UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP PROMOTES WILL TANOUS
TO EVP & CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER
Universal Music Group (UMG) announced last week the promotion of Will Tanous to Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer, effective immediately. Tanous will continue to serve as a member of the company’s Executive Management Board. In his new position, Tanous, who reports to UMG Chairman & CEO Sir Lucian Grainge, will retain his current responsibilities and add new ones involving several major strategic and corporate endeavors.
In making the announcement, Sir Lucian Grainge said, “Will Tanous is one of the most strategic, multi–talented executives in the music business today – he’s my proverbial ‘Swiss Army’ knife. This formal expansion of the scope of Will’s responsibilities acknowledges what has been firmly in place for some time: his wide–ranging role in the day–to–day executive management of our global organization, as well as his contributions to our long–term growth strategy. I’m thrilled that he will be right by my side as we write the next exciting chapter in the history of UMG.”
Tanous said, “I am reminded every day of how privileged I am to be working alongside the most passionate and accomplished executives in the music industry on behalf of the world’s most talented artists. Sir Lucian’s consistent and artist–centered vision combined with his innovative and entrepreneurial approach have revolutionized the music industry and propelled UMG to an extraordinary level of artistic and commercial success. I am honored by his faith in me and can’t wait to see all we will accomplish in the years to come under his leadership.”
Tanous joined UMG in 2013 as EVP of Communications, managing worldwide communications for UMG’s operations across over 60 territories, and overseeing public policy and government relations, investor relations, special projects and events, and corporate social responsibility. Soon after, Grainge appointed him to the company’s Executive Management Board where he plays a central role in the development of UMG’s business strategy. Immediately prior to UMG, Tanous served as EVP of Communications & Marketing for Warner Music Group (WMG), spending over two decades with the company.
BMG ANNOUNCES STREAMLINING OF U.S. REPERTOIRE TEAM –
EXPANDS SHELTER MUSIC GROUP WITH KEY APPOINTMENTS
BMG has announced a streamlined restructuring of its U.S. repertoire operation as part of a U.S. growth plan, designed to allow the company to accelerate out of the pandemic. The plan will see LA–based Thomas Scherer promoted to President, Repertoire & Marketing, Los Angeles and New York, responsible for both West Coast and East Coast repertoire organizations, while Nashville–based John Loba is confirmed as President, Recorded Music, Nashville, both reporting directly to BMG CEO, Hartwig Masuch. Leading Scherer’s team in Los Angeles are two newly promoted EVPs, Monti Olson, responsible for U.S. publishing, and Dan Gill, responsible for recorded music in Los Angeles.
Additionally, Jason Hradil, who currently serves as Sr. VP, Global Repertoire, becomes EVP, Recorded Music, New York, assuming the responsibilities of John Loeffler who will enter into a newly expanded role focused on VIP client relations, U.S.–wide business development and strategic partnerships.
Hartwig Masuch said, “The U.S. continues to be BMG’s richest repertoire source and largest revenue generator. After a very strong 2020, we are determined to be in a position to accelerate out of this pandemic rather than resting on our laurels. This new streamlined structure will allow us to raise the bar of excellence when it comes to servicing our artists. I would like to thank Thomas, Jon, Monti, Dan, and Jason for all their contributions to the company and wish them continued success in their new roles.”
Following a highly successful period of transition and integration of the label into BMG, Jecoure Lamothe has also been promoted to Sr. Director, A&R and Marketing, RBC Records. Lamothe joined BMG following the acquisition of RBC by BMG in 2018. He will now oversee all day–to–day operations of the label and its artists, reporting directly to Gill.
Said Scherer, “BMG U.S. just enjoyed its best year yet so it’s an honor to take on responsibility for our New York operation as well as LA. I look forward to working alongside Jon Loba as we pursue our objective to provide a real partnership for our artists and songwriters: inspire, help them build and own their creative works and offer them new opportunities to express their talents into books, podcasts, films and documentaries, video games and beyond. More than ever, BMG is the most artist–friendly alternative to the traditional music business.”
BMG is also scaling up its partnership with Shelter Music Group, the artist management company led by Carl Stubner, with a round of new executive appointments. The moves seek to further build scale and structure following BMG’s strategic move into the artist management business, partnering with Stubner and Shelter in December 2019. Heading the slate of new hires is veteran music executive Brian Harris Frank who becomes Shelter’s COO. In his new role, Frank will be responsible for the key service functions contributing to the continued development of the business, with Shelter’s roster having grown to 61 management clients now overseen by 30 employees operating in offices out of Nashville and Los Angeles.
Said Stubner, “Having spent 25 years in the music industry innovating and advocating for artists and fans through executive roles at major labels, music technology companies and his own company, Brian has forged the strategic relationships throughout the music and technology industries to build sustainable artist careers and is the perfect fit for our fast–growing company.”
Additionally, Shelter has named Victoria Tsigonis as Head of Marketing & Digital Strategy and Clay Busch, Head of Brand Partnerships & Lifestyle Marketing.
DOWNTOWN MUSIC PUBLISHING REVEALS ROUND OF
EXECUTIVE APPOINTMENTS AND PROMOTIONS
Downtown Music Publishing today announced three key executive appointments and promotions across its business affairs, research and creative marketing teams. Bea Koramblyum, who started at Downtown Music Publishing nearly a decade ago, has been named Global Head of Business Affairs for the company. Additionally, Downtown Music Publishing’s Corey Roberts will take on an expanded role to lead A&R research globally, and Carla Downs of Downtown’s creative marketing team has also been promoted to VP of Film & Television Music. Based in New York, Koramblyum and Roberts will both report directly to Downtown Music Publishing Global President Mike Smith, while Downs, who is based in Los Angeles, will report to Jumee Park, Sr. VP of Film & Television Music.
