Music Executive Irving Azoff’s name was in the news on November 9th when it was announced that he would be honored at Clive Davis and the Recording Academy’s Pre-Grammy gala. Irving will be presented with the President’s Merit Award as the gala recognizes music industry icons.
The President’s Merit Award has been given to prestigious names through the music industry in the past such as L.A Reid, Martin Bandier, Sir Richard Branson, and Lucian Grange. All names that have helped make the music industry what it is today by their abilities to scout talent, manage clients respectfully at the same time as guiding them into correct paths in their careers, and doing all of their work with an incredible sense of business that allowed them to look after their clients and themselves at the same time.
It’s no wonder Irving Azoff is the newest and most deserving recipient of this award.
Irving has been building a name for himself in the industry since the 1970’s and hasn’t once slowed down. From his first client Dan Fogelberg to his most long running relationship with The Eagles – and all of the incredible artists he manages in between – he’s changed the lives of many celebrities. Irving helps his client’s assemble almost bullet proof long lasting career paths by taking their personal and professional dreams into account when he plans the business side of their ventures together.
In an industry that’s known to be riddled with snakes in the grass and “business executives” out to selfishly make money off of people who sign along to futures they weren’t prepared for – Irving stands out as a man who helps.
If you’re familiar with Irving Azoff you’re probably aware of his work with Thirty Seconds to Mars in the film Artifact which gave the public a real view into what the less glamorous side of the industry looks like for too many musicians. Irving helped Thirty Seconds to mars through their lawsuit – and has a heated discussion with a ”friend’ at EMI (Thirty Seconds to Mars’ previous label) about why the lawsuit is a terrible idea and how Irving will stop at nothing to make sure everybody knows it. Irving Azoff now manages Thirty Seconds to Mars and Jared Leto credits him as one of the most amazing men in the industry.
The praise from his clients doesn’t stop there.
“In the 40 years that we have worked with Irving, we have been continually amazed at his business acumen — his foresight, timing, creativity, fearlessness, loyalty, wisdom and everything else the band expected … and demanded. The only frustration being when we were on a tight deadline to deliver a record, he didn’t help write one song.” — Don Henley
Irving has had his hand in many ventures since his start including being a chairman of MCA records where he is credited for getting the label’s fortunes under control, being chairman and CEO of Ticketmaster and chairman of Live Nation before he resigned at the end of December 2012. Irving was vocal about his unhappiness with the concert business in terms of rapidly growing ticket prices and the how easy it was for scalpers due to paper ticketing. He thought he could fix these growing issues but was greeted with a lack of motivation to fix them by people in the industry. Irving left on nothing but good terms and believes that Ticketmaster will continue to do great things under Michael Rapino.
Irving’s most recent new venture began in September of 2013 as Azoff MSG Entertainment which is a diverse entertainment company that’s allowed him to gain new clients – even Chelsea Handler – and further expanding the playing field for Irving to work with. It seems like there is nothing he can’t do.
When he was chosen for the President’s Merit Award it was certainly for a reason, or a hundred, and we think it’s fitting that he is the recipient especially now when more is known to the public about the way artists are severely mistreated.
Irving seems to be someone who fights for the good and does so unselfishly. Two qualities that are important to anyone who has a position of power.
The Gala will take place on Sunday February 14th – the night before the Grammy Awards – and also serves as a fundraising event. It is sponsored by Hilton, Hyundai, Harman and MasterCard and will also include musical performances.
Neil Portnow says of Azoff
“He is a visionary of our industry whose passion and innovation, combined with his championing some of the world’s greatest superstars, has helped to shape the musical landscape for decades.”
Congratulations Irving Azoff on the upcoming award – you deserve it.