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A&R Worldwide Newsletter Vol. 833



Warner Chappell Music (WCM), the music publishing arm of Warner Music Group, has appointed Lisa Li as Managing Director, China. Li will be based in Beijing, and report to Arica Ng, President, Asia Pacific, WCM.

Li will be responsible for leading WCM’s operations in China, developing strategic plans, and collaborating with teams across Asia to strengthen the company’s position as one of the region’s leading music publishing companies.

In addition, Mar Ma has been appointed as Director, A&R, China for WCM. Reporting to Li, she will spearhead the development and execution of A&R and creative strategies that align with the company’s vision and objectives.

Lisa Li stated, “I am incredibly excited to lead the talented team at Warner Chappell and embark on this new chapter. The music landscape in China is thriving, so this is the perfect time to take on this challenge. Together, we will continue to build upon our success, nurture emerging talent, and forge strategic partnerships that will shape the future of music in our market. I am committed to championing the voices of our songwriters and artists, and I look forward to creating exceptional opportunities for them in this dynamic industry.” Ng added, “We are delighted to have Lisa on board. With her extensive experience and deep understanding of the Chinese market, we’re confident that she’ll drive our business forward and lead our brilliant team to new heights.”

Pictured (L-R) are Lisa Li and Mar Ma.

Li is an experienced executive with a wealth of experience in the media and entertainment industry, boasting over 20 years of proven success in business development, strategic partnerships, and brand management.

Before joining WCM, Li served as the Head of Business Development at Warner Bros. Discovery in China. In this role, she was responsible for the company’s comprehensive business development efforts, making significant contributions in identifying, developing, and executing new business opportunities across different divisions. Prior to that, Li was Country Head for Turner and HBO China at WarnerMedia, where she was responsible for growing and monetizing HBO and Cartoon Network‘s businesses in China. She has also held senior positions at the China offices of Disney Consumer Products, Disney Interactive, and Octagon.

Ma has close to 10 years of experience in the music industry, having worked in A&R at both Warner Music China and Universal Music Publishing China. Leading the A&R team in China, she will be tasked with providing services and expertise to foster the growth of talented writers in the region.




Reservoir Media, Inc. has announced a new publishing deal with the globally renowned band, Kings of Leon. The Grammy award-winning rock quartet has consistently engrossed audiences worldwide since their debut in 2003. With an extensive discography spanning eight albums, including hits like “Only by the Night” and “WALLS,” Kings of Leon have cemented their place as one of the top rock bands in the music industry.

Their upcoming release, Can We Please Have Fun, ensures to uphold their legacy of anthemic rock, with the lead single “Mustang” already creating a strong buzz among fans. The band’s recent announcement of their 2024 World Tour, featuring stops at iconic venues and festivals, will ensure that their reign as rock royalty continues unabated.

John Ozier, Executive Vice President of Creative, Reservoir, stated, “It is an honor to bring my fellow Nashvillians Caleb, Nathan, Jared, and Matthew to Reservoir. As incredible musicians and forward thinkers, Kings of Leon have cemented themselves as one of this generation’s greatest rock groups, and we are excited to support the next chapter of their legacy: Can We Please Have Fun.”

Rell Lafargue, President & Chief Operating Officer, added, “Expanding our catalog with new music from Kings of Leon is a golden opportunity for Reservoir to work alongside one of the greatest rock bands of recent times. We look forward to working with the band through the rollout of Can We Please Have Fun and as they embark on their international tour to bring this excellent rock record to their fanbase worldwide.”

The multi-Platinum-selling band has sold over 20 million albums and almost 40 million singles worldwide. They have had five singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, all seven of their studio albums on Billboard‘s Top 200 list, and two singles that reached No.1 on Modern Rock radio.

With the release of WALLS, the band garnered their first-ever No.1 album debut on the Billboard Top 200. In addition, they have earned eight Grammy nominations, three Grammy award wins, three NME Awards, two Brit Awards, and one Juno Award. They have toured all over the world, playing at top venues and headlining major festivals such as Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, and Glastonbury. The band will release their highly anticipated ninth full-length studio album, Can We Please Have Fun, on May 10 via Capitol Records.




Interscope Capitol Labels Group (ICLG) has announced that two of its seasoned industry veterans, Steve Berman, and Annie Lee, have been appointed to key roles within the Office of Chairman, under the leadership of John Janick, Chairman & CEO, ICLG. Berman will step in as Vice Chairman and Lee will assume the role of Chief Operating Officer.

Pictured (L-R) are Steve Berman and Annie Lee.

Berman brings years of experience to the forefront, which dates to his early days at Warner Bros. Records, and equips him to oversee various facets of ICLG, helping foster global artist development and brand expansion. Meanwhile, Lee’s tenure at Universal Music Group and her recent stint as CFO at Interscope Geffen A&M position her to streamline operations and cultivate a nurturing environment for artists and teams.

