TONY HARLOW APPOINTED CHAIRMAN & CEO FOR WARNER MUSIC UK
Max Lousada, Warner Music Group’s (WMG) CEO of Recorded Music, announced today that Tony Harlow has been named as Chairman & CEO of Warner Music UK (WMUK). Commencing the new role in February of next year, Harlow takes on the role from Lousada, who has maintained the Chairman & CEO position at WMUK since 2013 after assuming his global role two years ago.
Having joined WMG in 2010 as Managing Director for Australasia, Harlow has built a reputation for breaking talent early, including acts such as Ed Sheeran and Dua Lipa. Most recently, he’s served as President of WEA, the global artist and label services arm of WMG, where he’s helped transform operations and expand streaming–focused marketing, as well as oversee the addition of direct–to–consumer expertise from Songkick, EMP and UPROXX.
WMUK has already held the No.1 spot on the U.K. singles chart for over half of 2019 (30 weeks), including the longest–running single of the year with Tones & I’s “Dance Monkey.” Additional successes include Coldplay’s No.1 album, Everyday Life, and hits from Ed Sheeran, Stormzy, Dua Lipa, Rod Stewart and Alison Balsam.
Lousada said, “Tony has a depth and diversity of experience that few can match. Ever since his days behind the counter at a Beggars Banquet record shop, he’s been a true artist champion with a total passion for music. And as an entrepreneurial leader, he has a progressive and ambitious vision for where the business needs to go next. He’ll be a great mentor to the next generation of creatives and executives, building an environment where original talent is nurtured and challenged. This is obviously a job that’s very close to my heart, and I couldn’t be leaving it in better hands.”
Harlow noted, “The U.K. is a vital source for many of the world’s most influential artists, cultural trends, and creative innovations. At the same time, it’s been leading the way in erasing the barriers of genre and geography for international talent. I’m very happy to be coming home to work with the extraordinary, record–breaking artists and team at WMUK. I’m so pleased I’ll get to continue working with my amazing colleagues at WEA in this new role, and I want to thank Max for giving me this wonderful opportunity.”
Harlow began his industry career with EMI in the U.K., climbing the ranks of the company’s international marketing division before moving to Australia to become Managing Director, EMI Music Australia in 1997. Returning to the U.K. in 2002, he became CEO of Richard Branson’s V2 label, and also oversaw the purchase of the Fania Music catalogue in the U.S. Following V2’s acquisition by Universal Music Group (UMG) in 2007, Harlow held various roles at UMG, including leading the International Marketing team.
JEFF VAUGHN ANNOUNCED AS NEW PRESIDENT OF CAPITOL RECORDS
Highly–regarded music executive Jeff Vaughn has been named President of Capitol Records, it was announced last week by Capitol Music Group (CMG) Chairman & CEO Steve Barnett, to whom Vaughn will report. Vaughn’s new role will draw upon his extensive A&R background and strong executive skills as he works closely alongside Barnett and members of his executive management team. Vaughn is set to officially commence the new role on January 1st, 2020 and will be based in Hollywood at CMG’s Capitol Tower.
According to Barnett, “I’m thrilled that Jeff is joining our team as President of Capitol Records. He has forged strong relationships within the artist community and has proven time and time again that he knows how to work with talent to create hit records that impact our culture in a big way. He is a tremendous addition to our CMG team, and I know that everyone in the company joins me in welcoming Jeff to the Tower.”
Sir Lucian Grainge, Chairman & CEO of Universal Music Group, said, “We’re so pleased to welcome Jeff Vaughn to the Capitol Tower and the UMG family. With Jeff’s strong A&R track record, he has a unique opportunity to build upon Capitol’s reinvigoration that we’ve seen over the past several years.”
Vaughn commented, “I want to thank Steve and Sir Lucian for giving me the opportunity to shape the future of such an iconic label. As an A&R executive, I am driven by an intense devotion to artists and songs that defy expectations and challenge us to think differently. I could not be more excited to champion this perspective in my new role at Capitol.”
Prior to his new appointment, Vaughn served as Vice President of A&R at Los Angeles–based Artist Partner Group (APG), a fully integrated and supported arm of Warner Music Group’s Atlantic Records, and Artist Publishing Group, having joined the company at its founding in 2013. During his tenure with APG, Vaughn signed and/or worked closely with a range of artists that have collectively amassed dozens of RIAA Platinum and Gold certifications, including breakout streaming phenom Youngboy Never Broke Again. Other credits include the signing and development of global R&B superstar and three–time Grammy nominee Kehlani, as well as A&R’ing veteran hip–hop star Kevin Gates. Recently, Vaughn worked with Warner Records to land emerging hip–hop talent, NLE Choppa, whose signing pursuit was one of the most competitive of 2019. Choppa’s breakthrough single, “Shotta Flow,” has been certified Platinum and his latest single “Camelot” is on its way to a Platinum certification.
Vaughn was also responsible for signing and developing multi–Platinum rap artist Lil Skies, rap–punk rocker Rico Nasty, and buzzing Travis Scott affiliate Don Toliver. He played a key role in the signing of multi–Platinum artist Young Thug and is credited with co–A&Ring the Gold–certified soundtrack to the eighth installment in the successful Fast and Furious film franchise, The Fate Of The Furious: The Album.
