Remembering Seymour Stein

Michael Schneider
2 min readApr 8, 2023

A giant in the music industry left us this week — Seymour Stein. You can read Wikipedia to know his full resumé, but in short he was one of the best spotters of talent the industry has ever seen, and signed everyone from Madonna to The Ramones to Depeche Mode.

I was fortunate enough to meet Seymour at SXSW in March 2011, at a music industry dinner. At the time I was running Mobile Roadie, which at that time was the world’s largest platform for artist apps, including for Madonna. I immediately noticed two things about Seymour: his incredible stories (and the style in which he told them), and his incredible appetite.

Me and Seymour on the Great Wall of China outside of Beijing in 2011

We became friends and kept seeing each other at various music conferences throughout the world. Every time I saw him, it inevitably resulted in a meal — usually some kind of Asian food — and amazing stories.

March, 2013, during Canadian Music Week at Lai Wah Heen, one of Seymour’s favorite Chinese Restaurants in Toronto. L to R seated, Richard Gottehrer (Seymour’s origial business partner at Sire), Seymour, Me, and Ralph Simon.

During the dinner above at Lai Wah Heen, Seymour started telling stories and just didn’t stop. We were all mesmerized. Here are two memorable clips:

Seymour telling the story of signing Depeche Mode, Echo & the Bunnymen, Madonna, and Steven Tyler.
Seymour singing the Frankie Laine song Rose Rose, I Love You and in typical Seymour fashion eating while he told his stories.
On top of the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, May, 2013. L to R Sat Bisla, Eric Sheinkop, Seymour Stein, Me, Mandar Thakur, Ralph Simon, Sasha Shulgin.
May, 2013, in Singapore at Jasper Donat’s Music Matters conference.
March 2014 at SXSW. L to R Jasper Donat, Seymour Stein, Me, Ralph Simon and Michael Paull

After I left Mobile Roadie in 2015, my participation in the music industry declined, and so did my time with Seymour. While I didn’t see him as much, we did keep in touch, mostly over email, and sometimes via phone. I last spoke to Seymour about a year ago; he was living in Los Angeles and he called me to see how I was. He had left Sire in 2018 and was planning new things right up until the end.

RIP Seymour. You were one of a kind, made an incredible impact on the world, and will be missed by so many.

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Michael Schneider

Tali, Mika & Sofi’s dad, Katerina's husband, LA native. Founder, Service. Founder, Streets For All. Board Member, Mid City West Neighborhood Council.