Lourd eyes changes in the industry

CAA partner gives keynote at FT's Business of Luxury Summit

Everyone knows what the Internet did to record labels. But CAA isn’t singing an unhappy tune about it.

That’s because the agency is raking in more coin than before as musicians ramp up concert tours to offset declining record sales.

Not too surprisingly CAA partner Bryan Lourd is bullish on other performance events as well. During Tuesday keynote at FT’s Business of Luxury Summit in Beverly Hills, Lourd cited theater, concerts and sporting events as activities that will continue to thrive as consumers increasingly migrate online.

“I think there is an opportunity for all performance related events,” said Lourd, who acknowledged that the company is exploring private equity investment to fund further expansion.

It would be a first for the agency, which has been self-financing all along. Lourd said the fantasy is “a group of really smart people” would invest without intruding too deeply into agency affairs. The agency is said to be talking with KKR, but CAA declined to identify potential investors.

“We don’t know if it’s a better way to go,” he said. “We’ll see.”

Lourd denied a report that top brass would exit the company after any such cash infusion.

“It’s our baby – our family outside our own dysfunctional families,” he said. “We all love it.”

He acknowledged there’s still a lot of uncertainty about how other forms of media will adapt to consumers’ digital shift. “The old models of distribution are shifting,” he said. “You have to adjust quickly.”

Prodded by FT editor Lionel Barber to rate how the movie business is adapting, he gave studios a mixed review. He said that leaders like Disney CEO Bob Iger “are doing all the right things” but “some guys are holding on too tight to the old ways. They are probably going to wake up and their business is going to be gone.”

Lourd lauded experimentation between brands and filmmakers, citing a campaign by Brett Ratner, a client, and Mitchum deodorant to find the hardest working guy in America as one creative example.

“It’s not rocket science,” he said. “No one’s created ‘Birth of a Nation’ yet, but it’s exciting.”

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