Music Industry Moves: UMe Promotes Meg McLean Corso to VP

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UMe, the catalog division of Universal Music Group, has promoted Meg McLean Corso to vice president of media and artist relations, department EVP Sujata Murthy announced. She is based on the company’s Los Angeles headquarters.

McLean Corso’s roster, which reaches across multiple genres, includes Bob Marley, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Soundgarden, Tears for Fears and U2. She joined UMe in 2010 and previously held roles at Ironworks Music, Capitol Records, House of Blues Concerts and 91X/San Diego.

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In 2021, McLean Corso was selected as a founding member in the inaugural cohort for U.M.She Leads, a UMG Women’s Leadership Development Program and was recently nominated to join the board for the Universal Music Women’s Network, UMG’s first Employee Resource Group.

+ Bjork’s longtime label One Little Independent Records has announced a wide-ranging partnership with Downtown Music-owned distributor FUGA, which will provide distribution technology and global marketing services to the label. Formed in 1985 as One Little Indian, OLI has released music by such acts as Sugarcubes, Sneaker Pimps, Chumbawamba, Alabama 3, and Skunk Anansie, and more recently Ásgeir, Poppy Ackroyd, Galya Bisengalieva, Bad Breeding and Kathryn Williams.

“OLI’s fierce independence and approach to placing artists front and centre is aligned with FUGA’s own strategy, where we aim to consistently support our partners in their efforts to amplify and grow their artists, both locally and globally,” said Liz Northeast, FUGA’s UK general manager, who led the deal for FUGA.

Thursday, Sept. 15

Mike Hamilton has been appointed senior vice president of streaming and commerce at Def Jam Recordings. The New York-based Hamilton arrives from Epic Records, where he was senior director of Commerce and helped execute campaigns for such artists as 21 Savage, BIA, DJ Khaled, Future, GIVĒON, Jennifer Hudson, Rick Ross and Travis Scott, among others. Prior to that, he served in streaming and sales roles at Atlantic Records working with Cardi B, Lil Uzi Vert, Meek Mill, Janelle Monáe, Nipsey Hussle and more.

Said Tunji Balogun, Def Jam chairman and CEO: “I have known Mike for some time and have always greatly admired his work. Mike boasts some of the best relationships in the industry, and brings a deep, nuanced understanding of the streaming ecosystem and a keen eye for strategy. Our company and our artists will immediately benefit from Mike’s experience and expertise, and I’m beyond excited to finally work alongside him in breaking new artists together under the Def Jam banner.”

“Going back to our days at Atlantic, I’ve had a front row seat for Mike’s rapid growth as an executive and the passion, creativity and dynamism he brings to the job every day,” added LaTrice Burnette, EVP at Def Jam and president of 4th & Broadway.

“No entity in modern music has had a more profound impact on culture than Def Jam,” said Mike Hamilton. “The legacy of this brand is both rich and vast, and I am honored at the chance to add to it. I’m grateful to Tunji and LaTrice for their incredible support & I’m excited to help break the next generation of superstar artists.”

Wednesday, Sept. 14

+ Entertainment attorney and LaPolt Law P.C. founder Dina LaPolt will be recognized with the Friendly House 2022 Visionary Award at a luncheon on Nov. 19 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Friendly House was founded in 1951 as the first residential program in the U.S. for women recovering from substance and alcohol abuse. LaPolt has herself advocated for the provision of financial assistance for those in the music business seeking addiction and recovery treatment. For more information, head to the Friendly House L.A. site.

+ Steven Gringer has been promoted to vice president, A&R at PULSE Music Group, it was announced by co-CEOs Scott Cutler and Josh Abraham along with president Ashley Calhoun, to whom Gringer reports. He was previously senior creative director and remains based out of the company’s L.A. headquarters. Gringer has worked with Angel Lopez, who executive-produced Jack Harlow’s “Come Home The Kids Miss You” album, as well as others who have worked with Justin Bieber, Polo G, Lana Del Rey, Anitta, J Balvin and Future, among others.

+ Three Six Zero’s Mark Gillespie has joined collaborative rights platform Chordal, a platform to revolutionize global sync by allowing collaboration, improving transparency and reducing friction for buyers, as an advisor.

Tuesday, Sept. 13

+ Chris Stapleton has inked a renewal of his global publishing deal with Warner Chappell Music. He is represented by his managers Coran Capshaw, Zach Peters, and Clay Hunt of Red Light Management as well as his attorney Chip Petree.

Ben Vaughn, president and CEO of WCM Nashville, said: “Chris Stapleton is a once-in-a-lifetime talent.  The way he crafts lyrics set against his rhythms makes you literally feel the music. We believe his music will live on for generations and we couldn’t be more honored to continue working with such a timeless songwriter and artist.”

In a statement, Stapleton commented: “Ben Vaughn and the Warner Chappell Music team have been wonderful partners to me and my music over the past eight years. I look forward to our continued relationship.”

Stapleton is currently on the road for his “All-American Road Show” tour, and he was recently announced as a headliner for Stagecoach 2023.

