hop·lite (hoplīt). n. a heavily armed foot soldier of ancient Greece. The word “hoplite” derives from “hoplon”, the type of shield they used. Free citizens, Hoplites were responsible for procuring their own armor and weapon. Many famous philosophers, artists and poets fought as hoplites. Hoplites fought in a phalanx formation and carried their shields on their left arm, protecting themselves and the soldier to their left. A phalanx was only as strong as its weakest elements, so Hoplites had to trust their brothers in arms.
With the perspective gained from more than 25 years as an agent, manager, promoter, writer and performer, Tom Baggott launched Hoplite on January 1, 2012. Hoplite’s team of passionate music heads and Baggott’s relationships and reputation as an artist development expert, coupled with a company culture that values honesty and a no-nonsense, straightforward approach that respects artists and buyers alike, quickly established the agency as a top choice for up-and-coming talent and a great alternative for established artists seeking more control over their careers in today’s tickets and t-shirts music business.
As an undergraduate at the University of Vermont in the late 1980’s, Baggott penned the first article to appear in the local band Phish’s press kit and was active in grass roots promotion for the soon-to-be leaders of a musical movement. A passionate political activist, he was soon producing or co-presenting benefit concerts for a variety of causes that featured an array of local talent and national artists, ranging from Public Enemy to Blues Traveler to The Wailers. While pursuing his Masters Degree in Intellectual & Cultural History and working as a Graduate Teaching Fellow at The University of Vermont and a barista in local coffee shops, Baggott was also booking and managing the local and regional bands he performed in. In 1994, while raising money and awareness for Bernie Sander’s U.S. House of Representatives campaign, Baggott reached out to Steve Martin about booking Robyn Hitchcock and Billy Bragg for a benefit concert. Following an inspirational meeting in Martin’s New York office, Baggott jumped full-time into the music business and launched Major Tom Productions (MTP) in October of 1995.
Baggott’s first hand experience with Phish gave him some unique insight to that audience. In addition to representing a regional roster of rock, pop, punk, and hardcore bands and the artists on Michael Chambers’ Ng Record label, Baggott signed a handful of artists who appealed to the community and culture that was developing around Phish, anticipating the demand and viability for what would soon be called the “jam band scene”. Among these bands was The Disco Biscuits. Following an expansion and a rebranding as thebookingagency.com (TBA), Baggott moved the company to Atlanta in 1999 and signed Sound Tribe Sector 9 for booking and management. In addition to representing a growing and ever-eclectic roster of artists from across the U.S., TBA was also the talent buyer and in-house promoter for Atlanta’s storied Center Stage and had an in-house advertising agency and college booking division.
Following a break-up of TBA’s primary agents and a division of the roster, Baggott moved to Boulder for a brief stint before returning home to Vermont to work from his home office as an agent at Skyline Artists. The honor of representing legendary artists like Roger McGuinn, John Sebastian, Jesse Colin Young, Tom Rush and Johnny Winter was clear and apparent to the music lover and historian in him, but Baggott missed the excitement of discovering and nurturing fresh, young talent. He left Skyline after a year and formed TBArtists (TBA) in early 2003, with a perspective on career trajectories that provided him with a holistic, strategic vision for sustainable career artist development. Among his successes at this time were artists such as Zach Deputy and Ryan Montbleau, whom he both booked and managed. Realizing the need for a broader foundation for his management clients, Baggott merged with Manhattan-based Invasion Group in February, 2009. However, the complication of New York law, vis a vis booking and managing the same artists, necessitated a split from Invasion. Baggott launched Hoplite in January of 2012, and maintaining his track record of discovery and development, put artists such as Dopapod, Turkuaz and Pigeons Playing Ping Pong on the map. In 2017 he partnered up with Invasion once again to manage artists from his office in Vermont.