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A&R Worldwide Newsletter Vol. 825



Warner Music has inked a strategic partnership with Red Light Management (RLM), the largest independent management company in the world. The agreement is designed to help the RLM’s artists better target Japan, which is the world’s second-biggest music market.

Warner Music Japan‘s International Marketing and ADA divisions will work with Red Light to build a marketing and label channel for the company’s artists. They will also strive to foster collaborations between its artists and some of the most exciting domestic performers in Japan.

Their first joint project is to promote Ghostly Kisses, the French-Canadian singer Margaux Sauvé, who is signed to the British label Akira Records. She performed for the first time in Tokyo in December, ahead of her new album release early this year. More artists, both new and established, are confirmed to follow.

James Sandom, Managing Partner, Red Light Management, said “We are super excited to partner with Warner Music on this initiative to help our artists with a dynamic new route into Japan. The Japanese market has unique characteristics, a landscape requiring bespoke attention and knowledge of the local music and entertainment sector. Bringing this knowledge together with our artists will help them build fan communities in this special market, with the aim of enabling a new generation of artists to find success in Japan.”

Kaz Shimada, Chief Operating Officer, Warner Music Japan, commented, “In recent years we have worked hard to help international artists connect with local fans as we transitioned from physical to digital. This exciting new partnership is another significant step forward, as we combine our experience promoting some of the biggest global stars in Japan with Red Light Management’s super-talented managers and amazing roster of artists.”

Red Light Management is home to a wide diversity of artists, writers, and producers including Dave Matthews Band, Punctual, Enrique Iglesias, Brittany Howard, Lady A, Lionel Richie, Interpol, ODESZA, Phish, The Strokes, Sabrina Carpenter, Chris Stapleton, Danny L Harle and Lewis Thompson. It also has partnerships with Tyler Brown‘s rapidly rising Funfair, home to some of the fastest-growing commercial dance records, songwriters, and producers, and Mike Ajayi and Jed Kellett‘s AMF, with a number of hotly tipped projects on the runway for 2024.




Tyler Bacon, Founder & CEO, Position Music has unveiled the latest addition to Position Music’s roster with the signing of Austin Powerz to a worldwide publishing deal. Based in Los Angeles, Powerz brings his hip-hop portfolio to Position Music, highlighted by his work on Drake‘s “Lemon Pepper Freestyle” featuring Rick Ross, boasting over 250 million combined streams. His credits extend to tracks like “In the Bible” from Drake’s Certified Lover Boy album, highlighting his collaborative prowess with artists such as A Boogie Wit da Hoodie, Trippie Redd, and Lil’ Durk.

Pictured (L-R) are Mark Chipello (Partner, Head of A&R, Position Music), Tyler Bacon (President & CEO, Position Music), Austin Powerz, and Delmar Powell (VP, A&R, Position Music). Photo Credit: Cameron Jordan.

Position Music continues to expand its influence as an independent publisher, record label, and management firm with the recent announcement of its new creative complex in Nashville, TN. With a diverse roster including Ryan Oakes, Kid Bloom, and Judah & the Lion, Position Music has solidified its commitment to fostering new talent and innovation in the music realm as a leading independent multi-faceted music company.

“I have known Delmar [Powell] for a while now, and when he reached out to me about working with him at Position Music, I just had a good feeling about it. As I learned more about the company, I got even more excited about inking a deal with them. I feel like we can really do a lot of amazing things together,” says Austin Powerz.

Delmar Powell, Vice President of A&R, Position Music said, “AP’s keen sense for sonics and passion for music culture has set him apart from the ordinary. His ability to tailor his productions with unique creativity brings a breath of fresh air. His talent and determination are sure to make noise here at Position Music. Austin’s new chapter will be an exciting one.”




Swedish band Bolaget has signed a global deal with Warner Chappell Music. The news comes as the band claims the top two positions in the Official Swedish Charts and the top four positions on the Spotify chart, after also securing the top two positions in Spotify’s chart of the most played songs of 2023.

Adam Bergestål, Gustav Jörgensen, Oliver Norqvist and William Ahlborg formed the indie-punk band Bolaget – “the company” – in 2019, first playing a party at a bachelor’s hostel in their hometown of Falun in central Sweden.

