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A&R Worldwide Newsletter Vol. 830



Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) has announced that esteemed singer, songwriter, and producer Dan Wilson has been signed to an exclusive, global publishing agreement. Under the new agreement, UMPG will represent Wilson’s future works, effective immediately.

A highly accomplished musician and lead member of famed band Semisonic, Wilson is a three-time Grammy winner in major categories. Last week, Wilson won “Best Country Song” for Chris Stapleton‘s “White Horse.” He has also been awarded “Song of the Year” for co-writing The Chicks‘ “Not Ready to Make Nice,” and “Album of the Year” for Adele‘s 21, which featured three of his co-writes including “Someone Like You.”

Jennifer Knoepfle & Dan Wilson

Additionally, Wilson earned Grammy nominations for Grammys’ “Song of the Year” for Jon Batiste‘s “Butterfly” from Netflix documentary American Symphony, “Best Rock Song” for Semisonic’s “Closing Time,” as well as “Album of the Year” for Taylor Swift‘s Red, on which he co-wrote the hit song “Treacherous” in 2012. He also worked with Swift on re-producing co-writes for Red (Taylor’s Version). Wilson also received his first-ever Oscar nomination for co-writing and producing Jon Batiste’s “It Never Went Away.”

Known as the “songwriters’ songwriter,” Wilson has written with a diverse range of artists across genres – living legends, pop stars, country artists, indie rockers, and beyond. Among his collaborators: Carole King, Celine Dion, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Florence + The Machine, Chris Stapleton, Tenille Townes, Noah Cyrus, Alec Benjamin, Mitski, Claud, My Morning Jacket, Phantogram, Leon Bridges, Tom Morello, Joy Oladokun, P!nk, Halsey, Weezer, Panic! at the Disco, Dierks Bentley, John Legend, Laufey, Vance Joy, Jason Mraz, and many more.

Wilson said, “This publishing relationship with UMPG begins a whole new chapter in my musical life. Jenn [Knoepfle] and the UMPG team are brilliant and inspire confidence. We have hit the ground running, to say the least. I am very excited to be working with them.”

Jennifer Knoepfle, Executive Vice President & Co-Head of A&R, UMPG, said, “I consider it a true gift to work alongside a person who is so storied and accomplished, and yet so open to new experiences and collaborations. Dan trusted UMPG in this vital chapter of his career and we could not be more excited.”

In more recent discography with other artists, Wilson partnered with Mitski for her first released co-write, “The Only Heartbreaker,” as well as co-wrote and produced Celine Dion’s “Love Again” from the feature film and soundtrack.

In 2023, Wilson reunited Semisonic to release, Little Bit of Sun, the band’s first full-length album in more than 20 years. The record includes features from Jason Isbell and My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, as well as co-writes with Grammy-winning songwriters Lori McKenna and Amy Allen.




Warner Chappell Music has expanded its roster with the signing of songwriter and producer Jon Shave to a worldwide publishing deal. Shave’s career spans decades, initially gaining prominence as part of the U.K. production team Xenomania before co-founding the songwriting and production trio Invisible Men.

Pictured (L-R) are Amber Davis (Sr. VP / Head of A&R, Warner Chappell Music, U.K.), Laurence Abrahams (FAE Group), Jon Shave, Guy Moot (Co-Chair & CEO, Warner Chappell), and Shani Gonzales (Managing Director, Warner Chappell Music, U.K.).

Shave’s work has amassed over fifteen billion streams globally, with hits like “Fancy” by Iggy Azalea and Charli XCX, “Hot Right Now” by DJ Fresh and Rita Ora, and “Friday” by Riton, among many others. His recent collaborations include producing Rita Ora’s track “Praising You” featuring Fatboy Slim and working with artists like Becky Hill, Caity Baser, and Joel Corry.

Shave’s versatility extends to film and TV, where he has composed scores and original songs. Paul Smith, Vice President, A&R & Global Creative, Warner Chappell Music, said, “Jon is an amazing songwriter, who can work across many genres and knows what it takes to make a hit. He has experienced amazing success in his career so far and we hope to help him reach new heights by partnering him with the world’s biggest acts.”

Meanwhile, Warner Chappell Music France has inked a publishing administration deal with Lofi Records, the label and publishing arm of YouTube sensation Lofi Girl. Known for its 24/7 livestream of lofi hip-hop beats for relaxation and study, Lofi Girl has become a well-known figure in online culture, with over fourteen million subscribers and tens of thousands of simultaneous listeners daily. Under the agreement, Warner Chappell Music France will oversee administration for most Lofi Records’ artists, seeking sync opportunities to expand their global reach. The deal comes as Lofi Girl expands its presence with its first music video, “Lofi Girl — Snowman,” which has already amassed over one million views in just two weeks.

Matthieu Tessier, Managing Director, Warner Chappell Music France, stated, “Lofi Girl is a complete phenomenon and a world leader in this growing genre. The team has built a massive global community and is developing an impressive label full of talented artists from all over the world. We are excited to start looking for new opportunities for fans to discover their music.”




