Discovery Records president and CEO Syd Birenbaum will step down from his post May 31, he announced Thursday. He had held the job for less than 1-1/2 years.
Birenbaum’s resignation comes in the wake of discussions regarding the merger of Sire and Discovery, two Warner Music Group imprints. That move follows the recent consolidation of Rick Rubin’s American label with the Warners’ key sister label, Reprise. Sire, which launched the careers of Madonna, the Pretenders, Talking Heads and Ramones, has had its activity reduced over the last two years.
Discovery, launched in the 1930s and revived in the late 1970s, was run by Elektra founder Jac Holzman from 1991 through its acquisition by the Warner Music Group in ’93. The label has evolved from its jazz roots into a multigenre label, distributing the Antone’s blues label and edgy dance-pop from the U.K.’s China imprint. The label has had modest success with a wide range of acts, among them, the Finn Brothers, Morcheeba, Voice of the Beehive, Corey Stevens and Parlor James. The label also issued the soundtrack to the film “Georgia.”