Posts Tagged ‘The Agency Group’


November 11, 2013

Industry icon, friend, beloved agent (always nice when you can use those two words together), and mentor, are just a few words people in music use to describe Steve Martin.  Steve resigned last week as President, N.A., at The Agency Group in NY.

No word yet on where Steve will be headed but this week’s Billboard Touring Conference should be like the NFL free agency for him.  I will be playing the part of Jerry McGuirge.  Blind bidding will commence on Friday.  You can send them to me.

Regardless, wishing Steve nothing but the best.  You will never find a more loved and respected person in our industry. Break a leg Steve (not a knee though)!!!



October 17, 2012

We have a new Aspen “family member”.  He’s the king of streaming, Hank Neuberger and he’s speaking in Aspen.  Check this out.

You won’t just love the Aspen Live Conference (December 13-16) because it has been around for 16-years.  You won’t just love the people, atmosphere, meetings, social events, speakers, and more.  You will love being part of this family of ours.

16-years of doing business together, hearing from some of the greatest minds of our time, and most importantly, each of us having Aspen in common.  That’s what’s made this event so special for all these years. You could think about it another way, half our group doesn’t ski or board.  They actually come to meet people, talk about ideas and bring a fresh approach to the New Year.  But we learned early on, what’s most important is the hang. 

2012 promises more of the same.  If you have anything to do with the music space, or touch music in anyway, register today @   You won’t regret it.  Use a “life-line” and call a friend that’s attended.  They will tell you the same.

So here’s some of the dirt.  Scott Tobias and the Voice Media Group are bringing back the Aspen Billiards party.  Something we have all missed for years is now scheduled for Friday, December 14th @ Aspen Billiards and Eric’s Bar from 7:30 – 9:30pm. 

Adler Integrated Media will be working the full-court press on their “Aspen Integrated” day Saturday, December 15th, and will start the meeting portion of the event Thursday, December 13th with “Inside The Agent’s Studio”, the guest… The Agency Group’s North American President, Steve Martin… the moderator, Square Peg Concert’s Dan Steinberg.

This year, we have the guy who not only invented online ticketing; he has had second chance with the dice with Ticketfly, who now has over 500 clients and a whole bunch of new funding.  We will hear from Ticketfly’s CEO, Andrew Dreskin

For those of you who come in Wednesday, there is the annual Peter Tempkins hosted dinner @ Hickory House (our Vegan family members may want to bring a snack), Thursday, December 13th after our meetings, our town host Michael Goldberg and his staff at the Belly Up will be throwing down from 7-9PM. 

And believe it or not, there’s more to be announced soon so stay tuned.

Hope to see in Aspen!





September 27, 2010

Our goal for this year’s Aspen Live Conference (December 9-12) is to really make a difference…innovate and grow our business.  We want this conference to be all about your wants and thus are using Jeff Jarvis’s model from What Would Google Do? to build this year’s program. 

Below are some of the ideas that many of you have already sent in and are in no particular order. 

–          Try developing our own business again

–          More of a “Tech presence” this year…Social Media, Ticket Sales Platforms, etc

–          How do different marketers relate to one another so as to collaborate outside of our industries?

–          Sourcing those who are marketing without even knowing it and taking their ideas/successes and applying to our businesses.

–          Getting buy in on doing things for the right reasons and social benefit which will translate into success on other levels.

–          Making the conference more appealing to younger end talent by lowering cost/admission or creating viral option.

–          Indentifying and analyzing the real issues that will impact our abilities to sustain, expand and compel our business.

