Partner, Full Stop Management
$308 MILLION LIVE GROSS: No industry executive has had a more protean relationship to power than Irving Azoff, 71, who has morphed from manager to label boss to Live Nation chairman and back to manager. “I keep going back to [management] because that’s really the power source,” said Irving at the Billboard Live Summit last November. “The power all flows from artists.” He also noted that each of his transitions are made “with an endgame in sight.” Worth remembering when considering Irving’s $125 million December buyout of Madison Square Garden’s 50 percent interest in Azoff MSG Entertainment after the joint venture triggered a buy-sell option at the five-year mark.
The newly minted Azoff Company includes Full Stop Management, performance rights organization Global Music Rights, Oak View Group and LaneOne, a premium experience company. The past year saw Azoff Company co-president Susan Genco play a key role in the Music Modernization Act, brokering a last-minute deal among SiriusXM, Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group. And Full Stop -- which combined the management clients of Irving, his son Jeffrey and Brandon Creed in 2017 -- had four of the top 20 tours in Billboard’s year-end ranking: the Eagles, Harry Styles, Journey (in partnership with John Baruck) and John Mayer with Dead & Co. (in partnership with Steve Moir and Bernie Cahill), for a combined gross of $308 million.
The Full Stop crew of more than 30 is led by Jeffrey, who is careful to credit a team of “superstar managers.” He is 33 but jokes that his experience in the industry goes back 22 years: “When the guy who coaches your soccer games is always on the phone making deals in the music business, you have the ability at a young age to sound like you know what you’re talking about, even if you might not.” Both Azoffs refer to this moment in the industry as one of constant, positive disruption. “If you’re anyone with an idea and some talent, whether you’re an artist or you’re in the business, you can have a successful career in the music business,” says Jeffrey, who disagrees that he belongs as high as his father on the list. “We have artists who are using direct distribution who are supporting their own careers. The sustainability for both artists and executives is amazing.”