OF EPIC RECORDS
Epic Records has announced the promotion of Ezekiel Lewis to label President. He will continue to report to Sylvia Rhone, Chairwoman & CEO, Epic Records, and he will lead the A&R division while helping run the day-to-day operations of the company.
Previously a musician since his teen years, Lewis signed with David Foster’s 143 Records and went on to play a key role in Trey Songz career. In 2004, Lewis co-founded The Clutch, a songwriter/producer collective aiding artists such as Omarion, Ciara, Britney Spears, Timbaland and more.
Lewis stands out as a Grammy Award-winning songwriter and has been recognized for his contributions to the industry. Billboard included him among its 2023 Power 100 List. He is also a recipient of numerous BMI and ASCAP songwriter and publisher awards.
PROMOTED TO HEADS OF A&R NUCLEAR BLAST
EUROPE AND NORTH AMERICA
The Believe-owned metal label Nuclear Blast has made recent changes to its A&R department and promoted Nathan Barley Phillips and Shawn Keith to Head of A&R, Europe and Head of A&R, North America.
Nathan Barley Phillips & Shawn Keith
“After two and half years at the label, I’m honored to be given the opportunity of leading the A&R department, as we usher in a new era for our genre,” says Phillips. Keith added that he was “honored for the opportunity to cultivate the next chapter of a new era, while adding influences to the historic metal legacy that is nuclear blast records. that mission starts right now.”
Both Keith and Phillips will be supported by Tommy Jones who was elevated to the role of Label Manager for Nuclear’s North America Division.
HITMAKER NANA ROGUES
Concord Music Publishing recently announced a global publishing agreement with the artist Nana Rogues, who is noted for producing and co-writing hits for Drake, Dave, Future, J Hus, Zara Larsson, Skepta, Stormzy and Wizkid. The deal will include Rogues musical catalogs alongside all of his future works.
A winner of multiple awards including a BRIT (Dave, Psychodrama), Billboard (Drake, Scorpion) and nominations for a Grammy, in 2018 he achieved a major breakthrough co-writing on Drake’s record breaking single “Don’t Matter To Me” featuring Michael Jackson which broke the single-day streaming record on Apple Music and Spotify. In 2019, he was featured on releases with Raye and Honne. Since then, he’s co-produced KSI’s single “Number 2” featuring Future and 21 Savage, and produced “We’re All Alone” which is featured on Dave’s new album called “We’re All Alone In This Together”. Rogues is currently working with Dave, WizKid and Wiz Khalifa.
Pictured (L-R) are Kim Frankiewicz, Nana Rogues, Harri Davies and Dani Stephenson
Harri Davies, Sr. A&R Director at Concord Music Publishing commented, “Nana is an exceptional producer with a remarkable work ethic. We are absolutely delighted that he chose Concord as caretakers of his hit-laden catalogue whilst also entrusting us as the home of his future song writing output.”
“I’m really looking forward to this next chapter in my career. Concord is a major player that understands my vision and sound. Together as a team we will be putting out great feel-good music that transcends across the world,” added Rogues.
Originally from Hackney, London, Nana Rogues has shown that he’s one of the most versatile producer-songwriters with his track record of artist collaborations, showcasing his unique style.
Rogues is managed by Dani Stephenson of Straight Forward Music in London, England.
FILM & TV DEVELOPMENT / PRODUCTION
Polygram Entertainment, the film and television division of Universal Music Group (UMG), announced the promotion of Daniel Inkeles, to Sr. Vice President of Film and Television Development and Production.
In 2018, Inkeles joined UMG as Vice President, Scripted Film and Television at Polygram. Before his role at UMG, Inkeles served as VP of International Production and Development at StudioCanal, where his projects included the Liam Neeson thriller Cold Pursuit and an animated film Early Man.
Previously, Inkeles was a development executive at Sony Pictures Animation, where his projects included Hotel Transylvania 2, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2, Open Season: Scared Silly, Smurfs: The Lost Village and The Star.
Prior to Sony, Inkeles worked in franchise creative development at DreamWorks Animation, where he aided such films as How to Train Your Dragon across multiple platforms.
He began his career working in the story and editorial departments on Shrek the Third and Shrek Forever After.
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!
Sharing a wonderful A&R Worldwide dinner in Burbank, California recently with some great friends. Seated (L-R) are Chris Cameron (ASE), Aton Ben-Horin (Executive VP Global A&R, Atlantic Records Group), Craig Kallman (Chairman & CEO, Atlantic Records), Sat Bisla (President & Founder, A&R Worldwide / MUSEXPO), Tommy Nast (Sr. Programming Director/Music Strategies North America, Trafalgar Releasing), Vikram Mehra (MD, Saregama Music, India, Ltd.), Satya Hinduja (Founder & Artist, ASE) and Paul Wiltshire (Founder & CEO, Songtradr).
