David Zedeck, Global Head Of Music, UTA
– David Zedeck
– David Zedeck
David Zedeck has had a hugely productive three-year-plus run at United Talent Agency, with the touring success of the company’s roster of rock and pop artists since his arrival including Jonas Brothers, Illenium, and Post Malone, developing artists like Tierra Whack, Scarypoolparty and Dirty Honey, as well as UTA’s investment in EDM with acquisitions including Circle Talent Agency.
Zedeck has transformed UTA’s music department since his arrival and his influence is felt throughout the business. In addition, he has a guiding hand in helping the rest of the industry move forward as a member of the music industry task force that was formed to “drive strategic support and unified direction ensuring precautionary efforts and ongoing protocol are in the best interest of artists, fans, staff, and the global community.” The task force was announced March 12, just as the major promoters like Live Nation and AEG Presents put the brakes on arena shows and festivals for the summer.
Prior to the pandemic’s devastating effect on the business as a whole, UTA’s music department had hired or promoted more than 40 employees during Zedeck’s tenure through 2019, including the development of the non-booking group. They also had 20% more artist festival bookings and a 10% increase in total artist bookings between 2017-19 and were trending higher for 2020.
With touring now on the sidelines, Zedeck and UTA have had to pivot and thanks to its structure as a full-service agency has been able to keep clients busy with other projects. Even before the pandemic lent some urgency to those non-musical projects, the agency was instrumental in placing artists like Action Bronson (Martin Scorcese’s “The Irishman”) and Nicole Scherzinger (“The Masked Singer”) in the public eye beyond the concert stage.
“When touring was forced to stop, we advised our clients to use the time to explore opportunities in virtual, online performances, brand partnerships and developing projects that they wouldn’t normally have the time to explore,” Zedeck explains. “Since March we’ve had clients work on books, film and/or television show development and building their own brands. Touring will be back, but in the meantime there’s enormous opportunities for clients that want to take advantage of the time they have by not being on the road.”
It’s been a year of challenges, to say the least. But Zedeck sees a return to form for the concert industry, albeit guided by science, governmental guidance and not a small amount of consumer behavior adjustment.
“I see a gradual path back to normalcy guided by health, safety and local municipalities,” Zedeck says. “We’ll also need take into account consumer confidence and economic ramifications as a result of the pandemic’s effect on the audience.”
But even as the industry moves forward and beyond the immediate concern of just getting back to work, Zedeck acknowledges inclusivity and diversity will continue to be a priority for him and UTA.
“We need to work not only on recruitment and retention, but actively work to widen the pipeline,” he says. “We need to proactively reach perspective employees that may not be aware of careers in live music.”
The live business has certainly been a good career choice for Zedeck.
“I enjoy the event process. From the initial ideas to planning, organizing and execution,” he says. “I got my start in college where I’d walk into an empty venue and hours later the room would be packed with an audience enjoying a live show!”
And it doesn’t hurt when the live show is part of one of the biggest global tours of the year, as the Jonas Brothers outing was for Zedeck and UTA last year.
“Certainly being part of the Jonas Brothers re-forming and working with John [Taylor] and Phil [McIntyre] again, and putting together, if not the top, one of the biggest tours globally this year, is a personal joy.”