–          Attendees:  People who consume our product, such as 

  1. film
  2. television,
  3. concert goers and 
  4. video games producers

–          Expand to include more areas of music people, such as  

    1. managers 
    2. label guys 
    3. producers
    4. studio owners 
    5. promoters
    6. venue managers

–        Bring back some of the regulars that haven’t been with us for a few years

 –          Speakers from: 

  1. Doug Fox from Beaver Productions;
  2. Google;
  3. Facebook; 
  4. People that do product placement and sponsorships; 
  5. Derek Sivers;
  6. Someone from old media, i.e. newspaper or magazine that have made a successful transition to internet; 
  7. A Venture Capital person to give feedback on what financial people think is wrong with the music business;
  8. John Bolton of SMG who manages BOK Center. He took it from not even on the map to number to #9 in the USA and #24 in the world based on Pollstar’s tracking of ticket sales

 –          Outside speakers but not if they will lose people over the necessity of paying for them… more people that are inclined to come anyway that have something to say, like Ian Rogers, the Next Big Thing guy, obviously Bob.

 –          Some new blood would be good…each of us could make an effort to get someone new to come the group

 –          Circulate a few, like 2 or 3, main topics in advance to get things moving.

 –          The Agency Group NYC once called “Awkward Lunch” where 5 or 6 totally random people are forced to arrange a time to have a meal together. Perhaps we can do an Awkward Breakfast where you assign 8 very random people into groups to eat their breakfast together at 8am for an hour.

 We are also planning to reach-out to the brand, ad agency, and corporate world as we are now more and more in partnership with them. 

Keep the ideas coming…  We will have the website up soon.




April 26, 2009

Well if it isn’t done yet, it will be very soon.  William Morris Agency will merge with Endeavor…probably by Monday afternoon.  Nikki Finke’s blog says the new company will be called WME Entertainment.  Those most effected by this merger are of course WMA and Endeavor agents (some of whom may lose their jobs) and CAA.  How will it change the face of entertainment?  It probably won’t. 

Truth is, although the agency business has changed a lot over the past 100-years, the agency business hasn’t really changed a lot over the past 100-years.  The primary job of an agent is still to find their clients work.  Negotiate on their behalf with studios, networks, producers, promoters, endorsers, etc, to get the best deal, and put their client in the most favorable light possible.  What the merger will do is create something new and shiny…and in a business where perception is everything, these guys will be carrying a nice head of steam. 

Of course with mergers comes job duplication…and layoffs.  If a business that is contracting, these people may find it tough going looking for new homes.  And although the merger certainly has the most dramatic effect on CAA, where does this leave UTA and Paradigm

Paradigm seems the stronger of the two due to its music roster which includes Cold Play, Dave Matthews, Phish, and Aerosmith.  If I’m UTA management right now, I would be eyeing Gersh, plus a music agency with a strong roster…maybe Dennis Arfa or The Agency Group. 

Well, lets see what the week brings us.  Hope you have a great one!

Speak with you soon…



April 9, 2009

Rumor has it that a major agency spoke about the power of the Lefsetz Letter in one of their staff meetings a while back.  Everyone tells you things like; “I delete every email he sends” or “who has time to read all that”…or even “that ass-hole has no idea what he is talking about”.  Well as the major agency went around the table (no, it wasn’t The Agency Group), they came to the conclusion that “almost everything Bob writes about becomes what the business is discussing the next day.”

Now I should throw out the disclaimer that Lefsetz and I are very good friends (yes, I send him angry notes about some of the stuff he writes too).  But if you ever doubted Bob’s influence, you just needed to see what happened yesterday when Lefsetz decided to start-up a Twitter account.  It was litteraly the biggest news on the whole system!!! 

Bob has been right about so many things the record companies could have done to save themselves, it isn’t even funny.  He told 200 of us at the Aspen Live Conference that the major labels should buy something called Napster, when no one in the room even knew what it was.  Sometimes we don’t appreciate people until they are no longer with us (look at the great artists through the years).  No one agrees with everything Bob Lefsetz says…not even Bob.  But there are many “smart people” out there that still think that Wal-Mart is going into the ticketing business with Bon Jovi because Bob wrote about it in his APRIL 1st letter. 

So the next time you hear someone slagging the Lefsetz Letter, you might want to remind them to not be “Playa Haters”.

