SYDNEY, Australia — Iconic Australian concert promoter Michael Chugg and his company Chugg Music are joining forces with Select Music and artist manager Dan Biddle on Wheelhouse Agency, a new venture.
The booking agency will lasso the growing business that is country and Americana across Australasia, and boasts an extensive roster at launch, including Sheppard co-founder Amy Sheppard, INXS’ Andrew Farriss, Casey Barnes, Kingswood, Shannon Noll and more.
Wheelhouse’s leadership team includes Chugg and his business partner Andrew Stone, the reigning artist manager of Australia’s AAM Awards; Select Music’s Stephen Wade (CEO) and Rob Giovannoni (senior agent), and country music artist manager Dan Biddle, director of Dan Biddle Management and special projects manager for Chugg Music.
Giovannoni and Biddle are named co-heads of the agency in addition to their existing roles, while Katie Krollig, a six-year veteran with Select Music, joins the Wheelhouse team as lead agent while continuing to service her roster of Select Music artists.
Wheelhouse Agency represents “a big moment for us,” Chugg tells Billboard from Nashville, ahead of the presentation of Billboard’s 2023 Country Power Players.
Chugg’s appetite for country music is legendary. Last year, he became the first-ever recipient of the Country Music Association’s Rob Potts International Live Music Advancement Award. He was the sole Australian shortlisted for the new category, which celebrates an individual’s significant contributions to the live music industry by helping to build audiences for country music outside the United States.
With the late Potts, Chugg built the CMC Rocks festival brand, which expanded with CMC Rocks The Snowys, CMC Rocks The Hunter and the popular CMC Rocks Qld leg, and he has guided Barnes’ award-winning career in country through Chugg Music.
Country music is exploding in popularity in Australia right now.
Morgan Wallen’s “Last Night” is the current No. 1 on the ARIA Singles Chart, a position it has locked-up for two months. It’s parent, One Thing At A Time, also led the national albums survey, thanks in part to his successful Australasian tour in March, which included a set at CMC Rocks Qld.
Close behind on the national chart is another U.S. country star, Luke Combs, whose “Fast Car” sits at No. 5, its peak position in its ninth week since release. Combs will tour Australia and New Zealand this August.
Frontier Touring, which struck a joint venture with Chugg Entertainment in 2019, is producer of both treks.
“The growth of country music in Australia over the last few years has been well documented and it was clear that the market needed a new agency to service the many great new artists coming through along with the established artists who are kicking major goals,” comments Chugg in a statement.
“With our many decades of experience across all facets of live touring, combined with our knowledge of the country music industry, there is no better team in Australia to help artists develop their live careers and grow their audiences.”
Read more at wheelhouseagency.com.au.
Wheelhouse Agency roster:
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