2023 Impact 50: Dennis Arfa

Artist Group International


With the likes of longtime client Billy Joel, Metallica, Def Leppard, Rod Stewart and Mötley Crüe in his stable, veteran Dennis Arfa – the “agent’s agent” who founded Artist Group International in 1986 – sees no signs of any slowdown in the concert business. Indeed, one of his highlights last year came within a four-day span at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park in August 2022, when their clients – Billy Joel, Def Leppard/Mötley Crüe and Metallica – sold out three separate shows over one weekend.

“The live business will continue to thrive with an abundance of stadium tours,” he insists. “Just look at what Taylor Swift is doing.”

The Def Leppard/Mötley Crüe/Poison (all AGI acts) andJoan Jett stadium package was rock’s biggest financial success of 2022, grossing $177.4 million, while the Smashing Pumpkins/Jane’s Addiction pairing, overseen by Michael Arfin and Marsha Vlasic, also proved a winner.

Billy Joel’s monthly residency at Madison Square Garden has crossed the milestone $200 million mark and will have played 92 sold-out shows as of July, selling more than 1.6 million tickets since the first show back in 2014. Earlier this year, Joel and Stevie Nicks kicked off their co-headlining stint at Inglewood, California’s SoFi Stadium, with dates through the end of the year. And Metallica’s “M72” world tour just got underway, jointly repped by Arfa and colleague Adam Kornfeld.

Arfa is excited for rising Nick Storch clients like Ghost, Falling in Reverse, Spiritbox and Sleep Token, while more recent signings include Pantera, repped by Peter Pappalardo, who also oversees Five Finger Death Punch (both on the Metallica tour).

Partnering with John Jackson’s London-based K2 in 2020, then the late Steve Strange’s UK-based X-ray Touring in ‘21, AGI continues to spread its footprint globally since being acquired by Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa in 2012 and placed under its Y Entertainment Group umbrella.

Arfa looks to the longevity of veteran rockers for encouragement about his own future: “Seeing Mick Jagger, Billy Joel and Rod Stewart still performing at an extraordinarily high level is an inspiration.”