United For Opportunity provides strategic vision and services that empower independent, motivated, career-oriented artists and labels to grow, manage, and fund the future.
Formed in 2005 by veteran artist managers Peter Casperson and Steven Saporta, United For Opportunity (UFO) is an organization of experienced, independent-thinking music industry professionals that came together to create an entertainment company — one with a focus on sustainability and customizable services. By anticipating and meeting the demands of the rapidly changing music business, UFO provides its clients with the strategic vision and the tools they need to create, maintain, and grow music careers. Harvesting our years of experience operating in the independent music sector as artist managers, lawyers, publishers, booking agents and producers, we formed UFO to support independent artists and labels that desire to maintain control of their business. Every plan is tailored to the artist and developed with the artist involved.
UFO is a one-stop shop for an entire team. From management and distribution to booking and promotion, we offer a group of specialists under one roof who are able to work together on your campaign or be hired à la carte. Bringing in well respected and powerful industry partners like Fontana, RED, HaloEffect, Hoplite, Lommen Abdo, Invasion Group, Sugaroo!, BMG Chrysalis, and Modern Works Music Publishing, an alliance has been created that gains artists access to some of the best people in the industry and maximizes opportunities for exposure, efficiency and cost effectiveness.
Peter Casperson – CEO
“The future of the music industry lies in the ability of unique, original, career artists to be able to survive, develop, and be granted entry. The current industry malaise is due to the fact that there are too many mediocre talents that have been granted access to the current anarchy of the market created by the implosion of the major label model. UFO offers the qualifying artists the infrastructure to build their individual business while being true to their artistic vision. Our model is helping to create the future legends of this industry. The UFO team is dedicated to this mission.”
As an established veteran in the music business, Peter Casperson has run successful companies in the areas of artist management, records, publishing, recording studios, and booking. Peter started his first entertainment company in the late 60s while attending Babson Institute as a Finance major. Since that time, his commitment to the music industry has been unwavering. Having been a successful booking agent, personal manager, producer, music publisher, label owner and briefly the CEO of a start-up software company, he feels that the culmination of this extensive career is in the UFO concept. Always the independent entrepreneur, Peter created the model for UFO based on his vast experience and understanding of the problems with the current music industry. Through charismatic and intuitive leadership, Peter motivates his colleagues to create new opportunities for success in the toughest of business climates. With his independent ideology and hands-on experience in all areas of the industry over the past 35 years, there is no better steward to successfully navigate the current rapid evolution of the digital music age.
Steven Saporta – Director of Strategic Alliances
“In all my over 30 years of working in the music industry, there’s never been a better time for the UFO business model. This is especially true due to the virtual collapse of the major record companies. Literally hundreds of mid-level artists will be looking for a home that UFO provides. Simply, United For Opportunity empowers artists to become their own business while not having to worry about operational functions.”
Ask Steven Saporta to describe himself and what he does and the words “artistic sensibility” and “communicator” quickly supersede all the other conventional words. They might easily be used to categorize him over the course of his thirty-year career as manager, artist confidant and representative, entrepreneur, conceptualizer, producer, deal-maker, negotiator, music business innovator and consultant. Saporta served as Executive Producer of over 100 clips and five major television specials, virtually pioneering that role in the industry while launching or re-inventing the careers of Whitney Houston, Anita Baker, Van Morrison, Rod Stewart, Run DMC, Aerosmith, Reba McEntire, Billy Joel, Garth Brooks, and Sting, among countless others.
“I believe that a consciousness for art to move forward in a progressive way will always make the best business in the long run.”
In the past several years, Saporta has served as a guest lecturer at New York University’s prestigious Clive Davis School of Music.
“Touring is a great barometer of potential. If you can consistently react live, UFO is the perfect partner to fuel those flames and spread your music to a wider audience.”
While studying business at the University of New Hampshire, Steve began his endeavors in the music business by supporting the efforts of grassroots/regional bands in New England. It was through these “D.I.Y.” experiences that he gravitated towards a focus on artists whose growth was based on touring. Relocating to NYC in 1997, he spent 2 years working as a web producer for Penguin Publishing, where he learned the ins and outs of website development, internet marketing and sales. Growing tired of the publishing business, Steve returned to his calling of music, where in 1999 he formed a national booking agency and management firm called In the Pocket, representing artists such as Groove Collective and Jai Uttal. Soon after he joined Invasion Group where he serves as Director of Operations and Artist Manager.
“In this cluttered and demanding business, it is a pleasure to be associated with a label whose personnel have had a wealth of experience in day-to-day artist management. Finally, a label that can truly excel in the rapidly shrinking world of artist development!”
Rick began his career as a musician signed to a major label. After deciding to switch over to the business side of the industry he went to work at a financial service company, Lawrence Blau & Associates, where he became a partner in 1988. At Lawrence Blau & Associates, Rick gained an extensive background in business management and financial planning of artists. Rick now manages royalty systems for various publishing and record royalty entities, and is fully versed in the operation of all royalty calculations and the fiduciary responsibility of artists, record companies, and distribution companies.