As Global Head of Business Affairs, a newly created role, Koramblyum will assume oversight of all of the company’s legal and business affairs activities. Previously, Koramblyum was a senior member of the Legal and Business Affairs team for the music publisher’s parent company, Downtown Music Holdings, where she played a key role in many high–profile transactions, including agreements with Wu–Tang Clan, the Estate of Miles Davis, Tori Amos, the George Gershwin Estate and The 1975. Prior to joining Downtown, she spent over seven years with Davis Shapiro Lewit & Hayes, LLP, starting as a legal assistant and later promoted to their first ever paralegal. A champion of gender equity, Koramblyum serves on the Advisory Board for Women in Music.
Roberts’ newly–expanded role leading global A&R research for Downtown Music Publishing builds on his success leading the research function for N. America. Since joining Downtown in early 2018, he has helped identify and sign a range of artists such as Caamp, The War and Treaty and Midas800. Roberts has nearly two decades of experience, with previous roles at Songs Publishing, where he discovered Lorde, as well as roles within Universal Republic Records, Motown Records and Epic Records.
Downs joined Downtown Music Publishing in 2018 as a member of the L.A.–based creative marketing team working on film, television and commercial placements. Her promotion to VP of Film & Television follows a number of key synch licensing agreements, including John Prine’s “I Remember Everything” for This Is Us, The War and Treaty’s “Take Me In” for Grey’s Anatomy, “Hey Mickey” for The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Yoke Lore’s “Chin Up” for Council of Dads, Melii’s “Como Si Na” for Insecure, and the Meghan Trainor original “I’m In A Perfect Relationship” for Central Park.
Last week, Downtown Music Publishing also named Sarah McCann Sr. VP of International Creative. In this newly created position, McCann will sign and work with songwriters, producers and artists represented by Downtown in N. America, and collaborate with the company’s global creative team to help local international talent break into the U.S. market. Based in LA, McCann will report directly to Downtown Music Publishing Global President, Mike Smith. McCann began her career at the famed Record Plant studio before joining songwriter and vocal producer Kuk Harrell’s team in 2011, working closely with talent such as Frank Ocean, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Bieber and Rihanna, among others. In 2013, she joined Beka Tischker at Advanced Alternative Media (AAM), where they worked with songwriters and producers such as Julia Michaels, Mozella, Lindy Robbins, Noel Zancanella and Sarah Hudson, liaising with labels and publishers. While at AAM, McCann played a key role in the management of Bieber’s 9x multi–Platinum single “Sorry,” co–written by Michaels. McCann went on to join the publishing team at Primary Wave as an A&R, where she signed Lady Gaga collaborator DJ White Shadow and RVRB. Most recently, she rejoined Tischker as an A&R at Wide Eyed Entertainment, signing Tobi Lou.
GLOBAL NEWS UPDATES…
Following a long and successful tenure with the label, respected executive Darcus Beese recently announced he is parting ways with his role as President of Island Records U.S. to return to the U.K. Beese had assumed his most recent role in 2018 after having spent ten years leading Island U.K. as President. His career began at the U.K. label in 1989 as an intern. In the nearly three decades he spent at Island, including while it was independent and under the Universal umbrella, his credits include signing Amy Winehouse as well as developing Florence + The Machine, Mumford & Sons and Sigrid. He also took on oversight of campaigns for U2 and other international acts such as Shawn Mendes. UMG revealed in a statement, “Darcus informed us of his decision to return to the U.K. for personal reasons and to pursue new career opportunities there. We fully support his decision and we are thankful to Darcus for his many contributions to Island Records throughout the years.”
Universal Music Group’s (UMG) executive updates continued last week with Dr. Menna Demessie being appointed Sr. VP and Executive Director of the company’s global Task Force for Meaningful Change (TFMC). Dr. Demessie, a respected political scientist and social justice advocate will manage the TFMC and its activities. The company also announced UMG’s EVP, Chief People and Inclusion Officer, Eric Hutcherson, will join Jeff Harleston, General Counsel and EVP Business & Legal Affairs, UMG and interim CEO, Def Jam Records, and Ethiopia Habtemariam, President, Motown Records, as a co–chair of the TFMC. Prior to UMG, Dr. Demessie served as Sr. VP of Policy Analysis and Research; and the Leadership Institute at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. for the past nine years. Dr. Demessie’s work has seen her spearhead several partnerships with the White House, the U.S. Congress, recently leading CBCF efforts to establish the National Racial Equity Initiative for Social Justice, alongside a number of other initiatives including Congressman John Lewis Social Justice Fellows. Dr. Demessie is a published race and ethnic politics expert and one of five U.S. scholars to receive the prestigious American Political Science Congressional Fellowship in 2010. She also served on Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s legislative staff and is a twice–elected alumni board member of the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy. She currently serves on the American Political Science Association Council and the Board of Trustees at Western Reserve Academy. She is also a member of the National Conference of Black Political Scientists and serves as an Adjunct Professor for the University of California Washington Center.