They went on to conquer the country’s charts. Their single “Kan inte gå” was the most streamed song in Sweden on Spotify in 2022, and in 2023 the band claimed the top two spots on the chart with “Ikväll igen,” which topped the official charts for 14 weeks, and “Kan inte gå.” The band also had a recent No.1 hit with the track “Farväl,” thanking fans for being by their side in 2023.

Bolaget has now generated more than 325 million streams since the start of 2019, with 170 million in the last year alone, and had a huge impact on Sweden’s gig and festival circuit. They signed a record deal with Warner Music Sweden in February 2023.

They currently occupy the top four positions on Spotify’s weekly chart, with “Låt Mig Va,'” their collab with Victor Leksell at No.1, “Astronaut” at No.2, “Kan inte gå” at No.3, and “Ikväll Igen” at No.4.

Lars Karlsson, Managing Director, Warner Chappell Music Scandinavia, Germany, Switzerland & Austria, stated, “Bolaget is a major signing for us. The band has built a huge and loyal following in Sweden, and the passion of their songwriting and the energy of their performances have blown people away. We are ready to support them as they take their career to the next level both here in the Nordics and around the world. This year is going to be another landmark year for this incredible band.”

Leslie Tay, A&R Manager, Warner Chappell Music Sweden, added, “Bolaget are a phenomenon. Their hard work, determination, and amazing connection with fans have helped them become the biggest band in Sweden at the moment. The quality of understanding their craft is exceptional, and we are so pleased to be working with them as they get ready to conquer the world.”



MUSEXPO ( the renowned annual global music industry conference and showcase event, often dubbed the “United Nations of Music,” has confirmed more creatives and executives to its burgeoning and stellar 2024 conference speaker lineup.

Confirming their participation as part of this year’s exciting MUSEXPO 2024 lineup, which takes place March 17 – 20, 2024 in Burbank, California “The Media & Sync Capital of the World” are numerous A&R and label executives from the U.S. and around the world.

Also, the inaugural launch of the annual Seymour Stein – “Global A&R Award” will take place post-MUSEXPO and will honor the 30 years of A&R contributions to the U.S. and worldwide music industry of highly-respected executive Wendy Goldstein, Co-President, Republic Records. The almost-at-capacity awards event will take place during a private A&R Worldwide gala dinner taking place on Wednesday, March 20th in Burbank, CA.

Savan Kotecha – (Academy Award Nominated Songwriter/Producer – One Direction, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, The Weeknd, Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift & more) will also moderate a one-on-one keynote interview with Wendy Goldstein during a highly-anticipated session at MUSEXPO.

Some of the A&R speakers and label executives joining this year’s event include Celeste Zendejas – Head of Latina, SESAC; Charles “CB” Burks – Vice President A&R, Red Bull Records; Chukwudi “Obi” Obi – Director, Publishing CreativeRed Bull Records; Danny Rukasin – Partner & Co-Owner, Best Friends Music (Manager of Billie Eilish, Finneas); Dave Pichilingi – CEO, Modern Sky(U.K. & N. America); Gary Chen – Co-Founder, President, Allsaints Music Group (China); Hussain “Spek” Yoosuf – EVP, International & Emerging Markets, Reservoir; Jacqueline Saturn – President, Virgin Music Group North America & EVP, Global Artist Relations; Kenny “Tick” Salcido – Sr. VP/Head of A&R, Red Bull Records; Mandar Thakur – COO, Times Music (India); Mark Chipello – Partner / Head of A&R, Position Music; Michael Mancuso – Co-Founder & Executive Vice President, The Hello Group; Mike Weiss – VP of Music & Head A&R, UnitedMasters;Mio Vukovic – Sr. Vice President A&R/Head of Creative, Disney Music Group; Professor Jonathan Shalit OBE – Chairman InterTalent Rights Group/Chosen Music; Richard Gottehrer – Founder & Chief Creative Officer, The Orchard; Samantha Sklar – A&R, Position Music; Shivam Malhotra – Founder & CEO, Malsons Media (India); Taylor Jones – Founder & CEO, The Hello Group; Tyler Bacon – President & CEO, Position Music; and many others to be announced in the coming weeks.

