Wasserman Music launches new marketing department
Wasserman Music is expanding its operations with a new marketing services and digital strategy department.
Led by the senior vice president of marketing, Sam Alpert, the department comprises expertise in the areas of tour marketing, digital strategy, ticketing and live streaming.
The new division is completed by Wasserman’s pre-existing marketing team, as well as new employees Mary Pryor (senior director, strategy, focused on Web3) and Sam Benfey (director, digital strategy, focused on a variety of digital opportunities).
“We couldn’t be more excited to welcome Pryor and Benfey into the fold, and to have their expertise and connections available to our agents and artists,” says Alpert.
“Using Wasserman Music’s successful tour marketing model, this expansion into digital strategy, ticketing and live streaming allows us to continue to super-serve our roster.”
“The integration and internal collaboration between depts will open the door for countless new opportunities”
He continues: “The integration and internal collaboration between departments will open the door for countless new opportunities and provide additional resources, knowledge and perspectives for our artists in their touring careers and far beyond.”
Benfey joins Wasserman Music from Paradigm Talent Agency, where he worked as an executive of business development and an agent of digital media and brand partnerships. He specialises in podcasting, video games, AR and VR, blockchain and NFTs, apps and emerging platforms.
Pryor, one of SXSW’s Innovators of the Year in 2014, has worked for major brands across the music, media, technology, and marketing industries including Sony Music Group, Viacom, Essence Magazine, Rolling Stone, Sean Combs Enterprises, and numerous others.
According to Wasserman, she has been an early adopter, educator and advocate in the areas of cryptocurrency, blockchain, the metaverse and other Web3 advancements.
She will focus on educating and empowering Wasserman Music staff and clients, facilitating the tools, insights and connections to engage in the space in an impactful way.
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Casey Wasserman: ‘We pride ourselves on being relentlessly consistent’
Casey Wasserman last week told delegates at the International Live Music Conference (ILMC) about the modus operandi of his hugely successful multimedia empire.
“One of the things that define Wasserman as a company – and something that is a mantra of mine – is being relentlessly consistent,” he said last Wednesday (27 April) during The Hot Seat: Casey Wasserman.
“I always tell our employees that being really good for a short period of time is something a lot of people can do,” he continued. “Being relentlessly consistent for a long period of time is really hard – that’s one of the things we pride ourselves on. I think it’s what makes us good at what we do – whether that’s the way we work for our clients, the way we engage with each other as coworkers or the way we pursue opportunities.”
“The other thing we learned early on is that you can’t buy client lists. Our job is to build a great culture and attract and retain great people. If you sacrifice either of those things for a client, it’s not a sustainable business.”
Wasserman attributes one of the most important pillars in the company’s culture to his grandfather, Hollywood titan Lew Wasserman.
“He was a big believer that bad news gets worse so you better deal with it. We’ve built a culture of Wasserman that rewards and supports employees for being vulnerable and talking about their problems so we can fix them and move on from them and learn from them and not let them really hurt you.”
Over 20 years, Wasserman has established itself as one of the world’s leading companies in the areas of brands and properties consultancy, sports talent representation and music artist representation.
“The more time we spend worrying about our competitors, the less time we spend doing our job”
Last week, the company’s booking agency, Wasserman Music, acquired Paradigm UK, around a year after Wasserman acquired its North America live music business.
Referencing his mantra, Wasserman previously said that he had coffee with Paradigm’s founder and CEO Sam Gores “once a week for multiple years, trying to buy the business”.
He says his relentless pursuit of Paradigm “put [Wasserman]in a position to take advantage of the opportunity when it arose”.
In the past, both UTA and CAA have attempted to strike a deal with Gores but, though Wasserman admits that he’s “pretty competitive, he says he hasn’t given much thought to his competitors.
“The truth is, I spend very little time worrying about my competitors because I’m incredibly confident in what we do and the people I get to deal with every day,” he told ILMC delegates. “The more time we spend worrying about our competitors, the less time we spend doing our job. I hope [our competitors] spend a lot of time thinking about what we’re doing and how we’re doing it.”
