Irving Azoff’s Front Line Hires Record Company Vets Ron Fair, Richard Palmese (Exclusive)

The move to Azoff’s management group is a sign that the balance of power in the music industry has shifted

Irving Azoff Ron Fair and Richard Palmese

Two veteran record company executives have joined Irving Azoff’s Front Line Management, another sign of the changing balance of power in a reconfigured music industry.

Ron Fair, the former president of A&M Records, and Richard Palmese, a former president of MCA Records, are joining Front Line Management as consultants in the talent scouting and marketing divisions of the company, respectively.

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“When proven industry superstars such as Richard and Ron are available, I know I need to have them join the Front Line team. Our artists and managers have just hit the lottery,” said Irving Azoff, Chairman and CEO of the Front Line Management Group.

The recruitment of major record label executive talent to the management side – and Front Line is the biggest there is – is another sign of the shifting winds of the music business.

Record companies no longer hold the balance of power, with personal brands built by artists driving revenue from concert tickets, television appearances, merchandising and advertising contracts.

Front Line Management is owned by Live Nation Entertainment, the largest live-musical entertainment company.

Fair is best known for shepherding the career of Christina Aguilera, and is highly regarded for his contributions to building the careers of the Black Eyed Peas, Fergie, the Pussycat Dolls, Mary J. Blige, Queen Latifah, among others.

"Teaming up with Irving Azoff is a spectacular new beginning for me,” said Fair.  “I look forward to working closely with Irving, Richard Palmese and Front Line's incomparable roster of managers and artists. We will also focus on discovering, nurturing and developing a new generation of superstars and hit music-intensive branded entertainment."

After running MCA Records in the 1990s, Palmese was a senior executive at J Records, RCA Music Group, including the J, RCA and Arista labels. He has been instrumental in developing the careers of artists from Whitney Houston to Elton John, Aretha Franklin, Maroon 5, Sean Combs, Foo Fighters and many others.

Front Line Management Group represents 250 leading musical clients including the Eagles, Jimmy Buffett, Neil Diamond, Christina Aguilera, Kenny Chesney, Fleetwood Mac, Journey, Jennifer Hudson and the New Kids on the Block.