I heard this week that Justin Bieber has been poking around for a new agency or manager, which begged the question: What about Scooter Braun? Turns out that Bieber and the manager who built his empire (and his ridiculous public persona) on Bieber’s talents haven’t spoken in months, per multiple sources. It’s tough because Bieber signed a new management deal right before Braun sold his Ithaca Holdings to South Korean giant HYBE in 2021, and Bieber still has time left on that. So neither side is confirming a split, but I’m told they’re headed separate ways, and their lawyers are involved.
This is part of a larger house-cleaning that Justin and wife Hailey Bieber have undertaken amid his recent health issues and canceled tour: CAA was just fired as his agency, per three sources, longtime lawyer Aaron Rosenberg has been replaced with David Lande at the Ziffren firm, and Justin’s now working with business manager Lou Taylor, last seen starring as the villain in the Britney Spears conservatorship drama. Bieber, who’s still only 29, also has another new lawyer, Michael Rhodes, whose firm helped close a $200 million deal earlier this year to sell his music rights to the Blackstone-backed Hipgnosis Songs Capital to pay off mounting debts. CAA declined to comment. Neither Braun nor Lande got back to me about the situation.
Irony Alert in WGA Report
The Writers Guild makes strong points in today’s missive on consolidation in entertainment, titled The New Gatekeepers: How Disney, Amazon, and Netflix Will Take Over Media. What it doesn’t mention, weirdly enough, is that the WGA itself attempted to kill off well-funded independent buyers of its members’ work during its 2018-2021 campaign against the talent agencies. Endeavor Content and Wiip, the major agency-backed production companies, were founded amid the streaming boom to insert themselves (and their star clients) into the value equation that the global streamers would have preferred become closed. That came with a downside, of course—namely, the potential for conflicts of interest, which the WGA seized upon and shot down. But now, while Endeavor Content and Wiip still exist with new majority owners, they’re less closely attached to the size and influence of Endeavor and CAA, and thus not as effective an alternative to the Disney-Amazon-Netflix troika that the guild argues is taking over the industry. Welp!
Iger in No Mood for Analysts
Disney has downgraded its September analyst conference in Orlando from a full-day presentation, which was set to include something from each division, to a half-day event focused only on theme parks. A Disney source cites the strikes as the reason, but that wouldn’t have applied to ESPN or ABC News, and obviously C.E.O. Bob Iger doesn’t have a lot of great news to discuss with the analysts who impact his share price.