John Janick stated, “Steve and Annie are both highly accomplished executives who have been critical to our company’s growth and success for more than two decades. They have collaborated closely with me in redesigning ICLG to benefit and enhance each individual label under our umbrella and foster an entrepreneurial spirit that will set the standard for what a modern music company should be. I congratulate Steve and Annie on their well-deserved promotions and look forward to sharing enormous success with them in the coming years.”

Berman said, “Every aspect of our redesign will enable us to provide optimal support for our artists and their creativity while securing the best and most innovative opportunities that will help expand their global brands. I have devoted my entire career to this company and its artists, and I am excited to continue working with John, Annie, and the entire ICLG team on this next phase of our journey.”

Lee commented, “I am looking forward to working with John, Steve, and our entire team as we continue to build ICLG into a modern music company that is both a powerful partner to artists and their teams and a fulfilling and creative environment in which to work. We are well positioned for the future, and I am excited for what is to come.”

Prior to his promotion, Berman was Vice Chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M, having been appointed to that position in 2010. He joined the company in 1991, only six months after its inception as Interscope Records, to lead its marketing and sales efforts. In 2005, Berman was named President, Marketing, and Sales at the expanded Interscope Geffen A&M. The Los Angeles-born Berman began his career in 1981 as a teenager in the mailroom at Warner Bros. Records, later joining WEA Distribution as National Marketing Coordinator before transitioning to Interscope.

Lee was most recently the Chief Financial Officer of Interscope Geffen A&M, having been appointed to the position in 2019. She began her tenure at that company in 2006 as Senior Director of Finance and Operations and was promoted to Senior Vice President in 2014. She joined Universal Music Group (UMG), the parent company of ICLG, in 2005 as Senior Financial Analyst.




MUSEXPO (, the renowned annual global music industry conference and showcase event, often dubbed the “United Nations of Music” kicks off its highly anticipated 24th global edition, March 17 – 20, 2024 in Burbank, California, “The Media & Sync Capital of the World.”

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 feature the inaugural launch of the annual Seymour Stein – Global A&R Award, which will honor the legacy of the co-Founder of Sire Records who signed iconic U.S. artists such as Ice-T, Madonna, Talking Heads, the Pretenders, the Ramones, The B-52’s, as well as international acts into the U.S. including Depeche Mode, Erasure, Soft Cell, The Cure, The Smiths, and countless others.

The first ever Seymour Stein – Global A&R Award will be presented to Wendy Goldstein – Co-President, Republic Records, who is one of the most talented and respected A&R executives in the world. The A&R aficionado has worked with Ariana Grande, Hailee Steinfeld, John Legend, Jonas Brothers, Nicki Minaj, The Weeknd, and many others during her impressive three decades in A&R. Savan Kotecha – (Academy Award Nominated Songwriter/Producer –One Direction, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, The Weeknd, Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift & more) will also moderate an exclusive one-on-one keynote interview with Wendy Goldstein during a highly-anticipated session at MUSEXPO, which takes prior to the Seymour Stein – Global A&R Award gala dinner event on Wednesday, March 20th. Only a handful of seats are currently remaining to attend the Seymour Stein – Global A&R Award dinner event. MUSEXPO delegates can sign up to book their reservations HERE (you will be prompted to book your reservation upon completion of the registration process).

The event kicks off on Sunday, March 17th with an opening night reception hosted by Taylor Jones, Founder & CEO of The Hello Group, and Nuplak, setting the stage for a week of insightful discussions and industry connections, as well as exciting artist showcases that will bring together A&Rs, publishers, booking agents, media, music supervisors, and more on some leading emerging U.S. and global talent.

The event’s schedule is packed with thought-provoking panels covering various aspects of the music business. One of the many highlights includes the Management & Live Forum, which explores the evolving artist experience in the live music landscape and features executives from Live Nation and Sofar Sounds; second time Oscar winning artist Billie Eilish and FINNEAS’ manager Danny Rukasin; MDDN‘s Jennifer Tolman-Hurst; LME Worldwide Founder Craig Logan (Dido, Picture This, Forest Blakk), and Shivam Malhotra, Founder & CEO, Malsons Media – one of India’s largest management companies. Additionally, panels on radio, streaming, digital, audio, A&R, and sync provide invaluable insights into the latest trends and strategies shaping the industry.

A standout session is the A&R Worldwide panel on the future of A&R, breaking new talent, and nurturing global hits. This discussion brings together A&R executives from the U.S. and international markets to explore the role of creativity in today’s music business landscape.

Attendees can also look forward to keynote interviews with industry luminaries such as Professor Jonathan Shalit OBE, Chairman, InterTalent Rights Group & Chosen Music, and Jacqueline Saturn, President, Virgin Music N. America & Executive VP of Global Artist Relations.

Networking opportunities abound throughout the event, including wine-tasting receptions co-hosted by Malsons Media (India), KREATION Music Rights (S. Korea / Europe), and Arezzo Wave (Italy), Sound Czech (Czech Republic) providing delegates with the chance to connect with industry peers from around the world.

