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A&R Worldwide Newsletter Vol. 829



MUSEXPO has unveiled more inspiring companies, executives, and creatives for its highly anticipated 24th global edition, which takes place March 17 – 20, 2024 in Burbank, California, “The Media & Sync Capital of the World.”

Just announced recently to join the impressive 80+ speakers already confirmed for this year’s exciting event are Aton Ben-Horin – Executive VP, Global A&R, Atlantic Records Group; George Goodrich – Founder & CEO, Playlist Push; Isaac Heymann – A&R, American Recordings (Rick Rubin‘s record label); Jennifer Tolman Hurst – Sr. Vice President, MDDN (Good Charlotte, Chase Atlantic, Bad Omens & more); Michael Goldberg – A&R, American Recordings; Milana Rabkin Lewis – Co-Founder & CEO, Stem; Sean Mulligan – Sr. Vice President Creative & Music Supervision, The Wilders; Tarsame Mittal, Founder & Host, The Music Podcast (India), and Vivek Paul – Business Strategist & Advisor to Founder/CEO, Malsons Media (India). In addition, Nat Pastor – Co-CEO, Virgin Music Group, will present the highly coveted “International Music Person of The Year” Award to Jacqueline Saturn – President, Virgin Music Group North America & EVP, Global Artist Relations.

The MUSEXPO program schedule for this year’s event, including panels, keynotes, award events, showcases, and more can be viewed by clicking HERE.

MUSEXPO will feature some stellar panels covering a wide range of topics from A&R, publishing, performance rights, AI, distribution, live, management, digital, sync & brands (film, TV, trailers, promos, videogames, and advertising), audio (radio, streaming, playlisting, podcasting), as well as exclusive keynote interviews with some of the world’s top music executives from companies including All Saints Music (China), APM Music, Arezzo Wave (Italy), Atlantic Records Group, Capitol Music Group, Digital Music News, Disney Music Group, Distrokid, EA Games, Eventim Live Asia, FOX Television, InterTalent Rights Group (U.K.), KREATION Music Rights (Europe & S. Korea), Live Nation, LME, Malson’s Media (India), Motown Records, MUBU-TV, Music Business Worldwide, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Paramount Global, Position Music, Red Bull Records, Republic Records, SESAC, Sofar Sounds, Sound Czech (Czech Republic), Stem, The Hello Group, The Orchard, Times Music (India), Virgin Music, Universal Music Group, Universal Pictures, Worldwide Airplay Radio Monitor (Denmark), and many more to be announced soon. Read the full lineup of speakers HERE.

In addition, the MUSEXPO program will also include the return of its highly popular Global Sync / A&R Summit, where delegates will have an opportunity to meet face-to-face with music supervisors, brands, advertising, A&R, and licensing executives.

A&R Worldwide in association with MUSEXPO will also feature the launch of the official Seymour SteinGlobal A&R Award on Wednesday, March 20th which will honor one of the world’s greatest A&R executives, Wendy Goldstein – Co-President, Republic Records during a private gala dinner event. (This is a separate ticketed event, which is almost sold out. MUSEXPO delegates have priority ticket access once they complete registration).

To register to attend MUSEXPO (standard registration price expires this Thursday, February 15th), click HERE.

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

For discount hotel rooms with MUSEXPO partner hotels, click HERE.




British executive Tom March has been appointed Chairman & CEO, Capitol Music Group (CMG), it was announced recently by Interscope Geffen A&M Records (IGA) Chairman & CEO John Janick, to whom March reports. In his new position, March is responsible for the overall management and direction of the company, which encompasses Capitol Records, Blue Note Records, Motown Records, Astralwerks, Harvest Records, and Capitol Christian Music Group.

Tom March & Lillia Parsa

Concurrently, Janick has appointed Lillia Parsa as Co-President of CMG, joining Co-President Arjun Pulijal, who will continue to focus on the company’s artist development efforts. Parsa will work closely with March in planning the company’s creative direction and future growth, including the pursuit and nurturing of partnerships with artists and executive entrepreneurs to broaden and strengthen CMG’s connections within the creative community. Both March and Parsa will be based in Hollywood, within the iconic Capitol Tower. CMG and IGA are divisions of Universal Music Group (UMG).

John Janick stated, “I have worked closely with Tom for the better part of a decade, first as he looked after IGA repertoire in his role as co-President of Polydor in the U.K. and more recently in his position as President of Geffen. He is a passionate and savvy executive who is a relentless advocate for artists and is committed to building successful executive teams. I know he will thrive in this important new role.”

Janick continued, Lillia is a gifted creative executive with very strong relationships throughout our business. I have personally gotten to know her over the years through artists we have signed together and via the amazing roster of songwriters she has assembled at Universal Music Publishing Group. I am excited for her to take on this key position at Capitol, working alongside Arjun to continue to build a powerful platform for Capitol Music Group.”

