Partner and Co-Head of Hip-Hop/R&B, WME
Caroline Yim made the most of 2020, pandemic be damned.
Most notably, she made the jump from CAA to WME with longtime colleague Zach Iser to become partners and co-heads of hip-hop/R&B, joining co-heads James Rubin and Kevin Shivers.
Yim says one of the main reasons she joined WME was the company’s commitment to diversity and its investment of resources to make inclusivity a priority.
“I am committed to advancing inclusivity and diversity within the music industry and am actively involved in conversations on how we can be sure the agency is reflective of the talent and teams we represent,” Yim tells Pollstar. “Most recently, WME and Endeavor Content partnered with Michael B. Jordan and Color of Change to implement the #ChangeHollywood initiative in summer 2020. The roadmap lays out action items to hold WME accountable for being a truly anti-racist company and in promoting inclusive frameworks across the industry.
“My values and actions align with these initiatives, namely in being mindful of new hires and accessibility to opportunity in the industry. I actively seek out mentorship opportunities to support up-and-coming professionals.”
Yim’s commitment to mentorship goes beyond her role in WME. She’s a board member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles and supports the social justice organization Community Coalition, which has worked to transform South Los Angeles for 30 years by helping the formation of community groups to influence policy.
Another aspect of Yim’s commitment to diversifying the live industry is the Asian American Collective, which she founded this year with Grace Lee and Zeena Koda to shine a light on the achievements of Asians in the entertainment and creative sectors. This network mobilizes followers to support each other within the Asian community and celebrates their accomplishments, and also includes a mentorship program.
“In founding the AAC, I utilized my network to formulate a group with shared values and passion to affect change in the Asian American community and beyond,” Yim says.
The last year has seen important steps in moving towards a more diverse industry, Yim says, specifically naming The Show Must Be Paused initiative founded by Brianna Agyemang and Jamila Thomas, which she cites as important for mobilizing the music industry in the Black Lives Matter movement.
In terms of business, Yim is proud of how she helped her artists adapt to the virtual livestream space for their performances, which has been an important means of connecting with audiences.
“On the livestreaming front, flexibility and innovation in touring experiences was a must throughout the pandemic,” Yim says. “The successful pivots I made with clients will serve as a framework as the industry continues to digitize after the pandemic.”
Over the years, Yim has worked with many clients, and when she and Iser moved to WME they brought a roster including SZA, Anderson .Paak, Kehlani, Rae Sremmurd, Schoolboy Q and others. They’ve also worked with Migos, Future and Lil Yachty.
Yim feels that any comeback will be contingent on a number of factors, including vaccines and regional policies, but she is confident social distancing will remain a reality for the foreseeable future and livestreams will thus retain some importance.
“We’re a global business, so we also must consider how different regions start coming back,” Yim says. “As a global company, we are always paying attention to how different regions are handling the pandemic and vaccine rollout, and which areas are most likely to lift strict social distancing guidelines once cases are reduced.”
Yim feels there will be no shortage of ticket buyers whenever shows do start to come back en masse, and that “once people return from being in lockdown, I feel that there will be a major surge of concertgoers creating a strong recovery for the industry.”
She credits her village of friends throughout the industry for helping her to get through the past year, as they were her “sounding board, mobilizers and support system.” Once it’s safe to do so, Yim looks forward to seeing a Laker game and going to any hip-hop or R&B show.