Ahead of his massive After Hours World Tour, which Live Nation said has sold approximately one million tickets, The Weeknd has jumped from WME to CAA.
The LA-headquartered Creative Artists Agency (CAA) recently took to Instagram to announce that it had signed The Weeknd, whose full name is Abel Makkonen Tesfaye. And while the “Blinding Lights” creator and former WME act hasn’t yet penned a social media post about the switch, CAA agent Christian Carino commented on the high-profile deal in a widely circulated statement.
“Abel, Sal and their team are as ambitious in their thinking as we are, clearly seeing the special opportunities they have, both in building their business to new heights and having a meaningful cultural impact. We are honored to play a role in helping shape Abel’s next chapter,” Carino said of CAA’s agreement with The Weeknd, who is managed by XO Records CEO Wassim “Sal” Slaiby and cofounder Amir “Cash” Esmailian.
Plus, Slaiby (who was on hand for The Weeknd’s Super Bowl LV halftime show performance) and Esmailian have yet to specifically address the talent agency jump. Though the precise reasons for the move remain unclear, the concert space – and, in turn, talent agencies – are still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated lockdown measures.
Building upon the point, the field has experienced far-reaching changes during the last year or so, and it’ll be worth following the practical and organizational effects of these developments as live entertainment returns at scale. To be sure, Endeavor, CAA, and Paradigm alike have cut staff and/or implemented cost-saving measures, and some former agents have started their own companies.
Five agents who previously worked for Paradigm, along with several new hires, debuted TBA in September of 2020, for instance. Cofounder Avery McTaggart emphasized at the time that he didn’t want his agency “to be a corporate, faceless entity.” The Los Angeles- and New York-headquartered company’s talent roster has grown substantially in the interim, and on its website, the agency indicates that it aims “always to be loyal and supportive partners in their [artists’] work and lives.”
In related news, WME earlier this month dropped country superstar Morgan Wallen after he used a racial slur following a night of partying, while Marilyn Manson lost his CAA representation (and much more) after multiple individuals publicly accused him of abuse. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has launched an investigation into the claims against Manson.