Industry Profile: Todd Frank

— Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen

Todd Frank is CEO of 4Star Entertainment, LLC in New York, representing acts such as Steve Harvey, Deborah Harry & the Fish Sticks, Lisa Lisa, Cedric The Entertainer and The Trammps, among others.

Todd started out in the live entertainment business while still in college, working at Spotlite Enterprises, one of the largest comedy agencies, from 1990-92. Working with Jerry Seinfeld, Paul Reiser, Jay Leno and Damon Wayans to name a few, he moved on to Charles Rapp Enterprises through 1995 where he co-managed comedians Frankie Pace, Lennie Schultz and Electra from American Gladiators, as well as a talent buyer working with such artists as Eddie Murphy, Taylor Dayne, C+C Music Factory, Ziggy Marley, Run-D.M.C., and Chaka Khan.

From 1995-97 Todd worked at Delsener/Slater Enterprises where he became a talent buyer/producer working with Sheryl Crow, Cher, Peter Frampton, Van Morrison, Andrew Dice Clay, Crazy For You Broadway production, Deborah Harry, Lemonheads, James Brown, De La Soul, Luther Vandross, and "The Crew from The Howard Stern Show" tour.

In 1997 he joined Metropolitan Entertainment Group. During his two-year tenure, Todd became director of special events and a talent buyer. Among the artists he worked with at MEG were Bob Dylan, Steve Winwood, Seal, Sting, Backstreet Boys, Salt 'n Pepa, Gipsy Kings, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Goo Goo Dolls, Jethro Tull, Rusted Root, Lenny Kravitz, Mix Master Mike and others.

In 1999, Todd decided to venture out on his own and started 4Star Entertainment.

How is the corporate market now compared to five years ago?
The downturn in the economy has had an impact on this business, as you would expect. Events are still being held, but the over-the-top scenarios we were seeing during the boom have gone. Unfortunately, one of the easiest areas for companies to save money is on the talent that they bring in. Less money is definately being spent on the artists, and this tends to create downward pressure on the pay scale for the industry as a whole.

Which do you prefer - buying or selling talent?
I prefer being an agent and selling talent. There are so many creative opportunities out there for artists to develop their careers - film and television are huge, and the industry as a whole is much more fluid than it used to be. The cross-selling potential for any given artist all depends on a great agent that can see that potential and make a leap.

Do you miss managing talent?
Yes, its a very nurturing relationship, and I did enjoy it. I'm just taking that energy and putting it into the deal side, the business side.

What kind of artists are you looking to sign to your agency?
Artists that have a niche or "hook" - something-current

First industry job
Spotlite Enterprises, a talent agency in New York City. I was 20 years old, and I had been working for myself through college producing and booking shows. I got the Spotlight job because I met the VP out at a comedy club while I was checking out new acts. I went with Spotlight because they represented a lot of comedians - Jay Leno, Damon Wayans, Jerry Seinfeld and Paul Riser, to name a few.

Career highlights
Making shows happen for big artists and broadening their careers by introducing them to new venues has certainly been a thrill - I booked Sheryl Crow into Atlantic City for a sold out show which was her debut in the major casino market. The same with Destiny's Child, as well as KISS. The casino business is a fabulous venue for these artists, as it doesn't require the same output as touring and gives them a chance to maximize income and take advantage of what creative downtime they get, while broadening their fan base in a market they wouldn't normally play.

On my own, 4Star Entertainment has produced Kiss, k.d. lang, Hootie and the Blowfish, Destiny's Child, K-Ci + JoJo, Doobie Brothers, Huey Lewis & the News, Bruce Hornsby, Ray Charles, Damon Wayans, Russell Simmons Def Comedy Jam, Sarah Brightman, among others.

In the past year, or two, I've been focusing on the agent side and going back to my comedy roots to do it with Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer, and Sherman Hemsley. This has been challenging but an absolute ball to see how solid comedy is for these artists, and how many opportunities are out there with a little imagination. The music agent side of my business also includes Deborah Harry and the Fish Sticks, Lisa Lisa, The Trammps, and Carol Channing, who has a new book out. My father Barry Frank, who was a recording artist with the Sammy Kaye Orchestra and a solo artist with Columbia Records, would always bring me along to these events. He always felt I would be a great agent.

