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WizPro, Handwerker launch Frankfurt joint venture

German promoters Wizard Promotions and Handwerker Promotion have announced the opening of a new joint office in Frankfurt.

Through a new company, Rhein-Main Concerts, Frankfurt-based Wizard and Unna-based Handwerker – both majority owned by Deutsche Entertainment AG (DEAG) – will jointly organise concerts and other live events in the Frankfurt Rhine-Main region, in the south-west of Germany.

Rhein-Main Concerts will be led by senior project manager Jutta Sebastian, with the new office officially open on 1 November, reports Musik Woche. Rhein-Main Concerts shows already on sale include Bryan Ferry (pictured), Joan Baez, Till Brönner and Heartbeat of Home.

DEAG COO Christian Diekmann says: “With [Rhein-Main Concerts’] integrated experience and know-how, we will have the opportunity in future to market our portfolio in Rhine-Main with a high-calibre team.”

“It is a great honour to be more active here in [Frankfurt] and to enrich the cultural life of the region”

Handwerker boss Fred Handwerker describes Frankfurt as “one of the most vital regions” for touring in Germany, saying it was the logical next step “to be present in this promising market with our own local promoter, so we can act faster, and be more agile and precise, to offer the audience diverse concert and event experiences.”

Oliver Hoppe, of Wizard Promotions, says it is “a great honour to be more active here in the local market and to enrich the cultural life of the region”.

In addition to Frankfurt, DEAG also has offices in Hamburg, Berlin, Munich, Zurich and London.

 


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Live Nation forms New York JV with Bowery co-owner

Following the end of his venues’ relationship with AEG in August, Bowery Ballroom/Mercury Lounge co-owner Michael Swier has joined forces with Live Nation for a new promotion and booking venture.

New York-based Mercury East Presents, described as a “nexus of current and future independently owned and operated venues within” the city’s five boroughs, unites the Bowery Ballroom and Mercury Lounge (pictured), along with Live Nation’s Irving Plaza (1,025-cap.), Gramercy Theatre (499-cap.), Warsaw (1,000-cap.) and Ford Amphitheater at Coney Island Boardwalk (5,000-cap.), under one umbrella.

The newly formed company will also collaborate with festival promoter Founders Entertainment (Governors Ball, Meadows Music and Arts Festival), acquired by Live Nation in April 2016, and assist in bringing acts to Live Nation-aligned Madison Square Garden Company’s major New York venues, including Madison Square Garden, Barclay’s Center, the Beacon Theater and Radio City.

Mercury East will be based at Live Nation’s new east-coast headquarters, on 15th street in New York’s Meatpacking district.

“Mercury East is the ideal partnership, and will allow Live Nation to bring New York’s residents and visitors more music and events than ever before”

AEG Presents (then AEG Live) acquired a stake in Swier’s former company, the Bowery Presents, in January 2017, although the deal excluded Bowery Ballroom (575-cap.) and Mercury Lounge (250-cap.). AEG/Bowery Presents severed its ties with the venues six months later, with Live Nation rumoured to be among those interested in taking over the lease.

The partnership with Swier gives Live Nation a bigger presence in the New York market, which is hotly contested between the two companies: both Live Nation and AEG promote major festivals – Governors Ball and Panorama, respectively – on Randalls Island, while Madison Square Garden is central to the ongoing ‘booking war’ between AEG and Irving Azoff’s Azoff MSG Entertainment.

“Swier and his team are the total package, delivering industry expertise, relationships and landmark venues that complement the greater Live Nation portfolio,” says Michael Rapino, Live Nation president and CEO. “Mercury East is the ideal partnership, and will allow Live Nation to bring New York’s residents and visitors more music and events than ever before.”

“The foundation of Mercury East reaffirms our commitment to quality and streamlines production by officially uniting the venues we own and operate with our key partners,” says Swier. “The team behind Mercury East remains focused on cultivating bands throughout all stages of their success, as well ensuring audiences have a premium experience, from ticket purchase to show’s end.”

 


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Coalition Talent, Ministry of Sound join forces

London-based booking agency Coalition Talent has entered into a joint venture with dance music colossus Ministry of Sound for a range of new live events and brand partnerships.

The “wide-ranging” JV, which sees the two companies partner to “share their resources and expertise”, additionally sees the Ministry of Sound events staff relocating to Coalition’s central London offices. It follows a recent focus by Coalition on building events brands alongside its roster, with recent projects including the Coffee House Sessions concert series and club nights Pure Music Live and Just Can’t Get Enough ’80s, the latter a joint venture with DJ Sara Cox.

