Veteran booking agent Bill Elson has ankled his post as co-captain of the recently formed Artist Direct agency. Elson, who spent less than six months at the young agency, left to pursue other opportunities.
Elson joined veteran agent Don Muller and record marketer Marc Geiger, the latter one of the founders of the Lollapalooza festival, to form a cutting-edge, multimedia venture that would diversify into web sites and a record label along with its core business of artist bookings.
It also opened its doors with an impressive, mostly alternative-music skewing, artist roster, with such acts as the Dandy Warhols, Foo Fighters, Primus and Pearl Jam, among others.
The addition of Elson, who left as head of the music division of International Creative Management shortly before the bow of the new agency, surprised many in the industry; others figured his extensive agency business acumen would be a boon. to the new company.
Geiger had marketed discs at Rick Rubin’s American Recordings and had Lollapalooza as a calling card. Muller’s experience included his tenure as a senior music veep at William Morris, where he oversaw acts generating $200 million in tour revenues. Elson’s 11-year tenure at ICM included booking Rush, the Moody Blues, Lynyrd Skynyrd and others on concert tours, but he had limited success in making the agency a major player among the Big Three.
Concert industry insiders suggested Elson’s virtue was also his Achilles’ heel: He was a numbers guy and not a people person.