#IEBA2018 Keynote Spotlight – Gary Gersh, AEG Presents


Sunday, September 30th | 2pm | View the #IEBA2018 schedule

Add Gary Gersh to the list of executives who started out in the mail room. Gersh was only 19 when he worked briefly in the Capitol Tower mail room, but this wasn’t his intro into the music biz. Fibbing about his age, he got his first job at a record store when he was 14. In three years, he had graduated to head buyer and helped build what became a chain of 30 Licorice Pizza record stores. After the chain was sold, Gersh went to work at Capitol Records. At age 23, he was added to the A&R staff at sister label EMI, where he signed David Bowie, the Stray Cats and John Waite.

Gersh was a key figure in jump-starting bands in the Seattle rock scene. He was a founding partner of The David Geffen Company where he signed Nirvana, Sonic Youth, Counting Crows, and Peter Gabriel. Gersh returned to Capitol in 1993 and as president/CEO helped establish the careers of Radiohead, the Beastie Boys, and Foo Fighters. In 1999, Gersh transitioned from major-label executive to artist manager when he and John Silva founded G.A.S. Entertainment Co. There he worked with Beck and Rage Against the Machine and many of the artists he had worked with at Capital.

In 2006, Gary created The Artists Organization. TAO handled a wide spectrum of opportunities for its clients, from forming non-profits to helping artists launch fashion lines and open restaurants. TAO was home to a diverse portfolio including John Legend, Lenny Kravitz, Soundgarden, and Portugal. The Man, as well as graphic arts company Poketo and clothing company Imogene & Willie.

Gersh now operates in the live space as President of Global Touring and Talent for AEG Presents. He oversees the company’s growing touring business and brings his talent for managing relationships between artists, their agents, managers, and other associates. He works closely with AEG Presents talent buyers, its festivals, and all of its global offices. It takes more than a title to be a player in the music business, and Gersh has built a reputation as someone who can spot and nurture talent. “It’s not about what you’ve done before but about being open enough to grow with the time,” says Gersh. “I love music but I also love business, growth and the opportunity to build, and all these things collide at AEG.”