Speak with you soon…


Branded Live Entertainment

October 30, 2008

Sponsorship is almost becoming a dirty word in corporate hallways these days, as CEO’s and Boards of Directors push for more ROI from their marketing investments.  Yet at the same time venues (such as the downtown complex AEG is building in LA) and tour productions (music, sports, family, etc) are getting more expensive to build and operate, thus putting a heavy burden on consumers to pickup the tab.  The solution of course is partnerships between “Corporate America” and “Live Entertainment”.  What is needed is understanding.

First, both brand and live entertainment properties must gain a basic knowledge and appreciation of their partner’s business and goals.  If you are on the brand side, get familiar with the property, building, artist, or market you are co-branding yourself with.  Understand that they consider themselves brands too and are just as protective as you are.  On the entertainment side, check out your new partner’s website, advertising, products, etc.  Find ways early on in the creative process to work the brand into the show.  In my experience, it is important that you have all players involved from the opening bell, rather than just sales and marketing people.  A sponsorship sales person might not know what is possible…or not possible for your event, tour, show, building, etc.  Having decision makers and those that actually do the implementation involved from the get go will not only save you time and money but will also build a more trusting relationship between the parties (e.g. you won’t have to take anything back later, like when a sales person promises to put trucks on either side of a stage that can’t support the weight).  I’m attaching a link to the website of our genius set and lighting designer (ex-Disney Imagineer) Jim Lenahan to illustrate how well things can work when brands and entertainment folks are joined from day one.  The videos and photos you should link to shows a “transformer” Ford F-150 Pick-up for a Toby Keith tour that I first drew on a napkin (literally) and “Lenny” turned into reality.  I will send a Youtube link that shows the actual transformation as soon as we upload it (stay tuned).

Your partnership can come together in different ways, but what you will see more and more of is the brand side taking the lead to create an entertainment property: “Branded Live Entertainment”.  You have certainly heard enough about “Branded Entertainment” which for the most part is still relegated to TV and film product placement.  Of course films like “Cellular” and more recently “Transformers” along with TV shows built around popular board games have moved past simple placement to build whole storylines around a product or brand.  This same kind of movement works in the “Live Space” as well and what we at the Agency Group Events & Entertainment Department specialize in (sorry I have to give shameless plugs once in a while).

There are brands out there that are getting good in the live game.  One that deserves props is Jägermeister and what they are doing in music.  According to the brand’s website, they started the Jager Music Program in 1994 and now sponsor over 160 bands.  Besides being principal sponsors of tours like OzzFest, in 2002 the company started their own Jägermeister Music Tour. This is classic “Branded Live Entertainment”.  Jager came up the concept, books the talent, decides what markets and venues to play, and the message(s) being delivered to consumers.  Besides the tour, there is the Jager branded stage that travels on tours and to events across the country.  Just a few weeks ago my family and I saw their stage parked in the middle of Palm Springs for their annual motorcycle rally.  It was there in the middle of the street for the entire weekend and every band played on it.  When the stage was shutdown at night, it was still doing its branding job.

There is a difference between Branded Live Entertainment and Mobile Marketing.  The latter usually involves some kind of expando-truck with a brand’s display and some sort of “experiential element”, product sampling, etc.  Branded Live Entertainment is built around a fan’s experience interacting with the brand or product in a natural environment (for the consumer, not the brand).  If the brand looks authentic in the entertainment atmosphere created, it only makes sense that the consumer will identify that product with that experience.  This is why musical acts that you come to know in college or on vacation always have a special place in your heart…even if they aren’t really that good.

With advertisers looking for new ways to cut through clutter and see their marketing dollars selling more stuff to more people, there is no better way than through Branded Live Entertainment.  “Live” allows your brand (whether an entertainment property, household good, or artist) to differentiate itself from competitors by; interacting one-on-one with your consumers or fans, creating a communal environment where those in attendance share a once in a lifetime opportunity (live is live…it will never happen exactly the same way again), driving press to your brand that it might not otherwise get, is far more cost efficient for a national or international program than a traditional advertising program (local & regional print, radio, and cable ads are usually used for live).

So if you are in Entertainment, stop asking for sponsorship and if you are on the brand side, look for ways to build your own property.  Need help, call or email me at (310) 385-2800 or

Talk to you soon…