+ Audacy has partnered with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to kick off their flagship program “I’m Listening.” The initiative will kick off with a special broadcast that aims to help raise awareness and support for issues relating to mental health.

The guests included in the broadcast are Carrie Underwood, Ed Sheeran, Adele, Vice President Kamala Harris, Lizzo, Ricky Williams, Maren Morris, Charlie Puth and Stephen A. Smith, who will share personal mental health stories. Plus, AFSP’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Christine Moutier, will be joining Katie Neal, host of Audacy’s nationally syndicated show “Katie + Company,” in studio for the event. The pair will respond to caller questions and stories with real-time advice.

Audacy will broadcast and stream its sixth annual “I’m Listening” special, which will once again be co-hosted by Carson Daly and by Dr. Alfiee M. Breland-Noble (Dr. Alfiee), a psychologist, author, scientist and founder of mental health nonprofit, the AAKOMA Project. The two-hour special will air nationwide on Sept. 21 from 6-8 p.m. local time across more than 230 Audacy stations and will be live streamed via its digital app and website.

Additionally, Alanis Morrisette, Garbage, Halsey, OneRepublic, Weezer and more are set to play the “We Can Survive” concert at the Hollywood Bowl on Oct. 22. Michael Martin, senior VP of programming and music initiatives for Audacy, said: “Being able to bring people together for ‘We Can Survive’ highlights the importance of music and the work that the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is doing to spotlight the enormity of mental health issues.”

If you or anyone you know is struggling with a mental health crisis, call or text 988, the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. For more information about the campaign, please visit www.ImListening.org.

+ The National Independent Talent Organization (NITO) has made two new additions to its board of directors in its first open elections.

Fielding Logan (Q Prime) and Jon Grau (This Is Management), will fill two new managerial board seats, and term-expiring board members Tom Chauncey (Partisan Arts), Eric Dimenstein (Ground Control Touring), Wayne Forte (Entourage Talent Associates), Bruce Houghton (Skyline Artists Agency), Mark Lourie (Madison House), Brad Madison (Mongrel Music), and Jack Randall (Kurland Agency) were re-elected to fill eight open at large seats. All will serve two-year terms.

They will join current board members Paul Lohr (New Frontier Touring), Frank Riley (High Road Touring), Dave Shapiro (Sound Talent Group), Stormy Shepherd (Leave Home Booking), Steve Schenck (TKO), Ami Spishock (Fort William Management), Scott Sokol (Pinnacle), and Michel Vega (Magnus Media) on NITO’s new board of directors. These remaining members will stand for re-election in 2023.

NITO was formed in the early days of the pandemic to represent the interests of independent booking agents and managers. The group was a key partner in the passage of the Shuttered Venue Operating Grant, which provided $2 billion in pandemic relief to independent venues, promoters, agents, and managers.

+ Reservoir Media, together with PopArabia, has acquired the Lebanese label and music publisher, Voice of Beirut. This acquisition builds on Reservoir’s emerging markets strategy which aims to further diversify the brand’s music rights in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Spek, PopArabia founder and Reservoir executive VP of international and emerging markets, said: “The acquisition of Voice of Beirut deepens Reservoir and PopArabia’s presence in the Arab world. Not only is it the largest Middle East acquisition we have done thus far – in terms of catalog size – but when viewed in context with the other crucial deals we’ve done this year, it is clear we are firmly establishing ourselves as a meaningful player in the Arabic music space.”

Reservoir Founder and CEO, Golnar Khosrowshahi, added, “Reservoir continues to demonstrate its commitment to our strategy of investment in the MENA region and emerging markets. Through our efforts with PopArabia and deals like the acquisition of Voice of Beirut, we now represent a growing breadth of diversity in music from the Middle East across styles, eras, and rights types. We’re excited to share that music on a global scale, especially as we continue to see increasing interest in regional music around the world.”

+ The company formerly known as Kobalt Neighbouring Rights has announced its name change to Kollective Neighbouring Rights (KNR). It is also launching a new platform powered by global distribution and artist and label services company, The Orchard.

Leveraging The Orchard’s enhanced technology, global reach, and infrastructure, KNR’s roster of clients will receive a full range of global administration and performance royalty maximization services, including a new website, advanced technology and customer accounting, and a revamped client portal.

Clients also will gain the support data and reporting needs to manage, assert and collect payment for their artist and/or label share of performance rights income. The new features are set to begin rolling out on Oct. 4 and will continue into 2023.

“Today marks the start of a new era for KNR. We are excited to build on our relationship with The Orchard to unveil an upgraded custom-built system that will help serve our global clients in enhanced, more streamlined ways, while continuing to provide best-in-class service,” said Ann Tausis, KNR CEO. “There are still untapped markets in neighboring rights, and we’re looking forward to utilizing the global footprint of The Orchard to initiate collections for our clients in additional territories. I’m very excited about the rebrand and our new identity.”

