Social Media Snafu Reveals Secret Identities Behind 'Agent vs. Promoter' Accounts

Joe Atamian
Courtesy of Joe Atamian

Joe Atamian

Joe Atamian admits he's the agent while Scott Leslie says he's the promoter behind anonymous Tumblr & Instagram.

The agent and promoter behind a popular Tumblr page and Instagram account that skewered the concert industry have been revealed.

Paradigm booking agent Joe Atamian accidentally revealed that he was the agent behind the account when his Facebook profile somehow linked up with the Agent vs. Promoter Instagram account and sent a notification to dozens of people that "your friend Joe Atamian is now posting on Instagram as agentvspromoter.”

Three days after the inadvertent link, Scott Leslie with the Majestic Live in Madison, Wisconsin, came forward and admitted he was the promoter behind the four-year-old account that had become a viral hit in the music community known for lampooning "the very difficult lives of a booking agent and a concert promoter." A big part of the site's appeal was that the authors were anonymous, with many hours spent trying to discover their identities, to no avail.

Atamian said he has no idea why the notification went out. "I was at a show, and my phone started blowing up," explained the Nashville booking agent, who reps Sturgill Simpson and The Lumineers. "It had to have been some kind of glitch."

Leslie was one of the first to notice, saying he logged in to the account to post something and saw Atamian's name listed on the Instagram account. "And then my wife called me and told me, 'I think you might have a problem.'"

Despite their identities being revealed, Atamian and Leslie said they will continue to run Agent vs. Promoter and will solicit material from others in the industry for future posts.

"Being able to be anonymous was what made it funny," Leslie said, adding that they're still fleshing out the details on how it will receive and publish anonymous content.

 

Agent: When another agent and I are discussing indie promoters.

A post shared by @agentvspromoter on

Agent vs. Promoter was created in 2013, launched after the two sent back and forth several Seinfeld memes poking fun at the music business. The two then created a Tumblr page and began posting snarky comments, accompanied by popular GIFs. Almost immediately, Agent vs. Promoter began to develop a following, capturing the attention of Seattle's The Stranger newspaper.

"People started asking us who we thought was behind the account," Atamian said, while Leslie added, "I remember going to Lollapalooza after we had been at it for a year and everyone was joking and laughing about Agent vs. Promoter."

There were a few close calls, but both men were able to keep their identity secret for four years and even created a 40 Under 40 award in 2015. The next year, the pair released a prank posting that pointed the finger at Paradigm's Sam Hunt and C3's Huston Powell as the authors of the site; neither Hunt nor Powell confirmed or denied it.

 

Agent: When I know that I messed up and have to take the verbal lashing from a manager...

A post shared by @agentvspromoter on

"It was a lot of fun," Atamian said, adding that he hopes some of the people the two made fun of "have a good sense of humor about it. If not, it is what it is."

Leslie said "part of what made it fun was being able to laugh at ourselves and take a step back and look at how worked up we can get over things that are pretty inconsequential in the grand scheme of what we do."

 

Promoter: When a band challenges and actually clears a 10th hold and then cancels their tour.

A post shared by @agentvspromoter on

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