Speaking about the philosophy behind his hands-off leadership style, Wasserman said: “We don’t operate an agency to create structures and bureaucracy because that’s not how agents work – on the sports side or the music side. Our job is to put the guardrails in, let them do their job that they’re incredibly good at and give them resources to do that, and help them when they need help and otherwise stay out of the way.”
“We’ve got this team of really talented executives who are all going in the same direction. Yes, they have their own philosophies or work ways but there is a sense that we’re all going in the same direction and we’re out there together. I feel like we’re going to battle with this team.”
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ILMC 34: Casey Wasserman talks Paradigm acquisitions
Casey Wasserman has discussed Wasserman Music’s acquisitions of Paradigm’s North America and UK live music businesses.
The latter deal took place earlier this week and comes a year after the launch of Wasserman Music, which itself followed the completion of its acquisition of Paradigm’s North American live music business.
Speaking yesterday (27 April) at the International Live Music Conference (ILMC), Wasserman revealed that his company had always planned to buy both of Paradigm’s businesses.
“We’re not myopic,” he said. “I don’t sit in Los Angeles and think the world operates and rotates around the United States. Building a global music business is fundamentally important to the clients we serve and the business we operate in.
“I don’t sit in Los Angeles and think the world operates and rotates around the United States”
“We can’t say to our clients, ‘We can only serve you in this little area or in this little way’. For us not to have a global music business that is integrated and operates as one unit would be a mistake.”
Explaining the reason for buying the businesses separately, Wasserman said: “Because of the different shareholdings, we separated those transactions to give them both the appropriate attention and focus.”
The entertainment mogul hailed Paradigm’s UK leadership team – which includes Dave Hallybone, Alex Hardee, Tom Schroeder and James Whitting – as “world-class” and says that the company weathered the pandemic incredibly well.
Discussing the tie-up between Wasserman Music and Paradigm’s North America business, Wasserman says the deal was “incredibly complex” and took more than 14 months.
“Building a global music business is fundamentally important to the clients we serve and the business we operate in”
“We brought on 80 employees and created a new music division and [because of the pandemic] we never had an in-person meeting to get that done,” he explained.
According to the American executive, the US deal came about after a “quasi-affair” with Sam Gores, founder and CEO of Paradigm.
“I had coffee with him once a week for multiple years, trying to buy the business,” he said. “Then February of 2020, Paradigm stepped on multiple landmines and kind of blew themselves up. And so I actually said to our guys, ‘Okay, enough of the dating game with Sam Gores, we’ll just move on to other things.
“And to their credit, Sam and his brother Tom called a couple of months later and said, ‘We’ve got some struggles here, we really needed to solve this situation and we’d like to talk about you buying the music business,’ which is kind of all we wanted anyway. And so we began that process on 4 April 2020 and end of May 2021 we closed.”
“[The Paradigm acquisitions are] the first two steps, not the last two steps”
He continued: “We went through a lot together over those 14 months to get close. And we knew coming out of it, we’ve got to bring that team together and go forward together. We don’t operate an agency to create structures and bureaucracy because that’s not how agents work. Our job is to sort of put the guardrails in, let them do their job, give them resources to do that, and help them when they need help and otherwise stay out of the way.”
Now Wasserman Music has both Paradigm businesses under its belt, the plan going forward is “to continue to put ourselves in the best position to succeed”. “We want to represent the best clients, help them drive their careers, and be incredibly relevant and influential in the music business. We’ve got a great leadership team, we’ve got great relationships, and we’re going to continue to be aggressive,” he said.
The American executive also hinted at future acquisitions to build a global music business, saying that the Paradigm acquisitions are “the first two steps, not the last two steps”.
“If we think [a company] adds value to our business and to our clients, we’re gonna go after it. We want to make ourselves the best place for an agent to pursue a career for themselves and for their clients,” he added.
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Shawn Mendes extends mammoth world tour
Shawn Mendes is to play a total of 99 arena shows on his world tour, after extending the North America leg with 13 additional dates.
The 23-year-old Grammy-nominated Canadian singer/songwriter is due to visit North America, Europe and the UK on his year-long jaunt, dubbed Wonder: The World Tour.
