A&R WORLDWIDE ANNOUNCES THE ANNUAL
SEYMOUR STEIN – GLOBAL A&R AWARD
TO BE OFFICIALLY LAUNCHED AT MUSEXPO 2024
MUSEXPO, the preeminent global music industry conference known as the “United Nations of Music,” has announced the establishment of the Seymour Stein, Global A&R Award. The Global A&R Award stems from the vision of the original A&R Worldwide Awards that were launched back in 2013 at MUSEXPO at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.
This annual honorarium will pay tribute to the remarkable legacy of Seymour Stein, one of the most influential A&R executives in modern music history, and co-Founder of the iconic Sire Records. The award will be presented at the MUSEXPO conference, set to take place in the Media Capital of the World, Burbank, CA, from March 17 – 20, 2024.
Seymour Stein’s storied career is synonymous with the discovery and nurturing of some of the most iconic artists of our time. His signings, including Madonna, Talking Heads, The Ramones, The Pretenders, Body Count (featuring Ice-T), Ministry, as well as international acts like The Cure, Depeche Mode, Erasure, Echo & The Bunnymen, and The Smiths, have left an indelible mark on the music industry. His profound contributions to the industry and his unwavering dedication to the art of A&R make him a true visionary and an inspiration to countless music professionals worldwide.
Seymour Stein’s association with MUSEXPO was deep-rooted, often finding him at the event as a prominent speaker and devoted attendee. It was at this very conference that he discovered the now Platinum-selling artist Forest Blakk, helped with his signing to Atlantic Records, and pursued numerous other talented acts such as The Temper Trap, LMFAO, Gavin James, and more whom he discovered at the MUSEXPO. Seymour’s passion for music and his instinctive A&R approach cemented his legacy as a true music fan and an unparalleled industry tastemaker.
Sat Bisla, President & Founder of A&R Worldwide and MUSEXPO, shared a close bond with Seymour Stein, built upon a shared love for music and the insatiable desire to uncover raw talent. Their global musical escapades took them across continents, spreading their message of gut-driven A&R from India to Finland, Australia to Israel, the UK to France, and beyond. Their shared philosophy emphasized the importance of nurturing talent and retaining a profound connection to the essence of music itself.
When Bisla approached Richard Gottherer, Seymour’s longtime friend and co-Founder of Sire Records, and Seymour’s daughter Mandy Stein about the idea of the “Global A&R Award” their immediate enthusiasm validated the notion. Both were eager to support the initiative, recognizing the intrinsic alignment between Seymour’s values and A&R Worldwide’s reputation as a global leader of artist discovery and development that has helped hundreds of artists with record label, publishing, booking, sync, and brand deals, as well as MUSEXPO’s mission of championing and showcasing talent on an international stage.
Mandy Stein stated, “In a lot of ways when I reflect on my father and his legacy in music, I’m proud of his position as both a pioneer and a risk taker. I think about him taking a gamble on this unknown music genre – Punk Rock – and an unknown band – the Ramones – and his undying belief in both, which would go on to change the world of music. Signing Madonna from his hospital bed when every other label had passed on her – a risk taker! In addition to these qualities, what is so admirable was his faith in the artist and being prepared to back up their ideas and creative vision, and persevere with them hand in hand, despite the obstacles placed in front of them. Just look at his dogged pursuit of Talking Heads for over a year, letting them develop to a point where they felt ready to sign to a label and make an album for the ages. Whether it be Punk, Pop, Hip-Hop, or Country, the common thread for Seymour was the strength of the song. Its importance was paramount to my dad, and he could hear a hit – even in its rawest form. These qualities were the essence of his being, and I think had an impact on both music and the other A&R people that followed in his footsteps. He was a leader and a role model, and I am thrilled that both A&R Worldwide and MUSEXPO have recognized these qualities and strive to keep up his great work and legacy alive with the first-ever Seymour Stein – Global A&R Award.”
Richard Gottherer, Founder & Chief Creative Officer, The Orchard added, “Seymour was the music. Although he never played an instrument, he was better at it than anyone I’d ever met. The music was part of him, and he shared it with the world through the artists he discovered and the legendary label we started together. This award will keep his legacy alive by honoring the individuals that maintain that spirit of discovery and contribute to making our industry so unique and special.”
The inaugural Seymour Stein, Global A&R Award promises to uphold Seymour Stein’s legacy by celebrating A&R excellence, artistic vision, and the spirit of discovery that continues to drive the music industry forward. This award will serve as a timeless tribute to a man whose influence will forever resonate in the world of music. The Seymour Stein, Global A&R Award presentation will take place during a gala dinner event on Wednesday, March 20, 2024.
The inaugural honoree of this prestigious award will be announced soon.
