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David Gray has been promoted to Head of the Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) Global Creative Group. Gray will be based in New York City and will report to Jody Gerson, Chairman & CEO, UMPG. He will also continue in his current position of Executive Vice President and Head of US A&R
David Gray
Gray joined UMPG in 2013 and has since served as Executive VP, Head of West Coast A&R and Co-Head, A&R. Through his career, he has been responsible for the signings of many artists including Shawn Mendes, Jonas Brothers, Demi Lovato, Julia Michaels, Logic, and many other. Gray has worked across the music industry in a variety of areas including being an artist, songwriter, music publisher, and TV music executive.

In his role as Head of US A&R, Gray will continue driving creative publishing strategy for UMPG’s US songwriters, artists, and producers as well as lead the team in identifying, signing, and developing new talent and supporting legacy talent.

The Global Creative Group is UMPG’s team of senior A&R executives across key territories who will identify and expand global creative opportunities for UMPG songwriters, artists, and producers.


Burgeoning Berlin, Germany-based independent company Guesstimate, which is a 360 degree music firm specializing in recording, publishing, promotion, neighboring rights, management and live events has teamed-up with Poland’s Magic Records and the renowned Polish artist sanah to create an expanded partnership which will see them launching a brand new publishing company in Poland.
Guesstimate tells A&R Worldwide that they are teaming-up to strengthen their position as a key hub for new songwriters and artists for both Central and Eastern Europe. Under the new agreement Jan Kubicki, Managing Partner, Magic Records and Gian Köhler, Managing Partner Guesstimate will jointly take over the management, office facilities and associated recording studios in Warsaw, Poland to further grow their positions and opportunities for artists within Poland and Eastern Europe.
Pictured (L-R) are Martin Heuser (Managing Partner, Guesstimate), Jan Kubicki (Managing Partner, Magic Records), Sanah, Monika Kaminska (Partner, Magic Records), Gian Köhler (Managing Partner, Guesstimate) and Jan Rathjen (Partner, Guesstimate).
The new partnership is already enjoying success with artists and their songs including YouNotUs & bryska with the summer hit “Samba,” whilst sanah racing up the national Polish chart with her single “Eldorado.” Both songs are dominating the Polish Airplay charts at No.1 and No.2 respectively.

Under the creative assistance and patronage of sanah and a team of two A&R managers the new company will scout and develop emerging talent throughout Central and Eastern Europe and produce new recordings in its own studio facilities located in both Warsaw and Berlin.

With the formation of the new partnership, Guesstimate Publishing in Berlin now extends its creative abilities to the Central and Eastern European market. In addition, Guesstimate will take care of the worldwide marketing and administration of its own, as well as the jointly published repertoire from its headquarters in Berlin and will utilize its strong network of international sub-publishers and synch agency relationships across the European continent and beyond.


Warner Records has announced the promotion of Sean Stevens to Vice President, A&R and Head of Research & Analytics for Warner Records. Based at the label’s Los Angeles headquarters, Stevens reports to Aaron Bay-Schuck, co-Chairman & CEO at the company.
Sean Stevens
“Sean’s incredible taste and creative instincts matched with his ability to mine meaningful insights from a mountain of data, makes him a truly well-rounded A&R executive,” said Bay-Schuck. “He’s helped bring bold, original talent into the Warner fold and he cares deeply about the artist development process once an artist walks through our doors. I’m very pleased to announce this well-earned promotion.”

Stevens joined Warner Records in 2018 as Director, A&R Analysis before being promoted to Senior Director in 2020. Since joining Warner Records, Stevens has discovered and worked alongside an array of talent from the wide-ranging artist roster including Teddy Swims, Ricky Montgomery, XIX, Ezekiel, MyKey, Sombr, and Bktherula. He got his start in the music industry in 2016 at Big Machine Label Group.