On the first leg, which kicks off on 27 June in Portland, Oregon, at the Moda Center (cap. 19,980) and runs through to August, Mendes will be joined by Dermot Kennedy.
More dates for the UK and Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Australia/New Zealand legs are to be announced shortly
The second leg of the tour, which will run from September to October, will be supported by Tate McRae.
Among the 13 additional shows are an extra date at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center (19,000), new shows in St.Louis and San Diego, as well as one in his hometown of Toronto.
The UK and European legs of the tour, which were rescheduled due to the pandemic, begins in May 2023. The UK leg is promoted by AEG Presents’ Messina Touring Group.
More dates for the UK and Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Australia/New Zealand legs are to be announced shortly.
Mendes is represented by Nick Matthews at Paradigm Talent in Europe and Matt Galle at CAA for the rest of the world.
Imagine Dragons extend blockbuster world tour
Multi-platinum Grammy award-winning band Imagine Dragons have added three more dates to their extensive Mercury World Tour.
The North American leg of the tour, produced by Live Nation, will be extended with dates in Allentown (16 February), Seattle (5 March) and Montreal (4 May).
The 2022 tour kicks off on 6 February at FTX Arena (cap. 21,000) in Miami, Florida, making stops across North America and Europe before wrapping up on 16 July at Lollapalooza in Paris, France.
The entire tour, which celebrates the release of their latest album ‘Mercury – Act 1’, includes a total of 53 dates at arenas, stadiums and festivals.
The North American leg of the tour will be extended with dates in Allentown, Seattle and Montreal
The European leg comprises 18 stops across the continent, including several major festivals, like I-Days in Italy (11 June) Pinkpop in the Netherlands (19 June) and Rock Werchter in Belgium (2 July).
Luxembourg’s Rockhal Open Air (16 June), Poland’s Open’er Festival (29 June) and Spain’s Mad Cool Festival (7 July) are also part of the Mercury World Tour routing.
Stadium dates include Luzhniki Stadium (cap. 81,000) in Moscow, Russia, Ernst-Happel Stadion (51,000) in Vienna, Austria, and Letnany Airport (60,000) in Prague, Czech Republic.
Tour support will be provided by MØ and Grandson in North America and Lany in Europe.
Imagine Dragons are represented by James Whitting at Paradigm Talent Agency and Corrie Martin at Wasserman Music.
The New Bosses: Remembering the class of 2021
The 14th edition of IQ Magazine‘s New Bosses celebrated the brightest talent aged 30 and under in the international live music business.
The New Bosses 2021 honoured no fewer than a dozen young executives, as voted by their colleagues around the world.
The 14th edition of the annual list inspired the most engaged voting process to date, with hundreds of people taking the time to submit nominations.
The year’s distinguished dozen comprises promoters, bookers, agents, entrepreneurs and more, all involved in the international business and each of whom is making a real difference in their respective sector.
In alphabetical order, the New Bosses 2021 are:
- Talissa Buhl, festival booker, FKP Scorpio (DE). Full profile here.
- Jenna Dooling, agent, WME (UK). Full profile here.
- Emma Greco, promoter, AEG Presents (FR). Full profile here.
- Paris Harding, promoter, SJM (UK). Full profile here.
- Tessie Lammle, agent, UTA (US). Full profile here.
- Will Marshall, agent, Primary Talent/ICM Partners (UK). Full profile here.
- Arjun Mehta, founder & CEO, Moment House (US). Full profile here.
- Flo Noseda-Littler, agency assistant, Paradigm (UK). Full profile here.
- Anna Parry, programming manager, the O2 (UK). Full profile here.
- Theo Quiblier, head of concerts, Two Gentlemen (CH). Full profile here.
- Dan Roberts, promoter, Live Nation (UK). Full profile here.
- Age Versluis, promoter, Friendly Fire (NL). Full profile here.
Subscribers can read full interviews with each of the 2021 New Bosses in issue 103 of IQ Magazine.
Click here to subscribe to IQ for just £5.99 a month – or check out what you’re missing out on with the limited preview below:
IQ 106 out now: Navigating the new industry landscape
IQ 106, the latest issue of the international live music industry’s favourite monthly magazine, is available to read online now.
