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WME parent Endeavor to go private in $13bn deal

WME parent company Endeavor will be acquired by majority shareholder Silver Lake in a deal valued at $13 billion.

Endeavor, a Los Angeles-based sports and entertainment giant, has publicly traded as “EDR” on the New York Stock Exchange since April 2021.

Last year, private equity company Silver Lake (which also owns shares in TEG and Oak View Group) announced its intention to take Endeavor private, causing the share price to surge by 25%.

The Silicon Valley-based PE firm yesterday (2 April) confirmed it will acquire all outstanding shares, with Endeavor stockholders receiving $27.50 per share.

Endeavor is also the parent company of sports booking outfit IMG, events business On Location, marketing agency 160over90 and sports data and technology properties IMG Arena and OpenBet.

TKO Group Holdings, Endeavor’s publicly listed company consisting of UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) and WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment), is not included in the $13 bn deal.

“Since 2012, Endeavor’s strategic partnership with Silver Lake and Egon Durban have been central to our evolution into the global sports and entertainment leader we are today,” says Ariel Emanuel, CEO of Endeavor.

“We have built and grown Endeavor from $350m in annual revenue when we first invested in 2012 to nearly $6 bn in consolidated revenue today”

“We believe this transaction will maximize value for all of Endeavor’s public stockholders and are excited to continue to unlock and invest in the growth opportunities ahead as a private company.”

Egon Durban, Co-CEO and Managing Partner of Silver Lake, and Chairman of the Board of Endeavor, said: “Our unwavering belief in Ari and Patrick, together with Mark and other talented leaders at Endeavor, has never been stronger. This is a very special partnership.

“Together, we have built and grown Endeavor from $350 million in annual revenue when we first invested in 2012 to nearly $6 billion in consolidated revenue today. Now, Endeavor can take advantage of its unique core platform to meet the dynamic forces driving growth in content, sports, and live events with bold vision. Consistent with our mission and underscored by this commitment being among the largest in Silver Lake’s history, we are all in on working with the Endeavor team and our trusted anchor investors to create value by accelerating growth at scale.”

Silver Lake made its initial investment in WME in 2012. In late 2013, it bought fashion and sports-focused talent agency IMG for $2.4 billion and rolled up both acquisitions into WME-IMG. The mega-agency was rebranded as Endeavor in 2017.

WMEs music roster includes Justin Timberlake, Adele, Bruno Mars, Pearl Jam, The Killers and Foo Fighters, among others.

Earlier this year, Silver Lake, which also has interests in City Football Group and Madison Square Garden Sports, secured a A$1.1 billion (€663.8 million) dividend recapitalisation for Australian live entertainment giant TEG after attempts to sell the company reportedly stalled.

 


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WME hires agent to represent creative directors

WME has hired Erin Kapor as an agent with a focus on representing creative directors.

Kapor, who brings more than a decade of experience in creative representation and strategy, most recently served as SVP of creative at Original Creative Agency and previously worked for Downtown Music Publishing and Red Light Management, before switching to consulting as a creative strategist.

Her work has involved leading a roster of clients spanning music, politics, sports, fashion, brands and art.

WME says the hire is “a response to the rising number of talent across culture verticals”

The company says Los Angeles-based Kapor’s appointment is “a response to the rising number of talent across culture verticals continuing to blur the lines” between the various fields.

Joining Kapor at WME are clients including Ben Chappell, who has worked with acts such as Arctic Monkeys and Niall Horan, Clare Gillen (Rihanna), Cody “SSION” Critcheloe (Kim Petras, Robyn), Franc Fernandez (Lady Gaga, Miguel), James “Yimmy Yayo” Bailey (Alicia Keys, Nintendo), Joe Perez (Beyoncé, Louis Vuitton), creative studio TAWBOX (Drake, Boygenius), and Undercard Studio (FKA twigs, Blur).

They join WME’s existing roster in the space, which already includes designer KidSuper, Ethan Tobman, creative director for Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour, The Weeknd’s creative director La Mar Taylor and design studio Vita Motus, which has created concepts and installations for Coachella and Electric Daisy Carnival.

