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Music Industry Moves: Roddy Ricch Re-Ups With Kobalt

Roddy Ricch Variety Hitmakers
Erik Carter for Variety

Kobalt today announced it has extended its agreement with Grammy Award winning rapper Roddy Ricch. The worldwide agreement includes publishing administration, including global synch and creative services for all of Ricch’s catalog and future songs.

Jill Tschogl, VP, Creative, Kobalt commented on the deal, “It’s been an honor to work with Roddy and his team and we are humbled to continue representing his incredible work. With Live Life Fast’ coming out this week and ‘The Box’ just recently hitting diamond certification, we couldn’t be more excited to support and see him reach new heights.”

Cee Barrett, Kobalt’s director of creative, “Roddy Ricch embodies a rare skill set of versatility and authenticity that speaks to his cross-genre appeal. His natural progression from heating the streets with his mixtapes to having a number one album and multiple #1 singles is a testament to that.  He’s just scratching the surface and I’m confident there’s more to come.”

+ Arista Records has named Mark Neiter vice president of promotion. He will be based in Los Angeles and will report to promo SVP Nick Petropoulos.

In this role, Neiter will work closely with Petropoulos in all areas of promotion across genres and oversee Arista’s promotion staff throughout the US. Neither spent most of his career as VP of top 40 promotion for Interscope Geffen A&M. Before that, he held promotion positions at American Recordings and Reprise Records.

Petropoulos said, “Mark immediately made his presence felt upon joining Arista. His expertise and relationships across all formats have already helped elevate our team and contributed to the growth of our artists at radio. “

+ Downtown Music Holdings announced several executive appointments across its finance and investment teams. Effective January 1, Jan Peter Kerstens, who has previously served as chief financial officer of Downtown’s FUGA division, has been named Downtown’s CFO. Alan Goodstadt, who has served as Downtown’s chief financial officer since 2016, will transition to the role of chief investment officer. Becca Klein, most recently the company’s director of financial planning and analysis, has been appointed vice president of financial planning & analysis. Kerstens was previously with FUGA; prior to joining Downtown, Goodstadt was an investment banker with firms including Merrill Lynch and Bank of America; Klein, who joined from Bonobos in 2019, is a certified public accountant who began her career at the global accounting firm, PwC. Kerstens, who will continue to be based in Amsterdam, as well as Goodstadt in New York, will both report directly to Bergman. Klein, who is also based in New York, will report to Kerstens.

“We pride ourselves at Downtown in having developed an organization that provides substantial opportunities for our executives to grow in tandem with our business,” said Downtown CEO Andrew Bergman. “These appointments reflect this ethos and are a testament to the strength of our team at-large. With JP, Alan, and Becca in these new leadership positions, we are well-placed to continue executing on our business strategy and enhancing our operations to support our fast-growing client base.”

+ Republic Records has promoted Gina Abatangelo to vice president of brand partnerships, EVP Kerri Mackar announced. Abatangelo deals have included Postmates (Kid Cudi, the Weeknd), James Blake and Cadillac, YSL Beauty (Julia Michaels, Kiana Ledé), and Kim Petras and MINI Cooper. Prior to joining Republic in 2017, she spent five years working in marketing at Rolling Stone.

“Gina has played an integral role in transforming Republic’s brand partnerships team, taking our collaborations and events to the next level through natural leadership, resourceful innovation, and meticulous execution,” Mackar said. “Gina’s dedication and commitment to connecting our talent with unique opportunities and developing ideas with thought and precision have earned her the trust of our artists and brand partners, as well as our colleagues.”

+ Marking its second anniversary, Full Coverage Communications has announced several staff promotions. The company has elevated Natasha Desai to vice president; Gabi Hollander moves up to publicist; and Kelsey Lewis has been promoted to junior publicist. Each executive has been with the company since its formation in September 2019.

