Bryan Adams Splits with Longtime Manager Bruce Allen
The Canadian singer-songwriter is now self-managing his career.
After a memorable handshake agreement in Vancouver 44 years ago, manager Bruce Allen and client Bryan Adams have split. As confirmed by a source with direct knowledge of the situation, Adams is now self-managing his career.
No official announcement has been made as yet, but Allen’s legendary career in developing and maintaining superstar talents remains intact and earned him acclaim as one of the world’s top managers.
The rough-and-tumble blue-collar street-smart kid who started on the rough side of town on Canada's west coast, Allen, now 78, earned his mostly Canadian client list untold millions of dollars.
Among them, an unruly unknown collective that became household names including Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Loverboy and, more recently, Michael Bublé and Jann Arden.
His thirst for success and bullheaded negotiating skills helped his clients collectively sells the better part of 100 million records and earn millions in royalties and box-office earnings.
As the story goes, a young Adams approached Allen, then riding the crest of a wave with BTO, wanting him to manage him. Still very much a greenhorn in the music business, Allen wavered in signing Adams, at which point the young buck lashed out and famously kicked an aluminum garbage can in his office. Until five years ago, when I last was in his office, that dented can remained in Allen’s office as a reminder of a deal done on a handshake. Adams’ anger was Allen’s confirmation that the kid was driven and sincere.
Managers come in many shapes and colours. Some suck the lifeblood from their clients and live off percentages. Others see the potential in them and look for newfound opportunities. Allen has always been an ingenious innovator and a lifelong friend to his acts. He told me once that he phoned or spoke in person with them at least three times, sometimes as many as five times a day. He was wedded to them.
He believed in them, and his sole mission was to build their careers the best way he knew was to follow the dollar and build wealth for them listing with blue-blooded clients that led him from Brunei to Buckingham Palace.
There has been no acknowledgement of the falling out, but Bruce Allen Talent’s website no longer acknowledges Adams as a client, and Adams’ website similarly has no acknowledgement of Allen as his manager. Insiders say that Adams, short-term, is managing his affairs. Billboard Canada FYI has reached out to both Adams and Allen, as well as their management companies and artist agencies, and none has provided comment as of press time.
A multi-millionaire with income derived from royalty streams from his lengthy and uber-successful career as a singer-songwriter (and photographer), Adams continues to earn as much as US$350K in 2022 with an estimated US$75M in net worth.
Anecdotally, the breach in the handshake agreement is believed to be in a disagreement between the manager and artist over future direction, in particular Adams’ insistence on spending on new albums.
Unsubstantiated and uncorroborated by either side is a rumoured divisive argument over new material.
Allen, a sage reader of popular opinion, is believed to have argued about overspending on new albums and videos, whereas client Bryan Adams has spent big money on his last contracted albums with Universal, and a 2021 deal with RCA. Both albums cost a bucket of cash and earned him questionable additional box office dollars.
It's an age-old argument with heritage acts that want to remain relevant and record new material; whereas wisdom has shown that young and old fans have singular interests in having aging hit acts replicate hit songs on tour.
Adams is as smart at crafting hit songs as he is at photographing iconic artists and extending his career, but without Allen as his manager, untethered his career and his income streams are less predictable as a weather forecast in late autumn. For former manager Bruce Allen, Adams’ exit is likely as sad as it is welcomed. Adams’ global reach is a nightmare of entry visas, tour red tape, and local tax and currency exchanges.