Sony Music Publishing (SMP) has announced the expansion of its operations across the Middle East and North Africa with the opening of its new office in Dubai, and the appointment of Dounia Chaaban, as its new Managing Director effective immediately. The launch of SMP MENA reflects the company’s ongoing commitment to expanding its global reach and delivering growth opportunities for its songwriters and composers worldwide.

Dounia Chaaban

As Managing Director, Chaaban will be responsible for overseeing operations, advancing the company’s creative strategy, and developing the company’s talent across the region. Based in SMP MENA’s flagship office in Dubai, Chaaban will report to Dan Nelson, Sr. VP International, Sony Music Publishing.

Chaaban stated, “I look forward to working hand in hand with the incredibly talented team at Sony Music Publishing to propel the MENA music industry to new heights. Together, we will create an environment that nurtures creativity, fosters innovation, and unlocks the boundless potential of the region’s musical landscape.”

Nelson added, “We are excited to welcome Dounia to the Sony Music Publishing team. Dounia’s extensive experience working with local talent will be invaluable as we expand opportunities for new and established songwriters and artists across the region. There could not be a more opportune moment to launch our business, and we look forward to growing our presence in the MENA region.”

Dounia Chaaban began her music business career at Anghami, the leading Middle Eastern music streaming platform, where she spent seven years. During her tenure, Chaaban served as the Arabic Indie Community Lead, working closely with independent artists across the MENA region. She later took on the role of Artist Relations Manager at Believe Music, where she advanced the company’s artist development efforts, drove marketing strategy, and more.




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

Joining the growing number of label executives and A&R’s at this year’s MUSEXPO are Aton Ben-Horin – Executive VP, Global A&R, Atlantic Records Group; Celeste Zendejas – Head of A&R Latina, SESAC; Charles “CB” Burks III – Vice President of A&R, Red Bull Records; Chukwudi “Obi” Obi – Director, Publishing Creative – Red Bull Records; Gary Chen – Co-Founder, President, Allsaints Music Group; Isaac Heymann – A&R, American Recordings (Rick Rubin‘s record label); Jacqueline Saturn – President, Virgin Music Group North America & EVP, Global Artist Relations; Jin Suk Choi “JINBYJIN” – Director International A&R, KREATION Music Rights; Kenny “Tick” Salcido – Sr. VP/Head of A&R, Red Bull Records; Mandar Thakur, CEO, Times Music (India); Mark Chipello – Partner, Head of A&R, Position Music; Michael Goldberg – A&R, American Recordings; Michael Mancuso – Co-Founder, Executive VP / A&R Manage, The Hello Group; Mio Vukovic – Sr. Vice President A&R / Head of Creative, Disney Music Group; Nat Pastor – Co-CEO, Virgin Music Group; Robin Jenssen – CEO (Head of Europe), KREATION Music Rights Europe AB; Sam Sklar – A&R, Position Music; Taylor Jones – Founder & CEO, The Hello Group; Tyler Bacon – President & CEO, Position Music; Wendy Goldstein – Co-President, Republic Records; Zoe Gillespie – Vice President, Brand Partnerships, Capitol Music Group + Motown Records, and many others to be announced soon.

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 also present the return of its popular “Play Us Your Hits” panel on Tuesday, March 19th, featuring sync and A&R executives from FOX Entertainment Music, Red Bull Records, Paramount Global, Position Music, The Hello Group, and music supervision company Songrunner Entertainment, hosted by Sat Bisla – President & Founder, A&R Worldwide / MUSEXPO. The panelists will randomly select artists and the music will be played for the entire panel and audience to hear. Music supervisors and A&Rs will share their real-time feedback on whether they feel the songs selected could be potential hits or work on current projects they are working on or be potential signing candidates to their respective companies. Over the years MUSEXPO has had numerous artists get signed to label, publishing, and sync deals from this session. The deadline for registered delegates to submit their music selections will be Friday, February 23rd.

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, 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.





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 Monday, March 18th, and Tuesday 19th will feature renowned, and electrifying Indonesian rock band Speaker First; followed by the Johnny Cash and Nick Cave-inspired indie dark-pop artist from Denmark known simply as IAMJJ; the currently A&R buzzing multi-octave range vocalist Shobsy from Dublin, Ireland; the alt-folk Sheryl Crow inspired American singer/songwriter Sierra Miles; Italian electro-pop and hip-hop infused singer BigMama will lay down some spicy Arezzo Wave LA-style pepperoni-infused beats for her debut U.S. showcase; England’s Coldplay and Imagine Dragons-styled anthemic alt-rock band ACROBVT will make their debut U.S. showcase performance; the Miami meets Los Angeles inspired alternative pop sounds from Italy’s Fudasca will mark their groovy U.S. debut, and the enchanting operatic inspired Tuscany, Italian region singer and pianist Frida Bollani Magoni will also perform her first Southern California showcase. Also, hailing from the Czech Republic on Tuesday, March 19th will be showcases from the artistic glam alt-pop artist Aiko and Prague-based electronic experimentalist DJ Badfocus. 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!

