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Music Industry Moves: Why Don’t We Signs With AGI; Jason Flom’s Lava for Good Partners With Stitcher

Why Don't We
Pamela Littky/Atlantic Records

Friday, Feb. 5

+ World of Dance Records, a partnership with EMPIRE, has signed with management company Settebello Entertainment, which will act as in-house representation for label artists.

Thursday, Feb. 4

+ The Grammy Museum and Iron Mountain Entertainment Services have teamed for a new series called “Live From The Vault.”  Showcasing rarely seen archival footage, the first artists to be featured include Mavis Staples (from her 2010 program in the Museum’s Clive Davis Theater) and Ringo Starr.

+ Entertainment law firm Boyarski Fritz LLP is launching a Beverly Hills outpost with attorneys Avi Dahan and Evan Zinaman joining. Dahan arrives from his own private practice, following stints at WME, Roc Nation and Columbia Records, and Zinaman joins from Abrams Garfinkel Margolis Bergson, LLP, where he specialized in transactions and negotiations in music, film, television, and corporate matters including financing, development, production, distribution, and corporate structuring.

+ Caitlin Stone has been promoted to partner at Activist Artists Management, joining Bernie Cahill, Greg Suess, Matt Maher, Liz Norris and Tony Khan. Based in Nashville, Stone also functions as the company’s head of activism and is the day-to-day manager for Michael Franti.

+ Round Hill Music has acquired the back catalog of Massive Attack founding members Robert Del Naja and Grant Marshall. The deal covers their first five albums released between 1991 and 2010.

Wednesday, Feb. 3

+ Why Don’t We (pictured) has signed with Artist Group International (AGI) for worldwide representation in all areas. The group, which is signed to Atlantic and managed by Randy Phillips and David Loeffler for Signature Entertainment, will be represented by a team of agents led by Dennis Arfa and Jarred Arfa. Why Don’t We recently released its second album, “The Good Times and the Bad Ones.”

+ Universal Music Group (UMG) has appointed Dr. Menna Demessie SVP and executive director of its global Task Force for Meaningful Change (TFMC), which was established in June 2020 to promote social justice in the music business and beyond. Demessie is a political scientist and social justice advocate who has long promoted civic and educational empowerment. UMG EVP and chief people and inclusion officer Eric Hutcherson will also join the TFMC, which is co-chaired by Jeff Harleston, UMG general counsel and EVP business and legal affairs (and interim CEO of Def Jam Records) and Motown Records president Ethiopia Habtemariam.

+ Sony/ATV Music Publishing has named Sonia Grant-Yendell vice president, human resources, UK and international. The London-based executive reports to Elicia Felix-Hughey, senior vice president, global human resources.

Tuesday, Feb. 2

+ The latest gathering of RWQuarantunes, the invite-only Zoom concert series and virtual fundraiser co-founded by the father and daughter team of Richard Weitz and Demi Weitz, raised more than $130,000 for LIFEbeat via its Jan. 23 edition. The nonprofit promotes sexual health and safety advocacy efforts. Gary Dell’Abate, executive producer of the Howard Stern Show and a LIFEbeat Board Member, hosted the event with the Weitz’s. Among the performers were Sarah McLachlan, Linda Perry, Pete Yorn and Aurora.

+ Fraser T Smith has signed with Three Six Zero for management worldwide. The prolific writer and producer, who has worked with Adele (co-writing and producing the 2011 hit “Set Fire To The Rain”) and Stormzy, joins a roster that includes Calvin Harris, Will Smith, Willow Smith, MK and BloodPop. The London-based Phil Sales will rep Smith, who also works under the alias Future Utopia.

+ Capitol Music Group has promoted Bill Evans to EVP, urban promotion. The Hollywood-based executive was previously named one of Variety‘s Hitmakers for 2018 and 2019.

+ TITLE 9 Productions, co-headed by Carmen Murray and Michael Michel, has secured a multi-million dollar investment from Loki Artist Group. The two entities will focus on new business opportunities, acquisitions, and investments in independent music companies and artists. TITLE 9 is currently home to songwriter Derrick Milano and songwriter-producer Andre “Dre” Harris.

+ Rhino Entertainment, the catalog division of Warner Music Group (WMG), has named Karen Schoenrock chief financial officer of global catalog, recorded music. The LA-based executive has been with WMG for 20 years, 13 with Warner Records, where she most recently served as VP of finance.

+ The Numero Group has hired Tim Zawada as managing director. Zawada is the founder of the record label Star Creature Universal Vibrations, which has grown a following through its curation and pressings of modern disco and electronic music. Zawada is a graduate of Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. Additionally, Numero Group has announced that it will release a box set of Blondie recordings in 2021 following a joint venture formed with the band and Universal Music Group last year.

Monday, Feb. 1

Jason Flom’s Lava for Good Podcasts — whose “Wrongful Conviction” series brings to light the wrongful incarceration of innocent people — has joined forces with the content network and podcast listening service Stitcher for a series of new criminal justice-focused podcasts. They will be available through Stitcher on all major podcast platforms.

“We’re excited to work with Stitcher and our sponsors to bring even more exposure to these compelling stories and our powerful new series at a time when more and more people across the political spectrum are drawn to join the quest for equal justice,” said Flom, founder and CEO of Lava Media and longtime criminal justice advocate. (Flom is also one of the most successful label heads and A&R reps of the past 30 years, signing Tori Amos, Katy Perry, Kid Rock, Matchbox Twenty, 30 Seconds to Mars, Greta Van Fleet and Lorde.)

+ Concert promotion company Brooklyn Made has stuck a deal with MaxSky to be the exclusive promoter of all rock music concerts at the historic United Palace theatre in New York. MaxSky is an events promoter and services provider with a three-year history of working with the ornate, 3,300-capacity venue, which first opened in 1930 as a Loew’s “Wonder Theater.” The venue has hosted concerts ranging from Neil Young and Bryan Ferry to Adele and Bad Bunny.  “We are thrilled to be in business with MaxSky and team up to put fantastic shows into the United Palace year-round,” Brooklyn Made owner Anthony Makes remarked. “The United Palace is a stunning room and I know bands are going to love playing here.”

+ Easy Eye Sound, the label founded by Dan Auerbach, frontman for rock duo The Black Keys, entered into a long-term joint venture arrangement with Concord, which will release all new recordings and distribute catalog titles during the course of the partnership. On deck: 12 albums in 2021.