“The Internet provides artists with countless opportunities to build relationships with their fans. UFO helps artists maximize these connections by ensuring that each artist’s online presence is a genuine extension of their onstage identity.”
A graduate from Stetson University in DeLand, FL with a double major in Digital Arts: Sound and French, Jana Fisher joined the Invasion Group/United For Opportunity team in 2009, where she heads online marketing for artists and labels. She uses her expertise in web development and graphic design to provide Invasion/UFO artists with consistent branding across online and print platforms. Her passion for helping artists express their unique voices online fosters authentic connections with fans through social media and email marketing. She uses the cutting-edge tools in the UFO arsenal to deepen these relationships through exclusive, direct-to-fan sales campaigns where fans can buy a special bundle without ever leaving the artist’s website. Jana also heads up street team development for UFO, getting fans engaged and personally invested in the success of artists they care about. She is an active artist and performer in the NYC music scene. She designed and built the UFO site you are currently visiting.
“UFO provides a home to artists where they can place their trust in the talented and experienced personnel. The staff is both creative and forward thinking when it comes to developing marketing plans and utilizing promotional tools.”
Originally from Denville, NJ, Greg attended University of Florida and New York University, earning a Bachelor’s in Economics. Being a self-taught musician and avid music fan, Greg decided to forego the traditional career path of an Economics major and instead pursue his passion for music. He began his career at artist management company Sophistic Arts before finding a home at UFO, where he heads up the tour marketing efforts of the UFO marketing team. Greg’s background as an agent at TBArtists and Hoplite informs his perspective on tour marketing and allows him to provide UFO clients with additional booking support.
Fei Wu has a Master’s Degree in Accountancy from the University of Illinois, Urbana and she has earned her CPA designation from the State of Illinois. Fei received her Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the Central University of Finance and Economy in Beijing, China, where she was a member of the English Association, the Psychology Association and for sports participation, the Badminton Association. She also volunteered extensively, arranging social events at the military base near campus, leading English and Art classes for elementary students in destitute areas, and visiting local hospices as a care-giver to the elderly. In the English Association, Fei conducted the New Oriental Cup English Contest in Beijing, where she handled publicity city-wide. She also served as a secretary in the Undergraduate Student Association where she held DIY T-Shirt week on campus and attracted 500 participants. At the University of Illinois, Fei participated in the Habitat for Humanity program as well as Project Discovery and was also enrolled in a special Leadership Program.
Sarah comes to us with a myriad of skills that fit perfectly with the INV/UFO missions. Marketing campaigns are driven by maximizing the impact of touring. Understanding the fundamentals of the tour and what it takes to have real impact on a career is an incredible asset.
Sarah Kalikow’s experience in project management, booking, and marketing all inform her focus on the development and growth of artists careers by effectively combining short term goals with long term vision. Her expertise in communication and creative thinking have led to diverse and inspiring opportunities live music touring, events, and promotion.
In an effort to provide an experienced third eye for our clients, Invasion/UFO has enlisted the services of experienced A&R executive and songwriter Steve Lunt. Lunt is available for artists trying to take their recording projects to the mainstream or just looking for some outside perspective.
Steve Lunt has worn many hats: hit artist, hit songwriter, and record company A&R executive responsible for 5 of the 10 largest first week’s album sales in music history. Steve enjoyed a huge international hit record as the writer and singer of City Boy with “220.127.116.11.”. City Boy released five albums which were all produced by legendary producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange, who went on to have massive success with AC/DC, Foreigner, The Cars, Def Leppard, Shania Twain, Maroon 5, Lady Gaga, and Britney Spears. Steve sat by Mutt’s side through every second of the recording, and mixing, of those five albums, gaining the best apprenticeship a studio rat could possibly dream of.
After City Boy had run its course, Steve moved to New York and embarked upon a successful songwriting and production career which included the worldwide Cyndi Lauper hits, “She Bop” and “The Goonies ‘r’ Good Enough” (from Steven Spielberg’s movie The Goonies). During this period, Steve also had songs recorded by Jefferson Starship, Joan Jett, Peter Frampton, and Deniece Williams, amongst others.
In the mid ‘90s, Clive Calder, the reclusive and highly respected CEO/founder of Jive Records, personally recruited Steve to be his Vice President of ‘pop’ A&R, where he went on to A&R multiple albums by Britney Spears (from the introductory “…Baby One More Time” to the Grammy winning “Toxic”), as well as the Backstreet Boys, *NSync and Justin Timberlake. After Jive, Steve moved on to Atlantic Records where, from scratch, he developed the career of the 10-man a capella group, Straight No Chaser, currently the best selling a capella group in the world.
Robin Mangaser – Legal
Robin, an attorney admitted to practice in the State of New York, focuses her practice in the areas of intellectual property, corporate matters, new media, and music. Robin began her legal career at Sony Music in Business and Legal Affairs at Epic Records, and went on to practice at the firm of Savur Threadgold LLP where she is an associate attorney. Robin draws from a diverse background in lending her skills to INV/UFO Business Affairs.
