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Music Industry Moves: Lauren Papapietro Joins Warner Music; Adam Block Named CEO of Morrison Hotel Gallery

Lauren Papapietro has been named Warner Music Group‘s new VP of communications for Rhino and Warner’s global catalog team.

Based in New York, and reporting to Kevin Gore (President, Global Catalog, Recorded Music, WMG), Papapietro will work to develop and execute publicity strategies for the catalogs of WMG artists including Fleetwood Mac, Aretha Franklin, Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, Prince and Tina Turner, among many others.

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With 15 years of industry experience under her belt, Lauren most recently served as head of publicity for Crush Music where she led campaigns for artists and tours including Panic! At The Disco, Alanis Morissette, Green Day, Sia, and more. Prior to that, she led publicity at Glassnote Entertainment Group, the independent label home to acts such as Mumford & Sons, Childish Gambino, and Phoenix.

+ Morrison Hotel Gallery has hired music exec Adam Block as its new CEO. Scott Pascucci, former CEO of Concord, will also be joining Morrison Hotel Gallery as executive chairman.

Morrison Hotel Gallery is home to artwork and photos depicting iconic shots of rock legends, jazz maestros and hip-hop trailblazers. “With Block at the helm, the gallery’s commitment to authenticity and artistic excellence will be amplified with a focus on continuing to celebrate the legacies of its robust roster of the world’s greatest music and entertainment photographers,” reads a press release that highlights the Gallery’s push to spotlight the next generation of history-making photographers. Additionally, the Gallery plans to expand its exhibitions, events and platform, “from its physical locations to its digital marketing and sales – moving beyond its core business to a broad range of new endeavors.”

Prior to joining Morrison Hotel Gallery, Block was the global head of catalog music at Amazon Music. He’s also a co-founder and partner in Jazz Is Dead and the Asbury Park Music & Film Festival. During his 25-year tenure at Sony Music Entertainment, Block spearheaded marketing tactics and significant acquisition deals including AC/DC, Paul Simon, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Uncle Tupelo, and others.

Block’s contributions extend beyond music to film and television, having executive produced and/or been intimately involved in projects including “Show Me The Picture: The Story of Jim Marshall,” Paul Simon’s “Under African Skies,” “Searching for Sugar Man,” and more.

+ The Bob Dylan Center and Universal Music Publishing Group have announced the launch of the Bob Dylan Center Songwriter Fellowship, created to develop rising talent.

Fellowship recipients will be selected by a panel of songwriters: French singer and songwriter Juliette Armanet; American singer and songwriter Patty Griffin; American singer and songwriter John Mellencamp; Mexican singer and songwriter Carla Morrison; and American rapper and songwriter Nas.

“The Bob Dylan Center Songwriter Fellowship is core to our mission of educating, motivating and inspiring visitors to engage their own capacity as creators, and we cannot wait to hear the entries from undiscovered talent around the world,” said Steven Jenkins, director of the Bob Dylan Center.

The fellowship will be awarded to two recipients annually and was created with the intention of mentoring and developing aspiring songwriters. Each Fellowship encompasses a $40,000 project stipend, public engagement and presentation opportunities, dedicated time in the center’s Bob Dylan Archive to study Dylan’s creative process, roundtrip airfare to Tulsa and accommodations in the city, mentorship from UMPG songwriters and executives, and recording time in Leon Russell’s Church Studio.

Submissions are open now and close on Oct. 18, 2023. For more information on eligibility, see here.

+ Sony Music Publishing Nashville has upped Kenley Flynn, formerly senior director of creative A&R, to VP of creative A&R. Flynn will be responsible for signing and developing talent, and driving creative opportunities on behalf of SMP Nashville’s roster.

Throughout his tenure at the company, Flynn has helped launch breakout talent including Nate Smith (No. 1 hit “Whiskey On You”), Trannie Anderson (Lainey Wilson’s “Heart Like A Truck”) and James McNair (Luke Combs’ “Going, Going, Gone”) as well as Madeline Merlo (“Slide”) and David Morris (“Carrying Your Love”).

Added Flynn, “Being at Sony Music Publishing these last few years has been genuinely inspiring. I get to work with Nashville’s top songwriters, artists, and producers as well as with an A&R team that is world class. I’m so proud of the story we are writing here and I’m grateful to Rusty and Josh for letting me play a role in that story.”