Vaughn joined MUBUTV’s Ritch Esra during the respected global music and media conference, MUSEXPO in Los Angeles to discuss his A&R philosophy. See the full interview HERE.
UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP PARTNERS WITH AIRASIA GROUP
FOR LAUNCH OF REDRECORDS
AirAsia Group, a leading travel and lifestyle company within Asia Pacific, and Universal Music Group (UMG), have revealed the launch of RedRecords, an innovative new label partnership focused on signing, developing and breaking new Asian artists and elevating “A–pop” globally. The two companies made the announcement at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur last week. RedRecords’ focus will be on discovering and developing talent from Southeast Asia and throughout the wider continent and guiding the creation of a clear and unique sound that reflects the diverse and rich musical culture of the continent.
RedRecords will be based in Kuala Lumpur and Los Angeles and will combine UMG’s artist development expertise with AirAsia’s regional and global marketing strength to expand A–Pop’s reach. In addition to artist development and A&R, the label will provide distribution and marketing, as well as management and agency services. The label will be led by Hassan Choudhury, Head of Music for AirAsia Group, who assumes the role of CEO of RedRecords.
Speaking on the announcement, Tony Fernandes, CEO of AirAsia Group said, “This announcement is incredibly important to me. It appears life has come full circle for both myself and my AirAsia brothers, Kamarudin and Nadda, whom I met through our early days in music. We have already revolutionized air travel enabling everyone to fly and as we celebrate 18 years of operation for AirAsia – we are focused on transforming the airline into a global digital travel and lifestyle leader. Now we are also heading back to our musical roots to revolutionize the future of Asian pop culture and give it the worldwide stage it deserves in conjunction with Universal Music to launch RedRecords.”
Sir Lucian Grainge, Chairman & CEO, Universal Music Group said, “I am delighted to announce the launch of RedRecords with Tony and his team at AirAsia. The worldwide success of Latin and K–Pop has demonstrated that in the streaming era there are no barriers to great music regardless of language. Together with the combined strategic marketing reach and resources of AirAsia and UMG, we can provide Asian artists an exciting opportunity to truly go global.”
Choudhury said, “This is an excellent opportunity to leverage of both AirAsia and UMG’s potential in a musical journey. Having worked for both of these incredible companies, witnessing first–hand their enormous strengths in their respective industries, I aim to bring the creative forces of both teams together in order to help develop the undoubted music talent that lays here in Asia.”
At the press conference, the label also revealed the signing of Thai pop–artist and influencer Jannine Weigel, as its marquee first artist. Weigel, a singer, songwriter, influencer, gamer and actor has released several singles and EPs and amassed a significant following on social media, with over 600 million views and 3.3 million followers on YouTube, in addition to 3.2 million followers on Facebook, 1.5 million on Instagram and more than 500,000 on TikTok.
BMG ENTERS ARTIST MANAGEMENT ARENA VIA PARTNERSHIP
WITH CARL STUBNER’S SHELTER
BMG has announced a partnership with Carl Stubner, the renowned manager of Fleetwood Mac, ZZ Top, Crowded House and Neil Finn, among others, in a strategic move to enter the artist management business. The partnership sees BMG backing Stubner’s new Shelter Music Group, with Stubner serving as Chairman of the firm, and Dino Paredes as President. The deal adds another service option for BMG clients alongside its existing music publishing, recordings, production music, film and book interests.
BMG already works with Shelter artists such as ZZ Top, Puscifer and A Perfect Circle whose Eat The Elephant album last year debuted at No.3 on the Billboard 200. Shelter will retain full independence under the arrangement to sign artists to other labels and music publishers.
Under the deal, Shelter has already relocated its Nashville operation into BMG’s new office in the city. It offers Shelter access to BMG’s global resources and networks through the company’s 15 offices worldwide and provides BMG artists and songwriters located outside the U.S. a unique ability to receive management support and expertise in the North American market.
BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch said, ”Carl Stubner is a force of nature and we are delighted to partner with him. As the lines blur between the services provided by labels and those provided by managers, it is inevitable that these previously separate parts of the business will come together. Ultimately, we are both in the business of serving artists and have complementary interests. We believe that combining resources and expertise on certain projects will benefit artists.”
Stubner said, “BMG has created the first new music major of the streaming age. This is an opportunity not just to work more closely with the most innovative company in music, but also to build a new kind of management company with a presence in every significant music market. We have ambitions to move into both records and publishing with BMG and are already in advanced discussions to recruit other managers to join us.”
BMG and Shelter are already collaborating on Mick Fleetwood’s upcoming sold–out all–star tribute to Peter Green and the early years of Fleetwood Mac due to take place on February 25th, 2020 at the London Palladium with guests including Billy Gibbons, David Gilmour, Jonny Lang, Andy Fairweather Low, John Mayall, Christine McVie, Zak Starkey, Steven Tyler and Bill Wyman.
JUICE WRLD PASSES AT AGE 21
One of the hip–hop community’s most promising and respected artists, Juice WRLD, has passed away suddenly at the age of 21.
