Michi B, Inc.
Michele Bernstein made headlines when she announced her departure as partner at WME in July 2020, concluding 18 years at the agency, to launch her new music marketing consultancy firm Michi B. But while a number of new businesses have launched during the pandemic, her new venture had been in the works for a while.
“I had filed [to start] the business the year before, and I felt like it was just time for a change, and I was excited to do so. … The pandemic hit. And I [thought] if everything’s going to change and get rebuilt and we’re going to see a lot of things change coming out of COVID, what better time to have a new company?”
Part of the inspiration for launching Michi B was the opportunity to have more time and freedom to devote to zeroing in on projects. Plus, she also had a significant birthday going into 2020, which got her thinking about her next move. Bernstein explains that when marketing a tour, she enjoys “getting entrenched in the details. I like to go market by market and really kind of roll up our sleeves and think about, you know, what works in St. Paul for St. Paul? And you must have time to be able to do that.”
During her time at WME, she oversaw the growth of the global tour marketing team, as well as tours for major artists including Pearl Jam and Bruno Mars. Bernstein has continued her working relationship with WME, with Endeavor becoming a client of Michi B. A statement from WME in 2020 pointed out that Bernstein would continue to advise current WME client projects under her management.
“The music leadership team was really supportive. … To have the support of my old family to build a new one – most people don’t get that lucky,” Bernstein says.
Michi B has given Bernstein the opportunity to take on new clients like illuminated holiday walking trails Lightscape (noting “they sell more tickets than stadium tours and nobody really knows about it”) as well as continuing work with artists she’s had long relationships with. Some of her most impactful accomplishments over the past year include working on Genesis’ “The Last Domino” tour, helping grow Greta Van Fleet into an arena headliner, Silk Sonic’s Las Vegas residency at Park MGM, the expansion of Eddie Vedder’s Ohana Festival and marketing Olivia Rodrigo’s “Sour” tour.
“There’s been so much change with COVID and clients moving around and agents moving around. … So that feels really good to be able to continue on with some of the clients I’ve always loved,” Bernstein says.
For Rodrigo’s debut headline tour, activations to launch the tour included putting purple and pink balloons in the window boxes of theaters. Bernstein explains, “In New York City we had cut outs of Olivia all over the city holding balloons. Girls [would take] photographs with them – like, where’s Olivia today?”
Initiatives Bernstein is currently working on include Machine Gun Kelly’s “Mainstream Sell Out Tour” and Lizzo’s “Special Tour,” among others.
Activations to promote Lizzo’s tour included having an artist paint in mural in St. Paul, Minn., ahead of her show at Xcel Energy Center, a group of ballet dancers performing a dance choreographed to a Lizzo song at Chicago’s United Center and having vegan cakes and cookies delivered to radio stations to celebrate the 34-year-old vegan’s birthday.
“[I’m] really excited about what the future holds,” Bernstein says. “I feel like opportunities now are abundant.”