May
15

Almost Every Major Country Artist Now Has Same Talent Agency

May 15, 2014 - By Trigger  //  Random Notes  //  50 Comments

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
Lonestar
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
Parmalee
Pat GreenPistol Annies
RaeLynn
Rachel Bradshaw
Randy Houser
Randy Montana
Randy Rogers Band
Rascal Flatts
Reba
Robert Earl Keen
Rodney Atkins
Ronnie Dunn
Ronnie Milsap
Rose Falcon
Roy Clark
Sara Evans
Scotty McCreery
Sheryl Crow
Smithfield
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
Wynonna

50 Comments to “Almost Every Major Country Artist Now Has Same Talent Agency”

  • Not only that, they probably exert more control of the artist’s creativity than the record companies and producers combined.

       0 likes

    • Unlikely. They’re a booking agent. They book gigs – they often have little to do with the actual creative output of the artists.

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      • That’s a ridiculous statement.

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        • Savrola, do you have information to support that it’s a “ridiculous statement”?

          Record labels and management/booking agencies are separate entities. Record labels would likely have much more influence over an artist’s creative output than a management/booking agency would.

             4 likes

  • Was that sarcasm about nobody having heard about the William Morris agency? I honestly can’t tell.

       1 likes

    • It was part truth, and part sarcasm. I think music nerds like us have heard of William Morris for years, even if we don’t know exactly what they did or who exactly worked with them. But for your average fan, these type of behind-the-scenes entities that they don’t have to interface with like LiveNation or Ticketmaster remain somewhat of a mystery. I knew about William Morris, but I had no idea the breadth of their country holdings until I read the story earlier this week about them acquiring Jason Aldean and Florida Georgia Line, which pretty much shores up their monopoly on mainstream talent. I think these type of stories can really illustrate to average fans what’s going on with the music. We can talk about rules changes to charts or digital sales vs. physical sales and stuff, and it mostly goes over people’s heads. But a story like this with so many recognizable names I think can really resonate with people how much power is being consolidated into very few hands.

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      • I see. And I feel the exact same way. Being a music junkie, I had known about William Morris for years but I’ll admit I knew little about them and I surely had no idea that their roster runs that deep. So I appreciate this story and the light it sheds on, like you said, their monopoly on mainstream talent, particularly within radio-country music.

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  • Okay, let’s hold up here. First of all, the William Morris talent agency is the biggest in the world, and is well known throughout the industry, so yes everyone does know about it. It’s a big deal and always has been.
    Second of all it has a monopoly on non-country artists too, so this is not specific to the ruining of the country industry.
    Third of all, this has been the case for many years, it’s nothing new, and only now you’re having a problem with it.
    This is not really a story.

       2 likes

    • Vickeye,

      I’m not so sure everyone knows about William Morris, or the extent of their country holdings. I’m a full-time music writer, and I really didn’t know about the full breadth of their country roster until I read the story earlier this week about Kevin Neal joining the organization. I think the people who know about it, known about it. And they may know about it because of knowledge from the sports field, or from the acting field. But I’d bet dollars to donuts if you did a poll of average people, or even average country music fans, 80% of them would have no idea what WME is. Now among the people who regularly read music blogs, or write for them, that number might swing the other way, but what this article was, was a simply illustration of just how much touring power has consolidated to this one company.

      Sure, WME has maintained a big country roster for years. But that doesn’t mean that’s not news to people who’ve never heard of it. And when seeing the amount of people on Twitter, Facebook, and here going “Wow!”, clearly this isn’t something that is common knowledge.

      Furthermore, the addition of Jason Aldean and Florida Georgia Line this week means for the first time in history, William Morris represents arguably the majority of top tier country touring talent. I think this is very newsworthy, and so did many other outlets who ran stories on this acquisition as well. I simply zoomed out to attempt to illustrate why this news was so big.

      Also, though I would also caution to people to not read too much into the power that WME has over its roster, let’s not also gloss over that the power structure in music is shifting from labels to touring, because that’s where all the money is shifting. Touring is where the majority of artists are making their money these days, and more and more talent agencies are getting a bigger say so in how the music industry operates.

      I understand that you, or the people you may interact with know all about William Morris. But I think the average country fan, which is who I wrote this article for, has little to no clue.

         4 likes

      • I’ve heard of the WMA for years as well. I also have a good friend who works there. However, I never knew their acquisition of such a huge roster of talent! A lot of acts there! Is there no other game in town and in L.A.?

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      • I honestly had no idea about these guys trig!

        any idea where the best traditional country music is these days? maybe something George straitish, or really honky tonkish?

