Few high school students are having a better fall than Martin Garrix. Yesterday , “Animals,” the 17-year-old Dutchman’s breakthrough EDM track, hit No. 1 on the official UK charts during its first week of commercial release, beating Lily Allen and Ellie Goulding to the top spot. Today, Scooter Braun Projects (SBP) confirmed to Billboard what had been widely rumored: Garrix is SBP’s newest client, and will be handled by SBP agent Michael George. He joins a roster that includes Ariana Grande, PSY, and, of course, superstar Justin Bieber. Even at a company known for signing teenaged talent, Garrix’s age caught Braun by surprise. “I thought Mike was fucking with me,” Braun says, after George told him about his then-16-year-old discovery. Garrix will make his first official appearances stateside this February during a two-week headlining tour. A series of singles and probable collaborations are expected, but no release dates have been set.
Garrix becomes SBP’s first EDM client in a split worldwide management deal with MusicAllStars Management, a sister company of Dutch label Spinnin Records (Afrojack, Nicky Romero, Bingo Players), which first released “Animals.” Garrix was already signed to Spinnin when he met Michael George, then a recent hire of Scooter Braun, who was scouting EDM talent during Miami Music Week this past March.
“There was just something about the charisma and his personality that really shined through to me,” George says of his first meeting with the young producer. “When I went home, we Skyped and – I’ll never forget – he came on Skype and said to me, ‘Bro, bro! I’ve had this melody in my head, I couldn’t sleep! I need to send you the song!’ And he sent me the demo version of ‘Animals.’”
Partly because of Garrix’s age, George and Braun nurtured the relationship with the young artist slowly. Spinnin and MusicAllStars, helmed by Spinnin co-founder Eelko van Kooten, took the lead until a co-management deal – the first of its kind for MusicAllStars – was formalized and Garrix was ready to make a formal play for U.S. success. While Braun remains intimately involved, he is emphatic that Garrix is primarily under the auspices of George, who Braun says he hired as part of an effort to credibly leverage his company’s pop success into the ever-expanding EDM market.