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The New Bosses 2022: Dan Rais, CAA

The 15th edition of IQ Magazine’s New Bosses was published in IQ 114 this month, revealing 20 of the most promising 30-and-unders in the international live music business.

To get to know this year’s cohort a little better, IQ conducted interviews with each one of 2022’s New Bosses, discovering their greatest inspirations and pinpointing the reasons for their success.

Catch up on the previous New Bosess 2022 interview with Clara Cullen from Music Venue Trust hereThe series continues with Dan Rais, brand partnerships agent at CAA in Columbia.

Daniel (Dan) Rais is a music brand partnerships agent at Creative Artists Agency (CAA). After graduating from the University of Southern California with a degree in music business, Rais worked in artist management, synch licensing, and digital strategy before eventually joining CAA’s in 2017.

Now based in London, Rais is part of a global team that represents the full CAA music roster, helping to build his clients’ careers outside of traditional touring through commercial endorsements, social media/ PR campaigns, and branded/private events. In this role, Dan has worked closely on partnerships for artists like David Guetta, TEMS, Charli XCX, and Bimini, and has closed deals with various household name brands like Samsung, Reebok, and Balenciaga, just to name a few.

Originally from Bogotá, Colombia, Dan lived in four different countries before moving to London, learning multiple languages along the way, and developing an international mindset that helps him explore opportunities for a diverse set of clients around the world.

 


You have lived and worked in a number of countries with very different social and economic backgrounds. How has this experience helped with the way you approach client proposals?
Our clients are also from very different backgrounds, so I think these experiences have ultimately helped me become a better advocate for them. I may not be an expert on any one specific genre or scene, but having been exposed to many languages and nationalities growing up, I learned the importance of respecting cultures regardless of whether I identified with them. So, when we get a partnership proposal where a brand is looking to tap into an artist’s culture and reach their fans, I’m very protective to make sure the artist’s voice is being heard and that the collaboration is as authentic as possible.

Your career prior to CAA saw you work across an array of music sectors. Would you encourage others to do the same?
Yes, absolutely. Everyone has a different path and I really admire people who have always known exactly what they wanted to do. But personally, I had no idea where to start. So I figured it out on the go and learned from different opportunities as they came up. This helped me understand different ways of working and communicating, gave me a wider perspective on the entertainment landscape, and ultimately guided me to where I am now. Most importantly though, I feel like it’s key to go through some early challenges in your career to teach you how to deal with difficult people and situations. Even if you land your dream job right away, it’s not always going to be a walk in the park, so I’m definitely thankful to have had a bunch of teachable moments in jobs that didn’t work out early on. I was then much better prepared for the challenges that came at a job I actually wanted to grow into.

As a new boss, what one thing would you change to make the live music industry a better place?
We’re facing a lot of different challenges as an industry right now so it’s hard to pick just one issue. But I’m a strong believer in working on yourself before you go out and change what you feel is wrong around you. So from that perspective, I think the industry needs to double down on hiring and nurturing long-term careers for people from more diverse backgrounds, giving more opportunities to women, people of colour, the LGBTQ+ community, as well as people from different socioeconomic backgrounds. Having fresher perspectives throughout the industry and especially in positions of power should hopefully make us better prepared to tackle all the rest of it.

“The industry needs to double down on hiring and nurturing long-term careers for people from more diverse backgrounds”

What was the biggest challenge for you in your work during the pandemic – and have any of those Covid lessons benefited your work now that life is returning to normal?
Our partnerships group was actually pretty lucky in that it actually got busier than ever during the pandemic. But even though we were getting tons of projects off the ground, it was still really hard to work in a constant haze of uncertainty, not knowing whether anything you booked would survive the constant cancellations, reschedules, and other changes that kept hitting due to the evolving pandemic. Ultimately though, I think the fast-paced nature and endless problem-solving of that time gave us really thick skin to deal with issues as we’re returning to normal. Tough times for sure but I think it made us more resourceful, efficient, and calmer under pressure.

Where would you like to see yourself in five years’ time?
I officially made agent pretty recently, so it feels like I’m still just getting started, to be honest. But I feel very lucky to be at a company where I can keep learning, become part of artist teams early to help develop their careers, and continue to expand our buyer base so that we’re doing more consistent deals outside of Europe and North America. If I can keep doing all that in the next five years and still be regularly going to shows while balancing a young family, I think I’ll be in a good spot.

