Paradigm has established itself as a buyer, slowly but steadily growing the agency over the years. Its latest move is the acquisition of a 50% stake in the UK’s Coda Music Agency. The partners already have had a longstanding relationship and the new joint venture will see the two agencies pool expertise and resources on a global basis. Coda, founded in 2002, represents more than 500 artists and DJs including singer-songwriter Emeli Sande, indie pop band The XX, Grammy winners Bon Iver, electronic quartet Rudimental, alt rock group Imagine Dragons and Brit Award nominees Bastille. Coda’s current partners are Rob Challice, Tom Schroeder, Alex Hardee, Dave Hallybone and James Whiting with managing director Claire Horseman. “Our passionate, hands-on approach to our work and the way we run our business is not going to change at all,” Challice said.
Paradigm, with its banking relationships, has been methodically making moves to build itself either by picking up top talent or through measured investments. It also doesn’t hurt that Sam Gores’ brothers, Tom and Alec Gores, are billionaires, well-versed in monied acquisitions and can help advise. If you look at the past few years, you can see the method that Paradigm has employed. The Coda deal follows a number of others over the past several years to beef up its music roster, which already is impressive with such talent as Coldplay, The Dave Matthews Band, Toby Keith, Fun, Aerosmith, O.A.R., and Toby Keith.
In January 2012, Paradigm also acquired a 50% interest in the top independent Electronic Dance Music Agency AM ONLY which is similar in nature to the Coda deal. That brought in a new genre of superstars — Tiesto, Skrillex and David Guetta – to the talent agency fold. In 2008, it brought aboard agent Matt Galle and more indie bands, such bands as aforementioned Fun, My Chemical Romance, and The National. In 2006, it acquired Little Big Man booking, reps to legendary touring bands Coldplay and Jason Mraz. The same year, the agency hired Ed Micone, the event pro who repped and booked music and comedy clients in casinos. In 2004, it acquired Monterey Pennisula Artists, which launched the music division with Dave Matthews, Phish, and Aerosmith.
In regards to talent, it acquired both Genesis and competition Writers & Artists agency in 2004 to continue its growth. The agency just added former CAA agent Manny Nunez to the fold where he will join his former CAA colleagues Bob Bookman, Ken Stovitz and Rand Holston. Paradigm also hired well-known talent agent Iris Grossman from ICM last year. About 10 days ago, the agency announced that it hired New York-based youth agents Ellen Gilbert and Rachel Altman from Abrams Artists to run its Youth/Young Adult division. Again, if you look back, you can see the progression with the youth talent market. The agency really began the push into the youth market in 2011 when they hired Wendi Green and Jennifer Millar from Abrams. The big purchases, of course, were in 2004 when it not only purchased Genesis but also boutique Writer & Artists agency.
“I’m a perpetual student of what works and what doesn’t work and you make adjustments accordingly,” said Sam Gores, chairman/CEO of Paradigm. “We’ve done it one bite at a time. As with many moves that we made, the fact that we have the culture that is so well integrated with people who have the same goals and philosophy about the business. We’ve allowed them to keep their own unique points of view and have given them the infrastructure to grow themselves.” He said the key to growth is finding the right people to get into business with. “I have focused on the people instead of the deals by putting together like-minded people with the same level of integrity. My personal focus shifted from who does this person come with to who IS this person? We’ve passed on big names just because the people don’t share the same business philosophies.” Paradigm now has two offices in New York (NYC and Brooklyn), two offices in Southern California (Beverly Hills/Los Angeles), and divisions in Nashville, Austin, and Monterey. And now, it has an office in London. Well done, Sam.