SOUTH AFRICAN MUSIC SENSATION JEREMY LOOPS One of the most successful artists from South Africa, Jeremy Loops (pictured right) got his first big global break thanks to the support and encouragement of A&R Worldwide.

One of Cape Town, South Africa’s most successful recording and touring artists is none other than Jeremy Loops who has racked up hundreds of millions of streams and views via various digital platforms and toured with the likes of Ed Sheeran, twenty one pilots, and others.

A&R Worldwide‘s Sat Bisla was invited to share global A&R insights and other key music industry facets with the South African music industry back in 2012, at the request of local manager and promoter Damon Forbes, who had also organized for Sat to check out some unsigned local artists at the Tanz Café in Johannesburg. Sat also invited U.K. booking agent Martin Elbourne to join him on the trip.

One of the unmanaged and unsigned artists showcasing at the event was Jeremy Loops. After Jeremy’s performance, Sat shared his excitement about the global potential of Jeremy who at that point had not performed outside of South Africa and had no management. Sat recommended to Jeremy that he make the trip to MUSEXPO in Hollywood in 2013 to showcase to the U.S. and global music industry. After his Tanz Café showcase Jeremy asked Sat whom he should work with as his manager, and as Damon had invited Sat to South Africa, Bisla said, “I can’t say who you should hire as your manager, but I wouldn’t be here if Damon had invited me to your showcase.” A few months later Jeremy chose Damon as his manager.

Thanks to Jeremy Loops’ showcase, he secured an independent label offer, a major brand sync license, and a five-city, all-expense paid trip to India courtesy of MTV and VH1 India who all discovered Jeremy at MUSEXPO. In addition, Jeremy garnered key major U.S. radio exposure because of A&R Worldwide’s support, and a performance at the Glastonbury Festival, and The Great Escape, which emanated from Martin Elbourne’s trip to South Africa at the recommendation from Sat.

Jeremy Loops signed a worldwide deal with Universal Music Group a few years ago. However, the pivotal early support from early supporters, and believers, was an essential part of laying his global career foundation forward.


A&R Worldwide Artist Of The Week



Dotan‘s second single from his most recent project revisits his folksy roots, incorporating elements such as strumming guitars, live band percussion, gang vocals, and horns. The song, titled “Louder,” originally written in 2022, serves as a universal happy protest anthem, urging individuals to embrace their uniqueness in a world that often pressures them to be quiet or conform. “Louder” is both written and produced solely by Dotan, acclaimed as his happiest and most uplifting work to date. The artist reflects on his musical journey, starting with the success of his debut album 7 Layers, which became a best-seller in the Netherlands. After a hiatus, Dotan made a comeback in 2019 with the single “Numb,” marking a new phase in his music characterized by a bold, pop sound and vibrant visuals. Subsequent releases, including “No Words,” “There Will Be a Way,” and “Mercy,” solidified Dotan’s position on the charts, leading to sold-out concerts and international recognition. In contrast to his earlier, darker work, Dotan’s new collection of songs draws inspiration from light and is influenced by folk music. Inspired by childhood memories of listening to artists like James Taylor, Neil Young, and Cat Stevens with his father, Dotan aims to share the stories closest to his heart in the upcoming album. The focus is on celebrating happier chapters in his life and looking forward to what the future holds. Enjoy “Louder,” HERE, and contact Karim Shawky at for available opportunities worldwide with Dotan.




Toronto, Canada-based rapper JUGGER, discovered by renowned producer WondaGurl (Drake, Rihanna, Travis Scott) in 2017, showcases his mastermind control in the music scene. The duo’s collaboration birthed his debut single “ARC’Y BOYZ,” followed by the high-energy project PSYCO in 2019. With WondaGurl’s Wonderchild imprint landing at Red Bull Records shortly after, the spotlight was on JUGGER to bring his unique vision to life. Inspired by sci-fi and horror, JUGGER seamlessly weaves storytelling and world-building into his creative process. He effortlessly switches between autobiographical and fantastical concepts in his music, reflecting his fascination with challenging societal norms. In his Red Bull Records/Wonderchild debut album PUPPET MASTER, executive produced by WondaGurl, JUGGER’s versatile voice navigates a sonic landscape that goes beyond typical rage rap. He draws inspiration from blues legends like Robert Johnson, the storytelling prowess of Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, and the worldbuilding of Michael Jackson. The track “NIGHTMARE” offers a glimpse into JUGGER’s artistry. Its Wes Craven-inspired video evokes the atmosphere of classic horror films, keeping viewers on edge. The music itself nods to hip-hop influences like Onyx and Heltah Skeltah, fitting seamlessly alongside contemporaries like Future, 21 Savage, and Offset. Watch the haunting visual for “NIGHTMARE” HERE, and contact Kelsi Ring at for additional information and all inquiries regarding JUGGER.