The news broke yesterday morning revealing that Juice WRLD, a.k.a. Jarad Anthony Higgins, had suffered a seizure in the terminal of Chicago’s Midway Airport after arriving on a flight from Los Angeles. Upon the arrival of paramedics to the scene he was still alive, but was pronounced dead at a local hospital shortly following the incident.
The Chicago MC first generated attention with his single, “All Girls Are The Same,” early last year with his follow–up, “Lucid Dreams,” becoming one of the biggest hits of the same year, reaching No.2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The hit single led to a win for Juice WRLD at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards for top new artist.
His Gold–certified full–length, Death Race for Love, saw him achieving his first No.1 on the Billboard 200 chart earlier this year. Alongside work with artists including Lil Uzi Vert, Ellie Goulding and BTS, Juice WRLD released a collaborative album with Future, Wrld on Drugs, last year.
Among the many tributes pouring out to the artist and his family are included those from his publisher BMG, with BMG Los Angeles, EVP Thomas Scherer stating, “Juice WRLD is one of the most ambitious, dynamic, and prolific artists of his time, with a unique style all his own. Above all, as a person, he was kind, thoughtful, and generous. He had a vibrant soul, an authenticity full of energy, love, curiosity and music. We admire him as the person he was, as much as the person he was becoming. What he accomplished and achieved in such a short time, and at such a young age, is nothing short of extraordinary. We are absolutely devastated and mourn the loss of a young bright star gone far too soon. Our utmost heartfelt condolences to his family, friends, fans, Grade A and everyone he touched and inspired around the world. Juice WRLD forever.”
GLOBAL NEWS UPDATES…
Warner Chappell Music (WCM) has named respected music executive Rich Christina as Senior Vice President of A&R. Based in New York, Christina reports to Ryan Press, WCM’s President of A&R, U.S. Most recently, Christina had served as Senior Vice President and Head of East Coast A&R for Sony/ATV Music Publishing. His most recent work includes that with songwriters such as Boi–1da, Ricky Reed, Sam Hollander, Billy Walsh and Vinylz, along with a roster of artists including Charli XCX, Nomani Kordei and Shaed. He’s helped develop hit singles such as “God’s Plan” by Drake, “Truth Hurts” by Lizzo, “Señorita” by Camilla Cabello & Shawn Mendes, “No Guidance” by Chris Brown featuring Drake, “Trampoline” by Shaed, and others. Christina’s career began at Atlantic Records in 1991, where his first official job was Mix Show Coordinator, working with Big Beat label founder (and current Atlantic Chairman & CEO) Craig Kallman, and looking after Atlantic’s dance music department. He transitioned into A&R after bringing Robin S’ No.1 record, “Show Me Love,” to the company. His A&R work continued with acts such as Everything But The Girl, Brandy, Changing Faces, Craig David, Mark Morrison, and the Space Jam and Dr. Doolittle soundtracks. Following 12 years at Atlantic, Christina headed to Sony/ATV in 2004, initially as Senior Director and later as Vice President of A&R. In 2009, he moved to EMI Music Publishing as Senior Vice President of Creative, returning to Sony/ATV three years later when the latter acquired EMI. At Sony/ATV, he signed and/or developed artists, writers, and producers such as RedOne, Jessie J, Stargate, The Neighbourhood, Shep Goodman, Charlie XCX and Gaslight Anthem.
Spotify has revealed the ranking of most streamed artists on the platform across the last decade with Drake topping the list at over 28 billion streams. Following Drake was Ed Sheeran who has the most streamed track of the decade with “Shape Of You” garnering 2.3 billion streams. The ranking is rounded out by Post Malone, Ariana Grande and Eminem, respectively. For the year 2019 alone, Post Malone garnered the top spot on the most streamed artist ranking at more than 6.5 billion, followed by Billie Eilish and Ariana Grande. Malone’s most recent full–length, Hollywood’s Bleeding, also assumed the No.2 spot on the most streamed album worldwide behind Eilish’s When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? The year’s most streamed song ranking included “Señorita” (Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello); “Bad Guy” (Billie Eilish); “Sunflower,” the Post Malone/Swae Lee collaboration for the Spider-man: Into The Spider–Verse film; “7 Rings” (Ariana Grande); and “Old Town Road (Remix)” (Lil Nas X & Billy Ray Cyrus).
In other Spotify news, the streamer unveiled its 2019 Wrapped initiative last week which saw listeners receiving a recap on their listening habits for the year including top artists, songs, podcasts and genres. At the same time, as another decade comes to a close, Spotify offered up My Decade Wrapped which looked back on the key music from each year across the last ten years.
A&R Worldwide has learned that highly respected A&R executive Rich Castillo has been appointed Sr. Director, A&R for Sony/ATV and will be based out of the company’s London offices. Most recently Castillo was an A&R executive at Polydor Records in London, and prior to that was A&R Director at Universal Records in Canada. In addition, he held the position as Head of A&R for UMTV and All Around The World Records in London. Castillo started his career in artist management back in 2004 at Shalit Global, working with Professor Jonathan Shalit OBE, where he help launch British hip–hop/R&B act N–Dubz who garnered multi–Platinum success on both sides of the Atlantic.