For more information on MUSEXPO, and to register to attend the event visit www.musexpo.net.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for questions pertaining to sponsorship, panel, and artist showcasing opportunities.
WARNER MUSIC GROUP ENTERS JOINT VENTURE
WITH ELLIOTT GRAINGE & 10K PROJECTS
Warner Music Group (WMG) has entered into a joint venture with 10K Projects, the Los Angeles-based label founded in 2016 by Elliot Grainge. Under the new partnership, 10K Projects will become a standalone label within the WMG ecosystem, bringing its roster and next generation team into the WMG fold.
As 10K Projects continues to grow, the label and its artists will benefit from WMG’s investment, expertise, and global infrastructure, including via support from ADA. Grainge will remain CEO of 10K Projects, guiding the company along with Co-Presidents Zach Friedman and Tony Talamo. Grainge will also join WMG’s global leadership team.
10K Projects is home to stars such as Trippie Redd, who in just five years has scored eight Top 5 albums and mixtapes; Iann Dior, who spent eight weeks at No.1 with the hit single “Mood,” and Internet Money, whose multi-Platinum track, “Lemonade” boasts more than one billion Spotify streams and charted in over 25 countries. 10K Projects also launched the career of hip-hop sensation Ice Spice, who will continue to record for 10K Projects/Capitol Records.
“Joining Warner Music Group provides us with the backing, the collective expertise and vision to empower our artists and our employees on the next phase of our journey,” said Elliot Grainge, Founder & CEO, 10K. “Max [Lousada] and Robert [Kyncl] have been making all the right moves to position WMG for the future in what I think is one of the most fertile and exciting growth periods for the global music business. They have also shown that they value the kind of independent spirit and commitment to artist development that has made 10K successful so far.”
Max Lousada, CEO, Recorded Music, WMG stated, “Elliot and 10K don’t just discover original talent, they understand how to ignite fandom and create fresh impact with each release. It’s a label full of next generation possibilities – with its artists, its leader, and its team. As 10K joins our thriving network of independent music brands, we’re committed to giving it the freedom and backing to reach new heights.”
“We welcome 10K’s extraordinary artists, its talented founder Elliot, and his entrepreneurial team to WMG. Together, we’ll grow our investment in artistry and accelerate the pace of our innovation,” added Robert Kyncl, CEO, WMG.
10K Projects’ artist roster includes established superstars and fast-rising names, from rap heavyweight 6ix9ine to viral pop duo Surfaces, as well as burgeoning talent like Aitch, YTB Fatt, SXMPRA, COIN, and more. Grainge was also behind the signing of XXXTENTACION in 2016. In just seven years, 10K Projects’ team of digital marketers has been behind countless commercial and cultural hits, including over 30 Platinum-certified singles.
VIRGIN MUSIC GROUP ESTABLISHES NIGERIAN OFFICE
AND NAMES OLUKOREDE “KAY” IKZAZOBOH AS HEAD
Virgin Music Group recent announced it was expanding its horizons by launching an office in Lagos, Nigeria. To spearhead its operations, Virgin has enlisted music executive, Olukorede “Kay” Ikazoboh, as the Head of Virgin Music Nigeria.
Virgin Music’s foray into Nigeria is accompanied by a flurry of deals, including partnerships with Dvpper, a leading Afrobeat’s label in Nigeria, and solo artist Reekado Banks. Nat Pastor, Co-CEO, Virgin Music, emphasized the increasing global appetite for Africa’s creative musical prowess and has emphasized the company’s commitment to serving independent African artists and entrepreneurs.
Michael Roe, Managing Director of Virgin Music International, highlighted Kay’s reputation as a champion of independent labels and artist development, making her an ideal leader for this crucial venture.
Kay is renowned for her contributions to the African music industry through Kimani Moore Entertainment and her past roles at Warner Music Group, which highlighted Nigeria’s status as a vital creative epicenter within the continental market.
Virgin Music Group’s footprint on the African continent began in 2021 with the acquisition of South Africa’s Electromode, a leading independent music distributor.
Last year, the company ventured further by launching a label services division in Côte d’Ivoire, boasting an extensive catalog, label partnerships, and a diverse artist roster from across 25 African countries.
TIMOTHY XU APPOINTED CHAIRMAN & CEO
OF UNIVERSAL MUSIC GREATER CHINA
Universal Music Greater China has unveiled Timothy Xu as the new Chairman & CEO of its Greater China division, encompassing Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, effective September 4, 2023.