Career disappointment(s)
I produced a New Year's Eve show at Studio 54 in New York City, and the club owners decided they didn't like the turnout and stiffed the acts. The deposit didn't cover the full amount, and I ended up swallowing it out of my commission structure.

Greatest challenge
After working at Spotlite for about a year, I was determined to break into producing, and I wanted to do it in a big way - the biggest producer in Manhattan at that point was Delsener/Slater. I made the initial contact with Ron Delsener by trying to sell him a 1970's tour package, and we hit it off. Convincing Mitch Slater was another story. It took weeks, and even after I started I had to sit on a cardboard box for a month until they finally ordered me a desk.

Best business decision
The best decision I've made was opening my own company. Being on my own has forced me to constantly think "down the road", about where things could go, and where I want to be, and to get into different areas to expand the business. For instance, I'm working with David Pullman, the genius who invented Bowie Bonds, on several potential projects that will help expand my business.

Best advice you received
Frank Russo, who produced Michael Jackson for years on the East Coast, sat me down and convinced me to make five year goals - to sit down and write out a plan, and then review it, make changes and set a new plan. It keeps you focused and keeps you honest with yourself. Norby Walters, who represented Marvin Gaye among others, told me "if you've represented an act for three years, you've done your job. It's the nature of the animal to move around." My goal obviously is to keep someone forever, but this reminder of reality has helped a lot.

Best advice to offer
Advertise what you do - in any medium available.

Most memorable industry experience
I produced the Last Dance at Studio 54 (live concert and album) - the final show before this legendary club closed. The new owners were all set to start literally ripping out the club, but I felt we needed one final send-off. I managed to hold off the new owners for a month and in conjunction with WKTU, I produced an amazing night that had people lined up around the block.

What friends would be surprised to learn about you
I played ice hockey in college. Guess that's how I learned to take a beating and stay focused.

Industry pet peeve
Loyalty is in very short supply in this business.

If I wasn't doing this, I would be...
… an attorney, probably.

Industry mentor(s)
The most memorable … the people I think of most often, and learned a great deal from, are Ron Delsener and Norby Walters.