“Our client roster and new business signings are emblematic of the gold standard of strategic communications services the company provides,” said Kristen Foster, president & CEO.  “The Full Cov staff is second to none and works tirelessly every day to succeed for our artists. I couldn’t be prouder to announce these well-deserved promotions and to watch our entire staff grow this business with so much heart and determination.”

+ Switzerland-based Utopia Music has launched its financial services business unit, focused on accelerated royalty payments for creators, which will allow record labels and distributors access more comprehensive consumption analytics to enhance their services, according to the announcement.

The new department will be led by Jörg Auf der Maur, who will serve as vice president. Auf der Maur is a seasoned banking executive with an extensive career in various top management positions in several Swiss and European banks and a big accounting firm. Utopia Music also secured a partnership with Liechtenstein-based VP Bank.

“At Utopia Music it’s our mission to create Fair Pay for Every Play and that’s why we strive to be an important partner for the Industry we serve,” said Auf der Maur. “Our new Financial Services unit is commissioned to help record labels and distributors facilitate and expedite accelerated royalty payments by using consumption analytics collected from our more than 33 billion data points. This will allow financial institutions to recognize the true Value of Music for the first time. We are living in exciting times in which unlocking Music as the asset class of the future is now possible.”

Wednesday, Dec. 15

Critical Content is partnering with Quality Films, the film/TV component of Quality Control, to create non-scripted projects that will spotlight the latter company’s roster of musicians and athletes, which includes Lil Baby, Migos, City Girls and Lil Yachty.

“The alliance with Critical Content represents a unique opportunity for Quality Control and the many prominent athletes and artists under the QC umbrella of companies,” said Quality Films president Brian Sher (above, center, with Quality Control COO Coach K and Critical Content CEO Tom Forman). “Critical’s world-class ability to package, present and sell premium content will enable us to expand Quality Control’s footprint with new and diverse content for our global fanbase.”

Said Tom Forman, CEO of Critical Content: “We’re excited to pair Critical Content’s award-winning storytelling and production capabilities with QC’s talent roster, creative POV and proven ability to generate worldwide hits in any genre or medium.”

Critical Content is an Emmy-winning independent content studio and says it currently has 50-plus projects in production for at least 30 different networks. Quality Films, is a sister company to the prominent urban label Quality Control Music.

One joint project already completed is the YouTube Original “Home Courts,” which has the Quality Control artist Quavo visiting  local basketball courts around the country to meet athletes and activists who are working for change in their communities. The show premieres Dec. 16 on YouTube. Another collaboration in the works is “Equal Justice,” described as “a searing social experiment that will follow the world’s most meaningful hip-hop artists as they leverage their fame and personal resources to secure top attorneys, fair trials and better outcomes for indigent defendants across the USA.” The project will be pitched to networks and streamers in early 2022.

Vydia has entered into an agreement with Audible Magic which will allow independent creators to access a catalog of new music for customers such as social networks, gaming, and fitness platforms. Vydia’s library includes work by Five Finger Death Punch, Russ, Akon and Kanye’s Sunday Service Choir and also acts as a white label service for 40 music labels.

+ Beatport has announced a new pricing tier for its subscription service. At $9.99 per month, the Beatport Plan offers access to more than 9 million electronic music tracks. Beatport is a popular destination for DJs, producers and dance music enthusiasts. The Plan integrates with Beatport’s DJ mobile app.

Tuesday, Dec. 14

+ Swedish producer WIZARDMCE (pictured), whose credits include five cuts on Polo G’s “Hall of Fame” album as well as Gucci Mane and BigWalkDog’s “Poppin,” has signed with TAC Giant Publishing, the new publishing venture helmed by Shawn Holiday with the Azoffs (Irving and Jeffrey).

The 20-year-old newcomer, whose real name is Harry Potter, is also aligned with Ryan Press at Warner Chappell. He’s managed by Rebin “Rebstar” Shah, founder of Today Is Vintage.