March was most recently President of Geffen Records, having joined that company two years ago after six highly successful years as co-president of London-based Polydor Records and nearly twenty years total within the Universal Music Group global system. Under March’s leadership, Geffen Records has been thoroughly revitalized and is achieving its biggest wave of success in many years. Olivia Rodrigo’s sophomore album GUTS achieved No.1 status in 14 countries; the company’s partnership with HYBE has delivered massive hits for V, Jung Kook, and others; Kali Uchis, who is currently experiencing a massive global hit with “Igual Que Un Ángel,” and has achieved two Top 3 albums, Red Moon In Venus and Orchideas, in 10 months; K-pop superstars JK and Jimin both had number one Hot 100 singles; newcomer Yeat delivered his third Top 10 album in the last 16 months; rock legends the Rolling Stones new album, Hackney Diamonds, became the No.2 album in the U.S., was a global sensation and the group’s highest-profile album release in years.

Prior to joining CMG, Parsa was Senior Vice President of A&R at Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG), based in New York, having joined the company in 2018. While there, she developed a reputation for spotting creative talent early in their careers and working closely with them to nurture their abilities and develop them into hitmakers. Among the many superstar artists, writers, and producers Parsa has signed, developed, and built relationships with are Renee Rapp, Ice Spice, Julia Michaels, Billy Walsh, Blake Slatkin, Gracie Abrams, Omer Fedi, Nija Charles, Louis Bell, Cirkut, and Jimmy Napes. Read more HERE.




Warner Music Denmark has named Karen Vincent as the company’s new General Manager. She will be based in Copenhagen and report to Mark Fry, President, Warner Music Nordics.

Vincent has been the Marketing Director of Warner Music Denmark since 2017, working on high-profile innovative campaigns for local artists such as Christopher, Drew Sycamore, Gobs, L.O.C., and Nicklas Sahl. Her team has also supported releases from some of Warner Music’s biggest international stars, such as Bruno Mars, Dua Lipa, and Ed Sheeran.

Karen Vincent

Prior to working at Warner Music, Vincent was Senior Product Manager at indie label Copenhagen Records, working on campaigns for artists such as Alex Vargas, De Eneste To, Nik & Jay, and Stine Bramsen. At the same time, she acted as global publicist for the Danish rock band Volbeat, who were signed to Universal Music.

Karen Vincent said, “I am so excited to be stepping up to lead Warner Music Denmark. We’re a team that consistently punches above its weight, whether that’s securing a . week run at No.1 here in Denmark for hip-hop legend Gobs or helping superstar Christopher become one of the best-known international artists in China.”

She has pursued a career in the music industry for more than 25 years, starting out as an assistant at Sony Music, and then working in marketing and promotions at EMI Music, before joining Copenhagen Records in 2013.

Vincent is also the Co-Founder of SheCanPlay, a group that aims to secure more female representation on radio, in the charts, and on live stages. The group offers advice to young women and other artists from gender minorities, connecting them with industry professionals and like-minded people. SheCanPlay’s work is part of the Danish Ministry of Culture’s current Music Action Plan.

She also sits on the board of Johan Borup‘s College, a folk high school in Copenhagen, and has been appointed by the Danish Ministry of Culture to be part of the newly formed board of the Southern Danish Conservatory of Music in Odense and Esbjerg.




Skybound Entertainment, the creator-led, multiplatform entertainment company behind mega-hit franchises The Walking Dead, Invincible, and Impact Winter, has introduced a new spoke to its “Wheel of Awesome” content model – Skybound Music. The deal was announced last week by Sarah Landy, Sr. VP Americas, FUGA, and Jedd Katrancha, CCO, Downtown Music Publishing.

Jedd Katrancha & Sarah Landy

The division has been in stealth mode since early 2022 as the team worked to finalize a partnership deal with B2B music distributor, FUGA and Downtown Music Publishing, both companies owned by Downtown Music Holdings. The partnership with FUGA will provide the new music label with digital distribution and a breadth of marketing services, with Downtown Music Publishing across global administration for Skybound’s current and future catalog, allowing the company to monetize the masters and songwriting rights Skybound Music has obtained from its original productions.

Skybound Music is led by industry veterans Alex Kelman, Kevin Wolff, and Taylor Wahl, who collectively have expertise in every facet of the business. Musical companions for all projects across the Skybound universe are slated for 2024 and beyond, with promises of delivering iconic tracks, scores, and albums from a wide variety of talented artists across several genres.

Skybound Music already has one successful partner under its belt producing Audible Original Impact Winter‘s emotional and eerie soundtracks for Seasons 1 & 2. Both albums were met with widespread acclaim, not just for the narrative but for the accompanying soundscapes that enriched the storytelling experience. Its latest album, which dropped August 11, 2023, included evocative covers of iconic hits “California Dreamin'” by The Mamas & The Papas, covered by Lost Under Heaven, and a poignant rendition of the Pixies‘ “Where is My Mind?” by CLOVES.

