Robert Sillerman, the founder of SFX Entertainment, has died at age 71. Sillerman, a Bronx-born New Yorker, launched his first business while in college at Brandeis University. His first company, Youth Market Consultants, was sold in 1971, after which he began purchasing radio stations in major cities across the U.S. This was the formation of Capstar Communications, which was eventually renamed to SFX Entertainment.
SFX turned into the world’s largest producer and presenter of live entertainment. SFX was sold to Clear Channel in 2000, but Sillerman relaunched it in 2012. From bankruptcy, SFX rose to become an electronic music company, acquiring Beatport and other smaller promoters. It was responsible for many of the festivals that we know within the EDM world, such as Electric Zoo in New York, Spring Awakening in Chicago, and TomorrowWorld in Atlanta.
The company went into bankruptcy in 2016 and at that point, Sillerman was involved in a few lawsuits, stepping down as president. Gary Richards, also known as Destructo, became the new president, and the company was re-branded as LiveStyle. Sillerman was ordered to pay $179,000 to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for diverting company funds to personal accounts while misrepresenting the finances of his online publishing and entertainment business. He passed away from respiratory illness, regarded by some as an entertainment entrepreneur who changed the concert industry.