Do you have any mentors that you can turn to for advice?
100%. I’m very lucky to have close friends and family I can turn to whenever. But also, within CAA specifically – it’s an apprenticeship business – so you grow by working closely with your bosses as you learn the trade. Shout out to Nathan Gregory, Bradlee Banbury, and Neil McSteen, who not only taught me the ropes of this business but have also become strong mentors for me across LA and London. The collaborative nature of the company also means I’ve been in the trenches with legendary touring agents who’ve been doing this for decades, so that’s also an incredible privilege.

“The collaborative nature of [CAA] means I’ve been in the trenches with legendary touring agents”

What has been the highlight of your career, so far?
I’ve had a lot of proud moments watching artists I’ve worked with play big venues, win awards, make chart history, and all the rest of it. But from a pure partnership perspective, I always go back to this Cardi B x Tinder deal I worked on when I was living in LA. It was called the Swipe-Off and it had a super simple premise – the US university that swiped right the most on the app over a certain period would get a free concert from Cardi B on campus. This was right off the heat from Bodak Yellow, leading up to the release of her debut album and Coachella performance, so Cardi was on an absolute rocket ship and the competition got a ton of engagement.

The school that ended up winning was a technical university in Massachusetts with a 10k-cap arena on campus and there were lines around the block with people trying to get the free tickets. I remember Cardi had just released the song Drip which has a line that goes “looking like a right swipe on Tinder” – it was a massive coincidence and had absolutely nothing to do with the campaign, but when she played it at the show, the kids went wild. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect in terms of the artist’s star power growing while the fan competition went on – such a great example of a partnership that actually delivered an unforgettable moment for fans.

What comes first when you are putting together a deal – the brand with a budget or the client with a great idea?
Deals happen in both ways all the time. We are often taking specific client tours, events, and ideas out to market, just as we are regularly pitching clients for brand campaigns that already have a specific brief and budget.

But I think the best partnerships are a bit more fluid than that. It might start with a general brief or a seed of an idea from a client, but the more trust you build, the more you can help a brand properly buy into an artist’s vision and help shape a project into something that works for everyone. The fun part is figuring out how to build that bridge so that the brand’s needs are being met while getting the best possible deal for your client.

See the full list of 2022 New Bosses in IQ 114 here.


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The New Bosses: Introducing the class of 2022

The 15th edition of IQ Magazine‘s New Bosses can now be revealed, highlighting 20 of the most promising 30-and-unders in the international live music business.

New Bosses 2022 inspired the most engaged voting process to date, with hundreds of people taking the time to submit nominations. The final 20 comprises executives working across agencies, promoters, ticketing companies, charities and venues in 12 different countries.

In no particular order, the New Bosses 2022 are:

Benji Fritzenschaft, DreamHaus (DE).
Clara Cullen, Music Venue Trust (UK).
Dan Rais, CAA (CO).
David Nguyen, Rock The People (CZ).
Daytona Häusermann, Gadget ABC (CH).
Grant Hall, ASM Global (US).
James Craigie, Goldenvoice (UK).
Kathryn Dryburgh, ATC Live (UK).
Resi Scheurmann, Konzertbüro Schoneberg (DE).
Seny Kassaye, Fort Agency (CA).
Agustina Cabo, Move Concerts (AR).
Sönke Schal, Karsten Janke Konzertdirektion (DE).
Steel Hanf, Proxy Agency (US).
Steff James, Live Nation (UK).
Stella Scocco, Södra Teatern (SE).
Vegard Storaas, Live Nation (NO).
Lewis Wilde, DICE (UK).
Zoe Williamson, UTA (US).
Jonathan Hou, Live Nation (US).
Maciej Korczak, Follow The Step (PL).

Subscribers can read shortened profiles of each of the 2022 New Bosses in issue 114 of IQ Magazine, which is out now. Full-length Q&As will appear on IQ in the coming days and weeks.

Click here to subscribe to IQ for just £7.99 a month – or check out what you’re missing out on with the limited preview below:

 


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.