For the full list of current MUSEXPO speakers, and the event program, click HERE.

For sponsorship, panelist, partnership, or artist showcase opportunities contact Sat Bisla at

To register to attend MUSEXPO, and for discounted hotel room rates, click HERE.


A&R Worldwide Exposed

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!

PICTURE THIS – “THE LUCK OF THE IRISH”: Enjoying a photo opportunity after their performance in Austin, TX is Ireland’s Picture This with their original management team and A&R Worldwide’s Sat Bisla back in 2017.

One of Ireland’s most successful bands today, Picture This first came across A&R Worldwide‘s radar back in 2015 when they were introduced to us by their original manager Brian Whitehead who told us they would become one of Ireland’s biggest bands in recent times – he was right! Back in 2015, Picture This was not getting any local media, streaming, or radio support in their native Ireland, but thanks to the support of A&R Worldwide secured support on the influential globally syndicated Passport Approved radio program, which garnered them key U.S., German, South American and other key international support.

In 2016, Sat Bisla, President & Founder, A&R Worldwide introduced the band’s demos to Jason Jordan, who at the time was Managing Director at Imagem Music Publishing (since acquired by Concord Music Group) in New York City. Jason was transitioning to an A&R role at Republic Records (a division of Universal Music Group). Bisla introduced Brian Whitehead, and Picture This to Jason who signed the band to its first major record label deal with Republic Records.

In recent times, the No. 1 Irish album and singles charting band has since signed to RCA Records (a division of Sony Music Entertainment), and is now one of the most successful touring, streaming (500 million+ streams on Spotify ), and radio airplay bands in the country, and well on their  way to global success. The band is now managed by Craig Logan at LME who will be speaking at this year’s MUSEXPO in March, in Burbank, CA.

A&R Worldwide has also secured record label and/or publishing deals for Irish acts including Gavin James, Laura Izibor, Tara Lee, and numerous others, including early U.S. support for Robert Grace (managed by David Reid) who recently signed to Arista Records in the U.S. with the company’s CEO, David Massey, and A&R executive Daniel Werner (a former A&R Worldwide intern).


A&R Worldwide Artist Of The Week



The Liverpool, England-based band Crawlers recently released their single, “Call It Love,” as a culmination of a dynamic 2023. The quartet skillfully reinterprets the nineties grunge era, infusing it with a contemporary appeal through layered mellotron synths and guitars reminiscent of early alt-rock.Holly Minto‘s vocals, haunting and evocative, explore the complexities of love, creating an anthem for those grappling with unrequited feelings. The track serves as a testament to Crawlers’ formidable presence in the music scene, offering a glimpse into their forthcoming debut album, The Mess We Seem to Make, scheduled for release on February 16th via Polydor/Interscope. According to Minto, the album reflects the band’s journey of honing their craft, embracing vulnerability, and discovering their distinctive sound. The band has racked up millions of streams on various digital streaming services, as well as over 104k+ followers on Instagram and growing. Experience “Call It Love” HERE and contact Marco Rojas at for additional details and opportunities with Crawlers.




Irish duo Dark Tropics has generated significant attention with their latest single and music video, “Carnival,” highlighting their distinctive pop-noir sound. The songwriters, acclaimed for their debut album INK, which received support from various platforms including BBC Radio 1 and 2, Passport Approved (worldwide), KEXP Seattle, KCRW Los Angeles, BBC 6 Music, Absolute Radio, Billboard, and Clash, are now embarking on a new era. Describing the creation of “Carnival,” Dark Tropics expresses that the process was swift and effortless, capturing the essence of an intense yet fleeting holiday romance. The song, characterized by a contagious groove and compelling lyrics, presents a cinematic blend of energizing percussion and lively bass hooks in the classic pop tradition. Drawing comparisons to the expansive sound of Florence and The Machine and HAIM, Dark Tropics’ latest release marks their most ambitious venture to date, featuring seductive lyrics complemented by commanding vocals and expansive arrangements, propelling them into a new era of stadium-sized songs. To experience the visual counterpart, the music video for “Carnival” is available for viewing HERE, which has earned nearly two million organic views on YouTube so far. Inquiries for signing or licensing can be directed to Gerard at


