🪐 Wasserman Music, The COVID Diaspora & The Changing Music Agency Universe

Using data visualization to track COVID’s impact on the music talent/booking agency landscape

Apr 27, 2021

Last week, Paradigm’s NA music division became Wasserman Music. The shake-up comes at a time when everyone is hoping for a return of IRL shows after more than a year.We thought we’d take this moment & use ROSTR’s data to look at…

📊 The data behind Wasserman Music

🪐 How Paradigm’s split impacts the agency universe

🚀 UTA’s recent tear

🆕 How COVID led to a diaspora of new agencies

Wasserman Music - The Data

At launch, ~50 agents represent ~1.3K artists.


Marquee artists include…

Image from ROSTR Pro showing the artists on Wasserman Music’s roster with the largest Spotify audiences

Genre Breakdown

Indie , Pop, & Dance / Edm are the most common genre tags on the roster.

The chart shows the # of artists tagged with each genre. Artists have multiple genres so may be counted in multiple boxes.

🪐 How Paradigm’s split impacts the agency universe

To understand the impact on the ecosystem, we compared data from early 2020 (pre-COVID) with data from this week; the top 100 agencies by roster size, the average artist size & the total audience size (Spotify Listeners).

2020 Data (Pre-Covid)

The Top 100 music agencies compared by roster size, average artist size & total audience size (Spotify Monthly Listeners) in March 2020

4️⃣ CAA, WME, Paradigm & UTA stand out with rosters 3–5x the size of the next biggest & significantly larger artists.

🏆 WME & CAA had a clear lead. They occupied a similar (sweet) spot: large rosters with the largest artists.

Image from ROSTR’s analysis of the Coachella 2020 lineup

🐘 In 2020, Paradigm had by far the largest roster (~ 3K) but with relatively smaller artists than WME & CAA.

👈 We saw this volume in action when Paradigm dominated all but the very top rows of the Coachella 2020 lineup.

🖖 So what happens when you carve one of the largest agencies in two?

The Top 100 music booking agencies compared by roster size, average artist size & total audience size (Spotify Monthly Listeners) in April 2021.🎳

The Paradigm split bunches the chasing pack. There was daylight between UTA & Paradigm, now, there are 3 very similar-sized agencies chasing WME & CAA.

🏆 WME & CAA are still significantly ahead. Will the fragmentation in the chasing pack help them extend that lead?

🚀 UTA jumped up & to-the-right since 2020, thanks to some aggressive moves during the pandemic (more on this next).

🎯 Bonus- hover over the bubbles towards the bottom-right. These are the elite boutique agencies; small rosters, EXTRA large artists. These include Cara Lewis Group, Marshall Arts & now One Finiix Live.

🚀 UTA on a Tear

Prior to the pandemic, UTA was some distance behind Paradigm, WME & CAA (at least by this data set). However, recent moves are changing the trajectory.Agents


UTA has picked up a number of notable agents:

Samantha Kirby Yoh
Robbie Brown
Carlos Abreu
Matt Meyer

Jeffrey Hasson
Jenny DeLoach
Natalie Koe
Perry Gilman

Brett Saliba

& they brought big artists with them…

Image from ROSTR Pro showing top artists who moved with their agents to UTA.

Echo Location 👉 UTA

Last month, UTA acquired Echo Location — a UK agency led by Obi Osaka.

A few of Echo’s ~160 artists that joined UTA

Image from ROSTR Pro showing top artists who were on Echo Location Talent’s roster when acquired.

New Signings 👉 UTA

They’ve also signed some marquee artists…

Image from ROSTR Pro showing top artists recently signed by UTA for at least one territory

UTA Growth

These moves have helped grow UTA’s audience from 1.75 to 2.6 Billion Spotify Listeners. +46% during the pandemic…

Chart showing UTA’s audience growth since the start of the pandemic (Spotify Monthly Listeners).

🆕 The COVID Diaspora — a wave of new agencies

The pandemic saw significant layoffs & furloughs across the sector. Some of those affected went on to set up their own agencies, others took the opportunity to jump to something new.

This has created an opportunity for a reverse of what had, up until COVID, been a long period of consolidation in the space.

We count 19 notable agencies created during the pandemic…

Image from ROSTR Pro showing new agencies that have launched during the pandemic

And, here’s where they fit in…

Chart showing the 19 new music booking agencies alongside a selection of similar incumbent agencies.

For clarity, we’ve removed the biggest agencies & a number of small agencies.

🎳 Most have relatively small rosters & artists, sitting in the clustered pack behind the medium-sized players.

📣 TBA is the largest. MINT & Arrival Artists have less reach, but similar scale.

💥 One Fiinix has by far the largest artists in this group including Ed Sheeran, Lauv & Anne-Marie.

🧮 Individually, each is a relatively small dot. However, combined (yellow bubble), they amount to an agency larger than ICM. With many of these agents & their artists moving from the majors, this is akin to taking an ICM sized chunk out of the major players & distributing it down the chain.

🤔 These are agencies that might not have existed if it weren’t for COVID, founded by agents with major agency experience & relationships. It’ll be interesting to see if these agencies drive increased competition from the bottom-up.

Ending on a personal note…In the past year, I’ve seen so many “I’m now on furlough” or “This email address no longer exists” from the agency world. Still, I’m relieved that the vast majority of agencies have survived this far.

Myself, & the ROSTR team, are heavily rooting for the return of concerts so you can get back to getting artists on the road, and, for those who lost your jobs, hopefully, get back to work soon.

Mark Williamson
CEO/Co-Founder @ ROSTR

Housekeeping / DataWhile we do our best to ensure accuracy, roster counts & the data associated with them are close, but not exact.Data for artists signed to multiple agencies are counted for all those agencies.Spotify Listeners is an imperfect metric (Spotify listeners tickets sold) but without any live data for the last year, we believe it is equal-opportunities imperfect.Some agencies are partnered with other agencies. We have NOT combined the data for these & are treating each brand individually.If you have any questions about any of the data or, if you’re an agency that wants to get in touch about your data please email data at rostr.cc

The End