QBQ prez Arfa starts AGI and buys Principal

Talent rep firm adds Celine, Ricky, Van Halen

Dennis Arfa, president of QBQ Entertainment, has formed Artists Group Intl., a New York-based talent representation firm that has acquired Rob Prinz’s recently established Principal Artists Group.

Artists Group Intl. will serve as the holding company for Principal Artists and QBQ, a concert booking and touring representation company whose clients include Billy Joel, Metallica, Luther Vandross, Hole and Everlast.

Arfa is chairman of AGI and will run the company from its Gotham offices.

Prinz, who had worked as a music agent at Creative Artists Agency for 11 years before establishing his indie agency in August, will continue to run Principal Artists from its Beverly Hills offices.

The acquisition of Principal brings AGI such music heavyweights as Celine Dion, Ricky Martin and Van Halen to the AGI fold.

“With the consolidation that has taken place over the past three years in the concert industry, it has been a goal of mine to bring together the talents of many agents and agencies to form a competitive global artist representation agency,” Arfa said. “The acquisition of Principal Artists Group is the first step in creating just such an agency.”

The announcement of AGI follows the recent decision by SFX Entertainment to shutter its music talent representation business, based mainly at QBQ, which was acquired last spring through SFX’s purchase of the Marquee Group.

Following that decision, in August Arfa announced that he would buy back QBQ and leave SFX with his stable of clients to pursue “additional business opportunities.”

Arfa established QBQ in 1986, following 25 years spent as a music agent, which included running the William Morris Agency’s music department from 1981 to 1986. QBQ was acquired by the Marquee Group in October 1997, leading to the creation of Marquee Music.

The acquisition by AGI reunites Arfa with Prinz, whose first job in the music industry was at Arfa’s Home Run Agency. Prinz established Principal Artists in August, following an 11-year tenure at Creative Artists Agency.

“Being part of Artists Group International will undoubtedly enhance our ability to provide our clients with the hands-on service that we are proud to offer, while being on the ground floor of the creation of what we believe will be a powerful global artist representation business,” Prinz said.