2024 Impact 50 Honorees: Irving Azoff & Jeffrey Azoff

Irving Azoff
Chairman & CEO / The Azoff Company

Jeffrey Azoff
COO / The Azoff Company
CEO / Full Stop Management

Irving Azoff and Jeffrey Azoff

Few, if any, names have had the impact on the evolution of the music industry— particularly live music — as has the name “Azoff.” Today, the tradition is carried on not only with legendary music exec and Eagles manager Irving Azoff, but also his son Jeffrey, who leads Full Stop Management. The pair collaborates frequently on such artists as U2 and Dead & Co. (via their association with John Mayer), two of the three artists (the other being Phish) who have had massive success debuting Las Vegas’ new experiential venue Sphere.

“It has been cool to see those two artists do so well, being so different and yet so singularly successful,” said Jeffrey Azoff, fresh off witnessing the first shows in the venue by Dead & Co., whom he said “really leaned into the building and using that production the right way.”

Sphere “changes everything about the live experience,” added Irving Azoff. “It’s just simply fucking amazing. In my wildest dreams I couldn’t have predicted that this was how it was going to turn out. [MSGE Chairman/CEO] Jim Dolan has absolutely figured it out, both from the sound and the screen perspectives.”

Irving added, “While change doesn’t happen overnight, the Sphere clearly will have an impact on the future of venues.”

From a management perspective, Jeffrey Azoff said, “We’re having a blast,” citing breakout success from Tate McRae and upcoming album/tour cycle from a Kings Of Leon record that is “one of my favorite albums I’ve ever heard.”

Additionally, Jeffrey noted catalog management firm Iconic Artists Group is “doing really well and starting to make some real progress in the catalog world, and the label Giant Records is starting to take off, we’ve had some early but strong success there. We’re just very lucky and working very hard.”

Clearly, the Azoffs remain believers in recorded content, even if the model is vastly changed from the era when the Azoff legacy began. What the younger Azoff loves about today’s business is the wide range of approaches available to artists.

“There are a lot of amazing artists who haven’t leaned into touring for whatever reason — and there are a lot of reasons — who still have phenomenal careers,” Jeffrey said. “And there are a lot of artists with arena-level touring who haven’t had commercial success on the level that their touring is. What I love about the music business today is there are so many artists doing it so many different ways that really suit them. It seems to be going well for both types of acts, and obviously there are the unicorn acts that have both, the commercial and the touring, and that’s always incredible to see when it goes right.”

From Irving’s perspective, recorded music via streaming, “has matured to the point where it’s meaningful for every artist. Over the years what it has done for John Mayer, what it’s done for Tears For Fears, what it’s done for U2, all very different, and certainly not what Jeffrey’s experienced with his younger artists, but still amazing.”

Bottom line, “recorded music is impactful again,” according to Irving.

Historically, artists who work with the Azoffs — from Eagles to Harry Styles — are frequently box office titans. “Touring, when you get it right, is just an incredible medium,” Jeffrey said, pointing out that beyond being a leading revenue producer, touring can also serve as a powerful marketing tool. “When you do it well, [live] is a great business for artists, but at the same time, when you have people posting from shows, it markets not just the show, but the artist, as well. It’s the one thing that for me is almost technology proof because when all these things that happen, social media, streaming, all these things make you want to see the show even more.”

Overall, the Azoffs are about as bullish on live as it gets. “There are a lot of acts that have stepped up to arenas very quickly, and it’s exciting for the business,” Irving said. “A lot of acts have chosen to go the stadium route. I personally think that the fan gets a much better experience indoors. The club and theater business is healthy, the whole business is healthy. Last year felt coming out of the pandemic there was a little bit of an unnatural, ‘I haven’t been out’ thing that wears off a little bit. But things still feel really good.”

Jeffrey Azoff concurs. “It’s a busy summer, everything’s healthy, international’s as healthy as it’s ever been, and like Irv said, you have a lot of acts breaking really quickly, and you’ve got a lot of acts that have been doing it a long time still doing it at a high level. For me, I’m very bullish about the rest of the year, and next year as well.”