Music Industry Moves: Arista Records Taps Veronica Sanjines as General Manager

Arista Records has appointed Veronica Sanjines as general manager, overseeing daily operations for the label and collaborating with its entire roster, including Måneskin, JP Saxe, Tai Verdes, and rising talent such as Lola Brooke.

Sanijnes most recently served as VP of marketing at Warner Records where she led campaigns for Anitta and Gorillaz. She also helped helm the careers of newcomers Ashnikko, Bella Poarch, Omar Apollo, and Nessa Barrett. Prior to Warner, she worked at Astralwerks/Capitol Music Group, Epic Records and Columbia Records.

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Sanjines added, “The success David and the team have built over the last five years is a testament to their dedication and focus on artist development in a highly competitive landscape. I hope to continue to build upon this foundation in my new role at Arista and I am so excited to return to the Sony Music family where I started my career over 20 years ago as a college rep.”

Based in New York, Sanjines will report to David Massey, president and CEO of Arista.

+ Sony Music Publishing has signed Colombian songwriter, producer and composer Julio Reyes Copello to a multi-year worldwide publishing deal.

Known for his work with talent including Jennifer Lopez, Ricky Martin, Thalía, Chayanne, Kany Garcia, Alejandro Sanz, and more, Copello is an 11-time Grammy and Latin Grammy award-winner and has over ten ASCAP awards. He most recently won a 2022 Latin Grammy for producer of the year and won a 2023 Grammy award for best tropical Latin album for Marc Anthony’s “Pa’lla Voy.”

“I am thrilled to be starting this new phase of my creative life as part of the great Sony Music Publishing family,” commented Copello. “I am very grateful for the belief, respect and enthusiasm that [Sony Music Publishing president and CEO for Latin America/U.S. Latin] Jorge Mejia and his team have shown, which will be essential in order to find new outlets and homes for my music.”

Added Mejia, “I have known and admired Julio for many years. He is widely respected as a musician’s musician, with a deft touch at the piano and a sensitivity as a producer and songwriter, that makes all manner of artists and writers feel right at home whenever they work with him.”

According to a press release, Copello is working on upcoming releases with Pablo Alborán, Anthony and Alejandro Sanz, among many others.

Julio Reyes Copello (Sony Music Publishing)
Julio Reyes Copello (Sony Music Publishing)

+ Universal Music Group has acquired the long-running British classical label Hyperion Records, joining the label’s roster of labels in the genre including Deutsche Grammophon and Decca Classics. Hyperion  will remain a stand-alone label alongside Decca Classics and Mercury KX within Universal Music UK.
Hyperion was founded by the late Ted Perry MBE and has been managed by his son Simon for over 20 years, who remains managing director, and is home to such artists as Marc-André Hamelin, Angela Hewitt, Sir Stephen Hough, Alina Ibragimova, Steven Isserlis, Dame Emma Kirkby, Steven Osborne, the Takács Quartet, and more. During its 43 years the label has released almost 2,500 recordings
Dickon Stainer, UMG’s president/CEO of global classics & jazz, says, “Hyperion is a jewel of a label and we are committed to continuing the magnificent work done by the Perry family and to preserving and building on the special place Hyperion occupies in the hearts of artists and music fans alike.”

+ Venice Music has appointed Shawna Spears as VP of brand marketing. In her new role, Spears will guide marketing execution across distribution channels and will report to Fadia Kader, Venice’s newly minted executive VP and general manager.

Spears joins Venice from TikTok where she managed artist and manager partnerships in the hip-hop and R&B departments, creating resources and global marketing campaigns for the unmanaged emerging artist community on the app. Prior to TikTok, Spears held marketing and artist-facing roles at Epic and Interscope and started her own creative agency, Leo Arrow Agency.

+ Arica Ng will be the new president of Warner Chappell Music’s Asia Pacific region.

Based out of Hong Kong, Ng will report to Co-Chair and CEO of WCM Guy Moot, who added, “We are very pleased to welcome Arica to the Warner Chappell family. Her incredible breadth of music and tech expertise coupled with her regional-wide perspective is a real win for us. She will be invaluable as we invest in our global growth and accelerate our drive into the region, fostering greater collaboration between local and international songwriters.”

