Lena Franklin has been named vice president of marketing, Def Jam Recordings, it was announced Thursday by Jeff Harleston, interim chairman & CEO. She came to the label in June after five years at Interscope, where she worked on campaigns for Kendrick Lamar, ScHoolboy Q, Rich the Kid, Summer Walker and others.
In her first months at Def Jam, she has formed on Alessia Cara’s new album “In The Meantime,” Kaash Paige, Ludacris’ new Netflix children’s show “Karma’s World” and more.
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“Lena brings a combination of savvy, sophistication and creativity to our marketing team as she continues to grow as an executive,” said Harleston. “I’m confident she will play a significant role in driving the energy, passion, and creative direction of our marketing efforts.”
+ Big Machine Label Group’s BMLG Records has upped Liz Santana to senior director of East promotion, Stella Prado to senior director of West promotion and Kylie Dembek to manager of strategic planning. Additionally, Michelle Tigard Kammerer will be leaving the company this week for a yet to be announced opportunity.
“We are so incredibly excited to promote Liz, Stella and Kylie,” says BMLG Records SVP Matthew Hargis. “Since joining the Ape Den, Liz and Stella have been a key part of the label’s success in their respective regions. With their newly expanded roles it’s very exciting to see them continue to grow as executives. Additionally, it gives us great pleasure to create a new role inside the department and promote Kylie.
Hargis continued, “While we will miss Michelle, we are very excited for her new opportunity and wish her the absolute best.”
Wednesday, Sept. 29
Artist Publishing Group (APG) has signed writer-producer WZRD BLD to a publishing deal, announcing with it the company’s efforts to expand into the alternative and rock genres. Since its founding in 2004, APG has seen major success in the pop and hip-hop lanes with such artists and writers as Amy Allen, Taz Taylor, Don Toliver, Madison Love, Ava Max, Charlie Puth and YoungBoy Never Broke Again.
WZRD BLD (real name: Drew Fulk) is a L.A. transplant from North Carolina who works across multiple genres and has already seen five songs hit No. 1 at mainstream rock radio. His credits include multiple cuts on Lil Peep’s “Come Over When You’re Sober Pt. 2” as well as work with 347aidan, Kim Dracula, Bankrol Hayden, carolesdaughter, half alive and POORSTACY, among other acts. He also founded a rock-focused publishing company, In The Cut, in 2019, notching several chart-toppers as a publisher.
“I’m thrilled to welcome WZRD BLD into the APG family,” said APG A&R Andre Herd. “He is a very accomplished producer in the rock world as well as is one of the most versatile producers I know, having worked with artists ranging from Lil Peep to Lil Wayne. His hunger and determination to make cultural and impactful records is unparalleled and we couldn’t be more excited to help him execute and build towards all his goals.”
Added APG’s Mike Caren: “WZRD BLD is an incredible forward thinking talent and we are honored to be on board his team.”
“I couldn’t be more excited to jump into the next chapter of my career with APG,” said WZRD BLD. “In getting to know Mike, Andre, and everyone at the company, I’ve learned how high APG sets the bar for excellence and it’s truly inspiring. Mike’s a leader I’ve admired for many years so getting to work with him and his team is really incredible and I can’t wait to take on the world together!”
+ Veteran nu-metal outfit Limp Bizkit has signed with Artist Group International for North American representation. AGI’s Dennis Arfa, Mike Arfin, and Nick Storch will be the responsible agents along with their team of agents. The group performed at the Lollapalooza festival in August but postponed a following tour due to COVID-19 concerts; they plan to tour in the summer of 2022.
“We are honored to welcome Limp Bizkit to AGI,” said Arfa. “They are one of music’s most energetic headliners and we can’t wait to bring the guys back to audiences around the country next summer.”
Fred Durst, lead vocalist and band manager commented, “I’m very excited to be teaming up with AGI for this next exciting chapter in Limp Bizkit’s journey. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt this confident about our team on the field.”
+ Veteran agent Shannon Casey is joining Wasserman Music as SVP of fairs and festivals. She starts on October 1, based in the agency’s Nashville office, and joins Wasserman following more than two decades at CAA in Nashville.
“The addition of Shannon to Wasserman Music brings irreplaceable experience and expertise in a rapidly evolving economy in fairs and festivals, said senior VP Lenore Kinder. “She has cultivated decades of meaningful relationships with her buyers, and I have no doubt they’re just as eager to get back to business with her as we are!”
+ Former Coca-Cola head of music Joe Belliotti has been named CEO of the MassiveMusic North America agency, the company announced Wednesday. The hire comes after the recent acquisition of MassiveMusic by B2B music-licensing platform Songtradr. During his time at Coca-Cola, Belliotti was responsible for working on global campaigns including the FIFA World Cup, the Olympic Games, Share a Coke and a Song, Product (RED) and the American Music Awards.
