Agency Intel: Wasserman Music EVP Lee Anderson On Creating Once-In-A-Lifetime Moments

2023 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival Weekend 2 Day 3
INDIO, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 23: Four Tet, Fred Again, and Skrillex perform on the Coachella Stage during the 2023 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on April 23, 2023 in Indio, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Coachella)

Few rosters in the dance space are as impressive as Wasserman Music EVP Lee Anderson’s. He oversees the agency’s dance music department, which is made up of 40 agents worldwide, and his own clients include Skrillex, Swedish House Mafia, Zedd, ISOxo, Knock2, Disclosure, Charlotte de Witte and more.

Energetic and constantly on the move, Anderson lives his life in the air. When it comes to booking his clients, he describes his approach as trying to create once-in-a-lifetime moments. One example was Skrillex’s New York City takeover in 2023, in which the DJ/producer popped up at H0L0 in Queens, performed on a truck in Times Square and put on a five-hour headline show at Madison Square Garden alongside Fred again.. and Four Tet.

Anderson’s ethos has trickled down into the entire department. Agents Ben Shprits, Lucy Putman, Jim O’Regan and Michael Harvey-Bray are bringing back Skream and Benga for the duo’s first shows in 10 years, with several dates already announced for New York, San Francisco, Denver, Glastonbury and Coachella. Cody Chapman shut down Hollywood Boulevard in October for FISHER and Chris Lake’s “Under Construction.” Tom Schroeder recently organized a pop-up run of shows for Fred again.. in Australia, with the dates announced just a few days before the first show — and tickets sold out instantaneously.

“I’m certainly proud of all the things I’ve accomplished with clients over the years, but I get unbelievable pride and fulfillment watching many of our professionals grow and flourish in their careers,” Anderson says. “There are some of these agents I’ve seen come in as assistants 17 years ago that are just at the top of the game. I think 14 or 15 years ago, Max Braun was an assistant, Callender started as my intern. Cody Chapman came in as a young hybrid we found working out of his parent’s house in Canada. Jay Moss, I knew when he worked at Flower Booking. Having people around and seeing where they’ve been able to get is incredibly fulfilling.”

Pollstar: What do you and your team have planned?
Lee Anderson: We have been super busy. The beginning of the year, particularly in electronic from late January up until that first Coachella, is insanity. You’ve got onsale announcements with Miami and Coachella. You’re finalizing tours for the fall and dealing with festivals when they announce, coordinating marketing and sales on those pieces. Believe it or not, we’re getting deep into 2025. I confirmed a festival in September of 2025 last week, which is insane. We’ve had some key personnel stuff going on, we hired a woman named Taryn Haight at the end of last year in the position of VP of Strategy for the electronic genre. We’re bringing our Cookout IP back and putting a radio show together, which is something we had with our electronic clients back when we were at Paradigm. Brittany Miller, she’s been an agent in the electronic space, moved into our global festival department and is driving all electronic bookings there to help aggregate everything.

You’ve said before you like to try to create once-in-a-lifetime moments. What are some ways you’ve gone about that?
It starts with a unique venue that hasn’t been done before that provides a beautiful or interesting location. Sometimes that’s a really small venue that creates the feeling that you were just lucky to be there; most people couldn’t [get in]. Sometimes it’s the spontaneity around things.

Lee Anderson photo 4O5A8481 credit Marisa S Cohen

I’ll go to what’s going on with Fred again.. in Australia. Unbelievable tour, great performer, show’s incredible, but nobody knew it was happening until a few days before the first show. Sometimes, it’s a really compelling bill that’s one-time only. There’s a ton of different ways to do it. We all got into this business because we loved being fans and we experienced those things. What drives us is to elevate those experiences we’ve had, or to recreate the experiences or memories that we have made here for other people.

I’d also be remiss if I didn’t give [credit to] our incredibly creative clients and managers. Sometimes, I get a call and they’ve got an unbelievable idea and I’m like, “Oh man, that’s crazy. I don’t know if we can do this. Let’s try.” And then you see it become reality. I do think we have value to add and bring some good ideas to the table, but it’s certainly a collaborative effort with our clients, who have some of the best ideas that come out.

What have been your most recent challenges?
One of the toughest tasks we face in representing our electronic clients is continually finding new and unique ways to present shows to fans. It’s great that the industry has evolved in a way that we have loads of incredible venues for electronic artists to play that we didn’t have before, but the tough part is they’ve all been used by now and no longer provide the “never been done before” option that so many of our artists look for when doing special marquee shows.

Where would you say electronic music is at right now?
When you look at the festivals, these last-minute arena runs, or Cody Chapman figuring out how to shut down Hollywood Boulevard with 10,000 tickets selling instantly for FISHER and Chris Lake — and probably could have done 20 nights if they had the permits — there’s a really healthy appetite for this genre and all the subgenres within it. You’re seeing techno start to open up more markets and sell more tickets than it ever sold in North America. Obviously, there are other places in the world — Europe, Latin America — where that genre has been very strong. But now you’re starting to see some of those numbers hit here and opening up a market like Denver that historically would not do well with techno. It seems to be growing with each one of these subgenres.

Look at ODESZA blowing Folsom Field out right away. That’s a stadium show. Multiple Gorges, multiple Bank of California stadiums, multiple MSGs. Those are significant tickets. When you look at that data, it keeps us feeling confident. But, you have to be smart and not greedy, because if you get greedy, the whole thing can collapse.

What are you seeing in dance music in terms of revenue and ticket pricing?
We’re at an interesting time right now with ticket pricing. I think if you have the right acts, you have an opportunity to capitalize on the actual ticket sales and where they go. If there’s a piping hot show or act, those tickets are going to go for what they’ve got. Historically, artists didn’t really participate in that; now you can. When you have the right acts, there’s a real opportunity there from a revenue standpoint to get what’s rightfully yours, which is the real price. I don’t say that from a price-gouging standpoint – I say that for the real price is the real price. You see what it is on StubHub, so to actually capture that.

But we are at a time where you have to be thoughtful about the consumers, who have a ton of choices out there and can’t spend money on everything. I think you need to know when it’s time to price something in a low manner. There’s a lot, and we’re actually staffing up as a business in this space, but pricing is a real art on its own. It’s not just the day of the week, the venue and all those pieces. There’s a real science and nuance to it.