It’s been revealed that Kobalt COO, Avid Larizadeh Duggan, is parting ways with the company after less than two years in the role. Based in London, Duggan had been named EVP, Chief Strategy and Business Officer in January of 2018, rising to COO just a month later. Her history with the music company goes back to 2015 when, as General Partner at GV (formerly Google Ventures), she spearheaded its investment into Kobalt. Duggan is currently a non–executive director of Barclays Bank UK’s board and, with over two decades of startup experience, has served as a developer, product manager, founder, investor and adviser. In addition to her time with GV, she also co–founded online marketplace, Boticca, in 2010 and served as the firm’s COO until 2014.
The Thread Shop, Sony Music Entertainment’s merchandise division, has finalized a new deal to produce merchandise for The Beatles in N. America. In finalizing the partnership with Apple Corps, Ltd., The Thread Shop encompasses new merch, licensing, retail and ecommerce opportunities in the territory. The first offering will see clothing, toys, turntables and a pinball machine available via a Beatles pop–up store in NYC from December 11th – 22nd. The Thread Shop will maintain The Beatles’ U.S. commerce site while delivering products to its network of retailers. In conjunction with the deal, The Thread Shop has tapped Joe Marziotto as VP, Licensing & Marketing. Prior, Marziotto held the role of VP of Brand Marketing for Universal Music Group’s Bravado. Before that, he looked after The Beatles’ merch licensing for Live Nation. Marziotto reports to Howard Lau, head of Thread Shop.
In other Sony Music news, the company’s podcast operations recently saw a round of key appointments with Emily Rasekh named Sr. VP of Business Development and Operations, Podcasting; Brittany Hall named VP of Sales, Podcasting; Ryan Zack appointed VP of Revenue Operations, Podcasting; and Christy Mirabal named VP of Marketing, Podcasting.
Apple Music has revealed its first–ever Apple Music Awards as it looks to recognize artists who have had a significant impact on global culture. The Apple Music Awards spotlight achievements in music across five categories with winners selected through a process that incorporates the service’s editorial perspective, as well as the reaction of customers worldwide. The winners for Global Artist of the Year, Songwriter of the Year and Breakthrough Artist of the Year were hand–selected by Apple Music’s global editorial team, with the awards for Album of the Year and Song of the Year based on streaming data and reflecting the listening habits of Apple Music users across 2019. Marking the inaugural awards’ winners are Billie Eilish as Artist of the Year with Eilish also taking Album of the Year for When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? which generated over a billion streams on Apple Music and was the year’s most streamed full–length, and Songwriter of the Year, an honor that she shares with her brother FINNEAS; Lizzo as Breakthrough Artist of the Year; and Lil Nas X with “Old Town Road” as Song of the Year. The awards were celebrated last week with a bespoke performance by Eilish at the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park which was live streamed globally.
iHeartMedia is setting up a second headquarters for its digital operations in Nashville as it seeks to tap into the Music City’s university population and local community of tech talent to build upon its New York–based digital division. While specific details haven’t been revealed, the new office has a target launch date of 2020’s first quarter with iHeartMedia looking to hire across engineering, product development, data science and other sectors immediately.
Human Re Sources, the digital distribution and label services firm set up by J. Erving, has grown its footprint to the U.K. with the opening of a new London office. Leading the new operations are newly–hired A&R executive Amal Omari and Matt Ott, VP Creator Services. The pair join a leadership team that includes Erving, as well as A&R and creator services executives Austin Thomas, Ray Kurzeka and Clarissa Reformina. News of the expansion came alongside the announcement of Human Re Sources’ newest signing in artist Lancey Foux, who became the first British artist to take the stage at U.S. rap festival, Rolling Loud, this year. Foux is the midst of putting together a new studio full–length, Friend or Foux, and just performed a headline show at London’s O2 Academy Islington. Prior to joining Human Re Sources, Ott served on the artist and label marketing team at Spotify UK for over four years and counts stints with BBC Radio 6 and RCA. Most recently, Omari was with Platoon, serving as Head of A&R, with a resume that includes three years with Radar Radio and work as a consultant for Warner Music’s Asylum Records.
A&R Worldwide has learned that veteran A&R executive, Nick Haussling, is parting ways with his role as Sr. Director of A&R for Concord Music, having joined the company in June of last year. Prior to joining Concord, Haussling had served as Head of A&R for Razor & Tie where he worked with acts such as Magic Giant, The Revivalists, Veridia, Harts, Red Sun Rising, Holy White Hounds, Starset, All That Remains, The Blue Stones, Castlecomer, Devour The Day, The Sword and Kyng. Prior to that, he spent over a decade in the A&R department at Warner Bros. Records (now Warner Records) working with the likes of Disturbed, Kimbra, Mystery Skulls, Guster, Faith Hill, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Seal, Steely Dan, The Veronicas and others as well as on soundtracks for films such as Transformers 1 & 2, Inception, 300, and The Devil Wears Prada. His A&R career began at Giant Records in 1998.
