By Beeber, Al on March 25, 2020.
Ron Sakamoto followed the advice of his father and father-in-law, and because of their wisdom, he is prepared to weather the storm that is COVID-19.
With the worldwide concert industry at a standstill because of the pandemic, Sakamoto and his company Gold and Gold Productions are stable because he is debt-free and that is allowing him to help his employees.
“My father and father-in-law always told me don’t buy anything until you can afford to pay for it,” said the long-time concert promoter on Monday.
Thanks to that philosophy, Gold and Gold staff will be paid until the pandemic storm clears.
“Even if we’re closed to fall (or next year) every one of my staff will be paid until we can start again,” said Sakamoto.
“You’re only as good as the people you have working for you,” added Sakamoto, whose company works with the biggest names in country music including Keith Urban, Brad Paisley and Old Dominion, not to mention Canadian fan favourite Johnny Reid.
“What’s really fortunate for me is my business doesn’t have any debt,” said Sakamoto. “That’s why I can pay my staff full-on and they’ll be paid until fall or next year.”
Being debt-free is a key to success for any company, said Sakamoto, who for 17 straight years was named promoter of the year by the Canadian Country Music Association until the CCMA asked him to retire his name from consideration and let the award be named after him.
Major concert promoter Live Nation, on the other hand, had $3.3 billion in long-term debt after its most recent fourth-quarter results, according to variety.com.
“This is my community and I give back to my community,” he said.
“What’s most important to me is the safety and health of everybody and we’ll follow the rules … families will be looked after. It’s worth a lot to be able to say that. It’s really scary out there.”
All over the world concerts are being cancelled or postponed, said Sakamoto. Tours he promoted this winter ran from January until early March with the last being Brad Paisley’s appearance in Medicine Hat on March 13, which was also postponed.
“Brad said he’s coming back and not to worry,” said Sakamoto.
Because he and his wife had planned a trip to Japan in April, he didn’t have any other acts on the road until fall.
“We’ll have to wait to see what happens,” he said, adding Old Dominion is planning to hit cities it missed on its last tour of 12 sold-out venues.
“At the end of the day, my goal is to do the best shows. I don’t need to be the biggest; I just want to be the best. That’s why I have no debt. It’s all about the artist and relationships, it’s not on doing the most shows I can do, it’s to do the best.”
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