Andrea Ganis, Atlantic Records’ legendary president of promotion, is leaving the company after 43 years, she announced in a message to staff today, which follows below in full.
She began at the company as a secretary in 1980, became head of the department and eventually rose so high in the ranks that they invented the president of promotion title for her. In a 2020 interview with Variety looking back at her career, she said, ““My early years began with the Rolling Stones, Bette Midler, Abba, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Genesis, Phil Collins, U2, Stevie Nicks and so many more, including songs that I forgot I promoted until I hear them in a store and point up and say, ‘I worked that record!,’” she laughed.
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“There are so many artists I’ve been lucky to be involved with, and I love breaking music from so many different genres,” she continued, launching into a long list that includes INXS, Stone Temple Pilots, Hootie and the Blowfish, Jewel, Matchbox 20, Skid Row, Brandy, Kid Rock, Tori Amos, En Vogue, Aaliyah, “and of course our current super-bigs, Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran, Cardi B, Coldplay, Lizzo.”
Her message follows below:
With 15,877 days at Atlantic including 2,262 add dates under my belt, Malcolm Gladwell and his 10,000 hours have got nothing on me.
So yes, it’s my time to say to all of you goodbye for now. After 43+years at Atlantic, I can truly say I have had the greatest ride of all time. Every era had its own magic and though the work was hard, it was also incredibly exciting, tremendously rewarding and quite fabulous in every way — an understatement if there ever was one.
I was one of the original glass ceiling girls who started as a secretary (yes, we were called that) and worked my way up to president of promotion — not bad for a girl who went to college with the largest record collection of anyone, leaving 4 years later with an even larger one!
I started out like all of you — with a great love of music. Ironically, how I was exposed to it became my lifelong career — through the radio…..WNEW, WLIR and WHFS were responsible for my initial musical discoveries. Whatever I heard I usually purchased. In junior high and high school I bought my albums at Korvettes — a discount store near where I grew up; they knew me by name and I came in every week like clockwork hungry for music of every genre. BTW, they were three for $10 then and I continued those purchases throughout my college days in Washington D.C., negotiating for the same price — ah, promotion already in my blood!
I was lucky enough to be brought up in a musical era that was diverse in every way. FM radio was free form and callout research did not exist. Though there was no social media and bands were far more mysterious then, I became totally immersed in the music and culture enhanced by radio, word of mouth, concerts and clubs, Rolling Stone magazine, conversations with record store personnel and anything I could pick up from other members of my musical community. And the best part was the music scene was remarkably prolific populated by bands whose work was not only unique but identifiable by the first note. Like you, I was addicted to all of it.
I couldn’t believe my good fortune to then get a job at the mighty Atlantic Records led by the legendary Ahmet Ertegun. I started in January of 1980 and thanks to his and Jerry Wexler’s unparalleled A&R acumen, got to work with many of the greatest artists on the planet and, amazingly, helped them reach even greater heights. Working with baby bands and developing artists brought its own joys, particularly when they too achieved new heights and we helped them realize their own dreams. I found all of it incredibly inspiring and still do — I will always get a rush from the many songs I hear for which I can claim “I worked that record.”
And even now, so many years later, the joy of hearing the song on the radio for the first time brings me to tears…this will forever be a constant and knowing how much effort it took to create that moment makes it all the more special. Seeing any act we’ve been a part of perform in any arena for sure will make me cry, particularly when the fans sing every word.
My tremendous thanks to [Atlantic’s longtime chiefs Julie Greenwald and Craig Kallman] who continue to guide with intelligence, vision, honesty and heart. They lead by example and continue to have the courage to take chances. Always a shout out to my mentor, [longtime Atlantic CEO] Doug Morris, who believed in me and saw the potential of what I could become.
Which brings me to promotion….a land that I love. I was a solid athlete in my formative years and it taught me the importance of teamwork, a lesson I swear is one of the great keys to success….yes, a village indeed. So to be given the opportunity to grow from a young team member to leading the greatest squad there is for as long as I have has been a dream come true.
Throughout all these years I’ve worked with so many wonderful, smart, talented people on the record, radio and management sides and I thank each of you for helping me learn and grow — I hope I’ve done the same for you.
To my current team — my colleagues but better still, close wonderful lifelong friends, I can’t begin to express the love and respect I have for each of you — we have changed culture one spin at a time! You are all warriors and the best there is at getting the job done.
It has been an honor and a privilege to carry the promotion torch for Atlantic Records. We are a skillful, smart, strategic, creative, word-is-our-bond kind of crew, who always took the time to laugh, even at our own expense. Continue to turn no’s into yesses, stay passionate and in the toughest of times, know you’ve got this.
Long may we all run —
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