Robin graduated in 2013 with a JD/MBA from Rutgers Camden’s schools of Law and Business. At Rutgers Law, she was a member of the Journal of Law and Religion, competed in moot court, and was an active leader in various law communities. She graduated her MBA summa cum laude. Prior to law school, Robin worked in the healthcare and nonprofit sectors. Robin graduated from Drexel University (BA, 2008, magna cum laude) with a focus on finance and international business.
Tom Schneider first crossed paths with Peter Casperson of UFO in the mid-1980s when Peter signed a local Boston band managed by Tom to his Invasion Records label. While the band enjoyed a mild run of success with their recording, Tom and Peter forged a relationship which has lasted for 20 years. After five years of band management Tom started a brand promotion firm called Target Marketing and Promotions. Schneider grew his promotions agency into a multi-million dollar business by creating bold and unconventional grass roots marketing campaigns for a roster of national clients: Jose Cuervo Tequila, Glen Ellen Wines, Sam Adams Beer, Anhueser-Busch brands, Pepsi-Cola, Cadbury Beverages, Volkswagen, Reebok and Hasbro. During this time, Tom, Peter and Steven Saporta of the UFO office collaborated to help promote Woodstock ’94 and ’99. As an early adopter of partnership marketing, Tom conceived of the renowned Jetta Trek campaign for Volkswagen that has since become the widely used co-branding model for the auto industry. In 1995, Schneider and his team concepted “Cuervo Nation” for Jose Cuervo Tequila, Diageo, an unprecedented integrated event-marketing campaign that he is still executing for Cuervo today. Later, Schneider created the POX Secret Agent viral marketing campaign widely recognized in Businessweek, the New York Times Magazine and the book Buzz – Harness the Power and Influence and Create Demand. This project has since become a Harvard Business School case study. In 2001, TMP was acquired by Alloy, Inc (NAS: ALOY) a New York based marketing and Media conglomerate. In 2002, Tom spearheaded the formation of Alloy Marketing and Promotions (AMP), which was honored as the #1 “Agency of the Year” by PROMO magazine. Schneider held the position of Chief Marketing Officer and currently serves as a part time consultant to AMP.
Now after 20 years of driving brand marketing, Tom has come full circle to work with Peter again as lead marketing consultant for UFO records and UFO clients. Peter chose Tom to drive a grassroots approach to marketing UFO and their bands, much like you would do to create a solid brand.
Tom received a BS degree from Boston College and is active within BC’s Carol School of Business as a member of its CEO Club. He is also a trustee member of the Boston Ad Club and a member of MIMC.
“UFO is just what the doctor ordered. The questions today are limitless and they provide many answers. It’s great to be involved with them in that process.”
Robin Danar is a music producer, engineer and mixer from New York who is now based in Los Angeles. Robin is a modern version of what the music industry once was. He comes from a time when contributions by a producer were much more than what they often are today. He applies this old-school artistry and sensibility to new music and technology.Robin’s resume covers involvement with every aspect of music. His live work dates back to CBGB in the 70s and includes artists ranging from Blondie, Patti Smith and the Ramones through Suzanne Vega, Shawn Colvin, Laurie Anderson, Cyndi Lauper and the B-52′s. His studio work includes artists like Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Steely Dan and Chaka Khan. The main priority, however, remains discovery and development, which deserves more attention than it gets in today’s music world. His involvements with KCRW (Los Angeles), XMRadio, MTV, MOG.com and artists such as Sia and The Strokes represent his desire to find new artists and help them to get heard. His current work includes artists like Pete Yorn, Rachael Yamagata, Inara George (The Bird and the Bee) and Jesca Hoop.
Woody Armstrong – Strategy & Business Development
“The convergence of music — both the artistry and the industry — and technology has been a longtime passion of mine. UFO / Invasion is building what I believe is a true, optimized-for-the-new-realities, music / entertainment business, and I am proud to be associated with, and support the efforts of, Peter, Steven and the entire UFO / Invasion team.”
An accomplished business professional and entrepreneur, Woody Armstrong has more than 30 years of diversified experience in media and entertainment, financial services, alternative asset management and investing, and technology professional services. As an entrepreneur, he has founded or co-founded three boutique asset management / strategic services firms, and consulted to numerous other entrepreneurs and small and mid-sized businesses, including many in the music and entertainment industries.Woody was a key member of the original management team for MusicianFirst, an innovative online music business subsequently acquired by Guitar Center, Inc. His background in technology professional services includes time spent with Qwest Communications’ Global Services Division, Princeton Internet Group, Inc., and Midi, Inc., during which he was instrumental in setting strategic direction, developing new business and partnerships, and managing key client relationships. Previously, Woody spent 10+ years in the financial services industry, where he held positions as a trader, trading operations manager, administrator and systems analyst with such firms as Commodities Corporation USA (later became Goldman Sachs Hedge Fund Strategies Group), Kemper Currency, Inc., Shearson American Express, and Pacton Management.