Ron Laffitte Is the 'Secret Weapon’ for Mega-Management Co. Maverick

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

METALHEAD GOES POP

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: 47

TITLE:
Founder, Laffitte Management Group

STAFF
: 14

CITY:
Los Angeles

COMPANY FOUNDED IN:
2010

KEY ARTISTS:
Pharrell Williams, OneRepublic, Alicia Keys, Megadeth, Soundgarden, The Madden Brothers

ACHIEVEMENTS

A key architect, with Oseary, of Maverick’s latest incarnation, Laffitte is a secret weapon for the new venture’s many partners. He teamed with Oseary to co-sign Alicia Keys to a management deal in July, booked studio time with client Ryan Tedder for U2’s Songs of Innocence, partnered with Caron Veazey’s I Am Other to co-manage Pharrell Williams and is sharing resources and other projects with Scott Rodger, including a recent investment in Filter magazine co-founder Alan Sartirana’s latest venture, Anthemic.

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NEW ERA

Though eight of Maverick’s nine partners joined Live Nation under then-chairman Irving Azoff’s Front Line, “Everything will be rebranded,” says Laffitte of the companies’ assets, from their respective websites to their business cards to their email addresses. “This feels very different, because Irving and Guy are very different people, and their approach to business is very different. But they’re also both incredible thinkers and two of the rarest entrepreneurs the music business has.”

EARLY DAYS

Laffitte has come a long way (and some 18 inches of hair) since his heavy metal days as a merch manager for Metallica in the ’80s and manager of Megadeth during its ’90s heyday. After a bumpy stint working in A&R alongside Sylvia Rhone at Elektra in the late ’90s (chronicled in Spoon’s 1998 single “The Agony of Laffitte”), he spent the better part of the last decade honing his management chops, working for Coran Capshaw’s Red Light before joining Front Line in 2010. “I struck out with indie-rock bands,” admits Laffitte, “but my metal guys love me. My metal guys love that I’m back.”

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MAJOR CHALLENGE

“The decline of recorded music. Yet I am inspired by what I see happening in front of us. I think the Beats Music service and the vision Jimmy Iovine brings is exciting. I got to spend a little time with [Spotify founder] Daniel Ek recently, and I think the Spotify platform is really exciting. As someone who was a big vinyl collector, and later a big CD collector, I think the streaming experience is great.”

KEY LESSON

“There was a time in my life where everything fell apart. And three months into that period, I realized I was the happiest I’d ever been. So the lesson for me was, ‘Don’t fear anything. Don’t fear failure, don’t fear loss; look inside, be happy with yourself, believe in what you do, surround yourself with people you want to be around.’ As my client Ryan Tedder says, ‘Make every minute count.’ ”

IF I WASN’T A MUSIC MANAGER...

“I would be in sports. There was a time in my life where I could choose an opportunity in sports and I chose music instead. Sports offers what I think Maverick has: shared vision, shared responsibilities, winning together, losing together.”

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.