 


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Appeals court backs Lizzo over $5m festival fee

A US appeals court has upheld a ruling that Lizzo can keep her US$5 million booking fee for a cancelled 2020 festival in Los Angeles.

Promoter VFLA Eventco LLC filed a lawsuit against WME in July 2020, as well as artists Lizzo, Ellie Goulding and Kali Uchis, saying the parties had agreed to return monies they had been advanced in the event of cancellation of Virgin Fest due to “an uncontrollable factor”.

The acts had been scheduled to play the debut edition – which was funded by commercial real estate magnates Marc and Sharon Hagle, and run by Jason Felts, CEO of the Virgin Group’s festival arm – at the Banc of California Stadium (22,000-cap.) and Exposition Park in LA on 6-7 June 2020, before it was axed due to the pandemic.

WME insisted that Lizzo be paid 100% of the fee prior to the festival announcing her as a headliner and that Uchis and Goulding be paid 50% upon signing and the remaining 50% paid 90 days prior to their performances, emails produced for the lawsuit showed.

“As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and in compliance with the government restrictions meant to mitigate the pandemic, VFLA cancelled the festival and demanded the return of the deposits from WME, who negotiated the performance contracts and held the deposits as the artists’ agent,” reads the court filing.

“VFLA claimed its right to the deposits under the force majeure provision in the parties’ performance contracts, which determined the parties’ rights to the deposits in the event of a force majeure cancellation. The artists refused VFLA’s demand, claiming VFLA bore the risk of a cancellation due to the pandemic.”

“Since VFLA conceded that, if the artists prevailed, WME should prevail as well, we affirm the judgement in its entirety”

VFLA sued the acts for breach of contract and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, plus WME for conversion, money had and received, unfair business practices and declaratory relief.

Following an initial two-year legal battle, LA Superior Court judge Mark Epstein ruled in September 2022 that clauses added by attorneys for WME to its clients’ performance contracts shifted the financial risk of cancellation onto the festival. That ruling has now been backed by a California court of appeal.

“The trial court granted summary judgement in favour of the artists and WME, finding VFLA bore the risk of the festival’s cancellation, and that WME could not be held liable as an agent for the actions of its principals,” it concludes.

“We hold the trial court properly granted summary judgement in favour of the artists and WME. The force majeure provision is not reasonably susceptible to VFLA’s interpretation, and, in any event, the parol evidence favours the artists.

“Further, we also hold the artists’ interpretation does not work an invalid forfeiture or make the performance contracts unlawful. Since VFLA conceded that, if the artists prevailed, WME should prevail as well, we affirm the judgement in its entirety.”

 


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ILMC 36: The Agency Business

Leading agents offered an upbeat overview of the agency trade in 2024 and pondered the future of the model in the annual ILMC panel on the sector.

The Agency Business 2024 panel chair Anna Sjölund was joined by guest speakers Bex Wedlake (One Fiinix Live), Brian Ahern (WME), Tom Schroeder (Wasserman Music) and James Wright (UTA) to debate a range of topics.

“The great thing after the pandemic, [Brexit], and the general inflation of costs, we’re still having a strong touring business. The difficulty is costs, be that for artists, promoters or venue operators,” said Wright.

Asked how it was to be an agent in 2024, Schroeder said, “I bloody love it. I don’t disagree that there are problems, but they’re a bit like a jigsaw that we have to work out and I really enjoy that challenge. The fact is that artists are a lot more involved in their careers these days, and that makes things fun.

“The rules have changed and some historic templates have [been discontinued], and because social media plays such a big part in things now, artists have to be a lot more involved in their career and decisions about their career, so I truly believe this is the best time I’ve had in my career.”

“The appetite for live music is bigger and better than ever before”

Wedlake noted, “The appetite for live music is bigger and better than ever before, and there’s a bigger emphasis on women in music and LGBTQ issues, led by the artists, and it’s amazing to witness that levelling of the [playing field] and the evolution of our job. There’s no one-size-fits-all for either clients or us as agents, so the fact that big corporations and independent operations can happily co-exist is pretty healthy.

