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Primary Talent joins forces with ICM Partners

Under the new partnership, London's Primary – home to the 1975, Stormzy and Dave – will retain its name and team while benefitting from LA-based ICM's "global scale"

By Jon Chapple on 10 Mar 2020

Primary directors Peter Maloney, Matt Bates, Andy Wooliscroft (back), Ben Winchester, Peter Elliott (front)

Primary's Peter Maloney, Matt Bates, Andy Wooliscroft (back), Ben Winchester, Peter Elliott (front)

Primary Talent International, one of London’s last major independent booking agencies, has allied with Los Angeles’ ICM Partners, in an arrangement the new partners say “greatly enhances ICM’s footprint and presence in the international music touring business while offering Primary’s clients all the benefits of a major agency”.

Primary Talent is home to more than 900 music clients, including the likes of Stormzy, the 1975, alt-J, Noel Gallagher, Patti Smith, the Cure, Pussycat Dolls, Two Door Cinema Club, Dave, Lana Del Rey and Catfish and the Bottlemen.

The partnership with Primary bolsters ICM’s international touring business, which includes artists such as Khalid, J. Cole, Migos, Good Charlotte, Charlie Wilson, Limp Bizkit, Sinead O’Connor, Suicideboys and Boyz II Men.

Other ICM clients include actors Samuel L. Jackson, Sir Patrick Stewart, John Travolta and Christoph Waltz, comedians Ellen DeGeneres, Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfeld, filmmaker Spike Lee and wrestler-actor John Cena. In addition to LA, the agency – formerly International Creative Management – also has offices in London, New York and Washington DC.

Primary Talent International will continue to operate under the Primary banner out of its existing offices in Holborn, London, with no planned changes of management or agents. The existing Primary board (Primary’s directors are Peter Elliot, Matt Bates, Ben Winchester, Andy Woolliscroft and Peter Maloney) will continue to run the agency, working closely with Rob Prinz, ICM Partners’ co-head of worldwide concerts, and the wider ICM music team.

“This deal greatly enhances our ability to serve our clients on a global scale”

It’s a similar arrangement to that between the UK’s X-ray Touring and US-based Paradigm Talent Agency, with the former aligning with Paradigm in 2017 while keeping its name and operating independently (in contrast to the agency formerly known as Coda, which is now Paradigm London).

Two years prior, London’s the Agency Group (TAG) – then the world’s largest independent booking agency – was acquired and rebranded by United Talent Agency, with TAG founder Neil Warnock becoming UTA’s global head of touring.

Commenting on the partnership, Chris Silbermann, CEO of ICM Partners, says: “We have great respect for Primary’s extraordinary artists, management team and agents, and we enthusiastically welcome them all into our ICM Partners family. This deal greatly enhances our ability to serve our clients on a global scale through added resources, support and even greater opportunities, which is our top priority.

“Primary is well known for being fiercely independent, which we love about them. We are honoured that they believed we were the right partners to help take their clients and their agency to the next levels of success while retaining their brand and management identity and philosophy.”

“Primary has long been one of the premier independent music agencies in London, if not the world, that I’ve always admired,” adds Prinz. “After years of trying to find ways to work together, I’m very excited to now have that opportunity. We think this is a great fit for all parties and look forward to begin exploring ways to expand our business together on behalf of our clients.”

“We now [have] additional opportunity to offer our clients the scope and resources of a major agency if they choose to take advantage of it”

Recent accolades for Primary Talent-repped artists include back-to-back album of the year awards at the Brits (Dave in 2020 and the 1975 in 2019) and Stormzy winning best British male this year, while Wolf Alice and Dave are the two most recent recipients of the Mercury Music Prize.

Primary’s Peter Elliott comments: “Primary Talent is a creative and forward-looking company with an unrivalled reputation for working closely with our artists to maximise their full potential. We’re very proud of what Primary has achieved over the years and excited by what the partnership with the dynamic and progressive team at ICM will enable us all to do moving forward.”

“We love the incredible artists we represent and the agency we have built with our client’s needs foremost in all we do,” adds Matt Bates. “It is in that spirit that we have joined forces with ICM Partners.

“We have a shared client-first philosophy that passionately represents fresh new voices we enthusiastically develop all the way to arena and stadium acts. We will continue to see Primary prosper and grow, with now additional opportunity to offer our clients the scope and resources of a major agency if they choose to take advantage of it.”


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