With Songs Music Publishing sold to Kobalt after months of percolating rumors, the door is finally open for Ron Perry, a co-founder and president of the company, to make a move to Columbia Records, where he is to take the chief executive and chairman position as of Jan. 1, according to multiple sources. He steps into a spot vacated when former chairman/CEO Rob Stringer took the helm of Columbia parent Sony Music Entertainment as CEO in April.
Perry, 39, has been a partner in Songs since its inception in 2004, and has long taken an outsized role in the careers of the company’s clients, particularly with Lorde: he oversaw A&R for her sophomore album, “Melodrama,” which is nominated for album of the year at the upcoming Grammy Awards. He also signed some of the company’s early clients, including The Weeknd (whom he connected with Daft Punk, resulting in the singles “Starboy” and “I Feel It Coming”), Diplo and DJ Mustard, and he has also worked with Songs’ Pincus on Noah Cyrus, XXXTENTACION and Desiigner.
The hiring of Perry helps to bring stability to both Columbia and Sony Music at a time when available executives suited for the role have been in short supply. For much of 2017, both Columbia and Epic, from which CEO L.A. Reid departed in May after a sexual-harassment incident, have been running with interim bosses, although Sylvia Rhone, who previously headed up both Elektra and Universal-Motown, has kept Epic running smoothly.
Sony Music Entertainment’s financial report issued in August, which covered the three months ending in June 2017, showed an impressive 57% gain in operating income year over year: $225.2 million in operating income on revenues of $1.52 billion. It was the music operation’s best first fiscal quarter since 2009, when the current financial configurations started.
Columbia Records is the crown jewel of Sony Music’s labels. The 130-year-old company is home to a roster of top stars including Adele, Bruce Springsteen, Barbra Streisand and Bob Dylan as well as the Grammy-nominated Chainsmokers, Daft Punk and One Direction alum Harry Styles.
A rep for Sony Music would not comment.