Sports and entertainment management group Octagon is expanding into the music business.
The company-whose clients include John Elway, Michael Phelps, David Robinson, Davis Love III, Steve Yzerman, Mia Hamm, Bill Cowher, and the Duchess of York-is forming a new division to handle representation of recording artists called Octagon Music. Initial clients will include IL Divo, Madness, Ray Davies and Jane Monheit.
Peter Rudge, who has managed such acts as The Rolling Stones, The Who, Duran Duran, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters and Pulp, has been tapped to head up the New York and London-based operation. Rudge will split time between New York and London and report to Phil de Picciotto, President of Octagon. Joining Rudge in New York are touring and live events specialist Susan Bank, formerly of Reigndeer Entertainment and Artists Management Group, and business affairs executive Gary Casson, a long time CBS and Elektra veteran.
Octagon is a subsidiary of publicly traded advertising and marketing giant Interpublic Group. de Picciotto calls the Octagon model a “hybrid approach” that marries its management expertise with its access to corporate brands.
“It’s not just about representation its about the development of partnerships with brands and third parties Octagon does business with,” Rudge tells Billboard. “We look at what they’ve done with their athletes and their personalities — whether it’s the Duchess of York with Weight Watchers, or Anna Kournikova or Michael Vick — and we feel it’s a model we can adopt to the benefit of our clients. In music we’re looking to create those income streams that are not reliant on the sales of records to the extent they have been previously.”
Look for much of the early action to surround Il Divo, the pop opera act backed by American Idol judge Simon Cowell, which has sold 3 million copies worldwide with no radio play and no touring planned until 2006.
“That’s an artist we feel we could develop with the benefit of Octagon to a far greater extent than we could have as a stand alone manager,” Rudge says.
Among Octagon’s other acts, Davies has just finished his first solo album, tentatively entitled, “The Tourist,” which is scheduled for worldwide release on V2 Records later this year. Also dropping via V2 in August is Madness’ latest set, “The Dangermen Sessions Volume One.”
Monheit, whose first album was released on Sony Classics, has recently signed with Epic Records. She is slated to release a new album in October.