Tyler Bacon, President & CEO, Position Music has announced that the company has signed Daphne Willis to a worldwide publishing deal.
Pictured from (L-R) are Jake Versluis (VP, A&R, Position Music), Daphne (Artist/Songwriter), and Tyler Bacon (President & CEO, Position Music).
In addition to being an artist, Willis has worked with the likes of Dr. Dre, Meghan Trainor, Wyclef Jean, 9AM, John Oates, Stereotypes and others. She has also written music used by brands such as Volkswagen, Xfinity/Comcast, and Royal Caribbean—and on popular television shows such as Empire, Grey’s Anatomy, So You Think You Can Dance, ESPN SportsCenter, and more.

Popdust has called Daphne “a badass, mic killer, and hustler,” and Paste Magazine wrote that her music has “infectious melodies delivered with lyrical precision and honesty,” and that she’s “sincere, compelling, and relevant.”

Daphne’s first release with Position Music will be her TYGR TYGR project with the first single slated to drop later this year.


Highly respected booking agent Lucy Dickins has been promoted to the new role of Global Head of Contemporary Music & Touring at WME making her the first woman to run the music department at a major talent agency.
Luck Dickins
WME’s roster of music clients includes artists such as Adele, Lil Baby, J Balvin, Bruno Mars, Calvin Harris, John Legend, Dua Lipa, and more. Dickins joined WME’s London office back in 2019 where she brought her roster of clients including Mumford & Sons, Jamie T, Hot Chip, Adele and others from ITB, where she spent the bulk of her career at the famed and respected independent booking agency co-Founded by her father Barry Dickins. Last month, Dickins moved from London to Beverly Hills.

In her new role as global head of contemporary music and touring, Dickins will oversee all aspects of the agency’s contemporary music and business across Beverly Hills, New York, Nashville, London, and Sydney.

“I am grateful to the leadership at WME for supporting me in this role, and for my partners and team members I have the privilege of working with every day in the Music division,” said Dickins. “There is no place like WME, and I’m excited for what we will achieve together on behalf of our clients.”


Each week, A&R Worldwide’s newsletter goes back in time with memorable and defining moments in our 20+ year history. However, we’d also like to share your key and prolific images that have yet to be “exposed.” Click HERE to submit your photo to our team for potential exposure!

SOME OF THE BEST IN CLASS: The United Kingdom has exported not only some of the best music in the world, but also some of the most forward-thinking and talented executives on the planet. All three global major labels including Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Recorded Music are run by British executives. A&R Worldwide has been on the forefront and connected to some of the most important and influential British music and executive talent for over the past two decades. Pictured L-R) at a past A&R Worldwide networking dinner in London, England are Barry Dickins (co-Founder, ITB), Lucy Dickins (Global Head of Contemporary Music & Touring, WME), Harvey Goldsmith (Founder, Harvey Goldsmith Presents), Sat Bisla (President & Founder, A&R Worldwide) and Professor Jonathan Shalit OBE (Chairman, InterTalent Rights Group).


OLLY MURS SIGNS WITH EMI RECORDS: Award-winning British singer/songwriter Olly Murs has signed with EMI Records in the UK for his forthcoming releases, including his new album this fall, which will be his first full-length in over four years. Murs who is represented by British management firm Modest Management, founded by renowned music business executives Richard Griffiths and Harry Magee back in 2003, and works closely with the firm’s Sarah Gallagher. The deal was announced last week by EMI co-Presidents, Rebecca Allen and Jo Charrington. To date, Murs has racked up six multi-Platinum albums, four No.1 albums, and four No.1 singles in the UK. In addition, he’s secured 6 million monthly listeners on Spotify, 800 million views on YouTube, and sold an impressive 1.8 million tickets for his 20-date UK arena tour back in 2019. Murs had been signed to Sony Music Entertainment for the past 12 successful years.

