Live Nation has promoted Jenifer Smith to head of urban tour marketing & strategy, leading all marketing efforts for the live-entertainment giant’s roster of R&B and hip-hop tours within the concerts division. Artists include Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Drake, the Weeknd, Travis Scott, Lauryn Hill and the Fugees, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, A$AP Rocky, Lil Baby, Alicia Keys, Young Thug, Jack Harlow and many more.
According to the announcement, she will be “developing and building out the urban tour marketing team as one of the fastest growing and most popular sectors in the industry.”
More from Variety
“Whether it’s artists or our own internal team, Live Nation is always investing in people we believe in,” said Omar Al-joulani, the company’s head of talent & touring. “Jenifer has been an incredible leader at Live Nation, and we are confident her strategic focus and experience will do big things for every artist working with our urban marketing team.”
+ The Recording Academy has appointed Todd Dupler VP of advocacy and public policy, effective immediately. Dupler will report to department head Daryl Friedman.
According to the announcement, Dupler works with the Academy’s leadership to develop policy positions on issues affecting the music community and represents the interests of the Academy’s members before Congress and federal agencies. He also coordinates state and local advocacy with the Academy’s 12 regional chapters. Friedman continues to oversee the advocacy division focused on championing creators’ rights and elevating important policy issues that stand to affect the music community. He also orchestrates cross-departmental efforts to advance the overall advocacy goals of the Recording Academy.
“I’m thrilled to welcome Todd into his elevated role as Vice President of Advocacy & Public Policy,” said Harvey Mason jr., CEO of the Recording Academy. “His track record for advocating on behalf of music creators nationwide has proven to be invaluable to the music community. As we continue to evolve to better serve the music industry at-large, we are excited to see what great work he will lead to ensure fair treatment and compensation for music creators.”
Dupler joined the Recording Academy in 2012 and most recently served as managing director of advocacy & public policy. Prior to joining the Academy, he served on the legislative staffs of two members of Congress and a United States senator, including serving as the legislative director to the chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet.
+ Hitmaka has joined independent music company Empire as VP of A&R while also continuing to work as an artist and producer. According to the announcement, he joins the Empire team “poised to help develop and break independent artists across the San Francisco label’s diverse roster.” In recent months, he has delivered singles for the label including Yung Bleu’s “Baddest,” Tink’s “Rebel” and Rotimi’s “What To Do” while preparing releases for his new venture with Empire, the Makasound imprint. He will report to CEO/founder Ghazi and SVP of A&R, Tina Davis.
Hitmaka said, “Partnering with Empire and Ghazi has given me the freedom to create with global talent. Being wholly independent allows us to make great music and let the fans enjoy it without any hurdles or restrictions – we strike while the iron is hot!”
Ghazi added, “Hitmaka is one of the best in the game. We’re lucky to have him on the home team at Empire – inspiring and creating with our artists and delivering top quality music of his own.”
Thursday Sept. 23
After BTS’ speech and performance at the United Nations earlier this week, the group and BigHit Music president Shin Young-Jae got together with Columbia Records chief Ron Perry and the Orchard’s Brad Navin to celebrate the success of the group’s blockbuster single “Butter” (pictured above with Navin and Perry, center, and Young-Jae, far right).
+ Just weeks after Tunji Balogun was announced as the incoming CEO of Def Jam Recordings, the label has named Dara Michelle has been appointed executive VP and head of marketing, who began her career at the company nearly 15 years ago. The appointment was announced today by interim chairman/CEO Jeff Harleston.
“I am extremely excited to welcome Dara back to Def Jam at this pivotal time of growth and development at the company,” said Harleston. “Dara returns to the Def Jam Family bringing a wealth of experience, insight and gravitas. She is well-recognized across the industry for her marketing accomplishments across all genres. Her leadership is already impacting the culture at Def Jam and I am confident she will make a lasting contribution.”
“I started my career at Def Jam so this is a proud full circle moment for me,” said Dara Michelle. “Def Jam is such an incredible and storied brand, and I’m honored to be part of the label’s next chapter as we continue to foster the marquee talent that we are known for, as well as developing new artists through innovative marketing and storytelling. I want to thank Nicki Farag and Jeff Harleston for this opportunity – I’m excited for all that’s yet to come.”
