Metropolitan Talent received a major capital injection through its new strategic partnership with Plainfield Asset Management LLC of Greenwich, Conn.
"We are now in a position with Plainfield to financially compete for any deal that's out there, on any level," says John Scher, co-CEO of Metropolitan with Al Cafaro. "That includes national touring deals, acquisition of catalog, and potentially acquisition of other companies."
Plainfield becomes a minority partner in Metropolitan, which includes Hybrid Recordings (Vertical Horizon, Assembly of Dust, Gin Blossoms), Metropolitan Talent Presents, artist management (Bruce Hornsby, Bob Weir, Art Garfunkel), and theater and television production concerns. Plainfield has approximately $2 billion under management.
Scher says the capital infusion will be used to boost Metropolitan's "traditional" businesses of management, concert promotion and the label. "While a lot of people are moaning and groaning about consolidation in each of these areas, and there are concerns surrounding consolidation, there are also tremendous opportunities if you are well capitalized," Scher says. "The realities of 2007 are 'get stronger, get bigger, or you can't compete.' In our three traditional businesses, finances will no longer play a role as to whether or not we choose to make a bid or acquisition, whether it be a tour or something more long-lasting."
Scher says Metropolitan also will grow in "non-traditional" areas. "We havea plan...that we think can really change the course of how music is discovered and how it relates to artist development," he says. "Whether it's radio, promoter or record company consolidation, those three principle areas of our business in our view have been consolidated into a oblivion and there is no real discovery of music and talent and artist development. We've hatched a plan here that we think can in the future, using both new technology and old-fashioned smarts, really turn that around and have significant impact, not just for our company but for the industry as a whole."
Asked if Metropolitan would quickly up its profile in the national touring game (the company produced the INXS tour last year), Scher replies, "We're not going to make stupid deals just for the sake of having bigger market share and looking bigger. We're not a public company, we don't have to show off for Wall Street. While we have a partner now that has the financial reach, at the minimum, the size of the behemoths of the industry, we're really going to make smart deals. If they're not smart deals, we wont be making them."