Jason Flom, founder and president of Lava Records, has been named chairman and CEO of the Atlantic Records Group, with Atlantic president Craig Kallman upped to co-chairman and chief operating officer of the Warner Music Group operation.
Atlantic has also tapped Julie Greenwald, formerly president of Island Records, as prexy of the group, reporting to Flom and Kallman. (Daily Variety, March 29). Atlantic Records Group consists of Atlantic, Elektra and Lava Records.
Flom and Kallman will report to Lyor Cohen, Warner Music Group’s chairman-CEO of U.S. recorded music.
Ahmet Ertegun will continue with the company as founding chairman of Atlantic Records.
“This company needed to get back to A&R-centric people,” Cohen said. “And that’s what’s now sitting in this room.”
Flom and Kallman will have the power to greenlight the signing of new acts.
The group’s first mission will involve tackling the roster of artists and deciding who works best where. With no number as a goal, the execs say they will reduce the number of artists in the Atlantic family and “continue to scour every garage and nightclub for the next generation of superstars,” Cohen said.
“We’re focused on quality, not quantity,” Flom told Daily Variety. “We want to work with a smaller roster and a release schedule that allows us to meet the needs of (a release) to the fullest.”
Kallman noted both Atlantic and Elektra “began life as innovative, grassroots-driven indies that ultimately transformed the music business, and Lava has become a worthy addition to that tradition. That entrepreneurial spirit will continue.”
Team replaces the prior regime of Atlantic toppers Val Azzoli and Ron Shapiro and Elektra chair-CEO Sylvia Rhone. The trio ankled after Edgar Bronfman Jr.’s team took over at the beginning of March and essentially created a new operation within three weeks.
New team inherits a number of recent breakthrough acts, among them rockers the Darkness, Simple Plan and Jet, singer-songwriter Jason Mraz, rapper Twista and dancehall artist Sean Paul. Label is giving a heavy push to Blindside and Brandy; upcoming priority projects include the debut of 20-year-old French-born singer Cherie.
Since 1995, Flom has served as president of Lava Records, the label he founded within Atlantic Records that has a roster including Tori Amos, Kid Rock, Uncle Kracker, matchbox twenty and Sugar Ray.
Kallman, a former DJ and founder of the Big Beat label, joined Atlantic in 1991. As exec VP, he oversaw Atlantic’s entire A&R operation, working with such artists as Aaliyah, Brandy, Junior M.A.F.I.A, Lil’ Kim and P.O.D.
Greenwald, who joined Def Jam Records in 1992 and worked under Cohen, established the label’s marketing department. In 2002, she was simultaneously named president of Island Records and promoted to exec VP of Island Def Jam.
Ertegun started Atlantic Records as an R&B and jazz label 57 years ago with his brother Neushi; Elektra was started by Jac Holzman as a folk imprint in 1950. Warners bought Atlantic in 1967 and, three years later, purchased Elektra.