Brent Smith, Partner, WME

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The Negotiators

Executives whose expertise, influence, track record and success command respect and make things happen.

Brent Smith
Partner, WME

With a client list that includes Calvin Harris, Childish Gambino, Drake, Frank Ocean, James Blake, John Legend, Kendrick Lamar, Kid Cudi, Pharrell, Snoop Dogg, Tyler, the Creator, as well as recent signing Juice WRLD, Brent Smith continues to boldly step into the future while keeping a foot in the past.

During his 20-year career, he’s seen the music business go through highs and lows, but believes the shift to streaming will continue to be a boon for the concert business. “The easier music is to consume the more people will listen,” he says. “The live touring business will continue to grow and reflect the overall increase in streaming. Interestingly, as consumption becomes easier, industry gatekeepers become less important. People are less concerned about genres, which ultimately is a good thing for music overall.” 

And, of course, streaming has been huge for Drake, whose 2016-17 world tour grossed in excess of $140 million, according to Smith, and who reported more than $79 million grossed in 2018.

Meanwhile, Childish Gambino is a pop-culture icon along with headlining many of the biggest festival stages in the world.

Smith credits his continued success to the fact he was “mentored by two of the best OGs in the game”: his early boss, the late Ian Copeland (brother of Police drummer Stewart Copeland and manager/onetime label head Miles Copeland) who hired him at Frontier Booking International after an alcohol-fueled foosball match, and longtime client Snoop Dogg, who Smith has worked with for more than 20 years. Copeland, he says, “taught me to focus on music I had passion for.” As for Snoop, Smith says he “taught me your hustle has to be better than everyone else’s. To quote Snoop, ‘If it’s flipping hamburgers at McDonald’s, be the best hamburger flipper in the world.’”