(Voices Of Live) Inertia Artist Management’s Cameron Almasi: The Next Generation Navigates COVID By Reimaging Old Models

Glen Matheny
Cameron Almasi. (Photo by Glen Matheny)

Cameron Almasi has more music business experience under his belt than many industry veterans decades his senior. Barely 25, the college dropout has produced festivals including the Young Thug-topped Family Business in 2019, has marketing and promotion experience at Vital Events in his native Northern California and, now, with his Inertia Artist Management company is shepherding the careers of artists including SpaceMan Zack, 7ru7h, and United States olympic track and field medalist (and rapper) Will Claye.

This comes after overseeing former client 10k.Caash’s album drop and hit song “Aloha” rack up 25 million streams on Spotify, which helped land him a spot on influential hip-hop festival Rolling Loud.

Despite the industry bloodbath known as the coronavirus pandemic, Almasi says now is the time to decide whether to double down on the music business. 

“I do think now is the best time to come into music and do your own thing,” says Almasi, who notes the Family Business event at the Bomb Factory in Dallas sold 5,000 tickets. “Because like it or not, you’re probably unemployed. The beauty of it right now is that, while the entertainment industry doesn’t like to innovate or change, I think this is the first time we’re kind of forced to do so. A lot of people can come in, take that risk and build whatever ideas they have. Part of why I’m working harder than ever is that a lot of the competition is gone. A lot of people are wanting to try other things and go to other industries and don’t even want to put in the work, or try. If you put more effort now you can probably grow a lot faster than in the regular world.”

The work has led to more opportunities with artist management clients, where Almasi says being persistent and showing you are truly invested in an artist’s career can go a long way, such as with recent signing 7ru7h.

“He’s got solid numbers, with more than 650,000 monthly listeners and was pushing 750,000 when I signed him. He had a song called ‘Save Me,’ and I pretty much knew, and now I believe it’s pushing 5.5 million streams. He’s been getting love from a lot of people including labels, distributors, merchandise companies, all around it’s unanimous positivity and a lot of people willing to take a risk on him, which is really dope. 

“SpaceMan Zack, I’m a super huge fan of his music, it blew my mind away. He is true to his core DIY culture – ‘I’m an independent artist and I want to do it all myself,’ and he’s crushing it. He’s got a partnership with Twitch and started streaming there and he’s been crushing the streams, finding new ways and concepts to constantly develop his brand and is growing. A few of his songs have hit a million streams and he’s beginning to push numbers. I have no doubt as an independent artist he’ll continue to grow.”

Almasi’s other recent signing has a whole different kind of pedigree, as not only a multi-platinum recording artist thanks to the “IDGAF” song he recorded with YG, 

but as a multi-Olympic medal winner for the United States in track and field. 

“His music, I love, I got so excited about it, but he’s got so much else to offer, too – he’s the kind of guy that can become a real lifestyle figure in this world, like a P. Diddy scenario,” Almasi says of the triple long jump silver medalist. “Not just an artist or athlete, he can do everything, he can write books, he can be in movies even.”

Going forward, Almasi says the “experience economy” will continue to see live music as an integral part of the music business as it always has been, but he hopes to help bridge the gap between the recorded and live side – still a problem in a business where both sectors rely on each other.

“I see the discrepancy, they don’t connect the two worlds like you think they would. Sometimes they don’t even know the key players on either side,” he says.  “I’d love to be the guy to come in and help bridge that better.”

In the meantime, he sees opportunity in both drive-in shows and the virtual show, but as two very different entities.

“The concept of the drive-in show is archaic in a way, if you think about it, but what other options do we really have? There isn’t much of an alternative to work off of for a real live concert experience,” he says. “And for the promoters it’s great, it’s in their ecosystem and business model, they know how to do ticketed events and build out production and staging and all that. “Whereas livestreaming is a whole new medium. You can’t even look at it as the same thing, and I think that’s where you see a lot 

of failures. Promoters come in thinking it’s a substitute, and that’s where they fail. There’s a lot of opportunity for innovation there.”

While being younger in the business isn’t unheard of, Almasi says it can be difficult as your own boss. 

“It is kind of tough, especially since I’ve gone on my own path,” Almasi says. ”Sometimes when doing business, people expect me to just take less for more, if that makes sense. I do have to put my foot down, respect myself, and I’ve always played the long game to build myself up even more.”

Going forward, he hopes to continue building the artist management business and remain impactful to the business as a whole. 

“I love management, working with artists and seeing them get excited – money aside, commissions and whatever expenses aside and all that, I am thrilled to see artists get happy and continue being passionate, it makes me proud,” he says. For the more distant future, “I’m hoping I either get picked up by an amazing company and do impactful things there, or that I’ve built a company getting those same results. 

“More than anything I want to leave a legacy as someone who put my name out there and did a lot for music as a whole.”