Ng joins WCM from Meta, where she was the head of music business development and spearheaded the launch of music initiatives across the Meta apps (Facebook, Instagram, and Oculus) in Asia Pacific. Prior to that, she was Google’s head of music publishing (Asia Pacific) in charge of music publishing partnerships for both YouTube and Google Play Music.

Throughout her career, Ng has also held senior roles across Asia at Sony Music Entertainment, Nokia, and SingTel.

+ 300 Entertainment has made three executive promotions, advancing Ryan MacTaggart to senior VP of artist development and lifestyle marketing, in addition to promoting Gary “Bolo” Sargeant to VP of urban and rhythm promotion, and Michael McArthur to VP of A&R.

MacTaggart, who joined 300 in 2016, will continue to focus on immersive marketing and artist development for artists Megan Thee Stallion, Tee Grizzley, Young Thug and more. Bolo leads promotions at the urban and rhythm formats, spearheading radio for such artists as Gunna, Mary J. Blige, Hunxho, and many others. Before joining Arista in 2022, he served as director of radio promotions at Columbia Records for 15 years.

Meanwhile, McArthur will sign new talent and work with artists such as Mary J. Blige, with whom he collaborated closely for the Grammy-nominated “Good Morning Gorgeous.” He started his career in sales and marketing at Polygram and later worked in promotions at Island Def Jam, a division of Universal Music Group.

+ Universal Music Publishing Scandinavia has promoted Jonas Wikström to managing director of the Nordics, effective immediately. He will succeed Martin Ingeström, who will remain with the company as chairman until his planned retirement in June. Both executives will report to Marc Cimino, UMPG Chief Operating Officer. 
Wikström started at UMPG in 2002 and has been responsible for UMPG Nordics A&R and creative operations throughout his tenure. His signings include Sebastian Ingrosso, Axwell and Steve Angello (Swedish House Mafia), Vincent Pontare, Salem Al Fakir, Magnus Lidehall, and more. 
Cimino said: “We are delighted to have Jonas step into the role of Managing Director, UMPG Scandinavia. Having had the great benefit of learning from the best-in-class, Martin Ingeström, Jonas has been a vital part of our company over the last 20 years and is best positioned to lead our Nordics’ operations to new heights. Jody Gerson and I are excited to watch him flourish as a leader of our teams there.”

Tuesday, March 14

Eric Levin is retiring as executive VP and chief financial officer of Warner Music Group, the conglomerate announced today. The move will be effective by the end of 2023.

“Although I’m not leaving for many months yet, I will take this opportunity to applaud our amazing, hard-working finance team around the world,” wrote Levin in an internal memo viewed by Variety. “After a transformative decade at WMG, culminating in an IPO and then a CEO transition, I’m ready to pass the baton to a new CFO.”

Levin stated that he and WMG’s new CEO Robert Kyncl – who filled Steve Cooper’s role in January – chose to announce the retirement early “so we could be open about the search for my successor.”

“It’s going to be a natural progression, at a natural time,” he concluded. Kyncl also added, “I’m very grateful [Levin has] agreed to stay, help us find his successor, and ensure a smooth transition. We’ll be running a thorough search, speaking to candidates both internal and external.”

Levin was hired at WMG in 2014 and has since held several senior executive roles for the company in the U.S. and Greater China. During his time at WMG, Levin was key to several changes for the label including the funding of its global expansion and major acquisitions. He also helped lead WMG through its 2020 initial public offering and oversaw the recent leadership transition from Cooper to Kyncl.

Eric Levin
Eric Levin (Warner Music Group)

+ Hozier‘s “Take Me To Church” has been certified Diamond by the RIAA, marking 10 million units in sales, only the 103rd song to achieve the milestone. To celebrate, Hozier stopped by Columbia Records’ New York offices. Pictured below (from left) are: Kim Harris, Lisa Sonkin, President of Columbia Records Jenifer Mallory, President of CMG Richard Story, Pete Cosenza, Hozier, Jim Burruss, Greg Linn, Betsy Whitney, Manager Caroline Downey, Max Kaplan, Mary Madden and John Doelp.

