Paradigm Acquires 50-Percent Stake in Coda Music Agency

Ellie Goulding
Ellie Goulding
 Kyleen James

This article first appeared on Billboard.com.

In its latest strategic move, Paradigm has acquired a 50 percent stake in London-based Coda Music Agency, effective today Jan. 21. The deal gives each agency a more global presence at a time when international touring has never more robust, enabling the two agencies to pool their expertise and resources on a global basis.

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Coda, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2012 and has grown rapidly in recent years, now represents more than 500 artists and DJs from a wide range of genres, including Emeli Sande, Jake Bugg, the xx, Bon Iver, Rudimental, Imagine Dragons (whose American agent Corrie Christopher joined Paradigm in October), Ellie Goulding, Disclosure, Bastille and many others. The company's current partners are Rob Challice, Tom Schroeder, Alex Hardee, Dave Hallybone and James Whiting, with managing director Claire Horseman.
 
Marty Diamond, head of Paradigm's East Coast music division, was instrumental in the development of the alliance. "We have looked at the landscape and how to approach doing something internationally for years," Diamond tells Billboard.biz. "Over the years, a series of the agents [at Paradigm] have had ongoing relationships with several agents [at Coda], including most, if not all, of the partners. This was a deal that was founded and built on people, and belief in their passion and skill sets. That's where this started, and how it got conceived and built."
 
Strategically, the alliance plants a flag for Paradigm in London and, by extension, Europe and other international markets, serving the same function for Coda in the Americas. "Does it open up avenues for their clients and our clients and collective efforts, of course it does," Diamond says, "but first and foremost it's so solidly about the people. We've always had a great working relationship with them and vice versa, and this felt like a very natural outgrowth of that relationship."
 
Nine years ago, Sam Gores, chairman/CEO of Paradigm, expanded the agency's footprint into music with the acquisition of Monterey Peninsula Artists on the West Coast and in Nashville, adding New York's Little Big Man agency a year later. Now Paradigm is one of the top music agencies, with such clients as Aerosmith, Black Eyed Peas, Coldplay, Dave Matthews Band, Dwight Yoakam, Ed Sheeran, Eli Young Band, fun., Imagine Dragons, Janelle Monae, Jason Mraz, Phish and Toby Keith, among many others. In January of 2012, Paradigm announced a joint venture partnership with leading EDM agency AM Only, which reps such international stars and Grammy-winning artists as David Guetta, Skrillex, Tiesto and Zedd, immediately giving Paradigm a presence in that exploding scene.

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The alliance with Coda seems a similarly savvy move. In a statement, Gores says the Coda deal "furthers our strategy of aligning with agencies around the globe that share our values and our commitment to the highest quality representation."
 
Rob Challice, director at Coda, said in the statement, "We have had an excellent working relationship with the guys at Paradigm for many years. We share similar philosophies and values, and are particularly aligned in our views on developing artists' live careers. All the directors here at Coda are agents and will continue to be so. Our passionate, hands-on approach to our work and the way we run our business is not going to change at all."
 
Claire Horseman, managing director at Coda adds, "We are both artist friendly companies, and it makes perfect sense to put in place a working structure that allows us each to benefit from the others knowledge, experience and resources and to help our respective artists maximize the opportunities available to them on a global level."
 
Diamond points out a common denominator within both firms: "We're so solidly an artist development company, whether you look at what we've achieved with Ed Sheeran or what Corrie's achieved with Imagine Dragons," he says. "That's no different than what Alex Hardee has achieved with John Newman or London Grammar, or what Rob Challice has done with Bon Iver. We're both similarly spirited in terms of developing artists from the ground up and building careers."

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