Passport Approved | Global Music Pre-Discovery

“PASSPORT APPROVED” PLAYLIST FOR Sunday, February 18th, 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:

RADIO FREE ALICE – “Waste of Space” (Double Drummer, Australia)
GIANT ROOKS – “Fight Club” (Universal Music, Germany)
SEA GIRLS – “I Want You To Know Me” (Believe/Alt Records, U.K.)
ACROBVT – “Neon” (Unsigned, U.K.)
TRIBE FRIDAY – “Andy” (ICEA, Sweden)
BETTER JOY – “Hard To Love” (Fader Amp, U.K.)
LOOK MUM NO COMPUTER – “T.I.M” (Ramsgate, U.K.)
MIDDLE KIDS – “Highlands” (EMI, Australia)
ONLY THE POETS – “Looking At You” (EMI, U.K.)
MYLES SMITH – “Solo” (Ditto Music, U.K.)
THE CAVS – “The Kids Are Talking” (Unsigned, U.K.)
MATTHEW MOLE – “Always By My Side” (Universal Music, S. Africa)
DARK TROPICS – “Carnival” (Unsigned, Ireland)
RHETT REPKO – “Until We Meet Again” (Unsigned, N. America)
BECCA SWAN – “Two Tears and No More” (Unsigned, Canada)
THE PALE WHITE – “Taste The Sun” (Unsigned, U.K.)
DEMPSEY BOLTON – “Couple Minutes” (Unsigned, Canada)
DOTAN – “Diamonds In My Chest” (7 Layers Music, Holland)
THE SNUTS – “NPC” (Happy Artist Records, Scotland)
CARAVAN PALACE – “Mirrors” (Wagram, France)
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.)
PICTURE THIS – “Call It Love” (RCA/Sony, Ireland)
LIME CORDIALE – “Pedestal” (Chugg Music, Australia)
BO MILLI – “Come After Me” (AWAL, Norway)
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.)



RCA RECORDS SIGN SLEEP TOKEN: RCA Records has announced the signing of the British rock band, Sleep Token. The group is an anonymous, masked collective led by a frontman using the moniker, Vessel. They have been categorized under many different genres, including alternative metal, post-rock/metal, progressive metal, and indie rock/pop. Despite maintaining anonymity, Sleep Token’s trajectory speaks volumes. Their latest album, Take Me Back to Eden, debuted at No.3 on the U.K. album charts, while their previous release, This Place Will Become Your Tomb, also garnered notable success. With over 3.3 million monthly Spotify listeners and over eighty-five million career streams, Sleep Token’s popularity continues to rise. Their recent headline shows, including a sold-out stint at OVO Arena Wembley, reinforce their status as a popular touring band.


CREATE MUSIC GROUP HAS “NO A&R REGRET” WITH LEGRETT: Create Music Group, has announced that Carl LeGrett has been named Senior Vice President of A&R and Music Publishing at the company. Since joining Create as an intern in 2018, LeGrett has quickly moved up through the ranks, accelerating the company’s music publishing business by forming business relationships with up-and-coming music producers and songwriters. His writers regularly have had a part in dozens of tracks on Billboard‘s Hot 100, collaborating with hip-hop luminaries like Lil Durk, Toosii, Bad Bunny, Megan Thee Stallion, Future, Gunna, Juice WRLD, Playboi Carti, YoungBoy Never Broke Again, Ice Spice, Lola Brook, and many others. Jonathan Strauss, Founder & CEO, Create Music Group said, “Carl epitomizes the kind of executive that succeeds at Create Music Group.” His deep entrepreneurial spirit led him to identify a need in the marketplace and his dogged determination helped him win the confidence of music’s most prolific producers and songwriters. His ability to think outside the box and discover untapped talent and trends has made him a true leader and we look forward to his continued success here.”


ULTRA MUSIC PUBLISHING ACQUIRES WHEEZY’S BACK CATALOG: Ultra International Music Publishing (UIMP) has expanded its partnership with hip-hop producer and songwriter Wheezy, acquiring 427 songs from his catalog. The deal includes collaborations with artists like Drake, Travis Scott, and Lil Uzi Vert, alongside a new agreement for future works. Since joining UIMP in 2018, Wheezy, hailing from Mississippi, has made his mark in hip-hop, with credits on tracks for artists such as Drake, Lil Uzi Vert, and Lil Baby. Known for his production expertise, his work has graced Billboard Hot 100 hits like “Yes Indeed” by Lil Baby, and “Going Bad” by Meek Mill. This acquisition marks UIMP’s continued expansion following previous ventures, including the acquisition of Zaytoven‘s catalog and the launch of Hidden Gem music publishing in collaboration with producer Diamond Pistols. Andreas Rizek, Head of A&R, Ultra Publishing, North America, tells A&R Worldwide, “It is rare that you get to work with an ever-evolving talent like Wheezy. Since he joined the company in 2018, he has not just been at the forefront of hip-hop but has helped push the boundaries of where music can go.”