TikTok has tapped former Warner Music Group executive Ole Obermann as its new VP, Global Head of Music. Based in London, Obermann commenced the new position in October following an unexpected exit from Warner as the company’s Chief Digital Officer in June. The role was announced by Obermann via his LinkedIn page, initially revealed by MBW with the brief overview of his role stating he will “lead corporate development efforts” for the music initiatives of TikTok and ByteDance, the app’s Chinese parent company. TikTok has been increasingly under pressure from regulators and trade organizations over copyright, privacy and security issues.
peermusic has re–signed hit Nashville songwriter Michael Tyler to an exclusive songwriter agreement it was announced last week by Kathy Spanberger, President & COO, peermusic and Michael Knox, Sr. VP, peermusic Nashville. peermusic’s exclusive deal with Tyler includes all future works with the company continuing to co–publish his catalog. Among Tyler’s most recent accomplishments are included six cuts on the new Jason Aldean album, 9, which was released on November 22nd and became a No.1 debut on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart (dated Dececember 7th) and No.2 on Billboard 200. peermusic writer Jaron Boyer also has co–writer credits on the album and peermusic Nashville’s Michael Knox, a long–time collaborator of Aldean, produced the album. Tyler has previously had cuts with Aldean including “Laid Back,” his first co–write for with the artist from his Platinum+ Old Boots, New Dirt. Tyler also co–wrote the multi–week No.1 single “Girl Like You” from Rearview Town. His first RIAA Platinum multi–week No.1 single, “Somewhere On A Beach” (Dierks Bentley), earned him SESAC’s Song of the Year Award in 2016. Additional cuts for Tyler include those with artists Blake Shelton, Tyler Farr, LoCash and others. As an artist, Tyler was named to Billboard’s “Artists To Watch” in 2017, was ranked one of Rolling Stone’s “10 New Artists to Watch,” and counts more than 9.9 million streams on Spotify.
Warner Music Group (WMG) recently announced the appointment of Jon Glass to Sr. VP, Head of Digital Legal Affairs. In the role, Glass will lead the company’s legal efforts in support of WMG’s major digital initiatives, working closely with WMG’s business development team. Glass reports to the company’s EVP and General Counsel, Paul Robinson. Glass assumes the role from Ron Wilcox, who will retire after a decade at the company. Since joining WMG in 2010, Glass has held various roles within the company including serving as Associate Counsel, Digital Legal Affairs before being promoted to VP and most recently, Sr. VP. Prior, Glass was with Sony Music Entertainment in Business & Legal Affairs, Global Digital Business and, before that, held positions at several law firms, including Morrison & Foerster LLP.
Pandora’s updated mobile app has rolled out to all customers of its free, Plus and Premium offerings as it seeks to provide users an enhanced discovery opportunity and generate more traffic to its catalog of on–demand music and podcasts, personalized content recommendations and unique programming. The features had previously been made available in October to about 2% of the platform’s users. New features hitting the mobile app include a “For You” personalized discovery feed delivering recommendations for curated music and podcasts, a streamlined navigation interface, and a new station customization offering billed as “Pandora Modes.” Exclusive content comes in the form of custom playlists from the likes of LeBron James, Rob Gronkowski, Odell Beckham Jr. and Angel McCoughtry, alongside personalized “Playback 2019” year–in–review playlists. Pandora has also hinted at additional upcoming content from Marvel, Drake, and others. The rebrand is supported by new TV spots as well as large–scale experiential events building into a live show that is “one of the biggest Pandora/SiriusXM concerts to–date during the biggest weekend in sports.” The platform also unveiled its “Top Thumb Hundred 2019” and “Top Thumb Hundred Songs of 2010–2019” listings which you can see HERE.
Live Nation is bringing back its signature Lawn Pass for the 2020 season which offers fans unlimited lawn access to events at one of the 29 Live Nation owned and operated amphitheaters in the select list. At a cost of $199, the pass allows access to events even if they’re sold–out. For the full list of participating venues, click HERE.
Ultra Music has joined forces with indie label imprint, Color Study, alongside its founder and artist manager, Spencer Kelley as the EDM–centric company makes a move into the pop and folk spaces. Color Study’s roster counts acts such as Charli Adams, Henry Jamison, Haux and Rosie Carney who will all benefit from Ultra’s support across creative, distribution, video production and more. The connection between Kelley and Ultra came initially through Haux who joined the Ultra roster in 2016 and released two EPs which generated over 200 million streams and sales of over 50,000 singles.
TIDAL has become the first streamer to offer a discounted pricing tier to high school students in the U.S., bringing the offer that had only been available to college students, to high schoolers ages 16 and older. The Premium student subscription goes for $4.99 per month with a HiFi offering at $9.99 per month, both tiers half the price of the standard options. Users will be verified through SheerID with all new subscribers eligible for a 30–day free trial.
Two decades since they launched one of the world’s biggest and most powerful tech firms, Google Co–Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are parting ways with their executive roles at parent company, Alphabet. Alphabet was set up by Page and Brin in 2015 and while Google remains its core asset, the company also includes Wing, a drone company, and Waymo which focuses on self–driving cars. In announcing their exit, both executives stated they will remain active as board members and shareholders. Assuming the role of CEO for Alphabet, which had been held by Page, is Google’s CEO of over four years Sundar Pichai. Brin’s vacant President role will not be filled.