Passport Approved | Global Music Pre-Discovery

“PASSPORT APPROVED” PLAYLIST FOR Sunday, January 14th, 2024: The weekly import show. Heard on more than 50 radio stations on six continents weekly including: Flux FM Berlin, GermanyNINETYSIX Radio (Indonesia); JioSaavn (India); Radio Doble Nueve, Lima, PeruWZRH–FM New Orleans, LAKWSS “93.9FM”; Phoenix, AZKRML “102.1FM”; Carmel, CAKFRR “New Rock 104.1FM”; Fresno, CARadio 1, Mumbai, IndiaWCNR Charlottesville, VAKIWR “The River”; Council Bluffs, IA2XM Ireland (national radio); 96.2 ZFM The NetherlandsWAPS–FM “The Summit.FM”; Akron–Canton, OHWKTL–FM Youngstown, OH105.5FM XFM Nairobi, KenyaPUK–FM Johannesburg, South AfricaRock 96.5FM Zambia897 FM Bratislava, SlovakiaWITH “90.1FM”; Ithaca, NYUCFM 87.8FM Australian Capital Territory, AustraliaWRUR 88.5FM Rochester, NYWCRU–FM Hamilton, NYKZND Anchorage, AKKQCJ Quad Cities, ILAllgauhit–FM Bavaria GermanyIndie 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:

SEA GIRLS – “Young Strangers” (Alt Records/Believe, U.K.)
MATTHEW MOLE – “Always By My Side” (Universal Music, S. Africa)
TRIBE FRIDAY – “Andy” (ICEA, Sweden)
GIANT ROOKS – “Cold Wars” (Universal Music, Germany)
EVERYONE YOU KNOW – “Coming With You” (RCA Records, U.K.)
BETTER JOY – “Hard To Love” (Fader Amp, U.K.
KAMRAD – “I Hope You End Up Alone (With Me)” (Sony, Germany)
HEARTS HEARTS – “Stop Being Poor” (Parramatta, Austria)
ONLY THE POETS – “Looking At You” (EMI, U.K.)
SAHARA BECK – “Compromise” (Unsigned, Australia)
KYTES – “Friend Of A Friend” (Frisbee Records, Germany)
RUM JUNGLE – “Electric Snowman” (Sureshaker, Australia)
DARK TROPICS – “Carnival” (Unsigned, U.K.)
RHETT REPKO – “Until We Meet Again” (Unsigned, N. America)
IAMJJ & BAKER GRACE – “A Different Kind of Blues” (Mermaid, Denmark)
COYLE GIRELLI – “Between Us” (Unsigned, U.K.)
AMSER – “Don’t Let Go” (SO Recordings, U.K.)
FLAWES – “Love For Granted” (Red Bull Records, U.K.)
DOTAN – “Diamonds In My Chest” (7 Layers Music, Holland)
NEWDAD – “Nightmares” (Atlantic Records, U.K.)
JAMIE HANNAH – “Dragonfly” (Unsigned, U.K.)
MASI MASI – “Comfort Me” (Unsigned, U.K.)
CATHOLIC GUILT – “Can You See Me” (Unsigned, Australia)
TALISCO – “Reign” (Roy Music, France)
THE PALE WHITE – “Taste The Sun” (Unsigned, U.K.)
LUKE NOA – “Flight of Birds” (Bread, Butter & Champagne, Germany)
BANNERS – “The Best View In Liverpool” (Island Records, U.K.)
BLOSSOMS – “To Do List (After The Breakup) feat. Findlay (ODD SK Recordings, U.K.)
WILL LINLEY – “Maybe” (Island Records, S. Africa)
TRISHA – “Somewhere Else” (Universal Music India, India)
ROGER GOMEZ – “Revolution in My Head” (Unsigned, Australia)
HOLYOAK – “Hold Too Tight” (Unsigned, Australia)



