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Columbia Records Names Rani Hancock Head of A&R (EXCLUSIVE)

Rani Hancock
Courtesy of Cole Slutzky​

Nearly four years to the day after she was named president of Warner Music’s Sire Records, Rani Hancock is headed back to Sony Music as Columbia Records’ executive vice president and head of A&R. A Columbia rep tells Variety that Hancock will join the company on August 1, based in New York and reporting to chairman-CEO Ron Perry. The Columbia staff was notified about the move late Tuesday morning (July 6).

Under her tenure, Sire saw a hit record with Bryce Vine’s “Drew Barrymore,” which has accumulated 1.2 billion streams, and Hancock served as A&R and executive producer on the soundtrack to “The United States vs. Billie Holiday,” which was nominated for a Golden Globe.

In addition to running the label, Hancock, who holds a degree in Music Production and Engineering from Berklee College of Music, is said to have been working extensively A&Ring music by artists on Warner Records, which has distributed Sire since the 1970s. Sire was cofounded by industry vets Seymour Stein and Richard Gottehrer in 1966 and came to prominence in the mid-1970s as a home for pioneering punk rock artists like the Ramones, Talking Heads, Richard Hell and the Dead Boys, and later signed Madonna as well as a number of leading lights of alternative music during the ’80s and ’90s, including the Pretenders, Depeche Mode, the Smiths and Ice-T.

Hancock began her career at Arista Records, working in A&R Administration as an assistant and eventually rising to Director. In 2000, Clive Davis recruited her to his just-launched “instant major” J Records as VP A&R and A&R Administration. She followed Davis through the Sony-BMG merger from J to RCA, then back to Arista and ultimately the RCA Music Group.

During her Sony Music tenure, Hancock signed and A&R’d such artists as Miley Cyrus, Kesha, Pitbull, Britney Spears, Magic!, Gavin Degraw, Mike Posner, Daughtry, and Adam Lambert, racking up six Billboard Hot 100 No. 1s. in addition to multiple chart-topping albums.

Hancock served as EVP/head of A&R for Island Records, where she worked with Lovato and Jonas and brought in Skip Marley and Olivia O’Brien.

Hancock is filling the role recently vacated by former Columbia A&R co-heads Imran Majid and Justin Eshak, who last month were officially named co-CEOs of Universal Music Group’s Island Records label, effective Jan. 1, 2022, replacing Darcus Beese, who left that label earlier this year for a new role at Warner U.K.