And now it’s official. Aaron Bay-Schuck, a senior executive at Interscope Geffen A&M, will join Tom Corson, who exits RCA Records, as Co-Chairman and CEO and Co-Chairman & COO, respectively, at Warner Bros. Records. Cameron Strang, who had led the label since 2012, will step down at the end of the year, Warner Music Group announced today (Oct. 3).
Both will report to Max Lousada who took the position of WMG’s CEO, Recorded Music on Oct. 1. According to the company’s announcement, the two will work as a partnership, with Corson running the label’s operations and Bay-Schuck leading WBR’s creative direction. Start dates for both execs has not been revealed as of yet.
Said Lousada: “At WMG, we’re building a creative and entrepreneurial environment where artists can change culture and make music that matters. Tom and Aaron don’t just share our ambition; they both have it in their DNA. That’s why they’ll be such an inspiring duo at WBR, which is always strongest when it’s at its most daring and unexpected. At the cutting edge of a new generation of leaders, Aaron has impeccable taste and a rare ability to help distinctive artists grow into global superstars. Equally, Tom has a super-driven, imaginative approach to championing talent and mentoring executives, as well as a wealth of experience at both major and indie labels. They’re a dynamic combination that will bring in a fresh, new era at one of the greatest record labels of all time.”
Of Strang, Lousada added: “Cameron has guided WBR through a period of unprecedented change and has added to the label’s remarkable musical legacy. He will leave with our gratitude and utmost respect.”
The appointments mark Lousada’s first major move since ascending from head of Warner U.K. to CEO of Recorded Music. Bay-Schuck, who spent more than a decade at Atlantic Records, a WMG subsidiary, before joining Interscope, is credited with having signed Bruno Mars. He also played a senior A&R role on releases by Flo Rida (including co-writing “Right Round” which featured Kesha in one of her earliest appearances), Cee Lo Green, B.o.B., Trey Songz, and Travie McCoy.
Corson has a marketing background and boasts long-term roles at Capitol Records (from 1990 to 1996), Columbia Records (1996 – 2000), and RCA Records, where he rose to COO overseeing a roster that includes Pink, Justin Timberlake, Foo Fighters, Alicia Keys, and Zayn Malik. It’s worth noting that two RCA artists, Sia and Kelly Clarkson, left the label for WMG’s Atlantic Records earlier this year.
Rumors of Corson’s departure have picked up momentum since the summer. The executive had expressed a desire to return to the west coast, where Warner Bros. is based.
Bay-Schuck, according to an internal memo issued by Universal Music Group last week, was said to be staying on at Interscope through Sept. 2018. It has yet to be seen whether he’ll be able to exit any contractual obligations early.
Warner Bros. Records is arguably Lousada’s steepest challenge: It’s one of the most storied labels in music-business history but has struggled in recent years. Strang has had some wins since his appointment — the company has scored Top 10 albums from Prince, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Green Day, Linkin Park, Michael Buble, Fleet Foxes, Gorillaz, The Head & the Heart, Mac Miller, and Mastodon over the past year-and-change — but has not managed to make a significant boost in market share, vibe or morale, a situation the departure of label president Dan McCarroll earlier this year did not improve. Warner Music Group’s other main label, Atlantic, has been on a roll since the tag team of co-chairmen Craig Kallman and Julie Greenwald took the helm in 2004 and remains one of the most formidable companies in the business.