Larry Rudolph, Britney Spears' Vegas Svengali, Dishes on the Changing Nature of Sin City

Austin Hargrave
Larry Rudolph photographed by Austin Hargrave at Quixote Studios in West Hollywood, California on October 7, 2014.

THE VEGAS VISIONARY

This profile is part of Billboard's Oct. 25 cover story package on the launch of Maverick, a new music-management consortium. You can find our full coverage right here.

AGE: 51

TITLE:
Founder, Reign Deer Entertainment

STAFF
: 12

CITY:
Los Angeles and Las Vegas

COMPANY FOUNDED IN:
1995

KEY ARTISTS:
Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, Steven Tyler, Avril Lavigne, Pauly D, Nicole Scherzinger, G.R.L.

ACHIEVEMENTS

Not only has Rudolph shepherded Miley Cyrus’ successful transformation from tween idol to grown-up superstar, he has helped longtime client Britney Spears reinvent her touring career -- and the Las Vegas concert market -- with a two-year residency at Vegas’ Planet Hollywood. “Vegas was a mecca for entertainment when the Rat Pack was here, but then it lost that cachet when it went the Cirque du Soleil route,” says Rudolph. “You’re seeing things shift from middle-aged couples to a younger audience of kids in their 20s and early 30s coming here to party, and the Britney show fits perfectly in that demo.” Up for renewal in December 2015, the show has already grossed $26.4 million from 41 shows, according to Billboard Boxscore.

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MAJOR CHALLENGE

“The revenue models have all changed. No artists are making any real money in recorded-music sales other than those who are also songwriters. It’s difficult to make a profit on a big pop tour because the audience has become used to seeing giant productions that cost so much it becomes prohibitive. It’s different if you’re a rock group -- you can plug in and play. But we had to take 30 trucks on the road with Britney’s Circus Tour. That turned out to be highly profitable, but it takes a lot of effort.”

SIGN OF THE TIMES

“We’re now much more helpful with each other, which is changing the entire landscape. We’ve gone back to a 1950s mentality, when everybody in the country was helping each other out. We as managers are consulting each other as friends and colleagues, not competitors. If Irving [Azoff] needs something for one of his artists, we’re there for him. Same thing with Scooter [Braun]. Even though we may be part of different consortiums, I don’t see them as playing for a different team. We just happen to have our own little group.”

Hear Unreleased Britney Spears Demos Written by Blood Orange

KEY LESSON

“No one bats a thousand. Every failure teaches you how to get it right the next time. I’m very diligent about studying what went wrong, because sweeping it under the rug means you’re doomed to repeat the same mistake.”

IF I WASN’T A MUSIC MANAGER...

“I would be in philanthropy. I’m starting to get a lot deeper into it. Miley’s homelessness endeavor [My Friend’s Place], we are all-in on that. It’s really important for an artist to give back.”

MYSELF, IN FIVE WORDS

“Obsessively organized, shit-disturbing maverick.”

MEET THE MAVERICKS: Guy Oseary | Cortez Bryant | Caron Veazey | Ron Laffitte | Adam Leber | Gee Roberson | Scott Rodger | Larry Rudolph | Clarence Spalding

This article first appeared in the Oct. 25 issue of Billboard.