With panels covering topics ranging from the future of the global music business to the power of audio and visual media, the evolution of syn, A&R, publishing, distribution, AI and so much more, MUSEXPO 2024 offers a comprehensive look at the trends and innovations shaping the music industry today.

Some of the companies confirmed to join this year’s event include All Saints Music (China), APM Music, Arezzo Wave(Italy), Billboard, BMG, Capitol Music Group, Cyanite AI (Germany), Digital Music News, Disney Music Group, Distrokid, EA Games, Eventim Live Asia, Fenix 360 (Hong Kong), Forbes, FOX Television, Harmix AI (Canada),InterTalent Rights Group (U.K.), KREATION Music Rights (Sweden & S. Korea), Live Nation, LME, Malson’s Media (India), MDDN, Mom+Pop, Motown Records, MUBU-TV, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Netflix (India, Asia, SE Asia, S. Asia, Japan), Paramount Global, Paramount Television, Playlist Push, Position Music, Primary Wave, Red Bull Records, Republic Records, SESAC, Sofar Sounds, Sony Music Publishing, Sound Czech (Czech Republic), Stem, The Hello Group, The Orchard, Times Music (India), Virgin Music, Universal Music Group, Universal Pictures, Warner Music Group, Worldwide Airplay Radio Monitor (Denmark), and many more to join this year’s stellar line-up. Read the full lineup of speakers HERE.

To register to attend MUSEXPO, click HERE.

For the full event program, click HERE.

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




German-based tech enthusiast Markus Schwarzer, Co-Founder & CEO, Cyanite AI, spearheads a pioneering global music AI company, leveraging his profound expertise in music business innovation. With a background as a label-founder and PR strategist for artists including Lenny Kravitz and Bonobo, Markus brings a wealth of experience to the table. An acclaimed writer and lecturer in music business circles, Markus’s journey into AI-driven music began with his fascination for music’s profound impact on memory.

Markus Schwarzer

He, alongside his partners, co-founded Cyanite after recognizing the potential to revolutionize music recommendation and indexing. Markus will be sharing his insights at MUSEXPO in Burbank, CA, on Tuesday, March 19th, participating in a highly anticipated panel moderated by Paul Resnikoff, Founder & Publisher, Digital Music News.

Could you explain how your background as a label-founder and PR strategist for artists like Lenny Kravitz and Bonobo influenced your decision to co-found Cyanite, and how this experience shaped your approach to AI-driven music solutions?

In my time before Cyanite, I worked on many talented artist releases, including music that was beautifully crafted with a lot of love and care, and sometimes produced over the course of many years. The metadata tagging was generated by the intern who was working for the management for six weeks completely jeopardizing the success of the record. Many bands did not understand how inaccurate metadata can seriously harm the performance of a piece of music. In the age of recommendation algorithms, it determines the easiest routes to your fans. With Cyanite, we wanted to make metadata tagging easy, accessible, and fun.

Can you elaborate on how your fascination with the power of music on our memory, and the concept of music moments, led to the creation of Groovecat, and eventually, the evolution into Cyanite’s focus on AI-powered music solutions?

It all starts with a Music Moment – this intimate experience when a song serendipitously fits perfectly with how you are feeling and what you are doing. Many events in our lives are linked to certain songs. And if you listen to that song, it does not only take you back to where you were but also who you were in that moment. One day, shortly before founding Groovecat, my co-founders Jakob, Josh, and I realized that we all shared the same fascination. We spent talking hours about music moments, showing each other the songs of our lives. We still do this every year.

Cyanite aims to develop a universal intelligence that understands and recommends the world’s music. How does your team utilize AI algorithms to achieve this ambitious goal, and what sets Cyanite apart from other AI-driven music platforms?

When we pivoted from Groovecat to Cyanite, we were driven by the adventurous power of exploring, and understanding, what makes a great music moment. We knew this was an ambitious goal, but only while building it, we found out more and more on how ambitious we actually were. This is exactly our main differentiator from other companies in the field. We are driven by exploring, finding out, pushing the boundaries, and imagining new music experiences. We not only want to improve what is already there. We want to go beyond that and bring our own vision of the new music industry to life! We have numerous clients and partners that share our vision and believe in the same goal. This is a privilege for us.

With Cyanite’s origins in the data generated by Groovecat, how does your platform leverage data analytics and machine learning to assist in the process of choosing music for advertising, movies, games, and other media?

The research and data into which music made over 30,000 people feel certain things was helpful to start building our algorithms. Moods, emotions, and feelings are key components when choosing music for visual and mood media. Groovecat was the perfect data source to build an objective first algorithm; however, we did not stop there. Since the initial inception of our AI, we have grown our database to several million data points for music. All ethically sourced to lift the chances of human-created music to score a career-changing sync.

How do you see AI technology shaping the future of the music industry, particularly in terms of sync licensing and music curation?

AI will infiltrate every little step of the music industry and will change how we work with and for music. In sync, the traditional music industry will be challenged by genAI. It is cheaper and easier to obtain – two big factors. The music industry can only counter that with AI, to make the process of how we find and then license songs much easier. Every credible brand wants to work with original music over AI-generated muzak. We just need to make it easier for people to get to it.

