Almost Every Major Country Artist Now Has Same Talent Agency

w-m-eOkay, not every major country music artist, but darn near. And no, this is not exaggeration. In fact when you look at the names that all fall under the same talent agency, it’s downright astounding.

Just think about this for a second: Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Jason Aldean, Eric Church, Brady Paisley, Miranda Lambert, and Rascal Flatts are all now managed by the same exact talent agency. That is pretty much every single top tier country artist at the moment aside from Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood. And that’s just the start. The Band Perry and Jerrod Niemann are also managed by them. So are Dierks Bentley and Justin Moore.

In fact there a total of 128 mainstream country acts that fall under this same talent agency. It’s virtually everyone. It would be easier to name of the artists who are not on their roster. They even manage many of the big names in Texas country like Granger Smith, the Randy Rogers Band, and Josh Abbott. The have legacy acts like Hank Williams Jr., Vince Gill, and Kenny Rogers. They have Southern rock artists like Whiskey Myers and Lynyrd Skynyrd. They even manage independent-minded performers like Jamey Johnson and Robert Earl Keen.

Who is this mega talent company that barely anybody’s heard about?

The company is called William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, or WME for short. It is a talent agency that represents artists for concerts, tours, and appearances among other management tasks, and they have been acquiring managers of numerous artists and consolidating them under their umbrella for the past few years until they now have a virtual monopoly on mainstream country touring talent. For example in 2010, WME brought on board the 360 Artist Agency run by Joey Lee, and with him, the artists Miranda Lambert, Lee Brice, and Lee Ann Womack. Earlier this week, the agency brought on Kevin Neal, who brought along with him Florida Georgia Line, Jason Aldean, and Colt Ford among others.

WME Headquarters in Beverley Hills

WME Headquarters in Beverley Hills

WME, which has offices in Beverley Hills, Nashville, New York City, London, Miami, and Dallas, also has a big stake in managing TV and movie actors, sports personalities, and even writers. But their ability to consolidate virtually all of the talent in country music in one place, especially when it comes to the very top of the genre, is virtually unmatched in the recording industry.

WME also manages artists from other genres. They are the talent agency for the red hot Pharrell, as well as Snoop Dogg and Rihanna. But there is not genre they have such a tight grip on, or any talent agency has a grip on, like WME has on country.

So why does any of this matter?

Because when you have the same entity in charge of virtually everyone, you run the risk every monopoly runs on an industry. In the last few years, we’ve seen the gross consolidation of power in the recording industry, and in country specifically, into the hands of a few huge entities, especially in the touring realm. Virtually every concert now is promoted by AEG or Live Nation. If you want to purchase a ticket, you have one option: Ticketmaster …. which is owned by Live Nation. And since nearly every single artist that exists in the higher ranks of touring in country music has the same talent agency, the vacuum of competition can, and does foster a stagnant, incestuous environment. It also gives them dramatic advantage over other agencies, to the point where smaller, independent agency are forced to concede to them or go out-of-business. Why do we see the same concert pairings over and over? Why do the same artists seem to always be at the top of the genre? Why do the same artists get nominated for the same awards and get all the radio play? Because they all fall under the auspices of the same few companies.

Here’s the country roster for WME:

38 Special
Adam Sanders
Ashliegh Lisset
The Band Perry
Big & Rich
Blake Shelton
Blue Sky Riders
Brad Paisley
Brent Cobb
Bri Bagwell
Brothers Osborne
Bush Hawg
The Cadillac Three
Caitlyn Smith
Casey Donahew Band
Charlie Worsham
Chris Lane
Chris Stapleton
Chris Young
Chuck Wicks
Cole Swindell
Colt Ford
Craig Campbell
Dani Flowers
Danielle Bradbery
David Fanning
Dean Alexander
Diamond Rio
Dierks Bentley
Drew Baldridge
Duck Dynasty (The Robertson Family)
Dustin Lynch
Dylan Scott
Easton Corbin
Eric Church
Eric Paslay
The Farm
Florida Georgia Line
Frankie Ballard
Gary Allan
Granger Smith
Gretchen Wilson
Hank Williams, Jr.
Hayden Panettiere
Hudson MooreJackie Lee
James Otto
Jamey Johnson
Jason Aldean
Jerrod Niemann
Joe Diffie
Joey Hyde
John King
John Rich
Jon Pardi
Josh Abbott Band
Josh Kelley
Josh Thompson
Josh Turner
The Judds
Jukebox Mafia
Justin Moore
Keith Anderson
Kelleigh Bannen
Kenny Rogers
Kix Brooks
Kristen Kelly
Kristy Lee Cook
Kyle Park
Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers
Laura Bell Bundy
Leah Turner
Lee Ann Womack
Lee Brice
Lindsay Ell
The Little Willies feat. Norah Jones
The Lost Trailers
Luke Bryan
Lynyrd Skynyrd
Mark Chesnutt
Miranda Lambert
Mo Pitney
Montgomery Gentry
Natalie Stovall & The Drive
Neal McCoy
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
The Oak Ridge Boys
Pat GreenPistol Annies
Rachel Bradshaw
Randy Houser
Randy Montana
Randy Rogers Band
Rascal Flatts
Robert Earl Keen
Rodney Atkins
Ronnie Dunn
Ronnie Milsap
Rose Falcon
Roy Clark
Sara Evans
Scotty McCreery
Sheryl Crow
Steven Lee Olsen
Stoney LaRue
Sunny Sweeney
The Swon Brothers
Terri Clark
Thomas Rhett
Thompson Square
The Time Jumpers
Tracy Lawrence
Trick Pony
Trisha Yearwood
Tyler Farr
Vince Gill
Wade Bowen
Weston Burt
Whiskey Myers
William Michael Morgan
The Willis Clan