At a certain point in your trajectory as a professional musician, bringing in a great agent can make a huge difference in your career. But you have to be realistic about your expectations, and your readiness for representation.
Paradigm Talent Agency’s Matt Galle is the career-builder behind some of today’s biggest artists. The influential agent has twice been featured in Billboard magazine’s “40 Under 40,” and has appeared on the cover of Pollstar’s Booking Agency Directory.
Early on, Galle helped develop the touring careers of Bruno Mars, Ke$ha, and My Chemical Romance, and was instrumental in developing acts such as Fun., Halsey, and Shawn Mendes. He launched Photo Finish Records in 2006 and co-founded the Bamboozle Music Festival.
At Paradigm, Galle’s current roster includes Gucci Mane, Lauv, Sean Paul, Taking Back Sunday, T-Pain, Why Don’t We, and more. He sheds some light on ways agents and artists can work together for the best results.
When is an artist really ready to take on representation?
An artist should start to consider agency representation once the fundamental groundwork has been laid. Recorded material should be easily accessible, and artists should have an established web and social presence. A good story, indication of a growing following, and extensive experience playing locally are also important factors. As music lovers, we’re constantly on the lookout for new talent that inspires us, but the bar is very high.
What does the artist/agent relationship look like now, compared to, say, ten years ago?
There is definitely a stronger sense of team spirit. Paradigm agents share the same values and put a strong emphasis on collaboration among agents, artists, managers, labels, etc. A strong entrepreneurial spirit is crucial for helping to break new acts and build lifelong careers.
When you can work together across departments and disciplines, you can bring in more impactful opportunities for your clients. I love to work directly with my clients to ensure we are serving their creative vision to the best of our abilities.
How has your artist development strategy evolved with industry changes?
We like to get in early, roll up our sleeves, and strategically build careers from day one. There is much more of an A&R spirit to being an agent than there was in the past, starting to work with artists at the very beginning, sometimes before they even have management or a record label.
Beyond booking shows, we think about partners to engage from an early stage, festival strategy, and unique collaborations on a global level, because music is accessible from anywhere now. We also have access to more data and analytics than ever before, thanks to the streaming services and technology platforms which can help inform our strategy in a concrete way.
What do you see as the biggest new opportunities for artists in 2018?
The live music business is booming and fans around the globe continue to have a major appetite for live music. Additionally, the festival market has never been healthier. The streaming revolution will likely present artists with more exciting opportunities to engage with fans directly. Brand partnerships, licensing, technological advancements, and social media will also continue to benefit artists.
Beyond great music, what does an artist have to bring to the table, in order for you to be able to help take him or her to the next level?
I’m always seeking out qualities that set an artist apart… star qualities like a unique voice, an original point of view, an interesting look, etc. But it’s still most important that I have to have a passion for the music!