Patricia J. Baird, music business exec, media relations professional and journalist, died after a long fight with cancer Monday Aug. 21, in New York. She was 59.
At the time of her death, she was assistant vice president, corporate relations for Broadcast Music Inc.
She began her 35-year career as a publicist for prominent music producer Jimmy Ienner, helping to launch the careers of such talents as Isaac Hayes; Donny Hathaway; Three Dog Night; Blood, Sweat & Tears; and Grand Funk Railroad.
In 1974 she joined industry trade publication Record World as assistant editor, authoring an influential column devoted to music publishing, and developing a broad network of contacts among executives in the publishing industry.
In 1981 she became East Coast professional manager at Arista/Interworld Music Publishing Group, with responsibility for signing writers and managing the company’s New York office.
Later, as head of her own media relations consultancy, she represented artists and projects associated with Atlantic Records, Elektra Records and MTV Networks.
In 1984 she was hired by RCA Records where she was director of national publicity, working with artists including Lou Reed, the Eurythmics, Diana Ross, Starship, John Denver and Hall & Oates.
She joined BMI in 1987, heading up its media relations department, and was promoted to assistant vice president in 1993. She built a national media relations team for BMI with staff in New York, Nashville and Los Angeles. She also served as senior editor of BMI’s MusicWorld magazine, the largest circulation mag for music professionals in the United States.
As a writer, reviewer and journalist, she made frequent contributions to music publications and was a sought-after music industry collaborator for television producers and authors. She contributed to biographies of Johnny Ace, Brian Wilson and Tim and Jeff Buckley, among others. She was the awards coordinator for the Ralph J. Gleason Music Book Awards and a frequent consultant for the BBC.
Over the years, she served as media chair on the committees for major music industry charitable organizations, including the Rhythm & Blues Foundation, the City of Hope, the T.J. Martell Foundation and the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation.
She served as a governor of the New York chapter of the Recording Academy and was a member of the Country Music Assn., Gospel Music Assn., Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the Television Academy.
She is survived by a niece, a nephew and three cousins,
Donations can be made to the T.J. Martell Foundation for Leukemia, Cancer and Aids Research.
A celebration in her memory for her family and her many friends and colleagues in the industry is being planned for early fall in Manhattan.