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Musical chairs: Azoff exits promo gig

Promoter takes spot as special consultant

Music mogul Irving Azoff has ankled his post as co-chairman of live-event promoter Concerts West, shifting to a purely advisory role within the company in order to focus his attention full-time on his talent management biz.

Azoff, who becomes a “special consultant” to Concerts West and its parent, the Anschutz Entertainment Group, is expected to sell his minority interest in the Los Angeles-based company back to AEG boss Philip Anschutz for an undisclosed sum.

AEG prexy-CEO and Concerts West co-chairman Timothy J. Leiweke will take over sole chairmanship of the company upon Azoff’s departure.

Goal achieved

“Nearly three years ago I made a personal commitment to Tim that together we would build a company that artists, agents and managers would respect and support,” Azoff said in a statement. “I truly believe this goal has been achieved, and I look forward to new challenges.”

Azoff plans to focus on his management firm, Azoffmusic Management, which is home to such star acts as the Eagles, Christina Aguilera, Steely Dan, Seal and Jewel.

Exec has expanded his mandate as a talent manager with his biggest client in recent months, helping the Eagles release and promote their latest record without major-label support — buying ads on their own and dealing directly with mega-retailers such as Best Buy.

Depressed market

AEG has suffered along with its peers in a tough market for live entertainment over the past two years, as a down economy coupled with persistent fears over terrorism post-Sept. 11 have conspired to depress concert attendance.

Company, which has booked recent tours by Aguilera, the Eagles and Fleetwood Mac, has fought an uphill battle against the sector’s 800-pound gorilla, Clear Channel Entertainment. AEG has sought to beef up its own competitive stature with on-again, off-again talks over the past couple of years to acquire the House of Blues concert venues.

For his first company, Front Line Management, Azoff traded on his reputation as a steely negotiator in the 1970s to build a solid client list that included the Eagles and Journey. He later rose to prominence in the business as the head of MCA Music Entertainment Group and eventually formed his own label, Giant Records, as a venture with Warner Music.

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