The New Bosses: Caroline Simionescu-Marin, WME
The 16th edition of IQ Magazine’s New Bosses was published in IQ 121 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 2023’s New Bosses, discovering their greatest inspirations and pinpointing the reasons for their success.
Catch up on the previous interview with Anouk Ganpatsing, booker at Friendly Fire in the Netherlands here. The series continues with Caroline Simionescu-Marin, strategy agent at WME in the UK.
How does the role of a strategy agent differ from that of a traditional booking agent?
As a strategy agent, the job firstly entails identifying clients who have the ability to develop their business into new areas outside of traditional touring. I spend time ideating and strategising those ideas alongside the artist and managers, working with specialist agents in other departments at WME to create a plan of action. This could be in divisions such as brands, television, acting, podcasts or books. We work on short and long-term goals and I oversee these projects. Being strategy-focused is critical to diversification and ensuring everything we do is true to the artists’ core values and what they have already built in music.
I’m guessing you’ve come across lots of instances of artists being entrepreneurial to drive revenues. How important is it to have the creative input of artists in your everyday work at WME?
It’s critical that everything an artist does outside of music and touring needs to be led with the same vision and passion. When taking on new ventures there should always be an intention and mission behind it, and a true obsession to want to make it happen. It feels so much more genuine when an artist is really invested in making a new project come to life, and fans are more likely to believe and buy into it, especially when it is something new that they aren’t known for doing.
For example, when I saw Fredo become a partner in the Kick Game footwear business, he added so much value to them and it has been a really genuine and strategic relationship. He has put Kick Game on the map and they will both benefit from it massively. It feels real and it feels aligned, those are the perfect partnerships because the talent is creatively invested.
“When you work in entertainment, many of the skills are transferrable, you are just looking at something from a new lens”
I imagine matching projects to the skills of your clients is hugely rewarding when it pays off. How does the process work – do you pitch ideas to the client; do they approach you with ideas; or do brands/TV shows/publishers, etc, come to you? Or a combo of everything?
It’s a combination, a lot of my clients have dreams and goals in many areas entrepreneurially so the baseline for their ideas are usually already there. Me and their teams will work with them to develop the ideas into something that is viable commercially, partnering talent with people who can bring this stuff to life; whether that’s production companies, tv networks, directors, publishers, or brands.
It requires me and my colleagues to get creative on our side and think outside of the box. Every approach is different and it’s about creating thoughtful collisions and partnerships. We know our talent and we know our buyers. Collisions between our talent are important too, we represent a lot of best-in-class entertainment and we know what all of our individual clients are passionate about. It is amazing when we can partner with our clients to bring ideas to life.
Your career path before WME involved experience across a range of sectors. How has this experience helped you in your day-to-day work, through understanding the challenges faced by people working in other sectors of the music biz?
My past career experiences make it easier for me to understand, empathise and problem-solve, taking into account everyone’s perspective – whether that’s the talent, manager or label. Having been an A+R, signing talent is second nature to me. I thoroughly enjoy new signing pursuits and identifying entrepreneurial talent. For the most part, when you work in entertainment, many of the skills are transferrable, you are just looking at something from a new lens.
“Every approach is different and it’s about creating thoughtful collisions and partnerships”
What has been the highlight of your career, so far?
I don’t really have any one highlight; I think it’s being able to help people ideate and execute things they never dreamed of being possible.
Do you have a mentor, or people you can trust to bounce ideas off?
I have amazing colleagues, they inspire me every day and I truly trust that we all work towards the same vision so ideating is a part of my daily schedule. I’m really grateful to work somewhere that collaboration is encouraged. I have had many mentors through different phases of my career and highly encourage mentorship; both giving and receiving. You learn so much through other’s experiences.
What do you see yourself doing in five years’ time?
I want to continue being entrepreneurial with people who inspire me to think creatively and push boundaries.
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.