New topper heads up label ops

Sony BMG Music exec VP Michele Anthony has been given the added tittle of chief operating officer, Sony Music Label Group U.S., covering all aspects of the management and operation of the Sony Music Label Group.

Announcement came the day after Sony Music Label Group U.S. prexy Don Ienner added CEO to his title. Anthony will report to Ienner in the COO capacity; she continues to report to Sony BMG CEO Andrew Lack.

“Donnie and I have always worked hand-in-glove,” Anthony told Daily Variety. “We have complementary skills and now I am going to be able to work more closely with artists. It’s a return to my roots.”

Anthony worked for her father’s management company and then as a lawyer representing musical acts before joining Sony Music in 1990. As exec VP, a title she has held since 1994, she oversees government relations for Sony BMG Music and serves as the company’s liaison on a wide range of legislative and legal issues.

Anthony was key in bringing Prince into the Sony fold earlier this year as his “Musicology” tour was beginning. In her new position, she will be more involved with artists on Sony labels Columbia and Epic and their associated imprints.

“The goal, and I think this is pretty evident, is to be vibrant, separate A&R resources,” she said of Sony and BMG’s label groups. “That is not just in the U.S. but local repertoire around the world, and I think we’ve done a pretty good job at Epic and Columbia lately, breaking new artists like Buddy Jewel, Gretchen Wilson, Franz Ferdinand and Los Lonely Boys. The focus has always been on career artists here and that will continue.”

Anthony and Ienner met 15 years ago when she represented Alice in Chains, whom Columbia signed. “I was deeply impressed with her broad-based understanding of both the creative and business sides of the industry, and after our very first meeting, I started pushing for her to join Sony,” Ienner said. “From playing a pivotal role in the signing of key artists such as Pearl Jam, Aerosmith, Rage Against the Machine, the Offspring and Prince, to making invaluable contributions to the management of the company, she’s been a major asset.”

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