The 2019 Grammys

Defections By EDM Stars Steve Angello & Dirty South Ding Newcomer CAA

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Dirty South performs onstage during Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival (Weekend 1) at the Empire Polo Club on April 11, 2015 in Indio, California.  (Photo by 

With top DJs drawing up to $66 million each year, the dance music representation battle has become hotly contested. To wit: During the past couple of months, two name talents, Steve Angello and Dirty South, left massive Hollywood player Creative Artists Agency for EDM specialist AM Only, leaving insiders wondering if the move effectively handicaps CAA in the EDM rep game.

CAA is a relative newcomer to the space, but in the past two years has expanded its EDM presence to include 13 agents dedicated to the genre, including veterans Maria May and Hunter Williams and the U.S. arm of The Rebel Agency; its roster includes David Guetta (in the United Kingdom), The Chainsmokers, Pretty Lights, Jamie Jones, former AM Only artist Luciano and, not least, longtime client Daft Punk. The company declined comment, but a source close to the situation noted that both of the departing artists have been with multiple agencies in the past few years.

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However, others see the losses of Dirty South and especially Angello -- who, along with Guetta, was ranked among 2014's 15 highest-earning DJs -- are heavy blows. (AM Only president/founder Paul Morris declined comment.)

"They brought on folks that represent niche artists that are credible but won't fill up Madison Square Garden or headline a festival," says one insider. "That doesn't mean when they're on the phone with Coachella, they can't leverage their rock acts to get their electronic acts in. They've been able to use other aspects of their business." But, the insider adds, "CAA was too late getting into this."

This story first appeared in the July 24 issue of Billboard.