Ex-Paradigm staffer launches Field Booking agency
Brendan Biesen, ex-assistant to Erik Selz and Tom Windish at Paradigm Talent Agency, has launched Field Booking, the latest independent booking agency to come out of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Chicago-based agency will focus primarily on booking and tour management for musical acts, but will also provide promotional and image cultivation services for artists looking to expand their audiences.
Field Booking’s current roster includes Peter Oren, Half Gringa, The Slaps, Fast Preacher and Logan Farmer.
“The idea for Field Booking came from paying attention to the shifts and trends in the industry, and how it’s been adapting and reacting to the pandemic,” says Biesen.
“Field Booking came from paying attention to the shifts and trends in the industry, and how it’s been reacting to the pandemic”
“I felt that, with my time in the industry and the relationships I’ve managed to build in that time, I could forge a new path with Field and help give artists a chance at the success they deserve.
“I want to foster an inclusive environment at Field Booking that puts emphasis on the artists and their growth. I think it’s important to recognize that while I may be the agent, we are all in this together as a team to make this industry better as a whole.”
Biesen spent five years at Paradigm and its former incarnation The Windish Agency where he managed day-to-day booking duties for the rosters of Windish and Selz and helped expand the reach of the A&R department.
Field Booking follows the launch of Arrival Artists, Mint Talent Group and TBA Agency in the US, as well as Marshall Live Agency, Mother Artists, One Fiinix Live, Route One Booking and Runway Artists in the UK and Rebel Beat Agency in Spain, in 2020, amid a wider fragmentation of the global agency sector in response to the coronavirus shutdown.
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“Bluffing is an essential talent”: Tom Windish and more talk breakthroughs
Hard work, knowing the right people and a slice of good luck can all play a part in getting a proper footing on the career ladder. IQ puts more ILMC regulars in the spotlight and asks them to share their breakthrough moments…
Ed Bicknell, Damage Management
The day after I arrived at Hull University (UK) in October 1966, they were running a freshers’ ball. As I entered the students’ union, a tannoy message was being repeated: “If anyone in the building can play drums, please come to reception.” Since I was standing right next to the receptionist, without thinking, I just said, “Yes, I can.”
It turned out the drummer for the band they’d booked was too sick to play, and they didn’t have any records to dance to. I was led off to the dressing room to meet the Victor Brox Blues Train, who coincidentally had played my hometown, Tadcaster, the previous week. I was duly introduced to the band.
“Are you any good?” they asked. “Yes, okay, I think. By the way, I know you lot. You played my local hall last week. How much are you going to pay me?” After much haggling, we settled on £5. My first deal.
Once that had been sorted, I thought I should confess. “I didn’t actually go to your gig last week, I just saw the posters up around town. What songs do you play?” They were highly amused and, thankfully for me, it was the classic soul of the time – stuff I’d played hundreds of times.
So, I did the gig: two 45-minute sets, no screw-ups. Big hugs, £5 pocketed, off to the bar. Malcolm Haigh, the university’s social secretary, asked if I wanted to be on the entertainment committee and join his jazz group (of which he was the sole member).
After much haggling, we settled on £5. My first deal
And then a tall, sun-tanned girl appeared. “Hi. I really enjoyed your playing. My name’s Trudy.” After a couple of lager and limes she invited me back to her student house “for coffee.”
Just as we were leaving, a flashgun went off in my face and a greasy-haired bloke jumped out. “I’m from Torchlight, the student union magazine. We’re going to put you on the front cover next week. What’s your name? What course are you on? Were you nervous? How did you know the songs?”
So, first night at uni and I’d played in a band, made five quid, got onto the entertainment committee, joined a group, ended up on the cover of the student union magazine and had a cup of Nescafé. With powdered milk.
In October 1967, I took over as social secretary, and after a stunning gig by the Who in May the following year, decided on a career in showbiz, which, as it turned out, worked out okay.
In life you need a bit of luck. And in music, bluffing (read: fibbing) is an essential “talent.”