Xu, an industry veteran with a remarkable track record spanning three decades, possesses experience in breaking Chinese artists and fostering talent across the region. Prior to his role at UMGC, he served as President & CEO of Taihe Music Group, China’s foremost independent music company since 2018. His earlier tenure includes a four-year stint as Chairman & CEO, Greater China, at Sony Music Entertainment, along with roles at EMI Music & EMI Music Publishing China and Warner Music China.
In addition, as one of the industry’s most experienced executives, he currently represents China’s music sector as Vice-Chairman, China Music Industry Committee of CADPA (CMIC), Co-Founder & Chairman of China’s Music Industry Committee Music Awards (CMA), Deputy Director of Emerging Music Group Working Committee, China’s Chinese Musicians Association and as a consultant for the Digital Music Working Committee, China Audio-Video and Digital Publishing Association.
Sir Lucian Grainge, Chairman & CEO, Universal Music Group said, “I am thrilled to welcome Timothy to lead our operations in Greater China. He’s a real music executive, given his deep experience generating creative and commercial success in the region. I’m confident Timothy be instrumental as we continue to drive growth in the exciting and vibrant Chinese music market.”
Timothy Xu added, “I am delighted to join Universal Music Group as Chairman & CEO of Greater China as we look to further establish the company as a dynamic and innovative leader in China’s music ecosystem. I would like to thank both Sir Lucian Grainge, and Adam for the opportunity to join the world’s leading music company, and for sharing my big ambitions for UMG’s future business development, and artist success across the region (and beyond).”
ALL ABOUT MUSIC IN MUMBAI
SPOTLIGHTS INDIA’S GROWING GLOBAL MUSIC INFLUENCE
The recent All About Music conference in Mumbai set the stage for India’s burgeoning role as one of the world’s newest, essential, and rapidly growing music markets. With a keen focus on the evolving facets of the music industry, including recorded music, music publishing, digital platforms, streaming services, sync licensing, and the thriving live music scene, the event underlined India’s transformative journey in the global music landscape.
There we many notable panel highlights at the conference including the inaugural “A&R Master Class,” an exclusive session that drew industry stalwarts and aspiring talent alike. Sat Bisla, President & Founder of A&R Worldwide, was invited as the session’s keynote speaker. Bisla’s insights delved deep into the core fundamentals of Artists and Repertoire (A&R), a pivotal component in artist development. His session shed light on how A&R plays a vital role in nurturing artists with the drive and vision to carve out enduring careers.
In his address, Bisla underscored the need for India to elevate its A&R acumen to compete effectively on the global stage. He stressed the importance of identifying and nurturing local talents while aligning them with international standards, a strategy that has been instrumental in propelling artists from emerging markets onto the global scene.
The All About Music conference served as a vibrant nexus for industry leaders, artists, and music enthusiasts, providing a platform to exchange ideas, forge collaborations, and celebrate India’s rich musical heritage. As the world witness’s music’s transcendent power to unite cultures and bridge boundaries, India’s dynamic and diverse music scene is increasingly becoming a cornerstone in the global music dialogue.
In a world where music knows no borders, India’s rise as a prominent music market is a testament to its commitment to musical excellence. The All About Music conference illuminated India’s path towards becoming a global music powerhouse, promising a harmonious future filled with limitless possibilities for artists and industry professionals alike.
Here’s a snapshot of some of A&R Worldwide’s interactions with its peers in Mumbai, India this past weekend.
Each week, A&R Worldwide shares a snapshot of creatives and executives that we have collaborated or worked with in various music markets around the world, albeit in recent or previous times!
Over the years, A&R Worldwide has teamed up with many artists, executives, and companies to help them elevate their presence across the globe. A few years ago, A&R Worldwide helped British-based company Silva Screen embrace its 30-year milestone celebrations with a special gathering in Los Angeles. Embracing the festivities are (L-R) Carlo Cavagna (Head of Trade & Investment, British Consul General Los Angeles), Adam Greenup (Managing Director, SO Recordings), Keith Ferreira (CFO, Silva Screen), Anurag Rao (Founder, Chain Reactor, India) and Sat Bisla (President & Founder, A&R Worldwide / MUSEXPO).
When he was just in his early teens, Germany’s Luke Noa began writing songs and performing his first shows with his band, Luke Noa and the Basement Beats. In the early stages of their career, they secured a band competition victory, which subsequently led to a performance at the Southside Festival. This marked the turning point in Luke’s career. After graduating from high school, Noa dedicated himself tirelessly to his songwriting and live performances. Drawing inspiration from artists such as Rikas and Go Go Berlin, Noa is now recognized as one of the most talented German songwriters of his generation. Last November, he released the Wide Awake EP, a project that passionately explores Noa’s admiration for Italy in the 80s. To escape the European winter the previous year, he packed his microphone, a four-track cassette recorder, and his guitar, embarking on his first journey beyond Europe, heading to New Zealand. The warmth of the southern hemisphere inspired him to channel these newfound emotions into his upcoming EP, NYLON. You can get a preview of his new artful and emotionally-charged global masterpiece “Flight of Birds” HERE. The song has already garnered worldwide audio support on influential radio stations on six continents worldwide through the highly regarded syndicated tastemaker program Passport Approved. For any inquiries or opportunities related to Luke Noa, please contact email@example.com.
