Deputy Music Editor, Variety
Jem Aswad, who launched Variety’s music section with executive music editor Shirley Halperin in 2017, has held senior editorial posts at Billboard, MTV News, Spin, Time Out New York and CMJ. He also has worked at three record labels (Atlantic, Warner and Caroline), two record stores, one performing-rights organization (ASCAP), moonlighted as an unpaid hand model for the cover photograph of a Hole single and even helped out at CBGB for a few weeks while one of said labels was filming a documentary there.
A lifelong music obsessive, he started out writing concert reviews for his high school newspaper and over the years has been published in Rolling Stone, New York magazine, the Village Voice, Esquire, Entertainment Weekly, the Trouser Press Record Guide and other publications. He has won several Los Angeles Press Club and Southern California Press Club awards — including the LAPC’s National Arts & Entertainment Journalist of the Year/ Online for 2022 — appears regularly on television and at conferences speaking about music, and sporadically guest-lectures at Syracuse University's Bandier (music business) Program and New York University. He is based in Variety’s New York office.
NIVA Saved the Industry. Now What?
10/14/22, 6:00 PM
When the live music and comedy venue industry was at risk of mass collapse with COVID shutdowns, the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) formed and created a movement across the country to Save Our Stages. NIVA did the unimaginable -- it secured $16 billion in federal emergency relief. Get insights from NIVA co-founders and board members about what the association’s focus is for the future now that venues, promoters and festivals are back and navigating today’s challenges.
The State of the Music Business: Live Music’s Long Road Back to Normal
10/11/22, 2:00 PM
After a harrowing couple of years for the live-entertainment industry, the coronavirus has diminished and artists and festivals are back at nearly full strength. But with a glut of tours and festivals competing for limited fan budgets amid record-high ticket prices and an uncertain economy, how is it all going? We kick off Mondo 2022 with live music leaders and what promises to be a lively -- and important -- discussion.
A Conversation with Artist Managers Ed Millett & Wendy Ong
10/13/21, 4:00 PM
We welcome you to an intimate conversation with artist managers extraordinaire Ed Millett, Co-CEO and Wendy Ong, President of TaP Music, representing some of the world's most important and iconic artists including Dua Lipa, Lana Del Rey, Ellie Goulding and more. Variety's Deputy Music Editor Jem Aswad hosts.
The State of the Music Business 2021
10/12/21, 2:00 PM
Just when it seemed that the music industry had settled around a new model — one where live entertainment is an artist’s main source of revenue — the pandemic completely up-ended the business. Suddenly, publishing and recorded music began growing in value exponentially while the concert business was almost completely shut down for nearly a year and a half. But with the industry slowly — and hopefully — returning to pre-pandemic conditions, what happens next? Will the touring business return fully to normal within a year? Two years? Ever? (And how many independent concert venues will still be in business if and when it does?) Is livestreaming here to stay? And will publishing and recorded-music catalogs keep growing in value, or is this a bubble? It’s all a moving target, but we’ll gather leaders from key industry sectors to try to make some sense of it and offer possible pathways forward.
Weathering the Storm: How the Music Industry Is Coping With the Pandemic
10/13/20, 5:00 PM
Like virtually every business, the music industry has been up-ended by the pandemic: Live entertainment, which was previously the financial engine of the business, is in crisis, while recorded-music revenues and streaming numbers are up, and the value of copyrights is soaring. How are these sectors of the industry coping, and what happens next?