As Calvin Harris' career has taken off, so have the fortunes of electronic dance music management company Three Six Zero Group. Founded in 2007 by Mark Gillespie, a talent booker for dance festival firm Global Gathering, and Dean Wilson and Alan Rutherford, who were partners in 24 Management, Three Six Zero counted Harris as its first client. His early success with his 2007 debut I Created Disco helped Three Six Zero gain stature in the United Kingdom that led to the signing of Chris Lake, Tom Neville and eventually a global signing of EMI's Deadmau5 in 2009.
Today, the company's growing roster encompasses 18 artists and four writer/producers (Swedish House Mafia, Fred Falke, Nero, Funkagenda) as well as pop acts Kelis and Hurts. Three Six Zero also manages labels from Harris (Fly Eye), SHM's Sebastian Ingrosso (Refune), Lake (Rising) and Michael Woods (Diffused).
In July 2010, Three Six Zero inked a partnership with Roc Nation, putting the two in constant contact and giving Three Six Zero a presence in Live Nation's Beverly Hills, Calif., offices. (Three Six Zero has a direct partnership with Roc Nation, but is not ultimately owned by Live Nation or Front Line.) "There isn't a week that goes by that one of the principals of Roc Nation isn't doing stuff together with us," Gillespie says. Here's how the partnership has evolved.
After proving the potential of a Roc Nation/Three Six Zero pairing with Rihanna's "We Found Love," new Roc Nation signing Shakira recently hit the studio with Three Six Zero artist Steve Angello of SHM, while Nicole Scherzinger has recorded tracks with songwriting duo Nexus. There's also the just-released "Calling (Lose My Mind)," a collaboration between Ingrosso and Ryan Tedder, who's managed by Front Line's Ron Laffitte. Gillespie also notes there's some "interesting collaborations" on Deadmau5's upcoming LP, though nothing he could confirm at the time. "There's a strong affinity between the two [companies]," he says. "At the time the partnership was forged there was a large difference between what we did. Now it's probably the strongest affinity ever."
Roc Nation's artist/producer/songwriter roster experiences much cross-pollination with Three Six Zero. Mark Ronson had some shared oversight, but is now solely managed by Roc Nation's Rich Kleiman. "Whether it's [Roc Nation co-founder/president Jay Brown] being involved in the Swedish House Mafia side of things [or Roc Nation partner John Meneilly] from Calvin's point of view, creating partnerships takes some time to do," Gillespie says. "But we got to know the guys really well and forged great relationships with them...They're involved with us on a day-to-day basis almost."
Richard Palmese, a veteran marketing executive at RCA and Arista, now consults for Roc Nation parent company Live Nation and led the promotion of Harris' "Feel So Close" at radio. "He's part of what we see as an executive part of Three Six Zero," Gillespie says of Palmese. "With the electronic market base, for it to be at the forefront right now is really exciting. So to have somebody with the experience of Richard working on the radio side of things is awesome."