Music Industry Moves: Zac Brown Band Signs With Warner Nashville; UnitedMasters Partners With Twitch

Jem Aswad
·6-min read

+ Warner Music Nashville has signed the Zac Brown Band. Coming releases will come out co-branded with the Warner imprint and the group’s own Home Grown Records logo.

Said Brown, “We couldn’t be more excited to become part of the Warner Music Nashville family. We feel incredibly blessed to be working with John Esposito, Cris Lacy, Ben Kline and their talented team. We’ve been hard at work in the studio and can’t wait to share our new music with our fans.”

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“Warner Music Nashville and Zac Brown Band share a fundamental value: forging connections through amazing and heartfelt music,” said Esposito, Warner Music Nashville’s chairman-CEO. “Their songs have ceaselessly fed our hearts and souls, and I am so proud to welcome them to our label home as we journey together into this new chapter.”

“When we heard the new music our only question was, ‘How quickly can we get this to the fans?’” said WMN’s EVP A&R, Cris Lacy. “It was absolutely, positively undeniable. It feels good to have them back in the Warner family, and we’re excited to make some new history together.”

Lacy’s “back in the family” comment to a period when Home Grown was affiliated with Warner’s Atlantic division, resulting in 2008’s five-times platinum “The Foundation” and 2010’s three-times platinum “You Get What You Give,” among other releases. The group subsequently issued albums with Big Machine and BMG before returning to the Warner fold.

+ UnitedMasters, the independent distribution company founded by industry veteran Steve Stoute, has announced an extended partnership with livestreaming service Twitch, which will provide qualifying UnitedMasters Select artists the opportunity to join the Twitch Affiliate Program, which allows qualifying creators to access income opportunities as Twitch Streamers. Eligible UnitedMasters Select artists will receive an email with details on the Twitch Affiliate Program with the goal of helping them to expand their fanbase and earn income while they livestream. To qualify, creators must be UnitedMasters SELECT members, have a release live for at least 30 days, and a minimum of three streams across DSPs.

UnitedMasters and Twitch first partnered in Fall of 2020 when Twitch launched “Soundtrack by Twitch,” a rights-cleared music tool designed for Twitch creators that connected them with the music of independent artists.

+ Warner Music Group has appointed Anton Partridge director of global strategy, electronic music. Partridge has been associated with Warner for the past decade as head of the Warner Music UK dance music imprint, One More Tune. He is also the founder of the ADA Worldwide-distributed, independent house music label, Good Company. Partridge will continue to be based in London and report to Eric Wong, President & CMO, Warner Recorded Music. Partridge previously held posts at MCA Records and Sony/ATV Music Publishing before joining Warner Music for the first time in 2010.

Wednesday, April 28

+ Red Bull Records has bulked up its staff with a number of hires and promotions. Nikki Cox will serve as the label’s Chief Marketing Officer, leading the organization’s efforts across marketing, digital, publicity, and streaming. She formerly served as VP of both global commercial marketing and international marketing at Capitol Records, and a senior post at EMI Music Australia before relocating to Los Angeles in 2014. Storme Whitby-Grubb will serve as chief creative officer, overseeing all creative activations, content, and special projects. With over 20 years in artist management and creative production, she has developed creative campaigns and concepts for clients including Interscope, Atlantic, Capitol, and multiple artists. She was most recently with the creative agency Imagu Creative.

Both will join Red Bull Records’ leadership team and will oversee the marketing and creative departments, respectively, and will report to Managing Director Greg Hammer.

“We’re excited to bring Nikki and Storme’s depth of experience to our team at Red Bull Records. These are two incredible executives who bring a wealth of knowledge and a wide array of skills to their respective roles and will help to develop and guide the careers of our diverse roster,” says Hammer. “With Nikki and Storme joining our leadership team alongside Kenny ‘Tick’ Salcido, Kamruz Mohager, Peter Torres, and myself, we will be able to offer cutting-edge artists more tools and resources than ever before.”

+ Loeb & Loeb is expanding its entertainment department in Nashville, bringing on John Rolfe as of counsel and Megan Keelan as associate attorney.

Rolfe arrives with 25 years of in-house and private practice experience including at music publisher Acuff-Rose (acquired by Sony/ATV), Compendia Music (acquired by eOne) and the Bradley law firm. His expertise is in catalog acquisitions, music contracts and intellectual property licenses.

Keelan is a newly licensed lawyer who had previously clerked at Loeb & Loeb. She was recently involved with the sale of Zach Crowell’s catalog to Round Hill Music.

Said Nashville-based partner Tiffany Dunn: “Loeb’s Entertainment team has remained incredibly active throughout the pandemic, and we are continuing to grow our Nashville office to keep up with client demand. John has been a friend to the lawyers in the firm for quite a few years. His extensive experience on both the business and legal sides of the industry will be instrumental as we continue to expand our team’s capabilities.”

+ Sony Music Publishing has promoted Ian Holder to Senior Vice President, Creative. Based in Sony Music Publishing’s New York office, Holder will be responsible for contributing to the company’s A&R initiatives throughout the U.S. and will help lead its growing presence in Atlanta. He has signed and developed prominent songwriters including Jack Harlow, Moneybagg Yo, Lil Tjay, Lil Durk, Felisha King, Bordeaux and Non Native, and LilJuMadeDaBeat. “Ian is the reason I’m with Sony – he immediately made me feel at home,” said Harlow. “After I joined SMP, he continued to call me and not only connect me with new talent but check in on my mental state. I am grateful to call him a friend.”

Sony Music Publishing Chairman and CEO Jon Platt said, “Ian has been critical to the success of Sony Music Publishing’s songwriters, and I am incredibly proud of Ian’s growth, passion and instincts as a creative executive. I’m equally proud of his emergence as a leader – I look forward to working alongside Ian in this next chapter as he continues creating unique opportunities for our songwriters.”

Prior to joining Sony Music Publishing in 2017, Holder spent ten years at BMI as a director of writer & publisher relations.

+ Mandolin, the tech-focused concert live streaming and music marketing platform, has signed an exclusive livestream partnership with booking agency Ground Control Touring. Following previously announced exclusive partnerships with venues such as The Ryman Auditorium and City Winery, Ground Control is the first booking agency to exclusively partner with Mandolin to host, produce, and market select forthcoming shows from its powerhouse roster of artists.

Under the terms of the deal, Mandolin will power upcoming GCTV streams, a continuation of the series that Ground Control Touring launched in mid 2020 to provide a solution for their artists to present ticketed live and pre-recorded streaming concerts. Shows hosted on Mandolin through GCTV will not be limited to Ground Control Touring clients and will include non-GCT bands, festivals, and other partners as well.

+ Licensed lyrics platform LyricFind has hired Zack Werner, the music industry veteran and former judge of “Canadian Idol,” to manage business development out of Toronto.

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