Additionally, UMG has announced the promotion of veteran music industry attorney Michael Seltzer to EVP of Business & Legal Affairs and Head of Commercial Transactions. Seltzer oversees a team of 15 attorneys and remains based at UMG’s global headquarters in Santa Monica. He will continue to report to Jeffrey Harleston, General Counsel and EVP of Business & Legal Affairs. Since 2016, Seltzer has served as Sr. VP of Business & Legal Affairs, Commercial Transactions. Previously, he served as Sr. VP of Business & Legal Affairs for Def Jam Recordings, Island Records and Republic Records where he oversaw the legal staff. Prior to that, he was Sr. VP of Business & Legal Affairs for The Island Def Jam Music Group. Earlier in his career, Seltzer held roles including COO of Chris Blackwell’s Palm Pictures, where he led the acquisition of Rykodisc and for raising $150 million in financing. Before Palm Pictures, he served as Sr. VP of Business Affairs at Island Records. Seltzer started his career in entertainment law in 1990 as an attorney at PolyGram Records. He currently serves as an advisor and in board roles with Cardozo’s Entertainment Law Board, Cornell’s Media Alumni Advisory Board, New Jersey Youth Symphony, Goldeneye and the Oracabessa Foundation, Tuff Gong Collective/Bob Marley Music and Island Records’ founder Chris Blackwell’s UMG Venture.
Warner Records has announced an innovative strategic partnership with BPG Music, founded by industry leaders Gee Roberson and longtime business partner Jean Nelson. BPG Music/Warner Records’ unique approach focuses on providing a gateway for young Black artists and entrepreneurs who are looking for the global reach of a major label while retaining their creative autonomy. Alongside their roles as CEOs of BPG Music, Roberson and Nelson also serve as advisors to Warner Records. The new BPG/Warner partnership sees 1501 Certified Entertainment Dallas rapper Erica Banks to the company. Banks’ single, “Buss It,” released via 1501 Certified/Warner Records, is a viral sensation, racking up more than 33.9 million global streams and 150 million combined YouTube views, while becoming a TikTok hit with over 2.4 billion hashtag views and 4.6 million videos created as part of the fan–generated #bussitchallenge. The new partnership has also brought multi–faceted rapper, fashion designer, activist, visual artist, and arts educator David Sabastian to Warner. The founder of Believe in Yourself Records, Sabastian created what he calls a “holistic audio healing experience” on his new album, We Are God. Under Roberson’s and Nelson’s guidance, Sabastian has brought Believe in Yourself Records under the BPG/Warner umbrella.
In other Warner news, Warner Music Group (WMG) has announced the promotion of Karen Schoenrock to CFO of Global Catalog, Recorded Music and Rhino Entertainment. Having been with WMG for almost two decades, Schoenrock most recently served as VP of Finance at Warner Records, spending thirteen years with the label. Reporting to Kevin Gore, WMG’s President of Global Catalog, Recorded Music, Schoenrock is based in Los Angeles. Her career began in WMG’s Special Products division in 2001, before transitioning to the role of TV Campaign Manager and then, Royalty Manager. In 2007, she joined Warner Records as Finance Manager, and climbed the ranks to her most recently VP role in 2016. She now assumes the role left vacant by David Woirhaye, who recently became EVP and Global CFO for Warner Chappell Music.
Out of the Warner Music U.K. (WMUK) offices, Mike Watson has been promoted to the role of CFO for the company. Watson reports directly to Tony Harlow, CEO of WMUK CEO. Having joined the company almost 20 years ago, Watson assumes responsibility for financial planning, budgeting and reporting for WMUK’s labels and departments. He also becomes part of the WMUK leadership team to help guide the overall direction of the U.K. operations. He assumes the CFO role with last month’s departure of Peter Breeden. Watson joined the WMUK Royalties Department in 2004 and since then has served as Finance Analyst for Rhino U.K., Central Financial Manager, Financial Controller and most recently, Sr. VP Finance. In 2013, he played a key role in the integration of Parlophone Records’ financial operations into WMUK, and more recently has had oversight of the development of streaming data insight tools while providing support to budgeting and planning functions.
Concord has finalized a long–term, exclusive JV with Easy Eye Sound, the label founded by The Black Keys’ front man, Dan Auerbach. Under this worldwide partnership, Concord will release all new recordings made for Easy Eye Sound and will distribute all catalog albums that have reverted or will revert to the label during the course of the venture. Already, the parties plan to release 12 albums in 2021. The partnership will operate under the Easy Eye Sound label name and logo. Founded in 2017 and named after Auerbach’s recording studio, the Easy Eye Sound label is home to a wide range of artists. In its short existence, the label has released more than 20 albums to critical acclaim, garnering seven Grammy nominations. An eight–time Grammy–winner himself, Auberbach has also earned two Producer of the Year nominations in the last two years, one of them for producing, co–writing and performing on Marcus King’s Grammy–nominated El Dorado (Fantasy Records) and a songwriting nod for his work on Yola’s debut, Walk Through Fire, released through Easy Eye. Easy Eyes’ roster also counts country legend John Anderson and Bay Area rockers Shannon and the Clams.
In other Concord news, the company has unveiled a round of promotions to start the new year with seven executives rising to VP or higher. Altogether, 50 members of staff have been promoted at the beginning of 2021 across Concord’s offices in London, LA and New York. In London, Steven Greenhalgh is elevated to VP of Acquisitions & Artistic Development (Europe) focusing on catalog, new works and film/TV projects. Out of LA, Sophia Dilley becomes Sr. VP, Film & TV development and Production while Stephanie Hopson rises to VP, Project Management. The remainder of the senior promotions come out of Concord’s New York office including Dan Hoffman to EVP, Business & Legal Affairs; Steven Lankenau to Sr. VP, Boosey & Hawkes; Amy Rose Marsh to VP, Acquisitions and Artistic Development (N. America); and Abbie Van Nostrand to Sr. VP, Client Relations and Community Engagement.