The December 2021 edition is spearheaded by an exclusive preview of next year’s highly anticipated International Live Music Conference (ILMC).
Elsewhere, IQ news editor James Hanley speaks to Paradigm Agency’s Alex Hardee and Adele Slater about Liam Gallagher’s sold-out Knebworth shows.
This issue also sees IQ editor Gordon Masson quiz venue management from around the world about their plans for arenas to reopen and stay open.
For this edition’s columns and comments, Suzanne Hunt details how Squeeze became one of the first UK acts to resume touring in the United States, lawyer Gregor Pryor notes the challenges that the metaverse could pose for the music industry, and Debbie Taylor shares her experience of Guns N’ Roses’ Covid-compliant US tour.
And, in this month’s Your Shout, live industry executives pick their three ideal guests for a dinner party.
As always, the majority of the magazine’s content will appear online in some form in the next four weeks.
However, if you can’t wait for your fix of essential live music industry features, opinion and analysis, click here to subscribe to IQ for just £5.99 a month – or check out what you’re missing out on with the limited preview below:
IQ subscribers can log in and read the full magazine now.
The New Bosses 2021: Flo Noseda-Littler, Paradigm
The New Bosses 2021 – the latest edition of IQ’s annual celebration of the brightest young talent in the live business today, as voted for by their peers – was published in IQ 103 this month, revealing the 12 promising promoters, bookers, agents, entrepreneurs that make up this year’s list.
To get to know this year’s cohort a little better, IQ conducted interviews with each one of 2021’s New Bosses, discovering their greatest inspirations and pinpointing the reasons for their success.
Catch up on the previous 2021 New Bosses interview Age Versluis, promoter at Friendly Fire in the Netherlands here.
Born in London’s Waterloo area, Noseda-Littler was brought up around jazz and soul music by a family of entertainers – her mum is a singer, granddad a pianist, and grandmother a dancer.
At university, where she studied civil engineering, Noseda-Littler started booking musician friends into venues and festivals around the UK, and after graduating she started working under the wing of her cousin at Academy Music Group (AMG), which also provided her with a chance to work at Wireless Festival.
An internship at Brixton Academy followed, before, in 2015, she found herself a job as general agency assistant at Paradigm, where for the last three years she has been on several committees and task forces to bridge the gap between support staff and agency management.
You come from a musical family. What’s the first gig you can remember going to – and when did you decide you should pursue a career in the business?
My first memory was at 8 when we went to Party in the Park, Hyde Park. It was a magical experience seeing live music, and going to a festival for the first time with thousands of people.
What set you on your path in the industry?
At university, I fell into booking my boyfriend’s band. I started a database of contacts and soon managed to get gigs at cool UK venues and festivals. Something ignited in me and I knew I had to do this full-time!
Do you think working on the venues side of the business has helped you in your career on the agency side?
Working at Brixton and AMG gave me the building blocks to understand live shows, from promotion and ticketing to backstage issues and settlements. I got to shadow lots of different staff, which showed me the practicalities of how much it takes to execute a show onsite. It was so useful to draw on those experiences when learning the agency world and routing shows together.
“It’s been vital for both agent and promoter to be transparent and flexible in order to protect the longevity of the industry”
We’ve heard a lot about the closer collaboration between agents and promoters during the past year. What’s your experience of that been, and how do you see it benefitting Paradigm’s clients as the business reopens?
Promoters are usually the first to take big financial risks on a tour, which has never been more to their detriment than in the past 17 months. During these ever-changing times, it’s been vital for both agent and promoter to be transparent and flexible in order to protect the longevity of the live industry. In demanding less from our promoters in the short term, it supports the recovery and prospects of our clients’ live careers. We are all in this together and just want to see the business thriving again!
You’ve become one of the go-to people for younger staff at Paradigm. What advice would you give to other young people who are trying to break into the live music business?
Festivals offer a range of volunteering roles so it’s worth checking them out to gain experience and meet people if there’s nothing music related on your CV. Internships often involve being thrown into the deep end, but you shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions. What really gets noticed is an eagerness to learn and integrity of work.
