2023 Impact 50: Rob Gibbs



Music industry veteran Rob Gibbs was the first Black head of a major agency music department at ICM Partners when he was tapped by UTA (after CAA’s acquistion of ICM) to join Klutch Sports Group’s Rich Paul, along with Arthur Lewis and Steve Cohen, as co-heads of its recently opened Atlanta offices, the first entertainment agency to establish a full-service base in the city.

“We have really been embraced by the entertainment community, key companies in Atlanta and Mayor Andre Dickens,” enthuses Gibbs, whose goal is to grow the agency’s footprint across music, sports, film, fine arts, television and podcasts. The move came less than a month after UTA received fresh funding from private equity firm EQT. 

Opening last March on Peachtree Street in the city’s thriving Midtown arts and business district, UTA’s new offices occupy close to 20,000 square feet across three floors in a space designed by the same firm, Hastings Architecture, which was responsible for UTA’s office in Nashville, and includes the UTA Artist Space, a gallery.

Gibbs was especially grateful that the industry could begin putting COVID behind them and concentrate on the future. “We are grateful to see artists back out there,” he says. “Traffic was probably the biggest challenge in terms of avails and marketing, but we have navigated through it. I don’t anticipate the industry slowing down. Grosses are through the roof, and we are seeing more genres break through to a wider audience than ever.”

At the same time, the UTA exec points out that the industry must continue to be “smart” about ticket pricing. “Not every fan can afford a platinum seat,” he admits. “Not losing sight of the fan who works a 9-to-5 job who loves attending live shows is important. We all must be responsible in our planning.”

One of the highlights of his year to date was seeing UTA client Burna Boy appear with Drake and Usher at the J. Cole-curated Dreamville Festival in Raleigh, North Carolina, last month. “There was something for everyone,” he says. “That made it special.”