Ahern agreed, commenting, “I believe our company can provide a competitive advantage to our clients, but there are also bands and artists who simply want to tour, and therefore being at another agency is a better fit for them. I have a lot of respect for the indie agents and what they do – thankfully there is enough work for all of us.”

Discussing the reality of global deals, Wright revealed that he had chosen a lower offer for one of his clients because a higher offer would have meant unrealistic ticket prices for that act’s fans. And talking about the changing role of the agent, Schroeder said that while 15 years ago his job involved booking gigs, “What was 90% of my job is now just 10%, as I spend a lot more time working on strategy and creativity. And the best thing is I don’t know how I will be doing things in 18 months because the business keeps changing and I think the industry is all the better for it.”

Schroeder courted controversy by stating that grassroots venues were no longer a part of the ecosystem for his roster of clients, although he acknowledged their importance. But Wedlake responded, “We all have a responsibility to feed back into the grassroots sector – that’s why I’m a proponent of using independent promoters.” She added, “My job as an agent is to ferret out promoters who understand my artists and with whom we can grow sensibly, slowly and creatively.”

Addressing concerns about agents signing too many acts to their rosters, Wright said, “We are opportunistic, but we have to believe in the artists we sign. It’s complicated and it’s hard work, but we don’t get paid straight away, so belief is a big part of it.”

“We need promoters to help us get to a point where touring becomes financially sustainable”

Underlining that point, Schroeder revealed that he has been working with Raye for eight years – “Six and a half years were a real slog, but I always had that belief and I stuck with her.”

Turning the discussion to the different ways in which agencies operate, Sjölund asked Ahern about WME’s territorial model, leading Ahern to dismiss some of the myths about the practice.

“We don’t simply hand off to someone who does not know what they are doing. We engage experts who have knowledge about specific markets, or who speak the local language, and who can advise me as the agent who can then use that information to make a decision. But the person who presents the artist always has that direct relationship – if I do not have that direct contact with my artist, I get fired.”

Schroeder also underlined the importance of the promoter in planning career strategies for artists. “If we choose a promoter that we trust, why would we not want their opinion in a meeting with the artist and management? They are the well informed gamblers that we rely on.”

He concluded, “We need promoters to help us get to a point where touring becomes financially sustainable.”

 


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WME announces first-ever regional office leads

WME has announced a new organisational structure in the contemporary music department that includes the agency’s first-ever regional office leads.

The office leads include Josh Javor (London), Kevin Shivers (Beverly Hills), Michael Coughlin (Nashville), Stephanie LaFera (New York) and Brett Murrihy (Sydney). Brian Ahern oversees operations for the music team.

The news was revealed in a memo from the global co-heads of contemporary music, Lucy Dickins and Kirk Sommer, to the department.

The pair wrote that Endeavor-backed WME will continue to build upon its “multiple regional servicing groups, including an Asia-Pacific presence, Latin-American team, and a robust European operation.”

Ron Opaleski will lead global bookings and international touring strategy across North America, while Tony Goldring will lead similar efforts for the company’s international clients.

Josh Kurfirst will lead efforts on behalf of festivals, Clint Mitchell will lead non-traditional touring and Ryan Jones will cover the company’s private and corporate events.

WME will continue to build upon its “multiple regional servicing groups, including an Asia-Pacific presence, Latin-American team, and a robust European operation”

Dickins and Sommer also detailed changes at the company’s crossover department, which the two leaders said “is our #1 differentiator.”

“Given its importance,” the memo explained, “WME partner Keith Sarkisian will be stepping in to oversee the coordination of non-touring services for the agency’s roster, working with divisions from across WME and Endeavor.” That includes working with Dvora Englefield, WME partner/head of new music strategy, “who will continue to identify new business opportunities and strategic partnerships on behalf our artists.”

For A&R, Kevin Shivers will be leading efforts to “coordinate new artist discovery across all genres and regions on behalf of the team,” working with regional and genre leads.

The memo also announced the promotion of seven agents to partner: Kyle Bandler, Mark Claassen, Andrew Colvin, Beth Hamilton, Sloane Logue, Austin Mullins and Travis Wolfe.

