Music Industry Moves: Noah Cyrus Signs With TaP; Merlin and NetEase Extend Deal in China

Jem Aswad
·10-min read

Noah Cyrus has signed with TaP Management, joining a roster that includes Dua Lipa, Lana Del Rey and Ellie Goulding, among others. Cyrus will be managed by Mookie Singerman, who will work closely with TaP Music president (and Variety 2020 Power of Women honoree) Wendy Ong wity co-founders Ed Millett and Ben Mawson. She was previously managed by Maverick’s Zach Kardisch (Lil Nas X). The news was first reported by Billboard. Cyrus was a Best New Artist nominee at the Grammy Awards earlier this month on the basis of her most recent release, “The End of Everthing” EP.

NetEase Cloud Music, a leading interactive music streaming service provider in China, and Merlin, the independent’s digital music licensing partner, announced that they have extended their strategic partnership in China to include a wider range of cooperation. The multi-year licensing deal will include access to additional marketing and promotional opportunities for Merlin members.

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“Deepening our direct relationship with Merlin marks another important step in our strategy to bring high-quality music with style, character and vitality to our ever-growing user community,” said Ding Bo, Vice President of NetEase Cloud Music. “The expansive and diverse music of Merlin member labels span the global divide and increase the rich music experience we offer, which brings us closer to this goal.”

“We’re always excited to work with partners who are eager to educate our members on how to use their platform, how to engage and build fanbases, and ultimately drive better activations around artists. NetEase has been a fantastic partner on these opportunities,” said Jeremy Sirota, CEO of Merlin. “Independent music is a real focus across the world, including in China, and Merlin is thrilled to renew its partnership with NetEase Cloud Music and bring the largest number of independent labels, distributors and other rights-holders and their artists’ repertoire to the platform.”

Thursday, March 25

Motown Records has appointed Alison Finley as executive vice president, chief operating officer, effective immediately. In this newly created role, Finley will oversee the day-to-day operations of the label and shared services with various teams across Motown’s parent company, Universal Music Group. Finley will remain based in Los Angeles and report to Motown Chairman-CEO Ethiopia Habtemariam.

Prior to Motown, Finley served as senior vice president of business and legal affairs at UMG. She began her legal career in private practice in 1998 and joined Davis Shapiro Lewit & Grabel two years later, where represented Kanye West, Raekwon, No ID and others. She has also served in several in-house counsel roles, including as legal counsel for Loud Records and as General Counsel of Ultra Records/Ultra Music Publishing.

In making the announcement, Habtemariam said, “Alison has been a strong advocate for artists throughout her career. I’ve worked with her for years and have always admired her forward-thinking and innovative approach to designing deals that set up artists and labels for success.”

Finley said, “I am deeply honored to join the Motown leadership team in overseeing one of the most iconic record labels in the world. Motown represents much of the world’s greatest music and continues to give an authentic and dynamic platform for our artists, partners and creatives to be heard across the globe.”

+ Composers Jon Batiste and Sharon Farber have been newly elected to the Board of Directors of ASCAP, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, it was announced by ASCAP President and Chairman of the Board Paul Williams. They will each serve a two-year term beginning April 1.

Batiste, an acclaimed musician, screen composer, and bandleader and music director of the “Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” said: “These are the days that music was made for. In this time when we’re facing challenges globally, locally and internally, our artistry has an essential role.” Farber, a celebrated film, TV and concert music composer, said: “A great deal of effort goes into composing every film score, song, concert piece and video game score. Most people are not aware of the time and dedication this important work requires. I believe that music creators should be protected and compensated fairly for their art.”

In addition to Paul Williams, the writer members who were re-elected in the at-large field are: Writer Vice Chair composer Dan Foliart; composer Richard Bellis; composer Bruce Broughton; songwriter/producer Desmond Child; songwriter/composer Michelle Lewis; composer/producer Marcus Miller; songwriter Jimmy Webb; and composer Doug Wood. Composer Alex Shapiro was re-elected in the Symphonic and Concert field.

The publisher directors re-elected in the at-large field are: Publisher Vice Chair Irwin Z. Robinson, Cromwell Music, Inc.; Caroline Bienstock, Bienstock Publishing Co.; Peter Brodsky, Sony Music Publishing; Barry Coburn, Ten Ten Music Group; Keith Hauprich, BMG US; Laurent Hubert, Kobalt; Dean Kay, Lichelle Music Company; Evan Lamberg, Universal Music Publishing Group; Leeds Levy, Leeds Music; Carianne Marshall, Warner Chappell Music; and Mary Megan Peer, peermusic. James M. Kendrick, European American Music, was re-elected in the Symphonic and Concert field.

+ Virgin Music Label and Artist Services has announced the promotion of Adam Starr to SVP/Marketing. In this expanded role, Starr, most recently the company’s head of marketing, will continue to lead strategy, planning, and execution of all marketing campaigns as well as work in conjunction with the senior executive staff in setting parameters for the growth of Virgin Music. Prior to joining Virgin, Starr worked as an artist manager, a freelance music journalist and as a club DJ.

