Uber Music Veteran Zach Zimmerman Launches Artist Management Firm ZTZ Entertainment

Courtesy of ZTZEnt
         

Zimmerman hopes to bring lessons he learned in the tech world to the new venture.

Zach Zimmerman – formerly Uber’s global business development manager of music and entertainment – has launched artist management company ZTZ Entertainment, Billboard can exclusively reveal. As CEO, Zimmerman will oversee a roster that includes three artists: dance music producer and DJ David Dann (also the founder of the independent label Mind of a Genius Records), singer-songwriter Chloe Gilligan​ and Rocket Pengwin, the new project from electronic musician and producer Eddie Sears.

During his nearly five-and-a-half years at Uber, Zimmerman oversaw more than 50 partnerships with artists including Billie Eilish, Khalid​, Ed Sheeran, John Mayer​ and Lil Nas X. His rise through the ranks at the company kicked off after he helped spearhead a highly publicized 2016 promotional campaign that saw DJ and producer Kaskade delivering pizzas (and tickets to his Los Angeles concert) via the Uber Eats app. The campaign – which was so successful that the app itself crashed – far exceeded expectations and led to Zimmerman carving out a role for himself in the entertainment space at the ride-sharing giant.

"We had this really quick idea turn into something so much bigger, and that was actually a purely promotional-driven marketing deal, there was no cash exchanged," Zimmerman tells Billboard. "That kind of opened up the world for me in terms of working in entertainment."

At ZTZ, Zimmerman will leverage the many relationships he formed during his time at Uber to aggressively plot his clients’ careers. Already, he has powerhouse music lawyer Debbie White – named Billboard’s Lawyer of the Year for 2019 – in his corner.

“I'm extraordinarily proud of the fact that [ZTZ will] have the same lawyer as BTS and The Who,” says Zimmerman, who notes that by surrounding his clients with high-caliber professionals like White, he is building a more solid foundation for their careers from the get-go. "I want to make sure that we're working with the best lawyers, the best business managers, CPAs, everyone," he continues. "So that way, out of the gate we're building a foundation of concrete, not sand, for our artists."

Zimmerman goes on to note that his deal structures are “extraordinarily friendly” to artists, including sunset clauses that are much less restrictive than the industry standard and commissions that don’t kick in until specific earning thresholds are met. Transparency, too, is key for Zimmerman in fostering the artist-manager relationship.

"Ultimately, I want to do as much as I can so that way the artists I represent are truly business partners and it's never a situation where I'm just saying, 'Sign this, approve that,’ and they have zero context," he says.

When it comes to attracting new investment to the company, Zimmerman will bring an approach gleaned from his years in the tech startup space.

"I hope that in the future, [when] we're getting some early indicating factors of these artists' success, we can attract additional investors into the company" who would ordinarily invest in tech firms, he says. "I feel that if we have investors who are willing to take the same risks on new artists as they do on tech startups," he continues, "the music industry will be fundamentally changed forever."

Zimmerman is currently busy prepping for the release of new music from all three of his clients; Rocket Pengwin’s debut single is slated for release in late February or early March, to be followed by an EP on April 24. Gilligan -- who has been selected for a performance slot at this year’s SXSW -- also has an EP set for late April or early May with a major producer attached (Zimmerman would not name him). Finally, David Dann is currently at work on his new EP, which will get a release this year via Dann’s independent label Mind of a Genius.

"My hair [is] on fire," says Zimmerman of his busy slate, "but I've never felt so invigorated and so excited about the opportunity."


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