BREAKING: David Unger has become co-CEO of Three Six Zero Entertainment, a new venture that will create a bridge for the youth music-centric company to branch into entertainment management and production. He’ll run the venture with Mark Gillespie and Dean Wilson, who run Three Six Zero Group and manage such music powerhouse clients as Calvin Harris, Frank Ocean, Deadmau5 and Duke Dumont. The venture will operate in partnership with Shawn “Jay Z” Carter’s Roc Nation.
Unger had been a long time talent agent at ICM, and took a leap with Jeff Berg when the latter formed the talent agency Resolution. Launching a traditional talent agency without multiple revenue streams is a near impossible pursuit, and Resolution hit the wall when a promise of funding from China didn’t materialize in time. Despite the crash and burn–Unger didn’t jump, he went down with the ship–his ambition grew beyond simply servicing talent clients; he became involved in making connections in places like China that were becoming a growing part of the Resolution. Also, it stoked his ambition to not simply go back to an agency.
“That Resolution experience allowed me to learn so much from Jeff Berg, who launched all those successful companies, and it gave me an opportunity to find myself and develop a more expansive view,” Unger told Deadline. “It makes you look inward and ask yourself, am I an employee, or am I an entrepreneur? That spirit was shared by these partners more than anyone else I met.”
Unger will be a manager and operate from headquarters on Civic Center Drive in the Roc Nation building. Three Six Zero also has outposts in New York and London. Roc Nation operates separately, but this venture is most intriguing for the potential common threads that could be used to build a formidable entertainment company, depending on how involved an entrepreneur like Jay Z wants to be in weaving those pieces together.
To Unger, Three Six Zero’s principals run a disruptive business based on taste maker music that is exploding in the mainstream. I’ve never heard of Calvin Harris, but he is so popular that if you look at the trailer for the Entourage, the EDM impresario–not his music, the actual guy–is front and center, figuring in a fictional storyline in which he and Vinnie Chase (Adrian Grenier) star in a buddy action movie. Integrating those artists into Hollywood if they want that, will be part of the effort, but Unger’s focus will be to build a stable of actors, writers and directors and reps to manage them. Unger is transitioning his client list and will bring in other dealmakers to grow the division and include TV and film production. There is a preexisting HBO series about EDM in development, with Harris, Gillespie, Wilson, James Lassiter, Will Smith and Jay Z producing. Financial and branding advisory services are also part of the plan.
If Roc Nation becomes more involved, with its music touring, athlete representation, streaming another businesses, this could be a new company to be reckoned with.
“The phenomenal growth and cross-over from international territories and ancillary businesses has transformed the way we service our clients globally,” said Gillespie. “It is a natural fit for us to partner with David.”
Said Roc Nation co-founder/CEO Jay Brown: “Three Six Zero Group is a phenomenal visionary and ground breaking partner to Roc Nation. Three Six Zero Entertainment is another extension of their profound creativity and exponential reach into all mediums and all territories. Mark and Dean and the Three Six Zero family have achieved tremendous success in music and now Three Six Zero Entertainment will expand their potential in film and television.”