January 27, 2012  By Billboard Staff












Billboard found something else that Irving Azoff, executive chairman of Live Nation, can sit atop: In the January 28 issue of the magazine, Billboard unveils the Power 100, a ranking of the most powerful people in the music business.

Azoff’s position on the Power 100 reflects a general trend in power, away from record labels and over to the management and touring side of the business. Of the 100 slots, 23 were filled by those in management or the touring business, compared to 21 record labels.

“Ultimately the artists are in control,” noted one top entertainment attorney, speaking in consultation to the creation of the list. “So whoever most influences the artist has the power. But the label role has diminished as they no longer can provide the established artists with as much cash as they used to.”

Rankings were determined by a combination of key factors including market share, exclusive Billboard chart data/boxscore information, and revenue.  A team of 15 top Billboard editors then analyzed the value of these metrics to produce the final results. The list is U.S. based. As well, the Power 100 puts a premium on the top decision makers at each company. So, for example, the strong position of Interscope’s Jimmy Iovine’s is an argument against a high position for the number-two at that company, Steve Berman, who still makes the list.

The list boasts six artists, each of whom cracked the business ranking for specific reasons. “We couldn’t weigh the power of an artist’s fanbase against the power an executive has, or this would have simply been an artist list,” says Bill Werde, Billboard’s editorial director. “Our Moneymakers list is our artist list. But certain artists were able to break through to the Power 100 based purely on their business success or innovations.”

Artists on the Power 100 include Jay-Z and Beyonce as a power couple, Taylor Swift, U2, Jon Bon Jovi and Lady Gaga.

The rapidly changing music business is represented by the diversity of the remaining slots on the Power 100. There are 10 executives in television or movies (who either book artists or curate music for their productions); nine radio-industry executives and seven music-publishing executives (eight, including David Israelite of the National Music Publishers Association).

The list also includes executives from six digital service providers, from webcasters like Pandora to digital download stores like iTunes; five companies that use music for branding purposes and provide tour and artist sponsorship opportunities like Coca Cola, Chevrolet and AMEX; and five trade groups, like the RIAA and A2IM. There are also four lawyers, and two venture capitalists who invest in music-related companies.
Azoff’s placement at the top of the list is due to his command of the biggest concert-promotion company, the largest ticketing company and the largest artist-management firm in the world. Since live performances are the main revenue source for artists, the touring industry is well represented on the list.

In the year ended 2010, Live Nation posted sales of $5.06 billion in revenue, up 21% from the prior year’s total of $4.2 billion. That increase is almost entirely due to the merger with Ticketmaster that brought Azoff — a veteran music industry executive with a long resume that includes running major record labels and artist-management firms — into the company. But in 2011, going up against the merger numbers, Live Nation is still up 9.75% to $4.2 billion, up another 9.75% from $3.83 billion.

Azoff’s power reflects the changing dynamic in the music business. As he said in the Q&A that appears in the issue, “It’s all about the artist and those they empower to execute their business plans.”


1. Irving Azoff

2. Coran Capshaw

3. Lucian Grainge

4. Martin Bandier

5. Doug Morris

6. Michael Rapino

7.  Rob Light

8. Len Blavatnik

9. Tim Leiweke

10. Jimmy Iovine

11. Eddie Cue and Robert Kondrk

12. John Hogan

13. Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter & Beyonce Knowles

14. Lyor Cohen

15. Randy Phillips

16. Emmanuel Seuge

17. Frank Cooper

18. Barry Weiss

19. Rob Stringer and Steve Barnett

20.  Arthur Fogel

21. Marc Geiger

22.  Dan Mason

23. Bob Pittman

24.  Roger Faxon

25.  Ronald “Slim” Williams and Bryan “Baby” Williams

26. Rio Caraeff

27. U2 and Paul McGuinness

28. Julie Greenwald and Craig Kallman

29. Daniel Ek

30.  Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald

31. Lewis W. Dickey, Jr

32. Peter Grosslight

33. Charles Attal, Charlie Jones and Charlie Walker

34. Robert Greenblatt

35. Van Toffler

36. Monte Lipman

37. Antonio “L.A.” Reid

38. Joel Katz

39. Mark Campana and Bob Roux

40. Tim Westergren

41. Peter Edge and Tom Corson

42. Tom Poleman

43. Chip Hooper

44. Hartwig Masuch

45. Rob Cavallo and Todd Moscowitz

46. Cliff Burnstein and Peter Mensch

47. Nathan Hubbard

48. Jay Brown

49. Evan Lamberg

50. Jon Bon Jovi

51. Lia Vollack

52. Jan Jeffries

53. Steve Bartels

54. Scott Borchetta

55. Blaise D’Sylva

56. Neil Portnow

57. Dennis Arfa

58. Cameron Strang

59. Cortez Bryant/Gee Roberson

60. Sean Parker

61. Steve Moore

62. Paul Rosenberg

63. Tifanie Van Laar

64. Ryan Seacrest

65. Robert Kyncl

66. Lorne Michaels

67. John Butcher

68. Clint Higham

69. Randy Spendlove

70. Rich Lehrfeld

71. Peter Luukko

72. John Branca

73. Melissa Lonner

74. Raul Alarcon, Jr.

75. John Frankenheimer

76. Cary Sherman

77. Larry Marcus

78. Taylor Swift

79. Kevin Mayer

80. PJ Bloom

81. James L. Dolan

82. Jesus Lopez

83. Martin Karl “Max Martin” Sandberg

84. Lady Gaga

85. Mike Dungan

86. Fred Wilson

87. Jon Platt

88. Willard Ahdritz

89. John Ivey and Alex Tear

90. Jody Gerson

91. Chris Tsakalakis

92. Nigel Lythgoe

93. Richard Busch

94. Debra Lee

95. David Israelite

96. Steve Berman

97. Rich Bengloff

98. Gary Overton

99. Daniel Glass

100. Simon Cowell


Irving Azoff: The Billboard Power 100 Q&A

January 27, 2012

By Ray Waddell (@billboardtour), Nashville








Billboard: Do people always take your calls?

Irving Azoff: Only the ones that want to complain about something.

What constitutes power in the music business?

The trust of artists.

The balance of power has shifted?

It’s all about live, live, live. Since the traditional recorded-music business models have drastically changed, there is truly diminished income derived from recorded music by artists-both current and catalog. The touring industry has become much more important as a majority revenue stream and the ancillary fan experiences and promotions that may be derived from it. It’s all about artists and those they empower to execute their business plans.

How is power best wielded? What’s the worst one can do with power?

Follow through on principled decisions. The worst thing one can do is think [the power] is yours-and not the artist’s.

When is it time to yell, and when is it time to chill?

Depends on who you’re dealing with.

Are things playing out the way you thought five years ago they might?

Between the worldwide economy and the lack of respect for intellectual property, you can be sure it will get tougher and tougher as time goes on.

And guys like me? Any power there?

Ray Waddell and Billboard hold all the power cards.

I guess now is when I start playing “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You.”

I’d prefer “Life in the Fast Lane.”