A&R WORLDWIDE RETURNS TO GERMANY: A&R Worldwide will be returning to the in-person conference and showcase event Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg, Germany next month as it helps guide labels, managers, artists, music publishers, tech-start ups and many others on successfully exporting outside of Germany. Reeperbahn Festival has become one of Europe’s most trusted and important music events for artists, fans and industry alike. A&R Worldwide’s team has had a very successful run with supporting acts that have been developed, or broken in Germany, to the US and other markets including the likes of Milky Chance (first-ever US media support), Alice Merton (her first ever US radio support a year prior to her signing with Mom+Pop Records in the US), Femme Schmidt (securing two synchs with ABC and FOX in the US, as well as making key introductions to A&R Worldwide relationships that led to her touring with Sir Elton John and Coldplay), creating worldwide A&R interest in the band Liquido who went on to have a No.1 single in Europe with their song “Narcotic.” In addition, A&R Worldwide secured a sync with EA Games for the electronic band from Berlin called Warren Suicide, helping close worldwide (ex-Germany) deals for renowned German rock act H-Blockx and alternative band Uncle Ho, as well as key early support in the US for burgeoning artist and songwriter Rene Miller (prior to his worldwide deals with Sony Music Publishing and Warner Music Group), rockers Rammstein and Guano Apes, Polarkreis 18 and countless others. Currently, German acts Giant Rooks and KAMRAD are beginning to make some key international inroads and are on the cusp of becoming Germany’s biggest music export success stories of 2022. To connect with the A&R Worldwide team at Reeperbahn Festival in Germany contact info@anrworldwide.com.

TAPPING INTO A LEGAL VICTORY: House music pioneers Larry Heard and Robert Owens, who are two of the most influential, pioneering and revered musicians in the genre have secured a legal victory in court over exploitative contracts that they were contesting. The duo garnered litigation funding from TaP Music Publishing, who publish Heard alongside contemporary pop artists Dua Lipa and Dermot Kennedy. According to a press release from TaP, “Can You Feel It,” “Bring Down the Walls,” “Beyond the Clouds,” and “Mysteries of Love” were originally released, using terrible or non-existent contracts, on Larry Sherman’s TRAX Records. “For decades artists saw their work exploited via shoddily pressed records and global licenses but never saw a penny of royalties. It’s no wonder the godfather of house himself, the late Frankie Knuckles, referred to TRAX as ‘barnacles’ and refused to have anything to do with his releases for them, despite those recordings’ legendary status,” said the statement from TaP. In in June 2020, TaP drew a line in the sand and filed a lawsuit against TRAX, Sherman and his co-owner Rachel Cain, claiming copyright infringement, fraud and breach of contract. In May 2022 after two long years of litigation, Trax in a negotiated settlement agreed to relinquish, once and for all, any and all rights to their musical works. Anna Neville, Global Co-President TaP Music said, “At TaP Music Publishing we don’t only help nurture careers, provide creative support and opportunity for our writers, and efficiently collect their money, but also fight with them to defend their songs too.”

DIAMOND CERTIFIED ROCKERS RETURN: BMG has confirmed that it will release the upcoming studio album from Diamond-certified and multi-Platinum rock band Nickelback. The company has been deluged with calls from hardcore Nickelback fans since the band dropped a number of teasers on their social platforms. The new record will be the band’s tenth studio album and their second with BMG. Jason Hradil, BMG’s EVP, New York & Sr. VP International Marketing, said, “The reaction to the band’s teasers has been phenomenal. The time is right for a new Nickelback album, and it’s an honor that they have once again chosen BMG as their global partner.” In 2017, Nickelback signed a global recording deal BMG to release their 9th studio album, the acclaimed global hit Feed The Machine. Upon its release, later that same year, the album debuted in the Top 5 on charts around the world. Read more HERE.

KINGSHIP & M&M’S® TEAM-UP: KINGSHIPTM, the NFT supergroup created by 10:22PMTM, consisting of three Bored Apes and one Mutant Ape, has announced they will appear on limited edition boxes of M&M’S® in honor of KINGSHIP’s mythological tour rider containing required backstage items, which always includes M&M’S candies of all colors. The inspiration for this collaboration with M&M’S is rooted in rock ‘n’ roll lore and legend. For decades, rock bands notoriously insisted on tour riders to satisfy talent requests for specific backstage beverages, snacks, and accommodations. Mars’ iconic candies – including world famous M&M’S, have been included in some of the most discerning requests from some of rock n’ roll’s most illustrious legends. These physical collectible boxes have been created for fans of both KINGSHIP and M&M’S and are only available for a limited time. Just 4000 have been created in total. M&M’S will also produce only 3,900 exclusive celebratory gift boxes in Brown. Additionally, there will be 6,000 gift jars of the candies, available TODAY to fans in the US for a limited time at https://mms.com/kingship.

