How longtime music executives try to protect artists’ heritage



Irving Azov wants to preserve the artist’s legacy and his own legacy in the age of music streaming.

Completers in the music industry run several companies, including concert promoters and record labels, and have led the greatest artists of several generations, including Eagles, Bonjobi, Steelie Dan and Nicki Minaj.

His latest venture, the Iconic Artists Group, Crowded Market for Investment in Music, and signed a catalog of writing and recording catalogs for Beach Boys, David Crosby and Linda Ronstadt.

Over the past five years, music rights have become more valuable as streaming revenue on services such as:

Spotify technology HER


Apple Of a company

Apple Music has grown and music is used more in other areas such as digital fitness, video games, and social media. Songwriters’ catalogs commanded selling prices 10 to 20 times the annual royalties compared to 8 to 13 times the previous price.

Azov, who was recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, raised nearly $ 500 million for Iconic from Guggenheim Securities and chose the artist he would take as the custodian of their lifetime’s work. . I am. He also thinks about his own heritage and what he confides in his children.

“It’s great for the family,” he says.

Irving Azoff, beige shirt, Eagles from 1977.

Blood Elterman / Film Magic / Getty Images

Azov spoke with The Wall Street Journal about copyright trends, heritage and how pandemics have changed the music industry. Follow-up of the edited extract.

WSJ: What prompted you to create Iconic?

Mr. Azov: If you do the right thing for an artist, it will be good for your own business. Not all of those rights holders seemed to focus solely on increasing the value of intellectual property in a way that preserves and strengthens the artist’s legacy. Some people don’t have heirs in their life. Others have children who think they may not be able to manage their inheritance the way they should.

WSJ: And what about business opportunities?

Mr. Azov: If I manage my family’s funds, including current yields and bonds, if you try to save without taking big risks, and if you’ve been in this business for 52 years, I feel better I’ve noticed that my family has a flow. It feels like a more secure and growing flow than if I were just putting money into bonds.

WSJ: Why is music a good investment?

Mr. Azov: Music resists the challenges of time. It’s essential. I bet my career on great music. To this day, it has never failed me. There are always new technologies. In a business that did not add value to music assets and copyright, only two technologies can be considered in 50 years. One is 8 tracks and the other is


And file sharing. Apart from that, ratings are booming, from glass records to vinyl records, from vinyl records to cassettes, from cassettes to CDs, and now from CDs to streaming.

WSJ: How does Iconic’s strategy and structure differ from other companies investing in music?

Mr. Azov: We are not a fund. We are that long-term entity and a business enterprise that aims to create long-term value. We don’t see ourselves as the owner because everything I have done so far is done through the eyes of a manager. We see ourselves as managers.

WSJ: Why is legacy management so important? And who should think about it?

Mr. Azov: It’s hard to imagine that an artist who spends his life creating and marketing music and images laughing at “what happens when I’m gone”. It is not an overnight business, it is a business that requires expertise, resources and influence. I think every artist should think about it.

WSJ: What does inheritance management look like in Iconic?

Mr. Azov: With the Beach Boys, things are not going well. It’s well documented, but now we think it’s the glue to get them started, and I think we’ve missed out on a lot of opportunities in the last decade of fighting. .. These are the American Beatles and they are not that well known. From this documentary, next year will be the 60th anniversary. We planned a tribute concert to shoot and sold it to big chains. Everything from the Sirius XM Channel to a traveling exhibit of all the memories. There are many offers for feature films and biographies. These are just a few examples of what they could not have accomplished on their own because they could not run their business.

WSJ: What do you think of the enthusiasm and notoriety of this musical intellectual property market?

Mr. Azov: I am delighted that the work of these great artists is finally recognized as truly valuable, and I think it will be appreciated even more. Streaming is not over yet. New technologies will emerge. No one knew TikTok could exist. No one knew something like Peloton would take hold or Apple would make a big foray into the health and fitness industry. Even at the current level, the rate of return on investment is very acceptable.

WSJ: What do you think of your heritage?

Mr. Azov: It’s been so many years that I can’t control it right now. But I think the business will continue. Hope they say he not only built a great business for himself and his family, but his artist has become a major star and has kept his wealth under his leadership. I go. Tell me whatever you want about me, I realized that there would be no business without artists, and that we treat them with respect.

WSJ: And the price of the ticket? Will they go up or down?

Mr. Azov: I think they will be higher. The act wants to make up for lost time.

WSJ: What other permanent changes will you see to emerge from the pandemic?

Mr. Azov: I think the day of the awards ceremony is in serious danger. Grammy Awards, American Music Awards, Oscars. Movies, late night TV shows, and morning shows are less important. I think such kinds of music on TV may not come back.

WSJ: What is your first demonstration?

Mr. Azov: I have already been to my first show. I went to San Diego, Jimmy Buffett played two concerts and he recorded them. It was going to be a live broadcast that he posted, but it was a show. The 800-seat club had 40 fans. It was my first concert.

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Write to In Anne Steele

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