An inside look at the agents and managers competing to sign TikTok's biggest stars

Charli D'Amelio

  • TikTok is still a relative newcomer to the social-media world,
    but it’s quickly grown into one of the most popular video apps
    among creators.
  • As its stars have built massive followings, talent managers and
    agents from both upstart companies and legacy Hollywood talent
    firms are racing to sign the next generation of digital stars.
  • Business Insider looked into how different talent firms are
    approaching the app, and built an exclusive
    interactive database
    with 95 of the top managers and agents
    nabbing these creators.
  • Subscribe to Business Insider’s influencer newsletter:
    Influencer Dashboard

As TikTok stars build large and loyal followings on the
short-form video app, a slew of talent managers and agents from
both upstart companies and legacy Hollywood talent firms are racing
to sign them as clients.

The opportunity is clear for industry insiders. 

TikTok trends are spilling over onto Instagram, YouTube, and TV
shows like Saturday Night Live. Its stars are appearing in Super
Bowl ads and late-night talk shows. And songs that become popular on
TikTok are topping Billboard and Spotify charts

Agents and managers who already have built-in connections across
the entertainment industry can sometimes turn a TikTok comedian,
dancer, or singer into a mainstream star in just a few months. 

“I think it’s super exciting to have a new platform that is
another pipeline for us to discover talent,” Joe Izzi, a digital
agent at the Hollywood talent agency WME,
previously told Business Insider
. “Regardless of the platform,
the No. 1 thing we always look for is talented creators — people
that we can help build a business around that’s long-lasting.”

“It started this frenzy,” WME digital agent Justin Greenberg
said of TikTok. “We found it really interesting because we are now
dealing with sort of the premier Gen Z creator, who is defining the
various pop-culture trends for teenagers.”

TikTok’s most followed creator, 16-year-old Charli D’Amelio
(66 million
signed up for the app just a year ago and has
danced alongside her idol Jennifer Lopez
, voiced part in an

animated movie
, and is teasing a
reality TV project

“Charli is just so popular right now in mainstream culture,”

said Greg Goodfried
, cohead of the Hollywood talent agency
United Talent Agency that represents D’Amelio and her family.
“There’s tons of brands that she loves, so [we’re] making sure
she’s connected to those brands and getting those

D’Amelio, her sister Dixie, and their two parents are all
comanaged by the firms Outshine Talent and Manncom Creative
Partners, and represented by UTA for larger business ventures, like
going on tour. 

Dixie also has a large following online (27 million TikTok
) and this week she released her first song, “Be
Happy.” One of her managers, Billy Mann, who is the founder of
Manncom Creative Partners and The Well, had writing credit on the

TikTok is opening up a new group of talent managers and agents 

While traditional talent agencies like UTA and WME have been
aggressively signing TikTok stars in recent months, there are also
a variety of upstart talent firms that have popped up recently to
help TikTokkers capitalize on social-media fame. 

Devain Doolaramani founded a new TikTok-focused talent
management agency, The Fuel Injector, while studying finance at
Chapman University. After graduating this spring, the 21-year-old
now represents dozens of TikTok stars, many of whom have millions
of followers on the app. 

The talent management company TalentX Entertainment —
cofounded by two YouTubers in December 2019 with a focus on TikTok
creators — has been expanding rapidly, poaching
from legacy firms like A3 Artists Agency and expanding
into new business categories like gaming and

“These guys are the next generation of YouTubers, like it or
not,” TalentX cofounder Michael Gruen recently
told Business Insider
. “When you put a video with their name in
the headlines, they’re going to get a 100,000 views.”

An inside look at who is working with these top stars

In reporting on the rise of TikTok stars and the agents and
managers signing them, we realized there wasn’t a central database
to view the top power players in the influencer business and who
they represent.

So we decided to build one.

Business Insider drew on our reporting and conversations with
professionals to identify the talent managers and agents signing
innovative creators and helping them build lasting businesses. We
created an exclusive interactive database that gives an inside look
at who is working with the top influencers on YouTube, Instagram,
TikTok, and more in 2020.

the first-ever interactive database of the top managers and agents
for YouTube creators, Instagram influencers, and TikTok stars,

influencer agencies 2x1

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An inside look at the agents and managers competing to sign
TikTok's biggest stars