The groundbreaking Black Forum label, founded by Berry Gordy and the Motown Corporation in 1971, is relaunching this year, providing a platform to a new generation of writers, thinkers and poets. In addition to newly recorded releases, Black Forum will reissue six of the historic albums that established its legacy, beginning with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Why I Oppose The War In Vietnam on February 26th. The move comes as part of a collaboration with the Motown Museum in Detroit, a significant cultural institution that serves as the storyteller and heritage keeper of Motown Records’ legacy for millions of fans globally. Gordy’s vision for Black Forum was sparked by his work with Dr. King, who recorded several speeches, including The Great March to Freedom, on Gordy Records, a Motown subsidiary label. Black Forum’s first release was Dr. King’s Why I Oppose The War In Vietnam in 1970, which won a Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album the following year. Black Forum also gave other notable spoken word artists of the time a platform. In three short years, the label released albums by Stokely Carmichael, Langston Hughes & Margaret Danner, Wallace Terry, Ossie Davis & Bill Cosby and others. Elaine Brown’s self–titled album and Imamu Amiri Baraka’s It’s Nation Time were reissued in 2018.
Sony/ATV Music Publishing has appointed Liz Lewis to Sr. VP, Catalog Development. In this newly created role, Lewis will implement strategies to further strengthen catalog and songwriter relationships, negotiate administration deals and secure new catalog signings. She will also work closely with the publisher’s teams across synch, business affairs, communications, administration and A&R. Based in New York, Lewis will work closely with Sony/ATV’s President & Chief Marketing Officer Brian Monaco. Lewis joins Sony/ATV following a 20–year–long career at Warner Records, where most recently she served as VP, Synch & Brand Partnerships, overseeing synch for advertising and securing opportunities for acts such as Dua Lipa, The Black Keys, Andra Day, Gary Clark Jr. and Michael Bublé. Prior, Lewis spent many years leading the Visual Content Marketing team at Warner.
Sony/ATV has also appointed Sonia Grant–Yendell as VP, Human Resources, U.K. and International. Based in the company’s London office, Grant–Yendell will lead the U.K. and International HR team, reporting to Sr. VP, Global Human Resources, Elicia Felix–Hughey. In her new role, Grant–Yendell will partner with Sony/ATV’s global and U.S. offices to provide strategic leadership and support to U.K. and International teams. She will also create initiatives to further enhance the employee experience, align company values and build a culture of diverse and high performing teams across global territories. With an HR career spanning more than fifteen years, Grant–Yendell was most recently Head of HR at intu Properties plc. Prior to intu, she worked internationally for ten years with Credit Suisse Trust and Generali Worldwide, where she was instrumental in developing leadership and talent programs for Europe, East Asia and the Caribbean.
Bill Evans has been promoted to EVP, Urban Promotion, for Capitol Music Group (CMG), it was announced last week by the company’s President of Promotion & CMG EVP, Greg Marella. In his new role, Evans maintains oversight of the strategy and execution of the company’s Urban and R&B radio campaigns. Evans’ efforts and achievements have been integral to the breakthrough and rise of some of the company’s most important new artists, and he plays a key role in CMG’s continuing resurgence in Urban Music. Since joining the company in 2018, Evans has garnered 20 No.1 records, including an incredible eight at Urban Mainstream for Lil Baby, and two for City Girls as well as with Offset, Quality Control and Layton Greene. He also scored four No.1s at R&B with Kem, Ne–Yo and Queen Naija, a No.1 Urban AC hit with Queen Naija’s “Karma” and a Top 10 at the format with Tiana Major9’s “Collide.” Evans also attained a host of Top Ten records at Urban Mainstream. Prior to joining CMG, Evans was Sr. VP of Urban Promotion for Def Jam Recordings having first joined the label in 1998.
Apple Music announced last week the addition of three new editorial playlists highlighting the regional hip–hop scenes in the Midwest (The New Midwest), East Coast (The New East Coast) and Pacific Northwest (The New Pacific Northwest). Beyond the largest cities in each region, the playlists showcase the artists emerging out of places such as Flint, Louisville, Columbus, Philadelphia, Boston, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Portland, Olympia and more. These three new playlists honor the traditions and unique sounds of their respective regions while driving discovery and celebrating hip–hop’s sonic range and will be updated on a regular basis.
Following its official launch in South Korea last week, Spotify also revealed figures for Q4 of last year including an increase to its premium subscriber numbers of 24% year–upon–year. As announced in the DSPs latest results, it now totals 155 million paying subscribers, surpassing the guidance range for investors. Across the whole year, net additions accelerated to a record 30 million over 2019’s net additions of 28 million. Spotify added 10 million subscribers in Q4, with all regions supporting the growth, led by Europe and N. America. A boost to the totals came from the launch last July in Russia and 12 surrounding markets. Latin America and Europe also showed strong performance from a regional perspective. Year–upon–year, total MAUs increased by 27%, reaching 345 million. Net additions for the full year hit a record 74 million over 2019 net additions of 64 million. In Q4, Spotify brought onboard 25 million MAUs and experienced faster growth in India, U.S. and Western Europe. Revenue for the fourth quarter reached €2.17 billion, an increase of 27% year–upon–year or 24% on a constant currency basis. Operating loss came in at €69 million for the quarter. Both Spotify’s ad–supported and premium services saw increases to revenue though the latter did have a slight dip in average revenue per user. Demand from advertisers continued to climb as well following significant drops in mid–2020 with a 50% increase in companies spending on advertising from Q3 to Q4.
