Geffen taps Simone new A&R chief

Marking a new era for Geffen Records, the label has offered David Simone the A&R reins at the label, according to sources.

The Polygram Music Publishing chief is expected to become the No. 3 exec at the label and will work closely with prexy Bill Bennett and CEO-chairman Eddie Rosenblatt to forge an updated identity for the label.

Dealmakers surveyed said the nod, which has been rumored for weeks, is a coup for the label and could help return Geffen to the lofty status it once held by attracting artists who would normally bypass it in favor of hotter labels.

Sources said Simone, who is still under contract to Polygram, has received clearance for an early exit from his pact once a successor has been selected. Simone was named prexy of the publisher in February 1994.

He is aiding Polygram Intl. Music Publishing chief David Hochman with the search for a replacement and has created a short list of candidates.

Ties to artists

The respected and well-liked Simone is known for having strong ties to artists and dealmakers, but also has experience running a record label.

A sea change of sorts is already under way at the label as a result of the recent groundbreaking pact with Latin record producer Gustavo Santaolalla — who is considered the Daniel Lanois of the genre — and whose mandate is to make Geffen a player in the growing Stateside market for Latin music.

Spanish test

Geffen’s first foray into the genre will be tested Tuesday with the release of the soundtrack of the Fox Searchlight pic “Star Maps.”

The disc, which was produced by Santaolalla, boasts a who’s who of the rock en espanol subgenre.

Before Polygram, Simone was senior veep of business affairs at Capitol Records, his third stop as an exec in the record label trenches.

While at Polygram, Simone inked a number of significant deals, including a co-publishing pact with Sub Pop Records, all with an eye on broadening the publisher’s base.

None of the parties involved would comment. A Geffen spokeswoman could not be reached for comment.

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