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Warner to Launch Elektra Music Group as Standalone Company

Warner Music Group announced today that Elektra will be launched as a standalone, fully staffed music group on Oct. 1 of this year. The company — which will include the Elektra, Fueled By Ramen, Roadrunner, Low Country Sound and Black Cement labels — be headed by Co-Presidents Mike Easterlin and Gregg Nadel (pictured above, left to right), who will report to Atlantic Records Group Chairman & CEO Craig Kallman and Chairman & COO Julie Greenwald.

A number of major artists will move over from the Atlantic system to the new group, including Twenty One Pilots, Zac Brown Band, Paramore, Sturgill Simpson, Brandi Carlile, Fitz and the Tantrums, Slipknot, Panic! at the Disco, Coheed and Cambria, Kaleo, Gojira and others.

The Elektra move, the first such expansion by a major label in many years, seems designed to bring greater focus to both artists and executives currently in the company, as well as providing an opportunity and outlet to grow the Warner group’s repertoire significantly; it also marks a return to the Warner-Elektra-Atlantic trio of label groups that were for decades the foundation of the company. The announcement is the largest to date among several initiated by new Warner recorded-music chief Max Lousada, who over the past year has brought a new executive team to the Warner Bros. label (CEO Aaron Bay-Schuck and COO Tom Corson), hired RCA veteran Rani Hancock as president of Sire and acquired Dutch dance-music label Spinnin’ Records.

At launch, Elektra Music Group will have a 60-plus member team covering all key music-company functions, including A&R, Artist Development, Business & Legal Affairs, International, Marketing, Promotion, Publicity, Sales & Streaming, and Video. The departments will be led and staffed by current members of the Atlantic, Elektra, FBR, and Roadrunner teams, as well as new hires. Personnel details will be announced in the coming weeks.

“Elektra Music Group will be 100% dedicated to developing the careers of authentic artists and helping them realize their visions,” said Easterlin and Nadel in a joint statement. “The company will embody the same independent spirit that is at the root of each of our core labels. Elektra, Fueled By Ramen, Roadrunner, Low Country Sound, and Black Cement were all founded by entrepreneurs who did it for the love of the music and a belief in their artists, and that philosophy will remain the driving force behind everything we do. We’re going to have an extraordinary roster, backed by the most ambitious, innovative team in the business. To have the opportunity to run our own standalone company is a dream come true, and we want to thank Julie and Craig for having such great faith in us.”

“The birth of Elektra Music Group is all about creating opportunity for artists,” said Greenwald and Kallman. “It opens up a new door to bring more game-changing talent into the WMG family, while giving them the personal attention that is our hallmark. Just as importantly, it will allow some of the most outstanding members of our team to run their own shop and their own departments, taking their careers to new places. Mike and Gregg have evolved into amazing leaders and masters of long-term artist development – they understand it, they live it and they excel at it. With decades of A&R and marketing experience under their collective belts, and joined by an outstanding new staff, they will make great partners in building Elektra Music Group into a major industry force.”

“Our whole approach is to create environments that give artists and entrepreneurs the freedom and support to pioneer the future of music,” said Max Lousada, CEO, Recorded Music, Warner Music Group. “From the outset, Elektra Music Group will be a dynamic community of credible artists and distinctive label cultures. Gregg and Mike are a dream leadership team, able to combine adventurous A&R, bespoke artist development, and full-force global marketing. It feels great to be bringing back the iconic Elektra brand as a major, standalone company for the first time in 15 years.”

Easterlin, who joined Atlantic in 2005, has been President of Fueled by Ramen and Roadrunner Records since January of 2016 and has played a key role in the success of Twenty One Pilots, Paramore, Fun, Panic! at the Disco and others. Nadel, a 21-year Atlantic veteran, has been president of Elektra since January of 2017 and over the years has signed Zac Brown Band, Sturgill Simpson, Kaleo, and others; he also played a major role in three album campaigns for Ed Sheeran.

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