Michelle comes to Def Jam after a year-long marketing consultancy for RBMG/Def Jam artist Justin Bieber. She began her career at the former Island Def Jam Music Group as a college intern in video production in 2003 and rose to director of international marketing. She joined Roc Nation in 2012 as senior VP of global marketing.
+ Universal Music Publishing has promoted Natasha Baldwin to executive VP of classics and screen. Based in London, she will report to chairman-CEO Jody Gerson and COO Marc Cimino.
In the newly-created role, Baldwin is responsible for leading UMPG’s global classical and screen composer businesses. She succeeds Jim Kendrick who, after over 10 years leading UMPG Classical, is retiring but will continue to work closely with the company’s global teams. Additionally, the UMPG Classics division will include Decca Publishing, which Baldwin launched out of Universal Music UK in 2016, and an expanded portfolio of catalogues within UMPG specializing in classical, post-classical, electronic and score composers.
Leading UMPG Classics and Screen, Baldwin will also oversee UMPG’s roster of screen composers, including Danny Elfman, Alexandre Desplat, James Newton-Howard, David Lynch, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Gustavo Santaolalla, and more.
Cimino said: “Natasha is a dynamic executive who has been a great partner to UMPG over the last five years. Her leadership, experience and global sensibility fit right in with our company culture.” Previously, Baldwin served as Executive Vice President, Decca Publishing, Global Classics & Jazz. Prior to UMPG, she held senior posts at Imagem Music Group and Boosey & Hawkes.
Baldwin said: “With the creation of this new division, we have the opportunity to bring together the world’s greatest legacy composers, the established trailblazers of today, and the next generation of writers to amplify the best and brightest global voices in classical and screen music. I want to thank Jody Gerson and Marc Cimino for giving me the opportunity and support to lead these businesses into an exciting new future. I also want to thank David Joseph and Dickon Stainer for their vision and commitment to composer artistry over the last five years.”
+ Sony Music Entertainment France has appointed Marie-Anne Robert as managing director of the company. According to the announcement, Robert will oversee all operations, signings and acquisitions, accelerate the French company’s digital transformation and develop new artist opportunities with sister Sony companies. She will report to Daniel Lieberberg, the President of Continental Europe and Africa, who is currently overseeing operations in the country until Robert takes up the role on October 4, 2021. Over the course of a 20-year career, Robert has held senior posts at Believe, TuneCore, Virgin Music France and EMI.
“Marie-Anne’s unique expertise combines a digital and data-driven approach with creativity and strong artist relationships, all of which is a perfect fit with Sony Music’s culture,” said Daniel Lieberberg, President of Continental Europe and Africa, Sony Music. “Her international experience, working both in indies and majors across multiple genres, will also be key to accelerating our growth in the world’s fifth largest market. She’s a fantastic addition to our senior leadership team in Europe and we look forward to her joining our Sony Music.”
“With increasing diversification of French music, the fast pace of digital adoption and the growing export power of French music, it’s an exciting time for music in the country and there’s huge opportunity to build on work already underway in the business,” added Robert. “Sony Music is renowned for its artist-first approach, and when combined with opportunities that the Sony family bring, it’s a compelling offering to our country’s artist community. I cannot wait to join and I very much look forward to taking Sony Music France to the next level.”
Wednesday, Sept. 22
Kobalt has signed Modest Mouse’s lead singer and songwriter, Issac Brock, to a global publishing deal. The deal includes a full range of creative, synch, and administration services for Brock’s contributions on the band’s new album “The Golden Casket.”
Said Brock, “I’m thrilled to be partnering with Kobalt to represent my writing on our new album ‘The Golden Casket.’ I really value the passion the whole team, particularly Jamie Kinelski and Sean Dishman, have shown for Modest Mouse and the transparency with which they run their business.”
Added Kinelski, “I am so thrilled to welcome Isaac to Kobalt. He continues to be a prolific, influential writer and musician, whose impact on music has been inspirational to many.”
+ Warner Chappell Music, the global publishing arm of Warner Music Group, has renewed its exclusive worldwide administration deal with songwriter and singer William Patrick Corgan. The agreement covers Corgan’s full catalog of music and future material – including his work as the Smashing Pumpkin’s frontman and primary songwriter – which includes the Grammy-winning “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” and “The End Is the Beginning Is the End,” along with “Today,” “1979,” “Zero,” “Stand Inside Your Love,” and many others.
