Powerful agent Scott Clayton has stunned Music City, resigning from a leadership post at Creative Artist Agency to accept a position as partner and co-head of WME’s Nashville office where he will lead WME’s Rock division.
The move surprised many because Clayton was one of five co-heads of the music department at CAA Nashville where he repped John Mayer, Dead & Company and Kings of Leon — it’s unclear if Clayton is taking his artists with him to WME. Clayton’s resignation, announced Friday and coming as a surprise to many in CAA’s Nashville office, has Clayton joining Greg Oswald, Rob Beckham, Joey Lee and Jay Williams as co-heads of WME’s Nashville office.
“Scott is unquestionably one of the most respected executives in the live music industry, having identified and worked with many great rock artists,” explains WME’s head of music Marc Geiger in a statement provided to Billboard. “We are seeing many different genres of music thriving out of Nashville right now, and with Scott’s addition we are in a great position to take advantage of the market opportunities available to us.”
“We have long admired Scott as a competitor, and are proud to now call him our colleague,” explains Williams in a statement provided to Billboard. “His understanding of where the business is heading and how WME can provide even greater services to its clients make him an ideal fit. We look forward to bringing his leadership and insight to our colleagues and clients.”
“Over the course of my career I’ve been proud to watch the music community in Nashville grow into a global force,” explains Clayton in a statement to Billboard. “Overseeing the rock business from this city speaks to its importance and the city’s continued expansion. WME has demonstrated a strong commitment to Nashville and the rock genre, and I look forward to working to create new opportunities for all of our clients.”
Clayton has been with CAA since the early 1990s and was one of the first agents in the Nashville office to add contemporary artists like Train to the roster, and worked with the CAA Nashville team on festival bookings, colleges and fairs.
The four other co-heads of CAA Nashville — Marc Dennis, Rod Essig, John Huie and Darin Murphy — had reportedly been in negotiations with Clayton for the past month and were told Friday that he was leaving CAA to join WME.