20 in Their 20s: Akin Aliu


Akin Aliu, 29
Company: Creative Artists Agency
Title: Agent
Business: Talent management

How did you get involved with CAA?
I started with CAA as an intern in 2012 in our New York office. After graduating from college in 2013, I applied for a full-time position at the company and started in our music department in July.

What has your experience been like so far?
My experience in the entertainment industry has been a master class in perseverance. You have to put in a lot of time and work behind the scenes to get promoted. The best part is watching how your hard work affects the careers of artists you really care about. It’s still surreal to see the results of your efforts directly impact somebody else’s life and dreams.  

How has the pandemic affected your role and how have you adjusted?
The pandemic has had a huge impact on my day-to-day role. While I still communicated with clients and managers regularly, I was certainly not able to book as many live performances for clients during the pandemic. However, I still found a way to generate revenue for our clients. My colleague Phil Quist and I decided to learn more about the livestreaming space, and we met with dozens of companies to discuss how to monetize our clients’ online reach. We were able to bring in nine figures’ worth of deals in a year where traditional touring was down.

Where do you go for advice regarding your industry?
Former bosses, my CAA colleagues and peers across the industry. I love biographies and look at them as reference books. I read biographies of music industry executives to get a holistic understanding of the business and insight into how they navigated the business politics of their era. I find there to be lots of overlap between past and present.

Does social responsibility play a role in your position?
Social responsibility plays a role in my job from the standpoint of who I decide to represent: people of color, women, underrepresented minorities, etc. I take pride in being able to help grow the business of clients like Young M.A or Freddie Gibbs or Becky G.

Do you feel that your business is particularly tailored to the Los Angeles market?
If we’ve learned anything in the pandemic, it’s that we can do our job from anywhere in the world. However, there’s a community that exists in L.A. for creatives and industry executives that is unlike most other cities, which makes L.A. conducive for business.

What do you do for fun?
Before the pandemic, it was going to shows. In addition to shows, I enjoy reading, cooking and being physically active. It has been great to explore the other hobbies more while we were without shows this past year and a half.

Keep reading the 2021 20 in Their 20s Special Report.

No posts to display