Universal Music Group (UMG) has pulled its repertoire from Triller due to a failure to properly license content for the platform. Last year, Triller made steps to license content including a retrospective deal with ICE for the European songwriters and publishers it represents. UMG’s statement said, “We will not work with platforms that do not value artists. Triller has shamefully withheld payments owed to our artists and refuses to negotiate a license going forward. We have no alternative except to remove our music from Triller, effective immediately.”
Additionally, Universal Music Group (UMG) and TikTok have announced today a global agreement that delivers equitable compensation for recording artists and songwriters and significantly expands and enhances the existing relationship between the two companies. With this agreement, which covers recorded music from artists at UMG’s labels and songwriters with Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG), TikTok users will be further empowered to express themselves through music, soundtrack their video creations with songs about which they are passionate, and build communities around artists and music–centered culture. The companies have additionally pledged to experiment with exciting new features. TikTok users will now be able to incorporate clips from UMG’s full catalog of music, spanning the company’s labels, songwriters and global territories.
SoundCloud has announced they will host their first–ever gaming tournament, SoundCloud Player One, on February 18th. The event will be livestreamed on SoundCloud’s Twitch and Facebook page, and will be hosted by eSports commentator and player MonsterDface as well as rapper Rico Nasty. The tournament will see eight SoundCloud artists going against each other in a game of Fortnite, in an attempt to expose SoundCloud creators to new fans in the online gaming community. Livestream viewers will also see a halftime performance by Rico Nasty broadcasted from Culture House in the rapper’s hometown of Washington, D.C. SoundCloud Player One is the first of a series of gaming–related events planned by the company as recent figures show that 49% of SoundCloud’s user base identify as gamers. The company’s announcement follows the significant success of livestream events, more specifically last April when Travis Scott garnered tens of millions of views for his virtual performance in Fornite Battle Royale.
SiriusXM has grown its dance music offering with two new stations helmed by well known DJs Armin van Buuren and Steve Aoki. A State Of Armin and Steve Aoki’s Remix Radio went live last week and add to SiriusXM’s dance portfolio that includes BPM, Diplo’s Revolution, Chill, BPM Discovery, Utopia and Studio 54 Radio.
Last week, Round Hill Music announced the acquisition of the back catalog of two members of Massive Attack. This new agreement with Robert Del Naja and Grant Marshall, both founding members of the Bristol–based band, encompasses their first five full–lengths released between 1991 and 2010, including a number of double Platinum albums in the U.K. with their debut Blue Lines, Protection/No Protection and Mezzanine as well as their 2006 best of set, Collected.
Mirriad, the leading in–content advertising company, announced last week the launch of Music Alliance. At its launch, Mirriad counts Red Light Management and B–Unique Records as the first to join Music Alliance. Mirriad digitally places products and brands into films, TV shows and now music videos. The firm was originally founded to create special effects in movies, namely Black Swan, for which they won an Academy Award. With access to thousands of artists, Music Alliance is a new specialist division of Mirriad dedicated to growing creative and financial opportunities for artists by placing brands into visual music content. A much–welcomed new revenue stream for artists, the platform benefits marketers who seek to engage audiences in an era of ad avoidance. The Alliance allows brands to weave their imagery into artists’ music videos and connect with fans in an authentic way. Mexican beer brand Tecate have already selected Mirriad to immerse their brand into artist Giovanny Ayala’s latest music video. Mirriad’s patented AI technology scans content for its emotional register, moment by moment, allowing brands to appear in exactly the right place at the right time.
Loud And Live has unveiled a new division under the banner of Loud And Live Studios, a production unit for livestreams, podcasts, short and long form content, music specials and documentaries. The announcement comes after Loud And Live has landed a number of significant branding and live deals in recent months including serving as the lead agency for the negotiating of a deal between J Balvin and McDonald’s. Based out of Loud And Live’s headquarters in Miami, Loud And Live Studios will maintain its own facilities which are currently being constructed. Among the agency’s initial projects are the relaunch of Sirius XM’s channel En Vivo, as well as production of a music special involving Juan Luis Guerra, a Celia Cruz documentary, and two music specials scheduled to premiere later in the year. Deals are also being finalized with a number of global Latin artists for the exclusive rights to their livestreamed concerts.
Columbia Records France has tapped Karim Ech–Choayby for the role of Head of A&R. Ech–Choayby comes to the label with more than 20 years of experience, most recently at Def Jam Recordings France where he served as Head of A&R since 2019. Ech–Choayby reports to Laurent Chapeau, Directeur General, Columbia Records & Labels Group France. He will be tasked with supporting Columbia’s current roster as well as building a stable of emerging talent. Additionally, Ech–Choayby will work with Sony Music’s international teams to spearhead collaborations between local and international artists. Previously, Ech–Choayby was Universal Music Publishing’s Head of A&R, and he has worked with Kendji, Vegedream, Kungs, Azaar, Romeo Elvis, Cabellero & Jeanjass, Amel Bent and Hatik. Most recently, he led the roll–out of one of the biggest–selling French albums in 2020, Vita & Slimane’s VersuS.
A&R Worldwide has learned that a new management firm has been launched under the banner of Very Rare. The LA–based company is co–founded by Zachary Crandall and George Muench. Collectively, the pair count previous experience at Warner Music Group, Live Nation, Red Light Management and Tap Music with the two having first met as interns while at BMG in 2017. Among Very Rare’s roster at launch are Lexi Jayde and Jason Strong.
Staff updates in the agency world continue as ICM Partners tapped Paul Gongaware, former WME agent, last week. Gongaware was with WME for eight years working with the likes of Don Diablo, Timmy Trumpet, Sam Feldt and others. He joins Simon Clarkson, who came to ICM Partners in August to lead its domestic Electronic Music Department. The pair will work the EMD team at Primary Talent International and the Decked Out dance division.