Can you discuss any specific challenges or obstacles you have faced in developing Cyanite’s AI technology for music recommendation and indexing, and how you have overcome them?

Wow, where to start?! As a startup founder, you find yourself in challenging situations on almost any given day of the week. But to name the biggest one is access to capital for music tech in Europe. Sometimes music is seen as an impenetrable, fragmented, and low-margin market that is not worth investigating. But we have kept believing in the idea, in ourselves, and the vision behind Cyanite. And we feel incredibly fortunate to have found such an esteemed circle of knowledgeable investors who helped us shape Cyanite into the company that it is today.

What emerging trends or advancements in AI-driven music technology do you find most exciting or promising for the future of the industry?

Building genAI as the advancement of instruments rather than artists is something I find exciting. Enabling more people to express themselves and their creativity is contributing to making the world a better place. And this can be done through augmenting a production, mastering it, writing, or singing lyrics, altering an existing production, etc. The possibilities are limitless, and we are just starting to play around with it. Imagining me as a 16-year-old, trying to understand clunky DAWs of the time, with some of the tools today, I might have stayed with making music.

How does Cyanite ensure that its AI algorithms remain ethically and culturally sensitive in recommending music from diverse sources and representing a wide range of musical styles and genres?

That is a very good question. We take this very seriously. We are aware of the bias coming from both the data as well as the team that is building it. We hardcode our own understanding of our world into these algorithms and know that they might perpetuate our own blind spots. For instance, we always had a tag for “Arab” music. It combined all traditional sounds from the Middle East. No one ever thought about it until a Turkish company let us know that they would feel offended if we call their folk music “Arab”. We are striving every day to minimize these errors by showing our algorithms to a diverse audience, but we are also aware that the AI will never have full parity.


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!

ENJOYING A HEAVENLY TIME IN HELSINKI, FINLAND: Partaking in a global think-tank in partnership with Music Finland and A&R Worldwide for the infamous Is This It conference in Helsinki, Finland a few years back were (L-R) Anders Johansson (Manager, Smith & Thell), Martin Dodd (Manager, Max Martin), Sat Bisla (President & Founder, A&R Worldwide / MUSEXPO), and Michael Chugg (Founder & CEO, Chugg Music).

A&R Worldwide has helped many events around the world with curation of their showcase and conference programming, as well as bringing together some of its key relationships to partake in various events on multiple continents worldwide. From Australia, France, New Zealand, Germany, Sweden, Canada, U.K., India, Czech Republic, Hong Kong, Japan, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, China, Bulgaria, Holland, Norway, Denmark, and beyond – A&R Worldwide’s international impact and reach knows no geographical boundaries.

With Finland’s This Is It conference in Helsinki, A&R Worldwide collaborated with its then Director, Paulina Ahokas, who oversaw Music Export Finland (now Music Finland) by bringing together top international A&R, publishing, sync, radio, media, management, and creative minds to future-cast the pathway ahead for the global music business.

The multiday event helped craft some innovative ideas on building solutions for various sectors of the worldwide music business, as well as, bringing together some unique relationships that fostered some strong creative and business relationships that to this day still permeate around the globe.


A&R Worldwide Artist Of The Week



Musically inspired by a blend of contemporary artists like Harry Styles, Beck, Dominic Fike, and Artemas, as well as iconic figures such as Stevie Wonder and Otis Redding, Dempsey Bolton, a producer, singer, songwriter, and artist, has cultivated a distinctive style that fuses Alternative, Indie, Pop, and R&B. While working towards a degree in Astrophysics at the University of Alberta, Dempsey started creating music during his free time, opting for a full-time music career upon graduation. Since then, he has released 21 tracks over four years, which have received attention from Spotify and Apple Music, charted on iTunes and Hype Machine, and has been featured in over 50 different music blogs and publications. Currently, Dempsey is immersed in creating his sophomore album, slated for release in 2025, taking on the role of a self-producer. The upcoming album explores the challenges of remaining silent during a crisis and neglecting mental health. Despite its serious themes, the production maintains an upbeat, nostalgic, and summery atmosphere. Get a sneak peek of the forthcoming album with the track “Couple Minutes,” HERE, and catch Dempsey perform for his label, publisher, sync, media, and booking agents showcase at MUSEXPO on Sunday, March 17th. For all label, publishing, booking, sync, and other opportunities contact Trey Mills at on behalf of Dempsey Bolton.