Downtown Music has announced a deal with Verifi Media, a global leader in modern media rights data management services, and the Verifi Rights Data Alliance (VRDA). Songtrust will be the first of Downtown Music’s publishing services to join the alliance, following Downtown Music company, FUGA in 2022. Members of the VRDA have access to a unique set of collaborative tools for metadata exchange across music’s digital value chain while allowing each entity to maintain its own proprietary database.

The new partnership will initially see composition data from Songtrust matched thoroughly across Downtown Music’s recording catalogs and other VRDA member data. These matches will include verification of ISRC/work pairs, validation of writers, and enhancement of product and recording data to help unlock new opportunities. The move to data verification and enrichment will allow VRDA partners to better identify and tackle fraud, to settle and make royalty claims faster and easier than before, and bring better licensing and monetization options for all parties within Downtown Music.





Over the years MUSEXPO has introduced numerous artists to the U.S. and/or global markets through its talent showcases. Whether its Katy Perry, LMFAO, Jessie J, Teddybears, Tom Gregory, Frank Turner, Robyn, The Temper Trap, Forest Blakk, Sheppard, Lime Cordiale, Jack Savoretti, Missy Higgins, Laleh, Gavin James, Birds of Tokyo, Avalanche City, Gin Wigmore, Smith & Thell, Ida Maria or countless others who have taken the stage prior to their global success – MUSEXPO has always provided proactive industry, fans and others a chance to be the first to find the next great new music discovery, no matter what continent the artists come from.

An array of emerging talent from around the world is once again set to arrive at MUSEXPO for showcase sets from March 17th – 20th. The first two nights of unearthed global talent will perform at the legendary S.I.R. Studios on Sunset Blvd., followed by an additional night in the “Sync & Media Capital of The World” – Burbank, CA. Most of the talent is available for signing, licensing, booking, publishing, sync/brand partnerships and legal representation.

The MUSEXPO artist showcases on Sunday, March 17th feature renowned Swedish musician and pianist Andreas Aleman who will perform during the wine-tasting reception, followed by the Adele and Amy Winehouse-inspired U.S. singer VELLA who has over 2.4 million followers on TikTok, and over 32 million likes on the video social platform; the six-octave vocal range David Bowie and ABBA inspired unsigned U.K. vocalist Jamie Hannah; Houston, TX-based alt-rocker RōZY; who have generated strong audio and radio support across the Southern U.S.; the buzzing BBC Radio 1and BBC 6 Music U.K. supported Soul and R&B inspired songstress Azul Kechi; the Eurovision nominated effervescent, alternative rock, Måneskin inspired Italian five-piece Piqued Jacks; the burgeoning Beck inspired Canadian Indie and Hip-Hop songwriter and performer Dempsey Bolton; and one of Indonesia’s most popular export ready, Pop-Rock and Soul inspired band’s D’Masiv. For more information on MUSEXPO showcasing acts, 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!

SUPERSTAR HOLLYWOOD ACTOR FROM AMAZON PRIME’S REACHER AT MUSEXPO: One of Hollywood’s most popular stars today Alan Ritchson (currently the star of the highly popular Amazon Prime global TV show Reacher) joins the esteemed “Music & Sync” panel at MUSEXPO a few years ago. Alan Ritchson is pictured fourth from the left.

Alan Ritchson has become one of Hollywood’s most popular actors, not just in the U.S., but around the world for his starring role on the highly popular Amazon Prime show Reacher. He has also appeared in many other films and TV shows including Smallville, Blue Mountain State, Blood Drive, Titans, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Fast X, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and many others.

Ritchson attended one of the renowned A&R Worldwide executive dinner events in Beverly Hills a number of years ago through a mutual film director friend and Sat Bisla. Ritchson quickly realized he shared a passion for music like Bisla and the two built a musical kinship. This led to Sat inviting Alan Ritchson to the A&R Worldwide offices to discuss Ritchson’s passion for songwriting and performance, as well as listening to his demos.

Shortly, thereafter Bisla invited Alan Ritchson to join a highly esteemed sync panel at MUSEXPO panel moderated by Ritch Esra, Publisher, The Music Registry, which included former Sony BMG U.K. Chairman – turned film producer Ged Doherty; the highly respected and influential U.S. music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas (currently Head Of Music, Original Series, Netflix), and film Director Sunil Perkash (Enchanted, Disenchanted, SALT, Divorce Party) and others.


