Industry Noize: Neal Joins WME
Neal brings with him “several” clients, according to a WME statement that announced Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia Line, Colt Ford and Parmalee by name.
He will work closely with Nashville co-presidents Greg Oswald and Rob Beckham.
Neal served as president at Buddy Lee since 2009 and the company was named the Independent Booking Agency of 2013 at the Pollstar Awards in February.
At WME, he joins his former boss, Joey Lee, who was CEO of Buddy Lee before starting the 360 Artist Agency. That company was bought by WME in 2010, which meant the agency added acts like Miranda Lambert to its roster.
Neal, son of legendary agent and manager Bob Neal, worked with his father at the Neal Agency in 1981. When his dad retired – and sold his company to William Morris – Neal took on one of his clients, Johnny Rodriguez, for $75 a week.
He joined Buddy Lee Attractions in 1983 (and returned in 1988). Neal’s client Aldean is managed by Spalding Entertainment, which also manages WME clients Rascal Flatts, Kix Brooks and Terri Clark.
WME recently brought in former Paradigm agents Mike Snider, Kevin Huffman and Dan Rauter to launch its Christian music division inside the agency’s Nashville office. It also had a significant presence at the Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas in April, with winners Lambert, Justin Moore, The Band Perry and Lee Brice.
Aldean won male vocalist and Florida Georgia Line won vocal duo of the year.
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