
Kelly, who has worked with the likes of The Jesus & Mary Chain, Melanie C, Black Grape, Glasvegas, The Ordinary Boys and Jah Wobble, was previously owner of The Magnificent Agency and currently represents acts including Cast, Alabama 3, Soup Dragons, The View’s Kyle Falconer, Shambolics and Proud Mary.
He will also continue his management of The View and Shambolics, working with Alan McGee at Creation Management.
Leslie, meanwhile, was most recently at Consolidated Artists with clients including Ritchie Blackmore, Manfred Mann, Bernie Marsden and Steve Lukather. Both new appointments will be working on developing their own rosters over the coming months.
Based in Soho, Neil O’Brien Entertainment was formed in 2007 and represents over a hundred artists worldwide. It delivers more than 2,500 shows a year with its eight-strong team, with its current roster including Joe Bonamassa, UB40, Dionne Warwick, Ocean Colour Scene, Beth Hart, Fisherman’s Friends, Paul Young, Damian Lewis, Incognito, Brand New Heavies, Roachford, Aled Jones and The Alarm, among others.
O’Brien has worked in the live music sector since 1987 and was part of the programming team at Mean Fiddler, Break For The Border and Astoria London. He has programmed open air events including Reading Festival, Phoenix, Fleadh and Madstock and recently Kew The Music, Greenwich Music Time and A Boundless Summer.
“Having set up a music and film label during the pandemic to create business for our artists, it seemed the logical thing to create a home for them with a hugely creative and knowledgeable person such as Rhydian”
The specialist independent agency has also announced details of its new theatre division, Westway Talent, headed by singer, musical theatre actor and presenter Rhydian Roberts.
The former X Factor contestant will lead the new division, which will specialise in touring and staged concert business with more than 30 theatre actors including Elaine Paige, Bonnie Langford, Lee Mead, Kerry Ellis, Lucie Jones, Ramin Karimloo, Ruthie Henshall, John Barrowman, John Partridge, Jamie Muscato, Jason Manford and Samantha Barks.
The division is said to be the only designated roster of its kind in the UK with the aim of developing the growing business of live music activity for musicial theatre artists.
“I have worked closely with Rhydian for more than 10 years developing live touring opportunities for our theatre based music artists and over the last three years have identified an exciting area of activity where we have been able to develop some incredible live opportunities and relationships in the musical theatre space,” adds O’Brien.
Many of the roster are linked to the theatre music label Westway Music, formed in 2020 to deliver live recordings and events, including the regular concert series The Westway Sessions.
“Having set up a music and film label during the pandemic to create business for our artists, it seemed the logical thing to create a home for them with a hugely creative and knowledgeable person such as Rhydian,” adds O’Brien. “I am extremely excited to now represent some of the best theatre talent in the UK for their concert business.”
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Live music giants move to bolster operations
Live Nation, UTA, WME and AXS have all moved to bolster their ranks with a series of notable appointments.
Dan Wall, who retired from global law firm Latham & Watkins earlier this week, has joined Live Nation as EVP for corporate and regulatory affairs.
Wall has been a key advisor to Live Nation for more than 12 years, previously providing guidance as lead outside counsel while a partner at Latham & Watkins. His new role will enable him to continue providing strategic counsel to the firm.
“Live Nation has been a special client to me, so about three years ago I floated the idea of this continuing relationship,” says Wall. “I am grateful to Michael [Rapino, CEO] and Joe [Berchtold, CFO] for allowing me to continue our work together and I am excited by the challenge.”
“Dan has been a trusted advisor and partner and he will no doubt continue to be a valuable asset to the team,” adds Rapino.
“The addition of Paul and Ceci, with their web of expertise… is another powerful signal about the trajectory of our company”
Elsewhere, leading talent agency UTA has added Main Street Advisors CEO Paul Wachter and Nexus Management Group founder Ceci Kurzman to its board of directors. Wachter will serve as the board’s chairman.