Liverpool, England’s acclaimed singer-songwriter, Michael Nelson, known as BANNERS, embarked on his musical journey at the age of seven, singing daily in a renowned cathedral in the city. A pivotal visit to a Toronto studio with his producer father reshaped his path. His demo CD reached Grammy-nominated producer Stephen ‘Koz’ Kozmeniuk, recognized for his collaborations with Madonna, Kendrick Lamar, and Dua Lipa, resulting in a chart-topping debut single in Canada. The track garnered 10 million Spotify streams overnight and garnered BANNERS an invitation to perform on the Jimmy Kimmel Live! TV show. BANNERS rapidly rose to prominence in North America and Canada, propelled by a viral TikTok hit with his song “Someone to You,” accumulating over 1.5 billion streams and achieving Platinum and Gold certifications across multiple countries. The success led to an appearance on American Idol. His most recent EP, I Wish I Was Flawless, I’m Not, drew inspiration from personal experiences, centered around themes of friendship, family, and love. Building on the momentum of hit singles like “Have You Ever Loved Someone” and “Name in Lights,” BANNERS maintains his prolific stride with the release of a brand new single the uplifting track “C’est La Vie,” which showcases his distinctive indie-pop sound. The song is accompanied by a vibrant video that captures nostalgic moments, which you can view HERE. For additional information on BANNERS, contact management: Brian Winton at firstname.lastname@example.org and Jackie Karlsson at email@example.com, or contact the record label Nadia Shukri firstname.lastname@example.org and Ken Li at email@example.com.
“PASSPORT APPROVED” PLAYLIST FOR Sunday, September 10th, 2023: The weekly import show. Heard on more than 50 radio stations on six continents weekly including: Flux FM Berlin, Germany; NINETYSIX Radio (Indonesia); JioSaavn (India); Radio Doble Nueve, Lima, Peru; WZRH–FM New Orleans, LA; KWSS “93.9FM”; Phoenix, AZ; KRML “102.1FM”; Carmel, CA; KFRR “New Rock 104.1FM”; Fresno, CA; Radio 1, Mumbai, India; WCNR Charlottesville, VA; KIWR “The River”; Council Bluffs, IA; 2XM Ireland (national radio); 96.2 ZFM The Netherlands; WAPS–FM “The Summit.FM”; Akron–Canton, OH; WKTL–FM Youngstown, OH; 105.5FM XFM Nairobi, Kenya; PUK–FM Johannesburg, South Africa; Rock 96.5FM Zambia; 897 FM Bratislava, Slovakia; WITH “90.1FM”; Ithaca, NY; UCFM 87.8FM Australian Capital Territory, Australia; WRUR 88.5FM Rochester, NY; WCRU–FM Hamilton, NY; KZND Anchorage, AK; KQCJ Quad Cities, IL; Allgauhit–FM Bavaria Germany; Indie Xfm Los Angeles and on The Independent FM (iHeartRadio) in the United States, as well as many others internationally.
