Less than a year after both severed their ties with Live Nation Entertainment, Irving Azoff and James Dolan of MSG have re-united to establish a joint media and music venture
Irving Azoff one of the most legendary personal managers on the US entertainment scene, as chairman and founder of Azoff Music Management Group is generally regarded as among the most powerful people in the music industry.
Among his various business interests, until the end of 2012, Irving Azoff held the role executive chairman of Live Nation Entertainment, an American entertainment company.
During his time at Live Nation Entertainment, one of the industry’s largest events organizations, Azoff formed a close personal friendship with James Dolan, who sat on the board of the company as well as acting as Executive Chairman for the Madison Square Garden company.
Now Azoff and Dolan are to join forces once again to create a new music, media and entertainment company that will go under the name of Azoff MSG Entertainment, combining the power and influence of the Madison Square Garden Company and Azoff Music Management .
In addition to providing management services to such longtime Azoff clients from a long and varied list including Christina Aguilera, the Eagles, REO , Seal, Van Halen and , Neil Diamond, the renewed cooperation also intend to get involved in music publishing as well as the production and marketing of a range of digital products.
According to Azoff, who will take up the role of chairman and CEO for Azoff MSG Entertainment, both the partners enjoy a shared vision for ways to do things that are artist-friendly and fan-friendly , while the working arrangement that has been involved by the peer would eliminate the “disdainful aspects of managing Live Nation” that caused Azoff to throw in the towel, with James Dolan following suit not long after.
Madison Square Garden will be investing $125 million to gain any 50 percent interest in the new company, whilst at the same time providing up to $50 million in revolving credit loans.
With backing at that level, Irving Azoff has laid out his battle plan to take his company into the following areas, in which hhe feels the most comfortable and has years of experience.
- Music management, where Azoff already has a large number of clients .
- Music rights, particularly on building a music library and licensing content.
- Television production which will be a new division for the new company under the management of Lawrence Randall, who was formerly head of programming and entertainment for the National Football League.
- Digital branding, driven by Azoff MSG Entertainment ‘s existing 50 percent stake in Digital Brand Architects, a network of of bloggers involved in developing social media opportunities.
Azoff MSG Entertainment will also be partnering with digital technology company ACTV8 and the United Talent Agency to develop a live-music discovery show that will go under the title of “Streets of the City”. The show, when it ets underway, will allow TV viewers to scout and support street talent through crowd sourcing.
According to Azoff , the special relationship with Madison Square Garden will allow the new joint venture to enjoy access to a number of premiere concert venues, not just Madison Square Garden is but also the equally iconic Radio City Music Hall in New York and the Forum in Inglewood, California, which is about to undergo a major renovation.
Irving Azoff was born and raised in Chicago, and even during his study years at the University of Illinois have begun to establish his career in the entertainment industry working both as an agent, personal manager as well as promoting some concerts.
After completing his education Azoff moved to Los Angeles were soon after he began to work with Geffen Records where was involved in the development of the Eagles rock band. After David Geffen sold his Asylum Record label to Warner Music, Azoff left the label taking the Eagles with him as his own personal client.
During most of the UK’s, Azoff headed MCA Records during which time he was perceived in the industry as a compelling force that saved the company from bankruptcy. Azoff left MCA in 1989 in order to form his own record label, Giant Records, which is no longer active.
Big in personality but short in stature, it has long since been a legend in the music industry that the well-known singer/songwriter Randy Newman dedicated his cult song “Short People” to Azoff, who stands just 1.35 tall.
Newman was reportedly ticked off over Azoff, who at that time was head of the Front Line management company, who mounted a campaign to sign Newman which he apparently felt was overaggressive. Now almost forty years after the song was first released, Randy Newman still continues to neither confirm the rumor. But that’s entertainment.