Saturday, February 21, 2009

Can Irving Azoff Save Rock and Roll?

The attached story appeared in today's weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal. It is a fascinating account of the current state of rock-and-roll--of the relationship between corporate behemoths like Ticketmaster, Live Nation and Front Line Management and the intertwining of ticket sales to tour promotion to artist management.

For those who don't know, Irving Azoff is the long-time manager of The Eagles. Under his guidance, and negotiation, The Eagles not only became a top touring act but a top album-selling act as well. He negotiated a record-selling royalty for Hotel California, one of the top-selling albums of all time. More recently, Azoff negotiated the groundbreaking deal between The Eagles and Wal Mart for Long Road Out of Eden, an album deal which cut the record labels out of the process and allowed the group to receive approximately $50 million versus about $10 million, which they would have received in a traditional record deal.

On a personal note, Shelli Azoff, Irving's wife, worked with me on a couple of contract deals during the days of World Cup USA 1994. Shelli represented several soccer stars, including Marcelo Balboa. In one of our conversations, I mentioned that my wife and I were going to attend a Dan Fogelberg concert. She said, "Oh, Danny--he sang at our wedding." As the story here notes, Fogelberg was Azoff's roommate and first client.

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