“The addition of Paul and Ceci, with their web of expertise in entertainment and technology, finance and corporate governance, is another powerful signal about the trajectory of our company and the work we are doing on behalf of our clients,” says Jeremy Zimmer, UTA co-founder and CEO.
The appointments support the recent growth and diversification of UTA’s business, including its acquisitions of UK talent and literary agency Curtis Brown Group and entertainment and marketing advisory firm MediaLink, as well as the strategic partnership forged with global private equity firm EQT.
“When we brought in EQT last summer as UTA’s largest minority investor, we together recognised the value of adding experienced outside voices to the board to help us continue to pursue our goals,” adds Zimmer. “Both Paul and Ceci are passionate about artists and culture and recognise the importance of how UTA can continue to lead into the future. We could not be more fortunate to have them stepping into these roles.”
“These promotions showcase the breadth of our client roster and how far we can go in servicing our artists”
Rival agency WME, meanwhile, has upped seven partners and 12 agents in its music division across its global offices in the US, UK and Australia.
Jared Rampersaud, Levi Jackson, Doug Singer, Henry Glascock, Dave Bradley, Brendan Long and Bradley Rainey are promoted to partners, while Henry Delargy, Kidder Erdman, Phillip Richard, Josh Sanchez, Anna Horowitz, Tom Larger, Brendan Moylan, Becca Chisholm, Caleb Fenn, Carter Green, Kanan Vitolo and Morgan Carney are elevated to agents.
“These promotions showcase the breadth of our client roster and how far we can go in servicing our artists,” says Lucy Dickins, WME’s global head of contemporary music and touring, and Becky Gardenhire, co-head of WME’s Nashville office. “We are so proud of the leadership and ingenuity each of these individuals has demonstrated, and we look forward to what they will achieve.”
Finally, The Music Network reports that AEG-owned ticketing company AXS has hired Andrew Travis to run its new Australia and New Zealand JV with Frontier Touring. Travis is a former CEO of Australian rules football club Gold Coast Suns, and was most recently COO of Melbourne & Olympic Parks, home to Rod Laver Arena, AAMI Park, John Cain Arena and Margaret Court Arena.
“I am delighted to be joining the team at AXS and to have been given the opportunity to lead this exciting expansion into the Australia and NZ market,” says Travis. “I look forward to super serving venues to optimise their ticketing operations and drive improved customer outcomes and satisfaction.”
“We are thrilled to have Andrew lead AXS’ entry into the vibrant Australian and New Zealand live event market,” adds AXS CEO Bryan Perez. “His extensive experience as an industry leader in sports and entertainment venues gives him a keen insight into their goals and ambitions and the challenges they’ve had realising them. He is the right person to help AXS address those challenges in a new and innovative way to the benefit of fans, artists and team throughout the region.”
Danielle Buckley swaps London Stadium for Emirates
London Stadium head of business development Danielle Buckley is heading across the capital to join Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium.
The Emirates, which has welcomed concerts by the likes of Coldplay, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, Muse and Green Day, is coming off hosting two nights with The Killers in June – its first live music shows since 2013.
Lifelong Arsenal Football Club supporter Buckley will become senior manager, event programming at the 60,000-cap North London venue.
“Danielle will join us in September and be primarily responsible for driving major events business, maximising commercial return from the venue outside of the core football business and playing a critical role in maximising the long-term commercial opportunity of the full Emirates Stadium footprint on a year-round basis,” says Tom McCann, venue director at Arsenal FC.
“I’m really excited to welcome Danielle into our commercial team.”
Buckley served a five-year stint at Wembley Stadium before making the switch to London Stadium in 2017
Buckley served a five-year stint at Wembley Stadium before making the switch to London Stadium – home of West Ham United FC – in 2017.
The ILMC regular and IQ New Bosses alumnus began her music industry career in 2009 at Derek Block Artistes Agency, moving on to the Leighton Pope Organisation and then London 2012, for which she coordinated the headline talent for the Olympic and Paralympic opening and closing ceremonies.