APPLE LAUNCHES ‘PLATOON FOR ARTISTS’ APP: Apple has launched an app called Platoon for Artists in collaboration with the London-based distribution and creative services company Platoon. Platoon, was founded in 2016 by Denzyl Fiegelson and Saul Klein, and acquired by Apple in 2018. The new app was quietly launched, and is currently unlisted on the App Store, but is available to download. The invitation only, Platoon for Artists, will allow artists to share and promote content for new and prior releases as well as have access to stats across platforms. As stated in the description listed on the App Store, “Managing your artist career has never been easier. Platoon for Artists is your home to manage content, streams, revenue, and more.”

GETTING A NEW APPOINTMENT WITH HIPGNOSIS: Hipgnosis Song Management has appointed Ben Katovsky to the role of President & COO. Katovsky, who has been in the music industry for almost two decades, was most recently Chief Operating Officer at BMG where he was for seven years. Commencing October 1, 2022, Katovsky’s new role will include leading daily operations of the business, overseeing the maximization of opportunities for Hipgnosis’ catalogs, and leading strategic initiatives such as the development of Hipgnosis’ proprietary technology and data platform. He will report directly to the firm’s CEO, Merck Mercuriadis.

ELEVATING TO A NEW ROLE WITH AUDIOMACK: Audiomack has promoted Jason Johnson to the role of Sr. Vice President of Marketing & Brand Strategy. Johnson joined the music streaming platform back in 2018 in the role of Sr. Marketing Consultant where he helped to launch the #UPNOW artist development platform. Now, in his new role as Sr. Vice President of Marketing & Brand Strategy, Johnson will lead the brand’s growth strategy across North America and continue expansion efforts throughout Africa as well as continuing to support the executive leadership team on all marketing, public relations, brand strategy, and philanthropy initiatives. Additionally, Johnson serves as the President of Audiomack’s Social Action Committee where he oversees the organizations philanthropic initiatives.

WARNER MUSIC’S HIPHOPDX ASIA UNVEILS A FIRST: HipHopDX Asia, Warner Music’s label agnostic Asian hip-hop media platform, has announced the launch of ‘The Regionals’, a rap cypher series that is the first of its kind in Asia. Supported by Warner Music’s Asian hip-hop imprint Asiatic Records, the project invites top hip-hop emcees from different Eastern markets to jump on beats by some of the most prominent hip-hop producers from the West. ‘The Regionals’ serves to drive the globalization of hip-hop music from Asia by spotlighting the versatile talent in the region, as well as providing fans with the opportunity to discover and experience Asian hip-hop culture at its finest. The first round of cyphers from the different markets will be released on September 2nd (The Regionals Philippines), September 23rd (The Regionals Taipei), and September 30th (The Regionals Vietnam) on all major DSPs.

K-POP GIANT EXPANDS INTO THE MIDDLE EAST: Globally renowned South Korean headquartered K-Pop giant SM Entertainment (SM) is expanding across Saudi Arabia. The Chief Producer of the firm, Soo-Man Lee, signed a MOU with the Ministry of Investment Saudi Arabia to enter local markets and promote joint projects. At the signing, which took place in Seoul, South Korea at SM Entertainment’s headquarters, Lee was joined by Sun-Su Lee, CEO, SM and Kyung Jin Han, Head of SM SEA & MENA branch, and MISA H.E Deputy Fahad Al-Naeem. SM will actively promote S-Pop artists and is planning to launch a music video along the Red Sea for music festival purposes.