German collection society, GEMA, has finalized a majority stake acquisition of digital distribution firm, Zebralution. The move sees GEMA becoming the first PRO globally to buy into a streaming distributor and offers GEMA the opportunity to build on its portfolio while maintaining growth of its digital services and technologies. Under the acquisition, Zebralution will continue operation as an independent company within the GEMA ecosystem. Based in Berlin, Zebralution currently counts over 1,000 independent labels and podcasts provider clients. The firm had previously been a part of Warner Music Group but was spun–off as part of the Parlophone Label Group divestments.
In other German industry news, ticketing and live events firm CTS Eventim has made the acquisition of 71% of shares in Austrian concert promoter, Barracuda Music. Under the deal, Barracuda joins the Eventim Live promoter network. Among the events operated by CTS Eventim in Europe are included Cologne’s LANXESS arena, Berlin’s Waldbühne and the EVENTIM Apollo in London. Barracuda’s portfolio includes the operations of several indie concert promoters, including the organizers of festivals Electric Love, Frequency and Nova Rock. Among the acts whose Austraian performances are organized by Barracuda Music are Bob Dylan, David Gilmour, Elton John, the Rolling Stones, Ed Sheeran and Robbie Williams. Barracuda has also been the exclusive organizer of concerts at the Austria’s historic Clam Castle, since 2012.
Michael Dugher is parting ways with his CEO position at UK Music following nearly three years with the trade body. He departs to assume a new role as CEO of the U.K.’s Betting and Gaming Council. Joining UK Music in 2017, Dugher had previously served as Labour MP for Barnsley East for seven years with roles at Westminster including that as Shadow Secretary of State for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). During his tenure with UK Music, Dugher led a number of key initiatives and was an integral part of the successful campaign on the Copyright Directive. Dugher departs at the end of January with current Deputy CEO, Tom Kiehl, assuming the role of interim CEO while a permanent replacement is finalized.
Stargate, the leading production and songwriting duo composed of LA–based Norwegians Tor Erik Hermansen and Mikkel Eriksen, has announced a partnership with, and investment in, music creation application Voisey. Prior to its roll–out into the U.S., Canada and 20 European countries last week, Voisey’s beta test users recorded more than 350,000 new original song hooks in the application, within Norway and the U.K. Stargate’s work includes that with artists such as Rihanna, Beyoncé, Coldplay, Katy Perry, Ne–Yo and Selena Gomez. The new partnership will see Stargate taking an active role in Voisey, including providing exclusive new backing tracks, designing vocal effect presets, working with Voisey artists, and assisting with further strategic alliances as the platform’s rollout continues. Stargate join a number of music industry investors in Voisey such as Denzyl Feigelson (Platoon, Apple, AWAL), Tim Clark (IE Music) and Rak Sanhgvi (Spirit Music Group, Sony/ATV). Voisey’s audio processing technology lets users simply sing into their headphone mic to achieve professional quality recordings over thousands of instrumental backing tracks from producers all over the world allowing music fans to take on the roles of songwriters, artists and collaborators. Users have the option to split their videos into 4 different tracks, either with themselves, or with other Voisey users contributing harmonies. Voisey videos are a maximum of 1 minute in length and centred around hooks rather than full songs.
Entertainment One (eOne) has signed an exclusive publishing deal with country artist Kalie Shorr through its joint venture with Vintern Songs. Shorr’s latest release, and first full–length, Open Book has garnered attention from the likes of The New York Times, NPR Music, Rolling Stone<, People, Taste of Country, Variety and others. As a songwriter, Shorr has had songs featured in media such as Paramount’s Yellowstone, CMT’s Nashville and the NFL, as well as recent singles by Will Jay, Miranda Glory and Honey County. She is currently working on multiple other projects that will be released in 2020 and is on tour with LeAnn Rimes for her You and Me and Christmas Tour. She is also set to play Nashville’s New Year’s Eve concert, Jack Daniel’s Music City Midnight alongside Keith Urban, Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit, The Struts, Amanda Shires, Bren Joy and the Fisk Jubilee Singers.
AEG Presents has announced the promotion of Debra Rathwell to EVP Global Touring and Talent. Rathwell’s industry career began while she was a student at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. She left school to take up full–time work in concert promotion and headed to Montreal to work with respected promoter, Donald K Donald, as VP of Concerts. In her role, she looked after tours for the likes of Tina Turner, Genesis, Celine Dion, Bryan Adams, Leonard Cohen and others, heading to New York City to join Metropolitan Entertainment in 1994 to lead the concert booking division. Rathwell joined AEG in 2002 as Sr. VP to open up its New York headquarters and promotes tours for acts such as Elton John, Lorde, Justin Bieber, Carrie Underwood and JoJo Siwa. In 2018, took on the role of Sr. VP of the recently launched Global Touring and Talent department. She will remain based in New York.
Hipgnosis continues its acquisitions having finalized a deal for the catalogue of leading British songwriter/producer, Fraser T Smith. Among Smith’s many successes are included co–writing, mixing and producing on seven U.K. No.1’s and two U.S. No.1 singles with work on 17 No.1 albums. Credits include co–writing and producing “Set Fire To The Rain” by Adele, as well as serving as a co–writer and co–executive producer on Gang Signs & Prayer, the BRIT Award–winning full–length from Stormzy, and many others. He also collaborated on the 9x Platinum, Grammy–nominated album from Sam Smith, In The Lonely Hour. The deal sees Hipgnosis acquiring 100% of Smith’s writers share of performance income worldwide for a catalogue counting 298 songs.
