Talent Agents In Nashville Tn - The company, then known as the William Morris Agency, set up shop in Nashville by purchasing the Neal Agency, a successful local firm. The new release's roster includes country music masters Lynn Anderson, Connie Smith, Tom T. Hall and Barbara Mandrell. A steady stream of local media coverage and a Music Row cocktail party ensued.
In an article in The at at the time, Bob Neal, owner of the facility, which was sold to WME, said the company's move to Nashville that year reflected "their management's recognition of the growing importance of country music both nationally and internationally." ."
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WME is still booking country music stars, their bread and butter. But the company's reach in the entertainment industry has grown, and its presence in Nashville arguably exceeds that of any other music company operating in Music City.
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In a modern, local music-themed office space on the top two floors of the Demonbreun 1212 building, WME is also home to executives who mediate for artists working in fields such as fashion, professional sports, performance and book writing.
The international country music tour company of WME and its biggest rival, CAA, is booming, with more artists than ever headlining. Because of this, the traditional Nashville music business ecosystem has grown.
In years past, artists signed with talent agencies after securing publishing and recording deals, and WME has become a center of excellence for identifying and distilling the best new talent in Nashville. At approx. in the past five years, 29 Nashville artists have signed with WME, entered the company's development program and subsequently gone on to record deals. Analysts say this aspect of WME's local operations is significant and reflects the strength of a major talent agency.
WME's Nashville office, to raise awareness of decades-old clichés, it's not just country music. WME sent shockwaves through the local music industry in November when it lured former CAA Nashville president Scott Clayton, one of rock music's most powerful surrogates. WME followed suit, striking deals with other rock executives representing artists such as Bon Iver, Jason Isbell, Mumford and Sons and Iron and Wine.
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45 years after setting up the tiles in Nashville, WME may be more important to the local entertainment industry than ever.
"I'm impressed that they've been able to play in their business with artists and agents," said Fielding Logan, managing director of tour company Q Prime. other rock and pop managers) have made this move over the past six months. It feels like WME is going through a serious moment."
So why is WME hot in Nashville? Rob Beckham, one of the five co-directors of WME's Nashville office, attributes the company's rapid rise here to two factors — the city's growth as a global music city and the 2009 merger of the William Morris Agency and Endeavor.
The merger has created a new corporate culture that values entrepreneurship and a creative approach, Beckham said. In the spirit of this new approach, Beckham and co-head Greg Oswald added branding and digital marketing departments in 2012.
William Morris Endeavor
After the merger, WME also began acquiring other successful talent agencies in Nashville, most notably the 360 Artist Agency, owned by Joey Lee, who later became the agency's co-head. Another key hire was partner Kevin Neal, who brought in clients Jason Aldean and Florida Georgia Line.
"It felt like they would let me be me, but also play in their playground and give me all the support I needed to help the people and all the artists I brought," Lee said. "You don't have to adapt, you have permission to be who you are."
Nashville's perfect storm of attracting rock and pop music companies, film production companies and streaming services, combined with WME's aggressive new approach to encouraging aggressive new strategies, put the company in a unique position to grow. In the last 18 months alone, WME's Nashville office has grown from about 90 employees to about 130.
To reflect WME's expansion into Nashville, the company moved into new luxury office space in 2017. Offices are located on the top two floors with views of the city. Meeting rooms are named after local music venues, and the centerpiece of the office is a two-story seating area where artists perform and community groups hold events.
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"It's literally changing night and day," Beckham said of the changing culture at the combined company. (WME CEO) AriEmanuel and (Executive Chairman) Patrick Whitesell were able to instill entrepreneurialism in the business — adding digital, adding branding — things that other companies don't have, and in some cases our company doesn't either. "
It's hard to find a better way to illustrate Nashville's growth as the headquarters for the business side of rock music than Clayton's career. Clayton leads WME's rock division from his new corner office overlooking the Nashville skyline.
When he jumped ship from CAA late last year, other agents, including Buster Phillips, followed him to WME. Then they joined Andrew Colvin and Adam Voith, the famous rock managers of Billions Corp. When Clayton arrived in Nashville in 1994, he was one of the few rock executives operating in Nashville.
"When I moved here in '94, it was a country music town. That's the Nashville business. It wasn't a multifaceted place that was in the music business," Clayton said. "We've been working with other bands - R.E.M., Widespread Panic. But then we bought John Mayer, Kings of Leon, My Morning Jacket. I think that signaled that this was a good place to do business."
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WME's expansion into Nashville goes beyond venturing into other music genres. In 2013, WME acquired sports talent agency IMG, a deal that created synergies that allowed country artists Lee Brice, Dustin Lynch, Chris Young and others to embark on successful college tours during the football season.
WME book agent Margaret Riley King travels frequently between New York and her hometown of Nashville, where she is assisting on country artist Scotty McCreery's best-selling book, The Autobiographical Deal.
Strong connections at WME's Nashville office helped lead to a successful television commercial for Nationwide Insurance starring country star Brad Paisley and NFL legend Peyton Manning.
Jason Aldean's passion for the outdoors led to a future partnership with retailer Field and Stream. Beckham said one of the reasons country artist Jack Owen joined WME last year was to expand his reach into television.
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It was announced earlier this year that Owen and Shania Twain would serve as hosts and mentors on the reality show "Real Country," a deal that originated in Nashville, Beckham said.
"It's not just about connecting the dots. It's about making those connections judiciously, with tact and consideration," Oswald said.
We encourage agents to make those connections, says Becky Gardenhire, partner in WME's Nashville office.
"Honestly, when we were the William Morris Agency, it wasn't easy to connect the dots. We were very isolated," she said.
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Beverly Keel, chair of Middle Tennessee State University's recording industry department, said WME's development reflects a changing paradigm in the music industry. There's an old saying in the music industry: "You go on tour to promote an album," Keel said.
With record sales waning and touring exploding, Keel says the motto became, "You put out an album to promote a tour."
"These days, 75 to 90 percent of an artist's income comes from the agency," Keel said. "Talent agencies like WME have really become powerhouses. In the good old days of country music, they were booking agents, they were just booking tours. Now they're marketing, branding, travel and entertainment agencies."
Because travel is so central to an artist's career, Keel said it's only logical that WME has created a successful artist development program, where executives work to discover and sign brand new artists. In some cases, WME is striking development deals with artists who average fewer than 1,000 monthly listeners on Spotify.
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Such deals defy the stereotype that big agencies only cater to A-list stars. WME's Nashville office has signed 29 artists who continue to sign record deals, including recent chart-topper Chris Lane, critic Ashley McBryde and singer Caitlyn Smith.
Artists would develop a regional following in recent years but failed to make it onto WME's radar screen. Lane did well on a tour of the Carolinas before being signed by WME. To promote the artist, WME hired a digital marketing arm to share the artist's music through the streaming service in hopes of appearing on their playlists.
"When I first started working here 21 years ago, nobody was following unsigned artists. You had to get a record deal, and then all the agencies were competing," said Jay Williams, co-head of WME Nashville, who counted. Among the main artists in the field such as Chris Stapleton
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