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Music Industry Moves: Mike Easterlin Steps Down as Elektra Records Co-President

Mike Easterlin, Elektra Records co-president and longtime executive at Warner Music, has stepped down from his post, he announced in an email to staff obtained by Variety. He will continue to consult for the company; Greg Nadel becomes the sole president of Elektra, under the 300-Elektra Entertainment banner. Elektra and 300 were merged into a single unit after parent company Warner Music acquired the latter late in 2021 in a deal reported to be in the $400 million range.

A longtime Warner Music exec, Easterlin has been president or co-president of three labels — Elektra, Roadrunner and Fueled by Ramen — and played a huge role in the success of such stylistically diverse artists as Twenty One Pilots, Panic! at the Disco, Tones & I, Turnstile and Slipknot after cutting his teeth on the hard rock purveyed by the long- running metal powerhouse Roadrunner. He came to the Warner family in 2005 as senior VP of promotion at Atlantic after previously holding posts at Virgin and Island Def Jam.

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His note follows below:

As you already know, I’ve left Elektra as part of the recent changes at the company, but I’m happy to share that I’m not leaving the WMG family altogether and will be doing some consulting for WMX.

I wanted to thank the amazing people who have been an important part of my career, especially our phenomenal team at Elektra Entertainment. You guys are the best in the business, in every sense. I’m so proud of the artist-focused company and the open, collaborative culture we’ve created together. Working alongside Gregg to re-launch and evolve Elektra over the past five years has been a truly special culmination of my nearly two decades at WMG.

In 2005, Julie brought me over from IDJ, where we had worked together for six years, and I want to thank her for being an incredible mentor, booster, and friend for the past 24 years, along with my mentor and partner Craig. And of course, I’d like to thank Max for constantly supporting and championing me as a leader at Warner Music. From doing promo at Lava/Atlantic to running Roadrunner and Fueled By Ramen to helping set Elektra on a new course, it’s been a fantastic journey. So, lastly I have to thank the extraordinary artists who have changed my life with their music – twenty one pilots, Tones and I, Slipknot, Panic! At The Disco, All Time Low, Turnstile – I can’t possibly mention them all here, but helping them build careers and reach fans across the globe has been a true joy and privilege.

Over the past year, it’s been a pleasure to work closely with Gregg, Kevin, Rayna, and Selim as we brought together two indie-spirited labels and launched 3EE. I wish them and everyone on the team, all the best for the future. You’re in good hands.

+ Numerous live music and touring organizations have joined forces to form the “Fix the Tix” coalition, aiming to “collectively advocate for a ticketing experience better than the nightmare many fans and artists currently navigate,” according to the group’s official statement.

It continues: “With representation from venues, promoters and producers, the performing arts, artists groups, recorded music, and independent ticketing companies, this coalition represents stakeholders who take on all the risk to create once-in-a-lifetime experiences and bring joy, employment, and economic impact to communities across America. We are coming together to protect fans from price gouging and deceptive and predatory ticketing practices.”

The full list of participants includes:
NIVA
AFTA Arts Action Fund
American Association of Independent Music (A2IM)
Americans for the Arts (AFTA)
Artist Rights Alliance
Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP)
Black Music Action Coalition
DICE
Future of Music Coalition
Music Artists Coalition
Music Managers Forum (MMF-US)
National Independent Talent Organization (NITO)
Recording Academy
Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)
Seattle Theatre Group
See Tickets
Songwriters of North America
Universal Music Group
Wasserman

+ Peloton is partnering with Ed Sheeran for the release of a first-ever series of “Outdoor Walks” featuring original audio content from his new album “Subtract.” The content will include “interstitial storytelling” from Sheeran, woven in with support from Peloton instructors Jon Hosking and Tobias Heinze.

Tied to May’s Mental Health Awareness Month, the audio collaboration will have introductions by Hosking, Heinze and Sheeran, who will welcome members to join him through mindful and engaging, low-impact walks. Classes are offered in lengths of 30 and 60 minutes, as well as a 30-minute German class featuring Heinze.

“Movement has become an important part of my overall mental and physical health, especially when I was working on this album,” said Sheeran. “Partnering with Peloton on this outdoor walk series has been really cool and I hope you enjoy experiencing ‘Subtract’ in a unique way.”

