Like other parts of the music business, there’s a lot of consolidation taking place in talent management — including this announcement today from feisty independent firms Primary Wave and Violator Management. They’ve chosen the unfortunate name of Primary Violator Management for the 50/50 joint venture. Primary Wave’s client list includes CeeLo Green, Ginuwine, Goodie Mob, Eric Benet, Cody Simpson, Case and GMD3. Violator adds Curtis “50 Cent’ Jackson, LL Cool J, Mariah Carey, Busta Rhymes, Q-Tip, Soulja Boy, and Diggy Simmons. Primary Wave CEO Larry Mestel will be in charge. Competition is intensifying: Yesterday, Live Nation Chairman Irving Azoff said he plans to announce a big music management acquisition soon. Here’s today’s release:
New York, N.Y. (September 16th, 2011) – Music industry veteran, Larry Mestel, CEO of Primary Wave Music, one of the largest independent music publishing, marketing, branding and talent management companies in the United States, announces a unique partnership with legendary music manager, Chris Lighty, Founder and CEO of Violator Management to create Primary Violator, a new powerhouse talent management firm. The new business venture will bring together Lighty and elite music manager Michael “Blue” Williams, uniting two of today’s most influential and successful talent managers in urban and pop music.
“I am excited to launch Primary Violator with two of the most talented and respected executives in the industry. The music business is all about innovation and this strategic partnership will create a more diversified company, which will bring forth a wealth of opportunities for our clients,” states Chris Lighty, CEO of Violator Management.
In addition to management, Primary Violator will provide an array of services for artists, bringing pop culture solutions to corporate America via Primary Wave’s in-house branding company Brand Synergy Group, digital marketing company BrightShop, Lighty’s Brand Asset Group, as well as utilizing Primary Wave’s in-house film, television, video game, commercial advertising and TV development team. All management clients signed with Primary Violator will have access to these additional in-house, brand-building resources.
“Teaming Chris Lighty and Blue Williams creates the most powerful, intelligent and hardworking pop culture management team in the music business,” states Larry Mestel, Founder & CEO of Primary Wave Music. “It’s an honor for Primary Wave to team up with Chris and his staff.”
This powerful trio, Mestel, Lighty and Williams signifies the launch of a full-service talent management super group. Prior to launching Violator, Chris Lighty, worked alongside music business pioneers Russell Simmons and Lyor Cohen at RUSH Management and Def Jam in the 90s, where he signed multi-platinum artists such as Warren G and Foxy Brown. The twenty-plus year music veteran was recognized by Forbes Magazine as “one of the industry’s most influential talent manager” and has worked with some of the most prolific music superstars including Curtis “50 Cent’ Jackson, Sean “Diddy” Combs, LL Cool J, Mariah Carey, Busta Rhymes, Q-Tip, Soulja Boy, Diggy Simmons and Yo Gotti to name a few.
Primary Wave Music’s CEO Larry Mestel has over 20 years of music experience and has held positions including Chief Operating Officer, Island Records, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Arista Records and Chief Operating Officer and General Manager, Virgin Records where he worked with iconic artists such as The Rolling Stone, Janet Jackson, Lenny Kravitz, Jimmy Buffett, Carlos Santana, Avril Lavigne, Usher, Melissa Eldridge, Hall & Oates and Def Leppard. Adding his expertise to the team, Michael “Blue” Williams was the former President of Queen Latifah’s Flavor Unit Management where he oversaw the launch of music careers like Monica, Outkast, Total, SWV and Faith Evans. Williams then branched out on his own and founded Family Tree Entertainment, where he continued to build the career of Outkast and became recognized as one of the main catalysts behind the success of this iconic rap group. He also managed artists including Macy Gray, Jagged Edge, Nick Cannon, Blu Cantrell, Monica, K-Ci & Jo-Jo, Donell Jones, YoungBloodz, Lyfe Jennings and presently, Williams oversees Primary Wave’s management roster including Grammy Award winning CeeLo Green, Ginuwine, Goodie Mob, Eric Benet, Cody Simpson, Case and GMD3.
“Our goal is to make sure that our client’s artistic exposure is as diverse as their artistic expressions, whether it’s through music, art, film, or TV and by combining forces with these industry leaders, I’m confident that we can bring great opportunities to our artists”, states Blue Williams, President of Primary Wave Talent Management.
Previous to this new merger, Primary Wave has also been successful in their additional management ventures, partnering with music managers such as rock manager Scott Frazier, who works with bands like Saving Abel and Volbeat; writer/producer manager Tom Maffei, who manages Brian Kennedy and Cam Meekins; manager Jerry Blair, who manages Ebony Bones, Glory For The People, and Alex Young; as well as partnering with music managers David and Winston Simone, who work with talent ranging from Wilson Phillips to high-wire daredevil Nik Wallenda.
Larry Mestel will become Chairman and CEO of Primary Violator while Chris Lighty will serve as Chief Operating Officer. Michael “Blue” Williams will remain as company President of the newly formed venture.