Executive Profile: Sherry Saeedi

Founder and CEO 


Years with Company:

Address: Los Angeles, CA 

Web: verswire.com 

Email: [email protected] 

Publicity: Peter Quinn, peter@ peterquinn.co 

Clients: Beauty School Dropout, Girlfriends 


Everyone knows the old music industry model is broken, but Sherry Saeedi decided to fix it. With Verswire, she’s replacing record labels by treating artists as companies, choosing to invest in instead of owning them. She has a proven track record, too, with Veeps. Saeedi sold a majority stake of the live music subscription service to Live Nation in 2021. 

The Problem With Record Labels 

Since inception, record label deals have not been favorable to artists. Imagine I say, “You want to buy this house? There’s an 85 percent interest rate on it.” No one would agree to that. But that’s how the music industry operates. If a label gives you $100,000, you have to pay back $700,000. That’s assuming they don’t tack on a bunch of other fees you were not privy to. And if you ask for a rundown, it’s under an NDA. No other business operates this way and we’ve just kind of accepted it. 

Artists Fight Back 

Would this business model have worked 10 years ago? Probably not. Is it working now? Yes. And the reason is because artists are pushing back. 

For example, Taylor Swift re-recording her masters. Fans had no idea artists don’t even own their music. John Mayer leaving his label after 21 years because, and I quote, “I’m not even sure what they were doing anymore.” Halsey. Kanye. Thirty Seconds to Mars. Alicia Keys. Jessica Simpson. All these people are leaving their record labels, because they’re sick of a model that was never made for them. They’re sick of not owning their work. They’re sick of the ridiculous advance situation. 

Be the Solution or Be Quiet 

If you see a problem, either fix it or don’t complain. I have chosen to fix this. This has been a massive undertaking, but I don’t have fear. That has served me in some places and in others it’s like, “Sherry, don’t jump off that cliff into the water.” True story. I did that in Italy. It was way too high, and I still have whiplash. 

Verswire Isn’t a Label 

You wouldn’t call Uber a better taxi. Maybe once upon a time, that’s how you would explain it. I like to call us the Uber of record labels. It’s not a slightly better label. I’m not giving you a slightly more on-it A&R or a slightly better advance. I’m giving you an entirely different business model. We’re a VC [venture capital] for artists that handles label services. 

Have you watched Shark Tank? Entrepreneurs come on and ask for an investment. A shark takes equity and helps them build their business. That’s what we’re doing. I haven’t discovered King Tut’s treasure, and neither did Uber. They just thought of something that could be done with existing technology. What I’ve done is taken the business model that every other industry uses and applied it to the music industry. 

Assets and Equity 

The investment I give my clients is for assets. What are those assets? Masters. It’s my job to make that money back from my equity within the band’s business. What is that equity? Every artist is different, just like every business is different. So looking through projections and having discussions, I decide what revenue streams I’m going to participate in. 

You own your masters, but I’m a minority stakeholder in certain revenue streams. What does that typically look like? Let’s just say 60/40. I take 40 percent equity of the artist’s masters and 40 percent of the revenue streams I participate in. We’re literally treating it like an investment strategy. 

Real Artist Development 

The way we guide artists hasn’t been done since the Guns ‘N Roses and Nirvana days. We immediately get our hands dirty. Mark Hoppus [of Blink-182] is A&R for Beauty School Dropout. He’s sold 50 million records and done everything they want to do. He’s helping create songs and conceptualizing the music videos. 

You don’t have to earn the right to speak to our marketing team or get involved with radio or pub[lishing]. We get you in from the get go, because we know that if we want to grow we’ve got to pull all the levers. 

Proof of Concept 

We took [Beauty School Dropout] from a total of 4 million streams to 50 million in one year. We took them from 100,000 monthly listeners to 600,000. All this happened within a year. 

We’ve raised $12.3 million to date. People aren’t giving me money because they think I’m a nice person. This is year two of Beauty School Dropout, and we gave them their first royalty check. This needs to be the new standard for the music industry, because it works. 

Doing the Impossible 

I’m honored to say we signed Girlfriends, which is Travis Mills’ band. And we’re about to sign two stadium-sized artists that approached us. If you compare us with a traditional record label, they can’t win. There’s nothing they can do that I can’t. 

No label would say, “You can own your work.” No label would say, “We’ll give you an investment for the masters, and you won’t have to make it back.” No label would say, “Just reimburse us for marketing.” But just because it hasn’t been done before doesn’t mean it’s not possible. 

I have a tattoo on my arm. It’s a Walt Disney quote. I’m exposing myself as a nerd, but it’s fine. “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” And it’s not impossible. 

Positive Thinking 

The what-ifs of the world are always followed by something negative. “What if it doesn’t work?” “What if I fail?” “What if it’s not a good idea?” How about, “What if it does work?” “What if it’s the best idea?” “What if it changes people’s lives?” So much of human nature is tied to fear of negative outcomes. Why don’t we just think about what can happen? 

Kobalt Publishing 

I realized it is the publishing company’s job to go, “I want the artist in the room with this producer.” Or, “I want to put this producer with this writer.” And for both of my clients, none of that was happening. 

Of course, I did it, because I’m good at it and have the right connections. I thought, if I’m doing the publishing company’s job, it’s time to open up Verswire Publishing. I called one of my good friends, Laurent Hubert. He’s the CEO of Kobalt. And I was like, “I can’t think of a better company to partner with on publishing.” And they agreed. 

What caught their attention was why we’re doing what we’re doing. People don’t care what you do; they care why you’re doing what you’re doing. That’s why they wanted to be part of this. 

Pete Wentz, Businessman 

Not only is [Pete Wentz] in Fall Out Boy, but he was instrumental in the growth of Cobra Starship, Panic! at the Disco, Gym Class Heroes, a lot of well-known bands. His business mind is incredible. And he understands how to build an artist’s career, how to A&R, what types of songs a specific artist should focus on. 

Don’t Settle 

I don’t think I’ve ever heard an artist say, “I love the deal I’m in.” You don’t have to settle just because things are the way they are.