Irving Azoff (//; born December 12, 1947) is an American entertainment executive and chairman of Full Stop Management, which represents recording artists.
|Born||December 12, 1947|
|Known for||Chairman and CEO of Azoff MSG Entertainment|
Shelli Azoff (m. 1978)
Since September 2013, he has been chairman and CEO of Azoff MSG Entertainment, a venture with The Madison Square Garden Company. Prior to this he served as chairman and CEO of Ticketmaster Entertainment and was executive chairman of Live Nation Entertainment and CEO of Front Line Management. He is also on the board of Starz Inc. and IMG.
Raised in a Jewish family in Danville, Illinois, Azoff began promoting and booking bands while a student at Danville High School and then in college at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. He moved to Los Angeles in 1970 with his first client, Dan Fogelberg. He worked for Geffen-Roberts Management and there began working with the Eagles, a relationship that has lasted more than forty years. During his career he has worked as an agent, personal manager, concert promoter, movie producer, independent record label owner, merchandiser, music publisher, and CEO of a record company.
According to Thomas R. King's book The Operator (2001), David Geffen manipulated Azoff into leaving MCA and going to Warner Music Group, where Azoff started Giant Records. King writes that Geffen wanted Azoff out at MCA to clear the way for MCA to buy Geffen Records. Geffen convinced Mo Ostin at Warner Music to offer Irving Azoff a "dream" label deal. Giant Records operated for much of the 1990s until Azoff decided to return to concentrating on artist management.
Azoff co-produced the movies Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Urban Cowboy, Jack Frost, Above The Rim, and The Inkwell, and was executive producer of The Hurricane. He has been named "Manager of the Year" by two touring industry trade publications. In 2012, Azoff appeared in Artifact, a documentary film about the modern music business focused on the legal battle between Thirty Seconds to Mars and record label EMI. In 2015, he played a thinly veiled version of himself in the Documentary Now! parody of History of the Eagles.
In October 2008, ticketing and marketing company Ticketmaster announced they would acquire the management company Front Line Management Group, Inc. As part of the deal, Azoff, who was founder and chief executive officer of Front Line, became chief executive officer of Ticketmaster and was named chairman of Live Nation in February 2011.
In September 2013, Azoff unveiled Azoff MSG Entertainment, a venture with The Madison Square Garden Company (MSG). In addition to his role as chairman and CEO of Azoff MSG Entertainment, Azoff would serve as a consultant to MSG in connection with the management of its live event venues, including the Forum in Inglewood, CA and other MSG-managed buildings.
Ticketmaster/Live Nation mergerEdit
Irving Azoff served as the Chairman of Ticketmaster and was influential in securing approval for the company's merger with Live Nation Entertainment. Following the merger, Azoff served as the executive chairman of Live Nation. Prior to the merger, Ticketmaster had been the subject of multiple investigations into anti-competitive practices.
The merger faced many legal hurtles and opposition. The merger was opposed by members of the United States Congress, business rivals such as AEG Live, the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA), whose members include Google, Oracle, Microsoft, Yahoo, Intuit, and eBay. Despite the opposition, the merger was still approved in 2010.
In 2018, the United States Department of Justice launched an investigation following complains that Live Nation had engaged in anti-competitive practices following the merger. AEG has alleged that Live Nation had pressured them into using Ticketmaster as a venue. If AEG had refused, they would have lost out on business. The allegations of antitrust violations have resulted in a re-examination of the merger between Ticketmaster and Live Nation. Much of the initial criticisms of the merger has been re-affirmed. Irving Azoff's battles with rivals AEG (who are alleging antitrust violations) have been well documented, especially in regard to competition in the Los Angeles and New York City markets.
Clippers Arena proposalEdit
Controversy was generated when Azoff MSG Entertainment took part in a lawsuit against the city of Inglewood in an attempt to stop the construction of a new arena for the Los Angeles Clippers in Inglewood. The new arena would compete directly with The Forum which is owned by The Madison Square Garden Company. Another lawsuit from a local community group was filed to block the construction of the venue in June 2018. Inglewood mayor James Butts suggested that the lawsuit was brought about by "business interests from out-of-state", suggesting that Azoff and the Madison Square Garden Company were using this group to ensure that they don't have a competing arena nearby. The attempts to block the arena are similar to the tactics successfully used by the Madison Square Garden Company to stop the construction of the proposed West Side Stadium in New York City in 2005. That proposed stadium would have directly competed with Madison Square Garden. In December 2018, the LA Clippers sued the Madison Square Garden company alleging that they were trying to prevent the construction of a competing arena.
Attempt to Move Lakers Back to The ForumEdit
In March 2019, leaked emails revealed that Azoff attempted to lure the Los Angeles Lakers back to The Forum after their lease at the Staples Center was up. Despite nothing coming of the proposal, Azoff's proposal to re-purpose The Forum was seen as a way of preventing the LA Clippers from building their own arena in Inglewood and ensuring that the Madison Square Garden Company got an unfair advantage over rival AEG, which already owns part of the Lakers.