One Fiinix Live, the independent live music agency launched at the end of last year by award–winning U.K. booking agent Jon Ollier, whose clients include Ed Sheeran, Anne–Marie, Lauv, 2Cellos and JC Stewart among others, has announced its first new agent hire. Jess Kinn joins the company from live music streaming specialists LIVENow and was previously an agent at Paradigm Agency, where she worked with acts Mallrat, Years & Years and Rebecca Garton. Kinn will report directly to Jon Ollier. At this stage, it is not known which of her previous clients will be joining her. Kinn started her career in live music with The Leighton Pope Organisation before joining Paradigm Agency where she worked her way up from reception to agent. As a booker, she worked across acts including Shawn Mendes, Halsey, Alan Walker and Faithless before becoming an agent in her own right. In 2018, she was named as LIVE UK’s “Backstage Star” and a Music Week “Rising Star.” In 2020, she led events for LIVENow, working on live streams for The Pete Tong Heritage Orchestra, Gorillaz and the record breaking Dua Lipa Studio 2054 stream.
Lyte, the reservations technology platform that is transforming ticketing for live events, has raised an additional $5 million as part of a Series B round, initially announced in December. This brings Lyte’s Series B round to $38 million, a combination of equity and debt, and total funding to date to $53 million. The additional funding comes as the company continues its growth and further validates their approach to live event ticketing. Lyte has partnered with more than 300 major tours, events and festivals including Coachella and Newport Folk Festival and also recently announced a boost to their executive team and their first international partnerships outside of N. America. Additional investors in the extended Series B round include Uncorrelated, AllRise, Brian Distelburger and Ed Roman. They join first–time Lyte investors Chamath Palihapitiya’s Social Capital, Quincy Jones, Rocketship VC, Ryan Moore’s Accomplice and Jackson Square Ventures. Lyte’s original seed investors Joe Edelman and Adam Stone return to fund and support the company as do Philip Deutch, Zander Lurie, Matt Mickiewicz and digital media entrepreneur and Lyte Board Member, Rob Goldberg.
Breakr, a new platform that brings together artists and influencers, has received investment from Josh Richards, Founder of TalentX Entertainment and Chief Strategy Officer of Triller, as well as Griffin Johnson, fellow Sway House member. The startup was launched in November by a collective of HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) alumni with backgrounds across music, marketing, promotion and banking including brothers Ameer and Tony Brown, as well as Daniel Ware and Rotimi Omosheyim. Influencers on the platform create profiles, set their rates and update their music preferences for campaigns across TikTok, Triller and Instagram, and artists, who also create profiles, submit their music to influencers for review. Once deals are finalized via the app, Breakr distributes payment to the influencer only after confirmation from the artist that the campaign has been completed, with Breakr maintaining a 10% cut from the backend. According to Breakr, the platform counts 18,000 users, around 70% being artists and largely independent, with the remaining portion composed of influencers. Minus the recent injection from Richards and Johnson, Breakr’s founders state the platform has generated around $800,000 to date, including $100,000 investment from the Talent x Opportunity Initiative. The new investment will be directed for two primary objectives, building up Breakr’s presence as a marketplace for indie artists, and simplifying the process for record labels and management firms to do business on Breakr.
This past weekend, sports and entertainment fans had a chance to win $1 million by correctly predicting outcomes with the predictions app, VersusGame. The contest is a joint partnership between Triller, Maxim and VersusGame, hosted by 24KGoldn and Murda Beatz. The games began February 4th when VersusGame went live on Triller with its first question. Two more questions were presented Friday and Saturday. Three finalists were announced during last night’s Super Bowl who were asked an additional 10 questions by 24KGoldn and Murda Beatz live on Triller with a winner announced at the end of the Super Bowl. Players were required to have both apps downloaded to participate and were able to earn additional points for referring friends. Since its launch in 2019, VersusGame has collected over 6 million users and given away more than $10.5 million. The company has secured investment from Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings, Tinder founder Sean Rad, and the music–tech investment firm founded by Shara Senderoff and Zach Katz, Raised in Space.
The Ivors Academy has revealed that the 2021 Ivor Novello Awards is set to take place this September at London’s Grosvenor House. Nominations for the 66th edition will open on March 22nd and run through the end of April while nominations for the Rising Star Award with Apple Music will be open from February 15th – March 26th. New Talent Award nominees will be revealed July 27th with the rest of the nominees unveiled on August 10th.
Music Venue Trust (MVT), which represents hundreds of U.K. grassroots music venues (GMVs), has announced that 13 out of the 30 GMVs on their #saveourvenues “Red List,” which highlights those venues at imminent danger of permanent closure, have successfully been removed from immediate threat. In November the charity revealed its “Traffic Light” campaign, a new phase of its #saveourvenues campaign. This campaign threw the focus of the charity’s fundraising work behind securing the future of 30 venues who were ineligible to receive funding from, or wholly or partially unsuccessful in their application to, the government backed Culture Recovery Funds. The 13 venues removed from the “Red List” a result of the success of the campaign and a combined effort by audiences, local communities, local councils and the creative community include Arden Inn, Accrington; Backstage Kinross; Boulevard, Wigan; Four Horsemen, Bournemouth; Gellions, Inverness; Hootenanny, Inverness; Plot 22, Sheffield; Rossi Bar, Brighton; Strange Brew, Bristol; The Brunswick, Hove; The Grand Elektra/The Crypt, Hastings; The Railway Inn, Winchester; and Waterloo Bar, Blackpool.