“We’re embarking on a completely new way to collaborate with an artist with this drop,” said Gwen Bethel Riley, Peloton’s senior VP of music and content partnerships. “Ed Sheeran will bring his entire album to life with support from Jon Hosking and Tobias Heinze and take our Members on a fully loaded musical experience.

+ The Artist Rights Alliance, an artist-run non-profit, has named Jen Jacobsen its new executive director. The organization helps amplify the voices of musicians and artists looking to gain fair compensation in today’s streaming market. Jacobsen joins with over 25 years of experience in music and copyright policy, most recently serving as Vp of industry and government relations for Sony Music.

“As the music industry grapples with issues that could fundamentally change the landscape for artists and songwriters, ARA’s work has never been more vital,” commented Jacobsen “I am honored to have been selected for this role by ARA’s Board – an inspiring group of working musicians, songwriters, and executives with decades of experience on the front lines of the music business. And I am committed to helping artists and songwriters get a seat at the table as the future of the creative economy is charted.”

“Jen Jacobsen is a strong, experienced leader who radiates energy and love of music and the arts,” said ARA Board Member Rosanne Cash. “Her dynamic presence will help ARA continue to stand up for artists and bring people together on important issues impacting our community. ARA has always stood for common sense, transparency, and equity for working creators, and we know Jen will carry on that tradition.”

+ Universal Music Publishing Group has signed composers Kevin Puts and Angélica Negrón to exclusive, global publishing agreements.

Through the new deal, the company’s classics and screen division acquired Puts’ operas “The Hours,” “Silent Night,” “The Manchurian Candidate,” “Elizabeth Cree” and orchestra works in addition to an entire body of instrumental and vocal works. Under the acquisition, Puts’ works will be published under the Ricordi imprint.

Puerto Rican composer Angélica Negrón (Decca Publishing)’s work spans classical concert works, film/tv music, and songwriting. Negrón is credited alongside many of UMPG’s Latin and reggaeton artists and is a founding member of the electronic indie band Balún.

+ Through a partnership with Slip.stream, Insomniac Music Group’s music catalog — including songs from over 120 artists — will be made available and claim-free on all platforms for creators, gamers, brands, and companies via Slip.stream’s online subscription license.

Using FUGA’s Licensease API technology, Slip.stream is able to protect Insomniac’s copyrights on platforms like YouTube while allowing creators to monetize their videos.

Dan Demole, Slip.stream’s co-CEO, said: “Making Insomniac’s music available for our creators to safely use in their content is a massive step forward in our mission to bridge the world of user-generated content with labels, publishers, and artists. I’m excited to see what our creators do with Insomniac’s incredible catalog of songs. Our integration with FUGA opens up endless opportunities for us to deliver top-quality music to creators while creating new monetization and marketing opportunities for artists.”

Joe Wiseman, Director at Insomniac Music Group adds “This partnership is paving the way for a future that aligns with our core vision. The complexities of traditional music licensing can be challenging, but our collaboration with Slip.stream and FUGA has brought about a game-changing solution. By leveraging technology, we’re creating opportunities for creators to thrive and new ways to support our talented artists.”

+ Duetti, a new music financing startup founded by Lior Tibon, former COO of TIDAL, and Christopher Nolte, former business development executive at Apple Music, has officially opened for business.

Duetti allows artists to sell master catalogs, individual tracks, or parts thereof, with the goal of acquiring new investment opportunities for all artists. According to the company, they have helped facilitate music rights acquisitions that saw artists receive up to $400,000 per deal.

The newly-launched financing company is backed by $32M in funding from Viola Ventures and Viola Credit, Roc Nation, Untitled and Presight Capital. With the funding, Duetti “aims to scale the business to match the growing demand by expanding the team, partnering with new artists, and implementing new financial optimization opportunities for acquired tracks and catalogs,” per the press release.

+ Brooke Primont has been promoted to executive VP of global sync at Concord Music Publishing. Reporting to Jim Selby, chief publishing officer, Primont will be based out of Concord’s New York City office.

Primont will oversee all publishing sync operations, managing teams in the U.S. UK, Germany and Australia. She joined Concord over five years ago as the head of the North American publishing sync department. Some of the highlights from her team in 2022 and 2023 so far include a Superbowl ad for UberEats featuring Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It,” Ericdoa’s track “>one -greater than one” for the VALORANT video game series, the movie trailer for Air featuring 80’s classic “Sister Christian” by Night Ranger and The Polyphonic Spree’s “Hold Me Now” use in the trailer for Academy Award Best Picture winner Everything Everywhere All At Once.