Corgan said, “I’m pleased and honored to be among the greats who make up the great tradition and legacy of Warner Chappell. To even stand in the shadow of the great Harry Warren, who one could argue helped build this rich company from its inception, is all I needed to know.”
Warner Chappell Music Co-Chair/ CEO Guy Moot and Co-Chair/ COO Carianne Marshall said: “William has always gone against the grain to create his distinctive and unique sound. His music is wildly captivating and consistently pushes the boundaries of what’s possible. He’s a true creative genius, and we’re so excited to continue to partner with him and support his incredible work.”
Warner Chappell Music SVP of A&R Greg Sowders added: “William’s musical contributions in the early 1990s laid the groundwork for the explosive grunge era that followed. As one of alternative rock’s greatest legends, his wide-reaching influences have persevered for more than three decades. We’re extremely proud to be on this journey with him and look forward to collaborating on exciting new projects and Smashing Pumpkins releases.”
+ Capitol Music Group has promoted Jenny Swiatowy to senior VP of creative sync licensing & brand partnerships, it was announced by CMG President & Chief Operating Officer Michelle Jubelirer, to whom Swiatowy reports.
In her elevated position, Swiatowy leads CMG’s in-house creative sync, sports marketing, and brand partnerships team. She will expand its role within the company to generate and maximize revenue streams, while adding points of artist discovery, across CMG’s portfolio of labels: Capitol, Blue Note, Astralwerks, Capitol Christian Music Group, Harvest and Virgin Music Label & Artist Service. Swiatowy and her team also provide these comprehensive services for Motown Records.
Swiatowy leads a growing team of 10 — seven of whom are rising female executives — and is based at the company’s Hollywood headquarters within the iconic Capitol Tower.
CMG Chairman & CEO Jeff Vaughn and Jubelirer said: “Jenny has proven to be a consummate executive whose passion for our artists is matched by her abilities within the sync and brand partnerships space. She’s played a crucial role in the development and growth of these areas within CMG, and she will continue to make invaluable contributions to CMG in the years ahead.”
Swiatowy said, “I’m honored to lead this exceptionally dynamic, talented and seasoned team that has executed game-changing partnerships for artists across every CMG label, and has performed magnificently during these especially challenging times. I want to thank Jeff and Michelle and the entire CMG team for recognizing the importance of our crucial role in artist development for new talent, and the value we bring to the projects and careers of our established and superstar artists.”
Since joining CMG in 2014, Swiatowy and her team have landed high-profile syncs for Lewis Capaldi; Katy Perry’s “Smile” campaign for Target; Niall Horan’s “Finally Free” as the end title for “Smallfoot”; Jonas Blue’s “I See Love” as the end title for “Hotel Transylvania 3”; City Girls’ multiple placements in Starz’s P-Valley; and more.
+ Marquis “Quest” Malloy has joined Shihadeh Law P.C. as the firm’s newest entertainment associate attorney. Malloy began his career in-house at CAA and Funny Or Die prior to transitioning to private practice at Del Shaw Moonves & Herz Lichtenstein Young & Polk. He is focusing in the areas of music, film, and television.
“Marquis’ arrival highlights the firm’s commitment to its continued expansion. Marquis brings with him exceptional skill and impressive professional credentials and I am delighted to have him join the firm,” said founder Jodie Shihadeh.
Malloy said, “I’m very excited to join Shihadeh Law, and step into a role where I can achieve goals key to my personal and career aspirations. Coming in to support, protect, empower, and expand a top-tier client roster, while opening the door wider for the next generation of entertainment attorneys, is the driving force in why I became an attorney.”
+ Fader Label has signed Los Angeles-based songwriter Chloe George and producer, singer and environmentalist Shallou. GM Carson Oberg says, “Chloe George is one of the most brilliant writers we have come across, she has so many stories to tell through her music and we cannot wait to launch her artist project on the back of her success with her viral song, ‘Ghost Town.’ and Shallou has a proven track record on converting his success on streaming platforms to live ticket sales with playing the likes of Coachella, Lollapalooza, Outsidelands, and sold out tours.”
+ SoundExchange has named Vanessa French VP of communications and content strategy. She joins the leadership suite of the newly expanded corporate affairs division based in New York and will report to Esther-Mireya Tejeda, chief marketing and communications officer. French will oversee SoundExchange’s communications team, encompassing public relations, social media and digital communications, corporate communications, executive communications, content strategy, and paid media.