Bucks Music Group has signed Scottish multi–instrumentalist and contemporary composer Erland Cooper to an exclusive worldwide publishing deal. As a solo artist, Cooper has released three full–lengths completing a trilogy of work inspired by his childhood home of Orkney, as well as themes of nature, landscape and community. Cooper also works across mixed media projects including installation art, theatre and film. An RTS award recipient, his music is played frequently across BBC Radio 3 and BBC 6 Music and he has garnered positive press from outlets such as the Guardian, Uncut, Q, The Quietus, Clash and Loud And Quiet. His album Sule Skerry, was shortlisted for the 2020 Scottish Album of the Year Awards, with the LP also being listed in Clash’s 20 Best Scottish Albums of the 21st Century. Bucks Music Group originally worked with Cooper through a sponsorship agreement with Full Time Hobby for a number of years, during which time Bucks generated many songwriting, production and synch opportunities for the artist. This deal fully brings Cooper to the Bucks roster.
Create Music Group announced last week the launch of a beta version of Create Carbon, a first–of–its kind credit card for music creators. Initially rolled–out as a pilot, Create Carbon was presented to a select group of Create Music Group clients last week. The card, which taps into the MasterCard network, provides clients immediate access to their earnings. As the revenue is based on actual earned income, the company will charge only minimal fees or interest, yet clients can use Create Carbon just as they would any other credit card.
Music industry veterans Carmen Murray, Founder/Co–CEO of TITLE 9 Productions, Inc. and Co–CEO Michael Michel, announced today that the entertainment company has secured a multi–million dollar investment from Loki Artist Group. Through this new arrangement, Murray and Michel will maintain ownership of TITLE 9 while continuing to lead the direction of the company and their clients’ careers. TITLE 9 and Loki Artist Group will jointly focus on new business opportunities, acquisitions, and investments in independent music companies and artists. The new deal comes as TITLE 9 celebrates seven Grammy nominations with its clients. Founded in 1997 by Murray, TITLE 9 is a full–service management, production, music label, and entertainment company, with a creative compound in Los Angeles and music studios in New York. The company is home to music producers, musicians, recording artists, executive producers, songwriters, screenwriters and composers.
Montreux Jazz Festival has unveiled its initial plans for 2021 to ensure the festival’s ability to host events amid the ongoing global pandemic. The Festival has adopted an always–on digital strategy, via its subsidiary media company Montreux Media Ventures, to become a more robust and resilient music festival. Continuing to champion its hybrid model of live music and always–on digital access for 2021, the festival has brokered an exclusive livestream deal with Canadian music, media, and technology company Stingray and its leading streaming service, Qello Concerts by Stingray. The livestreams will be available to watch free of charge. Additionally, the festival has announced the launch of its MJF Spotlight initiative, set to foster the next generation of groundbreaking talent. These projects are the latest in a series by Montreux Jazz Festival as it continues to expand and diversify its partnerships and presence. In the summer of 2020, Montreux brokered a deal with Eagle Rock and YouTube to launch the 54th Summer of Music, a 16–day virtual music festival hosted exclusively on YouTube. The festival is expected to announce details about its 55th edition in the coming weeks, as well as new deals and partnerships with brands and labels throughout 2021.
Leading music and entertainment law firm, Boyarski Fritz LLP, has established its first–ever West Coast team based in Beverly Hills, with the appointments of Avi Dahan and Evan Zinaman, attorneys with significant experience in the entertainment and media industries. Dahan joins Boyarski Fritz LLP after two years running his own private practice. Prior, he was an associate at Johnson & Johnson LLP and early in his career, worked at WME, Roc Nation and Columbia Records, as well as owning his own live events business before attending law school at USC’s Gould School of Law. Dahan’s roster of clients include multi–Platinum songwriter/producer Johnny Goldstein and DJ/Producer duo DVBBS, as well as recording artists Dempsey Hope, Sebastian Javier and Slush Puppy. He also co–counsels several clients with firm Partner Jason Boyarski, including TikTok sensation JVKE. Zinaman joins the firm after serving as Sr. Attorney at entertainment firm Abrams Garfinkel Margolis Bergson, LLP, where he specialized in transactions and negotiations in music, film, television, and corporate matters including financing, development, production, distribution, and corporate structuring. Zinaman began his career after graduating from the University of Michigan Law School in 2015 as an Associate at Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett LLP in New York City.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Ben Mawson, Doug Mark, Nate Albert, Wendy Goldstein, Christian Tattersfield, Alexandra Patsavas, Joey Arbagey, Paul Samuels, Katie Welle, John Lenac, Mark Beaven, Maik Pallasch, Ron Laffitte and Savan Kotecha.
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. Live TV can be exciting, but also unpredictable. Click HERE for a collage of unexpected moments caught on live TV…maybe having things on a slight delay may be appropriate in the future?
A&R WORLDWIDE’S "ARTIST OF THE WEEK"– IAMJJ
Only a handful of singers have a distinctive voice that is easily recognizable. Enter Denmark’s IAMJJ, a 27–year–old songwriter, who possesses a voice that strikes through to you and gives you an everlasting impression. Inspired by Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen, IAMJJ’s music combines intelligence with his dark, yet humorous, lyrics that are accompanied by that voice. In 2018, he released his debut album Bloody Future, followed by 2019’s Take It Slow On Me, helping him earn global support from both radio and audiences from his live performances. IAMJJ is ready to deliver his new single “Your Parents House” via Mermaid Records on February 26th. The track balances the border of ecstasy and melancholy, while tipping his hat to international indie icons such as Kurt Vile and The War On Drugs. Discover the upcoming single “Your Parents House” HERE and contact Louise Mo at email@example.com for additional information and all inquiries regarding IAMJJ.