Listen to this two hour show by clicking HERE:
ONLY THE POETS – “Crash” (EMI, UK)
MATTHEW MOLE – “See Me Again” (Universal Music, South Africa)
COYLE GIRELLI – “Jane Tells A Lie” (Unsigned, UK)
GIANT ROOKS – “Bedroom Exile” (UMG, Germany)
BELLZZZ – “No Shoes Girl (Succession)” (Unsigned, UK)
ST. LUNDI – “Fall” (Propeller Recordings, UK)
BAKER GRACE – “American Dream Girl” (Riveting Music, N. America)
TRIBE FRIDAY – “Salt Clouds” (ICEA, Sweden)
AMSER – “Don’t Let Go” (SO Recordings, UK)
THE MOVING STILLS – “Westside” (Sureshaker, Australia)
PICTURE THIS – “Red Lights” (RCA Records, Ireland)
YARD ACT – “The Trench Coat Museum” (Island Records, UK)
TELENOVA – “Lost In The Rush” (BMG, Australia)
CAESARIA – “Smalltown Boy” (Universal Music, France)
BARBERA MARI – “Torn” (Unsigned, Czech Republic)
RUEN BROTHERS – “Don’t Know What’s Come Over You” (Yep Roc, N. America)
THE LATHUMS – “Lucky Bean” (Island Records, UK)
BLAIRE DAVIE – “Lovely” (Watercolour Heart, UK)
JAMIE HANNAH – “Surrender To You” (Unsigned, UK)
THE VALMONTS – “Love Overdose” (Unsigned, Ireland)
SCHOOL OF X – “Feel Of It” (Tambourhinoceros, Denmark)
THE ROYSTON CLUB – “The Deep End” (Run On Records, UK)
TALISCO – “Keep ur head up” (Talisco Music, France)
NOTHING BUT THIEVES – “Keeping You Around” (AWAL, UK)
LIME CORDIALE – “Imposter Syndrome” (Chugg Music, Australia)
CRAWLERS – “Messiah” (Polydor, UK)
RHETT REPKO – “I’ve Been Feeling Down Lately” (Unsigned, N. America)
BLOXX – “Runaway” (Unsigned, UK)
CASSIA – “High Tones” (Republic of Music, Australia)
DECLAN MCKENNA – “Sympathy” (Believe, UK)
ALEX LAHEY – “On The Way Down” (Liberation Music, Australia)
PAUL PARTOHAP – “BESTFRiEND” (Warner Music, Indonesia)
CRYSTAL FIGHTERS – “Manifest” ([PIAS], UK)
ASHLEY ESPER – “It’s Called Art” (Unsigned, N. America)
KALIII SIGNS GLOBAL DEAL WITH WARNER CHAPPELL MUSIC: Warner Chappell Music has inked a global administration deal with American rapper, Kaliii. Her song “Area Codes” recently surged to the top spot on Mediabase’s Rhythmic Airplay chart, amassing over 130 million streams. This achievement was coupled with a nomination for “Best New Artist” at the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards. The Atlantic Records-signed artist also unveiled “K Toven,” a release that mixes Jersey club sounds with classical nuances. Additionally, she made her mark on “Barbie Dreams” by Fifty Fifty, featured on Barbie: The Album. Having amassed over 350 million streams across platforms since her debut album in 2021, Kaliii’s presence remains commanding with over 10 million monthly Spotifylisteners. The deal was spearheaded by Ryan Press, President, North America, Warner Chappell Music, and Xavier Champagne, Senior Director, Urban A&R, Warner Chappell Music.
UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP ACQUIRES CHABAKA MUSIC: Universal Music Group (UMG) recently acquired Chabaka Music, a pioneering music company hailing from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and focusing on digital distribution, marketing, publishing, and artist services across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. This move bolsters Universal’s influence in one of the globe’s most rapidly expanding music landscapes, as emphasized in their recent press release. Chabaka will become part of UMG’s Virgin Music Group, working closely with the local Virgin and UMG teams in MENA. Founded in 2013 by Ala’a Makki and Tarek Makki, Chabaka has effectively collaborated with over 150 independent artists and local labels. This acquisition aligns with UMG’s strategy to tap into burgeoning music markets worldwide. Notably, the MENA region exhibited a 23.8% year-on-year surge in recorded music revenues in 2022, according to the IFPI. UMG is no stranger to the MENA region, having established its presence in collaboration with music manager and entrepreneur Wassim “SAL” Slaiby to launch Universal Arabic Music in 2021. This initiative aimed to foster global partnerships, platforms, and brands to advance Arabic music and culture. Following the integration of Chabaka into UMG’s Virgin Music Group, key figures within the Chabaka team, including its CEO Ala’a Makki, will retain their pivotal roles.
KOBALT SIGNS JAKE TORREY TO GLOBAL PUBLISHING DEAL: Kobalt has signed songwriter and producer Jake Torrey to a global publishing agreement that includes worldwide synchronization and creative services. Jake Torrey, originally from Rhode Island, has recently achieved success with his co-writing contributions to hit songs such as Calvin Harris & Sam Smith’s “Desire,” which is currently charting at No.7 in the UK. He has also worked on tracks like YUNGBLUD’s “Hated” and “Low Life,” Lauren Spencer Smith’s “That Part,” and Charlie Puth’s self-titled album, including the 2x Platinum single “Light Switch.” Torrey has also co-written and co-produced work on Justin Bieber’s No.1 album, Justice, contributing to tracks like “Off My Face” and “Lifetime.” The signing was solidified with the support of Jamie Kinelski, Sr. VP, Head of West Coast Creative, Kobalt.
