Amos Newman is the son of two-time Oscar winning composer Randy Newman, and is related to Thomas Newman, a 10-time Academy Award nominated composer. In addition, his great uncle Alfred is today regarded as one of the greatest musicians ever to work in film and was nominated for a total of 45 Academy Awards, winning a total of nine. WME has hired Newman away from the Gorfaine Schwartz Agency to head a newly formed film and TV and game and online and mobile division of the music department starting at the beginning of May. The new unit will work to integrat WME music clients like Kanye West, Lady Gaga, LCD Soundsystem, The Chemical Brothers, and Nine Inch Nails into film, television, gaming, online, and mobile platforms. Newman himself has worked closely with Oscar-winning composer A.R. Rahman for the past two years, traveling with Rahman on tour and expanding his business beyond composing. Newman also will work with the WME theatrical department to create opportunities for WME music clients on Broadway. Music industry insiders tell me that Newman will give WME an immediately recognizable presence in the field.
But those same insiders openly wonder about the future of the Gorfaine Schwartz Agency, which has enjoyed a virtual monopoly in the film music market as big name agencies have divested themselves of representing composers. ICM maintains a small presence. But GSA has benefited from the fact that, until now, CAA and WME and UTA and Paradigm did not have active businesses representing film/TV composers. I’ve learned that, last year, Mike Gorfaine and Sam Schwartz approached WME about selling GSA; they are both nearing retirement age and have been actively searching for buyers for their agency for a few years now. I’m told that, after approaching WME, Gorfaine and Schwartz enlisted Wachovia Partners and manager Gary Feldman to find a buyer for GSA Music, with no success. One problem cited to me is that GSA has not developed a new group of composers to match what is an increasingly aging roster. Star client Hans Zimmer is 53 years old, with no trace of younger stars in the GSA pipeline. Adding to the intrigue, Zimmer has been actively meeting with other major talent agencies to redefine his Remote Control Porductions team. Zimmer currently commissions the composers who work inside Remote Control and is trying to set up his company as a kind of agency within an agency.
Given all this behind-the-scenes intrigue, Newman’s hiring by WME came as a shock to the GSA Music heads. Amos spent four years there and most recently oversaw the career of two-time Oscar winner (five-time nominee) Rahman. But Newman’s experience spans nearly 25 years, and he also brings with him expertise not only music for film and television but also in music publishing, marketing, touring, and records. Newman began his music industry career as a 16-year-old intern at Warner Bros Records. After earning a degree in Music from USC, he joined the Elektra Records A&R staff in 1992, working closely with label Chairman Bob Krasnow. In 1996, he segued to GPR Records, where he worked with Tommy Lipuma and oversaw the reactivation of the classic Blue Thumb imprint, including the re-release of its eclectic catalog. In 1998, Amos returned to his hometown of Los Angeles to co-found Java Records with Glen Ballard, where over the course of six-plus years he signed and developed such artists as Katy Perry, and also worked alongside music giants ranging from No Doubt to Dave Matthews and Christina Aguilera.