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WAA, Artist Group forge strategic alliance

Writers and Artists Agency has created a strategic business partnership with music booking percentery Artist Group Intl.

Pact provides AGI music clients like Billy Joel, Metallica, Linkin Park and Luther Vandross a crossover platform into film, television, book publishing and legit, while taking WAA decisively into the music and personal appearance biz.

New entity will be known as Writers and Artists Group Intl., and the pact is already yielding fruit: A book deal for Metallica is in the works, spearheaded by WAA.

Writers and Artists partners Norman Aladjem, Marti Blumenthal and New York-based theater capo William Craver were instrumental in creating the pact with AGI prexy Dennis Arfa.

Arfa explained the attraction: “There were opportunities that we couldn’t give our clients that we now can. For example, Billy Joel has a Broadway show (‘Movin’ Out’) that we have no involvement in. Now we’ve got a partnership between our two businesses that brings added value to all of our clients.”

Commenting on the structure of the joint venture, Aladjem indicated that the two will operate as their own unique brands with the umbrella parent company being the new entity Writers and Artists Group Intl. The union, he said, “broadens the kinds of clients we can sign, because up until now we were both in businesses the other wasn’t.”

In 1998, Aladjem, Blumenthal and Craver assumed senior leadership roles and managing interest in the agency, with Aladjem as chairman-CEO and Blumenthal and Craver as agency partners.

WAA’s roster includes thesps Vivica A. Fox, Damon Wayans, Eriq LaSalle, Denis Leary and William H. Macy; feature director Reginald Hudlin; theater helmers Jerry Zaks and John Rando; “Monster’s Ball” scripter Will Rokos; and “Boondocks” comicstrip creator Aaron McGruder.

Artist Group Intl. was originally formed as a wholly owned division of SFX. It separated just before SFX was acquired by Clear Channel and today operates independently.

Both firms will continue to maintain offices in Gotham and Los Angeles.

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