New Live Nation exec Maqbool targeting Dubai and India

United Talent Agency (UTA) Canada’s Zaed Maqbool has revealed he has taken on the role as vice president of touring for South Asia and the Middle East with Live Nation Dubai.

UTA Canada announced it was closing its office in Toronto last month after only two years following its acquisition of The Agency Group.

Maqbool said wealthy Dubai offers great opportunities for the live events market, and added that he will also be targeting growth in India.

“I’m extremely excited for the new adventure and thrilled to be working with a forward-thinking company that understands the importance of emerging markets,” Maqbool told Billboard magazine.

He added: “I’m going to be going there [Dubai] to get a better understanding, but based on my knowledge while being out here in the last 10 years, I can say that courtesy of the fact that there are no taxes in Dubai, there is certainly lots of disposable income.

“People throw money at entertainment, so the envelope can be pushed as far as ticket prices are concerned when it comes to bigger acts. Also, coupled with the fact that 90 per cent of the country is ex-pats, you’re able to bring in acts from all over the world that are relevant to those ex-pats, and they will buy tickets to those acts.

“It doesn’t necessarily have to be only Western acts; some of the biggest acts that go to Dubai are from South Asia, from Iran, from other parts of the Arabic world. So as far as ticket prices are concerned, it’s a healthy market. Again, they usually only know the bigger names.

“To become the conduit between the industry here and the industry there. I hope to utilize my networks that I’ve built over the last decade to be able to understand what the agents want – which is important to me because I was one – and to be able to bridge that gap between promoter and agent, while utilising my knowledge of the industry and culture and the norms that are involved with booking in that part of the world.

“So they are really hoping that I’m able to tackle India, and bring some of the artists that tour from that region into Dubai, and, in a perfect world, expand into those markets in a huge way and build it up to be a relevant touring market for all acts, regardless of size.”

IMAGE: Muneeb Farman