OMAR AL-JOULANI, 36
SENIOR VP NORTH AMERICAN TOURING, LIVE NATION
Though he’s a life-long rock fan (a 1998 Foo Fighters/Green Day show in Ottawa, Ontario, made him want to get into the business) Omar Al-joulani has engineered huge EDM and hip-hop milestones like Swedish House Mafia’s 2013 farewell run (regarded as the most successful EDM tour in history) and Jay Z and Beyoncé’s On the Run stadium swing (which generated a $96.6 million North American gross, according to Billboard Boxscore). He’s also guiding Eminem and Rihanna’s Monster outing and the Made in America festival. To pay it back, he’s creating the next generation of rock superstars: Al-joulani was behind Imagine Dragons’ clubs-to-arena jump on their debut album.
My first job “The Agency Group Canada, assistant to Colin Lewis.”
If I weren’t in the music business, I would be “In politics.”
REBECA LEON, 39
VP LATIN TALENT, AEG GOLDENVOICE; MANAGER (JUANES, J BALVIN)
Rebeca Leon works big and dreams big: “I want to be a mogul,” she says. By which she means not just overseeing AEG’s Latin tours — including the upcoming bill of Enrique Iglesias, Pitbull and J Balvin (whom she co-manages with Fabio Acosta) — and launching a new Latin alternative festival in October in Los Angeles, but producing movies “that mean something.” She also dreams of “spending three months of the year taking calls from my boat in the Caribbean.”
The album that made me want to be in the music business “The Police, Synchronicity. I was 8 years old. My parents [wouldn’t] let me go to their show. I finally got to go, to their reunion tour.”
If I weren’t in the music business “I always wanted to be a writer for Saturday Night Live. It’s a show that inspired me.”
JARED SMITH, 36
PRESIDENT OF NORTH AMERICA, TICKETMASTER
Under Jared Smith’s watch, Ticketmaster sold 76 million tickets in 2013, its highest total ever. He’s especially passionate about TM+, a mobile app that lets fans see both primary- and secondary-market ticket options. The idea is to enhance the fan experience and provide more transparency. As a result, mobile purchases now account for 14 percent of Ticketmaster sales.
My first job “Delivering furniture for a family friend who needed some cheap labor.”
My big break “Not getting a job I interviewed for. If I had, I wouldn’t have applied to Ticketmaster a month later.”
The album that made me want to be in the music business “Dave Matthews Band, Crash. The band’s community of fans changed how I felt about music’s power to bring people together.”
BEN WEEDEN, 38
COO, HOUSE OF BLUES
Ben Weeden steers the largest network of clubs and theaters in the world, including 21 of the 25 busiest clubs in the United States, according to Billboard Boxscore. House of Blues (which is a division of Live Nation) this past year launched Ones to Watch, an artist-development platform that, Weeden says, leverages all Live Nation assets. “It’s a great moment when you look at previous tour history [for an act] and know you have really moved the needle using the incredible marketing power we have.”
My first job “Bear Stearns, 1998. I hated investment banking, but we worked on the IPO of SFX Entertainment,” which became Live Nation.
My big break “Moving to London to work at SFX’s office in 2000. It was there that I met [Live Nation CEO] Michael Rapino and became one of his first employees.”
JORDAN WOLOWITZ, 30
PARTNER/CO-FOUNDER, FOUNDERS ENTERTAINMENT
Jordan Wolowitz oversees talent and sponsorship for the Governors Ball festival on New York’s Randalls Island, which this year — headlined by Outkast, Jack White, Vampire Weekend and The Strokes — drew a record 150,000-plus fans June 6-8. “We cracked the code for putting on a successful major contemporary festival in New York City,” says Wolowitz, who tips plans for a separate, new fest in June 2015.
My first job “My first music industry ‘job’ was critic for my college newspaper. I wanted free concert tickets.”
The best way to manage stress “Be extremely organized. Drink a lot of water. Exercise regularly – blowing off steam is very important.”
The song that sums up my philosophy “‘Can’t Tell Me Nothing’ by Kanye West. Just kidding. Kind of.”