Paradigm Is Selling Its Troubled Music Touring Division

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After much speculation and several reports of a possible sale, Paradigm Talent Agency has officially reached an “agreement in principle” to sell its music touring division.

Paradigm announced the transaction in a formal statement, noting that Wasserman – which was founded by Casey Wasserman, grandson of pioneering Hollywood talent agent Lew Wasserman – will acquire its “North American live music representation business and form a new operating unit.”

Wasserman plans to reveal the details of this new operating unit, including its “name and configuration,” once the deal closes in 2021’s second quarter. The release doesn’t specify the financial terms of the sale.

For Paradigm, the move represents one component of “a series of restructuring steps” that initiated prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, but accelerated after the virus hit, owing in part to the resulting live-music disruption. To be sure, Paradigm CEO Sam Gores in May of 2020 pushed back against rumors that he would sell the music division to Wasserman – but admitted in the same internally circulated memo that “unique opportunities” were available to his agency.

On this front, the statement announcing the music division’s sale specifies that Paradigm “is in active discussion regarding strategic partners for its Talent and Literary business, and will be revealing that strategy at a later date.” The 29-year-old agency also intends to strike “a shared services agreement with Wasserman” to represent the music clients on the talent and literary sides.

Lastly, in terms of the Paradigm restructuring’s nuances, Tom Gores – founder of Platinum Equity and owner of the Detroit Pistons – has “stepped in to provide financial backing and to assist in strategic planning and partnership negotiation with other industry players.” Plus, the 56-year-old brother of Sam Gores “will provide financial backing to the new music venture as an equity partner.”

More broadly, Paradigm’s music-division sale appears indicative of the far-reaching changes that are arriving in the talent-representation space due to the economic and market impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Back in September, after Paradigm slashed its music-agency ranks when concerts and festivals were put on hold, some of these dismissed professionals founded a competing agency called TBA.

The New York City- and Los Angeles-headquartered organization has announced a multitude of new signings since debuting. And earlier this month, United Talent Agency (UTA) acquired London’s Echo Location Talent Agency, which reps DaBaby, NBA YoungBoy, and Marshmello, to name some.

Finally, The Weeknd – whose After Hours world tour has reportedly sold north of one million tickets – jumped from WME to CAA late last month.