           0 likes

        • In general? Or who’s booking them?

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    • Here’s what Christian Brooks, whose an independent booking agent in TN said about this issue on Facebook. It think it illustrates why this is an issue that needs to be addressed.

      “Tiggerman, It is also worth noting that The Agency Group set up shop in Nashville back in 2003. This was a short lived experiment, though, as presumably they failed to immediately attract Nashville artists away from their independent Nashville agencies. The Agency Group closed their Nashville office within 18 months. (again, presumably, because it was hemorrhaging money). In retrospect, they were following in the footsteps of William Morris who was the first corporate agency to really go after Nashville artists. Back in the 90s, the corporate agencies did not touch Nashville artists. In fact, the biggest game in town was the now defunct Buddy Lee Attractions who represented everyone from Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard to George Strait, Garth Brooks and The Dixie Chicks. The Dixie Chicks had a tour that grossed over 50 million dollars, William Morris swooped them up and, from that point forward, the corporate agencies began to dominate the Nashville industry that had been “kept in the family.” (This is when The Agency Group opened an office in Nashville.) Think Merle Kilgore and Hank jr who’s management deal was based purely on a handshake for years. Those days are long gone. “The way its done in Nashville” is quickly losing its identity, for better or worse, to the corporate setting. Given the amount of money generated, It was probably inevitable. The advantage to the previous model was that all of the money generated by the Nashville industry tended to stay in Nashville (managers, agents, writers, labels etc). This is likely a shift that will start funneling increasing amount of money out of Nashville. Its the Walmart model.”

         2 likes

      • Talent/booking agency and management are not the same thing. Most, if not all, of these artists will have management outside of WME. WME’s job (in their music department) is really just to negotiate their concert payments, route the tours, and pass it along to management for approval.

        This Christian Brooks guy has absolutely no idea what he’s talking about.

        TAG still has an office in Nashville. It’s in Cummins Station. I could take him there if he wants. BLA is not defunct. They still have a decent roster, though Kevin leaving does put a damper on it, and an office space in Music Row. If they were defunct all of this time, as he says, Kevin Neal wouldn’t have been at BLA to leave for WME to begin with. Also, Merle Haggard is not represented by BLA or WME. He’s represented by The Bobby Roberts Company.

           2 likes

        • Josh,

          I never said that talent/booking agency and management are the same thing, nor do I feel like I ever implied that. I understand that is how some have taken it, and maybe I needed to put somewhere in red flashing letters that this wasn’t the case. But I went out of my way in the article proper to explain exactly what WME does.

          As for what Christian Brooks said, he’d have to answer to that, but I do plan to write a followup to this article that delves more deeply into the talent/booking agency culture in country right now, and I will certainly take some of your observations here to heart.

             1 likes

    • So what you’re saying is it’s ruining all music in general.

      It is news to a lot of people.

      What’s interesting is you trying to pretend this is no big deal. That’s verrrrry interesting.

         0 likes

      • Vickeye is a country music writer who does a good job, and I have a lot of respect for her. I don’t agree with her that this isn’t news, but I do understand why she took that stance, and I don’t have a problem with her voicing her concerns here. She makes an insightful counterpoint.

           4 likes

    • You are “For the Country Record” blog. :-D

         1 likes

  • This is astounding. Question: not that I expect you to know the particulars, but Big & Rich signed with Kobalt Label Services when they formed their own record label. Are they still managed by this company or is this information from when they were signed to Warner Bros. Nashville? Or did it not change at all?

    On the other hand, not to discount the report, but these guys seem to favor certain artists over others. Yes, all of these guys have been on the radio in the past. But certain mainstream artists struggle to get on the radio as it is, and I’m not speaking of legacy acts. If this same agency is covering everyone, why do they play favorites? Wouldn’t it be more lucrative to push ALL of the talent on your roster? Of course, I was surprised when I heard that Neil McCoy was touring with Blake Shelton (given how different their music and relevancy stances are), but it makes sense now. I’ve also wondered why labels would borrow and loan out talent for tours, but I guess when the same agency handles everyone…

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    • I don’t know the particulars Acca, but a lot of the artists that started being represented by smaller agencies have since been gobbled up by William Morris through acquisitions of specific managers or other talent agencies. Also it is important to note, just like Vickeye said above, this has mostly to do with touring, though for certain artists, William Morris does do other management tasks.

      And yes, with rosters like this, artists are expect to pair up with other William Morris artists to tour. How many times have we seen Dierks Bentley tour with Miranda Lambert?

