Music Industry Moves: Universal Music Canada Names Kardinal Offishall Senior VP of A&R; Matt Gudinski Upped at Mushroom Group

PC Paul Jones Media

+ The nonprofit organization We Are Moving the Needle, which was founded by Grammy winner engineer Emily Lazar and aims to close the gender gap in the technical fields of the recording industry, has announced new additions to its advisory “SoundBoard.” They include artists Brittany Howard, Vanessa Carlton, Christina Perri, Imogen Heap, and Tune-Yards’ Merrill Garbus, and join previously announced artists Brandi Carlile, Maggie Rogers, HAIM and Linda Perry. Said Carlton: “The gender gap for women on the technical side of music making is jaw dropping. As a mother to a 6-year-old daughter who is already fiddling with mics and writing her own songs, their mission is especially important to me.” See the full list of board members and find additional information on the We Are Moving the Needle site.

+ Following the March 2 death of Michael Gudinski, the founder and longtime chief executive of Australian music company Mushroom Group, his son Matt Gudinski will take on the CEO position. Under the Mushroom umbrella are a host of companies and music services, including labels, booking agencies, management, creative services and merchandise.

Thursday, April 8

+ Universal Music Canada has promoted artist and producer Kardinal Offishall (pictured) to senior VP of A&R. A joint-venture label deal with British producer Harmony Samuels (Ariana Grande, Jennifer Lopez, Ella Mai) this spring will be his first priority; he has already overseen projects by Motown act Emanuel, singer-songwriter Savannah Ré and rapper Zach Zoya. “This promotion underscores our big aspirations – Canada is bursting with talent and we’re committed to building the best team we can to put that talent front and centre on a global stage. I’m honored to continue to lead alongside Kardi,” said Jeffrey Remedios, chairman & CEO of Universal Music Canada.

+ Entertainment One (“eOne”) has appointed Dushiyan Piruthivirajah to Head of Music Supervision & Sync UK, expanding the company’s Music Supervision reach into the UK market and driving sync strategy for eOne outside North America.

Based in London, Piruthivirajah will lead music supervision efforts for the UK and European territories for eOne’s record label and publisher, reporting to Sean Mulligan, eOne’s VP Creative, Music, based in Los Angeles. In this position, Piruthivirajah will work across eOne’s TV and Film productions as well as third-party producers. He will also focus on finding sync opportunities for eOne’s music acts across TV, film, advertising, and gaming, representing eOne’s catalogues which include Last Gang Records, Death Row Records and Dualtone, and will work on bespoke collaborative projects with advertising agencies and music supervisors. Previously he held senior roles at the NNC and Audio Network and worked as an independent music supervisor.

+ Piece of Pie, the label founded by former Atlantic Records exec Tom Carolan and veteran musician Zander Schloss, has released two charity-related songs: “What Is It This Time,” the new single from Los Angeles-based collective Zooluxx (featuring guest vocals from Fishbone frontman Angelo Moore), for which all donations and merchandise proceeds will benefit Uganda Skateboard Community; and “Life Sentence Blues” by country singer-songwriter Rachel Brooke, with donations and merchandise proceeds benefitting RAINN. The Los Angeles-based label provides an unprecedented single platform premier partnership for top artists and rising stars to shine a spotlight on both their music and charity of their choice.

Wednesday, April 7

Warner Music Group has promoted Cat Kreidich to president of ADA Worldwide, the company’s independent label and artist services arm. Kreidich, who joined ADA as EVP at the end of last year, will be based at the company’s headquarters in New York and report directly to Max Lousada, CEO of Warner Recorded Music. She succeeds Eliah Seton who, after over a decade with WMG, has taken a new role outside the company.

Kreidich’s remit includes ADA, the Asylum label, and Level – WMG’s platform for unsigned artists. Kreidich came to ADA from Sony Music and its Orchard division, where she served for nearly a decade in top commercial, strategic, and operating leadership roles. She previously held roles at Ultra Records, Caroline Distribution, Virgin Records, and Motown Records.

In recent months, ADA has expanded its global operations with ADA Latin (Latin America, Spain and Portugal) and ADA Asia (Greater China, Korea, and South East Asia) and has struck strategic licensing deals with partners such as Malaysian indie label, KRU Music; Punjabi aggregator, Sky Digital India; Africa’s largest indie hub, Africori; and the Arab world’s Rotana Music. Last week, ADA announced an exclusive partnership with Billy Mann and Benton James, launching the JV label icons+giants.