JASON BENTLEY JOINS THRIVE AS PRESIDENT, LICENSING & SOUNDTRACKS: Jason Bentley has joined Thrive Music as President of Licensing and Soundtracks, leading a new division focused on sync services. With a background spanning radio hosting, A&R direction, and music supervision for film and TV, Bentley brings a vast experience to Thrive Music. His role involves expanding the label’s presence in sync opportunities across various media platforms, including feature films, TV shows, advertisements, and video games. Bentley’s tenure at KCRW, where he served as Music Director and hosted the “Morning Becomes Eclectic” program, highlights his understanding of the music landscape. His contributions to the record industry have seen him serve A&R roles with labels like Island Records and Maverick Records. He also was the music supervisor and produced the Grammy-nominated soundtrack for The Matrix and consulted Top Gun: Maverick. Ricardo Vinas, Founder, Thrive Music, told A&R Worldwide, “Jason has had his finger on the pulse of so much impactful music and notable projects, all the years I have known him. I am excited to have his expertise and good taste come to Thrive, bringing a new dimension to the company as we build a slate of distinctive music-driven film and TV projects.”


Pictured (L-R) are Michael Africk, CEO, Handcraft Entertainment, and Anna Aya.

HANDCRAFT PARTNERS WITH B ZONE JAPAN TO SIGN ANNA AYA: Handcraft Entertainment and B ZONE have announced a partnership with the signing of Anna Aya to B Zone. Anna’s latest single, “Someone Else,” produced by Louis Bell and Michael Africk, has garnered traction in the U.S., entering the Top 50 on radio charts. Now, with its forthcoming release in Japan through B ZONE, Anna’s song aims to reach a wider audience. The music video for “Someone Else” will grace the Vision Screen Billboard at the world-renowned Shibuya Miyamasuzaka intersection in Tokyo, gaining attention from Japanese media outlets. The new deal aims to bridge Japanese and U.S. music markets, starting with Handcraft’s signing of Anna Aya, a multifaceted talent who straddles the worlds of music and fashion. Michael Africk, CEO & Founder, Handcraft Entertainment told A&R Worldwide, “Bringing J-Pop to the U.S. and the entire world is something that I have planned to do since my first success in the genre. I had been looking for the right time in the global landscape and the right artist and when I was introduced to Anna, I knew I had found the perfect musical talent to be the face of the new J-Pop movement.”


DEFECTED LAUNCHES AFRO-HOUSE LABEL ONE PEOPLE: Defected Records has launched an Afro-house label called One People with Parisian DJ Alex Wann‘s “Peperuke” featuring Nes Mburu as its debut release. The label, led by Defected’s A&R Director Allan Nicoll, focuses on the growing Afrocentric music market with artists like Ameme, Flush, and Da Africa Deep. Featuring Afro-house, Afro-tech, and melodic house, One People aims to showcase talent from the Afro-electronic spectrum. “Peperuke” is available for pre-order now, with Ameme’s track set for release in March 2024. Allan Nicoll tells A&R Worldwide, “Over the course of my two decades in the industry, Afro-house has consistently held a prominent position within the musical landscape. From my tenure at Soul Candi to nurturing emerging talent on my independent label, Stay True Sounds, I have played a proactive role in shaping the genre’s future. The opportunity to establish a label in collaboration with Defected has allowed for an even broader global platform and through One People, I am excited to present the rich and dynamic offerings of the genre to audiences worldwide.”


PRIMARY WAVE MUSIC PARTNERS WITH VILLAGE PEOPLE: Primary Wave Music, has announced their partnership with the popular 70s and 80s disco/pop ensemble, Village People. Teaming up with Village People, the iconic band that defined an era with their infectious tunes, Primary Wave Music will manage the group’s brand, master recordings, and publishing assets. Founded in 1977, Village People’s impact hit a global scale, with over 100 million records sold worldwide. Their music, celebrated across diverse platforms from films to sporting events, remains timeless. Hits like “Y.M.C.A.,” “Macho Man,” “In the Navy,” and “Go West” have left an indelible mark on music history. With a legacy spanning a few decades, Village People’s influence continues to resonate, earning them accolades such as induction into the Grammy Hall of Fame and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


UTA SIGNS KYLIE MINOGUE FOR NORTH AMERICA: United Talent Agency (UTA) has secured a deal with Kylie Minogue for representation in North America. The agreement encompasses live representation across the U.S. and Canada, as well as acting representation worldwide. This partnership follows Minogue’s recent Grammy win for “Best Pop Dance Recording” with her viral hit “Padam Padam.” The Australian singer’s career has experienced a resurgence in the U.S., with “Padam Padam” reaching No.7 on the U.S. Hot Dance/Electronic chart and her album Tension claiming the top spot on the U.S. Top Dance/Electronic Albums chart. Minogue’s sold-out residency at Voltaire in the Venetian Las Vegas, which began in November 2023, is set to continue until May. With sales of over eighty million records worldwide and numerous accolades, including two Grammy’s and three BRIT Awards, Minogue remains a popular artist in the global music industry. She is managed by Polly Bhowmik of A&P Artist Management and is represented by CAA in territories outside of North America.