A&R Worldwide Artist Of The Week



The year 2023 marked a significant chapter for Oxford, England’s indie-pop sensation, The Mezz, following the success of their debut EP Avoid the Panic. As BBC Introducing‘s artist in residence, the band faced adversity when drummer Charlie battled bowel cancer, jeopardizing their future. However, their resilience, unity, and fan support turned tragedy into tenacity, making their journey more than a meteoric rise. The Mezz’s music reflects this triumph, serving as a soundtrack of perseverance and hope. Lead Singer Ben delves into the creative process, revealing insights behind their new tracks. “Bridges” confronts societal pressures in the social media era, earning praise for its raw honesty and emotional depth. Critics laud Ben’s poignant vocals and the band’s blend of indie-pop with a rock edge, hailing the track as a powerful commentary on modern identity. “Harbour The Feeling,” described by Ben as a sequel to “Bridges,” signifies a journey from societal expectations to self-discovery and empowerment. The song encapsulates a pivotal moment of shedding burdens and embracing authenticity. The Mezz’s narrative goes beyond music; it is a manifesto for courage, exploration, and embracing life’s spectrum. In 2024, they stand as a symbol of enduring human spirit and the healing power of music. As their journey unfolds, The Mezz continues to offer a beacon of hope and truth in a world filled with doubts and transitions. Their euphoric new single, “Harbour The Feeling,” previews their upcoming self-titled EP, set for release on March 8th via AWAL as they prepare for their upcoming shows at Camden Assembly in London on Thursday, their hometown EP launch party at Bullington
in Oxford on March 8th and at the Classic Grand in Glasgow on April 26th. Check out the band’s latest single HERE, and for opportunities for the band contact Barney Dick at




At the vanguard of a new wave of high-energy guitar rock and fast emerging as one of Australia’s most exciting young bands, the Melbourne five-piece Radio Free Alice has recently released their self-titled debut EP. The highly anticipated four-track release is a culmination of hook-laden uptempo post-punk singles: “I Gotta (Fall In Love),” “Look What You’ve Done,” and “Paris Is Gone.” It also features the newest offering, “Waste Of Space.” Lead singer Noah Learmonth of Radio Free Alice shares, ‘”Waste of Space” is a song about growing up and feeling unwanted. It came together easily and quickly; we wrote it collaboratively. The EP, in many ways, is a homage to our favorite artists. It’s post-punky but melodic, a collection of some new and some older songs that we felt marked a good place to start.’ The accompanying video, directed by Madeleine Purdy (Royel Otis, Gordi, Body Type), adopts a DIY stop-motion technique while capturing the band’s raucous live presence. Combining an unlikely set of influences that includes ’80s titans The Smiths and The Sunny Boys, alongside more contemporary artists like Parquet Courts, Ought, and The Strokes, Radio Free Alice has clearly hit a nerve early, with their singles racking up over half a million streams across DSPs and garnering airplay on Triple J and community radio around Australia, and early U.K. interest. Their angular sound feels fresh and immediate, with frontman Noah Learmonth’s distinctive yearning, throaty vocals, which hark back to the stylings of Ian Curtis and Robert Smith. The guitars feature clean tones and clever notes, melodic bass lines, urgent drumbeats, the occasional sax, and an operatic swagger that sounds like it was honed in a New York art school rather than in suburban Australia. The quintet has just announced to appear at The Great Escape in the U.K. in May and have been labeled by many a band to watch. Discover Radio Free Alice by watching their visual for “Waste of Space” HERE, and contact Tim Prescott at, as the band is available for international collaborations.


Passport Approved | Global Music Pre-Discovery

“PASSPORT APPROVED” PLAYLIST FOR Sunday, February 11th, 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:

GIANT ROOKS – “Fight Club” (Universal Music, Germany)
RADIO FREE ALICE – “Waste of Space” (Double Drummer, Australia)
SEA GIRLS – “Young Strangers” (Alt. Records/Believe, U.K.)
TRIBE FRIDAY – “Andy” (ICEA, Sweden)
LOOK MUM NO COMPUTER – “T.I.M.” (Ramsgate, U.K.)
BETTER JOY – “Hard To Love” (Fader Amp, U.K.)
CARAVAN PALACE – “Reverse” (Wagram, France)
ONLY THE POETS – “Looking At You” (EMI, U.K.)
MIDDLE KIDS – “Highlands” (EMI, Australia)
MYLES SMITH – “Solo” (Ditto Music, U.K.)
DARK TROPICS – “Carnival” (Unsigned, Ireland)
THE CAVS – “The Kids Are Talking” (Unsigned, U.K.)
MATTHEW MOLE – “Always By My Side” (Universal Music, S. Africa)
RHETT REPKO – “Until We Meet Again” (Unsigned, N. America)
BECCA SWAN – “Two Tears and No More” (Unsigned, Canada)
DEMPSEY BOLTON – “Couple Minutes” (Unsigned, Canada)
IAMJJ – “On My Way” (Mermaid, Denmark)
DOTAN – “Diamonds In My Chest” (7 Layers Music, Holland)
THE SNUTS – “NPC” (Happy Artist Records, Scotland)
LIME CORDIALE – “Pedestal” (Chugg Music, Australia)
THE K’S – “Heart On My Sleeve” (LAB Records, U.K.)
JERUB – “There Til The End” (Elevate Music, U.K.)
CATHOLIC GUILT – “Can You See Me” (Unsigned, Australia)
JAMIE HANNAH – “Dragonfly” (Unsigned, U.K.)
BABY SAID – “Fight” (PAL Records, U.K.)
THE RUBENS – “Good Mood” (Ivy League/Humming Records, Australia)
BO MILLI – “Come After Me” (AWAL, Norway)
PICTURE THIS – “Call It Love” (RCA/Sony, Ireland)
TALISCO – “Make It Good” (Roy Music, France)
MASI MASI – “Comfort Me” (Unsigned, U.K.)
TRISHA – “Down The Road” (Universal Music India, India)
KYTES – “Friend Of A Friend” (Frisbee Records, Germany)
BLOSSOMS – “To Do List (After The Breakup)” feat. Findlay (ODD SK Recordings, U.K.)