“I am excited to expand my role by bringing together Concord’s sync teams around the world, allowing us to broaden the scope and diversify the opportunities that we can offer our songwriters and composers,” commented Primont. “The global Concord Music Publishing sync team is truly something special, we have developed unparalleled relationships across the entertainment industry, and it doesn’t hurt that our catalog is full of some of the best songs ever written.”

+ AWAL has appointed Matt Riley as its new managing director, while Victoria Needs and Sam Potts have been elevated to their respective roles as senior VPs for AWAL. Both executives will report to Riley.

Based in London, Riley will report directly to Paul Hitchman, President of AWAL, and work to expand his current oversight as the company’s head of A&R, working closely with Hitchman and AWAL CEO Lonny Olinick.

As the company’s new senior VP, Needs will add the UK market to her existing international marketing responsibilities for AWAL, continuing to drive all global artist campaigns and releases. Potts joined AWAL in 2019, as VP of promotion, overseeing the company’s UK and international digital accounts team. He will continue to work closely with the executive leadership team to maximize audience development and growth strategies for AWAL artists across digital and traditional media.

Wednesday, May 3

+ Under the management of Top Floor Talent and Lex Borrero’s NEON16, Puerto Rican artist Álvaro Díaz has re-upped his record deal with Universal Music Latino.

Fresh off three sold-out dates at Puerto Rico’s Coca-Cola Music Hall, Díaz is busy at work on his next studio album “Sayonara,” which is set to debut later this year. Besides his own solo work, Díaz has also written hits for other artists in the urban landscape including Selena Gomez’s “Baila Conmigo,” and Rauw Alejandro’s “Panties y Brasieres,” featuring Daddy Yankee.

“I am delighted to have Puertorican pride, Álvaro Díaz, as a part of our family of artists and continue to support him in this exciting new journey. Universal Music Latino continues to look forward to amplifying Álvaro’s already fruitful career around the world and to consolidate and showcase his talent as one of the world’s best,” commented Ángel Kaminsky, president of Universal Music Latino.

Díaz adds, “I am very happy with this new chapter in my career. I am preparing for next steps with my team. The time has come!”

Pictured below, left to right: Pablo Batista (Head of Management, NEON16), Lex Borrero (Co-Founder/President, NEON16), Álvaro Díaz, Angel Kaminsky (President, Universal Music Latino), Angelo Torres (Manager, Top Floor Talent), Salomon Palacios (SVP, Marketing & Artist Strategy, Universal Music Latino) and Aldo Gonzalez (SVP, A&R, Universal Music Latino)

Universal Music Latin
Universal Music Latino

+ Q Prime‘s Cliff Burnstein and Peter Mensch have tapped Aaron Frank for the launch of Q Prime AF. Frank joins with the help of his Nashville-based team and artists including Greta Van Fleet, Marcus King, St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Houndmouth and All Them Witches.

According to a press release, the deal will give Frank’s roster access to Q Prime resources, including specialists in touring, digital, radio, sync licensing, marketing and press and in-house label services and global services through the UK arm of Q Prime.

“Cliff and Peter are the reason I became a manager,” Frank said. “They have always been the gold standard of managers in my eyes, and their independent spirit and savviness is unmatched. I’m so excited to join their amazing team to elevate our work, and excited for what we can build together at Q Prime AF.”

Q Prime’s current artist roster includes Metallica (whom they have managed since 1984), Muse, Foals, Disturbed, Cage The Elephant, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, Three Days Grace, Silversun Pickups, Volbeat, Three Days Grace, Silversun Pickups, Volbeat, The Regrettes, Annie DiRusso and Baroness.

+ Mom+Pop has announced the signing of underscores whose first release with the label, “Cops and robbers,” arrives today. She most recently debuted the song “Count of three (You can eat $#@!)” – co-written with Dylan Brady (of 100 Gecs), Cashmere Cat, and Benny Blanco – on 100 Gecs’ imprint.

“‘Cops and robbers’ is one of the first ideas I wrote when I was staying in Wallsocket [Michigan],” said underscores in a statement. “I’ve never really allowed myself to write from the perspective of characters too much in my previous work — it was really fun.”

