After nearly five decades, Bryan Adams and manager Bruce Allen have reportedly split.
A Dec. 18 article by reporter David Farrell in Canada Billboard broke the news, although no official release has been given.
Calls to Bruce Allen Talent offices on Gastown’s Carrall Street went to a recording stating it is closed for the holidays. Adams is no longer under the artist roster of the company, which includes Michael Bublé, Jann Arden and others.
Rumoured to have started with a handshake back in 1979, the Adams-Allen connection saw a young singer from North Vancouver become a global superstar.
Under Allen’s guidance, Adams is estimated to have record and singles sales in excess of 100 million. In Canada alone, the singer has 25 top-15 singles, including such classics as Summer of ’69, Run To You and the massive 1991 ballad (Everything I Do) I Do It For You.
Adams’ 15th studio album, titled So Happy It Hurts, dropped in March 2022 and reached the number 26 spot on Billboard U.S. Top 100 and #29 on Billboard Canadian albums charts. The project was almost entirely produced by Adams, who played almost all the instruments on the record.
While receiving almost universally positive reviews, the album’s performance fell far short of 2019’s Shine A Light, which hit the top spot in Canada. The subsequent cross-country tour was also acclaimed, if not entirely sold out.
The Billboard story reports the split may be in regards to a disagreement between the manager and artist about future career directions, including releasing new albums. In interviews, Adams has clearly stated that he is “not one to give up on a good idea,” which includes continuing to write new music.
Adams recorded almost all of So Happy It Hurts on his own, working with assorted co-writers. He directed the videos for the title track, On the Road, Never Gonna Rain and Always Have, Always Will. He established himself as a professional photographer in the 1990s, and has built a separate, and successful, career in that medium as well.
The reason he took up the camera was reportedly to have control over his own images, which suggests a longstanding interest in controlling his career that goes back decades.
With earnings reported in the area of US$350,000 in 2022, the musician — with a reported net worth of US$75 million — is hardly hurting. But with the costs of recording, touring and all other aspects of the music industry way up, earnings for legacy acts aren’t what they once were. One of the easiest ways to drive that number up is to take on management duties of your own career.
Since the pandemic led to an industry-wide shutdown, many artists have shifted to self-management as a way to increase their earnings. Management fees can average as high as 20-per-cent. Among some leading acts that self-manage are Bruno Mars, Jay-Z, Macklemore and indie legends Yo La Tengo.
With taking control of his photography career, cutting costs by owning the Warehouse recording studio, and — most recently — producing a new album almost entirely on his own, Adams clearly has the chops to run his own show.
Markets where his sales remain the most robust are smaller European countries such as Portugal, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany and the U.K., which makes it more likely that self-management is possible.
However, until official notice is released, the official reasons for the split remain unsaid.
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