A new international reciprocal agreement has been finalized between PRS for Music and BMI, renewing a partnership that benefits to members of both societies. A statement from both PRO’s commented that the deal will maintain transparency and accountability while at the same time address important issues across the industry such as administration fee limitations and key factors related to digital rights flow.
Marisa Bianco has been promoted to Sr. VP Media for Republic Records. The New York–based executive came to Republic in 2014 as Sr. Director of Media and since then has worked across campaigns for artists such as the Jonas Brothers, Julia Michaels and Hailee Steinfeld. Before joining Republic, Bianco was involved in publicity campaigns with Atlantic Records.
Position Music’s President & CEO, Tyler Bacon, has announced the promotion of Ty Salazar to the role of Sr. Director of Creative Licensing for the Los Angeles–based company. Salazar will be tasked with the continued growth of Position’s client base and synch revenue within the film, TV and advertising arenas. Salazar came to Position Music in 2013 and has played a key role in growing film/TV synch revenue over 100% in the last two years. He has been responsible for landing hundreds of placements including Grey’s Anatomy, Fitbit, NFL, The Resident, Power and Mayans M.C.
Face value resale platform, Twickets, has confirmed its membership to join U.K. ticketing self–regulatory organization, the Society Of Ticket Agents And Retailers (STAR). The platform, which has worked with the likes of Stormzy, Ed Sheeran, Foo Fighters, Arctic Monkeys, Adele, Mumford & Sons and The 1975 since launching in 2015, becomes the first authorized ticket resale provider to join the organization. Twickets has facilitated the reselling of tickets from over half a million fans, counting three million unique visitors annually to its marketplace.
The Association of Independent Music (AIM) has announced that its flagship music business conference, AIM Connected, is going completely panel–less for its 2020 edition in London. Replacing the standard panel format, the event will feature a series of quick–fire “Strong Opinions,” as well as case studies from independent success stories, practical workshops and speed networking sessions with the U.K.’s leading music business experts. The event will feature more than 30 industry–leading speakers across 11 Strong Opinions, three case studies and six workshops, in addition to four speed–networking sessions. Manchester–based label Scruff of the Neck has already been confirmed as the first case study for this year with interactive workshops announced from the likes of Deezer, Bandcamp, Leaf Grow and PPL, with more to be confirmed.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Ken Ogihara, Billy Mann, Rudy Chung, Paul Spraggon, Ben Cooper, Jonathan Shalit, Andrea Martin, Nadja Paul, Alicen Catron Schneider, Reiley, Markus Hartmann, Zane Lowe, Shane Tobin and Alex Weston.
JACKASS OF THE WEEK
Have you ever sent a text message you regretted, clicked on the wrong link, posted an inappropriate message or image on social media, accidentally replied “send all” on an E–mail, or made a total ass of yourself? Yes, we’ve all had a jackass moment at one time or another in our life. Yes, we’ve all had a jackass moment at one time or another in our life. Winter is approaching, which means lots of snow for most of the world – and with that comes jackass driving. Click HERE to watch the downfalls of driving on sleet, ice and snow during this festive holiday season!
A&R WORLDWIDE’S "ARTIST OF THE WEEK"– LAUREN WALLER
Lauren Waller is a captivating artist who exudes a darkly glamorous soulfulness. She is a writer, a poet, a painter, a singer and as an artist, she has morphed into an indie pop siren with a sleek and sensual pop sensibility. Lauren has shared the stage with several world–renowned musicians including Berlin, featuring Terri Nunn, The Fixx, and Missing Persons. In the past year, Lauren has opened for Basia, Anna Nalick, Nancy Wilson of Heart, Wilson Phillips, Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits, Jim Messina and most recently, A Flock of Seagulls. Lauren’s music has garnered press accolades from New Music Express, Young Hollywood, Music Existence, Coming Up Magazine, The Spotlight, Independent Artist Buzz, Kurrent Music, Vents Magazine and Broadway World, among other outlets, in addition to airplay at a number of global radio stations and streaming playlists. Just in time for the holidays, she released a beautiful rendition of the John Lennon classic “Happy Xmas (War Is Over).” Listen to the single HERE and contact email@example.com, as Lauren Waller is available for label, publishing, synch, booking and brand opportunities.