Art-pop pioneers Everything Everything has achieved their most significant radio success with the single “Cold Reactor” from their latest album, Mountainhead (BMG). The track has garnered attention on Radio 1 B-List, Spotify Viral Top 50, Passport Approved, and Shazam‘s UK Top 200. Capitalizing on this momentum, the band has released the follow-up single, “The End of The Contender,” characterized by Jonathan Higgs‘ distinctive falsetto and staccato delivery within the band’s accessible art-pop style. The track features captivating synths, mesmerizing guitars, and pulsating rhythms, creating an intriguing contrast with Jonathan’s thought-provoking lyricism. Together with “Cold Reactor” and “The Mad Stone,” these singles offer a glimpse into the overarching theme of the Mountainhead album—a conceptual exploration of an alternate society where the marginalized toil to sustain the elite at the mountain’s peak. Produced by guitarist Alex Robertshaw and Tom A.D. Fuller under their alias Kaines & Tom AD, the album signifies Everything Everything’s ability to explore new horizons while maintaining their core identity. In 2023, Everything Everything concluded the year with a successful tour, including headline shows in North America, top billing at the Waves Festival, and a special guest appearance at OVO Wembley Arena with Nothing But Thieves. For further inquiries about the band, please contact Espen Blödorn-Mentzoni at To watch the video for “The End of The Contender,” click HERE.


Passport Approved | Global Music Pre-Discovery

“PASSPORT APPROVED” PLAYLIST FOR Sunday, March 10th, 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:

ACROBVT – “Neon” (Unsigned, U.K.)
RADIO FREE ALICE – “Waste of Space” (Double Drummer, Australia)
BO MILLI – “Making Friends” (AWAL, Norway)
THE CAVS – “The Kids Are Talking” (Unsigned, U.K.)
TALISCO – “Sorry” (Roy Music, France)
SEA GIRLS – “I Want You To Know Me” (Alt Records/Believe, U.K.)
MYLES SMITH – “Solo” (Ditto Music, U.K.)
MIDDLE KIDS – “Terrible News” (EMI, Australia)
GIANT ROOKS – “Pink Skies” (Universal Music, Germany)
BETTER JOY – “Hard To Love” (Fader Amp, U.K.)
BOECKNER – “Lose” (Sub Pop Records, N. America)
LOW GIRL – “Icarus” (Unsigned, U.K.)
MATTHEW MOLE – “Always By My Side” (Universal Music, S. Africa)
JAMIE HANNAH – “Dragonfly” (Unsigned, U.K.)
DEMPSEY BOLTON – “Couple Minutes” (Unsigned, Canada)
BECCA SWAN – “Two Tears and No More” (Unsigned, Canada)
MASI MASI – “Cigarette Smile” (Unsigned, U.K.)
DARK TROPICS – “Carnival” (Unsigned, Ireland)
THE SNUTS – “NPC” (Happy Artist Records, Scotland)
CARAVAN PALACE – “Mirrors” (Wagram, France)
CRAWLERS – “Kills Me To Be Kind” (Polydor, U.K.)
CATHOLIC GUILT – “Can You See Me” (Unsigned, Australia)
PICTURE THIS – “Call It Love” (RCA/Sony, Ireland)
THE K’S – “Heart On My Sleeve” (LAB Records, U.K.)
TRIBE FRIDAY – “Andy” (ICEA, Sweden)
LOOK MUM NO COMPUTER – “T.I.M” (Ramsgate, U.K.)
ONLY THE POETS – “Looking At You” (EMI, U.K.)
NELL MESCAL – “Killing Time” (LAB Records, U.K.)
LIME CORDIALE – “Pedestal” (Chugg Music, Australia)
TRISHA – “Down The Road” (Universal Music India, India)
DOTAN – “Diamonds In My Chest” (7 Layers Music, Holland)
RHETT REPKO – “Somebody Who Cares” (Unsigned, N. America)
BLOSSOMS – “To Do List (After The Breakup) feat. Findlay (ODD SK Recordings, U.K.)



THE BLACK CROWES SIGN DEAL WITH SPIRIT MUSIC GROUP: The Black Crowes have inked a global publishing administration deal with Spirit Music Group. This deal blankets revered albums like Warpaint, and Before the Frost…Until the Freeze, alongside their long-awaited opus, Happiness Bastards, slated for a global debut on March 15th via Silver Arrow Records. Produced under Grammy Award-Winning maestro Jay Joyce, this album not only heralds the band’s return after 15 years but also features a cameo by Grammy-nominated artist Lainey Wilson. Leading the charge is the riff-laden single “Wanting and Waiting,” which is a preview of the Black Crowes’ resurgent energy. The group will embark on their 2024 headline tour spanning thirty-five cities across North America and Europe commencing on March 15th at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, NY. Jon Singer, Chairman, Spirit Music Group tells A&R Worldwide, “The Black Crowes have stood as one of rock music’s best bands in the past 30 years. With this new album and their upcoming tour, they prove to be even stronger than ever. Anyone who does not see their upcoming live shows is depriving themselves. I have been a fan of their music from the beginning and could not be more psyched to be part of the ride today.” 2024 marks 40 years since the inception of The Black Crowes, and the Robinson brothers are claiming this momentous year as their own. Since its inception, The Black Crowes have sold more than 30 million albums, and have been named as VH1‘s 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock. They were labeled by Melody Maker as “The Most Rock ‘n’ Roll Band in the World.”


