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“We consider ourselves grateful and lucky to be in business with our artists."
L.J. CONQUERS THE WORLD
Industry Vet Jacobson’s World Audience Manages and Markets Avenged Sevenfold, Others
Larry Jacobson was a real estate lawyer who rocked out to Metallica and Faith No More when he decided to take a 45% pay cut and join Irving Azoff at Giant, where he rose to run the label until its sale to Warner Bros. in 2001. After a stint at Capitol as SVP, he started World Audience, a management firm featuring hot metal rockers Avenged Sevenfold, The Confession and American Idol’s Gedeon McKinney. The firm has grown rapidly to include a New York office, a Nashville division and the online wing Marketing 2.0

On starting World Audience:  “I literally stumbled upon this crazy punk-metal band from Huntington Beach who wrote eight-minute songs and sold 2,000 copies of an independent record. I decided they were going to be the biggest band in the world and I wanted to manage them.”

On breaking the band, using a new media model: “We developed innovative, proprietary techniques for communicating with, and aggressively growing, our artists’ fan base through social networking and user-generated content. Our staff (including an eight-person digital marketing team) has been so successful, we’ve started a separate division whose clients include Andrew Dice Clay.”

Why World Audience is different: “We consider ourselves grateful and lucky to be in business with our artists. And that’s something our business needs to take a little more seriously rather than thinking the artists are lucky to have us. I only work with artists whose music I’m passionate about. We’re 100% about customer service. In addition, I try to make sure we’re the most powerful extra value-added partner to a record label we can be.”

On Nashville: “I love country music. I host a monthly songwriters’ night there. You’re listening to amazing songs with insightful lyrics about real life. Also, the writers use outside songs, which is refreshing for someone who’s been in the rock business, where artists use only their songs. We’ve just signed some incredibly talented country artists.”

On the future of music business: “I’m absolutely bullish. But we have to start paying attention to history, including entrepreneurs like Andrew Carnegie, George Eastman and Andrew Grove, guys who understood how to make money in a low-margin high-volume business, who knew how to get product into people’s hands, to adjust their business methods to achieve profitability. They focused on the consumer experience and the economics of their product. We have to stop treating ourselves like we’re exempt from the rules traditional businesses have to follow. We can’t keep trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube.

“You can’t make money in this business when your biggest sellers are doing a little over a million. You have to give consumers what they want in the way they want it. Today, that means selling more music (e.g. individual songs and “Long Tail” diversity) at lower prices. This requires lower overhead, and a smaller per-project investment in increasingly less impactful outlets like radio and video. People in this business are passionate about music, but they have to be dispassionate about the tough economic choices ahead.”

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