Irving Azoff (born December 13, 1947) is an American personal manager, representing recording artists in the music industry such as Christina Aguilera, Journey, Jewel, the Eagles, X Japan, Bush, REO Speedwagon, Seal, David Archuleta, Alter Bridge, Van Halen, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Neil Diamond, New Kids on the Block, Steely Dan and New Edition. Azoff is chairman and founder of Azoff Music Management Group, Inc. In late 2008, he became chairman and CEO of Ticketmaster Entertainment. He was Executive Chairman of Live Nation Entertainment until his resignation on December 31, 2012. He topped Billboard's 2012 Power 100 and was named the most powerful person in the music industry. As of at least 2010, Azoff is also on the board of Clear Channel Communications.
He began promoting and booking bands during his college years at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and has worked as an agent, personal manager, concert promoter, movie producer, independent record label owner, merchandiser, music publisher, and CEO of a record company. He moved to Los Angeles with his first clients, Joe Walsh and Dan Fogelberg. He then joined Geffen Roberts management where he began working with the Eagles. After David Geffen sold Asylum Records to Warner Music, the management company splintered and Azoff left with the Eagles as his own client.
From 1983 to 1989, Azoff headed MCA Records and is credited for saving the company from bankruptcy. Azoff resigned from MCA in 1989 to form his own record label, Giant Records, now defunct (Warner Music Group bought the masters.)
David Foster's book, Hitman, includes a chapter titled "The Troika" about Azoff, David Geffen and Walter Yetnikoff, three rival record executives in the 1980s. According to Thomas R. King's book, The Operator, Geffen manipulated Azoff into leaving MCA and going to Warner Music Group where he started Giant Records. King writes that Geffen wanted Azoff out at MCA to clear the way for MCA to buy Geffen Records. So Geffen convinced Mo Ostin at Warner Music to offer Irving Azoff a "dream" label deal. Giant Records operated for much of the 1990s until Azoff decided to return to concentrating on artist management.
In January 2008, it is being reported that Azoff is working with former New Kids on the Block alumni Jordan Knight, Joey McIntyre, Jonathan Knight, Danny Wood and Donnie Wahlberg on a 'reunion' album.
It was announced on October 1, 2008, that Azoff would be managing English singer Morrissey. On January 6, 2010, Morrissey discontinued his relationship with Azoff and Front Line Management Group.
In October 2008, ticketing and marketing company Ticketmaster announced that they would acquire artist management company Front Line Management Group Inc.. As part of the deal, Irving Azoff, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Front Line, became Chief Executive Officer of Ticketmaster.
Ticketmaster issued restricted stock awards to Mr. Azoff representing approximately 4.5% of Ticketmaster's stock. The deal includes $35 million of restricted Ticketmaster preferred stock that is convertible at Azoff's election into 1.75 million shares of Ticketmaster common stock, and 1 million shares of restricted Ticketmaster common stock.
Ticketmaster also agreed to grant Azoff options to purchase 2 million shares of Ticketmaster common stock at an exercise price of $20 per share.
In May 2010, Guns N' Roses-singer Axl Rose filed a $5 million lawsuit against former manager Azoff, saying that Azoff sabotaged sales of Guns N' Roses’ comeback album and lied about a potential “super tour” with Van Halen (which Azoff manages) as part of a scheme to force Rose to reunite with his former band members. Rose said in his suit that Azoff failed to promote his 2008 album, “Chinese Democracy,” and deliberately mishandled concert dates, “forcing Rose into a position where he would have no choice but to reunite with the original members of Guns N’ Roses for a reunion tour.
In January 2011, it was confirmed that Azoff is now managing The Cab.
In early 2013, it was announced that Azoff is now managing Australian singer-songwriter Delta Goodrem.
It has long been rumored that singer/songwriter Randy Newman wrote the song "Short People" as a stab at Azoff (Azoff is 5'3"). Azoff's overaggressive pursuit of Newman for Azoff's Front Line management company is said to have been the reason for Newman's displeasure with Azoff. This rumor has never been definitively confirmed by Newman.
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- Morrissey now managed by Irving Azoff; Southpaw Grammar: Album re-issue release date and other information - True To You (1 October 2008)
- Statement From Morrissey
- "The manager behind Billy Corgan: Meet the "Poison Dwarf"".
- Barney Hoskyns. "Hotel California: The True-Life Adventures of Crosby, Stills, Nash,..., Eagles".