Marc Geiger has been described as a “consummate music industry insider” whose credits include co-creating Lollapalooza with Perry Farrell and serving as vice president of William Morris Endeavor, the entertainment company headed up by super-agent Ari Emanuel. He’s as entrenched in the music business as an entrenched music-business executive can be. So when he says that an artist can make $1 million on the touring circuit based on one positive review from Pitchfork, even if it sounds outrageous, there’s reason to think it might be outrageously true.
Speaking with Billboard, Geiger claims that buzzy Toronto-based R&B outfit The Weeknd was offered a hefty fee to perform one show—the group’s first show, without any “official” recordings to its credit. In spite of The Weeknd drawing raves from numerous blogs and publications (and getting hyped by hip-hop superstar Drake), Geiger gives sole credit to Pitchfork’s reviews of the free mixtapes House Of Balloons and Thursday for the group’s success.
“That’s 40 shows, that’s $1 million, and there’s no record released,” he said. “You can break a band—done with the right people if you make the right moves—off of one review. That’s a shocker to me.”
There are several things that should be taken into account here. First is Geiger’s quick aside that William Morris also represents Pitchfork—which makes this interview some grade-A representing on Geiger’s part. Second is the dubious claim that The Weeknd will automatically command that fee once it establishes itself a bit more. (The group has only played a small handful of gigs so far.) Then there’s the question of how much credit Pitchfork should get for breaking an artist that has also been covered by lots of other outlets. But all those caveats aside, it appears that Pitchfork at the very least has the perception of great power in the music industry—and the already influential web site seems to be invested in growing that perception. See video of the interview below.