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NEAR TRUTHS: SETTING THE STAGE, PART 2

Read Part 1 here.

FULL HOUSE: The tempests buffeting the other agencies provided an opening for UTA’s Jeremy Zimmer and David Zedeck, who were able to improve their position with some indie-agency acquisitions and the closing of the formidable Samantha Kirby Yoh from WME and Jeffrey Hasson and Matt Meyer from Paradigm. Clients added via new hires include Björk, Rosalía, LCD Soundsystem, Florence + The Machine, Halsey, Machine Gun Kelly, FKA Twigs, St. Vincent, Young the Giant, Dashboard Confessional, Blues Traveler and Yungblud. In addition, the agency’s signings during the pandemic included Bad Bunny, Trippie Redd, Karol G, Lil Wayne, The Kid LAROI and Billy Ray Cyrus. Good vibes are said to abound at UTA, which not only improved its hand but looks quite stable amid the agency-world tumult, particularly given its strength in film and TV. Think they’re feeling upbeat about not buying Paradigm for $300m, as rumors suggested they might?

CAA’s Rob Light, widely considered the top music-agency head of the last decade-plus, didn’t wait to snap up hot, young agent Mike Mori (The 1975, Beabadoobie, Phantogram) from Paradigm in May of 2020. This was a preview of a plan that more recently saw the aforementioned Voith come aboard from WME. Meanwhile, the House of Light inked Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Weeknd, Lil Baby, Arcade Fire, Doja Cat, French Montana, Playboi Carti, Saweetie, Roddy Ricch and Miguel, among others.

SAM ON RYE: Geffen’s Olivia Rodrigo is without a doubt the story of the year on the recorded-music side, and after overperforming in her chart debut (her #1 solo album bow clocked 286k), she is nearing 1m RTD. Her cut “good 4 u” is an absolute rocket, scoring nearly twice the streams of the #2 track on our most recent Streaming Songs Chart (which also happens to be hers).

As a result of these fireworks, EVP/Co-Head of A&R Sam Riback, who inked Rodrigo, is having a moment. The exec served a lengthy stint at Atlantic prior to joining House Janick, where he has worked closely with Billie Eilish, Selena Gomez and BLACKPINK, among other prominent IGA artists; expect to see him in the limelight.

EAST MEETS WEST: As the industry looks past the pandemic, realignments are definitely underway. Look for Def Jam and RCA in particular to make some major moves. 

Speaking of Def Jam, acting chief Jeff Harleston is expected to continue curating the label as he moves several pieces on the board, notably upping erstwhile promo hitter Nicki Farag to EVP/GM and bringing in Snoop Dogg as Executive Creative and Strategic Consultant (reporting to Sir Lucian Grainge and Harleston). The word is that Harleston is loving his role as interim topper. Is he still looking for the right exec to assume command? Stay tuned.

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JUST THE VAX, MA'AM
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WORLDWIDE GROOVE
How is globalization bringing far-flung territories into the musical mainstream?
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