“A bigger effort is needed across the industry to reduce waste, lower emissions, and protect the future of our planet”
Where would you like to see yourself in five years’ time?
Booking tours in an industry that has fully recovered and is booming once more!
The pandemic has been hard on us all – are there any positive aspects that you can take out of the last 17 months?
During furlough, I discovered a love of running and went on to complete my first half marathon. This new hobby has been a freeing and stress-busting tool for me, that I hadn’t been able to try in my old routine.
Mental health has been a hot topic during the pandemic worldwide which has filtered across the workplace. These unprecedented times have allowed us to make our well-being a higher priority and feel more comfortable in vocalising how we feel. I’m hopeful mental health will remain high on the agenda when touring returns to a normal pace. It’ll result in a healthier and happier industry!
As a new boss, what one thing would you change to make the live music industry a better place?
One of the most urgent issues is energy consumption. There are some great initiatives, like The Green Rider, but a bigger effort is needed across the industry to reduce waste, lower emissions, and protect the future of our planet.
Loud and Proud: IQ pride playlist out now
The Pride takeover edition of the IQ New Music playlist, featuring a selection of tracks curated by major international booking agencies, is now live.
Launched last year, the playlist complements IQ Magazine’s popular New Signings page, which keeps the live industry updated about which new, emerging and re-emerging artists are being signed by agents. Click here to read the inaugural Pride edition of IQ now.
The Loud and Proud (July) playlist features contributions from CAA, ICM, ITB, Paradigm Talent Agency, UTA, ATC, WME, Mother Artists, Primary Talent International, FMLY and Hometown Talent, each of which have picked several tracks apiece, showcasing some of their best queer touring artists.
Listen to the latest selection using the Spotify playlist below, or click here to catch up on the June playlist first.
Separated by agency, the full track list for the Loud and Proud (July) playlist is:
|CAA||Jodie Harsh||No Sleep|
|CAA||MUNA||Number One Fan|
|ICM||Tayla Parx||Dance Alone|
|ICM||Amorphous, Kehlani||Back Together|
|ITB||Annabel Allum||ordinary life|
|ITB||Brandi Carlile||The Joke|
|ITB||Cherym||Listening to My Head|
|ITB||Dream Nails||Kiss My Fist|
|ITB||Hot Milk||I Just Wanna Know What Happens When I'm Dead|
|Paradigm||Pabllo Vittar||Modo Turbo|
|Paradigm||Lynks||This Is the Hit|
|Paradigm||Ezra Furman||I Can Change|
|Paradigm||Perfume Genius||On the Floor|
|Paradigm||girl in red||Serotonin|
|UTA||Jake Wesley Rogers||Momentary|
|UTA||Madeline The Person||As a Child|
|UTA||Princess Nokia||It's Not My Fault|
|UTA||Sam Lee||The Tan Yard Side|
|ATC||Joe & The Shitboys||Drugs R'4 Kidz|
|ATC||Beverly Glenn-Copeland||Ever New|
|WME||Maya Jane Coles||Run to You|
|WME||Jazmin Bean||Hello Kitty|
|WME||Carla Prata||Certified Freak|
|WME||Kim Petras||Heart to Break|
|Mother Artists||Joy Oladokun||sorry isn't good enough|
|Primary||Rina Sawayama||Chosen Family|
|Primary||Rufus Wainwright||Going To A Town|
|Primary||Marika Hackman||Claude's Girl|
|FMLY||Eliza Legzdina||Eat Your Greenz|
|FMLY||Ralph TV||4 U|
|FMLY||Du Blonde||All The Way|
|FMLY||Lazy Day||Real Feel|
|Hometown Talent||Jerry Paper||Cholla|
|Hometown Talent||Angel Haze||Battle Cry|
Sustainability and diversity top of agents’ agendas
Discussing various big topics such as the post-Covid return to business and sustainability, the main discussion point arising from this year’s ILMC agency panel was diversity and how the business, in general, can be more open to attracting people from different backgrounds.
Session chairman Tom Schroeder of Paradigm Talent Agency admitted to guests Lucy Dickins (WME), Mike Greek (CAA), Sam Kirby Yoh (UTA) and Obi Asika (Echo Location Talent Agency) that prior to the panel he thought his passion, sustainability, would be the main takeaway from the panel, but instead it turned out to be diversity.
