Over the past 17 years, Boodang has been the name synonymous with providing the best electronic music. Yearly events such as Pure, Scream, and Frequency have changed the way the genre has been viewed and received.
Now, the co-founders of Boodang are nurturing this progress with an app that is on pace with the growing local demand for electronic music.
AGNT is an app that allows local venues to easily access DJs for events and gigs. The co-creators—Viet Nguyen, David Nguyen, and Mike Henderson—connect electronic artists and businesses with the ease of a button push. Currently, AGNT has approximately 6,142 artists available to 1,300 venues, businesses and promoters.
“AGNT was something we came up with when we realized there was no booking platform for the local artist to be found or heard,” co-founder Viet Nguyen explains. “For us, we wanted to build something that could help any venue or bar owner, or anyone looking for a DJ. It’s very much like the Airbnb of booking a DJ, so if you’re having a birthday party and you wanted to kick it up a notch, you could pay an extra hundred bucks and have a DJ at your door with all their gear and have yourself a party.”
In recent years, electronic music has moved from the underground to become the bulk of Top 40 radio. DJs are in higher demand now more than ever for local events, and even more-so with the Ice District development. Nguyen believes that AGNT is a compliment for businesses looking to entertain with lively production.
“With the new arena opening, there was an influx of needs for DJs downtown playing specific styles,” Nguyen explains. “Every room wanted to have a DJ in it because they’re doing all the after parties and things like that. Not all these places have those personal relationships with DJs, but they want to be able to book a decent DJ. A lot of them were coming to us asking us to help them curate their nights and help them pack their room.”
Nguyen traces the initial electronic music boom in Edmonton back to 2010, when Boodang was able to bring Calvin Harris, Deadmau5, and Skrillex to the city. These larger acts energized the local electronic dance music scene. These days it’s not tough to find a wide array of EDM fans from all walks of life.
“We have all sorts of types of people; everyone from 20-year-olds in university to 40-year-old men and women that are nurses or lawyers. The demographic changed quite a bit, but there’s still the very enthusiastic music lovers,” Nguyen says.
Since the launch, the app has grown exponentially. The creator’s of AGNT plan on branching outside of Edmonton, but currently are working out the kinks locally before a larger release.
“We’ve seen 25 percent growth in bookings each month since launching. I’m fairly happy with how things are going, [but] there’s always room for improvement,” Nguyen explains. “To obtain critical mass, we need to scale properly—and that’s what we’ve been doing.”
AGNT has been marketed locally to allow for feedback before the eventual expansion to other markets.
Any interested electronic artist can register to the AGNT app, with ratings and feedback provided by the businesses that are hiring. The local response has been overwhelmingly positive, allowing the creators to book high-caliber events.
“We’ve been receiving amazing feedback from the venues and organizers we’ve been working with. We helped expedite the booking process for some major festivals this summer, including Centre of Gravity,” says Nguyen.
Although AGNT is still in its infancy, Nguyen feels it has been an integral tool for downtown entertainment. Nguyen believes the sky’s the limit for their app, as the electronic music scene continues to flourish here and across the globe.
“There is a real need for AGNT,” Nguyen says. “Please hang tight as we continue to expand into more markets. We look forward to a long and positive relationship with all our users.”