ICM’s Robert Gibbs on the Future of Touring

Born and raised in Ann Arbor, Mich., Gibbs was enrolled in the music business program at the Art Institute of Philadelphia when, in his words, he “stumbled upon the agency world” during an internship with a boutique firm. He found his mentor in Dennis Ashley at Creative Artists Agency, where he was hired as Ashley’s assistant in 2001 before becoming an agent. Gibbs later joined Ashley as co-head of ICM’s West Coast urban music division in 2006. Both advanced to partner status in 2016. (Ashley, still a partner and concerts agent, reps Nelly, D’Angelo and Trey Songz, among others.) Then last August, Gibbs joined ICM’s leadership team as head of contemporary music before ascending to his current position.

Throughout his career, Gibbs has focused on R&B and hip-hop and still maintains relationships with artist clients in those genres as well as their managers. They include J. Cole (whom he has repped for 12 years); Cole’s manager and Dreamville president Ibrahim Hamad; Dreamville artist Ari Lennox and her manager, Justin Lamotte of Blackwax; PartyNextDoor and manager Tyler Henry of Range Media; and, most recently, SoFaygo, who is co-managed by Barry Hefner of Since the 80s. Now as ICM’s head of music, he adds oversight of pop, rock, electronic and alternative, alongside Siegel.

Damon Casarez

In his home office, Gibbs keeps this award on his desk: “A reminder of my first time making Billboard’s Power 100 list.”

Gibbs is intent on paying his success forward through his role as a board member of DiversifyICM. “I love this world,” he says of the agency business. “Hopefully, we can inspire other young men and women that look like me to feel the same way.”

After Billboard spoke with Gibbs, ICM was the subject of a May 5 story in the Los Angeles Times in which former employees alleged a toxic work environment involving misconduct ranging from sexual harassment to a culture of pervasive bullying. He would not comment, but ICM issued a statement from board members and department heads Lorrie Bartlett, Jennifer Joel and Janet Carol Norton. “Neither we nor our company are perfect; no one is,” the statement read, in part. “But in a challenging, competitive and labor-intensive industry that demands much of its participants, we feel privileged to enjoy a safe and encouraging environment, fair and abundant opportunities, and the respect and support of all colleagues of all genders.”

Source: News | Billboard

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