From the Studio

Freshman Justin Goldman went to Rikers to get parental permission for a client

Nalae White | Staff Photographer

Justin Goldman, a freshman in the Bandier program manages three up-and-coming artists from across the country. Bay Swag, one of his clients, is connected to rapper Desiigner and has opened for 21 Savage.

Not many people are willing to go through 15 different security checkpoints just to talk to someone’s father. But 18-year-old freshman Justin Goldman, a member of the Bandier Program, did just that last Wednesday – all to establish a relationship with an artist he was managing. He needed to get permission from the artist’s father, who is currently serving time at Rikers Island Correctional Center.

Besides flying to Riker’s just to manage a new artist, Goldman has accomplished a lot in his first year at Syracuse University. He’s interned at a music magazine, and worked in artists and repertoire at a big-name hip-hop record label. Goldman’s father used to be an Artists and repertoire at Sony Music Entertainment and now has his own music consulting business, has been surrounded by the music industry his entire life.

With his father and his hometown of New York City as major resources, plus a lot of hard work, Goldman began his music industry career as a junior in high school when he interned for The FADER. Last year, he started interning as an artist and repertoire at 300 Entertainment, a record label home to Young Thug, Migos and Fetty Wap. It was here that he met his business partner, Bryan Bernstein, and began managing different musicians they saw potential in.

Goldman, now a freshman in the Bandier program, manages three up-and-coming hip hop artists: Bay Swag, a 17-year old from Queens; Ben Beal, a student at the University of Maryland; and Chris Buxton from South Carolina. Bay Swag already has over 40,000 followers on Instagram and opened up for 21 Savage at a New York City show Tuesday night. Ben Beal has over hundreds of thousands of listens on SoundCloud and is opening for rapper A-Boogie. Chris Buxton has almost a million streams on Spotify.

Although it is exciting watching artists that he manages manage make it big, for Goldman, being a manager is not just fun and games.

“You have to kind of micromanage everyone and be like ‘OK, what is the next step for each person?’ That’s kind of a pain to keep track of,” Goldman said, including that a lot of the time because his artists are young and students — not to mention far from Syracuse University — it can be difficult to communicate with them and get them to put as much effort into their music careers as Goldman and Bernstein do.

As an A&R intern at 300 Entertainment, Goldman had other experiences that not many other people his age can relate to, such as taking orders from Young Thug and watching a Migos concert backstage. While many may see Goldman’s age as a drawback, Goldman thinks it’s a benefit.

“We understand the business because we’re young. Older people don’t understand social media and phones as well. We know how to use Instagram more-so than LinkedIn. We know how to get the word out to more kids,” he said.

Goldman’s partner, Bernstein, is four years older than Goldman, but to them, the age gap is what makes them a great team. Their ultimate goal is to make their artist’s as well-known as possible, before having them sign with a label, in order to get the artist, the most money as possible.

“We saw the opportunity for capitalizing on the time from discovering artists and the time they are ready and how valuable they are by the time they get major label interest,” said Bernstein.

Goldman’s friend, Freddy Heller, a freshman real estate major, is the bridge between Goldman and Ben Beal. Beal is Heller’s best friend from home and because Goldman manages him, Heller has witnessed Goldman as a manager first-hand.

“As a manager, Justin knows what he’s doing. The difference between Ben’s previous manager and Justin is that Justin is getting Ben bigger shows and putting his music online for everyone to see, while beforehand he couldn’t do that,” said Heller.

Bernstein admires his co-manager as well, although both of their ambition combined makes them the ultimate team.

Said Bernstein: “(Justin’s) ambition is only matched by his confidence, which served to his advantage as a young manager who has to prove he’s not too young.”

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