Marsha Vlasic will join Artist Group International (AGI) as president, less than a week after news broke that she was leaving ICM Partners. All of her clients, including Neil Young, Elvis Costello, Regina Spektor, Cage The Elephant, Muse, the Strokes, Moby, Band Of Horses, Silversun Pickups, Iggy and the Stooges, Ben Folds, Devendra Barnhart, Julian Casablacas, and Pegi Young, will make the move with Vlasic to AGI, which represents such artists as Billy Joel, Metallica, Def Leppard, Motley Crue, Megadeth, Linkin Park, and many others.
A veteran agent of more than 30 years, Vlasic has overseen the touring careers of such premier artists as Young and Costello for decades. After a tenure at ICM early in her career, she went back to the agency as senior VP of concerts when the latter acquired her MVO agency in 2008, with intentions to build up ICM’s music department. During Vlasic’s tenure at ICM, the agency acquired Robin Taylor’s Inland Empire Touring in 2009, though Taylor re-launched Inland Empire as an independent in 2012.
News came abruptly last week that Vlasic was departing ICM when an internal e-mail from Steve Levine, the firm’s worldwide head of music, “leaked” late Friday informing the staff of Vlasic’s exit, saying, in part, “We’ve enjoyed a successful relationship these past six years, but we’ve amicably decided to part ways at this time. Please join us in bidding her a fond farewell.” How amicable that departure really is would seem a matter of debate, but Vlasic is focusing on the future. “I’m really thrilled and look forward to a new chapter of my life that will be far more rewarding,” she tells Billboard. “All my clients are delighted to come with me.”
Founded by CEO Dennis Arfa some 30 years ago, AGI, one of the top independent booking agencies in the world, was acquired in 2012 by Y Entertainment Group, part of Ronald Burkle’s investment firm Yucaipa. Vlasic’s move to AGI not only immediately adds even more box office muscle to an already powerful agency, but should also impact AGI’s and Arfa’s plans to continue to grow that agency. “We have a lot of plans, we have a lot of hopes, and we have Ron Burkle behind us,” says Vlasic. “What more can you ask?”
In a statement shared first with Billboard, AGI CEO Dennis Arfa states, “I am very proud to be associated with Marsha. Marsha’s roster of talent combined with AGIs’, further broadens an assemblage of talented artists that we take great pride in serving as representation for.” In that same statement, Vlasic offers, “I am thrilled to be joining Dennis and the team at AGI during this exciting chapter for the company. I have always had the highest regard of the great work they do on behalf of their artists.”
And even Yucaipa’s Ron Burkle weighed in, adding, “I have always had the utmost respect and admiration for Marsha’s amazing career, and look forward to her continued success as part of the AGI team.”
Vlasic has been featured in Billboard’s Women in Music list over several years for her work as one of the most powerful and respected agents in the business. She is a longtime supporter of Young’s Bridge School, handling the diverse lineup of top-shelf musicians who perform for the school’s annual benefit. She is also an advisory board member of the Global Poverty Project. Following tenures at ATI, ICM and the William Morris Agency, Vlasic formed her own company, M.V.O. LLC (My Very Own) in 1993. At MVO, she pioneered music festival packaging in launching the Ozzfest and H.O.R.D.E tours.
Vlasic will be honored on October 21 by the T.J. Martell Foundation for Leukemia, Cancer and AIDS Research at the charity’s 39th Annual Honors Gala at Cipriani in New York, alongside five others. She will receive the Spirit of Music Award. The annual New York Honors Gala brings together hundreds of music and entertainment leaders, top business executives and celebrities, allowing the organization to continue its work in Leukemia, Cancer and AIDS research.
AGI has also announced Adam Kornfeld has been named president of touring, North America. He has been with the company since its founding as QBQ Entertainment in 1986. Additionally, Jarred Arfa has been elevated to the post of executive vice president of business affairs and development. He has been with AGI for over 3 years, following his tenure with CKX Inc. as director of Muhammad Ali Enterprises