IAG Launches Global Touring Department (Exclusive)

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Independent Artist Group, the new full-service agency formed last month following the merger of Artist Group International and Agency for the Performing Arts, today announced the launch of a Global Touring Department and its executive team. Peter Pappalardo was named Executive Vice President, Head of Global Touring and will lead the department. In addition, Michael Arfin, Nick Storch and Keith Naisbitt, were named Executive Vice Presidents, Global Touring; Justin Hirschman was elevated to Senior Vice President, Global Touring.

Jarred Arfa, IAG’s Executive Vice President, Head of Global Music, made the announcement and in a statement explained how IAG operates differently than most other agencies: “What separates our group is the tremendous experience our senior agents have in booking our artists both domestically and internationally, which we take great pride in. To further expand those efforts, we are creating a Global Touring Department within the Music Division.”

Arfa went on to credit each executive individually: “Peter Pappalardo, who is a great agent and leader, is the perfect person to work with me to structure our Global Touring operations. Michael Arfin has a history of both identifying and working with some of the most iconic rock bands of our time on a global basis. Nick Storch is one of the best A&R agents in the industry and continues to cultivate very successful global touring careers for our artists. Keith has done an incredible job with 50 Cent and Mary J Blige, among many other artists, booking them to new heights in their careers globally. Justin is a versatile agent who has had success booking across many genres which will be valuable as we build out our Global Touring Department.”

Pete Pappalardo

Pappalardo began his career in 1997 at Artist Group International, then called QBQ Ent., (“Quality Before Quantity”) as an assistant. He quickly rose to agent spending the next 25-plus years at AGI working with an impressive and well-rounded roster that includes Mötley Crüe, Daryl Hall & John Oates, Five Finger Death Punch, Pantera, Megadeth, Andrew Dice Clay, and Kidz Bop among others. Pappalardo also produced comedy tours, including The Anti-Social Network and Opie & Anthony’s Traveling Virus; and, with his clients, he produced music festivals including Hoagie Nation and Yestival.

Arfin is a 32-year veteran who began his career in 1991 at Concrete Marketing’s Foundation Magazine and went on to become merchandise coordinator of U2’s historic “Zoo TV North American Stadium Tour.” He moved to MCT Management, handling day-to-day for Moby among other artists and in 1996 joined QBQ. Arfin’s roster includes Linkin Park and The Smashing Pumpkins among others.

Storch has over 22 years of experience in the industry, beginning his career at Face The Music Touring, followed by The Agency Group, ICM Partners, and Artist Group International. His roster includes Ghost, Limp Bizkit, Falling in Reverse, Sleep Token, Neck Deep, Frank Turner and Amon Amarth, among others. He resides outside of Toronto, ON.

Naisbitt, a longtime APA senior touring agent based out IAG’s Nashville office, was instrumental in the global touring success of Curtis ‘50 Cent’ Jackson and Mary J Blige among other prominent artists. He helped launch ’50 Cent’s’ International tour in 2022 without a major promotor grossing over $50 million on 40-plus European dates. The success of that tour led to a major 2023 North American tour that will see ‘50 Cent’ perform in over 50 cities.

Hirschman started at QBQ in 1998 and has been with AGI ever since. A few of his wide-ranging clients include Volbeat, The O’Jays, Megadeth, Todd Rundgren, Alan Parsons and Jinjer.

When asked about the longevity and success these Global Touring executives, Arfa says, “They all enjoyed, embraced and flourished under a winning culture. In the US, there’s very few thriving independent booking agencies and the fact that we’ve been able to do this for so long is a testament to what a great job these guys do for their clients.”

IAG operates under the umbrella of Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Ent. LLC, which is a part of Yucaipa Companies, a private equity firm founded in 1986. IAG Music is helmed by Dennis Arfa and Marsha Vlasic, its Chairman and Vice-Chair, respectively; Jim Osborne is IAG’s CEO.