After Paradigm Talent Agency laid off more than 200 employees just one week into the pandemic, five former Paradigm agents have reassembled for a new independent agency. Agents/partners Marshall Betts, Avery McTaggart, Amy Davidman, Ryan Craven and Devin Landau all moved to Paradigm with the Windish Agency in 2015 and have now created TBA.
With offices in New York and Los Angeles, the TBA staff also includes head of artist creative strategy Samantha Tacón, head of marketing Katie Nowak, head of operations Lauren McCauley, agent Josh Mulder, and additional team members Chris Danis and Lauren McCauley.
The pandemic “has been a big shakeup to put it mildly,” McTaggart says. “We felt like there was a real kind of need in the agency space, even pre-COVID for a different style and model of agency. We feel that what we are doing is not just about touring or waiting for shows to come back, but being a part of the rebuild of artists’ careers and of the industry in general.”
TBA’s initial roster of nearly 100 clients includes The War On Drugs, Courtney Barnett, Chvrches, Jungle, Purity Ring, Remi Wolf, The Midnight, Cuco, Bob Moses, Alvvays, Tycho, Pabllo Vittar, Jawny, Mura Masa, Boy Pablo, Beirut, Yaeji, The Marias, Hot Chip, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Matt Maeson, Tune Yards, Pink Martini, Cut Copy, Madame Gandhi, Jay Som, Caribou, Helado Negro, Hiatus Kaiyote, José González, Orion Sun, Julia Jacklin and more.
“This team has consistently delivered great moments for Coachella and Goldenvoice over the years so we will be harvesting their roster for gems in the future,” said Goldenvoice president Paul Tollett in a statement.
TBA says it will focus solely on musicians with the possibility of bringing on different clients at a later date. In that sense, the agency lives up to its cheeky name TBA — a nod to its formation during a time when all touring dates are “to be announced.” The agency first wants to build out income opportunities for its artists who have lost touring revenue for the majority, if not all, of 2020.
McTaggart says it was not a struggle convincing most of their Paradigm artists to move with them to the new agency, stating “what was being advertised and what would be suggested, as being possible at those companies was not always being delivered on.”
“I don’t think our artists view it as a small agency. I think they view it as independent that’s still providing a top notch service,” Betts tells Billboard. “A lot of our artists want that independence to have leverage but also be creative. And sometimes corporate environments don’t necessarily lend themselves to that.”
TBA insists that any idea or project that they can’t directly facilitate for their artists in-house will still be possible given their wealth of relationships throughout the industry garnered over decades of combined experience. The founders strongly believe their dedicated group of 11 employees will be able to do more for their clients than larger agencies attempting to juggle rosters of 3,000.
Right now, TBA is working with its clients on existing campaigns that were interrupted by the pandemic and layoffs at Paradigm, as well as laying out future touring plans for 2021 and 2022. McTaggart believes more boutique agencies will pop up in the wake of the major agency layoffs and says it’s something he’s excited to see happen across the country.
“Some agents have the mindset of, ‘Well, I’m going to sit back this summer and kind of wait for things to come back,’ which we feel we’re quite the opposite of. We really want to lean into how can we help?'” McTaggart says. “People are gonna react to this pandemic differently, but it is going to create opportunities such as this one that wouldn’t have existed otherwise.”