2022 Impact 50: Kirk M. Sommer
Co-Head of Music
For Kirk M. Sommer, WME’s Co-Head of Music, the last two years of an upended touring industry have been spent promoting and developing the people who populate their teams: “We promoted over 24 to partner and agent.” That focus on internal talent was also reflected in their diverse roster’s massive awards’ success. As he explains, “Our clients had a record Brit and Grammy Award season. Some of the 35 Grammy award wins included Olivia Rodrigo for Best New Artist, Chris Stapleton for Country Album of the Year, Jazmine Sullivan for Best R&B Album, Tyler, the Creator for best Rap Album, Silk Sonic for Record of the Year, Foo Fighters for Rock Album of the Year and Black Coffee for Best Dance/Electronic Album.
“Adele’s latest album, 30, won three Brit Awards including Artist of The Year, Album of The Year and Song of The Year, and was the best-selling
record globally. We also had a strong presence at major music festivals – with three out of the four headliners at Chicago Lollapalooza 2021.
“And our recent additions include Dvora Englefield, former head of music for Lede, Zach Iser and Caroline Yim from CAA, Craig D’Souza, Andy Duggan, Whitney Boateng, Dru Bass, Bailey Greenwood, Dana Jeter and Randall Uritsky.”
With an emphasis on hyper-communications internally and a focus on early strategic planning, Sommer hopes to outpace inflation and demand issues. Just as importantly, WME remains committed to putting its people first going forward. As Sommer says of their ongoing goals and protocols, “We are working on cultivating our future leaders and looking at strategic acquisitions to continue to better serve our clients.”
The executive remains “bullish on experiential. We might see the effect of too much supply in markets that have been open for some time since shutdown; but demand continues to be high on hot shows.”
Sommer’s absolutely committed, but also realistic about the ongoing focus on inclusivity and sustainability in the live business. As he says about WME’s efforts: “We are collectively committed to learning and making progress, nothing is going to happen overnight.”