“At SoundExchange, we’re building a best-in-class leadership team across every discipline, and that includes in our communications efforts,” says Tejeda. “Vanessa brings the vision and experience that will allow us to meet and surpass the demands of a digital-first music business ecosystem.”
Prior to joining SoundExchange, French established and managed several successful public relations practices for Brinks Home, one of the largest smart home security providers in the U.S.; Beekeeper Group, a public affairs firm based in D.C., and Pivot Point Communications, a creative communications agency she co-founded and managed before being acquired by Beekeeper Group in 2017.
+ Livestream and digital fan engagement platform Mandolin has acquired the livestreaming company NoonChorus, the company announce this week. Since its founding in 2020, NoonChorus has hosted more than 650 shows, focusing on indie acts such as Angel Olsen, Guided By Voices and Japanese Breakfast. Mandolin, which recently closed a $12 million funding round that included 645 Ventures, Foundry Group, and Marc Benioff’s Time Ventures and exclusive partnerships with the Ryman Auditorium, City Winery Nationwide, and the Firefly Festival.
Andrew Jensen, who co-founded NoonChorus in 2020 along with his brother Alex Jensen, said “We are so glad to be joining forces with the folks at Mandolin in our effort to help artists connect more deeply with fans across the globe. By joining forces with Mandolin, we’ll be able to offer artists an even deeper toolset to excite and reward their in-person and digital fan bases.”
Mary Kay Huse, CEO and co-founder of Mandolin, said “NoonChorus has supported some of the hottest indie artists since their founding, so we could not be more thrilled to work with Andrew, Alex and the NoonChorus team. Thanks to our shared mission of eliminating digital barriers between content creators and their fan bases, we truly believe no group is better poised to drive growth in the hybrid concert space.”
+ Shelter Music Group is expanding internationally with a new partnership with AYITA to further build the company’s artist management division. The deal adds AYITA’s 31-client roster, increasing Shelter’s number of management clients to now total 103, overseen by 41 employees with offices in Los Angeles, Nashville, and London helmed by the executive team of Carl Stubner, Brian Harris Frank, and Dino Paredes. Prior to partnering with BMG in late 2019, Shelter included eight managers and 17 clients.
AYITA partners, Brett Fischer, David Gray, Harvey Tadman, and Stevie Dreher will now join Shelter’s management team and effectively launch BMG’s entrance into artist management in the UK, with AYITA becoming a division of Shelter Music Group.
AYITA’s partners said, “We are thrilled to be joining forces with Shelter and look forward to working with them to create and maximize global opportunities for our clients. This strategic alliance with BMG brings additional resources that will yield immediate benefits and immense possibilities for the future.”
Carl Stubner, Chairman, Shelter Music Group, said, “In these unprecedented times, we are fortunate not just to be moving forward, but to be growing our company with new high-level managers and clients. We benefit from having such a great partner in BMG who believes in our mission and supports our endeavors. We are excited to be partnering with AYITA and providing them with the resources to offer expanded services to their clients.”
Tuesday, Sept. 21
Reggaeton star, actor and philanthropist Don Omar has signed a multiyear partnership with Saban Music Group (SMG). The label founded by entertainment giant Haim Saban and headed by CEO Gustavo López is home to such acts as Static and Ben El, Nakkia Gold and Chesca, among others.
“I am thrilled to be joining forces with Saban Music Group and being backed by the savvy business and artistic instincts of Haim and Gus,” said Omar. “I can’t wait to connect with my loyal fans and audience by doing what I love most and introduce them to the exciting new music I have coming”.
Added Saban: “Don Omar is one of the most transcendental music stars of the past two decades, he set the pace for the entire Latin Urban genre; without his charismatic stage presence, deep compositional skills, and powerful vocal delivery, Latin music would be an altogether different animal today, and we’re honored to join forces with him.”
López worked with Omar at the start of his career and the move to SMG reunites the two. “Don will always be family to me,” said López. “When the opportunity to work together again came up, it felt as if not a single day had passed. And yet, he’s now making the best music of his career.”
The deal includes SMG advancing all recording and marketing costs, as it does with all of its artists.
In a career that began with his 2003 debut, “The Last Don,” Omar has released seven studio albums and notched multiple hits on the U.S. Latin and Tropical charts. In 2020, he released “Pa’ Romperla” with Bad Bunny, a chart-topper in Spain.
Best of Variety