Meanwhile, 16 employees have been promoted to agent: Sam Dolen, Janelle Flint, Jacob Fox, Josh Green, Lindsey Hastings, Carly Huffman, Dan Kuklinski, Sean McHugh, Meera Patel, Adam Sherif, John Showfety, Jeremy Upton, Carlile Willett, Laura Williams, Cecilia Yao and Ben Yekuel.

 


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Lucy Dickins receives 2023 MITS Award

WME global head of contemporary music and touring Lucy Dickins collected the 2023 Music Industry Trust Award at a star-studded ceremony at London’s Grosvenor House.

Last night’s event, which raised funds for The Brit Trust and music therapy charity Nordoff & Robbins, was attended by around 1,000 music business executives, many of whom had flown in from Europe and the United States to honour Dickins.

Video tributes from the likes of Adele, Mahalia, Little Simz, Ben Lovett, Rex Orange County, Denis Desmond, Jason Isley, Kelly Chappel, Emma Banks, Matt Wooliscroft, Ben Mortimer, Marc Geiger, Rob Stringer, David Joseph, Simon Moran and Pete Tong were screened, while artists Loyle Carner and Hot Chip provided the live entertainment, along with an ensemble of students from The Brit School, which directly benefits from the fundraising gala.

“I grew up watching some of my favourite people and idols winning this, so it’s incredible to be here”

Dedicating the award to her children Ezra and Audrey, Dickins received the award from her artist manager brother Jonathan, and stated, “I grew up watching some of my favourite people and idols winning this, so it’s incredible to be here.

“I’d like to thank each and every one of you for this moment. May we continue to nurture, support and empower great talent and may we continue to live and love in music. I’m truly humbled to receive this award tonight and I hope that in some small way I’ve inspired the next generation of women in music, which translates into the live music business in the future.

“Life in this industry, as you know, is extremely busy. But being a working mother is another beast altogether. I have so much respect for you mothers who are fighting the fight because it is not easy. We’re constantly feeling that we’re sacrificing one part of our life for another… So whatever way you look at it, you have guilt… And it’s really, really hard to balance it all and often people say “I don’t know how you do it all”. But you absolutely can’t do it all.. All you can do is just do your best. That’s what I tell everyone.”

“I have a newfound respect for what it means to be a working mum”

Dickins, who joined WME in 2019 and is a member of Endeavor’s Diversity and Inclusion working group, began her career working as a junior product manager for an independent UK record label PWL before joining International Booking Talent (ITB) as an assistant in the early 1990s and rising through the ranks at the agency.

Her grandfather, Percy Dickins, founded legendary music weekly the New Musical Express (NME), while her father, Barry, formed ITB in 1978. Her uncle Rob was longtime head of Warner Music in the UK, and her brother Jonathan heads up management company September Management with a roster that includes Adele.

Before presenting her with the award, Jonathan Dickins told the crowd: “I’m really proud because I think I’ve learnt one thing, and that is that I have a newfound respect for what it means to be a working mum. Anybody that holds a career, and especially the level that she does, and happens to be a present parent is… I’m in awe of that. And that, to me, goes well beyond any achievements in music.

“She’s a fierce negotiator, strategic, loyal, and most importantly, the greatest sister I could possibly ever have.”

“I started going on about being a singer and I whipped a demo right out of my bag and I said, ‘You’re gonna be my agent'”

Adele, meanwhile, recalled the time she and Lucy met: “I started going on about being a singer and I whipped a demo right out of my bag and I said, ‘You’re gonna be my agent.’ I didn’t hear back from her for quite a while and my details were on the demo. But I told my manager, who I was newly managed by, I told him that I found my agent. And he was like ‘Great, what’s their name?’ and I was like ‘Lucy Dickins’ and he said ‘That’s my sister!’ So, we met separately and they’ve both worked with me since I was 18 years old.”

Dickins joins the ranks of previous MITS recipients including Annie Lennox, Kylie Minogue, Emma Banks, Sir Elton John and Bernie Taupin, Gary Barlow, Simon Cowell, Rob Stringer, Sir Lucian Grainge and Michael Eavis.