Todd can be reached at: e-mail: AgentToddny@me.com ; Web site: agenttoddny.com

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Tommy LiPuma (Part 2), Verve Records 11/15/10
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Michael Maska, Big Hassle 01/28/05
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Louis Jay Meyers, Folk Alliance International 01/23/09
Todd Miller, House Of Blues - New Orleans 11/14/03
Jeff Miller, Fantasma Productions 03/16/07
Ben Miller, Rock Ridge Music 11/02/07
J. B. Miller, Empire Entertainment 08/22/08
Richard Mills, S.L. Feldman 11/02/09
Linda Moran, Songwriters Hall of Fame (SHOF) 04/05/09
Jesse Morreale, Nobody In Particular Presents (NIPP) 09/20/02
Chuck Morris, Live Rocky Mountains 09/28/09
Mo Morrison, Independent production 05/24/02
Nick Moss, Blue Bella Records 11/30/07
Jim Musselman, Appleseed Recordings 04/14/06
Marc Nathan, Flagship Records 07/01/05
David Neilon, Rising Star Promotions 11/30/01
Don Neuen, Star Coaches Inc. 10/10/12
Dennis Newhall, DIG Music 10/07/05
John Nittolo, John Nittolo Productions 04/13/07
Ian Noble, Metropolitan Talent 05/23/03
Josh Norek, JN Media, LLC 07/05/02
David Norman, Tour Manager 04/20/07
Mimi Northcott, Canadian Recording Services (CRS) 04/11/08
Bill Nowlin, Rounder Records 01/05/07
John Nugent, NY JAM Inc. 11/08/02
Andy Nulman, Just For Laughs 11/20/13
Sal Nunziato, NYCD 06/01/01
Bob O'Neal, Ryman Auditorium 06/28/02
Andrea Orbeck, Prehab Health and Fitness 03/15/10
Heather Orser, Toad's Place 01/29/01
Janet Oseroff, MultiMediaProperties 11/18/05
Marc Ostrow, Boosey & Hawkes 12/05/08
Riley O’Connor, Live Nation Canada 07/24/09
Jeremy Palmer, Buddy Lee Attractions 11/02/01
John Palmer, Megawave Records 08/31/07
Panos Panay, Sonicbids 12/23/05
Crispin Parry, British Underground 02/24/08
Donald Passman, Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown 04/09/10
Bruce Patron, Overland Entertainment 07/28/06
Alexandra Patsavas, Chop Shop Music 09/27/11
Cheryl Pawelski, Omnivore Entertainment Group 09/26/13
Kerry Peace, Alligator Records 08/18/06
Eric Peltoniemi, Red House Records 12/14/09
Scott Perry, Sperry Media 03/11/05
Lawrence Peryer, Jr., 23 Omnimedia 11/07/08
John Peters, MassConcerts 06/07/11
Holger Petersen, Stony Plain Records 04/15/05
Jon Phillips, Silverback Professional Artist Mgmt/Controlled Substance Sound 08/29/08
Vince Pileggi, Music Inc./Music Inc. Sounds 12/01/06
Eric Pirritt, Endit! Presents / The Fox Theatre 10/17/03
Neil Portnow, The Recording Academy 02/08/11
Louis Posen, Hopeless Records 04/04/11
Stephen Posen, Estate of Glenn Gould 01/23/13
Nadia Prescher, Madison House 06/20/03
Jeff Price, TuneCore 02/28/11
Tom Principato, Powerhouse Records 02/01/08
Roger Probert, Core Records 12/08/06
John "Grinder" Procaccini, JP Squared (JP2) 01/17/03
Mark Pucci, Independent Music Publicist 09/09/05
David Pullman, The Pullman Group 11/03/00
Rod Quinton, Saigon Sound System 04/18/11
Dolphus Ramseur, Ramseur Records 10/19/07
Jack Randall, Ted Kurland Associates 04/05/02
Debra Rathwell, AEG Live 05/03/13
Jeff Ravitz, Visual Terrain 02/08/08
Rich Rees, M.P.I. Talent Agency 09/19/08
John Reese, Freeze Artist Management 08/01/08
Bill Reeves, WRIII, Inc. 10/20/06
Stephen Rehage, Rehage Entertainment 07/30/04
Lisa Reiss, Pearl Productions 08/17/07
Salaam Remi, Composer, producer, musician and label executive. 01/08/14
David Renzer, Universal Music Publishing Group 08/23/09
Alison Richard, Universal Orlando Resort 05/06/05
Kelli Richards, The All Access Group 02/07/12
Gary Richards, HARD Events 08/29/13
Sam Righi, Waterfront Entertainment Group 05/30/03
Jon Rinaldo, Joker Productions 01/02/04
Geary Rindels, Geary Rindels Enterprises, Inc. 12/05/03
Doreen Ringer Ross, BMI 01/18/08
Lisette Rioux, Island Def Jam Music Group 05/16/03
Dave Roberge, Everfine Records & Everfine Artist Management 12/03/04
Sandy Roberton, Worlds End Producer Management 02/20/09
Ty Roberts, Gracenote 01/31/12
Bill Rogers, BRE Presents 07/13/07
Ian Rogers, Topspin Media 06/01/10
Benji Rogers, PledgeMusic 12/19/13
Dave Rose, Deep South Entertainment 09/15/06
Eric Rosen, Ronald S. Bienstock & Associates 05/25/01
Stuart Ross, The Ross Group 02/23/01
David Ross, President IAAM; Director, Show Me Center 09/23/05
Bobby Rossi, Ruth Eckerd Hall 02/28/03
Michael Rothschild, Landslide Records 04/29/05
Robert Rowland, Red Entertainment 06/13/08
Bill Royston, Mt. Hood Jazz Festival 03/07/03
John Rudolph, Bug Music 05/24/10
Elizabeth Rush, E.R.A. / Elizabeth Rush Agency 08/20/04
Aran Rush, Expo and Foro Imperial 02/16/07
Maurice Russell, Harry Fox Agency 10/21/05
Barron Ruth, Skyline Music 02/14/03
Andrea Sabata, Skyline Music 01/07/05
Numa Saisselin, Count Basie Theatre, Inc. 02/04/05
Ron Sakamoto, Gold & Gold Productions 01/16/10
David Salidor, dis Company 07/20/07
Shaw Saltzberg, S. L. Feldman and Associates 06/21/10
Bruce Allen & Sam Feldman, A&F Music 12/19/08
Mark Samuels, Basin Street Records 06/11/04
Tamara Saviano, American Roots Publishing 07/22/05
Michael Scafuto, Mountain High Entertainment 12/07/01
Steve Schankman, Contemporary Productions 12/21/01
Steve Scharf, Carlin America 10/11/02
John Scher, Metropolitan Talent 11/21/08
Al Schmitt, Producer/Engineer 02/13/10
Bobby Schneider, Tour Coordinator, Third Eye Blind 01/31/03
Jake Schneider, Madison House 04/02/14
Steven Schnur, EA Music Group 07/03/13
Elaine Schock, Shock Ink 02/19/10
Stacy Schott, Mad Booking and Events 08/22/03
Daylle Schwartz, Revenge Productions 08/19/05
Dean Sciarra, ItsAboutMusic.com 11/26/04
Jay Sendyk, Sendyk, Leonard & Company, Inc. 05/03/02
Peter Shapiro, Ideal Entertainment 04/16/04
Seth Sheck, Access Pass & Design 01/03/03
Jay Sieleman, The Blues Foundation 07/18/03
Anya Siglin, The Ark 03/05/10
Bill Silva, Bill Silva Entertainment 10/19/10
Tom Silverman, Tommy Boy Entertainment 03/06/12
Steve Simon, Clear Channel Communications 05/14/04
Ralph Simon, Live Earth 07/06/07
Ralph Simon, Mobilium 04/12/11
Michael Simon, The Harry Fox Agency 08/14/13
Ron Simpson, RCS Productions 01/11/08
John Simson, SoundExchange 07/15/05
Dion Singer, Warner Bros. 12/07/09
Gram Slaton, The Community Arts Center 02/25/05
Owen Sloane, Gladstone Michel Weisberg Willner & Sloane 10/11/10
Peter Smidt, Eurosonic Noorderslag & manager Buma Cultuur 07/17/13
Mike Snider, Paradigm Talent Agency Nashville 05/17/11
Andrew Snowhite, Musictoday 05/04/01
Michael Solomon, Brick Wall Management 05/25/07
Mark Sonder, Mark Sonder Productions 07/25/08
Steve Sonnier, UIC Pavilion at the University of Illinois, Chicago 09/03/04
Kathy Spanberger, peermusic 06/20/12
Carolyn Specht, CIE USA Entertainment Inc. and OCESA PRESENTS Inc. 03/26/04
David Spelman, New York Guitar Festival 10/01/04
Jason Spiewak, Rock Ridge Music 04/07/06
Dan Steinberg, Square Peg Concerts 11/29/12
Dan Steinberg, Square Peg Concerts 02/18/05
Jeremy Stephan, Ventures, LLC 04/23/04
Walter Stewart, Mars Talent Agency 02/21/03
Gail Stocker, Gail Stocker Presents 11/12/04
Jon Stoll, Fantasma Productions 10/13/00
Jesse Stoll, AEG 06/27/09
Henry Stone, Henry Stone Music 06/24/05
Jason Stone, Live Nation New York 03/31/06
Howard Stovall, Resource Entertainment Group 05/28/04
Cameron Strang, New West Records 10/18/02
Don Strasburg, AEG Live Rocky Mountains 02/27/09
Barbara Strauss, Sovereign Ventures 05/12/06
Richard Stumpf, Cherry Lane Publishing 08/07/06
Patrick Sullivan, RightsFlow 10/25/11
Bernie Swain & Harry Rhodes, Jr., Washington Speakers Bureau 12/07/00
Dean Swett, Paramour Group 06/14/02
Jake Szufnarowski, Rocks Off 05/02/08
Marc Tanner, Chime Entertainment 12/22/06
Donald Tarlton, The Donald K Donald Group 04/12/02
Tess Taylor, Los Angeles Music Network 08/09/02
Race Taylor, WPLJ - New York 10/27/06
Race Taylor, WPLJ - New York 10/27/06
Chris Taylor, Taylor 03/15/09
Peter Tempkins, DeWitt Stern Group 03/16/01
Peter Tempkins, Momentous Insurance Brokerage 03/27/09
Lisa Tenner, Tenner & Associates (EAT'M) 08/06/01
Jeremy Tepper, Diesel Only Records 10/10/03
Allan Tepper, Bicycle Music Company 09/28/07
Martin Terefe, Kensaltown Studios 05/31/11
Milun Tesovic, MetroLeap Media 10/18/09
Jerry Thompson, Promoter Line Inc. 03/05/04
Jose Tillan, MTV Networks Latin America 12/02/05
Jon Tiven, Hormone Studios 08/05/05
John "J.T." Toomey, 25/8 Management 11/15/11
Livia Tortella, Warner Bros. Records 01/10/12
Phil Tripp, IMMEDIA! 01/19/06
Claudio Trotta, Barley Arts Promotion 11/26/01
Chris Tsakalakis, StubHub 01/11/10
Ben Turner, Graphite Media 05/10/10
Steve Vai, Favored Nations Entertainment 04/26/02
John Valentino, Fantasma Productions 04/18/03
John Valentino, AEG Live SE 11/01/10
Don Van Cleave, Coalition of Independent Music Stores 04/09/04
Casey Verbeck, Partners in Music 06/06/03
David "Boche" Viecelli, The Billions Corporation 04/18/10
Ray Waddell, Billboard Magazine 08/27/04
Rob Waggener, Foundations Recovery Network 03/07/11
Jim Walczak, Racine Civic Centre 06/03/05
Jeff Walker, The AristoMedia Group 08/16/10
Carla Wallace, Big Yellow Dog Music 11/04/05
Russell Wallach, Live Nation Network 03/20/12
Steve Walter, The Cutting Room 10/24/08
Neil Warnock, The Agency Group 05/02/09
Diane Warren, Realsongs 08/14/09
Butch Waugh, RCA Label Group Nashville 01/10/03
Lauren Wayne, The State Theatre 05/09/12
Ken Weinstein, Big Hassle Media 04/22/05
Bruce Weinstein, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts 02/15/08
Larry Weintraub, Fanscape 05/18/01
Pam Weiser, Momentous Insurance Brokerage 10/11/11
Kevin Welk, Welk Music Group 01/24/12
D-J Wendt, Dmand Management 05/09/08
Alison Wenham, Worldwide Independent Network 02/13/09
Bill Werde, Billboard 08/03/11
Joel Whitburn, Record Research 11/13/09
Judd White, Tour Manager/Accountant 02/13/04
Jeff White, In Ticketing 12/16/06
Fenton Williams, 04/04/08
Del Williams, Right Arm Entertainment 04/18/08
Bryan "Birdman" Williams, Cash Money Records 09/13/11
Paul Williams, ASCAP 10/19/11
J.P. Williams, Parallel Entertainment 10/03/12
Kurt Willms, Green Room Productions 09/20/03
Chris Wilson, Heartbeat Records 03/02/07
Tony Wilson, Factory Records/In The City 06/01/07
Tom Windish, The Windish Agency 07/26/10
John Wiseman, XL Touring Video 05/05/06
Thom Wolke, Twincloud.com 02/08/02
Michael Wood, City Lights Entertainment 08/08/08
Nigel Wright, Independant Record Producer 11/07/03
Dusty Wright, CultureCatch.com 07/27/07
Jeremiah “Ice” Younossi, A-List Talent 09/20/09
Ron Zeelens, RAZco Visas 04/20/01
Rick Zeiler, Sidney Frank Importing Company 06/04/04
Danny Zelisko, Live Nation 06/19/09
Hillary Zuckerberg, Brick Wall Management. 07/09/04
Steve Zuckerman, Global Entertainment and Media Summit 03/22/02
Paul Zullo, Muze 01/23/04
Nanette Zumwalt, Hired Power 02/03/06

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