A&R WORLDWIDE’S "VIDEO OF THE WEEK" – NATALIA LESZ & SONU NIGAM
“Fire In The Sky” is the brand new collaboration between Polish singer/actress Natalia Lesz and the No.1 Voice of India’s Sonu Nigam, best known as “The Voice of Bollywood.” The song takes you on a magical journey, with its soaring melody and grand production. The heart–tugging lyrics are simple, yet deep, with both voices complimenting each other in a beautiful way. “Fire In The Sky” includes contributions from Swedish songwriters Kristoffer Eriksson, Lina Hansson, Simone Porter as well as Natalia Lesz, Sonu Niga, and award–winning British mixer Jeremy Wheatley, who has worked with Bon Jovi, Robbie Williams and Kylie Minogue. The A&R oversight and the idea for the collaboration was the brainchild of A&R Worldwide Founder Sat Bisla who brought the creatives from Poland, India, Sweden and the U.K. together; A&R Worldwide also helped secure the signing of Natalia Lesz with 9122 Records in India. The official music video, directed by Rahul Sud, features both Natalia Lesz and Sonu Nigam and forms the perfect accompaniment to the song with the spectacular visuals and subtle story line. The video has already garnered over one million views in just a few days and the single has been featured on the homepage of New Music Friday on Spotify India – the first time an Indian artist has been the featured act on the front cover of the platform. Watch the video for “Fire In The Sky” (9122 Records) HERE and contact Sunil D’Sa at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information and all inquiries.
PASSPORT APPROVED™ PLAYLIST – 12/08/2019
“PASSPORT APPROVED” PLAYLIST FOR Sunday, December 8th, 2019: The weekly import show. Heard on more than 60 radio stations on six continents weekly including: The World Famous KROQ 106.7FM Los Angeles, Radio Doble Nueve, Lima, Peru; KNRK–FM Portland OR; KNDD “The End” Seattle WA; WLKK “Alternative Buffalo” NY 107.7FM; WZRH–FM New Orleans; KBZT–FM 94.9FM San Diego CA; KKDO “94.7FM” Sacramento CA; KWSS “93.9FM” Phoenix AZ; KRML “102.1FM” Carmel CA, KFRR “New Rock 104.1FM” Fresno CA; Radio 1, Mumbai, India; WCNR Charlottesville, VA; KIWR “The River” Council Bluffs, IA; 2XM Ireland (national radio); WAPS–FM “The Summit.FM” Akron–Canton, OH; WKTL–FM Youngstown, 105.5FM XFM Nairobi, Kenya; PUK–FM Johannesburg, South Africa; KSKI–FM, Sun Valley/Twin Falls, ID; WITH “90.1FM” Ithaca, New York; UCFM 87.8FM Australian Capital Territory, Australia, WRUR 88.5FM Rochester New York; WCRU–FM Hamilton, NY and on The Independent FM (iHeartRadio) in the United States and many others. Also, on the worldwide web and twice–weekly segment on Flux FM Germany (Berlin, Brandenburg and Stuttgart) and Allgauhit–FM Bavaria Germany, as well as streaming on one of the world’s fastest growing streaming platforms, JioSaavn.
Listen to this two hour show by clicking HERE:
TWO YEAR VACATION – “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” (Cloud Hills, Sweden)
LONGFELLOW – “Brooklyn” (Unsigned, UK)
HIGH TROPICS – “Changes” (Unsigned, Australia)
MOONLIGHT BREAKFAST – “Summer” (Echoism Records, France)
SAM JOHNSON – “Stuck Under The Surface” (Made Records/UMG, UK)
LARKINS – “Not Enough Love” (Good Soldier Songs, UK)
JAMES DEACON – “Not Givin’ Up” (Bad Future, South Africa)
BRANDON JACKS & THE ARTIFACTS – “Modern Day Distractions” (Sureshaker, Australia)
RED RUM CLUB – “Kids Addicted” (ModernSky, UK)
CALLUM BEATTIE – “Nothing Hurts Like You” (3Beat/Universal, UK)
SEA GIRLS – “Violet” (Unsigned, UK)
VIDEOCLUB – “En Nuit” (Unsigned, France)
FOREST BLAKK – “Put Your Hands Up” (Warner Music, Canada)
STICKY FINGERS – “Teenage Vertigo” (Sureshaker, Australia)
VINCI – “Lions” (Unsiged, Ireland)
SLØTFACE – “Sink Or Swim” (Propeller Recordings, Norway)
AMBER RUN – “What Could Be As Lonely As Love” (Easy Life, UK)
PICTURE THIS – “One Night” (Warner Music, Ireland)
THE FAIM – “Words Apart” (BMG, Australia)
TALISCO – “Moments” (Roy Music, France)
KING NUN – “Bug” (Dirty Hit, UK)
HONEYMOAN – “Low Blow” (Unsigned, South Africa)
WAITING FOR SMITH – “Peace In Greece” (Four One Seven Records, UK)
SEAFRET – “Fall” (Unsigned, UK)
LOLA MARSH – “Only For A Moment” (Anova Music, Israel)
DEMOB HAPPY – “Autoportrait” (SO Recordings, UK)
LIME CORDIALE – “Robbery” (Chugg Music, Australia)
WIDE EYED BOY – “Calling (I Hear You)” (Polygonia Music, UK)
VARGAS & LAGOLA – “Forgot To Be Your Lover” (Sweden Music, Sweden)
YOUNG BRAVES – “1984” (Unsigned, UK)
MAGNUS MIA – “Head Like A Hole” (Unsigned, Hong Kong)
STATE LIGHTS – “Open Your Arms” (Unsigned, Ireland)
(Check out the Passport Approved Radio “Featured Artists” on the daily profile exclusively on AllAccess.com including Vargas & Lagola and The Velvet Hands)