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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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