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      • On that note, do you have any idea why Neil McCoy is touring with Blake Shelton aside from being managed by this organization? Personally, I don’t get it. McCoy hasn’t exactly been a part of the mainstream since the late ’90s or early 2000s, so I highly doubt that he was forced on Shelton. Or, maybe I’m underestimating his following based on his lack of airplay. I was floored when I walked into Best Buy last month and happened upon his tribute album Pride sandwiched in-between all of the other top 40 regulars. Did that album somehow put him back on the map? To be honest, I liked a few of his songs in the late ’90s but had totally forgotten about him (to the point of not even being able to recall his name) until I saw that CD.

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        • I’m guessing it has something to do with the fact that Miranda and Blake produced his album “XII,” which was released about two years ago.

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          • I would also say that because Neil McCoy has been off the grid for a while, placing him on tour with Blake Shelton will put him back in the middle of a massive country music fan base. Basically it is a restart for his career. In addition, if Blake and Miranda produced his latest album, it would only benefit Blake and Miranda across the board to put him in front of as many people who will buy his music as possible. Producer points add up to a lot of $$.

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      • You know Trigger, I was struggling to comprehend the meaning behind all of this until you brought up this point about touring together.

        I follow the Texas music scene much more closely than I do other musical ventures, for the most part. Most of these guys tend to stay pretty well doing their own thing, autonomous to the degree that they’re able. With that said, I couldn’t quite connect the dots between this list and their shows/music. I mean, Randy Rogers is gonna sell out every show in Texas because they’re the Randy Rogers Band. They don’t need to be at the whim of some talent agency. And even then, is this talent agency really helping them book shows in places like Uvalde Texas and elsewhere? What would be the point of that for such a big name band? But then I looked at some of the other big Texas names on this list and realized that four of them recently toured nationwide together for the “Four on the Floor” tour (Wade Bowen, Randy Rogers, Stoney LaRue, and Josh Abbott). It never struck me as strange before because the first three guys on that list have been playing shows together for years, but I did think Josh Abbott was a bit of an outlier. This list and article however really put that tour in a better perspective.

        I’m still not sure exactly what to make of it, and I’m not certain I’m worried about it too much, but is it interesting at the least. Keep on with these great articles!

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        • I don’t want to come across as alarmist or make a bigger deal about this than it really is. I just simply thought it was interesting, and somewhat alarming, that all of these artists are on the same exact talent roster. Honestly my biggest concern is the names at the very top, and what leveraging power it gives William Morris to have all of those top names in one place. I have no doubt Williams Morris helps every single one of their artists, especially ones in the Texas scene that can benefit from the company’s reach. What I’m asking is if it’s best for the genre to have so much sway consolidated in one place? I don’t think WME is taking advantage of artists in any way. I think they work very hard for them. And that work in turn tamps down the few remaining artists working with other entities that aren’t named Taylor Swift or George Strait.

             1 likes

  • Well I saw Randy Rogers, Gary Allan, Wade Bowen and Trisha Yearwood but I find it very ironic that I don’t see a Garth Brooks on this list

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    • I think when an artist gets so big like Taylor Swift and Garth Brooks, and probably even George Strait, they set up their own autonomous, in-house talent agencies that negotiate directly with venues and cut out the middle men. You have to have a lot of touring muscle to get to that level, but once you do, it probably saves you millions to not have to deal with a third party.

      Also seeing how Garth really hasn’t toured for a decade (though he about to start in a big way), may have something to do with him not being on the roster. He may have been in the past.

         1 likes

  • As a lower level artist you may also have an option to pay to be on the WME roster. Which brings a certain legitimacy to an act in the eyes of some promotors. They will pitch you to venues with slots to fill or have budget restrictions. Some venues actually get paid to put these “pay to book” artists in the festival line-up. Fact.

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  • great information, now what can we do about it?

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    • This is a good question, and I may address this in the future. Since I have trouble sometimes getting topics like this about the industry to resonate with people, I wanted to try to illustrate this issue in the simplest way possible, and hopefully foster discussion about how big of a problem this could be, and what could be done about it.

         1 likes

  • When one management company controls an overwhelming percentage of top acts, it puts a stranglehold on tour pricing and availability. With WME at the helm, it is next-to-impossible to get acts to smaller cities because you will spend at least $20,000-$30,000 for less notable groups. Even the fees to book just one of the major Duck Dynasty members (Willie or Jase for speaking, or Si for a “meet-and-greet”) appears to be around $80,000-$100,000. If you’ve ever wondered why popular country groups rarely tour in the southeast (south of Atlanta/Birmingham and east of New Orleans), you can thank WME.

