All Set For The Future: Inside UTA’s New London Office

UTA moved into a new office in London, England, back in June. Pollstar reached out to UTA UK co-heads Obi Asika and Neil Warnock to find out whether they had already settled in, and in what ways the move marks the beginning of a new era for UTA. Located at 1 Newman Street, in the heart of the capital, the new space offers “a fantastically located, contemporary office, where we got all the facilities that anybody would want in a very modern set up to do our day-to-day business,” Warnock summed it up.

He knows what he’s talking about, having played a key role in this business for half a century. His first office was in the back of a youth club in Kennington, South London, “not much more than the size of a small toilet. And it smelled like that, as well,” Warnock remembered. The contrast couldn’t be bigger. “The setup we have now is built for the future, it’s built for development, for everything that every one of our agents from every discipline is going to be a part of.”

Aside from UTA’s many departments, which are spread across two floors and include music, brand partnerships, audio, comedy, digital, entertainment and production arts, among others, the new space also houses MediaLink, the management consultant firm acquired by UTA in 2021, and is close to literary and talent agency Curtis Brown Group, acquired in 2022. According to Asika, “The new space is going to solidify all those groups, working as a unit, while allowing for growth in all areas of the business.”

Other facilities include a wellness/mother’s room, as well as a dedicated multi-faith room, a roof terrace that employees use for meetings, and a café where staff meets for lunch. There’s ample space to work in different formats, including what Asika calls the “shouting booths,” designed for private conversations, and offices that can be used temporarily if colleagues from overseas are in town, for example. Asika is aware that the pandemic not only changed people’s lifestyles but also the way they work. “It’s not about having an office that you lock yourself away in nine-to-five. When I’m in the office I want to see people and talk to them. You can move conversations on projects a lot if you just spend two hours talking face to face, so much gets missed on Zoom, or on a telephone call. When you see someone face to face, you know where they’re at, how they’re feeling. It’s really important for me, as a leader, to understand what the energy is around the team.”


One of the departments located on Asika’s floor is brand partnerships, led by Irene Agbontaen as director of artists brand strategy and Anna Gregorek, senior director of music brand partnerships. “I know I’m being biased,” Asika said, “but I think we have the strongest team in the game over here. Having that kind of access to those individuals has been a real game changer for the agents.” 

Warnock agreed, saying, “The ability just to pop in and out of each other’s office and do the work that we do together is so advantageous. We’re a human-being business, and [need to be able] to mix together, be together, and talk together. You never know where ideas are coming from next. It’s a tangible vibe that has been reignited through UTA.”

Of all the spaces UTA’s new office has to offer, Asika is particularly fond of the listening rooms. “We’ve got two of them, and they’re wild. Full-on soundproof studios with incredible monitors. I say to the agents in our weekly meetings, ‘If you want to sign an artist, please, take them into that room and just listen to music. It will take you back to the essence of what it is to be an agent, and what we’re here to do.’ It winds me up that sometimes the last thing we talk about in our industry is the music. We’re always talking about the deals, but I think we always have to refer back to the music. And it is nice that in a time of worrying about saving money and space that part hasn’t been forgotten.” 

Warnock and Asika were tight-lipped when it came to talking about future plans for the business. They still volunteered a few prospects. Asika said that, aside from new artists and agents coming on board, “I know that none of us will be afraid to say that there will definitely be something happening in the sports space in Europe. That is high on the agenda for Jeremy [Zimmer, CEO].” And he added, “We’re making some real strides in pop across the board, and afrobeats is going to continue to grow, I can see that already for next year. Amapiano has been looking good for the last couple of years, but some of the offers for some of the artists are starting to get really significant so I can see a real growth there, as well.” 

According to Warnock, various UTA departments were growing fast, including comedy, country and rock. He had just signed Megadeth at the time of the interview, and said, “We honestly believe that the era of the electric guitar is far from over, so watch this space.”