KOBALT PARTNERS WITH UMBRELLA SONGS: Kobalt has announced a global publishing deal with Umbrella Songs, which is led by Lunick Bourgess. Specializing in hip-hop and rap, Umbrella has quickly gained traction, garnering over two billion streams and thirty-five certifications globally, including hits in Italy, the U.K., and France. Their catalog features a track by Ed Sheeran, Pop Smoke, and Emeli Sande, among others. Liverpool rapper Mazza_l20 marks Umbrella’s first signing under this partnership. Alison Donald, Head of Global Creative, Kobalt Music stated “I am thrilled that Umbrella Songs have chosen Kobalt as their publishing partner, we’re excited about what we can help them achieve and build both here in the U.K. and beyond, the opportunity is limitless.” Lunick Bourgess, Founder, Umbrella Songs added, “We are extremely proud and excited to join the Kobalt Family. We like the way the team works, their outlier mentality, and, more importantly, the belief they have in Umbrella’s vision. We want to thank Kenny [McGoff] and Alison for backing us, the work starts here.”


CROWDED HOUSE SIGNS DEAL WITH BMG: Multi-Platinum-selling legendary New Zealand band Crowded House has sealed a global recordings deal with BMG for their highly anticipated eighth studio album, Gravity Stairs. The announcement comes alongside the release of their single, “Oh Hi,” giving fans a glimpse into the upcoming album’s sound. Set for release on May 31st via BMG, their eighth studio album marks another step in Crowded House’s career. With over fifteen million records sold worldwide, 13 ARIA Awards, and a BRIT Award, the band’s legacy is ever-evolving. Joining BMG’s roster, which includes artists like 5 Seconds of Summer, Rita Ora, Logic, and Louis Tomlinson, Crowded House adds to the label’s lineup of both Australian and international talent. Heath Johns, President, Australia, New Zealand & South-East Asia, BMG, said, “Few artists from this region have enjoyed the global success of Crowded House. Beyond the sales, beyond the streams, Crowded House songs have reached iconic status across generations. ‘Gravity Stairs’ features some of the best work the band has ever produced, and we can’t wait to share this incredible album with the world.”


TRANSGRESSIVE RECORDS EXPANDS INTO NORTH AMERICA: U.K. indie label Transgressive Records has announced its launch into North America with the appointment of Jack Hedges as its General Manager. Hedges has held previous senior roles at Atlantic Records and Sony working across creative, A&R, marketing, and strategic With two decades of experience overseeing artists like The War On Drugs, Alt-J, Frightened Rabbit, Death Cab For Cutie, Grouplove, and others Hedges will lead Transgressive’s expansion efforts, focusing on attracting progressive talent and strategizing across the label’s global roster. Furthermore, Canvasback Music, previously under Hedges’ direction, will now operate as an imprint within Transgressive. Partnering with music investment company Firebird, Transgressive’s roster includes Arlo Parks, Damon Albarn, Foals, Moonchild, Stargaze, Let’s Eat Grandma, and many others.


ICONIC ARTISTS GROUP ACQUIRES ROD STEWART CATALOG: Iconic Artists Group has announced a partnership with Rod Stewart. The acquisition aims to expand his enduring musical legacy to newer audiences. The deal, valued at nearly $100 million (USD), includes Stewart’s publishing catalog, recorded music, and certain name and likeness rights. Following a failed agreement with Hipgnosis last year, Stewart’s decision to join Iconic underlines the company’s focus to sign and elevate iconic musical legacies. Stewart joins a valued roster at Iconic, which includes artists like The Beach Boys, Cher, and David Crosby. With an investment from HPS Investment Partners and access to $1 billion (USD) in capital, Iconic says it will continue to acquire and manage diverse music assets. Irving Azoff, Chairman & CEO, Iconic, said “We are thrilled to welcome one of the most celebrated singer-songwriters of our time, Rod Stewart, to the Iconic family. Our new partnership with HPS provides us with the resources and flexibility to make blockbuster signings like this one and to continue the success of our legendary artists and their legacies.”


RAE KHALIL SIGNS WITH DEF JAM RECORDINGS: Grammy award-winning songwriter and R&B/hip-hop artist Rae Khalil has inked a deal with Def Jam Recordings via Anderson .Paak’s APESHIT label. Hailing from Torrance, CA, the 26-year-old rose to fame for her songwriting and vocal abilities on “Lockdown” by Anderson .Paak, which clinched the “Best Melodic Rap Performance” at the 63rd Grammy Awards in 2021, marking Rae’s first Grammy win. With accolades from artists like .Paak, Queen Latifah, and Chance The Rapper, Rae Khalil’s ascent has been consistent since her debut on Netflix‘s Rhythm + Flow in 2019. Anderson .Paak said, “Rae is not only one of my favorite artist/collaborators but one of my favorite human beings. I have seen her go from a contestant on a Netflix show to us winning Grammy’s together. Once Tunji [Balogun] signed her he asked me to do my ‘Quincy Jones‘ thing and it’s been such an amazing experience being part of her journey and helping with her incredible project.”


