×

Sony Music Relaunches Arista Records Under David Massey

Sony Music Entertainment CEO Rob Stringer today announced the relaunch of Arista Records, the label founded in 1974 by Clive Davis, under the leadership of former Island Records CEO David Massey.

According to the announcement, the label will become an “all-new frontline creative center” within Sony Music led by Massey, who will serve as president and CEO. He will continued to be based in New York and will report directly to Stringer. The announcement also says that :Massey’s leadership of Arista is part of a new broad-based creative partnership between the hitmaker and Sony Music.” Sony Music and Massey have entered into a new joint venture for Massey-led artist management and music publishing businesses; Massey’s daugher Clio, currently an executive at Sony/ATV Music Publishing, is expected to join him in that venture.

Over the years Arista released top-selling and widely influential albums by Whitney Houston, the Kinks, Patti Smith, the Grateful Dead, Carlos Santana, Barry Manilow, Aretha Franklin, Lou Reed and many others. Davis left the company in 2000, in a battle with then-parent company BMG that saw him founding J Records; both labels were folded into Sony in 2011.

Said Stringer, “We are excited to be reintroducing the iconic Arista brand as a full major label under the leadership of David Massey. David is a visionary and progressive talent developer and his recent success at breaking new artists around the world only highlights his remarkable consistency of creative success year after year. As well as releasing new music to the world, David will use his vast experience in building new publishing and artist management ventures that will enhance Sony Music’s overall music strategy.”

Said Massey, “I want to thank Rob Stringer for the phenomenal opportunity to return to Sony Music in an expansive new partnership and lead the next chapter of Arista Records. Clive Davis made the Arista name synonymous with tremendous creativity and great songs, and I look forward to continuing that identity by working with the many talented people at Sony to build a new roster of hit artists. I am also excited to join forces with Sony to drive additional growth through artist management and music publishing.”

Said Davis, “I am really delighted to see the Arista name return to a place of prominence under an executive with the talents of David Massey. David is a true music man who has tremendous respect for artistry, and he is the ideal choice to carry on the label’s great tradition.”

Massey is a London native whose mother, Marion, was one of the first female artist managers and orchestrated pop singer Lulu’s rise to stardom in the 1960s. He began his career as an artist manager for groups like Wang Chung in the ’80s before moving over to the label side — and New York — by taking a top A&R job at Epic in 1991. During his 16 years at the company he signed Oasis as well as pre-superstardom iteration of the Jonas Brothers. In 2007 joined Universal, where he signed Avicii and Iggy Azalea. In 2007 he signed on as president of Mercury Records, where he worked with Duffy, Portishead, Taio Cruz, Neon Trees and others, and was named president of Island in 2013. At the company, he has overseen hits from Shawn Mendes, Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas, The Killers, Fall Out Boy, Mike Posner, Elton John, Bon Jovi, and Tove Lo, among others. He stepped down from the company in April, and while sources confirmed to Variety that he was launching a joint venture with Sony, the Arista news eluded the gossip mill.

Prior to joining Epic, Massey was based in London where he had a successful career in artist management, working with artists such as Wang Chung, in addition to heading his own independent record company, Big World Records. He holds a Masters in Law from Cambridge University.

More Music

  • Deborah Dugan

    Recording Academy in Mediation with Ousted CEO Deborah Dugan

    The Recording Academy and its ousted president and CEO Deborah Dugan have officially entered mediation, just over a month after their dispute broke into the open, sources confirm to Variety. While a report in Billboard states that mediation began today, a source tells Variety that the two parties have been in communication for at least [...]

  • Reba McEntire Announces Re-Signing With Original

    Reba McEntire Announces Re-Signing With MCA Nashville at Surprise Ryman Gig

    At the end of a Universal Music Group Nashville showcase Thursday for attendees of Country Radio Seminar, a duet by Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood of their hit “The Fighter” appeared to be the climax. But UMG had a surprise in store: an announcement that country superstar Reba McEntire was re-joining her original label home, [...]

  • Mandy Moore

    Mandy Moore on Why She's Returning to Music, 20 Years After Hitting It Big

    Mandy Moore, of “This Is Us” fame, seemed to have said “that’s not me” when it came to making music anymore. But she was just biding her time, waiting for the right moment — and, she says, the right supportive relationship — to resume recording after dropping out in the late 2000s. The 35-year-old actress, [...]

  • Spotify and Resident Advisor Announce Ticketing

    Spotify Unveils Ticketing Partnership With Dance Music Platform Resident Advisor

    Spotify today announced a ticketing partnership with influential dance-music website Resident Advisor with the goal of “supporting music communities around the world by increasing attendance to thousands of local venues and parties.” The program will connect Spotify users to events by artists via localized event listings promoted within the application. The program is similar to [...]

  • The Weeknd Reveals Dates for Massive

    The Weeknd Reveals Dates for Massive ‘After Hours’ Tour

    With his new album “After Hours” due next month, the Weeknd has revealed dates for a massive tour in support of the album, which kicks off in Vancouver in June and continues across North America until early September, then moves to Europe in the fall. THE AFTER HOURS TOUR : https://t.co/89YAhPTd9g pic.twitter.com/BOEemiDI85 — The Weeknd [...]

  • Lana Del Rey

    Lana Del Rey Cancels European Tour After Losing Her Voice

    Lana Del Rey has cancelled her European and U.K. tour due to an unspecified illness that apparently has caused her to lose her voice. The singer, 34, said in a statement: “Sorry to let everyone down so last minute but this illness has taken me by surprise and have totally lost my singing voice. Dr has [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content