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Geffen Records firms Simone as A&R head

Geffen Records has tapped David Simone, former prexy of Polygram Music Publishing, as head of A&R. The signing, which had been expected (Daily Variety, July 21), signals a move by the label toward broadening its artist roster from its rock roots.

Simone has substantial international experience not typically found in the music industry’s A&R execs.

Simone’s primary duties will be to provide leadership and creative guidance on all A&R matters and sign artists to the label. He starts the new gig today, reporting to Geffen prexy Bill Bennett and chairman/CEO Eddie Rosenblatt.

Landing Simone for the newly created post is also intended to turn up the industry temperature of the once hot Geffen — best known as home to such acts as Guns N’ Roses — which has cooled in recent years.

Its current artist crop of Beck and 10,000 Maniacs has proved fruitful; also adding to Geffen coffers are releases from DreamWorks Records and Outpost Records, which are funneled through the label.

Simone will also be on the front lines in securing delivery of new albums from Geffen artists. The label has several artists who have taken years between album releases, which ultimately impacts the bottom line.

“This is really a paradigm shift for Geffen Records,” said Bennett. “David is the first person ever named to head up the A&R department. Bringing him into the Geffen fold is a tremendous coup for us because he’s earned such respect from songwriters, producers, managers and lawyers — the gatekeepers of talent.”

“The opportunity to work with Eddie (Rosenblatt) and learn from him is an incredible incentive. He is one of the great record guys,” said Simone. “Bill is also one of the most talented people in our business … and someone who has already taught me a great deal.”

Simone, a former label chief of Uni Records, chairman of MCA U.K. and managing director of the U.K. outposts of Arista Records and Mercury Records, credited “the caliber of people at Geffen” for his making the move from Polygram.

Simone, who was senior veep of business affairs at Capitol Records before joining Polygram in February 1994, has been key in making Polygram one of the industry’s top song-plugging and career development outfits.

Under Simone, Polygram Music Publishing has landed a number of songwriter and catalog acquisition coups, such as the prolific Desmond Child and Jim Steinman and artists Jonny Lang, Joan Osborne and the Beastie Boys.

While industry rumor has publishing vet Tom Sturges in line for Simone’s gig, Polygram execs said no deal has been struck.

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