| 18 Oct 2021
WMEÆs Marc GeigerÆs wisdom at Music Matters 2014

SINGAPORE: He has made a name for himself as concert promoter extraordinaire and music manger par excellence. We are referring to Marc Geiger, Worldwide Head of Music at William Morris Endeavor, who did a keynote interview with music and digital guru Ralph Simon at Music Matters Singapore.

Geiger has some great credits: at the age of 19, he became one of the biggest concert promoters in San Diego while at college, after dropping ambitions to be a baseball player and doctor. He holds a degree in management science and biology. He went on to work for Regency Artists (later Triad Artiste) and signed Echo and the Bunny, The Smiths, Cocteau Twins, New Order and The Church in 1984. Geiger revealed to Simon that he is a closet geek. "I was the first guy with computer knowledge in the music industry when I moved to Los Angeles," he stated. "They used to look at me as though I was nuts, because they used pencil and paper."

He also recollected the time when he first encountered the transport of music over the web when one of his staffers showed him the Web Wide World of Music, which he finally acquired in May 1994, which went on to become the core of a $500 million company.

Geiger then raised $200 million to create ArtistsDirect - designed to create a direct connection between musicians and fans, and also signed on some 130 top musicians like Rolling Stones, Madonna, Bjork, among others. It became one of the most trafficked music destinations online, before it finally crashed. He left ArtistDirect to join William Morris as SVP in the music division and then went on to be named head of its music division following its merger with Endeavour. Today, WME which he works for currently, books 27,000 dates for musicians and artists annually.

He points out that there is a lack of information and analytics about the Asian markets as far as bookers and promoters are concerned. "There is a lack of data from Spotify, Deezer and whosoever. So we don’t know much about the markets here," he stated. "Hopefully, we will start getting that data. And then we can get that flow going because Asia has a very strong focus on the domestic artistes. We need to get scale on this; from the industry. It has got to be AEG, LiveNation; it has got to be the industry."

"The focus has to be on development of the music scene," he pointed out. "They need to develop infrastructure, venues and digital for it to start becoming attractive. The Asian market has not found a way to communicate to us what it wants. Hence, acts want to stay away."

He agreed that Asia has been a smash and grab opportunity for big global touring artists. "That’s not healthy. In underdeveloped markets the superstars coming," he said. "In the developed markets, there are multilevel opportunities for all sorts of artists."

Geiger was appreciative of Apple’s acquisition of Beats. "It got Tim Cooke the CEO of Apple, the CEO of Beats Jimmy Iovine in his stable and this will help him understand content and delivery over digital. Just like Disney’s Igor did with the acquisition of Pixar and brining in Jobs to understand Digital."