2023 Impact 50: Sam Kirby Yoh



United Talent Agency went into a growth phase in 2022. Shortly after CAA’s acquisition of ICM, UTA took an influx of cash from Swedish private equity firm EQT to drive further expansion. Sam Kirby Yoh, Partner and Global Co-Head of Music, was already one of the industry’s heavy hitters before that, but UTA pushing its international business pushed her even farther into the forefront.

Her roster includes reliable, bankable artists like Lil Nas X, LCD Soundsystem, Björk, St. Vincent and Florence + The Machine, and this year featured debut releases and first tours for new artists like d4vd, Jessie Murph, Two Shell and The Dare. UTA’s growth included new agents and artists including J. Cole, LL Cool J, Aly & AJ and DNCE.

“The UTA team has been impactful for our artists across all mediums, continents, and stage sizes,” she says.

Kirby Yoh tells Pollstar her highlight was Rosalía’s free performance at Mexico City’s El Zocalo.

“Rosalía with 160,000 people in Mexico City – the energy was magnetic,” she says.

Kirby Yoh names the late Barbara Skydel – a pioneering woman and one of the great agents in history – as one of her mentors, one who taught her “grace.” The live business has come a long way in inclusivity and diversity since Skydel began as Frank Barsalona’s assistant in 1968, but Kirby Yoh says progress can still be made.

“Inclusivity is improving but continued action is needed. I encourage all to use databases for hiring, mentoring and championing – such as Diversify The Stage, Femme It Forward, and She Is The Music,” she says.

Kirby Yoh acknowledges there are challenges ahead for the industry – costs are up everywhere – but there’s another challenge she’s fighting head-on with a new initiative.

“Alas, never more needed is Noise For Now, a nonprofit organization focused on connecting musicians with local organizations in America that provide abortions, health care, reproductive justice and women’s rights advocacy.”