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Ex-UTA Canada agent Zaed Maqbool heads to LN

Canadian booking agent Zaed Maqbool, who had been with The Agency Group/United Talent Agency (UTA) in Toronto since 2006, is to relocate to Dubai to take up a new role with Live Nation.

Maqbool – whose roster included July Talk, A Tribe Called Red and Marianas Trench – is the latest agent to announce his departure from UTA’s shuttered Toronto office, with Rob Zifarelli, André Guérette and Adam Countryman heading up a new office for Paradigm, Adam Kreeft and Rob Thornton moving to Paquin Entertainment Group and Ralph James and Jack Ross overseeing APA’s new Canadian operation.

Pakistani-born Maqbool (pictured) will serve as Live Nation VP of touring for south Asia and the Middle East.

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

Maqbool says he was offered the position by Live Nation’s president of international and emerging markets, Alan Ridgeway – and turned down an offer to join Ross and James at APA.

“I’m thrilled to be working with a forward-thinking company that understands the importance of emerging markets”

“I knew [Alan]; we’d been talking about India and south Asia, and the Middle East as a whole,” he explains. “He was intrigued by the fact that I spoke all the languages out there [Maqbool is fluent in Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi and English and can read and write Arabic and Persian] and I was familiar with the nuances and the culture.

“Once all of it happened [the Toronto office closing], I was trying to find a home for my bands, but in the back of my mind I hadn’t written off the concept or the possible trajectory of me crossing over to the other side and doing the buying instead of the selling in a market which I was familiar with.

“So, once all of this happened, I had a couple of offers on the table, and I was legitimately ready to sign with an agency. Then the offer came [from Live Nation] and it was hard to say no. Jack and Ralph have been my mentors since the very beginning and they put an offer on the table as well, but I have their blessing.”

Maqbool tells Billboard he hopes his new position in the UAE will open doors for Canadian acts and colleagues. “They’ll have a friendly Canadian face in that region that is hopefully going to facilitate them coming out in terms of shows.”


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