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Geoff Sawyer to facilitate games/music collabs at UTA

UTA has appointed Geoff Sawyer as an agent in the video games division to foster collaborations between the agency’s music clients and the gaming industry.

He joins UTA from Red Bull where he was director of global music services and oversaw the team responsible for music solutions for the entire company.

Prior to that, Sawyer was director of licensing and creative partnerships at Beyond Marketing Group, where he negotiated and managed brand partnerships between Toyota and artists such as Slayer, Steve Aoki and Joey Bada$$.

With his new position, Sawyer will be based in LA and will report to UTA partner and head of video games, Ophir Lupu.

“The line separating gaming and the entertainment industry is disappearing completely”

“Geoff has an unparalleled reputation for facilitating successful connections between recording artists, brands and media networks,” says Lupu.

“As gaming continues to cement itself as a critical component of pop culture, we believe that the number of meaningful collaborations for musicians will continue to increase and Geoff’s expertise will be invaluable in finding these new opportunities for our clients. We are thrilled to welcome him to UTA.”

Sawyer says: “The line separating gaming and the entertainment industry is disappearing completely. And the symbiotic relationship between games and music stands to deepen greatly as technology advances and audiences converge. I am elated to join the legendary team at UTA and to serve our incredible music clients with opportunities previously unconceived.”

Within the music-gaming sphere, UTA has helped negotiate Marshmellos performance in Fortnite; Dominic Fikes appearance in the first edition of Fortnite‘s ‘Spotlight’ Party Royale in-game concert series and Post Malones headline slot for Pokémon’s 25th anniversary virtual concert celebration.

 


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Pokémon announces virtual show with Post Malone

Post Malone will headline a virtual concert celebrating 25 years of Pokémon on ‘Pokémon Day’, 27 February.

The show will be free to view on the Pokémon YouTube and Twitch channels, as well as Pokemon.com, from 19.00 EST on 27 February (midnight 28 February GMT). The first Pokémon video game was published by Nintendo in February 1996.

The Post Malone show is part of P25 Music, a joint venture with Universal Music Group (UMG) that will see UMG artists, including Katy Perry, participating in a ‘global music experience’ celebrating the brand’s anniversary.

“The opportunity to headline the Pokémon Day concert celebrating 25 years is awesome”

“I’ve been a Pokémon fan for a long time, so the opportunity to headline the Pokémon Day concert celebrating 25 years is awesome,” says Post Malone.

In the lead-up to the concert, the Pokémon Company will spread the word through a series of events on Pokémon Go, Pokémon Sword and Shield (where players can collect a special Pikachu) and Pokémon TV.

Post Malone’s Beerbongs & Bentleys was one of the hottest tours of 2019. A follow-up trek, 2019–21’s Runaway tour was interrupted by the coronavirus outbreak.

 


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UTA names agent Cheryl Paglierani as partner

UTA has named agent Cheryl Paglierani as a partner, along with 18 other agents across 14 divisions, marking the company’s largest class to date.

Paglierani, who has been at the company for over four years, working from its Beverly Hills base, is the only music agent in this partner class.

At UTA, she specialises in hip-hop contemporary clients, working with the likes of wunderkind R&B singer Kaash Paige and Post Malone, whom she built up from the release of White Iverson in 2016 to a global superstar.

“These are leaders across our business making substantial contributions to the growth, evolution and resilience of our company,” said UTA co-president David Kramer.

“These individuals are influential leaders not just at UTA but in their fields”

“In their talent and leadership, we see the expanding reach of UTA’s work on behalf of world-class creators and cultural voices. These individuals are influential leaders not just at UTA but in their fields, and our company as a whole will benefit from having their unique and diverse expertise, innovation, and perspectives at the partner table.”

Previously, Paglierani worked at The Agency Group, which was acquired by UTA in 2015. Prior to that, she was an agent at CAA where she booked and signed artists including Chance the Rapper, Iggy Azalea, Hoodie Allen, Travis Scott, K. Michelle, Waka Flocka & B.o.B.

UTA has named a total of 22 new partners in 2020 including Samantha Kirby Yoh, who was recently appointed as co-head of UTA Music. The company’s last partner class was announced in January 2019.


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The New Bosses 2019: Sara Schoch, UTA

The New Bosses 2019 – the biggest-ever edition of IQ‘s yearly roundup of future live industry leaders, as voted for by their peers – was published in IQ 85 last month revealing the twelve promising agents, promoters, bookers and execs that make up this year’s list.

To get to know this year’s cream of the crop a little better, IQ conducted interviews with each one of 2019’s New Bosses, to discover their greatest inspirations and proudest achievements, pinpoint the reasons for their success and obtain advice for those hoping to be a future New Boss. Snippets of the interviews can be found in the latest IQ Magazine, with all interviews being reproduced in full online and on IQ Index over the coming weeks.

