Senior Vice President
We as human beings tend to forget what we went through when things are going well,” says Mike Malak, Senior Vice President at Wasserman Music. Especially when things are going as well as they did last summer: Billie Eilish headlining Reading & Leeds, the twin festivals’ youngest headliner to date; Joji playing to a sold-out crowd of 25,000 at Gunnersbury Park; Girl in Red cementing her future headliner status with performances at various festivals and more.
Malak is grateful to be able to go to shows, and “see people rubbing shoulders and jumping around in mosh pits again.” He also feels “a huge gratitude for our whole live ecosystem. Everyone works so hard and often without much thanks. They all deserve now to thrive and do what they love most.”
Malak strikes one as calm and optimistic, not afraid to accept challenges like navigating the economy in Europe, which is making it incredibly expensive to tour, especially for artists from North America and other regions of the world. “As an industry, we are having to be nimble and smart about how we tour in order to make sure artists can keep taking those steps forward, but not leave them in a position where they are losing money tour after tour for no reward,” he says.
Malak firmly believes “that talent finds its way to the top no matter what. Things take time, and we have to learn to have more patience in artist development.”
And, addressing concerns about the stadium business taking away from the rest, he adds, “Overall, any concerns about artists not growing is more a reflection on the artists connecting with the audience than it is about stadium business taking away their opportunities. We just have to look at ourselves and keep asking what we can do better as artist teams to help the artist in question keep growing and moving forward.”