Sony Music Entertainment acquired KNR, along with AWAL, in May 2021. KNR and AWAL are part of a suite of artist and label services offerings from SME enhanced by the technology and network of The Orchard.

+ HarbourView Equity Partners, the alternative asset management company founded by Sherrese Clarke Soares, has acquired Big Loud Mountain Music‘s publisher share of select songs from country music duo Florida Georgia Line’s catalog.

HarbourView has been extremely active since launching just nine months ago, acquiring nearly 40 catalogs to date. The firm’s diverse portfolio features thousands of titles spanning numerous genres and decades — most recently, the company acquired the catalogs of Brad Paisley, Lady A, Hollywood Undead, Dre and Vidal, and Luis Fonsi.

According to a press release, HarborView strives to be “the standard for excellence and integrity in investing in assets and companies driven by premier intellectual property, with expertise in and around esoteric asset classes, including in music, film, TV, and sports.”

Alter, Kendrick & Baron, LLP served as legal counsel to HarbourView in this transaction. Big Loud Mountain Music was represented by Derek Crownover, Megan Pekar and John Rolfe of Loeb & Loeb LLP.

Monday, September 12

Grammy-winning producer-songwriters Hit-Boy and James Fauntleroy have signed on as co-executive producers and the sonic creative team for the “NFT supergroup” Kingship. Together, the pair will work with Arnell, Kingship’s “Mutant DJ and Producer,” to oversee the group’s music direction and sound.

“I’m always looking to push things forward musically,” said Hit-Boy, who has worked with Beyonce, Rihanna, Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West and many others, “and this is a great opportunity to do something new in the web3 space.” Fauntleroy, who’s collaborated with Beyonce, Rihanna, Drake, Nipsey Hussle and others, added, “It’s so exciting to be a part of something historical and ambitious. As a huge nerd, and music fanatic, I can’t wait to see what comes from the intersection of the web3 collectors/creatives and the entertainment creative community.”

“I’m incredibly thankful that Hit-Boy and James Fauntleroy, two of the most influential and creative geniuses in the entire industry, are coming together to develop the music and sound for Kingship,” said Celine Joshua, head of 10:22PM, to which the group is signed.

+ Paris-based digital music company Believe has named Béatrice Dumurgier as its COO, the company announced Monday. According to the announcement, in this newly created role she will “lead Believe’s end-to-end execution while being a core contributor of the Group’s global strategy.” She was previously CEO of BNP Paribas Personal Investors, then COO of BlaBlaCar and senior advisor at BlackFin Capital Partners.

Believe founder-CEO Denis Ladegaillerie said, “I am thrilled to welcome Béatrice amongst our ranks as Believe’s new COO as I’m convinced her expertise in digital transformation and scaling up businesses, as well as her leadership is the perfect fit to accompany Believe in this next phase of growth and ensure our teams are fully equipped to best support our artists and labels in alignment with our values of respect, fairness and transparency.”

+ Quality Control’s QC Media Holdings company has named Atlanta native Brandon Farmer a partner at its Solid Foundation Management. He began his career working with Justin Bieber, then founded B. Farmer Management, where he worked with Latto, Jeremiah, Kelly Rowland, Sevyn Streeter, and Rotimi.

“Brandon is a perfect fit for Solid Foundation. He fights for his clients and makes a real impact on their careers, and that’s the type of energy we’re looking for,” said Solid Foundation president Simone Mitchell.

+ iHeartMedia has named Uta Knablein as the company’s new chief product officer for iHeartRadio. She was previously iHeartMedia’s EVP of iHeartRadio’s flagship products and user experience; prior to joining the company in 2018, she held roles at Nickelodeon Digital, Outbrain, JPMorgan and CNBC. In her new role, Knablein will report directly to Conal Byrne, CEO of iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group.

“At iHeartMedia, we’re committed to innovation and being on the forefront of this fast paced industry,” said Byrne. “Since joining the team, Uta has played a critical role in elevating the user experience through groundbreaking products and features. With her decades of experience and shared values, there is no doubt she is the right leader for our product team. As we look toward the future, we’re thrilled to have Uta’s depth of industry knowledge to keep us on the cutting edge.”

+ Sixthman, which stages cruises and festivals for Kiss, Jon Bon Jovi and many others, has named Kristine Marshall and Bryce Carr senior directors of event development. Marshall will remain based in New York and Carr in Los Angeles. Marshall previously was an agent at ICM Partners  and CAA; Carr held roles at Rally.io, Fender Musical Instruments and Bandsintown.

“Sixthman is in strategic growth mode, both in the number of events we are producing and across entertainment verticals,” said VP Jeff Cuellar. “Bringing Kristine Marshall and Bryce Carr to the Sixthman team is only going to allow us to keep creating new and more immersive destination events.”

+ Spirit Music Group has promoted Frank Rogers to chief creative officer. In this global role, Rogers, a multi-platinum producer and songwriter in addition to his executive positions, will oversee the company’s creative initiatives across all genres. He will also retain his title of CEO, Spirit Music Nashville.

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