+ Brittany Schaffer, Spotify’s head of artist and label partnerships in Nashville, has been appointed the new dean of the Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business at Belmont University. She will begin her new post on May 1.

Schaffer will be the first female dean of the Nashville-based Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business since it launched in 2003. She succeeds Doug Howard, who retired last fall after a seven-year term.

Schaffer will report to Dr. David Gregory, the provost/executive VP of academic excellence, and will be responsible for the college’s academic programs and student enrichment initiatives. She will serve approximately 100 faculty and staff and more than 2,700 students in Curb College programs.

At Spotify, Schaffer co-leads the Nashville music team and oversees the development and execution of Spotify’s global strategy for the country, Christian/Gospel and Americana genres. She is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law, and currently serves on the board of directors for the Country Music Association and Country Radio Broadcasters.

+ BMI has promoted John Coletta to senior VP of managing director of international, effective immediately. He will be based in BMI’s New York office and report to Mike Steinberg, BMI’s executive VP of licensing and creative, who will now also oversee the international department.

Coletta most recently served as the company’s VP of international legal and business affairs. Now, he will aid in the collection of global royalties on behalf of BMI’s songwriters, composers and publishers and will work with foreign performing rights societies to spearhead business practices and identify growth opportunities. He will also work to modernize BMI’s reciprocal agreements and oversee global copyright initiatives.

Karen Buse, BMI’s VP of international society relations, previously held Coletta’s new role and will work closely with him on international endeavors moving forward.

+ Chris Diaz has joined Nederlander Concerts’ talent booking team.

Diaz will work with the talent booking team to program Nederlander’s venues, including City National Grove of Anaheim, Heart Health Park in Sacramento, Hollywood Pantages Theatre, San Jose Civic, Vina Robles Amphitheatre in Paso Robles, and additional venues in the Nederlander network, such as the Greek Theatre, Bank of America Performing Arts Center in Thousand Oaks, Microsoft Theater, and others. Additionally, he will seek new regional and national tour opportunities.

He has worked as an independent venue and event consultant, working with clients such as Knitting Factory Entertainment, From The Roots and the Vermont Hollywood. Before that, Diaz worked at Live Nation as their VP, senior talent buyer.

+ The Chamber Group CEO Chris Chambers has announced the promotions of Cassandre Brissot, Desmond Sam and Samuel Koepenick to PR coordinators.

Brissot’s career includes a stint at Yelp in advertising sales before working in BET’s talent department, while Sam started his PR career at the Chamber Group in 2021 as a PR assistant. A former creative executive to Disney Showrunners, Koepenick’s background is in executive administration and physical production.

+ The American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) has made four new shakeups to their leadership team; Evan Plake moves up to director of partnerships and Chirag Patel to membership associate, while Greyson Zeng joins as a community manager and Nicolle Gutierrez Ospina as executive assistant and accounts administrator.

Plake will oversee brand partnerships and creative collaborations across independent labels and service providers. Prior to working at A2IM, he was a music journalist, with bylines in XLR8R, Forbes, and more. Patel is bringing five years of experience working in the independent music industry to his new role; he will be in charge of connecting and supporting independent labels at A2IM.

Zeng has experience supporting producers such as Tricky Stewart, Sterling Fox, and Dash Berlin, from areas in music production to music marketing and artist development. Gutierrez Ospina joins from her latest post as an associate business manager for Gold Business Management.

Monday, March 13

Warner Records today announced the launch of its first-ever flagship electronic dance music label, Major Recordings. Headed by Sam Mobarek, the label’s first signing is the duo Parisi, in partnership with Parlophone’s FFRR imprint. Mobarek will report to Warner Records’ co-chairman/ COO Tom Corson and co-chairman/ CEO Aaron Bay-Schuck.