Having methodically built her following over the years, underscores has garnered over 42 million Global streams across platforms. She sold out her debut 2022 headline tour and has played festivals including Lollapalooza, Corona Capital CDMX, Electric Forest, and FVDED in the Park.

+ Jonas Group Entertainment has signed country-pop singer-songwriter Levi Hummon for representation. The Nashville native will also be extending his current worldwide publishing deal with Reservoir Media.

Raking in over 162 million global streams, Hummon’s catalog includes viral songs “Good Riddance,” “Stupid” and “Paying For It” featuring Walker Hayes. JGE is owned by Kevin Jonas Sr. (father of the Jonas Brothers) and music industry and Walt Disney Company vet, Chief Executive Officer, Phil Guerini.

“From my first meeting with Phil, and then later getting to meet Kevin, I knew that Jonas Group Entertainment was the team that could elevate my career and take my music to a larger audience,” Hummon said. “What they are building here in Nashville and beyond is really special and I’m honored to be a part of it.”

+ PPL has hired Suzi Ibbotson as the company’s new director of communications. Ibbotson, formerly Unilever’s global communications director, joins PPL with over fifteen years of experience in strategic communications, brand building and digital content.

She will report to PPL CEO Peter Leathem OBE, and join the executive management team of the global licensing company. Ibbotson held several roles during the past decade at Unilever, from heading up communications for the marketing team, to managing the company’s content and external channels.

“Standing up for those who invest their time, talent, and money into making music is at the heart of PPL’s purpose and I am thrilled to join the organization in this mission,” said Ibbotson.

Tuesday, May 2

Universal Music Publishing Group has signed música Mexicana singer Yahritza to a global publishing agreement, the company announced today. The songwriter is part of Yahritza Y Su Esencia, a sibling trio from Washington that is one of the few Mexican acts bringing mainstream attention to the genre.

Written by Yahritza at just 13 years old, “Soy El Único” debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs Chart and No. 20 on the Billboard Hot 100, making Yahritza the youngest Latin performer to enter the all-genre-inclusive chart. The song was featured as part of their seven-song debut album, “Obsessed,” which broke Apple Music’s record for the most first-week streams worldwide for a debut música Mexicana EP.

“Yahritza is not just a captivating vocal talent, but a gifted songwriter with lyrics that speak beyond her years,” commented Ana Rosa Santiago, senior vice president of Latin Music at UMPG. “We are thrilled to welcome her to UMPG and look forward to supporting her global growth as an artist.”

Added Yahritza, “I feel very honored and grateful to form part of the UMPG family. Hoping to continue touching hearts with our music. It is a blessing to be able to inspire others, never forget to always aim for progress, not perfection.”

Yahritza Y Su Esencia signed to Columbia Records last November in partnership with Sony Music Latin and their indie label Lumbre Music, who first signed them in February of 2022. The band is composed of Yahritza and her brothers Armando (guitar) and Jairo (bass).

+ Andy Bernstein, co-founder and executive director of the music-centric non-profit voter-registration organization HeadCount, will be stepping down at the end of the year, he announced to the organization this week.

“A fundamental idea behind HeadCount is that young people have the most at stake in democracy and deserve an equal share of power,” he wrote. “As a country and planet, it’s our collective duty to take what we build and hand it off to the next generation. This philosophy also applies to the organization itself. With that in mind, I am sharing that 2023 will be my final year as the executive director of HeadCount.

“While I’ll continue to be involved in an advisory capacity, I will be stepping back from day-to-day operations to make room for new leadership, fresh vision and the type of innovation that only change can bring,” he continued, adding that the organization is currently searching for a new director.

With support over the years from Harry Styles, Ariana Grande, Beyoncé, Billie Eilish, Lizzo, Panic! At The Disco, David Byrne, Anderson .Paak, Tinashe (pictured above), Bonnie Raitt, Dave Matthews Band, Dead & Company, Paramore and many more, the organization has registered more than 1.2 million voters to date, and has led hundreds of thousands of others to check their registration status. (Head here for information on the organization and volunteering.)

+ Big Loud has tapped Sara Knabe as senior vice president of A&R, effective immediately. Knabe will work with both Big Loud Records and Big Loud Publishing A&R team to help boost the division’s roster of artists.

