Music Industry Moves: Better Noise Ups Dan Waite to President; UMPG Signs Julia Michaels

Dan Waite
Ben Guzman / Eleven Seven Label Group

Friday, Feb. 26

Dan Waite has been promoted to president of Better Noise Music, CEO Allen Kovac announced. Upped from Managing Director, UK & Europe, Waite, based in the UK, will oversee all artist relations, and music and film content releases across the company’s global offices in New York, Los Angeles, Nashville, Toronto, London, Berlin, Sydney, and newly opened offices in South America and South East Asia. He will report directly to Kovac.

Prior to joining Better Noise in 2017, he held positions at MTV Viacom International, Universal Records, Virgin Records, NME, O2 Arena, and BBC Studios. He also sits as a current IMPALA Board Member.

“Dan Waite is a forward-thinking creative, and we are lucky to have him helping to steer the Better Noise ship with this new title of president,” said Kovac. “I’m elated that he’s quickly taken such a leadership role with all our staff, partners, artists and filmmakers.”

“This promotion comes at an exciting time for Better Noise,” Waite added. “Mötley Crüe have some surprises in store for their fans in this their 40th anniversary year, and we have signed Tempt, Eva Under Fire and Hyro the Hero.

Thursday, Feb. 25

Julia Michaels, the songwriter whose hit songs include Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” and Selena Gomez’s “Lose You to Love Me,” has signed an exclusive global deal with Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG). Michaels is also a recording artist signed to Republic Records, which issued the multi-platinum single “Issues” in 2017.  Michaels’ track record as a writer — she’s credited on 25 tracks that have charted on the Billboard Hot 100 — includes Hailee Steinfeld’s “Love Myself,” Gomez’s “Hands to Myself” and “Bad Liar” and Nick Jonas’ “Close.”

Said Jody Gerson, chairman and CEO of UMPG: “Julia has an immense gift for songwriting   I’ve admired her as a songwriter and an artist, and loved her songs since the beginning of her career. I am so proud that she is now a UMPG songwriter and look forward to working with her manager, Beka Tischker, and my global teams to help make all of Julia’s artistic dreams a reality!”

+ Producer and songwriter Linda Perry is partnering with CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort), the non-profit founded by Sean Penn and Ann Lee and dedicated to crisis response, to curate and perform at an  upcoming two-day concert livestream series called “Rock ‘N’ Relief.” Hosted by SiriusXM and KROQ radio personality and DJ Kat Corbett, the event will also feature Foo Fighters, Deadmau5, Perry Farrell, Miguel, Carly Simon with David Saw, Gavin Rossdale, Pete Yorn, James Blunt, Jewel, Tracy Bonham, Sheryl Crow and Sammy Hagar, among others.

The concert, which will raise funds for COVID relief, will stream live on the Amazon Music mobile app, and through the Amazon Music Twitch channel. Rolling Stone, sister publication of Variety, and YouTube will also participate. Said Perry: “We are extremely overwhelmed by the level of support we are getting from these rebel artists who are generously donating their time and so grateful for the backing from the biggest players in the media space. Can’t wait to get the word out and provide much needed funding for CORE while entertaining and lifting the spirits of the nation.”

Wednesday, Feb. 24

+ In its pursuit of carbon neutrality, BMG has committed to offsetting all of its global site and employee-related greenhouse gas emissions, the company announced. In defining a long-term strategy to avoid, reduce, and offset CO2 emissions, BMG revealed it had offset over 3,000 tons of CO2 produced in 2019 by investing in Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard (CCBS) certified climate protection projects. Among the initiatives: reforestation of degraded land in Campo Grande, Brazil.

+ Livestreaming and on-demand platform LiveXLive Media announced that it has entered into an exclusive partnership with the music competition Self Made, which was launched in 2017 by former Avicii manager Ash Pournouri. The show’s platform allows 100% of the voting to take place by the fans on the site. According to the announcement, when Self Made debuted in Sweden, it achieved the highest viewership of all new shows on Discovery’s video-on-demand service Dplay and attracted nearly 20 percent of Sweden’s online population. Winners will be honored or acknowledged through LiveXLive’s platform.

“Our partnership with Self Made provides independent artists a singular digital platform and community to showcase their talent, jump-start their careers and dramatically increase visibility among established artists and loyal fans,” said Robert Ellin, CEO and Chairman of LiveXLive. “Working together with Ash Pournouri and his amazing team, we have created the ultimate democratic music competition where we leave everything in the hands of the talent and the fans.”

