As part of William Paterson University’s continuing Music and Entertainment Industries Seminar series, Steve Leeds, vice president of talent and industry affairs at SiriusXM satellite radio and professor of music management at WPU, interviews Debra Rathwell, senior vice president at Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), the #2 concert promoter in the world.

They sit down to discuss concert promotion, touring and live music. In addition, Rathwell describes her rise from humble beginnings in a small village in Canada to becoming a pioneering female concert manager for Donald K Donald, ultimately leading to a vice president position at AEG.

Debra Rathwell, right, stands with smart William Paterson University music biz students after her interview.

Selected discussion topics include #metoo and gender bias, touring the early American Idol artists and the current prospects of turning television music stars into live performing artists, Rathwell’s involvement in Woodstock ’99, examples of great performance venues, signs that an artist is ready to tour, club touring, and her role models and mentors.

Ms. Rathwell also provides tips for how to perform on the job — particularly emphasizing persistence and fearlessness — and shares stories about touring the likes of JoJo Siwa, Metallica, Carrie Underwood, Elton John, Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber.

From L to R: WPU’s Professor David Kirk Philp, AEG’s Debra Rathwell, SiriusXM’s Steve Leeds, and WPU’s Dr. Steve Marcone.

The series, which takes place in the Martini Room of Hobart Hall, located on Pompton Road, across the street from the main William Paterson University campus, is free and open to the public.

Other 2019 guests include:

  • Marsha Vlasic, President, AGI (watch her interview HERE)
  • Kate Hyman, VP of A&R at BMG (watch her interview HERE)
  • Debra Rathwell, SVP at AEG Live
  • Julie Swidler, Sony Music Entertainment’s EVP Business Affairs & General Counsel
  • Lisa Barbaris, Manager of Cyndi Lauper

For information about the Music Management Seminar Series, email Dr. Steve Marcone:

For information about the WP Music Management program, click HERE.


For full details about the Music & Entertainment Industries Program, including courses, the minor, and our MBA, click HERE.


For full details about the WPU Pop Music Studies Program, including courses and audition requirements, click HERE.


Professor David Philp is Assistant Professor Music & Entertainment Industries and Popular Music Studies at William Paterson University. He is the co-host of the only FREE advice college radio-based music & entertainment industry talk show in America, Music Biz 101 & More, which airs live most Wednesday nights and is available as a podcast HERE every night (days too).  Your favorite professor is also co-author (with Dr. Steve Marcone) of Managing Your Band – 6th Edition.  Reach him at or find him on LinkedIn HERE.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.