Former WME Music Head Marc Geiger Makes $75M Play To Save Venues

Marc Geiger
– Marc Geiger

After departing from WME in June, head of global music Marc Geiger announced Oct. 28 with a lengthy profile in the New York Times that he is founding a new company, called SaveLive, that partners with independent venues while acquiring a 51% controlling share of their equity.

SaveLive, already with $75 million in funding secured according to the Times, will invest in struggling venues around the country – primarily clubs – providing the private money needed to navigate the current industry-wide shutdown. Geiger is founding SaveLive with John Fogelman, also formerly of WME, and with Jordan Moelis of Deep Field Asset Management as the company’s primary backer, according to the Times
It’s no secret that the entire live music industry has been struggling tremendously during the COVID-19 pandemic, as the moratorium on large gatherings has left many businesses without revenue for 6 months. After aid from the CARES Act expired in the summer, Congress has failed to pass any bills providing additional federal relief, despite extensive lobbying by organizations like NIVA, NITO, and NAMM. 
NIVA and YouTube recently partnered for the Save Our Stages Fest, which raised more than $1.8 million for immediate independent venue relief and featured performances from Miley Cyrus, Foo Fighters, The Roots and many, many more. 
Independent venues have been among those hardest hit and some venue owners previously told Pollstar that their own rooms would have to be sold if relief did not come by November. According to the Times, in partnering with Geiger current venue owners would still have a minority stake in the business and the venues would not be replaced with other developments, which may be the only option left for many. 
In normal times, Geiger’s club acquisition spree would seem in direct competition with Live Nation, which in recent years has ramped up its clubs and theatres division with the construction or acquisition of ornate theatre such as the Met Philly in Philadelphia to tiny Los Angeles-era Spaceland and Observatory clubs. The company has touted the club and theatre space as a building block for developing artists, with valuable relationships being made while artists are able to tour a nationwide network of clubs owned by mostly one company. 
Geiger previously predicted it may not be until 2022 when music is able to return to the success it was enjoying before the COVID-19 pandemic, Variety reported, but his business model reportedly still expects to be profitable within four years. 
Prior to his 17 years at WME, Geiger was known as the founder of ArtistDirect, one of the earliest attempts at bringing the music industry into the digital age, and helped establish Lollapalooza as an iconic American festival. Since his widely rumored but still surprising departure from WME, Lucy Dickins, Scott Clayton and Kirk Sommer are now the co-heads of music at the agency, while Sara Newkirk Simon has transitioned to a consultant role with parent company Endeavor. 
Pollstar reached out to Geiger for comment on this story but had not heard back at press time.