SONY MUSIC BUYS STAKE IN MICHAEL JACKSON CATALOG: Sony Music Group’s acquisition of half of Michael Jackson’s publishing and recorded masters catalog has set a new milestone in music asset valuations, with figures ranging from $1.2 billion (USD) to potentially $1.5 billion. This deal, finalized late last year, surpasses even Queen’s current valuation, which includes revenue streams from the Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody and theatrical productions featuring their music. While the Jackson deal doesn’t encompass royalties from Broadway shows, it extends beyond Jackson’s compositions to include non-Jackson-authored songs from the Mijac publishing catalog, comprising works by artists like Sly & the Family Stone, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Curtis Mayfield. Jackson’s enduring popularity is evident in the steady growth of his music sales and streams, outpacing the overall music market. With a biopic titled Michael slated for release, further expansion of Jackson’s fan base and revenue streams is anticipated, amplifying earnings for his estate and associated rights holders. Billboard previously estimated Jackson’s estate earnings at approximately $75 million annually, with contributions from recording and publishing assets, including the Mijac catalog.


UMG LAUNCHES EMI RECORDS PHILIPPINES: Universal Music Group Philippines, a division of Universal Music Group (UMG), has announced the re-launch of EMI Records Philippines (EMI). The company says it is looking forward to sharing a vision with its iconic British counterpart that has launched so many world-renowned artists globally, throughout its 125-year history, the label will provide grassroots support for local talent and, through its regional and global network of expert teams, will develop and nurture new artists into the stars of tomorrow. First established in 2002, the founding of EMI Records in the Philippines marked a formidable chapter in the OPM (Original Pinoy Music) industry and built a legacy of great artists such as Sandwich, Sugarfree, Hale, The Dawn, Kyla, Lea Salonga, and Bamboo. Relaunching with the same vision and ambition in 2023, EMI will continue to advocate for Filipino artists and will curate a broad roster and array of sounds reflecting the soul of the nation. Enzo Valdez, Managing Director, Universal Music Philippines stated, “EMI has long been recognized as one of the most iconic record labels in the world. EMI Records Philippines will honor this legacy in its determination to nurture and grow the incredible local talent and showcase it to audiences across the Philippines and beyond.”


Pictured (L-R) are Jamie Spinks (Head of A&R, Columbia Records U.K.); Anthony Orum SMAB Solicitors (representing NQ Records), Michael Adex (CEO & Founder, NQ); Dipesh Parmar (President, Columbia Records U.K.), and Amy Wheatley, Managing Director, Columbia Records. U.K.

NQ PARTNERS WITH COLUMBIA RECORDS U.K. & THE ORCHARD: NQ has announced a new partnership with Columbia Records U.K. and secured a global distribution pact with The Orchard. This collaboration opens doors for Columbia Records U.K. to tap into emerging Northern U.K. talent via NQ’s regional network. The partnership promises comprehensive support for artists in production, recording, and marketing endeavors. NQ’s CEO Michael Adexheads the collaboration, amplifying Northern England’s music scene since 2017. Adex manages BRIT-winning, Mancunian rapper Aitch, whose 2022 debut album peaked at No.2 on the U.K. album chart. Aitch leads the charge, signing an exclusive recording deal “powered by The Orchard.” NQ’s roster already features artists like Blanco, MIST, and WhyJay & LiTek, with Aitch set to unveil new tracks imminently. Michael Adex, Founder & CEO, NQ, said: “It feels like a no-brainer, and a great way to open our artists to international markets via The Orchard’s and Columbia Records UK’s global distribution channels while NQ Records continues to add value with a bespoke, artist-centric approach on the frontlines.” Dipesh Parmar, President, Columbia Records U.K., added, “Adex’s status as a Manchester music scene powerhouse gives us further access to northern talent via his broad network across the UK. Myself, Amy [Wheatley, MD], and the Columbia team are delighted to be partnering with NQ, we share the same vision in nurturing and developing artists early, and we’re excited for what the new venture will bring.”


