Music Industry Moves: Steve Greenberg Leaves S-Curve and BMG, Quavo Inks With Scooter Braun

Quavo Variety Hitmakers
David Rams

Steve Greenberg, founder of S-Curve Records, is leaving the company, which he founded two decades ago and sold to BMG in 2015, he confirmed to Variety. Greenberg will continue to manage the pop trio AJR, which is currently enjoying a huge radio hit with “Bang” and have an album coming on March 26; that group and the other artsts on the S-Curve roster will be absorbed by BMG.

Greenberg, a pop historian who also works as a freelance writer, has shown a consistent nose for hits over the past three decades, making his name with the sibling trio Hanson and their mid-1990s smash “MMMBop” and, after founding S-Curve in 2000, following with the Baha Men (and their global hit “Who Let the Dogs Out”), Andy Grammer, Joss Stone and Fountains of Wayne.

“We are grateful for all Steve has accomplished during his time with BMG and the success we’ve achieved throughout the highly-successful integration of S-Curve into BMG,” Thomas Scherer, BMG’s president of repertoire & marketing, Los Angeles and New York, said in a statement. “We wish him the best and look forward to continuing our work together in his next chapter.” The news was first reported by Billboard.

March 4

+ Migos rapper Quavo (pictured above) has joined forces with Scooter Braun for management, a rep for the MC confirmed to Variety. Braun will co-manage Quavo along with the trio’s current manager, Danny Zook; all three group members work extensively on solo projects and guest appearances. The news was first reported by Billboard.

+ BMI has named Jesus Gonzalez Vice President, Creative, Latin. Based in Los Angeles, Gonzales will oversee BMI’s Latin Creative team helping to sign and develop new talent, assist BMI’s family of songwriters and publishers and serve as a liaison between the Latin music community and the industry, according to the announcement. He will report to BMI Senior VP Creative, Alex Flores and will join the company beginning March 8th. Prior to joining BMI, Gonzalez spent nearly seven years at Universal Music Group, where he was most recently Senior VP of Brands & Partnerships, along with roles at Rogers & Cowan and Octagon. He is also a songwriter.

Elsa Vivero has been promoted to the newly created position of general manager / executive vice president, global commercial services at WEA, the label and artist services division of Warner Music Group. Vivero, who has been with WMG since 1988, will continue to be based in New York and report directly to Maria Weaver, President, WEA. According to the announcement, in her expanded role, Vivero will oversee all core functions of commercial marketing and distribution and continue to work closely with digital partners to enhance WMG’s labels’ and artists’ presence worldwide — including via playlisting, collaborative campaigns, editorial opportunities, and strategic planning. She will add physical to her remit, overseeing the physical account management and marketing services that ensure retailers small and large remain active and engaged partners in promotion and sales.

+ Music licensing marketplace Songtradr has named Lindsay Nahmiache chief marketing officer. The co-founder and CEO of digital marketing agency Jive PR + Digital, Nahmiache has worked with such clients as Virgin Radio, Granville Island Brewing, Juan Valdez Coffee, eOne Films, and Meow Wolf among others. Said Songtradr CEO Paul Wiltshire: “Lindsay brings decades of experience in traditional and digital marketing. She has a proven track record of growing high performing teams that can service a variety of industries, globally. It’s the perfect fit as we scale our business and continue to grow our existing and new brands.”

March 3

Maestro, the interactive live streaming platform that hosted Billie Eilish’s excellent “Where Do We Go?” concert last fall, has raised a $15 million Series B. New investors include NetEase, Sony Music Entertainment, and Acronym Venture Capital, alongside Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin and Moonwell Capital, founded by former Activision Blizzard executives Michael and Amy Morhaime. This takes the total raised to date to $22 million.

Several existing investors also contributed to the round including SeventySix Capital, The Strand Partners, Stadia Ventures, Hersh Interactive Group, and Transcend Fund, as well as early Zoom employees Richard Gatchalian and Aaron Lewis. The announcement ntoes that businesses from Epic Games, Microsoft, ViacomCBS, Shopify, Universal Music Group, Adweek and Wave as well as creators ranging from Eilish to the International Association of Fire Fighters have staged video-driven experiences via Maestro.

+ Venice Distribution, a subsidiary of Q&A, the music technology startup founded by Troy Carter and Suzy Ryoo, today announced the hiring of J.R. Mckee and Brandon “Reddpush” Terrell. McKee was most recently the Head of Digital Sales & Revenue at Alamo Records, where he was a primary driver for the label’s streaming growth. Terrell has been instrumental in Atlanta’s hip-hop scene as an independent A&R consultant and talent manager.