+ The Orchard has appointed Gita Williams as senior VP of artist and label services in the U.S. Williams is based in Los Angeles and reports to Mary Ashley Johnson, executive VP of sales/artist and label services.

In her new role, Williams will develop and market the company’s signed artist roster as well as identify and sign compelling new talent. Prior to joining the Orchard, Williams was both the executive VP of marketing and interim head of label positions at Roc Nation, senior VP of marketing at Epic Records, VP of marketing at Interscope/Geffen/A&M, and VP of sales at RCA Records.

Williams also founded the Mehan Group, a boutique global management and marketing firm. She has worked with artists and organizations including Labrinth, Solange, iamOTHER, Nipsey Hussle, The Carters, Jaden Smith, Jennifer Lopez, Mary J. Blige, ATO Records and Lateral MGMT, among others.

Added Johnson, “Gita’s experience in artist management and major label leadership roles will prove invaluable as we refine our Artist Services division and strive to achieve the best possible results for our clients. Her entrepreneurial background and advocacy for creators embodies the spirit of The Orchard. We are excited to welcome her to the team.”

+ Warner Music Canada and Warner Music India have launched a new joint venture, 91 North Records, with the goal of supporting artists of South Asian heritage. Artist and producer Ikwinder “Ikky” Singh will lead the team as creative director.

Canadian-based Punjabi stars Karan Aujla and Jonita Gandhi are the first artists to be signed and both will work closely with Ikky as well as A&R Director, Charlie B.

“I’ve always been fascinated by the blending of Indian and Western sounds into culturally impactful, innovative music,” said Ikky in a statement. “91 North Records exists to elevate artists pursuing this fusion. Punjabi and South Asian music already compete worldwide, and I’m thrilled to collaborate with emerging talents, showcasing and amplifying what they have to offer. This is no experiment; it’s the future.”

Added Alfonso Perez-Soto, president of emerging markets for Warner Music, “Punjabi music is currently going through a vibrant evolution, having been supported by multicultural Canada, it is now transforming from a regional and diaspora-based genre into a global force. This growth is thanks to exceptional production and artistry from the likes of Ikky and the ambition and understanding from Jay, Kristen and the teams at WM India and WM Canada. 91 North Records will act as the vital bridge between East and West – uniting talent, cultures, and ideas, and cementing a movement that is here to stay. At Warner Music we will continue to champion initiatives like this for the love of music, artists, and fans alike.”

+ The Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music at Monmouth University has joined forces with E Street Band guitarist Steve Van Zandt’s TeachRock education program to integrate music history in classrooms across the U.S.

“Forming a partnership with the Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music will only increase opportunities for students and teachers alike,” said Bill Carbone, executive director of the Rock and Roll Forever Foundation, the parent company of TeachRock. “Both institutions share the same goals when it comes to education and the role music plays in it.”

Future collaborations between the organizations will include teacher workshops, student internships, seminars and conferences, curriculum development and joint research activities. Integration will begin at Asbury Park Middle School and High School with the Harmony Student Wellness program.

+ Davis Corley, a Tenessee-based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, has signed a worldwide publishing agreement with Sony Music Publishing Nashville and KP Entertainment.

Davis built his career as a co-writer and multi-instrumentalist after moving to Nashville eight years ago. Since then, he’s scored two No. 1 singles in Texas, Jake Ward’s “Not Too Far To Reach” and Jake Bush’s “Tractor Town.”

“Davis is a true songwriter,” said Aubrey Daniels, who handles creative at KP Publishing. “His unique approach creates an element in his writing that genuine and timeless. I’m absolutely honored to get to work side by side with Davis and excited for the magic that is yet come.”

+ Sound Talent Group, an independent music agency, has tapped Jon Pleeter and John Lashnits as talent agents. Both Pleeter and Lashnits will work with the company’s roster which houses artists across North America, the U.K., Europe, Australia, Asia and South America.

Pleeter joins STG after working as VP of Concerts at ICM where he handled artists in the pop, rock, indie and electronic categories. In his new role, Pleeter will handle clients including Parliament Funkadelic feat. George Clinton, Saving Abel, Saliva, Conquer Divide and Tommy Vext.

Lashnits was an agent at APA, and prior to that, he worked at Paradigm Talent Agency where he signed the Front Bottoms, Anamanaguchi and Basement. In his new position, Lashnits will continue to work with his roster of 30+ artists including the Front Bottoms, Destroy Boys, the Wrecks, Movements, Leprous and Basement.