ICONIC ARTISTS ACQUIRES STAKE IN BRYAN FERRY’S CATALOG: Legendary British artist and songwriterBryan Ferry has teamed up with Irving Azoff‘s Iconic Artists Group in a partnership aimed at expanding Ferry’s musical legacy to new audiences. The deal encompasses his solo career and tenure with Roxy Music, with Iconic acquiring 50% of his sound recording, publishing, and name and likeness rights. This alliance follows Iconic’s partnership with Rod Stewart which is valued at around $100 million (USD). “Bryan’s unique voice and genre-defying music have earned him a place among the most influential artists of our time,” said Beth Collins, co-president of The Azoff Company. “We are honored to work with him to ensure his legacy continues to inspire and resonate with audiences.” Jimmy Edwards, President of Iconic added, “Bryan Ferry is a true musical pioneer who blended art, fashion, and rock & roll into a captivating and enduring sound. Iconic is deeply honored to celebrate his enduring influence and share his legendary catalog with the world.”


Pictured (L-R) are Darjo Rot & Marko Stopar.

WARNER MUSIC S.E. EUROPE ACQUIRES A MINORITY STAKE IN NIKA: Warner Music South-East Europe (WM SEE) has acquired a minority stake in Slovenian independent label NIKA. NIKA’s repertoire of more than 11,000 songs – including tracks from Big Foot Mama, Koala Voice, Luka Basi, Nipke, Siddharta, and Žan Serčič are all currently distributed through ADA, Warner Music’s independent distribution and label services arm. This new deal further enables Warner Music to upstream NIKA’s roster to its international network, opening up opportunities for fans around the world to discover its artists’ music. NIKA has been Warner Music’s licensee in Slovenia since 1995. The company is well established in the local market, working closely with local industry bodies, such as a collective management organization IPF k.o., to ensure its artists and clients are being represented and paid correctly. Izabela Ciszek-Podziemska, General Manager, WM SEE stated, “It is a proud moment for us at WM SEE today in announcing this deal with NIKA. We have worked with Darjo and Marko for almost 30 years, they have an impeccable reputation, and I can confidently say that there is no one better for us to partner with in Slovenia.” NIKA was established in 1989 as the first private-sector music label and distribution company in the former Yugoslavia. It began with a small shop in Ljubljana, where music from independent international labels was introduced to the Yugoslavian market for the first time. In 1995 NIKA entered into a partnership with Warner Music, and in 2017, it commenced distributing its own catalog through Warner Music to other markets. NIKA also operates the largest Slovenian online music shop, offering customers a selection of more than 300,000 different titles.


WISE MUSIC ICELAND SIGNS HÖGNI EGILSSON: Wise Music Group has expanded its reach to Iceland, signing composer Högni Egilsson to a worldwide publishing deal. This marks the inaugural signing for Wise Music Icelandsince its launch in November 2022. Egilsson’s compositions have resonated with classical and contemporary music enthusiasts worldwide. Inga Magnes Weisshappel, Music Supervisor & Publisher, Wise Music Iceland, tells A&R Worldwide, “I am thrilled to have Högni as our first signing of Wise Music Iceland. His diverse talent, astonishing songwriting skills, and captivating voice make him an excellent choice to kick off our newly opened office in Iceland. I am very much looking forward to our partnership with Högni as it marks a significant step in our ongoing mission in this country and further afield.”


HOOK ANNOUNCES ADDITIONAL SEED INVESTMENT: Hook, the pioneering music platform empowering fans to remix popular tracks legally for social media platforms, has expanded its seed round, drawing further investment from Natalie Massenet and Nick Brown‘s Imaginary Ventures, alongside music and social media industry investors. This boost elevates Hook’s Seed round, initially led by Point72 Ventures and Waverley Capital, to $3.5 million (USD). Imaginary Ventures, known for early investments in SKIMS and Glossier, brings valuable consumer landscape insights. Hook unveiled its advisory board, featuring leaders spanning music, technology, and social media, including DJ KSHMR and Snap‘s Manny Adler. Collaborating with artists and labels, Hook aims to enhance revenue streams in the evolving social media music space, offering fans licensed music engagement opportunities while ensuring fair compensation for creators. Gaurav Sharma, CEO, Hook (who was one of the co-Founders of Indian streaming service JioSaavn), and investor Natalie Massenet‘s retail experience, aims to strengthen Hook’s mission to reshape music consumption dynamics, in addition to its previous backing from Three Six Zero and Avex.


U.K. RAPPER ANTSLIVE SIGNS TO WARNER CHAPPELL: MOBO-nominated rapper AntsLive has secured a global publishing deal with Warner Chappell Music. The north London native’s rise has been fueled by viral tracks like “Number One Candidate,” and has underlined his rapid ascent in the rap scene, boasting over 10 million streams and two 2024 MOBO award nominations. Susie Woodbridge stated, “AntsLive is one of the hottest and most distinct rappers in the U.K. at the moment. His personality and drive are second to none. How many artists would strap themselves to a plane for a video shoot? I am grateful that he has given us the chance to partner with him and we cannot wait to get stuck in and help create the next chapter of his career.”


