One of the most important figures in EDM has recently died. Robert Sillerman, the man behind SFX Entertainment, passed away at age 71 due to respiratory illness. His lawyer, Sanford Philip Rosen, confirmed the news just recently. An infamous entrepreneur, Sillerman helped changed the landscape of the music industry with his work. Born to a Jewish family in the Bronx, New York, he’s always been connected to the entertainment industry. His own father founded the Keystone Radio Network, offering Sillerman a glimpse into what would become his future. He himself established his first company while he was still studying at Brandeis University. The business served as a consultancy called “Youth Market,” in which he offered advice to various companies on how to reach the young teenage market. He then sold that company in 1971 to start a marketing firm, I P + E, which he then sold to a Boston-based ad agency Ingalls as well.
Sillerman’s most lasting impact has been on the concert industry. In the 1990s, he constructed one of the biggest entertainment empires in the country, SFX Entertainment. At this time, he bought up a series of regional promoters and included them all under the banner of his billion-dollar entity. They include Ron Delsener’s company in New York, Bill Graham’s company in San Francisco, and ‘Cellar Door Concerts‘ in Florida. Getting a stronghold on these major cities, he eventually sold it to Clear Channel Communications in 2000 to become LiveNation. For many years, the company served as one of the most successful of its kind. And with the success of SFX, it allowed Sillerman to acquire all sorts of companies and entities to further raise his brand. One of the most notorious of such was Simon Fuller’s 19 Entertainment. With this acquisition, he earned the rights for successful TV programs that Fuller founded, including “American Idol” and “So You Think You Can Dance,”. Subsequently, he also bought a talent agency that acquired him the likes of legendary comedians Robin Williams and Billy Crystal and acclaimed director Woody Allen. Despite all these successes, however, his attempt to fully take over 19 Entertainment failed in 2007, leading SFX to bankruptcy and his own resignation.
Back in 2012, he brought back SFX as a new EDM-based brand. Solely focusing on electronic music, he then continued to acquire other companies to expand his business. This included small promoted all around the country, as well as an EDM-centered website called Beatport. Still, over time his business lost a lot of steam, leading him to file for bankruptcy again in 2016. Amidst a series of lawsuits, he stepped down from his position and the company rebranded itself as ‘LiveStyle‘. This was one of the final times Sillerman went active within the entertainment industry. Condolences to Robert Sillerman’s family and friends for their loss. The late entertainment mogul is survived by his wife, Laura Baudo. Share your thoughts and reactions in our comments section below!
- Robert Sillerman Featured Image – WairNetworks.com
- Mogul Robert Sillerman – Variety.com
- Old Photo of Robert Sillerman – Billboard.com
- DJ Afrojack and Robert Sillerman – Billboard.com