Earlier in the session, Schroeder had joked that UTA had been the most aggressive agency during the pandemic, so much so that they had a 50% market share of the panel guests, thanks to the 3 March announcement that the company had acquired Asika’s Echo Location operation.
“When everything comes back we’ll [either] return to being the same idiots or there will be some fundamental change”
And it was Asika who, in tackling a question about race and diversity, recounted a story from his youth where his mother, a sociology teacher, had urged him to read a book by Jock Young who wrote about labelling theory, opening Asika’s mind to the dangers of stereotyping.
“So I was aware from the age of 13 or 14 that I was constantly stereotyped by teachers at my school, by parents of the children, by school friends, and even maybe sometimes myself, because you end up, potentially, becoming that stereotype. It’s a seriously dangerous thing and it happens all over the world,” said Asika.
But he revealed that it was music at university, especially drum and bass, that first allowed him to think of himself as British, as he identified with the music. He added, “We all do it, but if you are judging somebody before you’ve given them a chance, think about how dangerous that can be. And on the other side of it, think about how powerful the industry we work in is – someone who felt that way, because of the love of music, is now sitting here and has just started as the head of the UK office of a global agency, having a talk with all you fine people.”
“The responsibility we have as an industry to become sustainable is something we haven’t thought about enough previously”
Addressing how the industry should approach its return to reopening, Schroeder stated, “There are two schools of thought: one is that when everything comes back we’ll return to being the same old idiots we used to be, or maybe there will be some fundamental change.”
Greek responded, “I do believe there will be fundamental change, but I do see there are certain elements of what we do that are going to end up being the norm again. Ultimately, the responsibility we have as an industry to become sustainable is something we haven’t thought about enough previously. Secondly, it’s important to note how loud our voice is as an industry when we collectively get together – that’s something we can hopefully see grow in the future.”
On a positive note, Dickins stated that she thought there would be a lot of silver linings to come out of the pandemic shutdown, not the least of which would be improvements to people’s life-work balance, and not being at every show, every night.
“We have to work together – not just agents, but also promoters and venues in regard to dealing with government and policy”
Noting that the industry is in a precarious position where huge number of tickets are being sold, Schoeder pondered, “When we get practical on this, how is it going to work? You’ve got festivals spending money on marketing, but no insurance system for the artist or for the promoters and tickets are being sold for events we don’t know are going to happen. At some point, the artist has got to invest some money to make a show to go on the stage, if anything is going to happen. It’s a jigsaw that confuses me every day.”
Greek agreed, stating, “I have sleepless nights about it as well because I’ve committed lots of my clients to lots of different events, but there’s no way of knowing without insurance and all other kinds of stuff… the conversations are about everyone around the artist trying to minimise costs they would incur in advance in order to make a decision as late as possible to do the show. It’s a big concern and some artists can afford to take the risk, while others can’t.”
Kirby Yoh commented, “We have to work together – not just agents, but also promoters and venues in regard to dealing with government and policy. But we can make it better for everybody – safer for the fans and the artists. In my mind, there is not a choice. It’s our responsibility to work together.”
“Just be careful. Make sure you’re not spending too much money unless you really have to”
Dickins noted that some of the problems around agreeing industry best practice involved the competition and legality issues. “But basically I think you have to conduct your business with empathy because every single person has had to go through this [Covid]. So it’s all about sharing information, talking people through each step, and listening to people. As regards different places opening at different times, that’s just something we’re going to have to work around and take on board because every single border is going to have a different issue.”
Indeed, in answer to a question from a delegate, Schroeder suggested that payment plans for advances were being discussed, although he admitted that these could become complicated.
And adding his advice, Asika said, “Just be careful. Make sure you’re not spending too much money unless you really have to. Hold back and focus on the areas that we know are looking positive. I honestly believe we will have shows in the UK this summer, but I have a policy of spreading my bets – I’m not focussing on any huge festivals this year, I’m spreading things across clubs to 5,000 to 10,000 all over the place and anyone who mentions exclusivity is told that I’m not interested.”