MORGAN WALLEN INKS PUBLISHING DEAL WITH WARNER CHAPPELL MUSIC: Warner Chappell Music (WCM) has signed a global publishing deal with country music artist Morgan Wallen. The agreement not only secures Wallen’s catalog but also grants him the authority to sign promising songwriters in collaboration with WCM. Celebrated as the BMI Country Awards‘ “Songwriter of the Year” in 2023, Wallen has dominated the charts with hits like “Chasin’ You,” “7 Summers,” and “You Proof.” His third studio album, One Thing at A Time, shattered records, topping the Billboard 200 for 18 weeks. Wallen’s success extends beyond albums; his single “Last Night” achieved 6x-Platinum status and amassed over 1.5 billion streams globally, cementing his status as one of the top artists in modern country music. Ben Vaughn, President & CEO, Warner Chappell Music Nashville, said, “When you listen to the craftsmanship of songs that Morgan is writing, such as the modern-day classics “7 Summers” and “Thought You Should Know,” and the impactful songs he’s written for other artists like “You Make It Easy” (Jason Aldean) and “Wild As Her” (Corey Kent), you start to understand that the man from East Tennessee is quickly becoming one of the most important songwriters of this generation.”


SONGTOOLS SECURES $3 MILLION TO REDEFINE MUSIC MARKETING: SongTools has secured a $3 million (USD) funding round, and stated it is signaling a transformative moment in digital music marketing. As the music industry grappled with the release of over 120,000 new songs daily in 2024, SongTools states that it is driven to revolutionize music promotion. SongTools offers artists and labels a platform to expand their audience reach. With the largest playlisting network globally, with over 120 million followers, and streamlined one-click social media advertising campaigns, SongTools has helped over 60,000 artists and 6,000 music companies enhance their visibility. This recent funding infusion empowers SongTools to further its mission to redefine music marketing in 2024. With customized advertising campaigns tailored to both record labels and independent artists, SongTools aims to reshape the music industry’s marketing landscape. The company currently has strategic advisors on its team including European label veteran Jimmy Mikaoui, global A&R and music industry strategist and influencer Sat Bisla, A&R executive and manager Ric Fernandez, and Lucas von Cranach, SongTools is led by its Founders Gonzalo Mahou, Andre Do Valle, and Danny Garcia.


Pictured (L-R) are Alex Williams, Bryan Patrick Franklin, Jonathan Strauss, Jermaine Dupri, and Joe Romulus ESQ.

SO SO DEF RECORDINGS INKS DEAL WITH CREATE MUSIC GROUP: So So Def Recordings, Inc. has announced a multi-year alliance alongside Create Music Group. The partnership prompts a new chapter for the label, as it brings forth its recordings, publishing, and iconic back catalog under the Create Music Group banner. Led by Jermaine Dupri, the Grammy Award-winning producer and hip-hop artist, the collaboration promises a wave of new music and emerging talent. Dupri assumes the role of Creative Director, which will steer the company towards the intersection of music and culture. With Bryan Patrick Franklin as CEO and Joe Romulus Esq. as Head of Legal Business Affairs, the blueprint is set for So So Def Recordings to add to its legacy. “Jermaine has been one of the most successful and impactful forces in music for the last three decades,” said Jonathan Strauss, Founder & CEO of Create Music Group. “We are honored that he and his team have decided to partner with us for both his catalog and future output.”


KATE NASH SIGNS TO KILL ROCK STARS: Kate Nash, the Platinum-selling U.K. recording artist and acclaimed actress, recently signed with the label Kill Rock Stars with whom she will release her latest single “Change.” The new single delves into the complexities of relationships and the imperative of embracing personal evolution. Nash reflects on the multifaceted nature of connections, prioritizing the importance of self-awareness and the courage to let go when necessary. Nash’s talents extend beyond music, with notable achievements in acting and filmmaking, including her role in Netflix‘s GLOW, and her directorial debut with the darkly comedic horror short Wild Bitch.


Pictured back row (L-R) are Enzo DeVincenzo (Red Light Management), Anthony DeVincenzo (Red Light Management), Caroline Bouldin (Relative Music Group), Rusty Gaston (SMP Nashville); Front row (L-R): Dennis Matkosky (Relative Music Group), Carson Wallace, Michael Hardy (Relative Music Group), Jesse Matkosky (Relative Music Group).

SONY MUSIC PUBLISHING SIGNS CARSON WALLACE: Sony Music Publishing Nashville and Relative Music Group have announced their signing of rising country star Carson Wallace to a global publishing deal. Wallace has taken Nashville by storm, making a name for himself across the country genre. The 20-year-old musician and songwriter first gained recognition from his demos on TikTok and quickly rose to stardom with his unique sound. Wallace showcases a fresh, modern, raw, and edgy side that his fan base has a special and deep connection to. The California native recently released his debut single “Lonely Look Like” and has achieved success with recent singles including “Leavin’ Season,” “Ghost in My Chevy,” “Light of Day” and more. Michael Hardy, Partner, Relative Music Group said, “Carson is the most driven writer I have come across in a long time, and at only 20 years old that is an incredible characteristic to have. He has a great head on his shoulders, and I truly think he understands the ins and outs of writing a hit song, as well as how the music industry works. I can’t wait to hear the hits he turns in over the years and I know it’s only a matter of time until he breaks out as a big hit writer,”