“J.R. McKee is one of the most talented young executives in the music industry. His vision for artists and passion for the future of music are impressive. Brandon “Reddpush” Terrell is a cultural powerhouse in Atlanta. We’re making a significant investment in providing a high level of services alongside our distribution software by adding these two executives to our premium services team” said Troy Carter, CEO of Q&A.

+ Kristin Somin has joined the Oriel Company, which was launched late last year by PR vets Carleen Donovan, Chloe Walsh and Jen Appel, as director of communications. Prior to joining, Somin was manager of publicity at RCA Records, where she spearheaded national publicity strategy and campaigns for superstars including Doja Cat, Bryson Tiller, Flo Milli, Martin Garrix and more. She has worked with artists in multiple genres but most notably burgeoning acts in the R&B/Hip-Hop and producer spaces.

March 2

+ Another Planet Entertainment, which operates multiple venues in and around the Bay Area, is expanding its presence in SoCal, opening a management division to be headed by Telegraph Road Management’s Laurence Freedman, who brings with him clients Billy Idol, Mike Campbell/The Dirty Knobs and Benmont Tench, among others.

+ Glickmania Media (“Respect,” “The Addams Family 2”) and iHeartMedia have teamed for a two-year podcast co-production deal, focusing on music-themed programs across genres. The collaboration includes “Unsung,” in partnership with Story Pirates; a horror-musical called “Diane’s Inferno,” starring Maya Hawke and Yungblud; “Lost You On The Dance Floor,” a murder mystery set in the disco era written by journalist Matt Diehl; and “Ballad Of An Outlaw,” about John Hinckley Jr., from Jonathan Ezra and Robbie Roth.

Sony Music Publishing has extended its worldwide deal with hitmaker Ilsey Juber, whose credits include songs by Beyoncé, Shawn Mendes, Mark Ronson, Miley Cyrus, Drake and Panic! At the Disco, among others.

+ Music supervision firms Out of Office Music and Vibrant Ground Music (headed by Simone Benyacar and Allison Wood, respectively) have partnered to provide creative and clearance services, custom scoring, production and sound design, among other offerings.

March 1

+ Universal Music Publishing has signed rising British singer-songwriter Holly (pictured), whose debut EP received a rave review in Variety last fall, to an exclusive, global publishing agreement. The 21-year-old singer was voted No. 2 on the BBC Sound of 2021 Poll, and Vevo’s DSCVR’s Artists To Watch 2021 and was named an Apple Up Next Artist last year.

Humberstone said, “I’m really excited to join the UMPG family! They’ve been so supportive since the beginning of my journey and I couldn’t ask for a better team.”

Said Dani Sawyerr, UMPG A&R manager: “Holly is a special talent and we knew from the moment we heard ‘Deep End’ that we just had to work with her. A world-class songwriter full of ambition and drive, her potential as both an artist and writer has no limits. We’re extremely excited to be working together with Holly and her manager Josh Sanger as she enters the next phase of her creative journey.”

“One of the brightest, most promising songwriters / artists, Holly is undoubtedly on the horizon of huge, global success,” added Mike McCormack, managing director of UMPG UK. “She has the talent and a great team behind her. A special thank you to Jody Gerson for her leadership and support in this deal.

+ Japan-based Avex Entertainment Incorporated and AEG Presents announced today the formation of AEGX, a joint partnership. AEGX will provide Avex with access to AEG Presents’ worldwide portfolio of venues, festivals, and global touring partnerships to help expand the profile of its artists and brand across a global audience.  Likewise, AEG Presents will be able to utilize Avex’s resources and platform identity in Japan to provide international artists the ability to reach the Japanese audience, while simultaneously continuing the company’s live-event expansion in the market.

“This is really a perfect example of synergies being scaled for the benefit of global artist development, which is at the core of what we do,” said Jay Marciano, Chairman and CEO, AEG Presents.  “Partnering with Avex to launch AEGX gives both Avex and AEG Presents a path to create real opportunities for musicians who increasingly see the world as a borderless global community.  I can’t wait to see what we all do together.”

Katsumi Kuroiwa, President and CEO of Avex, remarked: “We are very excited to announce the launch of AEGX with AEG Presents. Our companies both share the same goal with this new partnership: AEGX will serve music fans around the world by contributing to the global development of western artists, while also expanding the reach of Japanese artists beyond its borders.  The COVID-19 pandemic reminds us of the positive power and limitless potential of music and entertainment.  We are thrilled to take this stride forward together and look forward to the future.”