She was subsequently hired by Wembley Stadium, where she worked her way up to partnership development manager – music and new events, and helped bring concerts by acts such as Ed Sheeran to the national stadium.
Live Nation grows Latin division with new hires
Live Nation has boosted its Latin touring operation in North America with the triple hire of Ricardo Taco, Claudia Valencia and Maritsa Restrepo.
A veteran independent promoter, Taco has partnered with LN and other promoters over the past 15 years in Ontario, Canada, working with acts including Wisin Y Yandel, Ozuna, Maluma, J Balvin, Farruko, Arcangel, Jerry Rivera and Rosalia.
He will lead Live Nation Canada’s Latin music strategy nationally, working closely with LN chair Riley O’Connor to further grow Latin artists’ touring presence in the market. He will also act as the liaison between Live Nation’s SVP of global touring Hans Schafer, and the company’s Latin booking team across the globe.
In addition, he will help develop Latin touring shows for Canadian venues of all sizes, and will soon expand into the country’s festivals and outdoor properties.
“Canada is a strong Latin music market and our new key touring hires will help set the strategy to continue building on our expansion”
Elsewhere, Valencia has joined the firm as tour director based out of Guadalajara, Mexico. She will be tasked with building and executing business strategies for LN’s Latin tours for artists such as Pepe Aguilar, Sebastián Yatra, Wisin Y Yandel, and Los Ángeles Azules.
Valencia worked closely with best-selling Latin artist Maná for over a decade, before working as tour rep for Live Nation and independent talent manager at Vibras Lab.
Restrepo, meanwhile, comes on board as a ticketing coordinator, based out of Los Angeles, California. Having previously worked at various box offices, such as at The Classic Center in Athens, Georgia, she will assist with tour set-ups, facilitate promotions, and aid in the communication between artist teams and venues, while also helping roll out various day-to-day projects.
“We have steadily grown our Latin division at Live Nation with experts who understand the music and represent Latin fans, allowing us to better service our artists,” says Schafer. “Canada is a strong Latin music market, and our new key touring hires will help set the strategy to continue building on our expansion to reach new audiences throughout North America.”
Roblox poaches executives from Spotify and Meta
Roblox has announced a wave of new hires, including former executives from Spotify and Meta, in a bid to “push the boundaries of creativity.”
Among the new hires is Karibi Dagogo-Jack, Spotify’s former head of music development. He joins the gaming platform as head of music partnerships, essentially taking over from Jon Vlassopulos who left in April.
Also new to the team is Todd Lichten, in the new role of head of entertainment partnerships. He joined the gaming platform last month after leaving his role as head of emerging content at Meta. Prior to that, he spent over three years at Facebook.
The two appointments are part of a revamped partnerships team, made up of Winnie Burke as head of fashion & beauty partnerships, Hayden Walling as head of sports partnerships, and Arvind Jayaram as head of account management, partnerships.
These new hires come as Roblox continues to expand its ambitions, with collaborations with artists, brands and platforms like Spotify.
“Our partnership work continues to accelerate as they experiment with new formats and discover new revenue streams”
“We’ve seen a lot of success with top brands coming onto the Roblox platform, and our partnership work continues to accelerate as they experiment with new formats, launch persistent social spaces, discover new revenue streams, and push the boundaries of creativity,” says Roblox’s VP of global partnerships, Christina Wootton.
“The growth in the number of persistent experiences especially signifies long-term commitment and showcases that brands view our platform as the next-generation immersive social place for ongoing community engagement vs. a place for one-time activations.”
In recent months, Roblox has launched a Spotify Island featuring virtual performances from the likes of Charli XCX, Lizzo and Gayle.
Artists including Lil Nas X, Twenty One Pilots, 24kGoldn, Royal Blood, David Guetta and Ava Max have delivered virtual performances on the platform.
X-ray Touring announces slate of promotions
London-based X-ray Touring has announced a slate of promotions, which includes Jo Biddiscombe’s elevation to a director of the company.