Revisit IQ’s 2022 feature on Dickins, looking back on her first 25 years in the music industry, here.

 


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Silver Lake considers taking Endeavor private

Shares in WME’s parent company Endeavor have soared after global investment giant Silver Lake revealed it was working towards a proposal to take the business private.

The disclosure by Silver Lake, which holds a 71% stake in the sports and entertainment firm, came after Endeavor confirmed it was looking at “strategic alternatives” that better value the company.

Endeavor went public two-and-a-half years ago but TBI Vision reports its share price had almost halved from a near $35 peak in December 2021 to $17.72 before surging 25% in the wake of yesterday’s announcements. Silicon Valley-based Silver Lake also owns shares in TEG, Oak View Group, City Football Group and Madison Square Garden Sports.

“Silver Lake is committed to strategies that deliver value for all shareholders of Endeavor,” reads a statement from the private equity firm. “To that end, Silver Lake is currently working toward making a proposal to take Endeavor private. Silver Lake firmly believes in Endeavor’s business and is not interested in selling its shares in Endeavor to a third-party nor in entertaining bids for assets that are a part of Endeavor.

“Silver Lake is the owner of approximately 71% of the voting power of Endeavor. Our co-chief executive officer, Egon Durban, and our managing director, Stephen Evans, serve as members of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of Endeavor. Silver Lake has been a committed investor since 2012 and has made significant investments in Endeavor since then to support its growth.”

“We believe an evaluation of strategic alternatives is a prudent approach to ensure we are maximising value for our shareholder”

In addition to WME, Endeavor is also the parent company of sports booking outfit IMG, events business On Location, marketing agency 160over90 and sports data and technology properties IMG Arena and OpenBet.

Endeavor clarifies that it is not considering “the sale or disposition of the company’s interest” in TKO Group Holdings, the new publicly listed company consisting of UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) and WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment).

“Given the continued dislocation between Endeavor’s public market value and the intrinsic value of Endeavor’s underlying assets, we believe an evaluation of strategic alternatives is a prudent approach to ensure we are maximising value for our shareholders,” said Endeavor CEO Ariel Emanuel.

WME-IMG – the mega-agency formed by the 2013 merger of music/media agency William Morris Endeavor and International Management Group – rebranded as Endeavor in 2017. WME‘s music roster includes Justin Timberlake, Adele, Bruno Mars, Pearl Jam, The Killers and Foo Fighters, among others.

Artémis, an investment firm led by billionaire French businessman Francois-Henri Pinault, acquired TPG’s majority stake in WME rival Creative Artists Agency (CAA) last month in a deal that reportedly valued CAA at $7 billion.

 


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UK gov urged to outlaw resale of tickets for profit

Some of the UK’s leading music companies have joined a fresh campaign against industrial-scale online ticket touting.

Led by FanFair Alliance, the campaign is urging MPs to introduce new legislation to “protect British consumers from unscrupulous and exploitative traders who operate on controversial websites such as Viagogo and StubHub”.

WME, CAA, ATC, 13 Artists, Kilimanjaro, FKP Scorpio and One Fiinix are among the parties to back FanFair Alliance’s three pro-consumer measures regarding legislative action, tech action and industry action.

The first proposed measure is new laws making it illegal to resell a ticket for profit, bringing the UK into line with countries such as Ireland, France, Australia and Italy, which have introduced legislation to ban or restrict resale for more than face value.

The second calls for platforms like Google and YouTube to stop promoting touts, and help direct consumers towards legitimate sources of tickets. And the final point rallies the live music business to make capped consumer-friendly ticket resale visible and viable.

“We’ve seen many other countries adopt strict anti-touting legislation. It is high time that the UK caught up”

The fresh campaign comes a few months after the Department of Business & Trade rejected a series of recommendations aimed at strengthening existing laws around ticket resale in order to protect consumers, published by the Competition & Markets Authority.

But on Monday (11 September), at a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ticket Abuse in the House of Commons, the music industry seized on the opportunity presented by the next election to call for a “reset” in how politicians, regulators and the music business look to tackle ongoing problems in this market.