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    • Good point. It’s funny, Austin, TX is known as the “Live Music Capitol of the World”, but they rarely get these big acts touring through. Why? Because they focus on the bigger markets of Dallas, Houston, or San Antonio. In some respects this may be a good thing for smaller, local acts, but it also takes a lot of music dollars out of the local economy with people traveling to other cities to see these performers.

      One big country performer who regularly hits Austin, even though it means playing one of the smallest venues on the tour, is Taylor Swift. She’s also one of the few that is not signed with WME.

         4 likes

    • This isn’t true either.

      I’ve put on shows with some of the smaller WME artists, including a few on this list. I haven’t spent $20,000-30,000 for any of them.

      It’s a negotiable process. You submit an offer, it’s presented to management (that’s not WME), and it’s accepted or rejected. A paid PollStar account is beneficial for figuring out what a band’s going rate is and what kind of offer you should make.

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      • We trust your own personal experiences with WME, and we’re speaking from our own personal experiences across several agencies. $20,000-$30,000 is an estimate for a larger venue (thousands as opposed to hundreds) with “less notable” artists (not “smaller” artists, but your mid-range artists) once you account for everything the riders call for, the facility rental costs, the sound and stage rental costs, the security and staff costs, and all the other odds and ends that are required for a concert. Sure, that amount would be a drop in the bucket for Birmingham or Atlanta, but smaller cities can’t afford that sort of risk.

        When Little Big Town (a less-notable group prior to “Pontoon”) came to our city of around 10,000 in 2012 (right before “Pontoon” exploded onto the charts), it took around $40,000 to bring it all together. Granted, the ones involved in the negotiations were unfamiliar with how to get the best prices (not pulling an artist way off of their tour schedule on short notice is a good starting point), but the huge losses incurred make it extremely unlikely that a mid-to-large range artist will be here again any time soon.

        We’re not looking to debate numbers or experiences, and we are glad that you have had less expensive ventures with WME! :P

           1 likes

  • When I was involved in booking shows back in 2007 in the Texas Red Dirt scene there were several smaller agencies out there but conslidation was starting to happen more and more as 2008 rolled in but wow it seems like it has really stepped up a lot among the upper end of the Texas Red Dirt scene. I don’t see it as a bad thing, I mean who has a better reputation than the William Morris agency ?.If I was someone like REK or RRB I would sign with them in a heartbeat.They will not have any influence over what music they make but just might get them a slot on a tour or into a venue that would not happen any other way.

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    • That’s a good point Jim. My focus was more on how the top tier talent is being consolidated by WME, but for some of their smaller bands, William Morris represents a big opportunity to land on bigger tours and play in front of more people. I don’t doubt that William Morris does great things for their roster, but is it great overall if every artist in country falls under the same talent agency? I think that’s a fair question to ask.

         2 likes

  • It’s the gentrification of perspective and image facilitating that leaves me most concerned about virtually all talent of a singular genre falling under the auspices of a single talent agency.

    I am sympathetic of some of the counter-arguments here, but when we approach this via the line of “The bigger they are, the harder they fall!” reasoning, then what? I feel an interpersonal, intimate relationship with the artist is diminished when a single entity has monopolized the pool…………and regardless of how well-deserved their reputation and how decorated their track record may be, there always ought to be viable additional options.

       1 likes

  • This is just further proof of why mainstream country music all sounds the same. Like you said Trigger, it’s “incestuous.” And I don’t see how this problem gets resolved, other than the “bro-country” bubble bursting. That isn’t coming for a while sadly. Is this a problem in other genres?

       1 likes

  • When did 38 Special become a country band?

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  • So I assume the only reason Underwood’s not with WME is because of her IDOL connection with Simon Fuller’s 19 Entertainment.

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    • I was thinking that, but I really don’t have the intimate knowledge of Carrie’s camp to know for sure. But yes, at this point, you pretty much have to have a specific reason why you are NOT with William Morris if you’re an top-tier, mainstream artist. Carrie may be one of the few that does. Oh, but now I’m remembering Scotty McCreery’s on their roster, so….

         1 likes

      • Well thanks Trigger! That means a lot coming from you. I studied popular music and the industry at college so perhaps I was too quick to jump the gun in assuming that everyone know who they were.
        The idea that they control most has for whatever reason not been something that bothered me. Maybe it should. I just know how the industry works and know that it’s probably not having a huge affect on the creative output of artists. What does concern me more is the Facebook post you quoted that talks about putting smaller companies out of business. That does bother me, and I hadn’t considered that, so I concede to your point there.
        The complications with companies like Ticketmaster having a monopoly do begin to become more prominent now that most artist revenue comes from touring, again I agree.
        I think the problem I found was making things seem like yet again country music was being co-opted by an evil industry. Maybe I was reading to much into what you said, but understanding the industry and being familiar with how it works I get frustrated when people assume any corporation involved is going to turn music into a pile of shit, and I see that far too often, particuarly at the moment. But perhaps I was displacing my own thoughts onto your article.

