UTA Canada COO Jack Ross Plans to Take Client Roster With Him After Toronto Office Shuts Down
Billboard spoke with UTA Canada's Jack Ross following the news announced earlier today that United Talent Agency will close its Canadian office in Toronto.
United Talent Agency announced earlier today (Aug. 1) that it will close its Canadian office in Toronto in the coming months, two years after it acquired The Agency Group (TAG) and its seven offices and 95 talent agents worldwide. TAG’s presence in Canada was helmed by CEO Ralph James and COO Jack Ross, both of whom came to UTA during the acquisition; its domestic roster includes such acts as Nickelback, Billy Talent, City and Colour, Alexisonfire, Sam Roberts Band, Marianas Trench and Feist, among others.
At the time of the acquisition, UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer called the move “a quantum leap forward for us in the music business,” emphasizing the global reach the TAG deal would provide for the company. In an internal memo circulated within the company today, Zimmer wrote that “after considering where we see the strongest prospects for continued growth, we have made the decision to take additional steps to focus our global music practice in the U.S. and UK.”
Following the announcement, Billboard spoke with Jack Ross about the headquarters up north shutting down and what will come next; Ross says he will continue as an agent with his roster and hints at the future of the staff that worked out of the Toronto office.
Billboard: What does this mean for you, the staff and the relationships you’ve built? Are you able to still work with your artists?
Jack Ross: Yeah, it’s all getting worked out how everyone’s exit is going to work, but absolutely. I’ve been representing a core group of Canadian artists for a long time and many of our clients have been with us for decades. I can’t speak for everybody, but I can tell you that I certainly plan to continue as an agent and continue representing my clients, continue to grow and develop agents and music industry professionals. I’m looking at this as an opportunity to work with like-minded people who believe in artist development and agent development and who see Canada and Toronto as a great place to be in business.
What we’ve been told by UTA is that this is a business decision for them, based on numbers. They want to reduce the size of their music department and that they’re centralizing their offices and they think that the best way to do it is by closing Toronto and letting go the 23 people who work in the Toronto office. How it’s all gonna shake out is too new to say, but I’m certainly happy to go on record as saying that I plan to continue as an agent and continue representing my clients. I’ve spoken to all of them and they’ve been very supportive. I don’t anticipate any interruption of service for any of our clients.
Will artists be able to choose whether to stay with their agents if those in the Canadian office wish to continue with their roster, or be represented out of UTA’s offices in New York, L.A. or London?
Yes. Absolutely. I think you’ll find that most of the music artists know that they’re represented by an agent within an agency. And like I said, I’ve spoken with most of my clients and received overwhelming support and they’re all looking forward to the next chapter with me. They’re looking forward to continuing to work with me and a group of professionals that want to help them grow their careers.
Will you be opening an office under a new name and bringing some of the other agents with you?
It is too early to really say anything more. But my phone is ringing, and I know that’s the same for all the other agents in the office. When you have great clients and you do good work for them, they’re going to stick with you and people are gonna want to hire you to work within their agency and do what you do as a talent agent. We have run a successful and profitable operation, Ralph and I, for 22 years in Canada, since we started The Agency Group. And not to speak for Ralph, but I know that my plan is to continue doing that. I expect to have some news in the next week or two.