GLOBAL NEWS UPDATES…
CUTTING EDGE STRIKES DEAL WITH GLOBAL HITMAKER: Cutting Edge Media Music has unveiled that it’s striking a deal with Ivor Novello award-winning hitmaking British pop producer and songwriter Jamie Hartman, who has written and/or co-written hits for artists such as Lewis Capaldi, Celeste, Calvin Harris, Kygo, Rag’n’Bone Man and the Backstreet Boys, and many others. Cutting Edge Media Music says it “will purchase the majority of Hartman’s back catalog royalties” published through his deal with Reservoir Media, which includes songs for commercials, TV and film written with artists including Carole King, Jennifer Hudson and Christina Aguilera. The deal will expand the company’s reach beyond instrumental composers and help them strategically engage with songwriters in pop and other genres.
ISLAND RECORDS UK PROMOTES TWO EXECUTIVES: Island Records has promoted two of its UK label executives, which includes Hannah Colson and Sam Lunn. Colson has been elevated from Head of Marketing to Director of Artist Development, whilst Lunn takes on the position of Director of Strategic Marketing. Colson joined Island in 2021 after her roles at MTV, Ministry, Relentless and Caroline. She made an impact with ArrDee and also spearheaded the rise of FLO. Lunn’s experience across the music business saw him return to Island Records in 2020 as Head of Campaign Strategy, where he worked closely with Ben Howard, U2, Dermot Kennedy and Marcus Mumford. Louis Bloom, President, Island Records stated, “Hannah’s ability to tap into an artist’s creativity, her innate understanding of how to reach an audience, her instinct for what makes a hit record, and a rare capacity to tie every element across multiple campaigns have made her a truly exceptional member of the Island team. Sam is equally invaluable, always making the right choices and invariably coming up with the perfect strategy to benefit our artists.”
WARNER CHAPPELL / 70HZ SIGN NATH BROOKS & THE KODE: Warner Chappell Music and Fraser T Smith’s 70Hz Recordings & Publishing have signed Nath Brooks and The Kode. Brooks started garnering attention with a few of his cover songs, which amassed over 15 million streams. The Kode has been aiding Brooks in the lead-up to his debut single, “Oh My,” which was released May 26, and his EP Yesterday’s Escapades, which is set for release later in the year. The collaboration will see both artists benefit from the leadership of Grammy award-winning producer Fraser T Smith. Additionally, Warner Chappell Music will provide access and resources to collaborate with writers and artists from around the world. “Nath and Liam are not only a writing and production powerhouse for Nath’s own project but can also write hits for other artists too. As soon as I heard their music, I wanted to sign them,” stated Fraser T Smith.
CONCORD APPOINTS SYNC DIRECTOR, A&R: Jen Hubbard has been appointed to the role of Director, Sync A&R at Concord Music Publishing. In her new role, Hubbard will oversee the development and management of Concord’s domestic songwriter catalog for sync purposes. Furthermore, Hubbard will support Concord’s plan “to streamline sync-forward initiatives and provide more opportunities for writers across Film, TV, ads, gaming and more”. Hubbard joined Concord in 2018, serving as the Director of A&R out of their Nashville office. She helped sign indie-pop artist Charli Adams and served as the lead contact in the Nashville office for writers, artists, and producers outside of the country market. Throughout her career, Hubbard has contributed to numerous music placements in film and television series including This is Us and Nashville, as well as cuts for Platinum artists like Lady A, Brothers Osborne, Calum Scott, Birdy and many others.
BELIEVE UK & CR2 RECORDS SIGN MATT SASSARI: Believe UK and dance label Cr2 Records have signed a long-term deal with Platinum-selling artist and producer Matt Sassari. The global signing follows Cr2’s collaboration with Believe’s UK office with which it signed a global distribution deal in 2021. Cr2’s relationship with Sassari began in 2017 with the release of his remix of Popof’s “Alcoolic.” Supported by Believe’s long-term relationships with DSPs, Cr2’s success with Sassari showcased the ongoing shift in dance music away from territorial licensing to data-driven campaigns on a global scale. “We’re delighted to have signed Matt on a long-term artist deal and continue developing him as one of the next generation of global dance superstars,” stated Mark Brown, Founder, Cr2 Records.