“Over the course of the next year there will be a general election in the UK, the outcome of which will define the music industry for the rest of the decade,” said Tom Kiehl, the interim chief executive of UK Music, an industry body.

“It is vital as we approach this pivotal moment that policymakers secure a fair deal for music lovers by ending rip-off secondary ticketing practices.”

Adam Webb, campaign manager, FanFair Alliance adds: “When the FanFair campaign was established in 2016, online ticket touting in the UK was out of control. There was little enforcement of consumer law, and fans were systematically misled and ripped off by the dominant secondary ticketing platforms. Despite substantial progress to improve this situation it is now clear we need a reset. We need fresh legislation and fresh thinking – ending once and for all the parasitical practices of online ticket touts, while doing more to proactively promote capped consumer-friendly ticket resale. The UK is rightly proud of its live music culture, and this is an area we should and could be leading the world.”

Sharon Hodgson MP, chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ticket Abuse, comments: “Since I introduced a Private Members Bill in 2010 that attempted to outlaw the resale of tickets for profit, we’ve seen many other countries adopt strict anti-touting legislation. It is high time that the UK caught up. Every week we continue to see thousands of ticket buyers fall foul of predatory and unlawful practices in the secondary market. I wholeheartedly support FanFair Alliance’s three common sense goals which would provide audiences with far greater protections, while helping to boost one of our country’s most important cultural industries.”

Companies and individuals backing FanFair Alliance’s three pro-consumer measures include:
13 Artists
John Rostron, Association of Independent Festivals
Alex Bruford, ATC Live
Brian Message, ATC Management
CAA Music
Paul Crockford, Crockford Management
Stephen Taverner, East City Management
Adam Tudhope, Everybody’s Management
David Martin, CEO, Featured Artists Coalition
Daniel Ealam, FKP Scorpio
Stuart Camp, Grumpy Old Management
Harvey Goldsmith
Alec Mckinlay & Marcus Russell, Ignition Management
Sybil Bell, Independent Venue Week
Richard Jones, Key Music Management
Stuart Galbraith, Kilimanjaro Live
Harry Magee, Modest! Management
Mark Bent & Natasha Gregory, Mother Artists
Annabella Coldrick, Chief Executive, Music Managers Forum
Music Venue Trust
Paul Craig, Nostromo Management
Jon Ollier, One Fiinix
Phantom Music Management
Angus Baskerville & Hayley Morrison, Pure Represents
Tom Kiehl, Interim CEO, UK Music
Gareth Griffiths, Director Partnerships and Sponsorship at Virgin Media O2
Ian McAndrew, Wildlife Entertainment

 


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WME acquires True Grit Talent Agency

WME has acquired True Grit Talent Agency, a Texas-based company founded in 2016.

As part of the deal, WME signs True Grit’s entire roster which includes Cody Jinks, Charles Wesley Godwin, Whitey Morgan, Ward Davis, and Dexter and The Moonrocks.

The agency’s team, including agents Mike Krug, Carrie Creasey and Shelby Vanek, have also joined WME and will continue to work out of Austin.

“We are very excited that what we do caught the eye of a company like WME,” says Krug. “We are proud of all we have built here in Austin and know that joining WME will create exponentially more opportunities for our clients.”

“We’ve long admired the business and roster that True Grit has developed”

Jay Williams, WME partner and Nashville office co-head, adds: “We’ve long admired the business and roster that True Grit has developed, and we are excited to bring their artists and the team into the WME family and expand WME’s footprint in Austin.”

Arthur Penhallow, founder of the True Grit companies, is continuing on as True Grit Management with clients including Charles Wesley Godwin, Whitey Morgan, Erin Viancourt and Coleman Jennings. Additionally, Reed Turner is now a partner at True Grit Management.

WME notes that this year’s acquisitions of True Grit Talent Agency and Red 11 Music have expanded the agency’s presence in Texas, as well as in the American Roots music genre.

Elsewhere within the genre, WME represented all three headliners (Luke Bryan, Kane Brown and Chris Stapleton) at Stagecoach festival in 2023 and its clients won the most categories at the Academy of Country Music (ACM) and Country Music Association (CMA) Awards multiple years in a row.

 


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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.

 


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