Quantcast
Advertisement
 Email

 First Name

 Last Name

 Company

 Country
CAPTCHA code
Captcha: (type the characters above)

REVENUE CHART:
MONEYBAGG’S DOUGH
His first stop at the top (5/6a)
TOP 20: SO NICE THEY NAMED IT TWICE
Khaled gets another party started. (5/6a)
TRILLER, SOUNDCLOUD LAUNCH PLATFORM INTEGRATION
A heartwarming virtual hook-up (5/6a)
A ZHU-PHORIC NIGHT
Vaxxed and masked, Nicole ventures out. (5/6a)
BROADWAY REOPENS THE BOX OFFICE
The Great White Way begins to repopulate. (5/6a)
RHYTHM, BLUES AND THE FUTURE
The musical tapestry we know as R&B.
WHO'S NEXT?
Predicting the next big catalog deal.
JUST THE VAX, MA'AM
Once we all get vaccinated, how long before we can party?
WORLDWIDE GROOVE
How is globalization bringing far-flung territories into the musical mainstream?
Music City
THE ROAD WARRIORS:
JONATHAN LEVINE
7/13/16

Paradigm

Paradigm’s Nashville Co-Head and Paradigm Music Division Management Board Member Jonathan Levine is quick to stress that his firm is a “music agency, not a country music agency.” His roster—some of the Grateful Dead entities, Fergie, The Lumineers, Young the Giant, Ben Folds, Dr. John, Echosmith, The Lone Bellow and true Nashville maverick Jamey Johnson, for whom he’s co-agent—shows the depth of the man helming Sturgill Simpson, Margo Price, The Last Bandoleros and Lee Ann Womack’s road life. With a place on the Americana Music Board, Levine is serving as the Honorary Music Chair for The Creative Coalition for the third straight presidential election, as well as a member of the boards of HeadCount and the Unbroken Chain Foundation.

With all the touring options out there—festivals, sheds, sponsored runs (CMT’s Women of Country), radio shows and fighting it out on your own—what is the best way to develop these artists’ careers for the long haul? It’s not one size fits all, but what are the indicators for the best path?

Regardless of genres, our job as agents is to establish and build more careers of legitimate headliners. The reason so many festivals look ubiquitous is because they’re all using the same headliners. To me, you build by headlining instead of the festivals, touring by sponsorship radio shows or a first of three act tour. Every career I’m involved with is about becoming self-sustaining. That happens by not putting their eggs in one basket. Everything should be predicated around this.

Can you speak to the variety of plays?

There’s only so many ways an act can stand onstage. Every decision I make with an artist is about building a base, trying to do that every day. If records are on the radio, that’s fine—and sets certain things in motion. But I still think you should be building the live part of the career independently. If you look at Margo or Sturgill, they’ve not had a lot of radio, but they’re selling out the Bowery Ballroom in 20 minutes. They can get an offer to play a festival—at 2pm on a side stage. But I’d rather wait and sell out the Beacon Theatre, and then do a 5 o’clock on the mainstage. Sturgill got 50 festival offers—and we took 14 of them. Five of those were doubles, like Stagecoach and Coachella. In Margo’s case, she could be out this fall doing support gigs. But we’re going to send her out there headlining and building her audience. Because in the end, tickets that are chosen, where the buyers are coming to see the act in a venue that’s best for them, with production that’s theirs—that’s always putting the artist out there in the best light.

Three acts we should be watching for?

Margo Price represents the true authentic country spirit that’s always defined Nashville outside the more commercial world. She honors that world in the truest sense—with a little edge. Brent Cobb is one of the most incredible storytellers/songwriters for matching stories to songs, bringing that humanity. And the fact that he’s [producer] Dave Cobb’s cousin doesn’t hurt. Aubrie Sellers—I love the fact that while she lives in the country space, her favorite band is Led Zeppelin, and her other favorite is Dr. Ralph Stanley; that says it all. She thinks of her music as “garage country,” which is perfect; there’s not one acoustic instrument onstage. And I’d add Anderson East, but he doesn’t consider himself country—and he’s more of a soul sort of artist. But he gets a certain amount of press in that sector for Miranda, and I think good music is good music. He’s just exceptional.

Once again, country acts are out on the road year after year after year, while rock and pop acts often go years between touring. How do the country acts sustain that level of demand? And as country becomes more pop, will that change?

It’s an extremely challenging model. But there are some really talented people creating paths elsewhere. There will be opportunities to explore beyond the continental U.S. and Canada. The C2C Festival the CMA is presenting in the U.K. and Ireland has made massive inroads, and there’s talk of expanding it. Australia and New Zealand are opening up too. It’s encouraging to see that the international piece is coming into play—because I believe it will extend these acts’ touring lives.