SECRETLY DISTRIBUTION PARTNERS WITH EMMY-WINNING COMPOSER: Secretly Distribution has announced a partnership with Emmy-award winning composer Nicholas Britell (Moonlight, Succession) and his new record label Lake George Music Group, which will expand the company’s mandate to elevate work across a variety of genres, relationships and release models. Additionally, Secretly Distribution will work directly with Britell on a number of forthcoming projects and campaigns. Last week, Secretly Distribution released Succession: Season 4 (HBO Original Series Soundtrack) to global streaming services via the composer's recently launched Lake George Music Group imprint. “It’s long been a dream of mine to release music through my own label, and I’m tremendously excited to have the final season of Succession as our label’s first release. Lake George Music Group is proud to partner with the team at Secretly,” stated Britell.
WALLOWING ONTO A NEW MANAGEMENT PATH: Andrew Friedman who manages the successful U.S. alternative rock act Wallows who are signed to Atlantic Records, tells A&R Worldwide that he has ventured off to form his own management company. Friedman spent the past 14 years at Los Angeles-based management firm Monotone, which is home to artists including Vampire Weekend, Jack White, Still Woozy, Jamie Foxx, LCD Soundsystem and others. Recently, Friedman launched his new management firm which is called Greenspring Management and will continue to be based in Los Angeles.
CHELSEA BLYTHE NAMED EVP A&R AT UNIVERSAL MUSIC NASHVILLE: Universal Music Group Nashville has announced Chelsea Blythe as Executive VP of A&R. Blythe started as an A&R intern at Interscope Records until she became department coordinator, where she aided artists like Kendrick Lamar, ScHoolboy Q, Rae Sremmurd and others. Prior to that she was hired by Columbia Records in 2016 and named VP of A&R. Her first signing was Symba where she helped develop The Kid LAROI and Polo G. “I’m so excited to bring Chelsea to UMG Nashville as EVP A&R. Her bold leadership, dynamic spirit, and passion for the music and artists will align perfectly with the culture we are building,” stated Cindy Mabe, Chair & CEO, Universal Music Group Nashville.
TOM GRENNAN SIGNS TO WME: Renowned UK artist Tom Grennan has signed with WME as his agent in all areas of his live and performance activities. Grennan is set to release his third studio album, What Ifs & Maybes, in just over a week. Grennan has made it to arena-tier shows, including performing at London’s The O2. Grennan was nominated at the 2023 BRIT Awards for Alternative Rock/Rock Act, which was his third consecutive BRIT nomination. Grennan has been represented by Various Artists Management (VAM) throughout his recording career. He will be working closely with Kirsty McDonagh who joined VAM last month after eight years at Insanity Group.
AIF RELEASES ITS FIRST EVER FESTIVAL REPORT: The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), the UK based association, has today published its first ever Festival Forecast report, which provides economic forecasts for its membership, as well as detailing issues facing the sector and potential solutions. Based on a survey of AIF members, carried out in April 2023, AIF festivals are on course to make a collective gross revenue of £195 million (GBP) this year, with a gross expenditure of £177 million. AIF events will attract a total audience of 3.3 million in 2023, and AIF members will spend £36 million on music talent. AIF members’ economic contribution to the UK music sector and supply chain is equivalent to almost 50% of all grassroots music venues combined. The membership will stage 11,853 performances collectively, with 74% of members featuring female headliners on their bill, and 15% having a 50/50 male/female headline split. The first of its kind 2023 edition can be found here.
DEFECTED RECORDS SIGN DANCE COLLECTIVE YOURS: Defected Records has signed dance collective Yours. The group consists of vocalist and songwriter Maverick Sabre and producer New Machine (Jorja Smith, Kano, Aitch, Bakar). Yours was created after a collaboration between Maverick Sabre and Jake Hall, who worked together on a collection for Prevu, which is a clothing brand. Also, Maverick Sabre has been a long-time collaborator with New Machine. The group will release their debut single on the label DÓNDE ESTÁ on June 7, with a collection of original music set to be released over the next 18 months. Drenched in Latin influences, credit to Jake and Sonny’s Spanish upbringing and the group’s shared love of the Balearics, the record is a perfect example of YOURS’ ability to produce music that will take you from sunset to sunrise. “Sometimes something comes along that surprises you that’s designed to touch your soul, that’s designed to tear up the rule book, something that catches you off guard and unprepared, and sometimes that something just connects. In the same way Defected have our community at the front and center of everything we do, the Yours collective is literally designed for you.” stated Wez Saunders, CEO, Defected.
