Allison Kaye, President, SB Projects

Allison Kaye
– Allison Kaye

The Deciders

Executives who are out there making key decisions that impact markets, artists, shows, tours and companies.

Allison Kaye
President, SB Projects

Allison Kaye has been with Scooter Braun since he started his company SB Projects a dozen years ago. In 2018, soon after she was promoted to president of SB Projects, Kaye was named a partner at Braun’s Ithaca Holdings LLC, which houses SB Projects.

A lawyer who worked at several indie labels before joining Braun as his first employee, Kaye oversees music and non-music work such as TV, film, philanthropy and tech. What charges her up most?

“When I get to really be with an artist from the beginning of a project and be involved in the marketing of it, and the release, we get to do something fun and unconventional,” she says. “That’s what keeps it fresh.”

With Braun, Kaye oversees all SB Projects artists which, in 2019, means lots of tours. Ariana Grande, who headlined Coachella last month and boasts a Pollstar Boxoffice average gross of nearly $1 million, is currently on her “Sweetener” tour. Zac Brown Band, a fixture of Pollstar’s Year End Top 100 Worldwide Tours chart since 2012 with an average annual gross of $38.3 million over that period, embarks on a summer tour later this month. Other SB Projects artists with 2019 tours include country breakouts Dan + Shay, who have opened for Blake Shelton, Darius Rucker, Carrie Underwood and Rascal Flatts, and English pop-rock band Push Baby. 

While SB Projects can’t take a one-size-fits-all approach, there is common ground to getting folks watching YouTube at home out to local arenas and amphitheaters.

“Artists are in the most precarious place that they’ve ever been,” she says. “It used to be that someone would have to open up their wallet and purchase your album to invest in you and now your music is readily available to them whenever they want. So there’s this very big leap between listening to the music and paying for a ticket. I think that only comes when they invest in the artist as a person. We’re fortunate that our clients engage with their fans and make it clear that they’re doing what they do for their fans.”

Then there’s Justin Bieber, who in early May released another single as a featured artist – “I Don’t Care” with Ed Sheeran – that immediately dominated sales and charts.

“He’ll move at his pace,” Kaye says. “When he’s ready to go, we’re ready to go. And I think that he’ll probably tour rather quickly after music comes out, just because it makes the most sense. We’re just prepared to pivot whenever he gives the signal.”

Hot Takes

The show that changed your life:

It’s like a running joke that I avoid him at all costs because he’s the one artist that I feel is still a true artist, John Mayer. I think that the first time that I saw him live, I really understood how to catch a vibe and bring an audience into that. It might’ve just been the age at which I first saw him and that it resonated with me then. I feel like it’s not necessarily the show that changed my life, but it was the show that changed my perspective on how to put on a show. He doesn’t perform at his audience, he performs with them. And I think that that is a very big distinction.

Best career advice you’ve received:

Don’t be so resistant. I think that a lot of times the best opportunities and  experiences come when you just kind of follow what comes and roll with it. I think if you get too rigid, especially in this industry, get too stuck to a plan, it bars entry. Go with the flow a little bit.

Artist to watch:

In terms of our acts, we’re seeing these huge uptakes for Social House and they’ve got great music coming out.

Pet peeves:

My biggest one is always ego. I say it all the time that  none of this can continue without the artist. We’re all here to help them and facilitate their talent. And so I think a lot of times people lose sight of that and I find that endlessly frustrating. I have a lot of them, but that’s probably the biggest. We’re not saving any lives —we’re here to make people happy and I think that people lose sight of that.