WARNER MUSIC GROUP ELEVATES MICHAEL KUSHNER: Michael Kushner has been promoted to Sr. Vice President, Deputy General Counsel, Business & Legal Affairs for Warner Music Group (WMG). The widely admired industry veteran moves to the central management team of WMG following more than two decades as General Counsel of the company’s Atlantic Music Group division. Based in New York, Kushner reports to Paul Robinson, EVP & General Counsel, WMG, and will be involved in the full range of WMG’s business and legal affairs activities. During Grammy Week earlier this month in Los Angeles, Kushner was honored with the 2024 Entertainment Law Initiative (ELI) Service Award, given each year to an attorney who has demonstrated a commitment to advancing and supporting the music community through service. In making the announcement, Paul Robinson said, “Michael is one of the sharpest legal minds in the business and has earned respect throughout the industry. By bringing him into the center of WMG in this expanded role, the entire company will benefit from his deep knowledge, invaluable relationships, and nearly four decades of music experience as we navigate a rapidly changing landscape filled with new challenges, new technology, and new ways of dealmaking. Michael will be a tremendous addition to our corporate legal team.” Michael Kushner began his music career at PolyGram Records in 1987. In 1994, he joined sister company Philips Media as Sr. VP, Multimedia Music. Two years later, he moved to Crave Records, Mariah Carey‘s joint venture with Sony Music, followed by a stint as Sr. VP, Business Development at Sony Wonder. In 1999, he became head of Business & Legal Affairs at Island Def Jam. He joined Atlantic Records in 2001 as Executive VP, Business & Legal Affairs & General Counsel – holding that post until his new WMG appointment.


SPIRIT MUSIC GROUP PROMOTES TAMAR WAX TO VP FILM & TV: Spirit Music Group (SMG) has promoted Tamar Wax to Vice President, Film & TV Music, Creative. Based in Los Angeles, Tamar’s promotion from Senior Director to Vice President highlights her impact at SMG, and their creative sync endeavors, as well as her two-decade-long expertise in sync placements and music supervision. Reporting to Amy Hartman, Senior VP, Creative Services, Tamar’s extensive experience spans music procurement across various platforms and studio oversight in film and television. With a knack for understanding client needs, Tamar has curated impactful placements, including trailers for blockbuster films like Maleficent and Edge of Tomorrow. Her tenure at Warner Bros. Television saw her serving as an in-house music supervisor for acclaimed series like Veronica Mars and Pretty Little Liars. Tamar’s journey started at Miramax Films and has now culminated in her leadership role at Spirit Music Group. Amy Hartman tells A&R Worldwide, “Tamar has proven herself to be an exceptional creative sync licensing executive, having landed multiple high-profile sync licenses for our Spirit Music Group roster across trailers, promo campaigns, TV shows, and films. We could not be happier to acknowledge her dedication to our songwriters and our music supervisor community with this well-deserved promotion.”


PHIL TAN SIGNS WITH JOE D’AMBROSIO MANAGEMENT: Joe D’Ambrosio Management, Inc. tells A&R Worldwide that it has added Phil Tan, a three-time Grammy-winning mixer, to their roster. With a career spanning decades, Tan has assured his status as one of the most sought-after mixers in the music industry. His client list reads like a who-is-who of music royalty, including Beyoncé, Rihanna, Jay-Z, Ariana Grande, and many more. Tan’s talent shines through in his extensive discography, showcasing an impressive twenty-six singles that have topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart. From Gwen Stefani‘s “Hollaback Girl” to Rihanna’s “Diamonds,” his work has shaped the sound of numerous chart-topping hits. With over three hundred million units in album and single sales, as well as over one hundred billion streams worldwide, Tan has contributed significantly to contemporary R&B, rap, and dance music genres.


ANGRY MOB MUSIC GROUP ANNOUNCES NEW HIRE & PROMOTION: Angry Mob Music Group has announced the promotion of Clare Lee to Manager of Copyrights and hired Dan Goldstein as Director of Royalties. Reporting directly to Marc Caruso, CEO, Angry Mob Music, Lee’s journey from intern to this new role highlights the company’s focus on developing talent. Lee will oversee copyright management, while Goldstein’s experience—spanning peermusic Publishing, Concord Music, and NKSFB LLC enables him to further optimize royalty processes. Goldstein’s responsibilities include coordinating statements, resolving accounting issues, and maintaining catalog claims. Marc Caruso tells A&R Worldwide, “Promoting Clare to Manager of Copyrights was a natural evolution for her continually impeccable work at Angry Mob the last three years. She has continued to display a true commitment to serving our writers and artists, and I have no doubt she will continue to serve them with the very same level of rigor for years to come. At the same time, we could not be more excited to bring Dan into the fold at Angry Mob Music. His many years of experience in royalty analysis and accounting are going to provide our entire roster with an incredible level of precision and care, bringing them their well-deserved royalties down to the last penny.”