WARNER CHAPPELL NAMES NEW DIRECTOR OF U.K. PRODUCTION MUSIC: Warner Chappell Music, the music publishing arm of Warner Music Group, has announced that Lina Tebbs has joined the company as Director of U.K. Production Music. Tebbs will oversee the U.K.’s Production Music team and will report to Shani Gonzales, Managing Director, Warner Chappell Music U.K. Tebbs brings extensive knowledge of production music and valuable experience in growing businesses and building brands. In her previous role as Global Head of Business Development & Marketing at Felt Music, she was responsible for the growth of the company’s main services and product offerings – which included its production music library, music supervision and licensing, and bespoke composition. While there, she also worked on TV and advertising projects for companies such as BBC, Curve Media, Mullen Lowe, Netflix, and VCCP. Recently, she led the research, data analysis, and interviews for the Music Publishing in the Age of the Songwriterreport. In her new role, Tebbs will be looking to reinvigorate Warner Chappell Music U.K.’s Production Music team, by looking at new and innovative ways to service its 190,000+ strong catalog, to the U.K.’s substantial film, television, radio, and advertising clients. She will be responsible for overseeing the team’s operations in sales, marketing, and supply chain, and will work closely with the Finance, Copyright, and Legal Divisions. Tebbs and her team will also work closely with the Warner Chappell Production Music teams around the world to help expand markets, streamline productivity, and explore alternative revenue streams.


Pictured (L-R) are Luke Hill (attorney), Martin Goldschmidt (Cooking Vinyl), Elles Bailey, and Tom Newman (Cooking Vinyl).

U.K. LABEL COOKING VINYL SIGNS ELLES BAILEY: Cooking Vinyl has expanded its roster with the addition of Americana singer-songwriter Elles Bailey, who has signed a worldwide deal with the London, England-based company. Bailey, known for her blues and roots sound, achieved chart success with her self-released third album, Shining in The Half Light, topping various charts. The signing follows Cooking Vinyl’s recent addition of Katherine Priddy and cements its position as a home for various talents, including Shed Seven, Passenger, and Sophie Ellis-Bextor. “I’m very proud of my journey and achievements so far as an independent artist running my own label but I’m delighted to partner with the wonderful Cooking Vinyl for the release of my new studio album,” said Elles Bailey. Martin Goldschmidt, Chairman, Cooking Vinyl, added, “Our team has belatedly fallen in love with the darling of the UK Americana scene and are very excited to be working with her in 2024 and beyond.”


WMG REPORTS STRONG RESULTS AMIDST LAYOFFS: Warner Music Group Corp. has reported robust first-quarter financial results for the period ending December 31, 2023. Revenue surged by 17.5% (or 15.9% in constant currency), buoyed by a $68 million (USD) boost from a licensing agreement extension and incremental revenue from a renewal with a digital partner. Digital revenue soared by 16.0% (or 15.1% in constant currency), with streaming revenue up by 16.6% (or 15.9% in constant currency). Recorded Music streaming revenue saw a significant increase, partially attributed to the Digital License Renewal. Operating income surged by 33.6%, reaching $354 million, while Adjusted OIBDA skyrocketed by 34.6% to $451 million (or 33.0% in constant currency). Net income also saw a substantial increase, reaching $193 million compared to $124 million in the previous year’s quarter. The company’s cash balance stood at $754 million, with total debt at $4.004 billion and net debt at $3.250 billion. Cash provided by operating activities increased by 40%, driven by strong operating performance and other movements within working capital.However, overshadowing this success is the announcement of significant layoffs, affecting approximately six hundred employees, as confirmed by Robert Kyncl, CEO, WMG last week. Most of these layoffs will impact WMG’s owned and operated media properties, including popular websites like Uproxx and HipHopDX, as well as the social media publisher IMGN. According to his memo, Kyncl said that these changes are made from a position of strength, citing the company’s robust financial results. Warner’s strategic restructuring aims to create annual cost savings of around $200 million by September 2025, with a focus on reinvesting in music initiatives. This announcement follows a previous reduction in global headcount of about 4% (270 staff) at WMG a year ago.


METAVERSE STUDIO KARTA ANNOUNCES NEW LAUNCH INTO ZEPETO: Karta, a pioneering metaverse studio known for its innovative in-game marketing experiences, has expanded its reach by launching a dedicated studio within ZEPETO, Asia’s largest metaverse platform. With a successful Fortnite studio already under its belt, helmed by gaming personality Leven2K, Karta sets its sights on ZEPETO’s fashion-focused avatar platform. The 3D artist Dominique Sosseh leads the new venture, aiming to deliver visually stunning experiences tailored for global major brands. ZEPETO’s vast user base of over four hundred million, predominantly female, presents a lucrative opportunity for fashion giants like Gucci and Christian Dior, who have integrated their products into the platform. Karta’s expertise in creating immersive virtual experiences positions it as a valuable partner for fashion and designer brands seeking to engage ZEPETO’s fashion-conscious audience. This move marks another milestone for Karta, following its successful collaborations with K-pop stars TWICE and BLACKPINK, Spotify‘s “Wrapped” campaign, and the recent launch of Nicki Minaj‘s Gag City on Roblox.