Lousada said: “At Warner, we’re strengthening how we serve original artists and entrepreneurs at every stage of career development. As part of that mission, ADA is a beacon of expertise and support for independent artists and independent labels around the world. In the short time since Cat’s return to ADA, she’s already inspired everyone with her passion and creativity, her deep devotion to the indie community, and her wide-ranging global expertise.”

He continued: “I’d also like to say a massive thanks to Eliah for his commitment to the evolution of ADA into the world leader that it is today. Throughout his time at WMG, he’s helped guide the company through many transformational moments. He’s done an amazing job and he leaves with our deepest gratitude and support.”

Kreidich added: “Championing the indie community is in my blood; it’s what has guided my career over the last two decades, and I’m honored to shape the future of this space with a powerhouse like ADA. Building on the great foundation and world-class teams that Eliah has put in place, I’m focused on leaning into our insights to find new and disruptive ways to magnify the visions of music-makers and creators across the globe.”

Seton said: “Cat’s an absolute superstar. I’m so happy to welcome her into this critical role for WMG’s future, and I’ll be cheering her on as she takes the company to even greater heights. It’s a bittersweet moment as I leave my Warner family, full of gratitude and pride in all that we’ve accomplished together, but I look forward to what’s ahead and sharing my next chapter with everyone very soon. I want to thank Len, Steve, and Max for the extraordinary opportunities they have afforded me.”

Tuesday, April 6

+ Attorney Joel Katz, former founding chairman of Greenberg Traurig’s entertainment and media practice and a top official at the Recording Academy, has joined Barnes & Thornburg. He will remain based in Atlanta, where he will serve as as senior counsel for the firm’s entertainment, media and sports practice. The news was first reported by Billboard.

“Mr. Katz and Greenberg Traurig parted ways some time ago, and the departure was mutually desired. He spent a number of years building the practice, but at this stage continuing was not an option,” Greenberg Traurig Executive Chairman Richard A. Rosenbaum said. “Every one of the lawyers and staff who worked with Mr. Katz during his career at Greenberg Traurig elected to remain at our firm, in a department chaired by Bobby Rosenbloum, Dan Black and Barbara Meili, with industry luminaries such as Jay Cooper, Jess Rosen, Paul Schindler, Jeff Smith and others, and consultant Don Perry.  The Greenberg Traurig entertainment, media and technology train rolls on.”

Katz resigned from Greenberg Traurig “by mutual understanding” at the end of 2020. He was accused of sexual harassment earlier that year by ousted president-CEO in a blockbuster legal complaint against the organization, the investigation of which is ongoing; she also sent a memo to the Academy’s head of HR expressing concern about the organization’s “exorbitant and unnecessary” legal fees to outside law firms, which were more than $1 million per year to two firms, including Greenberg Traurig, over the tax years 2013-2018. Katz has helmed several major deals in recent years, including the Grammy Awards’ 10-year, $500 million deal with CBS in 2016 and the 2019 sale of Big Machine Label Group to Ithaca Holdings and The Carlyle Group. He has also represented many executives (including L.A. Reid and Republic Records’ Monte and Avery Lipman) over the years as well as artists including Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake, Jimmy Buffett, Julio Iglesias, Willie Nelson and many others.

+ EDM powerhouse Swedish House Mafia has enlisted Weeknd manager Wassim “Sal” Slaiby as the new manager in the group’s long-running comeback. The trio, one of the biggest-grossing touring acts of the early 2010s, split amid great fanfare in 2013 but reunited for a surprise set in 2018 — shortly after which they parted ways with longtime manager Amy Thomson. SHM united with Patriot Management’s Ron Laffitte and signed a deal with Columbia reported to be worth $3 million in 2019, although it has since parted ways with both.

+ The Country Music Association has announced the hiring of Todd Hartley as Senior Vice President, Legal & Business Affairs, effective Wednesday, April 7, as well as the recent promotions of three staff members within CMA’s marketing department. Catherine Frizzell has been elevated to Vice President, Marketing, while Amanda Eckard has been promoted to Head, Creative & Content Development, and Pamela Hothorn to Senior Manager, Creative Operations.