Monday, Aug. 21

Musexpo, the international music business and showcase event, will be honoring Jacqueline Saturn, president of Virgin Music, with the International Music Person of the Year award at the special VIP Awards Gala Luncheon on March 19, 2024.

The luncheon will feature a special awards honorarium and presentations from the City of Burbank; County of Los Angeles and representatives from the State of California to pay tribute to Jacqueline’s remarkable and indelible career in the music business. The luncheon will also be preceded by an exclusive keynote interview with Saturn which will highlight her personal and professional journey. That conversation will take place as part of Musexpo’s week-long series slated for March 17 – 20 for events that include a global synch and brands summit, an A&R summit, and more.

Saturn’s extensive career in music spans 19 years working at Epic Records, where she ascended to senior vice president of radio promotion and later joined Capitol Music Group as general manager of Harvest Records. She later became president of Caroline, now Virgin Music.

Previous honorees of the International Music Person of the Year award have included Monte and Avery Lipman, Pete Ganbarg and Diane Warren, among numerous others.

+ Pulse Records (a Pulse Music Group and Concord company) has formed a creative joint venture with R&B superstar Brent Faiyaz via his new ISO Supremacy label. Faiyaz’s first signing to the label is Tommy Richman, who is currently opening for him on his sold-out “F*ck the World It’s A Wasteland” tour.

Faiyaz, who signed to Pulse in 2016 as a music publishing client, commented: “My partnership with Pulse Music Group since Day 1 has been transformative. In launching my new label ISO Supremacy and partnering with PULSE Records, we’ve created this platform to give artists like Tommy Richman a creative home with the ability to scale global impact and a team that is accessible who keeps creativity at the forefront. We’re going to continue to make history.”

Richman’s new EP, “The Rush,” will be the first release by Pulse Records and is coming mid-September, with the set’s first single dropping later this week on Aug. 25.

Added Pulse Music Group co-CEOs, Scott Cutler and Josh Abraham, and PULSE Music Group President/Head of Creative, Ashley Calhoun, “Brent does things his own way, working toward the highest artistic bar, and we relate to that. Our partnership with Brent Faiyaz and his team dates back to the beginning of his career and is filled with incredible songs, milestones, and success. Brent is without any doubt one of the most impactful and unstoppable recording artists in the world. Offering Brent a JV to sign and develop new artists alongside Pulse Records is the natural next step for everyone. It’s an honor to be on this journey with Brent and to amplify Tommy’s artistry through a smart and capable team we have customized specifically for Tommy’s success. Tommy Richman has a new single releasing this week and we’re excited about his future.”


Pictured at Pulse Records offices in Silverlake, CA: Left – Right (Back Row): Bel Mesbahi, Director, A&R, PULSE Records; Darren Xu, COO, ISO Supermacy; Ashani Allick, A&R, ISO Supremacy; Josh Abraham, co-CEO, Pulse Music Group; and Ashley Calhoun, President/Head of Creative, Pulse Music Group. Left – Right (Front Row): Brent Faiyaz; Tommy Richman; Tizita Makuria, Vice President of Creative, Pulse Music Group; and Sara Ahmed, Vice President of Marketing, Pulse Records.

+ Universal Music Publishing Group has signed Grupo Firme and indie regional Mexican music label, Music VIP Entertainment, to a global publishing agreement.

Isael Gutierrez, CEO of Music VIP Entertainment, also home to artists like El Mimoso and La Ventaja, commented, “UMPG has earned a place in Regional Mexican as the leading publisher, and this gives us all the confidence for our composers. We are proud of having learned and achieved so much independently in the most adverse circumstances but moving forward, we want to continue this positive trend alongside knowledgeable and trusted partners such as them.”

UMPG represents many of the genre’s biggest singer-songwriters including legendary acts such as Juan Gabriel, Los Angeles Azules, the estate of Jenni Rivera and Espinoza Paz, along with new voices including Yahritza y Su Esencia. UMPG was also recently named by BMI as regional Mexican publisher of the year.

“We are thrilled to be representing Grupo Firme and Music VIP Entertainment during this global surge in Mexican music,” said Yadira Moreno, UMPG’s managing director of Mexico and Central America and VP of new business development for Latin America. There is greatness in everything that they set their mind to, and we are thankful to be chosen as part of this. We have the best team to support their journey and are passionate for this generational music.”

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