Cory Litwin is joining Neil Jacobson’s writer-producer management agency Hallwood Media as Executive Vice President and bringing with him Grammy-nominated hitmaker Murda Beatz (Drake’s “Nice For What,” Migos’ “Motorsport”) and a stable of more than a dozen producers and staff.
Jacobson, the former president of Geffen Records, launched Hallwood earlier this year as an independent music management firm representing producers and songwriters like Jeff Bhasker (Bruno Mars, Harry Styles), Brendan O’Brien (Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam), David Stewart (BTS, Jonas Brothers), Jim “E” Stack (Bon Iver, Diplo), Beach Noise (Kendrick Lamar, Baby Keem), JR Rotem (Rihanna, Jason Derulo) and King Henry (LANY, Sasha Sloan), among others.
“I’m thrilled to be teaming up with Neil, someone I look up to in this industry, and having a bigger and stronger team to really adapt and focus on this vector of producers and songwriters,” Litwin tells Variety. “Producers and songwriters are really underserved and Hallwood is 100% focused on making a major impact.” Litwin describes the connection between him and Jacobson as “the silver lining of COVID-19.”
Jacobson says he’s been watching Litwin for some time and found himself impressed by the native Canadian’s knack for manifesting opportunity and his “magic ears.”
“Of course, Murda is a genius,” says Jacobson. “He’s a brilliant producer and visionary, he understands his craft and sector.” Of Litwin, he adds: “Cory’s touch is his ability to develop incredible relationships and his vision and understanding of the landscape and how to put his clients into winning positions time and time again.“
Litwin got his start in Toronto promoting parties and concerts. He began managing Murda Beatz in 2014, forming 2wenty 2wenty Music Group with the producer and assuming a hands-on role that would often involve Litwin in the creative process and decision-making. In fact, Litwin has a co-production credit for Drake’s chart-topping “Nice For What.”
“Drake had a vision for what he wanted — a sample [that’s] New Orleans style,” Litwin explains. “Murda and Drake were thinking of different samples they could use. Murda turned to me and said ‘Cory, you’re on the spot, give us an idea.’ I told them one of my favorite artists was Lauryn Hill. Drake said, ‘which song?’ I said ‘Ex-Factor.’ He asked which part, and I said ‘the bridge.’ Murda hadn’t heard the song because he was three years old when it came out. We pulled it up on the computer, Murda liked it too; he made that fantastic beat; Drake recorded the song right there in half an hour. He’s the one who put my name on it to give me credit.”
Since launching Hallwood, Jacobson has made several key hires. Earlier this month, Hallwood named Cristina Chavez senior vice president of A&R and management following the May appointment of Arizona manager Jake Posner to head Hallwood’s New York office.
“We’re bringing a level of intensity of freshness and excitement,” says Jacobson. “We’re trying to create a set of processes and systems for cataloging our demos, tracking who’s in the studio and working on what records, representation, publishing, the labels and A&Rs. Any touch-points that we have, we’re mapping them out. It’s a tremendous amount of work.”
Ultimately, adds Jacobson, the goal is “to help our clients make money making music.”