Q’s With STG Agent Tim Borror: ‘We’re All In A Different Situation Here, Together’

Sound Talent Group
Sound Talent Group
– Sound Talent Group
Co-founders Dave Shapiro, Matt Andersen and Tim Borror

As COVID-19 turns the concert industry upside down with concerts and events of all size put on hold for at least the next couple of months, colleagues are banding together and making the most of a terrible situation even if it means feeling close rather than actually being together.

“We did a Zoom meeting happy hour among all the STG employees,” veteran agent and Sound Talent Group co-founder Tim Borror told Pollstar when reached Saturday, explaining why he had missed a Friday appointment. “Instead of 45 minutes, it went about 2 and a half hours, and i got swept up in having a bit of a good moment, which has been few and far between in the last few weeks.”
Borror has long represented major rock clients like Lamb of God,Trivium and Clutch and the agency he co-founded with fellow agents Dave Shapiro and Matt Andersen at the end of 2018 represents everything from Zakk Wylde to Natalia LaFourcade to Run DMC.
Borror was in good spirits after the “much needed” virtual happy hour, one of many concert-related businesses doing its best to persevere as most of the United States remains or will soon become a “shelter in place” situation to stave off the spread of COVID-19.
Pollstar: What’s the situation like right now just trying to keep up with your clients’ calendars?
Tim Borror: It’s kind of like every time you make a move the ground shakes underneath you, not that your moves are in vain but they’re not necessarily more shored up, I guess. It’s going to be ever-changing here for another couple of minutes I think.
For us, most of our stuff in May we took down, if not all of it. June remains a question mark. We’re hopeful, but there’s still issues with being able to market stuff in June or even July because people are sitting on their money, rightfully so, now. June, even if it could physically happen, there’s still the question of should it happen. If you’re not able to market against the wave of news that’s out there, what the climate is, shows are not a priority for the fans. That might reveal itself in the next couple of weeks, but the way things have been moving it could reveal itself a lot sooner, I think.
But we’re going to follow the big guys. if they feel like June can happen, that’s great. The sooner we could snap back into work the better, but I think there’s no going against the grain of whatever the reality is. To some degree we’re all at the mercy of what it is and the timing of what happens.
What’s been the response from the artists themselves (and their teams)?
Across the board, there’s no fighting what it is. Everyone has to kind of accept that this is the reality for the moment so let’s all be in the boat together to see each other to the other side of this. That’s true of managers and promoters and agents. It’s true of the artists as well. And crew members, they’re going to be quietly really affected by this. They’re not at the forefront of the discussion but they’re out of work. 
Everyone gets that this is not the time to debate what it is, it is what it is.  Everyone is being really good to each other. For me, my day-to-day is kept on the rails because of the goodwill that’s happened among everyone in the business. Everybody wants this thing to survive, this is not the time to figure out how to eat each other’s lunch. We need to think about how to survive so there is lunch at all. I really feel that’s been the overarching feeling. 
I kind of want to see if we maintain some of that when this is all over. Will we remember this moment when we all bonded together? Maybe we’ll be a little gentler and nicer moving forward *laughs*.   
Is there anything you can really do when re-negotiating and booking shows. What happens deal-wise?
Everyone’s going to do the best they can. It’s not the time to beat each other up. How can we all make money in the future so there’s a business at the end of this thing? It’s different, you grab your avails, figure out the deal, be fair. Everyone’s got to get their piece, but we can’t put promoters in a position where they’re going to be put out either. We’ve all seen the other side of the coin differently than we generally do. It’s lightning-quick. 
It’s a challenge right now, man. We just have to be positive that there’s going to be a future here. Just hold the line and help each other to get there. That’s really my perspective and i feel like it’s so many peoples’ perspectives. It’s going to be hard for some to survive it, but hopefully most of us are still standing and ready to rock when the time comes. 
Are there benefits or detriments to running your own smaller agency right now? 
In every scenario that comes up since we’ve started, there’s strengths and weaknesses, and we find strengths in some of those weaknesses. Right now, it feels good to be small because we can shrink down so easily in terms of costs, without it touching our people. We can still get so lean so fast that that’s going to be our calling card for our survival here. It doesn’t make it any less scary, that’s for sure *laughs*. 
If you’re a big company you’ve got lots of costs and lots of revenue generated over years and years and a bit of a war chest, but when you’re a big machine the burn rate is going to be fast. They have resources we don’t and on the flip side we’re small so we can shrink quickly and kind of do some financial acrobatics to make it work, which is kind of what we’re setting ourselves up to do here.
We’re all so competitive with each other all the time, but right now this is real. It’s not if we lose a client there’s another client to make up for some of that and you keep trucking. We’re all in a different situation with this thing, together.
But, when it is a small company, you get an opportunity to really lean on each other and have the time to talk with every individual, and you kind of help keep each other keep everyone’s heads in the right place. That’s another strength we’re finding here. Yesterday’s happy hour was part of it.