In music, bluffing – fibbing – is an essential ‘talent’
Tom Windish, Paradigm Talent Agency
In 1999, I started getting into electronic music. Prior to that I exclusively worked as an agent for rock and jazz bands. One of my favourite artists was named μ-Ziq (pronounced “music”). There was another agent in North America who represented all of the “IDM” [“intelligent dance music”] musicians of that era. μ-Ziq didn’t have an agent and I pushed and pushed the label and manager to choose me, but they went with the guy who had all the electronic artists.
I went to see μ-Ziq perform at the first Coachella. About three months later I got a call from his label, Astralwerks. They asked if I still wanted to book a tour for μ-Ziq: the other agent simply “forgot” to book the tour he was supposed to book around Coachella. I said, “absolutely”, and got to work.
Within a few weeks, I had put together a tour everyone was happy with, including a routing with reasonable distances between shows, reliable promoters, contracts, etc. This was how I’d done business since I started, but in dance/electronic music it was more rare than the norm. The tour sold out every show and everyone was happy.
A month later, I got a call from Ninja Tune asking me if I wanted to book their tenth anniversary tour featuring Coldcut, the label founders. A few months after that, I got a call from Steve Beckett at Warp Records asking if I wanted to book a tour for Autechre.
From there, my electronic roster grew and grew. It led to signing Diplo, then a Ninja Tune artist; also Aphex Twin, St Germain, M83 and many more. Electronic music has been a big part of my roster since then.
The other agent simply ‘forgot’ to book the tour he was supposed to book around Coachella
Debbie McWilliams, Scottish Event Campus
My career-defining breakthrough moment was in 2012 when the master plan for the SSE Hydro was approved. I joined the SEC in 1989, as assistant to the operations director, and quickly became part of the team who established the venue box office. As a music fan, it was a dream opportunity, and my aspirations were simply to learn everything about this fantastic business from the ground up.
Soon, our box office had become one of the most respected ticketing operations in the UK, and I learned from some of the best people in the industry. We understood what our clients required and put them first always.
From that point on, it was straight in at the deep end as the SEC grew [and] the plans for the Hydro were approved. Ticketing events for the new arena was a huge part of the project, as the level of business almost doubled overnight. Putting events on sale for a venue yet to be built proved the ultimate challenge. But we had a wealth of experience to draw from – making right things that had not worked for us in the past. All this was achieved while still having to deliver, day to day, on events for other parts of the campus.
Experience was crucial as the window of time for the delivery of the Hydro was very short. I spent many long hours poring over the manifest and attending meetings with architects. This was all happening when the arena was under early construction, but I realised at the time this would be a key component to its success. It gave me a great platform to showcase my abilities, as well as an opportunity to learn and develop new skills.
When Rod Stewart performed the inaugural concert at the arena, I felt a real sense of personal pride
When Rod Stewart performed the inaugural concert at the arena on 30 September 2013, I felt a real sense of personal pride. It was a very emotional and rewarding experience. As the 13,000-capacity audience took their seats with ease, there was an undeniable sense of achievement.
Now, the Hydro is consistently ranked in the top-ten busiest venues worldwide. Its success, while deserved, has surpassed everyone’s expectations.
Reflecting on my own personal journey, progressing from being a young office administrator to director of live entertainment, is a real accomplishment.
Of course, there have been lots of other highlights, but I truly think that any individual success stories are often hugely supported by a strong, motivated team, which I am very lucky to have here at the Scottish Event Campus.
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Paradigm signs Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart
Grammy Award-winning musician, songwriter and producer Dave Stewart has signed with Paradigm Talent Agency for worldwide representation.
The former Eurythmic will be represented by Paradigm’s Tom Windish and newly appointed global head of music Marty Diamond in all areas. Stewart was formerly represented by Jon Pleeter at ICM Partners.