PLAY IT AGAIN SAM PARTNER WITH NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS: Play It Again Sam, a part of the [PIAS] label group, has secured the worldwide license to release the upcoming album from the band Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds. Titled, Wild God, this marks the band’s 18th studio album, set to debut on August 30th. Renowned for their innovative spirit and for consistently reinventing their sound, the Bad Seeds continue to defy convention across 18 studio albums, from 1984’s, From Her to Eternity, to 2024’s Wild God. Kenny Gates, Co-Founder & CEO, [PIAS], tells A&R Worldwide, “I have been a massive fan of Nick Cave since the early days of Play It Again Sam [PIAS] when we were importing his Birthday Party albums, and it is the realization of a long-held dream to partner with one of my all-time musical heroes. We are all so excited to collaborate with him and his team who will bring expertise, experience, and loads of passion to the creative journey we are about to embark on together. The new album is incredible, in my opinion, his best ever, and we will go over the barricades to deliver the global success it deserves.”


POSITION MUSIC HIRES JAY MOORE AS VP, HEAD OF INVESTMENTS: Tyler Bacon, President & CEO of Position Music, has appointed Jay Moore to the new role of VP, Head of Investments. With a background in Ditto Music and Kobalt Music, Moore brings extensive expertise in valuing major deals totaling over a billion dollars. Based in Los Angeles, Moore will spearhead frontline signings, catalog acquisitions, and leverage his industry connections to drive strategic deals forward. “Jay is an important addition to the executive team as the number of acquisitions and frontline deals have become more substantial over the last two years,” stated Tyler Bacon. “The ability to quickly analyze and price deals is a crucial piece of ultimately closing them. We are immediately seeing the benefit of his work in the current pipeline, along with the work he did on our recent Gesaffelstein acquisition. I’m thankful for our partners at Vesper Company who had worked with Jay in the past and helped bring him into Position Music.”


BMG ACQUIRES ALL OF HADDAWAY IN COCONUT MUSIC DEAL: BMG has announced that it has acquired the catalog of the Cologne, Germany-based label Coconut Music. With tracks like Haddaway‘s “What Is Love,” which has garnered over a billion streams, and hits from Bad Boys Blue, London Beat, and Wolfgang Petry The deal builds on BMG’s 2022 acquisition of Haddaway’s recorded royalties, giving the company 100% control of one of the most iconic songs of the 90s. In 2010, Eminem sold one million downloads of his song “No Love” with Lil Wayne, which uses a sample of “What Is Love” in the chorus. In 2023, “Baby Don’t Hurt Me,” by David Guetta, Anne-Marie, and Coi Leray hit the charts in more than 30 countries and was nominated for the Grammy award for “Best Pop Dance Recording.” Coconut Music (formerly known as Coconut Records) was founded in 1981 by Karin Hartmann and Tony Hendrik. The label scored success across multiple genres, but “What Is Love” became a worldwide hit selling 2.6m copies, reaching No.1 in 13 countries and hitting number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100, receiving four Platinum and seven Gold awards. Karin Hartmann, Co-Founder, Coconut said, “Building Coconut was a labor of love. Every track holds its memories and of course ‘What Is Love’ was a global success beyond our wildest dreams. It is no surprise that when we decided to sell, there was a lot of interest. What was most important to us was that we would find a buyer who understood and respected what we achieved and would do this catalog justice. We are delighted to have been able to conclude a deal with the BMG team.” Maximilian Kolb, Executive VP Repertoire & Marketing, Continental Europe, BMG added, “We are delighted to become custodians of Coconut’s 2,500 track catalog and especially ‘What Is Love’. It is one of the most influential tracks in the whole Euro-pop movement and as seen in David Guetta‘s successful homage last year, it still very much resonates with music fans today. We look forward to ensuring its place in music history.”


TIXR EXPANDS PRESENCE IN CANADA: Tixr is increasing its presence in Canada with the appointment of industry expert Stéphane McGarry. With a track record spanning from concert promotion to executive leadership roles, McGarry brings valuable experience to his new position. Tasked with leading Tixr’\’s strategic expansion in Canada, he aims to capitalize on the company’s momentum in the region. Recent partnerships with major Canadian events and venues highlight Tixr’s goals to deliver innovative e-commerce solutions for live entertainment. Robert Davari, Co-Founder & CEO, Tixr stated, “Stéphane’s record speaks volumes. Not only has he established enduring relationships with clients and led operations to excellence in music, sports, and beyond, but his character and reputation precede him as a standout individual within our industry.”


