Ash Pournouri represents a new generation of music executive, one who brings a much-needed fresh and innovative perspective to the music business based on the realities of the future over the traditions of the past.
As owner and founder of At Night Management and the Ash Alliance group of talent agents, Ash has combined a creative approach to building modern music careers with a hard-nosed, relentless business acumen required in today’s highly volatile entertainment industry. His penchant for creating new paradigms for success stems from an ability to force his vision into reality, and forms the basis of the company’s motto—“we don’t discover artists, we create them.”
Based in Stockholm, Sweden, Ash is best known for establishing the career of global superstar DJ and producer Avicii (Tim Bergling), whom he continues to manage along with a growing stable of other artists. He put Avicii on the map by securing a headlining spot at Ultra 2012 a year before Avicii’s following warranted the placement, based on the vision (now reality) that Avicii would be worth the billing when the time came – and he was right.
Avicii has since ranked third in the “DJ Mag Top 100” 2012 poll—a sharp jump from his debut at #36 just two years prior—released multiple chart-topping singles, and a landed a landmark, option-free deal for the distribution of his megahit “Levels.” Ash’s role in this success earned him a place on Billboard magazine’s “Dance Music’s Most Influential Executives,” which dubbed him the “Scooter Braun of EDM” by Billboard magazine, after Justin Bieber’s prolific manager.
In 2011, he founded House for Hunger, a non-profit charity created to address the growing problem of hunger worldwide. The effort was inspired by Ash’s firsthand experience with struggling communities while touring the world. Wanting to do more than merely write a check, Ash teamed with Avicii to launch a tour that not only raised $1 million in partnership with Feeding America in 2012, but also engaged fans and drew greater awareness to the problem in the press. House for Hunger is now expanding into Europe, with a goal of raising 1 million euros in 2013.
Raised in Sweden, Ash turned down an opportunity to attend medical school and instead began his career as an Internet entrepreneur, overseeing several startup projects. His experiences as a startup founder inspired an interest in the legal side of business, and led to his earning a master’s degree in law from Stockholm University. On a whim, he attended an underground dance party, and quickly fell in love with House music and dance culture. Shortly after, Ash began moonlighting as a club promoter to pursue these interests and to earn extra cash for his various entrepreneurial projects. He then met Avicii, and created At Night Management on the spot in order to represent him.
Ash’s eye for raw talent and the experience to nurture it is combined with a strategy that’s based on leveraging fame into a brand that transcends music into areas such as fashion, movies, charity and more. His oversight of Avicii’s career is marked with a mix of new media savvy and old-school moxie, as illustrated by his eschewing commitments to any one record label, booking agent, or residency offer, while striking brand and licensing deals with Bud Light and Ralph Lauren’s “Denim & Supply” line—the first ever celebrity relationship for the venerable brand. Ash has since added the dubstep duo Cazzette to his roster, and is adding artists in genres outside of dance as well.
With Avicii, Cazzette, and any future client or endeavor, Ash combines his knowledge of law, lessons learned as a promoter, and the passion of a fan to every element of his business. Using legendary entertainment titan David Geffen as a model, Ash’s vision for the future expands beyond music into new areas of opportunity.