RIPTIDE TURNS THE “TIDE” WITH A NEW HEAD OF SYNC: Riptide Music Group has just named Taylor Amazan as its new Head of Sync. Having joined Riptide in 2018, Amazan’s influence has been pivotal in propelling the company within the trailer and promo sync domain. Her orchestration of tracks with Riptide’s artist roster has resulted in an impressive 250+ sync placements, including high-profile campaigns like Hobbs & Shaw, Fast X, and Parasite, generating substantial revenue. Amazan’s purview now extends to supervising Riptide’s Creative Sync Team, in addition to managing the in-house Sync Production division. Her dedication to steering the sync process from inception to fruition, encompassing conceptualization, creative evolution, marketing, pitching, and industry advocacy, underscores her dedication to this role. Collaborating with Ryan O’Donnell, Riptide’s Head of A&R and Label Services, Amazan will drive the identification and signing of new artists while nurturing existing client relationships across TV, trailers, promos, and advertising. Additionally, recent Riptide collaborations include working with Royal Caribbean, Grey’s Anatomy,Sephora, the NFL, and more.
WARNER MUSIC SIGN FIRST DIGITAL CHARACTER NOONOOURI: Warner Music Central Europe has announced that it is offering a record deal to Noonoouri, a digital character. Noonoouri’s debut single, “Dominoes,” featuring German DJ Alle Farben, was released last Friday. Her singing voice was created using artificial intelligence (AI) technology, based on a real singer’s voice but modified to give her a distinct sound. The songwriters and musicians involved in the track will receive royalties and publishing splits as in traditional music deals. “Dominoes” also features a music video with Noonoouri sporting Kim Kardashian’s Skims shapewear brand, chosen by her creator Joerg Zuber. Warner Music Central Europe clarified that Noonoouri is not AI-generated but that AI-assisted technology was employed to craft her singing voice. Talented songwriters and musicians were responsible for creating her debut track, “Dominoes.”
EXCELERATION PARTNERS WITH AZADI RECORDS: Exceleration Music has solidified a partnership with Azadi Records, based out of India. The agreement involves a substantial financial infusion into Azadi Records, poised to catalyze the label’s expansion and cement its status as a force in India’s independent music sphere. Azadi Records’ team will gain access to Exceleration’s international services and infrastructure. Charles Caldas, a partner at Exceleration, assumes a major role on Azadi Records’ board to steer the label’s strategic direction, performance, and overall growth. Founded in 2017 by Mo Joshi and Uday Kapur, Azadi Records stands at the forefront of sociopolitical hip-hop in South Asia. The label’s impact includes the discovery of artists like Seedhe Maut and Prabh Deep, pioneers in India’s rap landscape. Named 2020’s “Indie Label of the Year” by India’s Loudest Magazine, Azadi Records is poised to release highly anticipated projects, including Seedhe Maut’s Lunch Break mixtape and an EP by Ranj & Clifr, among others. This milestone deepens Exceleration’s roster, which already boasts leading independent label partners like Mom+Pop Music, Kill Rock Stars, and SideOneDummy.
DEMI LOVATO SIGNS NEW MANAGEMENT DEAL: Demi Lovato has signed with Good World Management, led by Brandon Creed, following her departure from former manager Scooter Braun earlier this year. This development comes just ahead of the release of Lovato’s upcoming album, Revamped, which features re-recorded rock versions of her earlier hits. Brandon Creed, previously known for managing Bruno Mars, is currently involved with the Barbiesoundtrack, where Good World artist Charli XCX contributes a song. His management company also oversees Australian singer Troye Sivan and shares management duties for Normani with Lydia Asrat. Lovato’s new album includes guest appearances from Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash, the Maine, Nita Strauss, and The Used, showcasing Lovato’s passion for rock music.
WARNER MUSIC CHINA STRIKES DEAL WITH LAY ZHANG: Warner Music China has secured a distribution deal for the forthcoming album by Lay Zhang, a multifaceted Chinese artist renowned as a singer, producer, actor, and dancer. The partnership was officially inaugurated during a launch ceremony at Warner Record’s headquarters in Los Angeles. Zhang’s artistic journey began in 2005 when he emerged as a finalist in the talent competition Star Academy, followed by his selection as a trainee at the prestigious SM Entertainment in 2008. His debut in 2012 as a member of the South Korean/Chinese boyband EXO propelled him to global stardom. Venturing into his solo career, Lay has achieved remarkable chart-topping success and garnered numerous accolades, solidifying his status as one of Greater China’s biggest superstars. Lay’s versatility extends beyond music, as he has also achieved prominence in the film and television industry, exemplified by the record-breaking success of his film No More Bets, which surpassed $410 million (USD) at the Chinese box office.