Mobarek has nearly two decades of experience in branding and marketing, most recently running Mob Creative, which she also founded. Prior to Mob, Mobarek led the marketing department at Ultra Music, working with Calvin Harris, Steve Aoki, Pitbull, and deadmau5; she also ran the pop imprint Lefthook under Sony Music while still a student at New York University’s Stern School of Business, and held posts at live music company SFX (now Lifestyle) as well as Beatport. In recent months, she and her team have been working with Warner’s partners on such acts as the Blessed Madonna, Eliza Rose, Luude, Skin on Skin and more.

Corson and Bay-Schuck said: “Over the past few years, we’ve strategically built a strong presence in the dance music community and have had quite a bit of success in that space with Rüfüs Du Sol, Illenium or David Guetta & Bebe Rexha’s most recent chart-topping hit, ‘I’m Good (Blue).’ Now, with Major Recordings, we’re doubling down, putting renewed energy and dedicated focus on supporting even more acts from around the world. Sam will be the driving force behind our success, helping us ensure that this music and these artists make a true global and cultural impact.”

+ Jaren Johnston and Neil Mason of the Cadillac Three have entered a new joint venture with Warner Records for their newly created, Nashville-based label War Buddha Records.

The first artist signed to the venture is singer-songwriter Rett Madison who recently supported St. Paul and the Broken Bones on select tour dates last month, and is on her own trek that includes a run of shows at SXSW 2023.

“As artists ourselves, we created War Buddha first and foremost as a home for artists,” Johnston says. “In partnering with our longtime friend Aaron Bay-Schuck, alongside Tom Corson and the stellar Warner Records team, we saw the opportunity to mix our dirt with Warner’s power to create a venture fostering both creative expression and commercial success.”

Johnston and Mason are Nashville natives and founding members of the Cadillac Three, with whom they’ve put out five albums on Big Machine Records. Both are Grammy-nominated songwriters, with Johnston’s portfolio including work with such artists as Tim McGraw and Keith Urban, and Mason having penned songs for Miranda Lambert, Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts, Billy Gibbons and a host of others.

+ London-based independent record company Chrysalis Records has entered a new agreement with Secretly Distribution.

The global deal, which covers all physical and digital distribution for the label’s frontline releases moving forward, will include new projects from Laura Marling, Emeli Sandé, Ben Harper, William The Conqueror, the Wandering Hearts, and new signings Marika Hackman and Gia Ford, among others.

Chrysalis was originally launched in 1968 and was acquired in 2016 by Blue Raincoat Music, an artist management company, music publishing company and record label founded by Jeremy Lascelles and Robin Millar. It was re-launched as a frontline label in February 2020, marking a return to releasing new music for the first time in over two decades.

“It is a great privilege to be working with the one and only Chrysalis Records, who are independent (again), and who have released so many iconic albums over the last 55 years,” commented Darius Van Arman, co-CEO of Secretly Distribution. “The Chrysalis ethos has always been about putting artists, art and culture first, which aligns with everything that Secretly Distribution is about.”

+ Wise Music Group has signed British-Indian-American musician Anoushka Shankar to a global publishing deal in partnership with Chester Music Limited.

Shankar is a film composer and is the youngest and first female recipient of a British House of Commons Shield. She is also the first Indian musician to serve as presenter at the Grammys with seven nominations under her belt.

“It’s a pleasure to be signing with Chester Music for my future works”, said Shankar in a news release. “I look forward to expanding my compositional horizons and working with them to bring my creative voice and the sound of my instrument- the sitar- into new spaces.”

Marcus Wise, Wise Music Group CEO said: “Anoushka Shankar is a multi-faceted talent with huge potential in global media markets as well on the world’s greatest stages. We look forward to supporting her growth in these areas as both an artist and a composer.”

+ BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) will be honoring Gospel singers Tamela and David Mann and Dr. Bobby Jones at its 22nd annual Trailblazers of Gospel Music Awards in Atlanta on March 30.

The private event, hosted by BMI President and CEO Mike O’Neill and BMI VP of creative (Atlanta) Catherine Brewton, will also feature special guest performances to be announced at a later date.

The ceremony will salute the songwriters and publishers of the previous year’s 25 most-performed Gospel songs in the U.S. from BMI’s repertoire. BMI’s Gospel song of the year, songwriter of the year and publisher of the year will also be named during the ceremony.

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