Coalition, from 2014–2015 part of The Agency Group (now UTA), represents artists, radio DJs and TV personalities, including Sara Cox, Charli XCX, Pixie Lott, Nick Grimshaw, Trevor Nelson, Edith Bowman, Scott Mills, the Wombats, the Hoosiers and Kodaline.

“Ministry’s brands and reputation, coupled with Coalition’s talent relationships, expertise and newly expanded team, will deliver a whole new range of world-class music events”

“I couldn’t be more proud to enter into this joint venture with Ministry of Sound,” says Coalition Talent CEO Guy Robinson. “This iconic brand has been a huge part of my journey in the music industry, from working with them on talent through to more than a few lost nights at the club.

“We look forward to welcoming the Ministry of Sound events staff into our brilliant team here at Coalition. Our joint focus will be to maximise opportunities for their current offering, and develop additional products to reach new markets, as well as more extensive partnerships with touring DJs and live artists.”

Jonathan Bevan (pictured), CEO of Ministry of Sound, adds: “We are delighted to be launching this new partnership. Ministry’s brands and reputation, coupled with Coalition’s talent relationships, expertise and newly expanded team, will deliver a whole new range of world-class music events.”

 


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CMC invests in CAA, launches CAA China division

Creative Artists Agency (CAA) is to increase its investment in the Chinese market via a new alliance with private-equity firm CMC Capital Partners.

The “robust partnership” sees Shanghai-based CMC make a minority investment in CAA, with CMC chairman Li Ruigang also joining the agency’s board of directors. A new division, CAA China, will combine “the expertise and vast resources of CAA with the broad reach and network of CMC in Greater China” (mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) to create an “alliance of industry leaders in the world’s fastest-growing entertainment market”, reads a statement from CAA.

CAA has been active in China since 2005, when it opened an office in Beijing, and has invested more than US$400 million into English-language content, mostly film.

The establishment of CAA China follows the June launch of a Chinese division by rival agency WME-IMG.

“We believe China and the US are the two biggest entertainment markets and play pivotal roles on the global landscape”

CAA’s Chinese film division is overseen by Jonah Greenberg, who will continue in his role, with Roeg Sutherland heading up film finance. CAA China will also “progressively add additional senior management to help expand the business into new entertainment and sports areas”.

CMC’s other investments, meanwhile, include several film studios – including Star China and Flagship, a joint venture with Warner Bros – and football club management outfit City Football Group, which owns Manchester City FC and New York City FC.

“For more than a decade, we have served as a vital bridge to and within the Chinese market, utilising our deep experience and network to support the work of the region’s best artists and to develop opportunities within the market for international talent,” says CAA president Richard Lovett (pictured). “CAA China will supercharge our efforts, from motion pictures, television, endorsements and brand consulting to sports, live events, digital media and beyond.

“CMC, under the leadership of Li Ruigang, has a remarkable record of success in the region, and we are confident that our partnership will yield tremendous results for our clients and future business partners in China.”

“CAA China will supercharge our efforts, from film, TV, endorsements and brand consulting to sports, live events, digital media and beyond”

Li adds: “We believe China and the US are the two biggest entertainment markets and play pivotal roles on the global landscape. The partnership not only creates commercial and industry value, but also serves as an innovative force in the evolution of the Chinese media industry.

“CAA is a prominent institution in the US entertainment and sports sector, which has built its success on systematically and consistently enabling the success of their clients throughout the years. We are immensely excited about the potential possibilities of an enhanced China angle by CMC coupled with the experience and resources of CAA. CMC has been in a highly productive cooperation with CAA under the leadership of Richard Lovett, and we look forward to greater accomplishments in the future.”

Statista estimates the Chinese entertainment market is worth more than $200bn. A 2016 Nielsen study revealed affluent Chinese see more live music than the average American, with 57% regularly attending a concert or festival.

 


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AM Only and Windish rebrand as Paradigm

AM Only and The Windish Agency have rebranded as Paradigm Talent Agency after a successful joint venture and partnership since 2012 and 2015, respectively.

The news reduces the number of brands under the agency conglomerate to just two as Paradigm continues to work with its European partner, the London-based CODA Agency, to offer worldwide representation for its artists.

AM Only CEO Paul Morris and Tom Windish, founder/president of The Windish Agency, will continue their leadership roles within Paradigm’s Music Executive Group along with Dan Weiner, Marty Diamond and CODA’s Tom Schroeder.