Stewart (pictured) has sold more than 100 million albums over a four-decade career. In addition to being one half of Eurythmics, alongside bandmate Annie Lennox, Stewart has produced and written songs with artists including Mick Jagger, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Gwen Stefani, Bon Jovi, Stevie Nicks, Bryan Ferry, Katy Perry, Sinead O’Connor and Joss Stone.
He has also scored a number of independent films, as well as writing and producing title songs for many hit movies, including Jagger’s Golden Globe-winning ‘Old Habits Die Hard’, from Alfie (2004).
“Paradigm’s mandate to push the boundaries of creativity makes partnering with Dave a natural fit”
Stewart is additionally the creator and executive producer of NBC’s upcoming songwriting competition series Songland, and, along with the late Paul Allen, the creator and co-founder of London’s Hospital Club and Los Angeles’ new
Paradigm will represent Dave Stewart globally, in all areas. Stewart is also represented by attorney Peter Paterno (KHPS), manager Dave Kaplan (DKM) and publicists Kristen Foster and Michael Donkis (PMK*BNC).
“Paradigm’s mandate to push the boundaries of creativity makes partnering with Dave a natural fit,” says Diamond. “Dave is a maverick and one of the most underrated guitarists of all time, [and] we are thrilled to be a part of his evolution as a global media multi-hyphenate.”
“I’m excited to work with Marty Diamond, Tom Windish and the powerhouse team at Paradigm,” adds Stewart. “I am a polymath with music at the core of everything I do, and still have that hunger to disrupt, create and build new worlds and platforms, so music has an interesting and exciting journey ahead. I’m happy we will be on that journey together.”
Tom Windish: ‘I miss the days when guys would threaten to run over my hand…’
Veteran agent Tom Windish has spoken of his nostalgia for the live music industry of old, dominated by “entrepreneurs”, “impresarios” and “lunatics obsessed by music”.
Windish – who sold his Windish Agency to Paradigm in 2015 – was one of the keynote speakers at last week’s Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS) conference in the Netherlands, where he was interviewed by ILMC MD Greg Parmley.
Speaking to Parmley about his early days in the business, when he ran a company called Bug Booking (“because I was bugging people to book my bands”) following a short-lived internship at WMA (“I was told I wasn’t William Morris material”), Windish recalled: “I was doing a few shows at [New York club] the Knitting Factory in the Bug era, and the owner of the venue said to try and get Yo La Tengo.
“The band’s agent at the time, Bob Lawton, wasn’t returning my calls, so I phoned the lead singer directly. Bob came back five minutes later and told me, ‘Don’t ever call one of my acts again, or I’ll come over and run over your hand with a taxi so you can’t ever make a call again.’”
“I miss the days of the entrepreneurs, the impresarios – even the guy who threatened to run over my hand!” he continued. “I don’t think we’re going back to that, when it was just these lunatics obsessed by music… It’s becoming much more corporate.
“But there are lots of great things, too. The fact that more artists are selling tickets and making a living is fantastic; back in the day, some of these artists would never be discovered without the data we have now.”
Windish also spoke on the increased role booking agents have in talent development, compared to when he started out in the ’90s.
“I don’t think we’re going back to that, when it was just these lunatics obsessed by music”
“We [agents] often get involved years before a label is helping,” he explained. “JS Ondara is releasing his debut album [Tales of America] on Verve this month; I signed him two years ago. That’s a real issue these days: the lack of help for these great artists early on, and the amount of time they have to wait for it.
“These big companies are relying on data and [in the case of Ondara] there were no streams.
“When I started doing this, the record labels told me what to do, what cities to play, they put the bills together, et cetera. It’s the opposite now: agents are leading that development and labels are getting involved later.”
The 33rd edition of ESNS wrapped up on Saturday 19 January at the Oosterpoort in Groningen, Netherlands, having been attended by a total of 42,789 visitors, of which 4,135 were conference delegates.