Biddiscombe has been with X-ray since its inception in 2005 and was made an agent in 2017. She will join Martin Horne, Ian Huffam, Josh Javor and Scott Thomas on the management board.
X-ray has also promoted Claire MacLeod to the role of agent. MacLeod joined the agency in 2011 and worked under the late Steve Strange across his roster. In addition, Paul Lomas and Hannah Edds have been promoted to bookers.
“As we continue with the full return to live touring, we’re very pleased to refresh both our board and team of agents and bookers”
Scott Thomas says: “As we continue with the full return to live touring, and an intensely busy few years ahead across our roster, we’re very pleased to refresh both our board and team of agents and bookers.
“This acknowledges the already invaluable input from the individuals involved and the ideas and dynamism they’ll bring to their new roles.”
X-ray’s roster of more than 400 acts includes Coldplay, Eminem, Robbie Williams, Gorillaz, Queens of the Stone Age, Linkin Park, Pixies, Stereophonics, Bombay Bicycle Club, Enter Shikari and Fever 333, while AGI represents Billy Joel, Metallica, Rod Stewart, Neil Young, Linkin Park, Motley Crue, Def Leppard, the Strokes and Cage the Elephant, among others.
The company was co-founded by legendary booking agent Steve Strange, who passed away in September 2021.
Wasserman Music hires two agents, promotes eight
Wasserman Music has hired agents Matt Elam and Sahil Mehta, and promoted Stephanie Aristakesian, Zach Berkowitz, Alex Guaraldi, Daniel Lee, Leigh Millhauser and Jeff Molek to agent.
The agency has also promoted Antonio Dell’Aglio to director, touring, and Mohammad Shah to manager, touring. According to Wasserman, these new roles will provide high-level support to agent teams on the logistics of planning and executing tours.
“We’re excited to have Matt Elam and Sahil Mehta join our team, and we expect they’ll do great things here,” says Wasserman Music EVP & managing executive Brent Smith. “They’re both agents we’ve known and respected, and they’re the right fit for our culture and ethos as an agency focused on artist discovery and long-term development.”
EVP & managing executive Lee Anderson adds, “At Wasserman Music, we take great pride in emphasising mentorship and positive career growth for all our people. We’re so proud of this newly promoted group of agents, who’ve been important members of this team for years and are all richly deserving of this next step.”
Leigh Millhauser began their career as an assistant at AM Only in 2016. They spent five years as a coordinator, mostly working alongside agent Duffy McSwiggin on artists including Brandi Carlile, Lake Street Dive, Guster, Rachael & Vilray and more.
Millhauser also represents recent signings Boyish and Miki Ratsula, and was featured in IQ’s 2021 LGBTIQ+ List.
Matt Elam joins Brent Smith’s team at Wasserman Music following a decade at WME, where he represented D Smoke, Allen Stone and Hobo Johnson, among others, and signed Best New Artist Grammy nominee Baby Keem with Smith.
Millhauser also represents recent signings Boyish and Miki Ratsula, and was featured in IQ’s 2021 LGBTIQ+ List
Sahil Mehta joins Wasserman Music from Madison House, where he has developed a roster of primarily electronic music artists over the last three years. Mehta is based in Los Angeles, and brings clients to the Wasserman Music roster including Abelation, Chee, Ivy Lab, Khiva, KOAN Sound, Lab Group, Of The Trees, potions., Supertask, TRUTH, Tsuruda and Yheti.
Stephanie Aristakesian joined electronic music agency AM Only as an assistant in 2015, following internships at AM Only, Sony/ATV, NBC Universal and WME and leading the concert committee at the University of Southern California. In 2016 she moved to working with agent Jay Moss at The Windish Agency and then Paradigm Talent Agency, and was promoted to coordinator in 2017. With Moss, Aristakesian worked with artists including ODESZA, Louis the Child, TroyBoi, EVAN GIIA and Elderbrook; she also worked alongside other Wasserman agents on artists including Kenny Beats, Bea Miller, Omar Apollo, Two Feet and Normani. She is based in Los Angeles.