In November, Paradigm, AM Only and Windish moved together to a new combined office space in downtown New York. The two firms join prior acquisitions Monterey Peninsula Artists, Little Big Man, Third Coast Artists Agency and Ellis Industries under the Paradigm banner.

Windish brings acts such as St Germain (pictured), Aphex Twin, Coldcut and LCD Soundsystem into the fold, while AM Only adds DJs and producers like Chris Lorenzo and Tiesto.

“In working with like-minded professionals, we’re able to expand our reach, resources and clients without losing our focus. Our mutual respect and shared values makes this integration a natural fit.”

“I’ve found that the same entrepreneurial spirit that leads to successful business building also lends itself to successful career building for our clients,” said Paradigm chairman and CEO Sam Gores. “In working with like-minded professionals, we’re able to expand our reach, resources and clients without losing our focus. Our mutual respect and shared values makes this integration a natural fit. I consider us very fortunate to have the brilliant minds of Paul and Tom on our team.”

Morris said: “By combining forces with Monterey Peninsula Artists, Little Big Man and, now, AM Only and Windish, Paradigm has built an inclusive culture that keeps the spirit of these independent companies alive which allows our unique attributes to continue to flourish within the unified agency.”

Windish added: “The partnership with Paradigm has brought a tremendous group of agents and resources together under one roof on a worldwide scale. We have always shared the same values and I am proud to now share the same name.”

In a post on Facebook, Windish, who launched his agency in Chicago in 2004, said after growing his roster to over 300 acts, “all the big companies called me for years to talk about selling. I was skeptical and unsure.”

However, after getting to know the Paradigm team, “these guys struck a chord with me, they had done things the same way as we had for their entire careers too,” he added. “We formed a partnership with them and sold them a small piece of the company in August 2015. The night I signed the deal, I walked to Mercury Lounge and watched one of my clients play to 50 people at Mercury Lounge. I danced in the front row and had the same feeling I had in college when The Feelies played our campus ballroom – butterflies.

“Since [Windish did its first deal with Paradigm], we have been working towards becoming the same entity. We had a picture in our minds of how we could create an agency that did not currently exists in the business and we have all been working tirelessly to build it.”

“Since then we have been working towards becoming the same entity. We had a picture in our minds of how we could create an agency that did not currently exist in the business and we have all been working tirelessly to build it. Today, I’m changing the name of my company to Paradigm Talent Agency. I’m doing this for the same reasons I did a deal with Paradigm in the first place – to service our clients even better.

“We’ll be working as hard as we are now for as long as I can see into the future. I love it more now than I ever have in my career. Best of all, I still get butterflies at concerts.”

Paradigm, an industry leader with offices in Los Angeles, New York City, London, Monterey, Nashville, San Diego, Oakland and Chicago, guides the careers of clients in television, music performances, motion picture, theatre, book publishing, digital, commercial/voiceover, content finance, media rights, brand partnerships and beyond. Its music roster includes The 1975, Aerosmith, Blur, Coldplay, Ed Sheeran, Lorde, Tame Impala, The xx and many more.

For further reading on developments and consolidation in the agency sector, read this article by UTA’s Jules de Lattre.

 


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WME targets C-pop stars with new joint venture

Booking agency William Morris Endeavor (WME) is expanding its Chinese operation with backing from private-equity firms Sequoia Capital and FountainVest Partners and Asia’s largest internet company, Tencent.

WME parent company WME-IMG already has a significant presence in the People’s Republic of China, representing high-profile athletes and models and co-promoting sports and fashion events. The new joint venture, between WME-IMG and the Sequoia Capital-led consortium, will allow for “expansion in these areas, in addition to new forays into Chinese sports and entertainment”, says a press release from the agency.

“We have a deep history in China, rooted in our sports business across areas as varied as events, media, representation and licensing,” Ariel Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell, the company’s co-CEOs, say in a statement. “Through Sequoia Capital China’s incredible effort in leading this consortium and creating this joint venture, we’re able to expand our business while embarking on new initiatives to create exciting opportunities for our clients and partners.”

WME-IMG – formed in late 2013 after music and media agency William Morris Endeavor and corporate parent Silver Lake Partners bought sports agency International Management Group for US$2.3 billion – in April secured close to $6m in funding from wealth-management firm Fidelity and Japanese telecoms company SoftBank.

 


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