The late-fall weather just got more humid in Music City’s agency community. In a defection that took fellow agents in and out of Nashville by surprise, Scott Clayton has exited as the co-head of CAA Nashville and moved over to take that same position at WME’s office in Music City.
At WME, Clayton will be sharing leadership functions with Rob Beckham, Joey Lee, Greg Oswald and Jay Williams. In his now-vacated role, he worked at CAA alongside Marc Dennis, Rod Essig, John Huie, and Darin Murphy. Clayton’s old and new teams were both recognized in Variety’s 2017 Music City Impact Report last month as among the biggest powerhouses in the industry.
Clayton had joined CAA Nashville in 2000, with the aim of diversifying a country- and CCM-focused roster to include more pop and rock acts. In recent years he’s represented rockers Kings of Leon, John Mayer, and Dead & Company as well as country kingpins the Zac Brown Band out of the Nashville branch. Clayton is expected to serve a similar genre-broadening function at WME Nashville, where he’ll officially be in charge of the company’s rock division.
“Over the course of my career I’ve been proud to watch the music community in Nashville grow into a global force,” Clayton said in a statement. “Overseeing the rock business from this city speaks to its importance and the city’s continued expansion. WME has demonstrated a strong commitment to Nashville and the rock genre, and I look forward to working to create new opportunities for all of our clients.”
“We are seeing many different genres of music thriving out of Nashville right now,” said WME’s head of music, Marc Geiger, “and with Scott’s addition we are in a great position to take advantage of the market opportunities available to us.”
Clayton first came to Nashville in 1994, when he helped Buck Williams start PGA, the first rock agency in Nashville. The development of Train into a major act was a feather in Clayton’s cap at PGA before he moved over to CAA six years later.
It’s not immediately known whether Clayton will bring any of his clients over to WME. Between them, the companies have helped spawn a healthy balance of power in Nashville. The WME roster is thick with country superstars like Garth Brooks, Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Chris Stapleton, and Jason Aldean. CAA Nashville also has a healthy lineup of the biggest names in the genre, like Keith Urban, Tim McGraw, and Shania Twain, as well as pop luminaries like Twenty One Pilots and the Chainsmokers.
WME Nashville was busy making changes even before scoring Clayton as a partner, having announced only last month that Lee and Williams had been upped to join Beckham and Oswald as co-heads, with that leadership lineup now suddenly numbering five instead of two.
Clayton is not the only agent coming over to WME Nashville. The firm announced Tuesday that Matthew Morgan, who’d been at CAA since 2004 and co-founded the festival department there, is moving over as well. Among the acts WME lists Morgan having worked with in his previous stint are Cam, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Gavin DeGraw, Phillip Phillips, Pussy Riot, and Rodrigo y Gabriela.