SEA GIRLS LAUNCH LABEL WITH BELIEVE: Talented British band Sea Girls who garnered key early support from A&R Worldwide since they originally formed as an unsigned year a number of years ago, have made a return with the announcement of their third album, Midnight Butterflies. This marks their inaugural release on their independent label, Alt. Records, in collaboration with Believe. Set to drop on June 14th, the album features pre-released hits like “Weekends & Workdays'” and “Young Strangers.” Vocalist and songwriter Camamile has collaborated with various creatives, including Grammy and Brit Award-winning producer and songwriter Kid Harpoon (Harry Styles, Florence + The Machine, Calvin Harris) and The Nocturns (Mimi Webb). The band’s label shift to Believe follows a successful stint with Polydor, where they achieved a Brit Certified Breakthrough for their debut. Sea Girls’ track record includes two Top 3 albums, Open Up Your Head (2020) and Homesick (2022). With an upcoming Australian tour, a sold-out U.K. Young Strangers tour in March, and summer festival appearances, Sea Girls are set for another chapter, enriched by collaborations with Matt Schwartz, Rich Cooper, and Dan Bryer. The band continues to be managed by their longtime representative Jon Chapman from Radiate Management.


RESERVOIR AND POPARABIA ANNOUNCE NEW PUBLISHING DEAL: Reservoir Media, Inc. and PopArabia, a major music publisher in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), have inked a publishing deal with In2Musica, the label, publisher, and production house of Lebanese artist Nancy Ajram. The agreement encompasses Ajram’s entire owned catalog, spanning hit albums like “Ya Tabtab” and “Nancy 10,” along with any of her future works. Ajram, known as the “Queen of Arab Pop”, dominated Spotify in 2020 as the most-streamed female Arab artist. Her catalog includes chart-toppers such as “3am Bet3ella2 Feek” and the track “Sah Sah” with Marshmello. The deal highlights Reservoir and PopArabia’s commitment to the MENA region, contributing to the global influence of Arabic music. Ajram’s legacy spans twelve studio albums and numerous accolades, which makes her one of the region’s most successful artists. Golnar Khosrowshahi Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Reservoir stated, “This deal marks a significant addition to our catalog of music rooted in the Middle East. Working with a global superstar of Nancy’s stature is a meaningful opportunity for Reservoir and PopArabia, as we continue to champion Arabic music locally in the Middle East, as well as across the globe.”


MIKE TAYLOR RESPECTED BY MANY: Enjoying a wonderful evening at an A&R Worldwide dinner in Syndey, Australia a while back were (L-R): Michael Chugg (Founder & CEO, Chugg Entertainment); Millie Millgate (Founding Director, Music Australia); Matthew Lazarus-Hall (Founder & CEO, Square Circles Creative Solutions), and the late Mike Taylor. Standing Back Row (L-R) are Danny Rogers (Founder, Lunatic Entertainment) and Sat Bisla (President & Founder, A&R Worldwide / MUSEXPO).

VETERAN A&R AND SENIOR MUSIC EXECUTIVE PASSES: In a poignant loss for the Australian music industry, one of its most accomplished A&R executives, who held a prominent position as an American expatriate, has passed away after a protracted battle with cancer. Mike Taylor, whose career spanned 15 years with Universal Music Australia, left an indelible mark on the nation’s musical landscape. Taylor’s impact was particularly evident in his role as the A&R force behind Delta Goodrem‘s chart-topping 2003 release, “Innocent Eyes,” a record that went on to become one of Australia’s highest-selling albums. His tenure at Universal included pivotal positions such as Executive VP, A&R, and the founding General Manager of Universal Music imprint Island Records Australia. Taylor signed an array of homegrown talents, including Hilltop Hoods, Havana Brown, Baker Boy, and Dean Lewis. Following his stint as Managing Director of Universal Music Australia from June 2014 to September 2022, Taylor embarked on a new chapter as an executive music consultant, A&R specialist, and artist manager through his venture, Shoot True. Before joining Universal Music Australia, Taylor held key roles at Sony Music Australia, Epic Records in New York City, and Maverick Records, which was Madonna’s label. His departure from Universal in 2022, citing personal reasons and a commitment to ongoing treatments, marked the end of an era. Mike Taylor is survived by his wife Jenny, and son Charlie. A funeral is scheduled in New York, with a subsequent celebration of his life planned in Sydney, ensuring his legacy resonates across both continents.


