Rob Beckham's Exit From WME Remains Nashville's Biggest Mystery

Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Make A Wish
Rob Beckham of WME attends "Stars For Wishes" 2015 on Jan. 17, 2015 in Nashville, Tenn.

There are still few details about what prompted country music's biggest agent to leave the agency.

It's been nearly 72 hours since Rob Beckham shocked Nashville and most of the country music business when he confirmed to Billboard that he had left WME. Beckham had worked at the agency since 2000 and built it into one of Music City's strongest brands with acts that represented a broad swath of the biggest names in country music.

Was he forced out, or did he leave on his own volition? Did something happen or was he simply done with the agency and hoping for a change of pace? Beckham was one of the first agents to make partner at WME Nashville and his exit would likely trigger a big buyout from parent company Endeavor, which could mean a non-compete preventing him from working at other agencies. It's hard to nail down the details of Beckham's exit because officials with WME have gone radio silent and Beckham has stayed relatively mum about what's going on. 

"Right now WME has been great. Really. It’s a happy ending," Beckham told Billboard in a followup message from the Bahamas, where he was vacationing with his family when the news broke. 

WME Nashville is now run by four co-heads — Joey Lee, Jay Williams, Greg Oswald and Scott Clayton, who joined the agency from CAA last year. It's also unclear what will happen with Beckham's artists now that he is leaving the agency. A representative for Garth Brooks, who Beckham brought to the agency in 2016, tells Billboard it's premature to make a decision yet about the country superstar's relationship with the agency. 

Beckham also represents Chris Young, who is in the last leg of his Losing Sleep World Tour. A rep for tour promoter AEG Presents said WME's Lee sent an email shortly after Friday's announcement stating he would be the responsible agent for Young in the short term. It's unclear what the exit means for Beckham's other marquee clients including Brad Paisley, Chase Bryant, Jake Owen and Blake Shelton.

"There’s so much money on the table with his artists," said one Nashville insider who has been following the story. "His acts make a ton of money for WME and I'm sure they want to protect that business."


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