AEG Presents has hired Interscope’s Dennis Dennehy to serve as chief communications officer, a newly created position at the global live entertainment company. The former executive vp and head of publicity at Interscope Geffen A&M Records will join serve on AEG Presents executive committee and report to AEG Presents chairman Jay Marciano.
“I’m looking forward to getting in there and helping with the narrative of the company,” Dennehy tells Billboard. “That’s helping with artist relations and profiles where I can. It’s an area where I can make some impact, and it really intrigued me.”
The touring giant’s current vp communications Michael Roth will continue to represent AEG’s venue business through AEG Worldwide. Marciano has operated without an officer-level communications executive since becoming chairman in 2013.
“Bringing Dennis on board is first and foremost about helping us align the interests of the various stakeholders,” involved with the artists that tour with AEG and play the company’s festivals and venues, Marciano tells Billboard. “His label experience will be invaluable because the bundling of tickets and albums is a bit dysfunctional, but has the potential to be valuable” to both the promoter and record labels.
As artist revenues have increasingly shifted to live music, labels have increasingly relied on bundling digital downloads and physical albums with ticket sales to drive revenue and help their artist rank higher on the Billboard 200 album chart.
“There’s a lot of room for improvement,” says Marciano, who says the timing of album releases don’t always align with tour announcements. “(Dennehy’s) deep relationships with artists and his ability to meet one-on-one with artists to help them architect of their album launch in the media campaign for a tour is going to be very important.”
In Dennehy’s new position, he will handle AEG’s media presence and work closely with AEG Presents’ artists and management partners “as needed to develop comprehensive media strategies that align with their overall vision, as well as support AEG Presents’ globally renowned brands, business units and concert tours, including the organization’s 16 regional offices,” reads a release announcing his hiring.
“It’s a chance for me to do something a little different in the music industry,” Dennehy says. “It’s a great challenge that puts my skills to work in a different segment within the music business with people I’ve known for a really long time and really like.”
That includes Gary Gersh, AEG president of global touring, who worked with Dennehy at Geffen, and chief technology officer Brooke Michael Kain, who worked with Dennehy at Interscope.
Prior to AEG Presents, Dennehy worked at Interscope Geffen A&M for the last two decades, working with top tier artists including Eminem, Gwen Stefani and No Doubt, Lady Gaga, U2, Dr. Dre, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Blackpink, Nine Inch Nails, The 1975 and Imagine Dragons, among many others. Dennehy handled tour press for bands such as Nirvana and Sonic Youth in the early ’90s and joined Interscope in 1999 when Geffen and A&M Records were merged with the label. In 2003 he was named head of publicity by Interscope chairman and chief executive Jimmy Iovine.
Dennehy will also continue to work directly with Eminem after years handling his publicity at Interscope, although the details of the relationship are still being finalized.