Matt Gralen & Helen Sartory

THE BEATPORT GROUP ANNOUNCES PROMOTIONS: The Beatport Group has undergone key leadership changes, promoting Matt Gralen to President and Helen Sartory to Chief Revenue Officer. Gralen, the current Chief Financial Officer, will now collaborate with CEO Robb McDaniels on a group-wide strategy while retaining his financial responsibilities. Sartory, formerly Sr. Vice President of Creator Services, takes on the role of Chief Revenue Officer, overseeing revenue units for Beatport, Beatsource, Plugin Boutique, Loopcloud, LabelRadar, and Beatport Amp. The Beatport Group, under McDaniels’ leadership since 2017, has seen monumental growth, tripling annual revenue through its diversification strategies. Gralen, with a background in corporate development and finance, steps into the President role without relinquishing his CFO duties. Sartory, known for her work in music technology startups and investment banking, is tasked with spearheading the next phase of Beatport Group’s growth strategy.


BEATPORT FOUNDERS LAUNCH AMBIENT LABEL: The business minds behind Beatport, AM Only, Side 3 Recordings, and Sacred Society have united to launch Sacred Society Music Group (SSMG), a pioneering ambient record label exclusively embracing Dolby Atmos technology. With a commitment to perfection, SSMG has established a state-of-the-art studio dedicated to Dolby Atmos, filling a niche in the industry as less than 5% of U.S. recording studios are equipped for such innovation. SSMG’s inaugural offering is a collection boasting over 55 tracks and over six hours of immersive content, all available on their website and major digital platforms like Spotify and Apple Music worldwide. Co-founder Bradley Roulier, who previously co-founded Beatport, expressed their dedication to mastering the ambient genre in Dolby Atmos, positioning SSMG as a leader in this field. The studio’s focus on Dolby Atmos technology aligns with market trends, with a mere 5% of U.S. studios catering to it. The SSMG website,, enhances user experience with a metadata and tagging system, allowing exploration based on genres, frequencies, and time of day. As the global market for ambient music is projected to surge to $3.21 billion (USD) by 2030, SSMG aims to capitalize on this trend, and promoting a healthy lifestyle through their Dolby Atmos crafted sounds.


ONE FINNIX LIVE ADDS BEX WEDLAKE TO ITS TEAM: Finnix Live, the U.K. booking agency founded by Jon Ollier (agent for Ed Sheeran, twenty one pilots, and others) has added Bex Wedlake as its newest agent. With a respected reputation in the entertainment industry, Bex brings her seasoned expertise to the role. Effective immediately, she joins the U.S. team in Los Angeles, while collaborating closely with the U.K. counterparts. Bex’s roster includes the likes of Halestorm, K.Flay, and Dance Gavin Dance. Her role involves representing these artists in international territories beyond North America. Finnix Live continues to evolve into various business sectors outside of booking, positioning Bex as a key player in expanding the agency’s global footprint. Jon Ollier stated, “We are delighted to welcome Bex to our company. Not only does she bring with her an incredible wealth of experience and a fantastic roster that aligns perfectly with our aspirations, but Bex has time and again spotted and developed new talent with a remarkable hit rate.”


Pictured (L-R) are Nick Shymansky (Day One Music), Guy Moot (Co-Chair & CEO, WCM), Kenya Grace, Carianne Marshall (Co-Chair & COO, WCM), Gabz Landman (VP A&R, WCM), and Xavier Champagne (Sr. Director, Urbank A&R, WCM)

WARNER CHAPPELL SIGN KENYA GRACE TO GLOBAL ADMIN DEAL: Warner Chappell Music (WCM) has secured an exclusive worldwide administration deal with artist Kenya Grace. Originally from South Africa and raised in Southampton, England, Grace is a self-taught singer-songwriter and producer. Her major label debut, “Strangers,” was released under Warner RecordsMajor Recordings becoming the first song solely written, produced, and sung by a woman to top both the Hot Dance/Electronic and the U.K. singles charts. Grace plans to release her debut album and tour across European countries this year. Gabz Landman, Vice President, A&R at WCM, and Xavier Champagne, Sr. Director, Urban A&R, WCM commented that “Kenya has set a remarkable path for herself, writing and producing her own music in its entirety. To be a record-breaking female producer, songwriter, artis and DJ is a special and rare achievement. Her music is honest and true, and we could not be more excited to join her on this journey.” Kenya Grace is managed by longtime A&R Worldwide friend and collaborator Nick Shymansky, co-Founder, Day One Music, who also manages burgeoning female artist Lola Young (Island Records). Nick was also the original manager for the legendary Amy Winehouse and was the first A&R executive in the world to offer the No.1 globally charting LMFAO their first label deal thanks to the initial introduction from A&R Worldwide Founder Sat Bisla to the duo back in 2007 when they were unsigned.