Other speakers included Fruzsina Szép of Lollapalooza Berlin, Cindy Castillo from Mad Cool Festival, Mojo’s Kim Bloem and Key Music Management’s Richard Jones, as well as Pinkpop director Jan Smeets, whose keynote interview focused on the 50-year history of the legendary Dutch festival.
Eurosonic returns on 15–18 January 2020.
AM Only and Windish rebrand as Paradigm
AM Only and The Windish Agency have rebranded as Paradigm Talent Agency after a successful joint venture and partnership since 2012 and 2015, respectively.
The news reduces the number of brands under the agency conglomerate to just two as Paradigm continues to work with its European partner, the London-based CODA Agency, to offer worldwide representation for its artists.
AM Only CEO Paul Morris and Tom Windish, founder/president of The Windish Agency, will continue their leadership roles within Paradigm’s Music Executive Group along with Dan Weiner, Marty Diamond and CODA’s Tom Schroeder.
In November, Paradigm, AM Only and Windish moved together to a new combined office space in downtown New York. The two firms join prior acquisitions Monterey Peninsula Artists, Little Big Man, Third Coast Artists Agency and Ellis Industries under the Paradigm banner.
Windish brings acts such as St Germain (pictured), Aphex Twin, Coldcut and LCD Soundsystem into the fold, while AM Only adds DJs and producers like Chris Lorenzo and Tiesto.
“In working with like-minded professionals, we’re able to expand our reach, resources and clients without losing our focus. Our mutual respect and shared values makes this integration a natural fit.”
“I’ve found that the same entrepreneurial spirit that leads to successful business building also lends itself to successful career building for our clients,” said Paradigm chairman and CEO Sam Gores. “In working with like-minded professionals, we’re able to expand our reach, resources and clients without losing our focus. Our mutual respect and shared values makes this integration a natural fit. I consider us very fortunate to have the brilliant minds of Paul and Tom on our team.”
Morris said: “By combining forces with Monterey Peninsula Artists, Little Big Man and, now, AM Only and Windish, Paradigm has built an inclusive culture that keeps the spirit of these independent companies alive which allows our unique attributes to continue to flourish within the unified agency.”
Windish added: “The partnership with Paradigm has brought a tremendous group of agents and resources together under one roof on a worldwide scale. We have always shared the same values and I am proud to now share the same name.”
In a post on Facebook, Windish, who launched his agency in Chicago in 2004, said after growing his roster to over 300 acts, “all the big companies called me for years to talk about selling. I was skeptical and unsure.”
However, after getting to know the Paradigm team, “these guys struck a chord with me, they had done things the same way as we had for their entire careers too,” he added. “We formed a partnership with them and sold them a small piece of the company in August 2015. The night I signed the deal, I walked to Mercury Lounge and watched one of my clients play to 50 people at Mercury Lounge. I danced in the front row and had the same feeling I had in college when The Feelies played our campus ballroom – butterflies.
“Since [Windish did its first deal with Paradigm], we have been working towards becoming the same entity. We had a picture in our minds of how we could create an agency that did not currently exists in the business and we have all been working tirelessly to build it.”
“Since then we have been working towards becoming the same entity. We had a picture in our minds of how we could create an agency that did not currently exist in the business and we have all been working tirelessly to build it. Today, I’m changing the name of my company to Paradigm Talent Agency. I’m doing this for the same reasons I did a deal with Paradigm in the first place – to service our clients even better.
“We’ll be working as hard as we are now for as long as I can see into the future. I love it more now than I ever have in my career. Best of all, I still get butterflies at concerts.”
Paradigm, an industry leader with offices in Los Angeles, New York City, London, Monterey, Nashville, San Diego, Oakland and Chicago, guides the careers of clients in television, music performances, motion picture, theatre, book publishing, digital, commercial/voiceover, content finance, media rights, brand partnerships and beyond. Its music roster includes The 1975, Aerosmith, Blur, Coldplay, Ed Sheeran, Lorde, Tame Impala, The xx and many more.
For further reading on developments and consolidation in the agency sector, read this article by UTA’s Jules de Lattre.