CAM Founder and Chief Jordan Feldstein Shares His Management Philosophy

The publication of our Q1 New and Developing Artist special issue seemed like an opportune time to catch up with Jordan Feldstein, given his extensive hands-on experience in the development and breaking of clients including Maroon 5, Sara Bareilles and Robin Thicke. HITS’ resident millennial, Samantha Hissong, caught the multitasking manager as he was returning phone calls and emails, several of which came from her.

Adam Levine is a rock star, a TV star and now a movie star. As a manager, what do you see as the next logical extension of his brand?
We’re going to move more into theatrical acting. Not the way that Justin Timberlake did it, where he took years off to focus. We’re going to add a movie or two here, mostly because he loves it, but I also think it would balance out some of the media exposure in a more credible way. And he’s doing another season of The Voice in the fall. We have so many projects going on for him right now, it’s insane. He’s got a clothing line at Kmart, he’s got a deal with Nissan, he’s got so much stuff going on. The artist we’re really focused on at the company that we believe we can take to a next level is Miguel. He’s already a star in his own right, but we can take him from playing theaters to playing arenas. We’re monster believers in that guy, and we’ve invested a lot. He’s one of the best live performers in the business, and he’s working on a great new record. With this next record, I can just see this guy going from playing 3,000 seats to playing arenas. That’s something we’re really excited about. Getting into the Spanish-speaking demographic is a big priority for us, and it’s obviously a demo on the rise in terms of quantitative numbers; that’s something I’ve been looking forward to. 

He’s a representation of the diversity of your roster in the sense that he had a rock band, Dorothy, open for him on the Wildheart Tour. They have totally different sounds, but somehow it still worked.
He’s so eclectic. That’s why we put out the Rogue Waves EP; we took the next single on the record and put out a five-song EP of all different genres with the same song. So we have an urban track with Travis Scott, a country track with Kacey Musgraves, a psych/rock track with Tame Impala and a dance record with RAC; we also had him do a stripped-down version. We really wanted to demonstrate to people how diverse he is musically.

So it’s about the music and not the box that people put it in. Did the eclecticism of the roster happen naturally, or did you intend on doing that? Did you find it difficult?
No, I’m used to that. When Maroon came out, there was nothing like them. There was no blue-eyed soul kind of band, particularly at the time, when there was Limp Bizkit and Korn and stuff like that. We did not fit a mold at all. Some of the other artists we’ve had have fit the mold, like Sara Bareilles, who’s a bit more straightforward. But we’ve also got Robin Thicke; he’s an Urban AC act, and then one day we heard “Blurred Lines,” and we made him a very different kind of star.

How does the planning of a tour vary between acts like Maroon 5, Miguel, A$AP Rocky?
They’re completely different in every way: who to package with, what buildings to play, how much production to carry. With Maroon, it’s “Will we fit into 12 trucks?” And then you basically shove it out from there. They’ve also been doing this for much longer than most of the other clients, so we’ve got a system down that’s airtight. I’ve got to give a lot of credit to the band’s tour manager for that too; Fred Kharrazi is his name.

What’s going on with Breaking Benjamin?
Rich Egan of Hard 8 and I manage them together. The band is going out on tour this summer with Disturbed, and the ticket counts are amazing. Monetarily, this is the biggest tour they’ve ever had. In the fall, we’re going to tour one more time, and then he’s going to go away for a bit and make a record.

How, as a manager, do you address the rise
of streaming, and what do you find to be the biggest challenges and opportunities associated with that shift toward access and away from ownership?
The way I look at streaming is the same way I look at radio: We should just be getting our music to people. Now, maybe there should be holdbacks, or maybe we should only be on the pay side, but there’s a variety of differences in that model, which could be fortuitous, but at the end of the day, it’s just another form of exposure to the music. The bigger issue is the rates that they’re paying. If we could make half of what we make on a #1 pop record through streaming, then we’d really be in business. We’d really try to accommodate them more, because, with a public performance on Top 40 radio, there are numbers.

It’s going to be an ongoing process. If the performance societies were to take some sort of collective stand, that’d be a good way to start. Having some of the more important acts removing their songs from the [freemium] streaming sites could be meaningful. I don’t think there’s one approach; it’s going to take a multitude of things. At the end of the day, I really don’t know what their business models look like. I think what they’re selling labels on is that they’re still growing and can’t be paying the performance rates that radio is paying. It’s an interesting dilemma.

In terms of the growth of your own career, who would you list as some of your mentors and what do you consider the most important lessons you’ve taken away from working with them?
The person who developed my view and taught me so much about the business was Irving Azoff, having been around him for years at a time when he was still at Live Nation, and before he was at Live Nation when it was Ticketmaster. That was a thrilling experience, and he was really giving about allowing me into the process—sitting in his office listening to him on calls, just getting to be around him a lot and hearing how he conducts his own business. I was a sponge, soaking it in. I learned to return every phone call and respond to emails in a timely manner. Those two things are important. You can’t even get hold of a lot of people in our business, and if you’re accessible, you’re a step ahead of the game. So many people are appreciative of a timely response.

Do you have any advice for young executives trying to break into management?
The thing I’ve done that has worked to my advantage is that I’ve always invested in my company. Particularly if you want to have some size, you need to invest in your staff. And even from the beginning, when it was just me and Maroon, I’ve had the same guy work on Maroon with me for 14 years; I have another guy who’s worked with me on them for six years; I always get a good tour-marketing guy, and that’s not cheap. And you don’t see, on a P&L sheet at the end of the year, how that helped you. The more services you can provide today, the better.


Two heads are better than one. (6/18a)
Bugs is dancing in the street. (6/18a)
Pull up the Brinks truck. (6/18a)
Looks like we have a horse race. (6/17a)
Myriad lawyers, no waiting. (6/18a)
The musical tapestry we know as R&B.
Predicting the next big catalog deal.
Once we all get vaccinated, how long before we can party?
How is globalization bringing far-flung territories into the musical mainstream?

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