REACTIONAL MUSIC PARTNERS WITH CHERRY RED & HOPELESS RECORDS: Reactional Music has forged a partnerships with Cherry Red Records and Hopeless Records, pioneering the fusion of gaming and music. Their technology transforms gaming experiences by allowing music to react to gameplay in real time. Soon, players can even personalize their gaming adventures with their favorite tunes, thanks to Reactional’s in-game music purchase feature. These alliances not only expand Reactional’s network but also grant rights holders access to the global gaming market which has a market worth of $200 billion (USD) a year. David Knox, President, Reactional Music said, “The independent music sector has been instrumental in developing and nurturing so many new amazing artists. We believe that independent music and emerging artists will be an essential part of the Reactional Platform, for developers and for gamers. Cherry Red and Hopeless share this belief and have been vocal supporters of what we are building at Reactional. Both have really engaged and understood what we are building, as well as where new personalization and creation technology can increase music’s reach and power.”


Pictured (L-R) are Gary Kelly & Jason Kawejsza.

GARY KELLY & JASON KAWEJSZA PROMOTED AT ICLG: Gary Kelly and Jason Kawejsza have been elevated to new roles within the Interscope Capitol Labels Group (ICLG). The announcement was made by John Janick, Chairman & CEO, ICLG last week. Kelly assumes the mantle of Chief Revenue Officer & General Manager, whilst Kawejsza steps into the position of Executive Vice President, Head of Business & Legal Affairs. Tasked with guiding the new company, comprising the integrated companies of Interscope Geffen A&M and Capitol Music Group, Kelly will be tasked with strategies aimed at fostering fan engagement and diversifying revenue streams. Kawejsza will oversee the intricate web of business and legal affairs, weaving deals to strengthen ICLG and its associated labels. With extensive experiences preceding their promotions, Kelly’s journey from college rep to managerial heights and Kawejsza’s legal acumen reflect their diverse experiences for these roles. John Janick, said, “Gary and Jason have each been making invaluable contributions to our company for 15 years, and both combine strong business acumen with an entrepreneurial mindset that will continue to be crucial to my leadership team and to ICLG’s success in the years to come. I know that everyone in the company joins me in congratulating Gary and Jason on these well-earned promotions.”


Pictured (L-R) are Vicky Dowdall & Nina Nesbitt.

NINA NESBITT LAUNCHES APPLE TREE RECORDS: Nina Nesbitt has unveiled the launch of her own label, Apple Tree Records, which officially launched on March 8th. The label debuts with Nesbitt’s new single “Pages,” which is a return to her folk roots, alongside “On the Run.” Nesbitt and her manager Vicky Dowdall, who are partners in the new venture, have made a commitment to support emerging artists with their new platform. All releases will be distributed globally by Fuga, with an objective to fairly compensate songwriters, whilst echoing recent industry calls for reforms. Nesbitt has over 1.1 million monthly Spotify listeners and has found viral success via TikTok where she has 692,000 followers. She amassed over a billion streams in 2022. Vicky Dowdall told A&R Worldwide, “I am so honored to become business partners with Nina in our own label, Apple Tree Records. I started getting a few offers for Nina and she simply said, ‘Don’t waste your energy, I want to do it with you.’ This shows true loyalty, faith, and belief in each other and a responsibility I do not take lightly. I have met my match with Nina. We are both fiercely ambitious, passionate and share the same work ethic and morals.”


SPLICE AIMS TO SUPERCHARGE MOBILE EXPERIENCES: Splice has unveiled its latest innovation with Splice Mobile, blending its renowned AI-driven create technology with a vast library of samples, now accessible on iOS and Android. Users can explore over 300 instruments spanning 140 genres, creating mood boards, and crafting intricate compositions directly from their mobile devices. Collaborating with producer Terrace Martin (Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, The Game, Busta Rhymes, Stevie Wonder), Splice Mobile aims to deploy seamless creativity and sharing across platforms, revolutionizing music production on the go. Kakul Srivastava, CEO, Splice tells A&R Worldwide, “We believe that great ideas should never be confined by time or space. We continue to be led by our customers’ desire to integrate Splice sounds deeper into their workflows. This new mobile experience is another path for our customers to bring innovative ideas to life anytime, anywhere – without losing any of the quality they have come to rely on from Splice.”


ROBERTO NERI APPOINTED CEO OF THE IVORS ACADEMY: Roberto Neri has been tapped into the role of CEO at The Ivor’s Academy, bringing over two decades of industry expertise. His tenure includes leadership positions at Believe, Utopia Music Services, Downtown Music, and more. With an extensive background spanning publishing, business development, and international relations, Neri’s appointment aims to bring additional improvement of leadership for The Ivor’s Academy. His advocacy for songwriters and composers, coupled with his charitable endeavors, has highlighted his drive to honor music culture and industry sustainability. Tom Gray, Chair, The Ivor’s Academy, stated, “On behalf of the board and Academy, I am thrilled to welcome Roberto Neri as our new CEO. He brings a huge breadth of industry experience, knowledge, and leadership skills. His commitment – and ours to him – to be the most influential voice for songwriters and composers in the world.”


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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Bob Bowen, Brandon Young, Cathy Mathalone, Steve Baltin, Satya Hinduja, Jason Bentley, Aaron Rosenburg, Bekki Newton, Chairman Bang, Amy Dunning, Paul Tollett, Neil Thompson, Thomas Krottinger, and Jo Charrington.

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