Hans Brouwer, CEO and founder of MassiveMusic, said, “MassiveMusic’s growth has been driven by our mission to help brands and agencies elevate their stories through the power of music and sound but, most importantly, by the employees themselves. Call me biased but I’ve never seen such a committed group of people. With Joe Belliotti now officially on board as CEO of MassiveMusic North America, I am confident that we will continue to expand our track record as the leading music and sound partner for the world’s most innovative and iconic brands and agencies.”
+ Livestreaming company Dreamstage has named Jesse Kirshbaum, former CEO of the marketing agency Nue, CMO of the company. Kirshbaum will oversee the marketing team, working closely with VP Erick Charles, who joined the company earlier this year.
“I couldn’t be more excited about joining the Dream Team!,” Kirshbaum said. “The pandemic has changed the live business and consumer & artist habits around it, forever. The data shows that when done right livestreaming has a positive effect on artists relationships with their fans, and creates even more demand for live shows.”
+ The newly relaunched Chrysalis Records has hired Allison Schlueter as head of frontline marketing and catalog development for North America. Based in New York, she will drive the North American marketing strategy for Chrysalis’ frontline artists, including Laura Marling, Liz Phair, and the recently signed Emeli Sandé, as well as for the Chrysalis and Tommy Boy Music catalogs. Schlueter comes to Chrysalis from artist management services company Mtheory, where she worked VP of marketing for TMWRK Management. She also held roles at Artist Group International and Island Def Jam Records.
Tuesday, Sept. 28
+ Pioneering Puerto Rican reggaetón artist Daddy Yankee has signed with WME in all areas. Among many other feats since he first emerged in the 1990s, he recently became the only Latin artist to log over one billion Spotify streams on three tracks, and also has racked up more than 7 billion streams in the last 12 months alone on YouTube — due only in part to “Despacito,” his collaboration with Luis Fonsi. In 2018, his single “Dura” was the second most-watched video in 2018 and in 2019, “Con Calma” marked the number “Most Watched” video globally on YouTube and has received over one billion streams on Spotify. Other hits include “Gasolina,” “Rompe,” “Limbo” and “Que Tire Pa’Lante.”
+ Motown Records has named JD Anderson senior vice president of marketing and digital strategy, reporting to Brian Nolan, Motown EVP and EVP, marketing. Said Ethiopia Habtemariam, chairwoman and CEO of Motown: “JD’s talent, experience and knowledge along with his competitive spirit and dedication will only enhance and expand our ability to support our artist’s vision. He is playing a key role in our organization — leading our digital strategy — and I’m excited to welcome him to our team.”
Prior to Motown, Anderson spent eight years at Epic Records, most recently in the role of SVP, marketing, where he directed Future’s documentary, “I’m Just Being Honest,” and contributed to campaigns for DJ Khaled. A native of Jamaica who grew up in the Bronx, Anderson’s directing chops, notably for The-Dream’s “Panties To The Side” video, got him hired at Def Jam where he spent five years of his early career working with such artists as Kanye West and Rick Ross.
+ eOne Music has changed its name to MNRK Music Group (pronounced “Monarch” like the butterfly), in observance of Hasbro’s sale of its eOne music division in June 2021. MNRK Music Group will now operate as a standalone consolidated music company focused on recordings, publishing, and artist management. Chris Taylor will continue to head MNRK Music Group as its president and CEO. “Our migration as a premium destination for music talent takes a giant step forward today with a new name and new owners that are incredibly well-resourced and as excited about the opportunity as we are. We are ready to fly!”, says Taylor. Additionally, MNRK Music Group will continue to work closely with eOne’s television and film divisions, with several projects to be released in 2021, including soundtracks to the “My Little Pony” film and the eOne/Netflix film “The Starling,” and music from British preschool animated television series Peppa Pig. The company’s roster includes the Lumineers, Brandy, the Game, Juicy J, and management clients Kaytranada, Lupita Infante, Powfu and more.
+ Round Hill has acquired the catalog of legendary R&B group the O’Jays, comprising 100% of the master royalty income of 532 original recordings from the American group. Titles include “Love Train”, “Use Ta Be My Girl”, “Cry Together”, “Back Stabbers”, “For the Love of Money” — the theme song to “The Apprentice,” for better or worse — and more. According to the announcement, the O’Jays’ revenue mix is 64% streaming, 3% physical, 10% download, 17% sync and 6% other. The O’Jays are two-time Grammy Hall of Fame inductees, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005 and the National Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame in 2013
+ Veteran artist manager Pat Magnarella’s Southern California-based record label Enci Records (Fences, the Joy Formidable, Kulick, The Aquadolls) has announced a joint venture deal with Nashville-based indie LV Music, founded by Grammy-winning songwriter-producer, Femke. The first signing as part of the new joint venture is Scottish alternative band Dancing On Tables, who are currently recording their debut album, to be released in 2022.