BMI SALE COMPLETED BY NEW MOUNTAIN CAPITAL-LED GROUP: New Mountain Capital‘s acquisition of Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) has reached completion. With over $45 billion (USD) in assets under management, New Mountain Capital’s majority stake acquisition was confirmed in November and has now received necessary shareholder and regulatory approvals. As part of the deal, BMI’s former shareholders will allocate $100 million of the sale proceeds to the organization’s songwriter, composer, and publisher affiliates. While not a direct distribution of royalties, this allocation aligns with BMI’s distribution methodologies based on performance levels. Google parent Alphabet‘s investment arm, CapitalG, will acquire a passive minority stake in BMI as part of New Mountain’s investment. Although the specific price of the acquisition was not disclosed, sources estimate New Mountain’s offer to be around $1.7 billion. “Our partnership with New Mountain charts an incredibly exciting new course for BMI and our songwriters, composers, and publishers,” said Mike O’Neill, who will remain President & CEO of BMI.


CREATE MUSIC GROUP ANNOUNCES JOINT VENTURE WITH ONELAND MUSIC GROUP: OneLand Music Group has announced that it has inked a joint venture with Create Music Group. The collaboration encompasses Create’s acquisition of OneLand’s music catalog alongside a collaborative effort to roll out new music projects. Marking the commencement of this venture is the release of Atomic Otro Way‘s latest EP, Dembow 5, now available across all major streaming platforms. Founded in 2018 by Vladimhyr Anglade, Kedar Frederic, and Hector Morales, OneLand Music Group focuses on unity across neighboring nations, with Atomic Otro Way emerging as the label’s flagship artist. “This is a full circle moment for both the Create and OneLand teams,” said OneLand Music Group’s Co-Founder Hector Morales. “In 2019 we partnered with Create to help them sign their first Latin artist. Ever since then, we have worked closely with Jonathan and Alex to build opportunities for OneLand artists. This venture is a celebration of our shared musical vision and we are thrilled to be in business with Create’s growing team.”


KEY PRODUCTION GROUP ESTABLISHES EMPLOYEE OWNERSHIP TRUST: Key Production Group announces that it is establishing an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT). Karen Emanuel, the CEO, and the creative behind Key Production since its founding in 1990, transfers ownership to the trust on behalf of the staff. Comprising four esteemed brands – Key Production, Think Tank, Breed Media, and Modo Design – the group’s transition to employee ownership showcases its commitment to a collaborative and sustainable future. With a history of servicing artists like Radiohead and Nick Cave, Key Production Group’s evolution into an employee-owned entity reflects its dedication. Led by Emanuel, alongside a board of 100% women, the company remains steadfast in its strategic vision for growth and expansion. As vinyl and CD sales surge, Key Production Group is primed to capitalize on this momentum, delivering top-tier packaging solutions while championing sustainable practices as a Certified B-Corp.


WIN UNVEILS NEW BOARD MEMBERS: The Worldwide Independent Network (WIN) has appointed five new board members and reconfirmed its Chair and Treasurer positions. With a renewed focus on regional representation, WIN welcomes Dario Draštata, Fran Sandoval, and Marty Ro as directors, alongside Alejandro Varela and Sridhar Swaminathan as observers. This lineup reflects WIN’s global reach and the diverse tapestry of languages, genres, and cultures within its membership. Zena White and Maria Amato‘s reappointment as Chair and Treasurer ensures WIN’s continuity and strong leadership. Outgoing members Francesca Trainini, Jeffrey Chiang, and Oliver Knust were lauded by the WIN board for their dedication and contributions. WIN’s expanded board underscores the organization’s mission to foster long-term growth and sustainability in the independent music sector. WIN Chair Zena White said, “I am grateful to be given the opportunity to continue as Chair of WIN and my congratulations go to our five new board members. Our North Star is to strengthen the sector by having an independent music trade association in all countries where there is a commercial music business.”


NEED TO MAKE CONTACT, SEND NEWS AND NEW MUSIC RELEASES?: If you have any A&R, publishing, technology, agent/promoter, international radio, management, new media or film/TV music supervisor news you’d like to share with A&R Worldwide, or need to respond to information published in the weekly newsletter please E–mail it to the attention of Sat Bisla at Also, all demos and new music releases should be sent as STREAMING LINKS ONLY to

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Reynold D’Silva, Michael Chugg, Mamie Coleman, Jobst Neerman, Terry McBride, Haezy Kim, Nick Raphael, Duncan Smith, Cybele Pettus, Jitze De Raaff, James Sanger, Brian Schall, Lucas Keller, and Benjamin Weeden.

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