Photo Finish Records Founder Matt Galle Takes Label From Atlantic to Island Def Jam (Exclusive)
The Paradigm agent and Bamboozle Festival co-founder, who played a pivotal role in discovering Bruno Mars and Ke$ha, partners with Barry Weiss at Universal, where he'll also provide exclusive A&R services.
Paradigm Talent Agency agent and Bamboozle Festival co-founder Matt Galle is bringing his Photo Finish Records to Island Def Jam. The label, which Galle launched in 2006, had been under the Atlantic Records umbrella for the last five years, where it scored a big hit in the gold-certified 3OH!3, who sold more than 6 million singles (the Denver pop band will remain at Atlantic).
Galle also played a pivotal role in discovering Bruno Mars and Ke$ha, while on the agency side, his clients include My Chemical Romance, Fun., Mike Posner and newcomer Austin Mahone, dubbed “Baby Bieber” and rumored to be signing with IDJ.
To that end, Galle will also provide exclusive senior-level A&R services to Island Records, while still holding down his day job at Paradigm. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter on the eve of the Aug. 10 announcement, Galle said he looks at his new position as a challenge. "I always wanted to sign bigger things and be able to compete rather than just going after smaller deals and building them up. ... I want to make a splash."
The "new Island Records," as a press release touts, will be "cutting-edge and entrepreneurial," making Galle and the Photo Finish joint venture a "perfect fit," says Barry Weiss, Chairman & CEO of Island Def Jam Motown and Universal Republic.
The addition is part of Universal's overall efforts to invest in the creative side of its business, but Galle says his discussions with Weiss began simply as a result of bumping into each other regularly. "Barry said, 'I see you at every single show anyway,'" Galle recalls with a laugh.
But beyond his pervasiveness, Galle's affiliation with the band Fun. and 3OH3! whose sound, he says, was "a little ahead of their time," bodes well for the genres in which he will work: rock, pop and electronic. In fact, you could credit Fun.'s chart-topping "We Are Young" for bringing pop radio back around to rock and vice versa. "I love that modern rock is not all hard rock and playing more pop leaning songs like Gotye and Fun. and Passion Pit," says Galle. "Songs that can be played on all formats shows that audiences are evolving."
A multi-hyphenate in the truest sense, Galle also co-manages producer-writer-mixer Matt Squire (Panic! at the Disco, One Direction, Big Time Rush, Selena Gomez) and remains part-owner of Bamboozle, which this year featured Foo Fighters, Skrillex and My Chemical Romance in top slots -- the latter whom Galle discovered "in a basement."
How will he manage it all? "I try to prioritize so I don’t spread myself thin," he says. "I’m hungry and it’s going to be a challenge but I want to work hard to be successful and help be part of the team."