From killer DJs to a packed house, great nightclub parties don’t just happen on their own. And if you have experienced either of the above in Las Vegas, chances are Zarnaz “Zee” Zandi and Lauren Linck touched the event in some way. Now, Zandi, Las Vegas’ “Queen of House” and Linck, the reigning princess of digital marketing, have teamed up to preside over a new empire.
The two nightlife industry experts recently created Silent Partner Entertainment Group, a marketing, management and talent-booking agency. The goal of the joint venture is to match venues with talent, and then provide the digital marketing support, social media and in-club activations to make sure the show is a success.
“It’s kind of a backward agency, because most agencies represent an artist and then they pitch the artist,” Linck says. “We are doing it the other way. Rather than representing the artist, we are representing the venue.”
In Las Vegas, the duo will be working exclusively on bookings with Marquee Nightclub and Dayclub. Out-of-market clients include nightclubs in San Diego, San Francisco and Orange County, as well as digital initiatives for liquor brands. Using the Las Vegas nightlife industry as a case study, Zandi and Linck plan to take their expertise to other cities. Chicago, New York, Miami and Seattle are on their radar.
“I’ve booked in-house before, so I know how those relationships work, but this gives us the chance to route an artist to different markets and clubs,” Zandi says. “Instead of booking for one show, we will have a chance to book in various cities: ‘How about coming in for a one-week run and playing these four nightclubs?’” Zandi also helps the venues to understand what is possible and what isn’t, and then uses her connections to deliver in ways others can’t.
“Just because you want an artist on a certain date doesn’t mean that’s going to happen,” she says. “Let’s say a club in Boston wants to book a show and I will say, ‘OK, let’s get Steve Angello to come play and let me also give him to all these other markets and see if they’re into it.’ Because of my relationship with the talent agencies that I’ve had for almost 15 years, I can go to Steve’s team and say, ‘I have a venue in Boston that wants to book you. When can we make this show work?’”
Once the DJ is booked, that’s when Linck’s job kicks in. “In other [cities] they don’t really know how to market the way we do in Vegas,” Linck says. “So let’s say you book Kaskade in Boston. Sometimes Kaskade sells himself out and all you have to have to do is post a flier. But sometimes it doesn’t happen that way. Many venues don’t really know what to do.” Linck will create a digital marketing campaign. “I know that if I have an artist that has a huge single coming out, you need to need to build a campaign around that single, because then you are much more apt to get support for your show,” Linck says.
Since they work on behalf of a specific venue, Silent Partner can evaluate whether the club has the proper sound, lighting and other specifications. And Silent Partner will be onsite to make sure the artist’s needs are met. “All of our deals involve directly connecting the agent to the venue,” Zandi says.
It seems as if Zandi and Linck were, quite serendipitously, always meant to be collaborators. The pair met in October 2010 at Swedish House Mafia’s Masquerade Motel show in The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel. Responsible for the DJs’ booking was Zandi, then director of electronic music at Angel Management Group (AMG, now Hakkasan Group), a 15-year nightlife-industry veteran who long ago earned the title “Queen of House,” for her role in bringing electronic music artists to Las Vegas.
Linck was, at the time, “director of serving Champagne,” she says, having a laugh about her days as a Hard Rock Hotel cocktail server. The two became fast friends and soon, Linck joined AMG as social media manager in March 2011. They collaborated to promote DJs, nightclubs, dayclubs, restaurants and associated brands until Zandi took on the role of director of nightlife at Wynn Resorts later that year. In 2013, the twosome reunited to work for Amy Thomson’s ATM Artists and former Swedish House Mafia members Axwell and Sebastian Ingrosso, as well as Alesso. It was Thomson who encouraged them to form their own business. “She wanted us to do this about six months ago,” Zandi says. “She told us ‘you two need to do this … go out on your own.’ Amy is someone we look up to.” “She is the hardest worker I’ve ever worked with and she holds her own in this male-dominated industry,” Linck says. “Her marketing skills are above anyone’s level I’ve ever seen. She is unique.”
Since their time at ATM, Zandi has continued to book for both Light Group and Hakkasan Group, while Linck forged her path as an independent digital marketing consultant.
Through it all, Zandi and Linck have remained close, traveling the world, partying with famous friends and musicians, blasting their exploits on various social media channels and generally living up to the reputation of an industry that is known to play hard and work even harder.
And while most of their history is in electronic dance music, they say their future is definitely open format. “We don’t want to be a strictly EDM booking company,” Zandi says, adding that live music isn’t outside the realm of possibility for Silent Partner, either.