UNIVERSAL MUSIC NAMES PRESIDENT & CEO FOR MEXICO: Last week, Universal Music Méxicoappointed Alfredo Delgadillo as CEO & President, effective immediately. Delgadillo’s career dates to his start at Universal in 1998, having been with the company for over 25 years. Serving as Managing Director since 2017, he has now expanded his leadership to include the regional Mexican Label Fonovisa-Disa. Under his direction, Universal Music Mexico has surged forward, attaining the 13th spot globally in the recorded music market, with a remarkable 24.29% YoY growth in 2022. Known for breaking and globalizing local talents like Lasso and Danna Paola, Delgadillo’s strategies have also propelled international acts to the summit of Mexican charts. His tenure witnessed the development of Global Talent Services as a premier live music and management organization, hosting successful events for artists such as Morat and Aitana. Delgadillo began his journey as International Marketing Manager in 1998 before being elevated to his present role.


IRELAND’S RTÉ CHOICE MUSIC PRIZE 2024: The contenders for the highly anticipated RTÉ Choice Music Prize Irish “Album of the Year 2023” were unveiled last week on RTÉ 2FM‘s Tracy Clifford Show. The diverse shortlist features standout releases from artists spanning various genres. Among the nominees is last year’s winner, CMAT, who achieved an Irish No. 1 album with Crazymad, For Me and garnered attention on renowned U.K. TV shows like Graham Norton and Later with Jools Holland. Previous victors Lankum also return with their Mercury Music Prize-nominated False Lankum. The Irish “Artist of the Year” category highlights a stellar lineup, including Cian Ducrot and Hozier, both of whom secured U.K. No. 1 albums in 2023. Jazzy, with the hit single “Giving Me,” adds to the formidable list. The winner of the “Irish Album of the Year 2023” will be revealed during a special live broadcast from Dublin’s Vicar St on RTÉ 2FM on Thursday, March 7th. The 19th annual RTÉ Choice Music Prize, a highlight in the music industry since 2005, celebrates the best in Irish recorded music. A panel of eleven Irish music media professionals and industry experts will determine the victor, who will receive a €10,000 prize (Euros) courtesy of the Irish Music Rights Organization (IMRO) and the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA). All shortlisted acts will be honored with specially commissioned awards. For more details and the list of judges, visit Choice Music Prize website.


AKHILA SHANKAR APPOINTED HEAD OF TUNECORE SOUTH ASIA: TuneCore has appointed Akhila Shankar as the Head of TuneCore, South Asia. Based in Mumbai, India, Shankar will report to Tash Shah, TuneCore’s Vice President, International, and Vivek Raina, Managing Director, Believe India. Her role involves growing and managing TuneCore’s artist roster in the region, focusing on localization efforts, and partnership opportunities, and developing innovative marketing campaigns. Shankar brings an abundance of experience, previously serving as Director, International at Luminary, where she played a key role in the company’s global expansion. With over seven years at JioSaavn, one of India’s leading audio streaming services, Shankar’s expertise positions her well to lead TuneCore’s efforts in South Asia. Additionally, she takes over from Heena Kriplani who is relocating overseas. Tash Shah said in a statement that, “the South Asian music industry consists of one of the most diverse and robust pools of talented independent artists in the world; one that TuneCore is constantly working to provide with resources, support, and guidance so that local South Asian artists can grow their careers both regionally and globally.”


Pictured back left to front right is Samantha Connaughton, Robyn Sumner, David Kittlety, Alex Kennedy (Believe, U.K.), Alice McLean (Believe, U.K.), Mark Murdoch (Mahogany), James Gaster (Mahogany), and Ben Rimmer (Believe).