“This is one of the most exciting announcements we’ve gotten to make in a while,” said Seth England, Big Loud’s CEO and partner. “Sara was the first person I meaningfully met in Nashville; I got my first internship with her, and she helped me meet (Big Loud Partner) Craig (Wiseman). We’ve been working with Sara in a freelance capacity for a while now, and have been continuously impressed by her professionalism, her collaborative approach, and her ear for finding outstanding talent. I’m not sure there is anyone A&R person in Nashville who has brought me and Joey (Moi) more songs over the years. It is fitting and overdue that she joins our team.”

Knabe’s previous tenures include VP of A&R at BBR Music Group and VP of creative at BMG music publishing.

Monday, May 2

UMe, the catalog division of Universal Music Group, has promoted Tim Plumley to vice president of media and artist relations. He is based in the company’s Santa Monica headquarters and reports to the executive VP of media and artist relations, Sujata Murthy.

“Tim is a key member of my communications team, where he continues to develop innovative new ways to promote our artists and their projects across a wide range of media outlets,” Murthy said. “Tim not only has the trust and respect of our executives and members of the press, but crucially he is viewed as a true partner by our artists and their management teams.”

His roster at Ume includes the Band/Robbie Robertson, the Beach Boys, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Zappa, George Harrison, Glen Campbell, Johnny Cash, John Coltrane, John Lennon, Louis Armstrong, Tom Petty, the Rolling Stones and others.

Prior to joining Ume in 2016, Plumley held PR roles at New West Records, Shaker Maker PR, Ink Tank and Bridenthal & Associates.

+ Mel Carter‘s freshly launched Second Estate Records has named Katie Kay its general manager, and Adise Bellille its president. Kay and Bellille will work together to spearhead releases from rising Philadelphia rapper 2Rare and more in partnership with Warner Records via Second Estate’s worldwide joint venture.

“Katie’s experience has given her a unique perspective on artist marketing and development, while Adise has a strong foundation in live music and entertainment,” said Steve Carless, president of A&R for Warner Records. “They are both incredible additions to Mel Carter’s creative executive team. We look forward to what the Second Estate roster will accomplish in 2023 and beyond.”

Kay and Bellille join the current Second Estate team which is composed of Brittany Mortera, director of operations; Fat Ricky, A&R; and Fame Combs, project manager.

Kay previously served as VP of marketing at Cinematic Music Group, strategizing releases by the likes of Flipp Dinero, Big Yavo, Cam’ron, and more. Bellille founded New York-based nightlife hub Carefree Nation and has operated hotspots such as Greenhouse NY, W.I.P. (Work in Progress), and Kovo in addition to Oui Cocktail Lounge.

+ Songwriter and guitarist 1da Banton has signed a global deal with Sony Music Publishing. The Nigerian artist is best known for his work with Snelle, Maan and Emma Heesters, among many others.

“We’re excited about our collaboration with SMP Nigeria and the signing of the exceptional artist 1da Banton,” said Patrick Strauch and Marvin Lutz, managing director and A&R/creative manager of Sony Music Publishing Germany, respectively. “His passion for music and his unique sound drew us to him, and we’re honored to support him on his journey to global success. This partnership represents our commitment to discovering and nurturing diverse talent from around the world, and we can’t wait to work with 1da Banton and our colleagues at Sony Music Publishing Nigeria to elevate his artistry to even greater heights.”

Banton is set to release his EP “1da Shall Never End,” which is set to feature producers 255, Rugged and Pimp, next month. Banton first grew to fame in 2014 with his debut single “Love Her Daily.”

+ Paris Hilton and Bruce Gersh‘s 11:11 Media launches its new music division with the announcement of Hilton’s first headlining show “Paris Hilton: Live in Concert,” taking place on June 7 at the Fonda Theater in Los Angeles.

“My media company continues to expand, and I am so excited about the launch of 11:11 Media’s music division. I’ve been in the studio working on a brand new album, which will usher in a new era in my music career,” said Hilton in a statement. “I am very excited for fans to experience my first concert as a vocal performer and the guest performances will be legendary!”

As the show kicks off Pride month, a portion of ticket proceeds will go to GLAAD, an LGBTQ media advocacy organization. marks the kickoff of a series of events for the company that will include product launches and other surprises slated to occur through September.

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