As we get started, I’ll let you introduce yourself.
My name is Daniel McCartney and I’m the owner of the booking agency “The Action Agency”. I appreciate you having me for this interview, it means a lot.
Can you give us some background on The Action Agency. What exactly does your company do?
Absolutely! The Action Agency was started about a year and a half ago now. We are a booking agency anchored primarily in developing musical artists of all genres. We do everything from rap to heavy metal and try to touch everything in between. Our primary job is to develop artists by sending them on tour and helping them establish a large fan base. Our goal is to put the artist in a great situation where they are playing in front of fans that will grasp onto their music. I’m pretty excited about the roster we currently have and the steady growth that it reflects.
How many employees do you have at The Action Agency and what are their roles?
We have five agents. One agent also does my assistant work. I also have another assistant who does primarily marketing for our tours. We have a graphic design intern who also does an awesome job with doing our fliers and promotional materials. It’s really cool to see how far we have all come in just a year and a half. All of the agents are progressing and I hope for the agency to keep expanding where it makes sense. It truly is a team effort, there are so many different aspects that go into announcing a tour, promoting a tour, or even just booking the actual tour. It’s not the easiest work but we have an awesome team and things typically go very smoothly.
How does a band go about getting signed to The Action Agency?
This is a question I get asked pretty often and I’m glad you asked it. We are constantly looking to expand where it makes sense. Some agents have more time on their hands than others, so if anyone ever submits their band to us we typically pass it around and let everyone listen/check it out. Unfortunately we cannot sign every band that submits, but if it makes sense on both ends we will absolutely explore the possibility of making the artist an official Action artist. We work for the band, that shouldn’t be misinterpreted into the opposite of that, but we are especially always looking for artists who are willing to work. Artists who are looking to lay the ground work for their careers early on and grow with us. Most importantly we are looking for bands who handle the business side of their career with integrity, because we will be handling their booking with integrity as well.
What are your goals for The Action Agency? What do you hope to see it become?
I’m really excited about how far the agency has come in just a year and a half. I was the only agent when we first started. The agency was started by a good friend of mine who I recently bought the company from. I had about 10 bands when we first started and now that has grown into 5 agents and about 50 artists at our agency with no signs of slowing down. My goals for The Action Agency are pretty simple. I hope to build a boutique worldwide booking agency alongside the staff we currently have and any staff we bring on as well. I hope to build our artists into career-long artists and that The Action Agency can maintain a mutually beneficial relationship with all of our artists. Most importantly I hope to build The Action Agency into a large business while maintaining integrity and good character values, creating careers and a positive environment for ambitious people to work in. I’m very excited to see what is to come!
When you say worldwide, does that mean The Action Agency also does booking and developing outside of the United States?
Most of our agents work primarily in America and Canada, but I personally do many other countries as well. This has been a really cool aspect for me to bring to the table when speaking with clients. I don’t book the actual tours overseas, but I contract/negotiate for our artists if they need it and I have the contacts to send our bands all around the world. We actually just announced a tour for Silent Planet in Japan, I’m really stoked on that. All of our agents reside in America at this time but I do plan on and hope to expand to having international agents that are booking actual international dates and tours as well.
Are there genres that you are primarily focusing on as an agent?
I feel like all of the agents at the agency in some way have their own niche when it comes to the genre’s of the bands they are booking. I feel like my personal “niche” is the fact that I do all kinds of stuff. I’m still a very young/developing agent but I hope to maintain this as I grow. I have clients varying from heavy metal, to indie-rock, to hip hop/rap. I will say that all of these genres in some way do have different people working in them, so I do make an effort to not spread myself to thin. With what I currently have, I am in a good spot and feel comfortable with the variety of my roster. This job is a really fun job especially when you make the effort to explore the creativity side of it, and doing different genres really keeps me on my toes and opens up a world of opportunity!
You recently put on a branded tour called the “Fuel the Passion Tour” that featured Norma Jean as the headliner. Can we except more branded tours from TAA this year?
Branded tours are a lot of work. It’s different from a normal tour because the actual tour in itself is a brand that you are trying to build to do every year as opposed to just another tour. We essentially become the promoter which can make things stressful but I’m 100% open to do another one this year. In fact, I’m currently working on one that I’m very excited about. Tanner, one of our other agents, is currently working on one as well right now. The key to doing it is that you are not just doing it to do it, but that you are creating a unique brand that fans can grasp onto. Examples of ones that have done it right are: Warped tour, Mayhem Tour, Summer Slaughter, Tattoo the Earth, etc. They have all created a brand that people are interested in going to before they even know who the bands are! It’s awesome. I’m really hoping that I have created that for Fuel the Passion and look forward to doing that tour again next year.
For other people aspiring to be agents as well, what is some advice you would give to them?
I personally have a LONG way to go as an agent, so I tread lightly on giving advice because I have a lot to learn myself! I look forward to the journey, its been an awesome ride so far. I’ve been an agent for a few years now, and my personal advice to anyone hoping to be an agent is to cherish your relationships. Your relationships with managers/agents/labels are extremely important and ultimately reflect what kind of career you are going to have. I’ve come to find that the relationships you develop are relationships that can be career-long and can also turn into great friendships. Developing a good reputation is the hardest and most important part of being an agent. People need to know they can count on you and that you will handle their business and artists with integrity.
Before we go, just for fun, name your top 3 favorite records of all time!
In no particular order because there is no way I could ever put one in front of the other :)
*Hatebreed – Perseverance
*Underoath – Define the Great Line
*P.O.D – Satellite
Get more info about The Action Agency & their roster on their brand new website! And make sure to check out some of their bands on a tour near you. Daniel is also quite familiar with being on the road as he plays guitar full-time in Gideon (Facedown Records).