2023 Impact 50: Coran Capshaw
FOUNDER & CEO
Red Light Management
Coran Capshaw is perhaps the most entrepreneurial executive on the Impact 50 list, with far-flung investments both within and outside the musical landscape, and a deep commitment to philanthropy.
But first and foremost, Capshaw is about artist management and Red Light Management, the artist management company he founded in 1991 now including more than 80 managers and more than 400 (generally hard-touring) artists. RLM now has offices in Nashville, London, Los Angeles, Seattle, New York, Atlanta and Capshaw’s home base of Charlottesville, Virginia.
Overall, RLM-managed acts typically generate well over $500 million in ticket sales annually, and the roster runs from developing acts to established arena/amphitheater/stadium headliners, and every position on the career arc in between. Among them: Phish (selling about 7.8 million tickets since Capshaw began managing them 14 years ago); Dave Matthews Band (Capshaw’s original client and one of the most consistent touring acts in history at more than $1 billion in box office); Chris Stapleton, Luke Bryan, Lionel Richie, Brandi Carlile, ODESZA, Enrique Iglesias, Brittany Howard, Drive-By Truckers, Il Divo, The Strokes, Styx, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Smashing Pumpkins, Interpol and The Black Crowes.
In Nashville, RLM is dominant with clients including (in addition to the previously mentioned artists) Bobby Bones, Lady A, Maren Morris, Jake Owen, Lee Brice, Dierks Bentley, Sam Hunt, Martina McBride, Elle King, Jon Pardi, Riley Green, Gabby Barrett, Dustin Lynch, Lainey Wilson, Jordan Davis, Kip Moore and Parker McCollum.
For Capshaw, it’s not only about the artists at the top of the marquee (and keeping them there), but those coming through the pipeline, with a broad focus on artist development and established headliners.
“We have many established acts that are doing incredible business, and many that are coming along in multiple genres,” Capshaw tells Pollstar. “We’re very invested in the artist development business here as a company, and it’s really nice to see a great number of these artists breaking through, and we can feel others about to break through.”
The success stories are many. In just the past year, RLM has watched Lainey Wilson grow from her initial touring efforts to headlining major venues, powered by radio hits, great performances, and a multifaceted career that included a role on the hit show “Yellowstone.” Kip Moore has sold out arenas in Australia and South Africa, along with a stadium in the latter, which ties in well with his European business. Rainbow Kitten Surprise is doing sellout business across South Africa, Europe and the U.S.
Many other RLM artists are well-positioned to have important moments on the live front in 2023. Stapleton is out with George Strait on a number of stadium shows, for one of the biggest tours of the year; Black Crowes are special guests on Aerosmith’s final
tour; Lionel Richie with Earth, Wind & Fire is a red-hot package.
Other savvy pairings include Smashing Pumpkins’ sold-out 2022 tour with Jane’s Addiction and their upcoming 2023 tour with Stone Temple Pilots and Interpol; and The Strokes who hit four continents this year and are doing a combination of headline shows
in addition to dates with Red Hot Chili Peppers.
ODESZA is on fire, following last year’s sold-out shed tour which has continued into this year with major festival headlining in ’23. Brandi Carlile’s horizons continue to expand as she curates her own boutique festival concepts, such as the Mothership in Miramar Beach, Florida, and an incredible three-night run at the Gorge in Washington, featuring Joni Mitchell, the Highwomen, Marcus Mumford and Allison Russell.
Red Light’s artist destination model continues to thrive, with Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds, Phish, Luke Bryan, Carlile and Slightly Stoopid, among others, hosting events.
Beyond artist management, Capshaw is heavily invested in venues and festivals. He was one of the initial proponents of Nashville’s Ascend Amphitheater and retains a stake with Live Nation, and is involved with Brooklyn Bowl, which recently expanded to Nashville and now Philadelphia.
In Charlottesville, Capshaw’s real estate holdings include equity positions in the historic Jefferson Theater, The Southern and Ting Pavilion, and his investments and partnerships extend into multiple festivals and other live events, including Outside Lands, Railbird and Pilgrimage, among others.
Commonly, Capshaw’s investments and partnerships are interwoven with philanthropy and the greater good, and affordable housing remains a priority. He and his non-profit partners continue to make great strides toward a goal of creating $175 million in affordable housing, with residents now in the process of moving into the first new public housing in Charlottesville in 40 years. Capshaw also retains a vested interest in renewable energy, specifically solar, and has active projects ranging from school systems to large scale utility projects.
In fact, philanthropy is in the DNA of RLM and its artists. Matthews, in partnership with the Nature Conservancy, will top more than 4 million trees planted by year’s end. Stapleton, in his second benefit in his home state of Kentucky, headlined a Rupp Arena flood benefit that raised almost $3 million. Trey Anastasio’s Divided Sky residential recovery center opens this fall in Vermont.
Multiple Red Light artists are utilizing donor advised funds as a great philanthropic vehicle.
And we didn’t even touch on Music Today or the record labels.
It’s safe to say Capshaw is bullish on touring and the live experience. “The concert industry is thriving,” Capshaw says. “A multitude of new venues are opening up; ticket sales are unprecedented right now. These are exciting times to be in this business.”