Said WIZARDMCE: “It was more than just a gut feeling to go with Shawn Holiday. I know that this is what I was looking for in a publisher and I couldn’t be more excited to work with Giant and Warner Chappell. I look forward to doing what I love the most — making magic.”

+ Republic Records has promoted Sam Taylor to executive VP or A&R and head of hip-hop / R&B —as announced today by co-founder Avery Lipman and co-president Wendy Goldstein. Taylor joined Republic Records in 2020 as EVP of A&R. Over the past year, he oversaw “We Win (Space Jam: A New Legacy)” the  collaboration between Kirk Franklin + Lil Baby, and with Stevie Wonder on forthcoming music.

Prior to joining Republic,  Taylor served as EVP of creative at Kobalt for four years, where he signed Roddy Ricch and Gunna, among others. He began his career in 2002 at Elektra Records in the A&R department and has held roles at Atlantic Records, Warner/Chappell, Sony/ATV, and EMI Music Publishing.
Avery Lipman commented, “Sam understands the culture of hip-hop and R&B at a core level. He really has an incredible ear for talent and the rare ability to not just spot the next wave, but actually instigate it. I’m honored to announce his promotion.” Goldstein added, “What Sam has done in the past year is nothing short of incredible. He brought an amazing amount of energy to our A&R department with a fresh perspective. He’s the perfect choice to take charge of our Hip-Hop and R&B roster, and this is the beginning of a really exciting new chapter for Republic Records.”

+ Downtown Music Services has announced a number of senior executive promotions within its U.S. team. Bruce Lampcov is promoted to the position of executive vice president & executive producer; Sean McGraw has been appointed to the newly created role of SVP of catalogue management; Emily Stephenson becomes VP of business operations; and Frank Pagano has been promoted to become VP of global client services. McGraw and Pagano are based in New York, Stephenson in Nashville and Lampcov in Los Angeles; all four are Downtown veterans and will report to global president Mike Smith.

Smith said, “I am delighted that at the end of a successful year for Downtown Music Services, I am able to announce new roles for some of Downtown’s longest serving employees.  Emily, Sean, Frank and Bruce are hugely talented and dedicated people who have always enjoyed a close relationship with our songwriters and their catalogues. These positions reflect the tremendous contribution they have made to the company in recent years and underline our commitment to providing the best possible service to the songwriting community.”

+ Veteran agent Adam Brill has joined Wasserman Music as vice president of fairs & festivals; the department also welcomes Mike Sosin as a newly promoted agent.

Brill was previously an agent at CAA for six years and worked at UTA and APA earlier in his career. He has represented and developed artists including Conan Gray, Tate McRae, Zara Larsson, Audrey Mika, O.A.R, Gavin DeGraw, Capital Cities and Imagine Dragons. He is based in Los Angeles.

Marty Diamond, EVP & managing executive at Wasserman Music, said, “We’re very excited to have Adam join our team at Wasserman. His extensive artist development track record fits perfectly with our ethos, and he brings valuable perspective and experience to the important space of fair and festival bookings.”

Monday, Dec. 13

Republic Records has promoted Lucas Romeo to senior VP of promotion, effective immediately, EVP Gary Spangler announced on Monday.

Based in New York, Romeo will oversee promotion efforts across multiple formats, guiding the promotion team and breaking artists in today’s new landscape. Romeo joined Republic in 2014 as regional promotion manager in Nashville, before returning to New York to serve as VP of Top 40. He began his professional career at Epic Records in New York.

Spangler said, “Lucas is the most forward-thinking modern promotion executive in the music business. He is constantly one step ahead of the competition. There’s no one I’d rather have at my side as we sail into uncharted waters.”

Romeo added, “I am grateful to Monte, Avery, and Gary for the opportunity to carry the flag into the next chapter of Republic. We will continue to be the most progressive promotion team as the music business evolves.”

