The Roots Agency

Entertainment New Freedom, PA


The Roots Agency is a national talent booking agency with one office in New Freedom, Pennsylvania and another office in New Jersey. We are dedicated to developing the touring careers of exceptional artists who connect, inside, and transform their audiences.

How did you get started in this business?

I began when I was in college studying to be a photographer at Rochester Institute of Technology, in Rochester, New York. My job at the time was working for student activities and I booked shows through agencies. Fast forward to the 90s and I had an opportunity to get into this and began working on the agency side. I first created the company which was called SMG Artists with my now wife, Robin Spielberg. We began as a way for Robin to expand her career. When other performers found that I did a great job, the company grew.

Who are among the elite of the talent that you represent?

Some of the biggest acts in our roster are Dave Mason, Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes, Stephanie Mills, Jimmy Webb and Dan Aykroyd and Belushi’s Official Blues Brothers Revue.

What do you enjoy most about this industry?

I really love the final effect which is being at a show and watching the audience’s reaction to the performance. People often talk about how they have a soundtrack to their life. People use music as a way to deal with everyday and so what we do is give them a live performance experience that helps them in so many ways. Sometimes it is sheer joy or being uplifted from a bad day, but almost inevitably it gives people a moment that becomes a memory that they will take with them. Witnessing those special moments is what I find personally rewarding. Its knowing that people are utilizing out clients that way.

What do you find most challenging about being an agency?

Managing our clients expectation is always our biggest challenge. Our job is to fill the calendar for our clients. Our utilization of Daylite is all about the calendar. Our job is to provide work for our clients. We are the food on their table, the roof over their heads, and the clothes on their back. We provide work that is a segment of the income for them so that can be challenging because sometimes you can’t always fulfill their expectation.

How do you decifer talents that don’t fit with your agency?

Almost everyday we get performers who ask us to consider them for representation. Often the performers are fantastic. We have created with our company parameters that they have to fit based on who we do business with. With the thousands of potential performers, we need to find those artists that match based on these parameters and that can be very difficult.

What is part of the sifting process that you do to determine if an act will fit in your agency?

My partners and I are very analytical. When there is an artists that is up for consideration, there are a list of criteria that we use. Some of this has to do with the performance itself and the genre that they fall into. Some of it has to do with their history as a performer; how much have they toured, the type of audience, how many tickets they sell per performance, are they regional, national or international? etc. Our industry has metrics that we can use to determine if they will be a good fit. If we get past a certain point and it is someone we want to get serious with about representing, we provide that potential client with our analysis. Part of this analysis includes a projection and a plan for their future which gives them a reason to sign with our agency. This helps manage the clients expectation. We data mine constantly, and Daylite is a powerful tool that helps us with this process.

What is your most memorable moment working as an agency? ex. a really moving or funny audition…?

This business creates so many magical moments, it is really hard to isolate just one. Watching my wife (Robin Spielberg) perform always moves me. It is really the reason I shifted into this business, to help advance her career. Recently, our daughter Valerie has begun performing with her, and that gets pretty emotional, seeing them together on stage.

What is your company’s plan for growth?

We are in that growth stage right now. We started as SMG Artists and four years ago we made a plan to partner with Roots Agency. In April of 2011 we merged and now we are on a plan to grow. We have seen that plan of growth sky rocket over the last year and a half. 2012 was the best year our agency has had for both companies. 2013 is shaping up to be an even better year. In January, my partner, Tim Drake and I received the 2013 NAPAMA (North American Performing Arts Managers and Agents) Award for Excellence as Agents in the Performing Arts. It was a real honor, since it came from our peers in the industry, and affirmed the direction we’ve set for the company. We are in fantastic spirit here and will continue on this plan of success.

How has Daylite helped your business during this growth stage?

I began as a user of Daylite in 2005. The main component of a program like Daylite is the CRM capabilities and calendaring. The components we use the most are the people, organizations, appointments, calendaring and tasks. We use the calendaring in order to determine touring of our clients. Being able to do 2 things with this program: 1. looking ahead and 2. looking back can be very useful. We use this appointment part as a way to look at the history of where our clients have performed. I can call up all appointments as a history and see if any client performed in a specific city and in the notes I can see everything that happened in that performance including how many tickets were sold. This is really important because I can gather all that data and being able to look at the past enables us to determine what will happen in the future. It is an indicator of where, when and how an artist will perform in the future.

What is your favourite time saver in Daylite?

For me, Daylite Mail Assistant. The ease and ability to save all communication under a specific person in one place and access it is the biggest time saver in this program.

You recently upgraded to Daylite 4. What do you enjoy most about Daylite 4?

What I am most excited about in Daylite 4 is the home screen so when I launch, on the right hand side it shows me today, and tomorrow. This is something that is going to be very useful to us. Instead of having to dig out each day, I can see the performances happening today and tomorrow because Daylite 4 has simplified that for us. I am also excited about localizing the database. Now all the data is localized by syncing on the server so there is no delay. I can see all the information instantly rather than haven to wait, which is an incredible leap forward for the program.

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