Osborne will become CEO of the Independent Artist Group (IAG) and take over the day-to-day management of the firm. Jim Gosnell, longtime leader of the APA, moves into the role of board member with the mandate to seize growth and acquisition opportunities for the new venture. Dennis ArfaCo-founder of Artist Group Intl., he will serve as head of IAG’s Music division. Marsha Vlasic, president of Artist Intl.Group, has been appointed vice president of music.
Artist Group Intl. It was founded 35 years ago and is among the top-grossing and most respected tour agencies in the industry. Arfa founded his own agency in the 1970s with Billy Joel, the Beach Boys and Phoebe Snow before moving to William Morris in 1981. After 150 performances – about 45 years. Other franchise artists of the company include Metallica, Def Leppard, Rod Stewart, Motley Crue, Linkin Park, Janes Addiction, Darryl Hall & John Oates, Norah Jones, Neil Young, The Strokes, Smashing Pumpkins, Ghost, Elvis Costello and many more. .
Jarred Arfa, COO of the Artist Group, to Arfa and Vlasic; tour leader Adam Kornfeld; and the remaining senior representatives and staff of the company. Artist Group staff and operations will move to APA’s New York offices.
APA and Artist Group Intl. were brought together in part because they shared a co-investor, Ron Burkle of Yucaipa Co. Burkle has increased its investment in entertainment-related talent representation businesses in recent years. I have Provided the APA with a lifeline three years ago amid the shock of the first months of the pandemic. Recently APA celebrated its 60th anniversary.
According to Yucaipa, Yucaipa Co. acquired Artist Group Intl. in 2011 “with the aim of expanding its reach in live entertainment through strategic acquisitions and organic growth”.
But the merger of APA and Artist Group Intl. also stemmed from the working relationship the two developed by working together last year. Dennis Afra and others have been impressed with APA’s work on non-music projects on behalf of some of their superstar clients. The APA has developed expertise in branding, brand development and endorsement deals that are beneficial to top Artist Group clients, including Joel, Daryl Hall, Perry Farrell, Billy Corgan and others.
“Dennis Arfa and his exceptional colleagues at AGI are respected in the industry for building an amazing roster of artists and a valuable reputation,” said Osborne. “The great news is that we have already built a tremendous working relationship with them by jointly representing some of their most valuable artists. This new partnership with AGI and our rebranding as Independent Artist Group is another important step that elevates us in the agency landscape and we are not done yet.”
If the APA hoped to remain competitive in a turbulent TV and movie content market, it needed a partnership to bolster its music and touring roster. Music’s resilience as a reliable profit engine is further underlined as we move forward into week eight of the Hollywood Writers Guild of America strike. APA’s effectiveness in the lucrative touring arena took a hit in 2017 when top comedy agent Mike Berkowitz made the switch to WME.
“This was the natural next step in our evolution and was done in the interests of our esteemed artists,” said Dennis Arfa. “We admire how Jim Osborne and his colleagues have become market leaders in creating brand-wide, non-touring revenue opportunities for their clients and are excited to build on this success with them and look forward to integrating under the Independent Artist Group banner.”
Gosnell said the APA-Artists Group transaction and the generational leadership transition it brought was “a great day for us.” “I couldn’t have been higher on the opportunity to combine APA and AGI, which gave us an incredible music division on a massive scale, in keeping with the perfect scale we created last year on the talent and light side of the business. After more than 40 years at the agency, this is without a doubt the strongest we’ve ever been. location.”
Osborne joined the APA in 2011 from the Paradigm Agency. He was named head of talent in 2018 and promoted to president in 2020 in conjunction with the Yucaipa agreement.
“Jim Gosnell has been an incredible representative of this organization for decades and we wouldn’t be where we are today without his leadership,” said Osborne. “Our offices will stay side by side and we will rely heavily on him to guide our future.”
(Pictured: Jim Osborne, Dennis Arfa)