Larry Jenkins has taken the reins at CBS Records, the network-owned label for which he had been consulting since its announcement 10 months ago.
Jenkins, a former major marketing and publicity exec who until recently had his own management company, was named executive VP and general manager of the label by Nancy Tellem, president, CBS Paramount Network Television Entertainment Group.
He will oversee the label’s strategic direction as well as its day-to-day creative and business operations. He will lead the A&R process of signing and developing artists, and interact with CBS Television Network and CBS Paramount Television executives to create companywide, integrated marketing plans in support of the artists and their music.
“In my waning days at Sony (Music),” he told Daily Variety, “I didn’t feel I was on the same page with the artists. The business had changed so much that marketing plans were being drawn up for artists and then the plugged would be pulled, sometimes before the record even got out the door.
“At CBS, I saw a successful entertainment company and here was a direct way to get back into the record business. I felt CBS would be on the side of the artists. I saw that shows are enthusiastic for music, for new music. I looked at the offer and thought I would be a fool to walk away.”
Since CBS Records was announced late last year, the company has released a pair of digital EPs, but more importantly placed 25 songs in TV shows. One of CBS Records’ artists, Will Dailey, recorded the version of the Tears for Fears’ hit “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” that has been used extensively in promos for “Kid Nation.”
Besides Dailey, the company has six other artists signed and another two are about three weeks away from inking deals. The release schedule includes full length albums from Dailey, “Backflipping Forward” on Oct. 2, and PJ Olsson’s “American Scream” on Oct. 16.
On Sept. 4, CBS Records released EPs from the pop-duo Karmina and rock band You Are I Am. Also on the roster are signed singer-songwriter Keaton Simons, rock band Señor Happy and husband-wife duo the Wilshires. All will release new music in early 2008.
Among the placements from CBS Records artists are an on-camera performance from Dailey on “CSI: NY”; Señor Happy doing the theme song for “Rules Of Engagement”; songs by the Wilshires in “Ghost Whisperer” and “Cane”; and the music of PJ Olsson on several episodes of “CSI: Miami.”
In 85% of the placements, Jenkins said, the CBS Records artists will get a plug at the end of the episodes using their music. Jenkins reiterated that CBS “is not in the business to replace anything” in terms of music placements.
Jenkins plans to keep the staff small and will be outsourcing PR, marketing and website management for the artists. “Keeping the staff small and outsourcing makes complete sense at this stage,” he said.
Sony-owned RED Distribution will distribute CHBS Records; digital-only arrangements have been made with Independent Online Distribution Alliance (IODA) and Digital Rights Agency (DRA.) CBS Records has also retained Los Angeles-based Rocket Science as its full-service sales and retail marketing force.
For the last three years, Jenkins has headed his own management and consultancy firm, L J Entertainment. Prior to that, he was senior VP/Marketing & Media for Columbia Records, where he had an 11-year tenure. Jenkins previously worked in similar capacities at Capitol Records and Arista Records.