Primary Talent Goes Independent Again

Courtesy ICM Partners
Matt Bates, managing partner and CEO of Primary Talent.

London-based Primary Talent International is returning to its roots as an independent music talent agency. It also announced new hires and promotions in the same breath.

Looking back on a 32-year legacy, Primary Talent is one of the leading live music booking agencies in Europe. Its high-profile, cross-genre clients include The 1975, The Cure, Lana Del Rey, Noel Gallagher, Jack Harlow, alt-J, Dropkick Murphys, and Patti Smith.

Primary Talent will continue to operate from London, while also maintaining a presence in Los Angeles and New York City.

In 2020, the company sold to ICM Partners, which was subsequently acquired by Creative Artists Agency. The transaction to re-establish Primary’s independent status through a management buy-back 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.

Under the new construct, Bates will oversee all aspects of the agency, and serve as Managing Partner and CEO. Veteran and well-regarded agent Ben Winchester will continue to serve as a board member along with Bates and Levy.

As part of the new management configuration, the agency has 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 agency, which currently numbers 35 employees, expects to announce additional agents to their growing ranks in the coming weeks.

See: Sally Dunstone Joins Primary Talent International In The UK

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Matthew Healy of The 1975, one of Primary Talent International’s clients, performs at St Jerome’s Laneway Festival in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mackenzie Sweetnam/Getty Images)

“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,” said 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.”

Primary Talent International’s eclectic roster of nearly 460 clients span all genres. In addition to the above mentioned, the agency represents Imanbek, Mitski, Rina Sawayama, Two Door Cinema Club, Wolf Alice, and Ziggy Marley.

In 2022, by its own admission, the Primary team booked approximately 4,500 shows in markets worldwide. Primary Talent also includes the dance division Decked Out!, which represents a roster of 45 clients, including Boys Noize, Chloé Caillet, Justice Crew, NTO, Shouse, and Vitalic.

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