Former Paradigm, WME Execs Launch Culture-Driven Agency Mint Talent Group
After the Coronavirus crisis devastated the music touring business and left creators with an uncertain future, former Paradigm agents Patrick McAuliff and Phil Egenthal and ex-William Morris Endeavor…
A group of leading agents from Paradigm, WME, CAA and Madison House have come together to form a new type of agency, one hyper-focused on providing a boutique approach to artist representation and development.
The Mint Talent Agency was launched today by former Paradigm agents Patrick McAuliff and Phil Egenthal and ex-William Morris Endeavor agent C. J. Strock.
“It really just started with these massive layoffs happening and conversations with all different agents,” McAuliff said. “As we spoke with our friends about their next moves, the idea came together naturally and captured the collective knowledge of all these people coming from all these different shops, using everyone’s experience to help build Mint as a whole.”
Mint is starting with nine agents total — Mary Allen and Cassie Siegel, formerly of Madison House, Michael Morris and Ryan Owens, also from Paradigm, former WME agent Peter Wiederlight and Logan Handelsman, most recently with CAA. Mint has also hired two associates which will fill similar roles to assistant, although “our goal is to be much more transparent about training and promotion,” McAuliff said.
The spirit of agents wanting to help each other and teaching and mentoring, got a bit lost,” Egenthal said. “It’s important to take the assistant from answering phones to learning how to put tours together and become a junior agent, and then helping to take over a role with a client to eventually signing their own first client. That’s an important process, — CJ and I both worked together at Evolution Talent under Jon Podell, David Zedeck and Sam Kirby. We became the agents we are today because of some of that mentorship. I didn’t see that so much at the major agency level and I’d like to return to being able to help others grow.”
Mint as a booking agency and entertainment company says it aims for “career longevity” and has developed a 47-point marketing plan for its clients with a focus on building fan followings in a market-by-market approach.
“More of the onus is now on the acts to really sell tickets and to push shows through their socials and our goal is to help take that burden off the artists,” McAuliff said.
The groups’s experience working at major agencies has given them a front row seat to how some artists excel at major agencies while others tend to slip through the cracks.
“At the big agencies that some of us had worked at, not all of the artists were able to access the services available to the top 10% of the roster. We really wanted to build something where we could offer those services and have everyone participate in a full service model,” Egenthal said. “We’re going to call it a super boutique level of service. There are different types of branding and sponsorship and marketing opportunities for all different levels. For instance, there are boutique alcohol brands like the Cathead Vodkas of the world that sponsor music festivals down in the South that maybe certain acts that we represent really would benefit from.”
Mint is comprised of like-minded agents with great work ethics and is not currently recruiting new members but will consider opportunities with agents that vibe with the group and understand their mission.
“We are focused on long-term growth — we don’t want anyone to have to go through this cycle of what we all went through in the industry where these major houses got so big and so inflated that they could no longer cover their people or clients in a time of need,” Egenthal said.
Mint will have agents in Chicago, New York, LA and Nashville and plans to open an office once the pandemic has ended. Strock said Mint will also represent athletes for appearances at festivals and live events while Egenthal says he is working on live streams, drive-in shows and any opportunities that can help their clients in a collaborative environment in which everyone contributes.
“Our culture is extremely important to us and as the three founding partners we are completely accountable for that, which is exciting to me,” Strock said. “If I’m not happy about something, then I can look in the mirror and say that I’m a hundred percent accountable for this agency — the three of us did not have that opportunity before. And I think in building a family business in the Mint family, that is number one in terms of importance for me. We want everyone to have a seat at the table from associate to agent to partner — everyone has an equal voice.”
Mint’s artist roster includes Allman Brothers Band, Taj Mahal, Blackberry Smoke, Stephen Marley, Brian McKnight, Steel Pulse, CloZee, Trevor Hall, Erasure, George Porter Jr., Mavis Staples, Rising Appalachia and Stick Figure.
More at minttalentgroup.com