2023 Impact 50: Austin Neal

The Neal Agency

Neal.Austin Neal 2023 350 dpi headshot Credit Hunter Berry

Family and friendship are important to Austin Neal. When Morgan Wallen needed representation, the third-generation agent founded a company to put his friend on the road. In less than two years, he’s taken Wallen into stadiums as one of the biggest live acts in any genre and built his company from one employee to 15.

To be opening in a world post-pandemic is not for the faint of heart. As he explains, “The biggest challenge was figuring out which verticals to focus on while building the company. Trying to make good decisions about where to lean in now versus later was critical. Also, hiring the right people at the right time has been so important to the company’s launch and success.”

With clients including HARDY, Chase Rice, Ashland Craft, ERNEST, Riley Green and Seaforth, Neal chose to have a smaller roster with more focused attention on each artist’s unique strengths. Having spent time in management with Bruce Kalmick at Triple 8, he recognizes an artist’s need for an integrated approach across the layers of music delivery.

“We recently hired Ryan Bueschel, who has a background as an entrepreneur and in publishing,” Neal tells Pollstar. “He is exploring business opportunities outside of touring for our artists to pursue, while also applying his expertise in the A&R world, which strengthens our overall ability to make a meaningful artist development contribution.”

For Neal, whose grandfather founded the original Neal Agency and managed Elvis before Col. Tom Parker, optimism is a driving force. Looking down the road at the live industry, he says, “It feels like the consumer’s confidence is there, and demand is high! I think it will continue, because – as we learned when touring stopped – people love what they get out of live music.

“Scalping remains an issue adversely impacting drop counts, consumer trust and even issues around ticketing. Finding new solutions that benefit the fans remains a priority to us with our clients, and I believe we’ll get there.”