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Primary Talent returns to independence

The leading UK-based booking agency was previously sold to ICM Partners, which was subsequently acquired by CAA

By James Hanley on 06 Mar 2023

Primary Talent's Matt Bates

Matt Bates

Primary Talent International is returning to being an independent music talent agency following a management buyout.

Primary was sold to ICM Partners in 2020, which was subsequently acquired by CAA. The deal to re-establish Primary’s independent status was led by managing partner and CEO Matt Bates along with former ICM founding partner and COO Rick Levy, who will continue to act as a senior advisor to Primary.

The UK-based booking agency, whose roster includes almost 460 clients including The 1975, The Cure, Lana Del Rey, Noel Gallagher, Jack Harlow, alt-J, Dropkick Murphys, and Patti Smith, will continue to operate from London, while maintaining a presence in Los Angeles and New York.

“The pandemic changed the landscape of the music touring business, and we felt it was beneficial to return to our roots”

“The pandemic changed the landscape of the music touring business, and we felt it was beneficial to return to our roots as the UK’s largest independent music talent agency,” says Bates. “Adding to the strength and experience of the original Primary agent team, we are excited to bring aboard the next generation of talented agents to join as founding partners. In this new incarnation, Primary will be even better positioned to support the evolving careers of our artists and guide them wherever needed.”

Under the new set-up, Bates will oversee all aspects of the agency, and serve as managing partner and CEO. Agent Ben Winchester will continue to serve as a board member along with Bates and Levy.

The agency has also elevated current Primary agents Laetitia Descouens, Sally Dunstone, Martje Kremers and Ed Sellers, to partner status. They will be joined by veteran agent Simon Clarkson, who will be based in Los Angeles. The firm currently has 35 employees and expects to announce further additions to the team in the coming weeks.

Other clients on the company’s books include Imanbek, Mitski, Rina Sawayama, Two Door Cinema Club, Wolf Alice, and Ziggy Marley.


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