+ Independent digital music distribution service DistroKid is partnering with Twitch to offer qualifying DistroKid members — who have shown a level of dedication and success in music — the opportunity to join the Twitch Affiliate Program. According to the announcement, the Twitch Affiliate Program is open to Twitch streamers who meet select qualifications, and allows those who qualify to further build a community and earn income on Twitch.  Affiliate status enables users to earn money on Twitch via channel subscriptions, Bits, and ad revenue.

+ Following news that he signed with Sony Music Publishing earlier this week, UTA has added Australian artist-songwriter-producer The Kid LAROI to its roster. He is signed to Grade A / Sony Columbia and is managed by Peter Jidenwo, Brandon “ Lil Bibby” Dickinson and George Dickinson.

+ South Carolina music production company MP Productions has announced the launch of TrueScale Records. The Black-owned label is headed by Phillip Michael Gilchrist and plans to encompass a cross-section of genres and artists including pop, country, R&B, gospel and classical music. Said Gilchrist: “Returning the art of music back to its roots … is our mission.”

Tuesday, Feb. 23

+ Huntsville, Alabama will be home to a new state-of-the-art 8,000-capacity amphitheater come April 2022. The Venue Group, founded and led by Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons and partners (his brother Greg Lovett, Graham Brown and Jesse Mann, in conjunction with industry veterans Mike Luba, Don Sullivan, Jeff Kicklighter and Al Santos), revealed the timeline, a rendering (see below) and additional plans, which include showcasing regional chefs and local vendors as part of a “food village” that will operate all year long.

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Huntsville Amphitheater David M. Schwarz Architects

Said Ben Lovett: “One of the biggest trends in the past 10 years has been an elevation of the quality and variety of food offerings, especially around music. We believe there is a huge amount of opportunity in the hospitality side of entertainment to deliver food and drinks of such excellence that they stand on their own two feet as an offering not simply as a way to “tide you over,” quench the thirst or satiate the hunger temporarily. We have to aspire for higher standards than that. One of the reasons that Huntsville is so appealing to me and the team is it feels like going the extra mile is in the DNA of this city and we intend to go the extra mile when it comes to not just the concert experience but the restaurants and bars that lay adjacent and that will serve customers year-round.”

+ The Guild of Music Supervisors, Canada has announced its first board of directors. Michael A. Perlmutter will serve as president; Natasha Duprey as VP and Cody Partridge as treasurer at the not-for-profit organization. Dondrea Erauw, Julietta McGovern, Valerie Biggin and Velma Barkwell will serve on the board.

Monday, Feb. 22

Sydney’s The Kid LAROI has signed a worldwide deal with Sony Music Publishing. The artist, songwriter, and producer, whose real name is Charlton Kenneth Jeffrey Howard, is currently riding the success of his song “Without You” and 2020 debut mixtape, “Fuck Love.”

In his native Australia, The Kid LAROI, who is signed to Columbia Records, is the youngest solo artist to reach No. 1 on the ARIA Charts, with the deluxe edition of “Fuck Love.”

“What The Kid LAROI has already achieved as a songwriter is exceptional,” said Sony Music Publishing chairman and CEO Jon Platt. “He is such an incredible talent, who is deserving of this moment.  As he continues to make his mark, Sony Music Publishing will fully support his career development and creative vision with even more opportunities to excel.”

Added The Kid LAROI: “Signing with Sony Music Publishing this week, and I feel blessed. If just one person out there connects with my journey and life experiences through my music, then I have achieved what I set out to do, and it is a privilege to have the fans that I have to share the journey ahead with me. To be a member of the writing family at Sony Music Publishing, where many of my idols and so many legends have their home is an honor. I am excited at what the future holds and to have gained the faith of the best industry professionals in the business at the age of 17 and coming from Australia. Thank you to Big Jon and the SMP team for this wonderful opportunity.”

+ Splice has closed a $55 million round of Series D funding, led by Goldman Sachs’ GS Growth with an additional investment from MUSIC, a joint venture between Matt Pincus and Liontree. Splice also named Kakul Srivastava, Adobe’s VP of Adobe Creative Cloud Experience & Engagement, to its board. The news follows a year of growth for the online sound marketplace which saw user activity surge by 50% during quarantine. Additional investors in Splice include USV, True Ventures, DFJ Growth and Flybridge.

+ Music discovery and ticketing platform DICE and concert promoter Brooklyn Made have teamed for an exclusive multi-year partnership. DICE will digitally ticket all concerts promoted by Brooklyn Made, the concert promotion company founded by former Live Nation New York President and veteran of the live industry, Anthony Makes. The deal will include shows at the United Palace theater in New York City, as well as additional venues to be announced.