Shawn Gee, a founding member of management consortium Maverick and lead manager for The Roots and Jill Scott, is partnering with Live Nation in a new venture, Live Nation Urban (LNU). Its goal: to better cater to the genres' underserved audiences by developing original urban-focused events, festival brands and strategic content partnerships for emerging, established and classic hip-hop, R&B and gospel artists.
According to Nielsen Music's 2016 year-end report, hip-hop and R&B alone claimed 28 percent of all on-demand streaming last year, outpacing rock (20 percent), pop (14 percent), dance and country (both at 6 percent). When it comes to live performance opportunities, however, R&B and hip-hop acts come up short. "If you're an alt-rock or EDM act, you can pretty much set up 20-30 festivals to play," says Gee, 45, who will serve as president of LNU. "But you can name the number of [urban-centric] festivals on one hand."
Addressing those issues early into his Maverick tenure, Gee has developed two radio concert series in partnership with client Scott: the Summer Block Party, now in its third year, and Holiday Jam. And he and The Roots will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of the hip-hop group's annual Roots Picnic in Philadelphia on June 3.