A&R WORLDWIDE’S "VIDEO OF THE WEEK" – BOY DESTROY
Boy Destroy is a Swedish emo/trap, alt–pop artist, musically influenced by the likes of My Chemical Romance and Jeff Buckley. At the tail end of last year he released his debut single “Warpaint,” which detailed the scars and the digital apathy of young lives. The track collected praise from BBC Radio 1, Apple Music 1, Alternative Press, Rock Sound Magazine, Gigwise, Wonderland Magazine and many more. His forthcoming Warpaint EP, a six–track release, is a collection of stories from his sometimes–troubled life and due mid–April. Just last week, Boy Destroy shared his new single and video “You Don’t Want Me When I’m Sober” via indie label Loyalty Obsession. The song is about a certain type of person that Boy Destroy has met during his dark periods – sometimes just by looking into the mirror. The video, shot in 16mm film, acts as a visualization of Boy Destroy’s dark past, dealing with addiction, portraying the collision between his distorted reality and society’s prejudice of him and his place in it. Watch the Nowell Englund–directed video for “You Don’t Want Me When I’m Sober” HERE and contact manager Filip Wilén at firstname.lastname@example.org as Boy Destroy is available for publishing and booking opportunities as well as discussions on label licensing.
PASSPORT APPROVED™ PLAYLIST – 2/7/2021
“PASSPORT APPROVED” PLAYLIST FOR Sunday, February 7th, 2021: The weekly import show. Heard on more than 50 radio stations on six continents weekly including: Flux FM Berlin, Germany; JioSaavn (worldwide); Radio Doble Nueve, Lima, Peru; WZRH–FM New Orleans, LA; 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); 96.2 ZFM The Netherlands; WAPS–FM “The Summit.FM” Akron–Canton, OH; WKTL–FM Youngstown, OH; 105.5FM XFM Nairobi, Kenya; PUK–FM Johannesburg, South Africa; Rock 96.5FM Zambia; 897 FM Bratislava, Slovakia; WITH “90.1FM” Ithaca, NY; UCFM 87.8FM Australian Capital Territory, Australia; WRUR 88.5FM Rochester, NY; WCRU–FM Hamilton, NY; KZND Anchorage, AK; KQCJ Quad Cities, IL; Allgauhit–FM Bavaria Germany; Indie Xfm Los Angeles and on The Independent FM (iHeartRadio) in the United States, as well as many others internationally.
Listen to this two hour show by clicking HERE:
LINN KOCH–EMMERY – “Hologram Love” (Welfare Sounds, Sweden)
JEREMY LOOPS – “Til I Found You” (Universal, South Africa)
TEN TONNES – “Girl Are You Lonely Like Me” (Unsigned, UK)
THE VICES – “Boy” (Mattan Records, Holland)
BOY DESTROY – “Warpaint” (Bud Fox, Sweden)
CATHOLIC GUILT – “Life In Three Part Harmony” (Wiretap Records, Australia)
JUPITER’S BEARD – “Stella” (Unsigned, UK)
DOTAN – “There Will Be A Way” (7 Layers, Holland)
POLISH CLUB – “Just Talking” (Unsigned, Australia)
EAU ROUGE – “I Know That You Know” (Riptide Records, Germany)
GOLD MEMBER – “Blue Coma’” (Sureshaker, Australia)
SAM JOHNSON – “Nineteen” (Universal Music, UK)
NINA CHUBA – “Babylon Fall” (Mag Musik, Germany)
MELLAH – “Hitchin’” (Columbia Records, UK)
THE LULU RAES – “Not For The Weekend” (Sony Music, Australia)
THE LATHUMS – “I See Your Ghost’” (Modern Sky, UK)
THE SWOONS – “If It Keeps You Up At Night” (Unsigned, N. America)
THE CLOCKWORKS – “Enough Is Never Enough’” (Creation 23, UK)
MATTHEW MOLE – “Keep It Together” (Universal Music, South Africa)
TWO YEAR VACATION – “Moving On From Yesterday’” (Cloud Hills, Sweden)
RAZZ – “1969 – Conrad” (Unsigned, Germany)
DED RABBIT – “Gotta Get Outta This Place” (Unsigned, Scotland)
LOVEBREAKERS – “Family Man” (Little Rocket / Sabbath City, UK)
ALLDAY – “After All This Time” (Teamtrick, Australia)
CRUCCHI GANG – “La La La io non ti amo non mi ami Aha Aha Aha” (Universal, Germany)
TRIBE FRIDAY – “Loosie” (Unsigned, Sweden)
PACIFIC – “State Of Mind” (Unsigned, UK)
SEA GIRLS – “This Is The End” (Polydor, UK)
HAUSKEY – “Silver Lining” (Unsigned, Australia)
THE PALE WHITE – “Glue” (Unsigned, UK)
SYCCO – “Dribble” (Future Classic / Wilder, Australia)
OSCAR LANG – “Drinking Wine” (Dirty Hit, UK)
SOMEBODY’S CHILD – “Top Drawer Romance” (Somebody’s Child Records, Ireland)
MIDDLE KIDS – “R U 4 Me?” (EMI, Australia)
(Check out the Passport Approved Radio “Featured Artists” on the daily profile exclusively on AllAccess.com including Maddox Jones, Blake Rose, Marquis Drive, The Lulu Raes and Jupiter’s Beard)