Virgin president Jacqueline Saturn said, “Through this past year, Adam was key in keeping our team motivated and excited about all of our partners and projects. He is an integral part of our success and this promotion is well deserved for all that Adam contributes. Also, it has to be said, that Adam is a “music encyclopedia” and has never once come to a meeting without a creative idea!”

Wednesday, March 24

Concord CFO Bob Valentine has been elevated to president of the company, with his previous role being filled by current Concord Music Publishing CFO Kent Hoskins. Both will report to Concord CEO Scott Pascucci.

Valentine will continue to work closely with Pascucci to guide the company’s overall business strategy, and in tandem with the rest of the senior executive team, he will lead Concord’s efforts to grow via additional acquisitions, further the interests of Concord’s recording artists, songwriters, composers, playwrights and creative partners and help to expand its reach into new markets and areas of business centered around music and music-related IP. Valentine was first with Concord from 1999-2001 and returned four years later as CFO of Concord Music Group.

“I’m extraordinarily proud and humbled by the growth and success of Concord, and even more thankful for the many, many people who have worked so hard to make Concord what it is today,” said Valentine.

“Bob has been a key contributor to Concord’s evolution and growth over the better part of twenty years. He takes great pride in the history and culture of the company and understands as well as any of us the work and dedication that our entire team has invested in the dramatic evolution of Concord,” commented Pascucci.

+ Alfonso Perez-Soto has been named as President, Emerging Markets at Warner Recorded Music and will report to Simon Robson, President, International at Warner Recorded Music. Perez-Soto’s emerging markets brief covers Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and North Africa, India and South Asia, the Eastern Mediterranean and Eastern Europe. According to the announcement, Warner will be stepping up its A&R presence in these markets through a combination of direct signings and key label partnerships.

“I’m super proud to take on this new role and truly excited by its scope,” says Perez-Soto, who first joined WMG in 2005 as VP of Business Development for Latin America and US Hispanic Markets. “I want to unlock huge opportunities for artists from the diverse tapestry of countries that we classify as emerging markets.”

Robson adds: “Alfonso is a force of nature who will always go the extra mile for our artists and seizes exciting and innovative opportunities. The increasing connectivity of music fans in emerging markets is opening doors for artists worldwide, but the huge volume of music on streaming services means that, more than ever, they need a partner who can help them cut through and find an audience.”

+ The hi-resolution audio streaming and download service Qobuz is bringing 24-bit Hi-Res audio streaming to Sonos, enabling Qobuz customers to listen to studio-quality music on their Sonos speakers. Available with the Sonos S2 app, this new integration is one of Qobuz’s broadest expansions of Hi-Res streaming support to date.

Qobuz USA Managing Director Dan Mackta said of the partnership, “Qobuz has always strived to make the highest quality audio accessible, as people become more interested in better sound. Now, on Sonos devices, we’re making it easy for millions more people to experience the improvement Hi-Res audio can make.”

“Our open platform enables partners to bring the best of their experiences to the Sonos system and our mutual customers,” said Ryan Richards, Director of Product Marketing at Sonos. “Qobuz has been at the forefront of high resolution music streaming, and we look forward to customers enjoying their music with the clarity, depth, and room-filling sound of Sonos.”

Monday, March 22

Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas has signed a worldwide publishing agreement with Concord Music Publishing, covering his past and future solo works (including his 2013 song with Daft Punk, “Instand Crush”) and various projects including The Voidz. Casablancas won his first Grammy last weekend, for the Strokes’ album “The New Abnormal.”

“We are beyond excited that Julian has joined Concord Music Publishing. Aside from helping to reclaim and redefine rock & roll for a generation, his ability to move between genres as a writer and performer has worked to cement his reputation as a preeminent creative force in music today,” said Concord SVPs of A&R, Tom DeSavia and Jeremy Yohai.

“It’s really great to have Concord as the new home for Julian’s publishing,” says Ben Goldstein, manager. “With Tom and Jeremy’s passion, understanding, and credentials, we seem to have found just the right partner for Julian and The Voidz.”

+ SoundCloud has announced the appointment of entertainment and finance executive Drew Wilson as Chief Operating and Chief Financial Officer, effective April 1st, 2021. Wilson will oversee all of SoundCloud’s finance and operations, including workplace and people functions. He will report directly to CEO Michael Weissman.

Wilson joins SoundCloud from First Look Media, where he served as COO and CFO. He held held prior CFO roles at AwesomenessTV in Los Angeles, RLJ Entertainment/AcornTV and divisional CFO and worldwide operations Controller at Discovery Communications.

“I am excited to have Drew join SoundCloud,” Weissman said. “He is an entertainment industry leader with an incredibly strong business, operational and financial background, driving media organizations during a time of transformative change.” Wilson added, “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to join SoundCloud and to work with Mike Weissman on expanding the company’s strategic vision and operational effectiveness. SoundCloud is well suited to grow and serve its young artist and listener community while taking advantage of new opportunities and changes in the market.”

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