In 1999, before the music industry paradigm had begun its radical shift, CAA made a prescient move and approached the VP of marketing at San Diego promoter Bill Silva Presents with the notion of creating a new position that would steer the agency toward more of “a service business.”
“Rob Light came to me when Bill sold the company to House of Blues, and asked me if there was a function that a marketing person could fill at the agency,” recalls the prized recruit, Allison McGregor. “It was a little scary — ‘Hey, let’s be the first people to try this.'”
As a new Internet-driven music business model has developed, the move has paid off in spades for CAA’s clients. In late 2005, McGregor used relationships with Ticketmaster and iTunes to set up a unique promotion: Those who bought Depeche Mode’s “Playing the Angel” from the online musicstore were given priority access to tickets for the band’s upcoming tour.
“We sold a lot of tickets and we sold a lot of records,” McGregor says. Subsequent promotions with CAA acts like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bob Dylan and Maroon 5 also resulted in big box office takes and No. 1 album debuts. Most recently, Bon Jovi sold out 10 nights at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., in the band’s home state, delivering another chart-topping album in the process.
McGregor also innovated presale programs for the Cheetah Girls and the Dixie Chicks at national Target outlets, and has ramped up a concert cruise series with such big-name acts as Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw and the Dave Matthews Band.
McGregor envisions an even greater share of CAA’s future business in Internet and mobile-driven marketing programs.
She views her mission as “finding those consumers that historically and naturally aren’t your first thought. Every time we can uncover one of those, it’s all the better for everyone.”
Vocation: Head of marketing and ticketing for CAA’s music branch
Recent breakthrough: “We’ve really had to step up our game in regards to the Internet and selling tickets online and coordinating the ticket sales along with record sales, with the sale of hard CDs going by the wayside and people turning to the digital download space to get their music.”
Role model: “(With) the other agents in my company … we work together as a team.”
Career mantra: “Do whatever it takes to make the client happy.”
What’s next: “I don’t necessarily look at what’s next for me — I look at how I can make my position and my job and the service that I provide to my clients better.”