BELIEVE U.K. & MAHOGANY FORM ALLIANCE: Believe, the prominent French-headquartered digital music company, has entered a strategic long-term partnership with Mahogany, the globally acclaimed music brand famous for its Mahogany Sessions YouTube channel. As part of this collaboration, Believe will manage the worldwide digital distribution for Mahogany Records, Mahogany’s label, and its video platforms, including Mahogany Sessions, COVERS, and Lagoon. Believe will collaborate closely with Mahogany to enhance its global presence across established and emerging markets, expanding content into new territories, genres, and audio-visual formats. Leveraging Believe’s audience development team across 50 countries, Mahogany aims to achieve ambitious growth in the coming year. Anticipating a public launch in the next few months, Mahogany Songs, a bespoke digital distribution service, will be powered by Believe. This platform will support unsigned artists through partnerships with major streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music, and Amazon Music. Mahogany Sessions, known for its intimate live performances from emerging artists, has played a pivotal role in supporting artists like Billie Eilish, Birdy, Leon Bridges, Flume, George Ezra, and others. The signing with Believe further strengthens Mahogany’s position, complementing recent signings by Believe U.K., including iconic dance labels Hospital Records and Rinse.


UTOPIA MUSIC C-SUITE SHAKEUP: Recently struggling, Swiss music company Utopia Music has undergone a leadership shift, appointing Michael Stebler as its new Chief Executive Officer, succeeding Alain Couttolenc. The reshuffling extends to the executive suite, with Couttolenc assuming the role of Deputy CEO and Chief Commercial Officer (CCO), while Drew Hill, overseeing Utopia’s U.K.-based distribution businesses, takes on the position of Deputy CEO alongside his Chief Distribution Officer (CDO) responsibilities. Furthermore, Pedro Lima, previously Sr. Vice President at NielsenIQ, joins as Chief Operating Officer (COO). The company, which specializes in providing financial services to the music industry, experienced a transformative period marked by strategic acquisitions, including Lyric Financial and Proper Music Group, amidst an array of challenges last year.


MERLIN UNVEILS NEW BOARD OF GLOBAL INDEPENDENT LEADERS: Merlin has announced its new Board for 2024, featuring prominent figures from the global independent music scene. Representing twelve countries across Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America, and Oceania, the Board reflects Merlin’s dedication to a diverse and international perspective. Elected by its membership, which includes tens of thousands of independent record labels and rights holders worldwide, the Board guides Merlin in securing premium deals with major partners like Apple, Spotify, and TikTok. Nearly half of the Board Members are serving their first term, with new appointments such as Golda Bitterli (Revelator), Jeffrey Chiang (Fluxus), Megan Jasper (Sub Pop), Fer Isella (Limbo Music), Irina Lipczyk-Kolakovska (E-muzyka), and Simon Wheeler (Beggars). Darius Van Arman, Co-CEO of Secretly, continues as Chairperson for a second term. The organization continues to be stewarded by the leadership of Merlin Co-Founders Martin Mills (Beggars) and Michel Lambot ([PIAS]).


DISTROKID FOUNDER MOVES FROM CEO TO CHAIRMAN: DistroKid announces that it is undergoing a shift in leadership. Philip Kaplan, Founder, DistroKid is transitioning to the role of Chairman, while Phil Bauer, previously the Chief Operating Officer since 2018, steps into the role of President, taking over day-to-day leadership responsibilities. DistroKid, valued at $1.3 billion (USD) after an investment from Insight Partners in 2021, claims to distribute 30-40% of all new music globally, with over 2 million artists using its platform. Additionally, the leadership change coincides with a transformative period in the streaming landscape, marked by new ‘artist-centric’ royalty policies at major platforms. Spotify, which holds a minority stake in DistroKid, introduced measures to combat streaming fraud, prompting concerns within the DIY distribution community about potential disproportionate impacts on high-upload platforms.


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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Mike Chester, Jon Cohen, Stephen Sessa, Justin Shukat, Andre DeRaaff, Zach Katz, David Gray, Milana Lewis, Paul Tollett, Saurabh Abbi, Joakim Johansson, Martin Goldschmidt, Traci Fuller, and Duncan Smith.

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