+ Sony Music Publishing has extended its exclusive worldwide publishing agreement with Italian winners of the Eurovision Song Contest Måneskin. The deal renews the company’s long-established partnership with the band, which began in 2017, and covers futures and catalog. Recently, the group made its American television debut on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” and played their first-ever concerts in the U.S., including their opening performance for the Rolling Stones in Las Vegas.

Paola Balestrazzi, A&R director of Sony Music Publishing Italy, said, “It has been a huge privilege to work with Måneskin over the past 4 years, because they reflect how music should be – free-spoken, inclusive, and authentic – and it’s why their songs are so incredible. Their achievements this year also remind us of the power of dreams, showing what’s possible through hard work, commitment, and strong will.” Guy Henderson, president of international for Sony Music Publishing, added, “We are thrilled that Damiano, Victoria, Ethan and Thomas have decided to extend their relationship with us. Their songs have taken popular music forward into new uncharted waters around the globe, single-handedly creating a genre that is both new and fresh, as well as true to rock ‘n roll.”

+ The Nashville wing of the Records label has named Josh Easler executive VP of promotion and commercial strategy, and Joe Fisher as executive VP of the label, label co-founder and partner Barry Weiss announced Monday.

Based out of the company’s Nashville office,  Easler will oversee all radio promotion as well as all commercial strategy which includes all DSPs, commercial platforms and the like. He joins Records Nashville following a stint as VP of promotion at Arista Nashville and a prior gig at RCA.

In his new role,  Fisher will oversee the signing, developing, and cultivating of new talent for the label. Fisher joins Records Nashville having previously spent most of his career at Universal Nashville, where he rose to VP of A&R under Luke Lewis. He also Fisher co-founded Boom, a publishing company, with Keith Urban and Ross Copperman in 2017. 

Weiss commented, “We are so excited to be leveling up and raising the game with our efforts in Nashville and country music. I can’t think of two better executives to take us forward and achieve this task than Josh Easler and Joe Fisher. They’re both established superstars in their respective fields in country music with great pedigree and substantial track records.”

+ Deluge Music and songwriter/producer Danny Myrick, who has penned hits for Jason Aldean, Maddie & Tae, Craig Morgan, Tim McGraw and others, have announced the formation of Los Angeles-based Canyon Coast Entertainment. According to the announcement, the company’s mission is to “find and develop emerging Americana and country artists in the region, providing production, publishing and live performance opportunities based in their own backyard.”

Deluge Music’s Managing Member, David Robkin, said, “We could not be more excited to launch Canyon Coast under the leadership of Danny Myrick. In addition to being a fantastic songwriter and producer, Danny’s vision and entrepreneurial spirit has brought us to California to develop and support the amazing talent based in the West. We are confident that this will be an exciting opportunity for Deluge Music and the artists/writers who work in or near the West Coast.”

Danny Myrick adds, “From Buck & Merle to The Flying Burrito Brothers, to Ronstadt, the Eagles and Jackson Brown, to Dwight, Blackhawk, Highway 101 and Gary Allan, the untamed wildness of the California ‘country’ sound has always deeply resonated with me in an almost spiritual way. I believe the main reason that sound is essentially nonexistent in current country music is the lack of attention given to the immense and unique talent pool in that region.”

+ Three music executives at Disney Branded TelevisionMark Karafilis, Jay Stutler and Steven Vincent — have each been promoted in their respective areas of music expertise; it was announced today by Ayo Davis, president, Disney Branded Television.

Collectively, Vincent, Stutler and Karafilis have supervised the creative direction of tens of thousands of original songs for kids and family programming. They continue to play central roles in creating music for Disney branded animated and live action series and movies.

Davis said, “These well-earned promotions recognize the remarkably strong contributions of Steve, Jay and Mark, talented and dedicated team leaders who for decades have made the magic happen when it comes to advancing our storytelling through music. Every day, we see the cultural resonance of their work all around us.”