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        • I don’t think it’s having an effect on artists’ creative output either, and I think that’s more a concern that has been raised by some commenters. My concern is two fold: 1)Is William Morris now so big that it ostensibly forces every artist to work with them, thus destroying competition in the talent agency market. 2) Is consolidating that much power in any palce a smart idea? Maybe I am being too alarmist, but that is sort of my job (at least as I see it), to spy out these problems before they are problems, instead of reporting on what happened after it is too late. I think discussing the importance, or non-importance of this story, is important.

             2 likes

  • Dolly Parton is soooo smart. I admire her creativity and business sense. People are sheeple, but she’s not one of them.

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  • I don’t know enough about the business side of music to make much of an informed opinion. I realize the article was focused on the amount of top tier (read popular) artists that are under WME. I can’t say whether this is good, bad, or of no consequence.

    However, what I did notice is that WME’s roster is quite diverse. I mean everything from the flavor of the moment (FGL, Luke Bryan) to some old timers (Oak Ridge Boys, Hank Jr.) to Southern Rock (Skynyrd, .38 Special) to Red Dirt (Josh Abbot, Casey Donahew) to prominent females (Miranda Lambert, Trisha Yearwood) to Texas Country females (Bri Bagwell, Sunny Sweeney), etc. With that kind of roster, they must be doing something right for their artists.

    I’m also not sure it’s totally incestuous either. Look at Eric Church’s tour. Church is a WME artist, going on the road with Dwight Yoakum, Brandy Clark and Halestorm, none of whom are under the WME umbrella.

    I don’t know enough about the business to know if this is much ado about nothing, or if it is something to be concerned about. To paraphrase Sammy Hagar, “Only time will tell if it stands the test of time.”

       1 likes

    • You had me till you quoted Sammy Hagar. ;)

      I think Eric Church is exceptional to many rules in mainstream country, and touring is one of them. He wants to be seen as an “Outsider”, and having The Band Perry and Jerrodd Niemann open for you on tour is not the way to do that. Nor would any of those pairing work demographic wise. WME knows that, and nobody is asserting that they refuse to work with artists off their roster.

         2 likes

      • Yeah, I saw the wink.

        But that is one of my favorite inane lines from song. It is so from the department of redundancy department.

        I acknowledge that Eric “the Outsider” Church was probably not the best example. I just wanted to point out that it doesn’t seem to be blatant nepotism (so to speak), and that was the most obvious example I could think of.

        I appreciate you being out in front of this. I may be naive, be I just don’t see it as an issue right now. However, I see where it could become one in the future. I just think right now, WME is just doing good business. Now, greed and idiocracy could come into play in the future. Let’s hope it doesn’t.

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  • When Garth last toured he had Bob Doyle and his brother Kelly booking all the venues via GB Management. He likes to have people he knows and trusts around him, so I suss that will occur again.

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  • This author is on track but is quite uninformed.

    Talent/Booking Agencies and Managment Companies are two different beasts.

    This author is a bit confused.

    WME doesn’t “manage” anyone.

    The agencies find work for their client. They book the tours, they get them TV gigs, book deals, that spot writing for the sitcom, etc. They are not involved in the creative process of that artist.

    The management company is the one who guides their clients career and helps create opportunities for their client by working with the talent/booking agencies about gigs, bridging the gap with producers/label people and other suits.

       2 likes

    • I understand that the terms “manage” or “manager” can allude to multiple things, but nowhere did I say or imply that WME is involved in the creative process. I understand how some people can take it that way, or have taken it that way, but I went out of my way to explain what specifically WME does when I said, “It is a talent agency that represents artists for concerts, tours, and appearances among other management tasks.” The specific agents that work at WME do “manage” the touring and appearance side of these artists, so I do not feel that is misleading, or that it sows an uninformed perspective.

      Again, I think there is a dramatic gap of knowledge between people who know what William Morris is, and the people who don’t. For the people who know, the agency looms so large, they can’t comprehend that nobody has heard of it. For the people that don’t, there so unaware of this side of the business that they may accidentally think they have a greater impact on an artist than they do. Overall, the point of this article was to illustrate how much touring talent is being consolidated into one place, and to simulate a discussion about what this might mean.

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