Hollywood's Top 10 Music Business Managers 2018

6:35 AM 10/10/2018

by THR staff

Handling everything from tour budgets to streaming royalties, these money men and women advise the A-list artists in the music business.

David Bolno, Melissa Morton and David Weisz- Split-H 2018
Courtesy of Subjects

  • David Bolno and Richard Feldstein

    The team reps some of the hottest names in music, including Drake, Pharrell Williams and Selena Gomez. “I have had the unique opportunity to work on some of the largest tours of the year,” says Bolno. “Additionally, watching a few of my clients have breakout success has made my year extra fulfilling.” Meanwhile, Feldstein’s roster also includes “entrepreneurial, smart and driven” female clients like Kate Hudson, Tyra Banks and his daughter, Lady Bird star Beanie Feldstein.

    How do you unwind after tax season?
    Bolno: "I just like to spend as much time as I can with my family."
    Feldstein: "Health spa, although tax season has turned into a year-round affair."

  • Todd Gelfand and Melissa Morton

    The firm that Gelfand’s father co-founded 51 years ago remains prestigious among the musical set, having served as the official auditing firm for the Recording Industry Association of America for decades. In addition to longtime clients Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond and Will Smith, the 375-person company also got a special mention in the Playbill for Springsteen on Broadway. Meanwhile, client Lionel Richie wooed a whole new generation of fans after joining the American Idol reboot last spring.

    I binge watch...
    Morton: “My children.”
    Gelfand: “My grandchildren.”

  • Bernie Gudvi and Michael Oppenheim

    From trouble came opportunity. In early 2017, Gudvi and Oppenheim were shocked to see former business partner Jonathan Schwartz plead guilty to charges of wire fraud in connection with embezzling millions from Alanis Morissette. The malfeasance was a nightmare for Gudvi and Oppenheim, but the two have landed on their feet as their firm was absorbed by NKSFB in April. The move has meant that clients including Katy Perry, Beyonce, and Eminem can enjoy larger resources for financial planning.

    What would you buy with unlimited resources?
    Gudvi: “David Geffin’s yacht.”

    What’s the most common reaction from clients to the new tax law?
    Oppenheim: “Fuck Trump.”

  • Mary Ann McCready

    From finishing its succession plan to keeping tabs on new technology and the revenue it generates for artists, McCready’s Nashville-based firm is focused on the future. "There are so many more streams of income to track for clients," says McCready, who’s been linked to Kings of Leon, Kelsea Ballerini and the late Mac Miller. “We are obsessed with making certain we understand and are following the dollar from each new service." McCready was also recently inducted into The Circle Guard, an honor from the Country Music Hall of Fame awarded to those who give their "time, talent and treasure" to the museum and the genre.

    Which fictional banker would you trust with your money?
    "George Bailey from It’s a Wonderful Life."

  • Steves Rodriguez

    From streamers to mergers, the music landscape may be in a constant state of flux, but Rodriguez advises his clients through the ups and the downs. “After several years of business decreasing, we have reached a place where the business is growing consistently,” says the manager, who handles the finances of chart toppers like Fifth Harmony and "Despacito" producers Mauricio Rengifo and Andrés Torres. While the industry ebbs and flow, Rodriguez says there is always one investment that is reliable: “Real estate. It never goes out of style.”

    How do you unwind after tax season?
    “Travel. We went to Colombia recently. I have tons of family back there and it was my first time taking my kids.”

  • Solomon Smallwood

    The Atlanta-based veteran in January leveraged his 23 years of experience in private practice to merge his firm, TSG Financial Management, into Provident Financial Management. He continues to work with such big music stars as Justin Bieber, Toni Braxton, Chris Brown and The-Dream and finds he gets to have “more face time” with his L.A.-based clients as a result of the merger, since he is in town two to three times a month now. “It appears that the clients have so far embraced the changes,” he says. “Knock on wood, all of that has worked out very well.”

    Which fictional banker would you trust with your money?
    "My fictional financial hero is Mr. Drysdale of The Beverly Hillbillies. This guy has always been a hero of mine. I believe Mr. Drysdale was the first business manager ever."?

    What's one piece of financial advice that never gets old?
    "The 'deal of a lifetime' comes along once a week. Clients will often hear or see something and get all excited about the idea, but I have seen so many individuals over the years get in trouble and lose a lot of money. So I often try to kind of temper some of that excitement, and, if we determine that this deal is not appropriate, don’t worry, there will be another one."


  • Bill Tannenbaum and Eric Wasserman

    Tannenbaum and Wasserman are partners at a 75-employee business management firm with offices in four cities, where they rep talent ranging from Metallica to Ariana Grande. It’s what Tannenbaum dreamed about when, in the 1990s during the heyday of Seattle's grunge music scene, he decided to get into the music business. He ditched bartending, took an entry-level job in L.A., and worked his way up, eventually becoming partner at WG&S where he now oversees finances and deals with tour logistics. The stresses of the job mean constantly being on call, but Tannenbaum hardly regrets following his dreams, calling his trip around the world with Prince a career highlight.

    What would you do with unlimited funds?
    Tannenbaum: “I’d buy The Hollywood Bowl and a helicopter.”

  • Lou Taylor

    Taylor’s clients can’t get enough of Las Vegas. As Jennifer Lopez finishes her three-year residency in Sin City, Florida Georgia Line and Steven Tyler’s Aerosmith are planning multiday concert events along the Strip. Beyond the desert, client Britney Spears' international Piece of Me tour brought in $23 million. But it’s not all about the music for Nashville-based Taylor, who also recently signed Game of Thrones’ Natalie Dormer and Australian actress Samara Weaving.

    What’s one piece of financial advice that never gets old?
    "'Rule number one: Don’t lose money. Rule number two: Don’t forget rule number one.' — Warren Buffet."

  • David Weise

    Weise grew up on rock 'n' roll, so clients Carole King and Coldplay may be right up his alley, but he’s expanded his repertoire by adding clients like Usher, The Weeknd, Skrillex, Deadmau5 and Marshmellow. “Today it’s about electronic, hip-hop and rap,” says Weise, who employs 150 people at offices in Burbank, Northridge, Pasadena and the U.K., while expanding soon to a location in the South Bay area.

    What’s the trendiest new investment in Hollywood?
    "Cannabis and cryptocurrency, but I’m not a fan of crypto. It’s too volatile."  

  • Bill Zysblat

    In 1975, Zysblat was outside the office of his future partner, Joe Rascoff, when the attorney for The Rolling Stones called in need of a tour accountant because the old one had been fired. Zysblat went home, packed his bag and headed over to Madison Square Garden to meet the band. More than 40 years later, Zysblat still represents Mick Jagger and company and has added others like U2 and the late David Bowie.

    What would you buy with unlimited funds?
    “A clone.”

    A version of this story first appeared in the Oct. 10 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.