GAMMA EXPANDS WITH TWO SENIOR EXECUTIVE APPOINTMENTS: Gamma, has expanded its footprint into the Africa and Middle East music market with the addition of two music industry leaders. Nigerian songwriter and artist Larry Gaaga assumes the role of Vice President & General Manager of Africa, while Arab artist and DJ, Dany Neville, takes on the position as Vice President, A&R, Middle East. These appointments follow Gamma’s push into Africa and the Middle East, with music industry veteran Sipho Dlamini at the helm. Gaaga, formerly Vice President of Def Jam Africa, will direct Gamma’s operations across the entire African continent. His focus is on long-term strategic direction, revenue growth, and expanding market reach across Africa. Gaaga will drive initiatives to nurture local talent, propelling their success both domestically and globally through collaborations and partnerships. Additionally, Neville’s journey, marked by pioneering achievements like launching the region’s first urban radio show and collaborating with global artists, aligns with Gamma’s mission to elevate the region’s musical prowess.
PINAULTS FIRM TAKES MAJORITY STAKE IN CAA: Artémis, an investment firm led by billionaire François-Henri Pinault, has acquired TPG’s majority stake in Creative Artists Agency (CAA). While the financial details remain undisclosed, reports suggest that the deal values CAA, a prominent sports, and entertainment agency, at approximately $7 billion (USD). CAA’s existing co-chairs Bryan Lourd, Kevin Huvane, and Richard Lovett will continue in their roles following the acquisition. Lourd is expected to be named CEO, with Jim Burtson continuing as President. François-Henri Pinault is the Chairman & CEO of luxury goods conglomerate Kering, which owns renowned brands like Gucci, Balenciaga, and Yves Saint Laurent. Under his leadership, Artémis, the Pinault family’s investment company has made this strategic investment in CAA. CAA, headquartered in Los Angeles, has offices across the globe and plays a pivotal role in representing artists in the music and entertainment industry. It made headlines in 2021 with the acquisition of ICM Partners, marking a significant move in the talent agency landscape.
COOKING VINYL PUBLISHING PARTNER WITH HER’S: Cooking Vinyl Publishing has unveiled a collaboration with Her’s, the Liverpool duo whose lives were tragically cut short in 2019. Born from the creative synergy of Norwegian bassist Audun Laading and Barrow-born vocalist-guitarist Stephen Fitzpatrick, the band met an untimely end, along with their tour manager, in a devastating road accident during their debut album’s American tour. Their musical odyssey began with the release of the nine-track album “Songs of Her’s” in 2017, followed by the full-length masterpiece Invitation to Her’s the following year, both under the wing of Manchester’s Heist Or Hit. Martin Colclough, Heist or Hit’s stalwart, expressed deep pride in partnering with Cooking Vinyl Publishing to preserve the duo’s profound musical footprint. With nearly 3.5 million monthly listeners on Spotify and their flagship single, “What Once Was,” amassing a staggering 207 million streams, Her’s legacy remains resoundingly alive. Cooking Vinyl Publishing’s worldwide, long-term agreement to steward the band’s catalog aligns with the families’ efforts to ensure the band’s continued influence. Ryan Farley, Managing Director, Cooking Vinyl Publishing, said, “We’re honored to champion Her’s evocative melodies and vow to safeguard their musical heritage in collaboration with all invested parties.”
ROCKSMITH+ ANNOUNCES PARTNERSHIP WITH WARNER MUSIC GROUP: Rocksmith+ is set to elevate its music-learning service with a new collaboration with Warner Music Group, unleashing a wave of artists into its already extensive library. The partnership promises to enrich the Rocksmith+ experience with tracks from the likes of Linkin Park, The Cure, Twisted Sister, Sepultura, and more. Jay Cohen, Vice President & Executive Publishing at Ubisoft, the company behind Rocksmith+, emphasized the service’s mission to empower music enthusiasts to learn guitar through their favorite songs. He acknowledged the progressive approach of WMG in expanding the reach of artists to a growing audience and the collaborative potential to redefine music distribution. Jillian Rothman, VP of New Business & Ventures at WMG, praised Ubisoft’s legacy of groundbreaking interactive music experiences, with Rocksmith being a standout example. Rocksmith+ offers access to over 7,000 songs, facilitating guitar learning with acoustic, electric, or bass guitars at your own pace. Its cutting-edge note detection, real-time feedback, and practice tools ensure an immersive learning experience. Regular content updates, including new modes, features, and monthly song additions, promise to keep subscribers engaged and continually inspired.
TUNECORE PARTNERS WITH SONG DATA STARTUP SESSION: TuneCore has entered into a partnership with Session, a song data startup. The partnership aims to empower independent artists by facilitating the direct sharing of their music creations from Session Studio to digital stores and streaming platforms through TuneCore’s distribution service. Session, backed by Salt after a recent acquisition, offers Session Studio, a versatile tool accessible via mobile, desktop, and web applications. Session was co-founded in 2019 by luminaries like ABBA’s Bjorn Ulvaeus, as well as Swedish songwriters and record-producers Max Martin and Niclas Molinder. A feature of Session Studio is its QR scan capability that allows creators to capture their comprehensive metadata for all collaborators, which can then be transmitted to TuneCore for systematic distribution. Furthermore, Session Studio’s Creator ID Verification tools contribute to the authentication of collaborators’ identities through affiliations with Performing Rights Organizations.