NOT SO SECRETLY PROMOTED: Secretly Publishing has promoted Eddie Sikazwe to his new position Senior Director of A&R. In his new role, Sikazwe will oversee and help to expand Secretly’s roster of songwriters, producers, and composers. He will report to Secretly’s Chris Swanson, co-Founder & President of A&R. Sikaswe was previously at Abstract Management (which he founded) before he joined Secretly in 2020. Since then, he has acted as an A&R for Secretly Publishing and the Secretly Group of record labels. During his time at Secretly, he has helped in the signing of artists including serpentwithfeet, Luke Titus, Jonah Yano, and numerous others.

EAST GOES GLOBAL LAUNCHES DISTRO ARM IN CHINA: East Goes Global, the Los Angeles-based, China-focused marketing company is launching a new distribution arm. The announcement follows the news that East Goes Global closed a $1 million (USD) seed funding round, valuing the company now at $10 million. East Goes Global will deliver music to many of China’s largest music platforms including Tencent’s QQ Music, Kugou Music, and NetEase Cloud Music, among others. The company will distribute upcoming releases from the company’s roster to DSPs in China moving forward with the aim to bridge the social media gap between the US and China.

MOVING FORWARD WITH THREE SIX ZERO: Forward Motion Artists has announced that it has partnered with global talent management firm Three Six Zero. Forward Motion Artists is a firm founded by Jazz Spinder and has offices in Los Angeles, London and Ibiza and will be take on a partnership position with the firm Spinder will bring his artist clients and management team including Attilio Pugliese and Chris Schiraldi along with other managers and creative staff in-house. Forward Motion Artists consists of artists primarily from the alternative electronic music scene and works with a collective of event brands and labels including Hot Creations, One Tribe, Paradise and others. “I’m thrilled Jazz and his Forward Motion Artists team will be another fantastic addition to the Three Six Zero ecosystem,” said Mark Gillespie, CEO & Founder, Three Six Zero. “Their commitment to creatively evolving and amplifying their artist’s vision is immensely impressive and I am excited to see their contribution to our expanding management business globally.” Three Six Zero has offices in London, Los Angeles, Miami and represents Calvin Harris, The Streets, Willow, Majid Jordan, Nicky Jam, Jabari Banks, and many others.

BORIS COMES TO BMG: BMG has announced the appointment of Boris von Wiedebach to lead its global finance and controlling team. As Executive VP Group Controlling, he will report directly to Chief Financial Officer Thomas Coesfeld. Boris von Wiedebach joins BMG after 18 with Universal Music Group in Germany, latterly as Vice President Controlling and Finance, responsible for finance, investments and sales at Germany’s largest music company. He is a certified auditor in Germany, and previously worked as a chartered accountant and M&A advisor for Arthur Andersen and Ernst & Young advising media industry clients. At BMG von Wiedebach will now be responsible for overseeing the company’s Berlin-based headquarters Finance & Controlling organization, driving and optimizing the processes and output of the Finance & Controlling team globally. His key reports in his new role include Mathias Thiemig, VP Finance & Business Analytics as well as Tobias Ahfeldt, VP Group Reporting & Controlling.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Rogério Saraiva, Chris Taylor, Jeff Smith, Stefan Janetzky, Josh Favor, Ron Fair, Pete Giberga, Tricia Holloway, Hiba Irshad, Lisa Smith Craig, Linnéa Berg, Tim Glover, Eric Greenspan, Andrew Grant, and Jackson Christie.


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 lives. Being a news reporter is not as easy as it used to be. Everyone seems to have an opinion, an attitude or a jackass moment whilst reporting. Click HERE to view some embarrassing and unexpected moments caught on camera where the reporter becomes the news story!


Emerging audio-visual artist, songwriter and producer Echo Northstar unleashes his debut single “Someone Else.” Paddy ’Northstar’ Hennessy aka Echo Northstar is from a small coastal village in the southeast of Ireland but now calls SE London his home. Besides crafting sonically blissful and cinematic alternative inspired music, he’s also a painter who is building a name for himself across a variety of creative fronts. With plans to release his first EP things I wish I could say later this year, comes “Someone Else,” a song that represents the unlocking and the lift away, beginning to think/dream without limits according to the musician. Discover the enchanting and synch-friendly new single “Someone Else” HERE. Contact echo@echonorthstar.com for all the available opportunities including signing, licensing, booking, management and synch.