Antonio Dell’Aglio began his career producing electronic music events, which lead to joining AM Only as an assistant to agency founder Paul Morris. Dell’Aglio worked across electronic and Latin music with clients including Tiësto, David Guetta, DJ Snake, Hardwell, Benny Benassi, RL Grime, Anuel AA, Karol G, Jhay Cortez, Ivy Queen and more. A Miami native who graduated from the University of Miami School of Music, he recently relocated back there after a decade in New York.
Alex Guaraldi joined the contracts department at Paradigm in 2013 before moving to agent Larry Webman’s team as an assistant and later coordinator and working with artists including Barenaked Ladies, Bastille, David Gray, Dropkick Murphys, Michigander, MGMT, Sara Bareilles and T-Pain. Guaraldi is now an agent in Wasserman Music’s corporate & special events department, working alongside vice president, corporate & special events Max Wiebrecht to book corporate and private performances across Wasserman Music’s roster. Guaraldi graduated from the Berklee College of Music and is based in Brooklyn.
Daniel Lee’s journey led him from Pennsylvania State University to working in the talent and comedy departments at several major agencies before deciding he wanted to focus on music. He joined Paradigm in 2017, and in 2019 was promoted to coordinator for Sara Bollwinkel, working with clients including Billie Eilish, FINNEAS, Joji and REI AMI. At Wasserman Music, he represents ATEEZ, Jamie Miller, B.I and Fran Vasilić, among others. Lee is based in Los Angeles.
Jeff Molek started his career at Chicago concert promoter mP Productions, and later worked at Chicago venue Bottom Lounge before joining The Windish Agency in 2013. He has worked with Tom Windish and other agents since then, and was promoted to coordinator in 2016, working with artists including Drama, Rina Sawayama, CHAI and Bartees Strange. Molek is based in Chicago.
Mohammad Shah joined the accounting team at The Windish Agency in 2016, and soon thereafter joined agent Sam Hunt’s team, working with artists including Flying Lotus, Diplo, Big Boi and Run the Jewels. Shah liaises with Wasserman Music’s business & legal affairs team on issues affecting agent teams, and is a member of Wasserman’s DE&I Council.
ASM Global hires Katherine Krohn and Aliah Summers
ASM Global is expanding its US business development division with two new executives, Katherine Krohn, vice president of business development and Aliah Summers, director of business development, sales and marketing.
Krohn comes to ASM Global from Mobilitie, the largest privately-held telecommunications infrastructure company in the US specialising in the world’s largest sports stadiums, entertainment arenas, hospitality venues and high rises. There, she served as vice president, national sports and entertainment.
Summers joins ASM from Foodbuy, a division of Compass Group, the largest contract foodservice company in the world.
As national strategic sales director, Summers was responsible for developing new business initiatives across Foodbuy’s three business verticals: hospitality and leisure, food service, and education.
“Their presence will greatly enhance our ability to engage with existing and prospective partners”
“We are thrilled to add these two accomplished business development executives to our team at ASM Global,” says ASM Global executive vice president for strategy and development Chuck Steedman.
“Their presence will greatly enhance our ability to engage with existing and prospective partners via our unmatched toolbox of partnerships, content, marketing, technology, guest-experience journeys, sustainability, community involvement and worldwide experience.
“Both are seasoned veterans with exceptional track records of building relationships with clients in the private and public sector that deliver great value and seeing complex development deals to the finish line.”
Krohn says: “Our intent is to continue to deliver on the confidence that our clients have in ASM Global’s ability to provide innovative services and world-class live experiences for our guests. I am really looking forward to helping grow our client base above and beyond what is already the industry gold standard.”
Summers added: “We plan to maximise leveraging the ASM value proposition that features all the scale, technology, marketing, content and programming expertise of the world’s largest live entertainment company.”