CONCORD SET TO BUY ROUND HILL’S UK-LISTED FUND: Concord has announced its acquisition of Round Hill Music Royalty Fund (RHM), a UK-listed fund managed by Round Hill Music, in a deal valued at around $468.8 million (USD). The acquisition involves purchasing the entire share capital of RHM, with scheme shareholders set to receive $1.15 per share in cash. Concord, known for making strategic investments in the music industry, has deployed over $2 billion in capital, and completed more than 100 transactions since 2015. Notable acquisitions include Imagem in 2017 and music rights from Phil Collins and Genesis members in 2022. RHM, which went public in 2020, owns 51 catalogs and over 150,000 songs, including compositions by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Johnny Cash, and more.
EXCELERATION MUSIC ACQUIRES REDEYE: Exceleration Music has expanded its operations with the acquisition of Redeye, a global digital and physical distribution and music services company. The deal includes Redeye’s in-house labels Yep Roc and Sundazed, as well as its publishing company Riff City Sounds. Glenn Dicker and Tor Hansen, founders of Redeye, have become shareholders in Exceleration Music and will continue to lead Redeye with its existing team and infrastructure. Redeye represents several top independent labels in the USA and globally, including Beggars Group, Domino, New West, Saddle Creek, Warp, Stones Throw, and more. This acquisition strengthens Exceleration Music’s position in the independent music industry, providing independent music partners with a well-resourced path to market, including worldwide distribution, label services, marketing, and technical expertise. Exceleration Music’s expansion now consists of two divisions: the established rights group and the newly acquired distribution and label services business operating under the Redeye brand.
APM MUSIC PARTNERS WITH INCANTIO: APM Music, a provider of production music and soundtracks used in various media projects, has partnered with music technology startup Incantio to enhance the music discovery process. Incantio, co-founded by its CEO Danny Newcomb, operates as a “direct-to-consumer music platform” with a mission to make the music and sync licensing business accessible to all musicians and creators. Incantio employs AI technology to curate and recommend music, offering recommendation tools to improve music discovery. This partnership with APM Music, which boasts a catalog of music from various libraries, including indie films, TV shows, commercials, and more, aligns with Incantio’s goal of creating a more artist-friendly music licensing platform. For APM Music, the partnership reflects its strategy of collaborating with technology startups that align with its mission of illuminating artists’ work and simplifying the process of finding the right music for various media projects. APM Music is jointly owned by Sony Music Publishing and Universal Music Publishing Group.
APRA AMCOS PROMOTES JONATHAN CARTER TO COO: Jonathan Carter has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer at APRA AMCOS (Australasian Performing Right Association and Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society). Carter, who has nearly 15 years of experience with the organization, most recently served as Head of Legal & Corporate Services. In the 2021-22 financial year, APRA AMCOS achieved record-breaking results with gross revenue reaching $616.5 million (AUD), up 21.6% from the previous year. Net distributions to songwriters, publishers, affiliated societies, and rights holders also increased by 20.7% to $534.3 million. Digital sources, including domestic and multi-territory licensing hubs, were major contributors to the revenue, generating $338 million. Public performance collections, the organization’s oldest business, also experienced growth, reaching $77.5 million. APRA AMCOS represents 115,000 songwriters, composers, and publishers and is based in Sydney, Australia.
GITA WILLIAMS NAMED SR. VP ARTIST & LABEL SERVICES AT THE ORCHARD: The Orchard has named Gita Williams as their Senior Vice President of Artist and Label Services for the US. Based in Los Angeles, Williams will report to Mary Ashley Johnson, Executive VP Sales & Artist and Label Services for the U.S. and Canada. In her new capacity, Williams will oversee The Orchard’s U.S. Artist and Label Services division, where she will nurture and market the existing artist roster while scouting for fresh talent. Gita Williams brings a wealth of music industry experience spanning two decades to The Orchard, including artist management, strategic marketing, and executive label roles. Before joining The Orchard, she founded The Mehan Group, a boutique firm specializing in management and marketing. During her career, she has collaborated with notable artists and organizations, such as Labrinth, Solange, Nipsey Hussle, Jennifer Lopez, Mary J. Blige, and many others. Williams has held key positions at Roc Nation, Epic Records, Interscope / Geffen / A&M, and RCA Records.
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