+ Live Nation Urban has named Mari Arionne Davies VP of booking and talent, president Shawn Gee announced. According to the announcement, in this new role, Davies handles booking artists for Live Nation Urban festival properties and touring brands. Overseeing the department, she will actively seek out partners to introduce a new generation of tours, festivals, and activations. Drawing on a background in social justice, she has also been tapped to identity avenues to support underserved voices in the business. In her career as an agent, Davies worked closely with A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, Kelly Rowland, NBA star Matt Barnes and comedian-actor Hannibal Burress.
“We are beyond excited to bring Mari over to head up our festival booking and touring activities,” Gee said. “She is a rising star in the business, and we are fortunate to have her on the Live Nation Urban team”
+ Big Machine Label Group has hired Kaylan Moody and Josie Hardin in its marketing department as start team lead and digital marketing manager, respectively, and has promoted Flo Myerscough-Harris to label assistant, U.K.
“We are excited to see the immediate impact that Kaylan and Josie are having with our artists,” says BMLG EVP Mike Rittberg. “Their work ethic and creativity has already been such an asset to our team. I am also thrilled to have Flo move into a full-time position with our UK team. There is really nothing better than seeing one of our interns grow within the company.”
+ Utopia Music has named Paul Stuart as chief legal officer. Located in Stockholm, he reports to Utopia Chief Executive Officer Markku Mäkeläinen. Stuart joins Utopia from Soundtrack Your Brand (previously named Spotify Business) where he was general counsel and head of business affairs. Prior to that, Stuart held senior positions at EMI Music in Sweden and video streaming platform Magine Pro. He started his career at leading Nordic commercial law firm, Mannheimer Swartling and also spent time serving in the Malmö District Court.
Mäkeläinen said: “Paul brings years of experience with copyrights and music industry legislation, making him a crucial addition to our team and in delivering on the Utopia mission of securing Fair Pay for Every Play. We’re delivering an infrastructure to the music ecosystem that will secure and support Creator Rights on their entire life cycle.”
Monday, Sept. 27
Ticketing platform Dice has raised up to to $122 million in Series C funding in a round was led by new investor, SoftBank Vision Fund 2, with follow on investments from Tony Fadell’s Future Shape, Blisce, French entrepreneur Xavier Niel, Mirabaud Private Equity, Cassius and Evolution.
“We believe DICE’s technology has the capacity to transform the future of live entertainment,” said Yanni Pipilis, Managing Partner for SoftBank Investment Advisers. “Alongside the flexibility and security of seamless ticketing, the platform connects fans, artists and venues in a completely new way… We are excited to partner with DICE to help create remarkable event experiences for fans all over the world.”
According to the announcement, Dice will use the funding to “significantly grow the company by expanding reach to artists, fans and venues, while hiring new team members, adding to its live stream offering, and launching an ambitious artist development program that will see the platform work with even more artists directly on their live strategy.”
“Dice is rewiring the live experiences industry. We have proven that if you treat fans well, they go out more,” said founder-CEO Phil Hutcheon. “We’re overhauling an unfair, inefficient system by pioneering a transparent, data-led, fan-first approach – building a scalable ecosystem that helps artists, promoters and venues thrive. To have SoftBank as a partner enables us to expand into every market.”
Tony Fadell, iPod inventor and iPhone co-inventor, is joining the Dice board to support further platform development and expansion into venues.
+ Warner Music Group and Twitch have announced a “first-of-its-kind” partnership that will see the companies launch various recording artist channels and create a standalone music space featuring premium music-centric programming. The deal marks Twitch’s first partnership with a major record company, bringing users ways to interact with music-related content on the service, and granting artists a more direct connection with fans.
Additionally, Twitch has created a new process that participating music rights holders, including WMG, can opt into to report certain uses of their music, to address when creators inadvertently or incidentally use music in their streams. This comes in tandem with last weeks’ announcement of an arrangement between Twitch and the National Music Publishers Association that falls short of a licensing agreement but apparently calms the longstanding tensions between the two entities.
Oana Ruxandra, Chief Digital Officer and EVP, Business Development, WMG said: ”It’s clear that Twitch is an indispensable space for all types of creators to connect with their fan communities. Our partnership creates an on-ramp for artists to come onto the service with strong support from Twitch, opening up an entirely new source of incremental revenue. Between the artist-specific channels and the premium shows we’re planning to launch, music lovers will get a refreshing new view into the world of music and the lives of their favorite artists.”
Tracy Chan, VP, Head of Music, Twitch added: “Twitch has always been – and will continue to be – creator first. For fans, artists and all creators, this is a great step forward. The myriad opportunities for fans and artists to forge meaningful, direct and valued relationships on Twitch continue to expand every day. Working together, we can create new paradigms and opportunities for artists and the Twitch community, all grounded in the passion of fans. We appreciate the progressive approach of our colleagues at Warner Music and look forward to a productive partnership.”
The partnership with Warner Music Group’s recorded music business will see the launch of WMG artist channels, including Warner Records artists Bella Poarch and Saweetie and Atlantic Records’ singer/producer Sueco.
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