Marc Geiger has called WME home since 2003, so when a Hits report published Tuesday suggested the agency’s global head of music was in the running for a high-ranking position at Spotify — “Insiders speculate that the potential hiring … is part of the Swedish streaming giant’s expansion into the live space,” read the report — the music industry was shook.
But Geiger denies rumors of secret talks and says his ties to Spotify are very much in the open: “My ‘Best Records’ playlist is public on Spotify,” he tells Variety. “I promise to update it now and bring it to 2020!”
At WME, Geiger oversees a roster that includes Justin Timberlake, Drake, Bruno Mars, Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd, Childish Gambino, Luke Bryan and Eric Church, although the coronavirus pandemic has shut down the touring industry almost completely, and indefinitely.
On Monday, Variety confirmed that Endeavor has arranged a $260 million term loan to help get the company through the coronavirus-driven revenue crisis at the same time that it launches a broad cost-cutting initiative. Endeavor has been known to be looking for financial alternatives since last fall when the company — the parent of UFC, WME, IMG and other entities — was forced to table its planned IPO.
The COVID-19 lockdowns brought the curtain down on sports, concerts, festivals and other live event businesses that are central to Endeavor’s businesses. The shutdown of music touring and film and TV production promises to be a hardship for WME and IMG.
News of the loan agreement comes on the same day that WME furloughed or laid off 20% of its staff of its roughly 1,500 staffers. Approximately a third of Endeavor’s total staff is being impacted by furlough, layoff, or reduced pay for reduced hours.
Impact to the music department has so far been muted as, according to sources, a handful of top agents have joined together in a unified front.
The jolt of the pandemic has added to the pressure on Endeavor and its CEO Ari Emanuel. The company has been on an acquisition spree during the past decade, bankrolled by debt and capital from investors including private equity giant Silver Lake. The Journal pegged the total investment by Silver Lake in Endeavor at $2 billion since 2012.