When he was barely in his teens, Luke Noa began writing songs and playing his first shows with his band Luke Noa and the Basement Beats. Early in their career, they won a band competition which led to a gig at the Southside Festival—that was the catalyst for Luke’s career. After high school graduation, Noa has worked tirelessly on his songwriting and live shows. With musical influences ranging from Rikas and Go Go Berlin, Noa gives his all when it comes to his music, taking no shortcuts and offering a considerable amount of energy. After a handful of successful single releases, including “Stingray,” “Clouds” and “Roccastrada,” the musician delivers “Lady of the North” (Humming Records). The new track references the Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash duet “Girl From The North Country,” with the ‘lady’ in the song based on his late great aunt. The track describes her life in Rome, the love and the suffering, as he recalls from his time there. The visual for the song can be seen HERE. Contact Luke Noa at mgmt@luke-noa.com for additional information including booking, licensing, publishing and synch opportunities.


“PASSPORT APPROVED” PLAYLIST FOR Sunday, August 28th, 2022: The weekly import show. Heard on more than 50 radio stations on six continents weekly including: Flux FM Berlin, Germany; NINETYSIX Radio (Indonesia); JioSaavn (India); 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:

GIANT ROOKS – “Morning Blue” (Universal Music, Germany)
MIA RODRIGUEZ – “Shut Up” (City Pop/WMG, Australia)
INTERNET FRIENDS – “Rice Krispies” (ICEA, Sweden)
OSCAR LANG – “Never Been To LA” (Dirty Hit, UK)
REST FOR THE WICKED – “Impulse” (EMI/UMG, Australia)
INHALER – “These Are The Days” (Polydor, UK)
TRIBE FRIDAY – “Dead” (Unsigned, Sweden)
JEREMY LOOPS – “Better Together” (Universal, South Africa)
PALE WAVES – “Jealousy” (Dirty Hit, UK)
APECS – “Red Moon” (Unsigned, UK)
TRASHED – “Memories” (Unsigned, UK)
STEREOTIDE – “Touch The Sky” (Unsigned, Germany)
MASI MASI – “The Good Stuff” (Shabby Road, UK)
BELDON HAIGH – “Old Blackeye” (Unsigned, UK)
BARBERA MARI – “Hunter” (Unsigned, Czech Republic)
SINGLE BY SUNDAY – “Help” (Unsigned, Scotland)
BRICE KENDALL – “The Birdhouse” (Unsigned, N. America)
SEA GIRLS – “DNA” (Polydor, UK)
JYE – “Lemon Lime” (Unsigned, Australia)
THE AMAZONS – “Bloodrush” (Fiction/UMG, UK)
LAUREN WALLER – “Lift Me Up” (Unsigned, N. America)
CRUCCHI GANG – “La La La io non ti amo non mi ami Aha Aha Aha” (Universal, Germany)
ASYLUMS – “Scatterbrain” (Cool Thing Records, UK)
DIANA GOLDBERG – “Dripping In My Blood” (CloudKid, Germany)
FLYCKT – “Jonny Boy” (Dumont Dumont, Sweden)
CRAWLERS – “I Didn’t Know How To Say” (Polydor, UK)
LIME CORDIALE – “Facts Of Life” (Chugg Music, Australia)
RAZZ – “Talking For Hours” (Unsigned, Germany)
ALFIE TEMPLEMAN – “Take Some Time Away” (Chess Club, UK)
DONKEY KID – “Digging Holes” (Donkey Dub Records, Germany)
MATTY GREG – “As It Was” (Unsigned, N. America)
WAITING FOR SMITH – “Run” (417 Records, UK)
MADYX – “Young Love” (Unsigned, N. America)