For quite some time now, talent agencies have taken over many of the roles of the traditional record label,” says Rob Prinz, co-head of ICM Partners’ Worldwide Concerts division. “They’re reluctant to sign an artist before a story has been developed. The agents used to be the caboose on the train; now we’re being asked to take on artists at their earliest stages, not only booking them for shows, but finding them syncs, brand associations, anything to break through the clutter.”
The rare agent who’s spent time at all four agencies, Prinz, who joined ICM’s music division four years ago, relishes the role. That’s manifest in ICM’s roster, which not only includes better-known acts like Coach K’s Quality Control stable, including Migos and Lil Yachty, J. Cole’s Dreamville Records and Khalid (ex-U.S.), but also developing artists including Tayla Parx, currently opening on tour for Anderson .Paak, platinum-certified Jon Bellion, and The Driver Era, which features frontman Ross Lynch, star of Netflix’s “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.” Additionally, ICM’s gearing up for the 30th anniversary longtime client Jerry Seinfeld’s titular sitcom and just acquired the Just for Laughs comedy festival.
With physical record sales plummeting, live touring has become the major source of artist income. “The live sector is more important than ever,” says Prinz, pointing to new artists like Khalid and Billie Eilish to succeed aging Boomer warhorses like Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones or Bob Seger, an ICM client currently doing good business on the road. “Every generation finds their voices to follow. I don’t think music or the touring business is going away any time soon.”
Where he can be found during a show:
I’ll be running all over the place. You can find me watching the show, at the sound board, at the box office, at the production office, in settlement, in the meet-and-greet area, walking the concourses. I like to take it all in and do what I’m there for. Look to see if there’s anything out of sync and needs my attention. I also love to watch the artist perform. I never sit still. I love to move around… just try to enjoy the experience.