DUETTI RAISES $90M FUNDING TO ACQUIRE INDIE ARTISTS’ CATALOGS: Duetti has announced a new raise of $90 million (USD) to continue to focus on acquiring the rights to indie artists’ catalogs. Founded by Lior Tibon and Christopher Nolte, the company has rapidly gained traction, partnering with over 250 indie acts including Olivia O’Brien, A$AP Ant, Sevyn Streeter, and many others. The $90 million in new funding has been made possible with Nyca Partners and Viola Ventures, who led the equity financing, as well as Northleaf Capital Partners providing a substantial credit facility. This influx of capital will fuel Duetti’s growth plans, including expanding catalog acquisitions, developing advanced analytics technology, and enhancing marketing capabilities. By empowering indie artists to monetize their catalogs and pursue their creative goals, Duetti says it is driving a paradigm shift in the music industry. Last year, Duetti released its first-ever music economics report, which found – among other things – that Spotify paid indie artists 8% less in 2023 than it did the previous year, even as Apple Music, Amazon Music, and YouTube increased their payout rates to indie artists. The top four platforms – Spotify, Apple, YouTube, and Amazon – generate 96% of streaming income for indie artists, the report said.


UMG & DGMC UNVEIL PARTNERSHIP TO DEVELOP ‘MUSIC CITY’: Universal Music Group (UMG) and DGMC have unveiled a partnership aimed at catalyzing the growth of the Middle East’s music industry. This collaboration, anchored by DGMC’s innovative “Music City” development in the UAE, is set to transform the region into a vibrant hub for artists and songwriters. The “Music City” project, envisioned by DGMC, will serve as a nucleus for nurturing local talent and fostering creativity. UMG’s experience in artist development, marketing, and promotion will aim to complement DGMC’s infrastructure, including state-of-the-art recording studios and educational academies. Central to this partnership is the establishment of a new full-service label, a joint venture between UMG and DGMC, dedicated to amplifying the voices of local artists on a global scale. Also, the initiative will feature Capitol Studios‘ first-ever outpost outside of Hollywood, equipped with cutting-edge facilities to support artistic innovation.


INFORMATION ON THE MECHANICAL LICENSING COLLECTIVE (THE MLC): In the ever-evolving landscape of music streaming, ensuring fair compensation for songwriters, composers, lyricists, and music publishers remains a paramount concern. The Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC), a nonprofit organization at the forefront of revolutionizing how royalties are collected and distributed for music streamed on digital platforms like Apple Music and Spotify. The MLC’s mission is to accurately, and promptly deliver mechanical royalties to rightsholders in the US. With over $1.7 billion (USD) distributed in royalties and a membership exceeding 36,000, The MLC stands as an important player in the music business ecosystem. Membership with The MLC is free. The MLC ensures songwriters and burgeoning composers receive their royalties from digital audio streaming services. The MLC offers a suite of tools designed to streamline the royalty collection process and empower members to manage their song data effectively. This includes the Public Work Search (The MLC’s publicly available database to search, review, and share song data. Verifying the accuracy of your data ensures you receive rightful compensation for your work. Claiming Tool (allowing members to claim their share of songs already registered in The MLC’s database. If you discover any discrepancies in song shares, the claiming tool enables you to rectify them swiftly). Works Registration Tools (where you can register new songs through The MLC Portal to expand your catalog and ensure comprehensive coverage of your work). Matching Tool (Propose matches of sound recordings (ISRCs) to your songs using the matching tool within The MLC Portal, further enhancing the accuracy of royalty distribution). The MLC’s tools and their support team are accessible five days a week. With the proliferation of digital streaming platforms, securing fair compensation for music creators is more critical than ever. The MLC says it is committed to transparency, accuracy, and accessibility making it a cornerstone in the music business landscape. By leveraging their tools and resources, songwriters, composers, lyricists, and music publishers can navigate the complex terrain of streaming royalties with confidence and ensure they receive their rightful earnings. For more information on The MLC and how to become a member, visit their website HERE.


SYMPHONIC UNVEILS SUITE OF TOOLS: Symphonic Distribution has unveiled four tools certain to revolutionize the landscape of music distribution, promotion, and royalty management. Leading the pack is Transfer Track, a patented service allowing for a migration of music catalogs to Symphonic via Spotify artist page links, preserving playlist placements and stream history while simplifying distributor switching. Enhanced Recoupments will streamline financial reconciliations across diverse scenarios, automating complex calculations for expense recoupments. SplitShare will offer transparency in royalty split management, empowering creators with real-time visibility into royalty percentages and eliminating the need for cumbersome spreadsheets. Lastly, updates to the Marketing Drivers will process and align marketing details with release setup, enhancing Symphonic’s ability to secure features and editorial playlisting. These tools will complement Symphonic’s existing suite of services, including analytics, video distribution, sync licensing, and Spotify Discovery Mode.


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: Ashley Calhoun, Tom Windish, Marianne Goode, Troy Carter, Iain Taylor, Kaz Utsunomiya, J Scavo, Tim Devine, Kim Frankiwicz, Tom Bohne, Pelle Liddell, David Taylor, Ken Bunt, and Mary Hogan.

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