Tour management entrepreneur Nadeem A Salam says Asia is set to become the entertainment capital of the world
Nadeem A Salam’s tour management resume is impressive, to say the least. The 28-year-old has cut his teeth in the field by working in every role imaginable in the management industry.
From working as a logistics manager for Fifa to lighting director for bands and tour manager for all sorts of artists, Nadeem has become a bona fide veteran who has done it all.
An entrepreneur at heart, Nadeem’s love for music and touring meant he was going to do something that involved both. So, in 2011 Nadeem found himself working for the rock band The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus while they were on the road in Florida. He was only 17 at the time.
The band was surprised to find out one year later that he was so young. His complete dedication to his work, however, earned him a trusted place with the musicians. Nadeem, a British citizen, had landed the job by badgering the band with incessant emails.
His enthusiasm for his work has not waned. He went on to found the highly successful Skesh Entertainment, which managed over 150 international shows across 70 cities around the world in 2019 alone.
He has worked alongside international headlining artists like the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Megadeth, Whitesnake, and Boys Like Girls, among others. He has also managed and developed a number of up and coming artists who have had no 1 singles on radio.
With offices of his company Skesh Entertainment in 6 different countries operating over 25 cities across Asia, Nadeem now coordinates international tours for bands to play shows and concerts in the United States, Europe, and Asia.
There are currently a host of different music artists on the Skesh roster. Outside of music the company manages international comedy acts like Azhar Usman. Bangladeshi comedian Naveed Mahbub is also on its comedy roster.
Nadeem dipped his toes in other areas of the business and currently sits on the board of over half a dozen companies. Nadeem, along with a partner, recently bought majority shares in the clothing brand Atticus, from American rock superstars Blink-182.
He also runs Malaysian clothing label Rockiss and online band merchandise platform Merch Cow.
A believer of not putting all of his eggs in one basket, Nadeem says the nature of the industry requires a multi-dimensional approach to the business.
"It boils down to the business at the end of the day,” Nadeem tells Malaysian media outlet The Vibes. “We have that phrase in the music business: "the business is bigger than the music" - and if you can't understand the business, you won't be able to go anywhere with your music, unfortunately."
Nadeem says, the touring scene in Asia has been growing like “crazy.” And it was looking pretty darn well for Skesh too with 150 shows under its belt in 2019.
Skesh Entertainment, the company says, is “arguably one of the fastest growing entertainment companies in the Pacific Rim rivaling operations of competitors such as Live Nation, AEG, and other major record labels.”
It seemed Skesh can only move forward from there. But then the pandemic happened. And as is true for other industries, the pandemic hit the touring scene hard.
While many different entertainment businesses are opening up, like different sports holding games without an audience at the venues, the live music scene cannot adopt the same solution because it does not translate well digitally; at least not as much as football and other sports, which earn the lion’s share of profit through broadcast and streams.
But Asia’s future as the touring capital may only have been deferred, Nadeem hopes.
"You can tell it's eventually going to be the biggest entertainment scene in the world with countries like South Korea, once the rest of Asia wakes up and connects. It will be a totally different game altogether,” he told The Vibes.
The ever shrewd businessman Nadeem is not demoralized by the bleak situation caused by the global pandemic. Currently looking to expand his online live music streaming show The Platform, the young entrepreneur dreams of becoming the biggest entertainment label in the world.