Irving Azoff (born December 12, 1947) is an American personal manager, representing recording artists in the music industry such as Christina Aguilera, the Eagles, Joe Walsh, Van Halen, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Steely Dan, Chelsea Handler and Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac.
Since September 2013, he has been chairman and CEO of Azoff MSG Entertainment, a new venture with The Madison Square Garden Company. Prior to this he served as chairman and CEO of Ticketmaster Entertainment and was Executive Chairman of Live Nation Entertainment and CEO of Front Line Management. He is also on the board of Clear Channel Communications, Starz Inc., and IMG.
Azoff began promoting and booking bands while a student at Danville High school and then in college at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He moved to Los Angeles in 1970 with his first client, Dan Fogelberg. He worked for Geffen Roberts management and there began working with the Eagles, a relationship that has since lasted for more than 40 years. During his career he has worked as an agent, personal manager, concert promoter, movie producer, independent record label owner, merchandiser, music publisher, and CEO of a record company.
According to Thomas R. King's book, The Operator, Geffen manipulated Azoff into leaving MCA and going to Warner Music Group where Azoff 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.
Azoff co-produced the movies Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Urban Cowboy, Jack Frost (1998 film), Above The Rim and The Inkwell, and was executive producer of The Hurricane (1999 film) and has been named "Manager of the Year" by two touring industry's trade publications. In 2012, Azoff appeared in Artifact, a documentary film about the modern music business focused on the legal battle between Thirty Seconds to Mars and record label EMI.
In October 2008, ticketing and marketing company Ticketmaster announced that they would acquire the management company, Front Line Management Group Inc. As part of the deal, Azoff, who was founder and Chief Executive Officer of Front Line, became Chief Executive Officer of Ticketmaster and was named Chairman of Live Nation in February 2011.
In September 2013, Azoff Music Management[clarification needed] unveiled a new venture with the Madison Square Garden Co. (MSG) to form Azoff MSG Entertainment (AMSGE), encompassing Azoff’s current management business; publishing, digital media and television production. In addition to his role as Chairman and CEO of AMSGE, Azoff will act as consultant to MSG in connection with the management of its live event venues, including the The Forum (Inglewood) in California and other MSG-managed buildings.
Barney Hoskyns, in his book Hotel California about the late 1960s and 1970s Southern California rock scene, wrote that singer-songwriter Randy Newman's song "Short People" was directed at Azoff, whose height is 5' 3", had aggressively pursued Newman for Azoff's Front Line management company, and was known in the music industry as the "Poison Dwarf".
- Peter Lattman, "Live Nation’s Azoff Joins Clear Channel’s Board", New York Times, October 1, 2010
- Andy Fixmer, "Live Nation Chairman Azoff Said to Exit Concert Company", Bloomberg, December 31, 2012
- "Billboard Reveals the 2012 Power 100", Billboard, January 27, 2012
- E. Scott Reckard, "AZOFF QUITS AS CHAIRMAN OF MCA'S MUSIC UNIT", AP News Archive, September 5, 1989
- See generally Tom King, The Operator: David Geffen Builds, Buys, and Sells the New Hollywood, p. 449-450, Broadway Books (New York 2001).
- "Moviefone Filmography"
- Todd Martens, "Madison Square Garden invests $125 million in Irving Azoff firm", Los Angeles Times, September 4, 2013
- "Irving Azoff to Serve as Chairman and CEO of Azoff MSG Entertainment LLC", GlobeNewswire, September 4, 2013
- Jim DeRogatis, "The manager behind Billy Corgan: Meet the "Poison Dwarf"", Chicago Sun-Times, March 12, 2009
- Hoskyns, Barney (2010). Hotel California: The True-Life Adventures of Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young, Mitchell, Taylor, Browne, Ronstadt, Geffen, the Eagles, and Their Many Friends. John Wiley & Sons. p. 254.