60th Grammy AwardsEdit
When the 60th Annual Grammy Awards were held in New York City, Azoff informed former MusiCares Executive VP, Dana Tomarken that the MusiCares Person of the Year tribute to Fleetwood Mac would be held at Radio City Music Hall (which is owned by The Madison Square Garden Company) and not at the Barclays Center (which is operated by AEG). Dana Tomarken had been negotiating a deal to have the MusiCares Person of the Year tribute to Fleetwood Mac to be held at the Barclays Center. Neil Portnow, president of The Recording Academy, decided to have it at Radio City Music Hall without consulting Tomarken, who was instead informed of this change by Irving Azoff as head of Azoff MSG Entertainment. Tomarken subsequently made a claim of wrongful termination. This resulted in cost overruns of up to $8 million for the Grammy Awards in 2018. In May 2018, Portnow announced he would resign at the end of his contract in July 2019. An independent investigation was also launched to look into Tomarken's allegations. In May 2019, it was reported that by having the MusiCares Person of the Year Tribute to Fleetwood Mac at Radio City Music Hall, Oak View Group which is associated with Azoff received 300 of the highest price tickets to the MusiCares event. Oak View Group was supposed to sell them as a package deal which also included tickets to the Grammy Awards itself. MusiCares was promised to received $1.5 million from those tickets according to Dana Tomarken. Those 300 tickets were not sold and were then returned to MusiCares, therefor resulting in a loss.
Labels founded by AzoffEdit
- Andy Fixmer, "Live Nation Chairman Azoff Said to Exit Concert Company", Bloomberg, December 31, 2012.
- "Billboard Reveals the 2012 Power 100", Billboard, January 27, 2012.
- Gensler, Andy and Halperin, Shirley "Houses of the Holy: Where the Music Biz Celebrates the Jewish High Holidays" Billboard. September 23, 2014.
- E. Scott Reckard, "AZOFF QUITS AS CHAIRMAN OF MCA'S MUSIC UNIT", AP News Archive, September 5, 1989.
- See generally Tom King, The Operator: David Geffen Builds, Buys, and Sells the New Hollywood, p. 449-450, Broadway Books (New York 2001).
- "Moviefone Filmography"[permanent dead link].
- Nerisha Penrose, , Billboard, September 14, 2016,
- Ray Waddell, Nashville and Andrew Flanagan, New York, "Irving Azoff and Madison Square Garden Co. Announce $300 Million Joint Venture", Billboard, September 4, 2013.
- "Irving Azoff to Serve as Chairman and CEO of Azoff MSG Entertainment LLC", GlobeNewswire, September 4, 2013.
- "Billboard Power 100: Irving Azoff", Billboard, January 26, 2012.
- Philips, Chuck (June 8, 1994). "Pearl Jam vs. Ticketmaster: Choosing Sides : Legal file: The pop music world is divided over the Seattle band's allegations, which led to a Justice Department investigation into possible anti-competitive practices in the ticket distribution industry". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 22, 2012.
- Philips, Chuck (June 17, 1995). "COLUMN ONE : The Ticket King's Path to Power : As Pearl Jam just learned, Ticketmaster's Fred Rosen gets what he wants. His tactics have earned him some foes, but even critics admit he has transformed the industry. Now he's eyeing new realms". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 22, 2012.
- Finklestein and Lagan, Matthew Colleen. "Title="Not for Your"; Only for Ticketmaster: Do Ticketmaster's Exclusive Agreements with Concert Venues Violate Federal AntitrustLaw?".
- Philips, Chuck (June 9, 1992). "A Tangle Over Tickets : Ticketmaster, Target of Lawsuits, Says It Offers Broad Service". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 2, 2014.
- Nicholson, Chris V. (December 22, 2009). "British Regulator Supports Live Nation-Ticketmaster Merger". The New York Times.
- Branch Jr., Alfred (January 19, 2010). "Ticketmaster / Live Nation merger: 25,000 contact DOJ to oppose the deal". TicketNews. Archived from the original on January 22, 2010. Retrieved January 26, 2010.
- Sisario, Ben; Bowley, Graham (April 1, 2018). "Live Nation Rules Music Ticketing, Some Say With Threats". The New York Times. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
- Chavez, Danette (April 2, 2018). "DOJ is investigating Live Nation for possible antitrust violations". Retrieved December 11, 2018.
- "Read Irving Azoff's Full Response to the Venue Wars Between AEG and MSG". Billboard. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
- "Inglewood Mayor Butts Slams Azoff MSG Entertainment Lawsuit". Billboard. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
- Chiland, Elijah (June 19, 2018). "Inglewood residents sue to block Clippers arena". Curbed LA. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
- "How the New York Jets Very Nearly Got a West Side Stadium". Curbed NY. January 30, 2015. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
- Inglewood arena row: LA Clippers launch MSG countersuit
- Lakers explored leaving Staples Center for return to Forum, emails reveal
- Legaspi, Althea; Legaspi, Althea (May 24, 2018). "Grammy CEO Accused of Covering Telecast Shortfall With Bad MusiCares Deals". Retrieved December 11, 2018.
- In Deal for NYC Grammys, MSG Warned Recording Academy That 'No Events Could Be At Barclays'
- "MusiCares Announces Independent Investigation into Person of the Year, Harassment Allegations". Billboard. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
- Was the Grammys ‘boys club’ behind the firing of two women at its charity?