PRIMARY WAVE MUSIC NAMES PRESIDENT OF INDO-PACIFIC: Primary Wave Music has announced that David Loiterton will join the company as President, Indo-Pacific. Based in Hong Kong, Loiterton will oversee its operations, and as head of this new division, he will be responsible for securing investments in the music IP across the region, in particular India, Japan, Korea, China, and Australia, as well as the Southeast Asian markets. He will manage the company’s catalog of songwriters and composers in these markets, using his relationships and experience to open the door for Primary Wave’s roster to explore the global market. Loiterton joins Primary Wave with more than 35 years of experience in music publishing, recording, artist management, and music streaming. From the very start of his career with artist INXS, David saw opportunities in the Asia region and was responsible for building BMG’s music publishing business in Asia in the 90s. Additionally, David joined Universal Music to oversee their strategic marketing, catalog, and commercial activities across Asia.
CYANITE ACQUIRES SAMPLE PLATFORM TO EXPAND MUSIC AI SERVICES: Cyanite, the AI company for music analysis and recommendation, has acquired aptone, an AI-based service that enables music producers to find and search samples. The acquisition will allow Cyanite to run international growth and broaden its AI solutions for the industry. Cyanite’s technology will increase the accuracy of how it analyzes and tags samples, which allows the opportunity for music publishers to maximize the monetization of their catalogs. Additionally, the integration will allow Cyanite to improve its system architecture and scale its technology to increase the reliability of analysis for every one of its audio files.
JYP EXPANDS COLLABORATION WITH REPUBLIC RECORDS: South Korea’s JYP and Republic Records recently unveiled that they are opening up their global strategic alliance to have an enhanced label partnership. Both labels will now work through the entire JYP roster on worldwide distribution of artists and catalogs, A&R, marketing, and business development. Both labels first crossed paths back in early 2020. Their first artist collaboration was with the multi-Platinum-selling K-Pop group, TWICE. Additionally, they have also worked with the JYP artists, Stray Kids and ITZY. In 2022, Stray Kids’ releases Oddinary and Maxident debuted at No.1 on the Billboard 200 chart and had amassed over four billion global Spotify streams.
EDITH BO NAMED HEAD OF A&R AT ROSTRUM RECORDS: Los Angeles, CA-based Rostrum Records has named Edith Bo as Head of A&R. Bo will be in charge of setting and overseeing the direction of A&R strategy, including scouting and new artist signings. She will also develop strategic branding partnerships and will work closely with Rostrum’s marketing team to bring about innovative solutions for artists. Bo was previously based at SoundCloud where she created their first songwriter initiative called “Unsung Heroes,” in addition to coordinating both publishing and sync partnerships. Bo also worked in artist management and A&R at Roc Nation, where she worked with clients including, Big Sean, Mustard, Hit-Boy and Santigold.
MNRK MUSIC GROUP PROMOTES EXECUTIVES: MNRK Music Group has promoted Brandon Squar to General Manager, and Ebrahim “Abe” Rasheed to Senior VP, Urban. Squar joined MNRK in 2020, and in his new position will lead company initiatives, overseeing commerce, marketing, project management, and publicity for the catalog of artists. Rasheed steps into the role after the departure of Alan Grunblatt, who ran the urban label for 20 years. Rasheed will be in charge of all efforts in A&R and artist development for the urban roster with an emphasis on signing new artists in the Hip-Hop, R&B and Latin genres.
BEATBREAD TAPS NEW SENIOR FINANCE EXECUTIVE: The AI-driven funding platform for music, beatBread, has appointed Troy Skabelund as its new CFO. Skabelund will be in charge of financial strategy and operations, which includes capital efforts, financial reporting, financial planning and analysis, compliance, and risk management. He will report to John Haller, COO & co-Founder, beatBread, and work out of the company’s Utah offices. beatBread has collaborated with over 20 independent distributors and labels, including Symphonic Distribution, UnitedMasters and Too Lost Records, allowing these companies to provide financial support to their artists.
FABER MUSIC STRIKES DEAL WITH WISE MUSIC: Faber Music who secured a deal in April to acquire Manners McDade has continued its growth through the acquisition with a deal for part of Edition Peters from Wise Music Group which took control of the classical music publishing house Edition Peters in April. Faber Music will maintain the Edition Peters brand alongside its printed music catalog. Also, it will support the Edition Peters catalog of contemporary composers and composer estates through an extensive, unique worldwide print deal.
SONY MUSIC PUBLISHING UK PROMOTES ANDREW SPENCE: Sony Music Publishing UK (SMP UK) has announced the promotion of Andrew Spence to General Counsel. With the promotion, Spence will be in charge of business and legal affairs strategies and initiatives for SMP UK and its roster, in addition to providing guidance and counsel on its legal and operational matters. Spence joined back in 2014 as Business Affairs Manager and eventually was elevated to Commercial Affairs Manager. In 2019, he became Head of Legal & Business Affairs. Before joining SMP UK he spent a few years in private practice as a music lawyer. Spence originally began his music industry career as a musician.