The next New Boss is Sara Schoch, a music agent at UTA in the United States. California-born, Nashville-based Schoch is a UTA lifer, starting her music industry career in the agency’s post room and eventually becoming an assistant to CEO Jeremy Zimmer.

When UTA acquired the Agency Group, she transitioned into her current role as an agent in the music brand partnerships division, where she works with artists including Hayley Williams, Post Malone, Action Bronson, Big Freedia and Saint Jhn. (Read the previous interview with Primavera’s Pau Cristòful here.)


What are you busy with right now?
In addition to fostering the growth and development of UTA’s Nashville office and championing brand partnerships for our Nashville roster, I am focused on supporting the artist-curated events and festivals that so many of our clients have dedicated themselves to producing.

I spent the first half of 2019 working with Paramore’s Hayley Williams to build and programme her activation, the Sanctuary of Self-Love, at Bonnaroo, which was a great success. I am now helping to execute the partnerships our team has secured around Post Malone’s Posty Fest and HER’s Lights On Festival.

Did you always want to work in the music business?
Music has always been an important part of my life but it was never an industry I thought I would be a part of until I found myself in it. I started in the mailroom at UTA with the ambition of becoming a motion picture literary agent and it wasn’t until UTA acquired the Agency Group, while I was working as UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer’s assistant, that I realised I could work in music.

“Music has always been an important part of my life but it was never an industry I thought I would be a part of until I found myself in it”

I recognised that I had the breadth of experience and a point of view that would make me a valuable asset to that team. That inspiration, coupled with my love for the artists and the entrepreneurial spirit I saw in our new music colleagues, drew me into the space.

What are some of the highlights of your career so far?
Working with Hayley Williams and her team to bring the Sanctuary of Self-Love to life at Bonnaroo was an incredible experience for me. Hayley is an amazing artist and human being who is focused on de-stigmatising and starting an open dialogue about mental health. Being part of the team that helped actualise her vision to create a dedicated safe space for self-care at a leading music festival was a true privilege.

How has your role changed since you started out?
As I’ve transitioned across departments and deepened my understanding of the music landscape, I’ve taken on more challenging creative responsibilities that align with my own personal passion for music. I’m now at a place where I’m doing what I truly love – executing brand partnerships and actualising large-scale music events.

“I’m now at a place where I’m doing what I truly love – executing brand partnerships and actualising large-scale music events”

What do you do for fun?
Aside from going to shows, I am an avid runner, practise yoga and love to read!

Do you have an industry mentor?
I am grateful to work at a company that has provided me with so many mentors from different departments and at various levels in their careers. One of my strongest mentors thus far has been Toni Wallace, who is the head of our music brand partnerships team. Toni guided me into my role in music brand partnerships. She has been the ultimate champion for my career and a true friend, supporting and advising me on issues both big and small, personal and professional, every step of the way.

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to get into, or is new to, the business?
Stay curious. One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned was from our CEO, Jeremy Zimmer – the importance of approaching each day as an opportunity to learn something new, think about things differently, and to transcend the processes that dominate our day-to-day routine. As artist representatives in an industry that is constantly evolving, it’s more important than ever to remain nimble and open to new ways of harnessing the opportunities that are available to our artists to break through and share their voices with the world.

 


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UTA continues London expansion with new hire

Talent and entertainment company United Talent Agency (UTA) has appointed marketing expert Sean Hill to its music division in London.

Hill joins the agency as director of tour marketing and will focus on promotional initiatives for UTA’s music clients worldwide, excluding the Americas.

“We are thrilled to have Sean join our expanding global team,” says Eddie Clemens, head of tour marketing for UTA. “His wealth of experience working on marketing initiatives across both labels and management is hugely beneficial to the new role and we look forward to being able to add value to our clients’ campaigns out of the London office.”

“[Hill’s] wealth of experience working on marketing initiatives across both labels and management is hugely beneficial to the new role”

Hill has spent the last five years working at ATM Artists (Amy Thomson), initially in the role of head of digital. In this position, Hill worked across the company’s live agency and artists management divisions to provide digital and social strategy to artists including Swedish House Mafia, Alesso and Axwell Ingrosso.

Following ATM Artists’ acquisition by Azoff MSG Entertainment in 2014, Hill relocated to Los Angeles to set up the company’s US office. Returning to London in 2016, Hill took on the position of head of marketing, overseeing all tour marketing, recorded music marketing and partnerships.

Prior to ATM, Hill worked for music promotions company Lucid Group, which was acquired by Sony Music Entertainment in 2010.

UTA Music’s roster includes the Spice Girls, Mariah Carey, Craig David, Foals, Pink Floyd, Ringo Starr, Post Malone, Brian Wilson, Muse, Christine & The Queens, Underworld and many more.

 


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Just like a rock star: Post Malone goes global

It’s been a while since there was a rise quite as meteoric as Post Malone’s. In three short years the rapper born Austin Richard Post in Syracuse, New York has gone from releasing his first mixtape, the ten-track August 26th, to becoming one of the world’s biggest music stars, selling out arenas around the world and collaborating with the likes of Kanye West, Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj.

It’s a trajectory that’s seen him smash records, dominate the charts, and crash into the mainstream in a way thought almost impossible in today’s fractured media. Stoney, his debut album proper, broke the 34-year-old record for most consecutive weeks on Billboard’s Top R&B and Hip-Hop charts, while beerbongs & bentleys, the triple-platinum follow-up, was streamed an incredible 78.7 million times within 24 hours of its release and nominated for Album of the Year at the 61st Grammys.

He’s also achieved such success on his own terms, relying as much on fan engagement and word of mouth as more traditional forms of marketing and promotion. And that passionate fan base has been out in force for Post Malone’s current tour, a 92-date, 20-country trip that has seen him sell over 750,000 tickets and cemented his status as Generation Z’s biggest – and most influential – musical icon.

This potential was spotted early – manager Dre London has been with Post since the very beginning, while agent Cheryl Paglierani at UTA came on board three weeks after the release of breakout hit White Iverson. Together with a dedicated team at label Republic Records they’ve guided Post every step of the way, building relationships with an array of talented creatives and a legion of promoters worldwide who tell us all about the tour’s concept and planning below.

“When you come to a Post Malone show, the wide range in audience age is astounding”

Announced in January last year, the North American leg covered 29 cities over May and June,
including two-night stints in both Toronto and Los Angeles, the latter at the legendary Hollywood Bowl. It all kicked off in Portland, Oregon at the 12,000-cap Veterans Memorial Coliseum, the day before beerbongs & bentleys hit the shelves, but Post’s team had no worries when it came to promotion; most dates sold out almost instantly.

“Post had had multiple #1 hits on terrestrial radio,” explains Paglierani, “and together with his success on digital streaming platforms, this has given him the ability to reach the masses. When you come to a Post Malone show, the wide range in audience age is astounding – from young teenagers to middle-aged couples to grandparents.”

Winning Post
Towards the end of the leg in late June, with beerbongs & bentleys’ fifth single, ‘Better Now’, riding high in Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, Post announced a “blockbuster” event, the kind that’s usually the preserve of bona fide, A-list superstars – his very own festival. Dubbed Posty Fest, the all-dayer took over Dallas’s Dos Equis Pavillion on 28 October and saw Post entertain 20,000 fans – tickets sold out in a matter of hours – alongside peers such as Travis Scott, and Tyler, the Creator.

Fresh from the triumph of dazzling his adopted home city, Post took time out from performing for the rest of the year to work on album number three, only returning to the stage again in late December for a two-night New Year celebration at Brooklyn’s Barclay’s Center in front of a combined 38,000 fans. But the break did more than allow Post to recharge mentally and physically before a gruelling 2019 schedule – it also gave his team time to prepare for the unique challenges of taking beerbongs & bentleys to Europe and beyond.

“The quality and originality of his music allows him to reach so many people from all different demographics”

“The quality and originality of his music allows him to reach so many people from all different demographics,” manager Dre London tells IQ. “We also had success in major international markets like Europe and Australia because Post had performed there previously in 2015 and 2016.”

Those initial performances outside of North America proved to be a perfect set up. “We expected the European leg to sell well because we’ve done a lot to grow his fan base out in the UK from the very beginning, but the fact that the first night [at The O2 Arena] sold out in pre-sale and the second night went that same day exceeded all of our expectations,” says London.

Post Production
At first glance, Post’s stage setup seems relatively modest by modern pop-show standards – a long, low runway extending out into the crowd (lit from above by a movable lighting pod) in front of a plain backdrop, and flanked by two large video screens. But as production manager Dennis Danneels explains, this was a very deliberate decision – and is underpinned by a surprising amount of complexity.

 


Continue reading this feature in the digital edition of IQ 83, or subscribe to the magazine here

Smash Fest celebrates first year with sell-out event

Following in the footsteps of musical legends like Pearl Jam, Nirvana and Neil Young, performers at the inaugural Smash Fest took to the grounds of Sweden‘s Maritime History Museum last week. Organisers Maloney Concerts and Woah Dad! are celebrating the success of the event, which managed to sell out all 18,000 tickets a month before.

Festivalgoers were treated to performances from a host of international and Swedish artists including Lil Pump, Cherrie, Mapei, Tyla Yaweh and Jelassi throughout the day, with headliner Post Malone taking to the stage later on. A headline performance at Smash Fest tops off what has been an impressive year for Dre London-managed Post Malone, whose second album, Beerbongs & Bentleys, has smashed records around the world.

The day festival was equally well received by local media, with Sweden’s biggest media outlet Aftonbladet saying: “Smash have succeeded with something few others in Scandinavia has (this years lineup of Way Out West included) consistently book contemporary artists that reflect the present time.”

 


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