Digital Dealmakers: 11 Agents & Curators Launching Viral Dance Music Sensations

Illustration by Angie Wang


Whether taking artists from SoundCloud to stadiums or spinning YouTube views into Vegas gigs, these agents, curators and software whizzes have translated web beginnings into real-world successes.


President, Spin Artist Agency

Spin signed Canadian duo Loud Luxury in 2016 as its tracks like “Fill Me In” and “Going Under” were gaining support from Tiësto and Oliver Heldens. Brady and the pair’s label, Armada, worked 2017 single “Body” through a yearlong “slow burn,” with the song eventually crossing over to the Billboard Hot 100 and Mainstream Top 40 charts. Loud Luxury played 160 shows in 2018, culminating with a Hakkasan residency in Las Vegas through 2019. Brady says this year will also feature big Latin and pop collaborations, along with main-stage festival announcements.

Paradigm Talent Agency

REZZ’s devoted online fan base moved Chapman to sign the Canadian producer in 2015. Her unique sound immediately attracted media attention, along with serious chatter on Reddit and other social media. After a few well-placed support gigs for artists like deadmau5 and Anna Lunoe, Chapman, 30, focused on making REZZ a stand-alone ticket seller with festival-headliner potential. Soft-ticket shows at clubs began selling out, leading to a hard-ticket tour in support of debut LP Mass Manipulation in 2017, a largely sold-out 2018 trek and dates at Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) Japan, Tomorrowland and Lollapalooza. In 2019, she’ll return to Red Rocks for her second REZZ Rocks event.

Creative Artists Agency

Clark, 38, signed The Chainsmokers when they were smashing the Hype Machine charts with their remixes. “Selfie” became a viral hit in 2015, and though it hurt the duo’s credibility among indie fans, it attracted the attention of Republic Records. 2015’s “Roses” signaled the duo’s mainstream breakthrough, garnering millions of streams and leading to a U.S. theater tour. In 2017, Alex Pall and Drew Taggart hit arenas worldwide in support of their album Memories...Do Not Open. A 41-city 2019 arena tour will feature collaborators 5 Seconds of Summer and Lennon Stella.

United Talent Agency

A unique sound, strong branding and general air of mystery catapulted Marshmello to stardom. Following his 2015 SoundCloud debut, “WaVeZ,” and a remix of Skrillex and Diplo’s “Where Are Ü Now,” Gordon, 37, and Gimble, 43, booked his first official performance at Skrillex’s Pier of Fear, then another at Southern California’s HARD Day of the Dead. The following year, his Ritual tour largely sold out. In February, over 10 million live viewers caught a 10-minute concert inside mega-video game Fortnite, and he sold out Los Angeles’ 22,000-capacity Convention Center.

Paradigm Talent Agency

Alan Walker was a teen when his single “Faded,” released through the label NoCopyrightSounds, became a royalty-free gamer favorite on YouTube. The song’s success led to Walker linking with Morris, 47, who noticed the artist’s popularity in Mexico and booked him a set at EDC Mexico 2017. That proved to be a North American entryway for the Norwegian producer. The two leveraged more gamer love with an official League of Legends theme remix and a gig at the game’s 2017 World Championship in Beijing. Walker played Coachella and Ultra in 2018 and sold out much of his first hard-ticket North American tour in February. “We have some exciting plans for Asia this year,” says Morris, “specifically China.”

Paradigm Talent Agency

Louis the Child broke out in 2015 with its SoundCloud megahit “It’s Strange” when the Chicago pair was still in high school. Moss signed the duo in 2016, focusing first on hard-ticket touring, then on harnessing its streaming popularity and instinct for connecting with fans through social media and IRL photo ops. Moss, 32, says a debut LP is coming up, plus headlining festival dates this summer.


By the time Zimmerman joined Kygo’s team in 2015, the artist had landed major spots at Ultra and Coachella based on millions of streams and YouTube views for hits like “Firestone” and his remix of Ed Sheeran’s “I See Fire.” The agent shifted focus away from DJ club dates toward hard-ticket theaters, selling out shows throughout the United States and Europe. By 2017, Kygo was a bona fide crossover, with “It Ain’t Me” (featuring Selena Gomez) paving the way to bigger fest dates and arena tours. Next: international Kygo-curated mini-festivals.


Founder/CEO, The Nations

In 2012, 15-year-old Benz started uploading electronic trap music to his Trap Nation YouTube channel. After he posted San Holo’s remix of Dr. Dre’s “The Next Episode” and it gained 23 million views in seven months, Benz began expanding, launching Nation channels for chill, bass, rap, indie, R&B and house. By 16, he was making thousands of dollars in ad revenue and partnering with labels and artists on official premieres. In 2016, he moved to Los Angeles and founded independent label Lowly, with signees including KLOUD, Fairlane and Arrested Youth. Next up for the precocious talent: adding artist management and development to his résumé.

Founder/CEO, Proximity

Coppelson, 25, launched his YouTube music channel, Proximity, in 2011 to share his own productions alongside music from artists he loved. When he had garnered a few thousand subscribers, artists and labels approached for official premieres; at 70,000, Interscope reached out to promote its electronic music on the platform. Six years later, Proximity joined the majors as a sublabel of Geffen. Most recently, it partnered with Hakkasan Group on events in Las Vegas. A livestream celebrity gaming series in partnership with YouTube is on deck.

Co-founder/CEO, Splice

A music lover with a programming background, Martocci, 37, founded online music creation/collaboration platform Splice with partner Matt Aimonetti as a means to incorporate open-source culture into digital music creation. Cloud-based backup and collaboration tools are free, and users can buy royalty-free sound packs from both big-name artists and up-and-comers. Splice sounds can be heard in productions by David Guetta and in Zedd’s “The Middle,” while sound packs have paid artists over $15 million in revenue.

This article originally appeared in the March 30 issue of Billboard.