HYBE RAISES $380M TO FUND U.S. ACQUISITIONS: HYBE, the company supporting K-pop superstars BTS and rising stars New Jeans, is seeking to raise around 500 billion Korean won ($380 million USD) to fund future music acquisitions in the US. The company looks to expand its worldwide presence via M&A and to diversify its influence beyond K-Pop in the global music business. In 2021, HYBE’s $1 billion-plus acquisition of Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings brought non-K-pop operations into HYBE. This included Big Machine Label Group, and Braun’s own management company, SB Projects (Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande).
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Savan Kotecha, Paul Adam, Michael Chugg, Abhishek Patil, Richard Griffiths, Kim Frankiewicz, Vivek Paul, Charles Caldas, Bjürn Teske, Cindy Castillo, Vince Bannon, Sam Kling, Mike Knoblach and Steve Schnur.
JACKASS OF THE WEEK
Have you ever sent a text message you regretted, clicked on the wrong link, posted an inappropriate message or image on social media, accidentally replied “send all” on an E-mail, or made a total ass of yourself? Yes, we’ve all had a jackass moment at one time or another in our lives. Most of us have had good days and some bad days at work, but sometimes work-days can be unexplainable. Click HERE for a collage of just jackass things happening whilst on the job so to speak!
MASI MASI, an alt/indie-pop ensemble led by the charismatic frontman Joe McGrath, has garnered well-deserved attention. This British musical collective has cultivated a dedicated international following through their exceptional singles, namely “Favourite Gold,” “Moaner Lisa” and “The Good Stuff.” Beyond amassing global radio play and securing coveted spots on influential Spotify and Apple playlists and securing live shows with Sofar Sounds and securing Josh Ergatoudis as his new booking agent, the multi-talented McGrath, who serves as the band’s singer, songwriter, and producer, also dabbles in the realm of modeling. His recent collaborations include campaigns with Reebok, and Urban Outfitters, have further solidified his artistic presence. MASI MASI has recently unveiled their latest infectious offering, “We Don't Care,” which holds a special place in McGrath’s heart as one of his most cherished compositions. The genesis of this song took shape during a period when Joe was residing in Leeds along with his best friend. Created almost instantly, after a few artistic iterations, the enchanting melody was brought to life. “We Don't Care” serves as an anthem for embracing the present and reveling in life's pleasures. Experience the captivating essence of “We Don't Care” HERE, which has drawn comparisons to the musical stylings of luminaries such as Beck, Lime Cordiale, and Travis. For further inquiries and comprehensive information about MASI MASI, including worldwide signing, publishing, licensing, booking, and synch opportunities, contact Sat Bisla at email@example.com
HERE, which has musically earned favorable comparisons to the talents of Jake Bugg, Declan McKenna, and Sam Fender. For inquiries and further information regarding Alex Spencer, please reach out to Alex Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PASSPORT APPROVED™ PLAYLIST – 6/4/2023
“PASSPORT APPROVED” PLAYLIST FOR Sunday, June 4th, 2023: The weekly import show. Heard on more than 50 radio stations on six continents weekly including: Flux FM Berlin, Germany; NINETYSIX Radio (Indonesia); JioSaavn (India); Radio Doble Nueve, Lima, Peru; WZRH–FM New Orleans, LA; KWSS “93.9FM”; Phoenix, AZ; KRML “102.1FM”; Carmel, CA; KFRR “New Rock 104.1FM”; Fresno, CA; Radio 1, Mumbai, India; WCNR Charlottesville, VA; KIWR “The River”; Council Bluffs, IA; 2XM Ireland (national radio); 96.2 ZFM The Netherlands; WAPS–FM “The Summit.FM”; Akron–Canton, OH; WKTL–FM Youngstown, OH; 105.5FM XFM Nairobi, Kenya; PUK–FM Johannesburg, South Africa; Rock 96.5FM Zambia; 897 FM Bratislava, Slovakia; WITH “90.1FM”; Ithaca, NY; UCFM 87.8FM Australian Capital Territory, Australia; WRUR 88.5FM Rochester, NY; WCRU–FM Hamilton, NY; KZND Anchorage, AK; KQCJ Quad Cities, IL; Allgauhit–FM Bavaria Germany; Indie Xfm Los Angeles and on The Independent FM (iHeartRadio) in the United States, as well as many others internationally.
Listen to this two hour show by clicking HERE: