The deal comes five years after Sam Gores-backed talent agency bought a 50% stake in Coda.
After a five year partnership, Paradigm and the London-based Coda Agency have announced plans to merge their companies. Coda will take the Paradigm name and Coda partners Alex Hardee, Tom Schroeder, James Whitting and Dave Hallybone will lead Coda’s London office which will be rechristened as Paradigm’s U.K. and European headquarters.
Paradigm first acquired a 50% stake in Coda in early 2014, and the two firms shared a combined 500 clients with Coda handling international representation for Paradigm acts like Bon Iver, Ellie Goulding and Pusha T.
“We have been working together very successfully for several years and felt it was time to merge our efforts and be even more successful in serving our clients globally,” Paradigm chairman and chief executive Sam Gores tells Billboard. “Coda has the best leadership of any agency in the U.K., and a proven ability to grow organically and through acquisitions.”
Earlier this month, Coda announced an exclusive U.K. partnership with Instrumental, an AI-driven talent discovery business that will help the agency identify developing musical talent. In 2017, Coda formed a joint venture with Independent Talent Group to “enable broad cross-platform access across [our] respective rosters,” according to a release announcing the deal. In February, Coda established the Equalising Music Pledge with BBC host Annie Mac to achieve greater gender balance in the music industry and launched the Green Artist Rider initiative to eliminate single-use plastics at concerts and reduce carbon emissions and waste.
The merger comes a little more than a month after a proposed merger between Paradigm and UTA failed to materialize after months of talks. The agreement would have combined UTA’s large film and TV roster with Paradigm’s expansive music roster to create a combined agency that would rival CAA and WME. Days after news of the agreement was first reported, Gores announced, “I have made the decision to shut down discussions and not make this deal.”
Paradigm has gone through a period of rapid growth in the last 15 years, starting in 2004 with the purchase of Monterey Peninsula Artists, through 2017 when the company acquired Windish Agency, AM Only and Monterey International. In April, Paradigm appointed Marty Diamond to serve as Paradigm’s head of global music, 12 years after it had acquired his agency Little Big Man.
“The success of Paradigm’s partnership with Coda has shown there are no longer borders in the global music industry — or within our two companies,” Diamond said in a press release, while Hardee joked, “We have achieved the impossible: we found some Americans that we actually get along with.”
Schroeder added, “Merging with Paradigm enables us to evolve and challenge a very dynamic marketplace. With this larger Paradigm platform, we can span the globe without losing our personality, ambition, individualism and innovative approach.”
Gores tells Billboard that the agents at Coda “have invested in several venues and festivals, brought in several strong senior agents from other agencies and started sports, branding and sync and scoring divisions. We will continue to grow aggressively in the U.S. and Europe and be looking for ways to tie these businesses together more closely.”