Singer-rapper-songwriter Tai Verdes has signed a global publishing deal with Kobalt, the company announced Thursday. The agreement includes publishing administration, including global synch and creative services for all of Verdes’ catalog and future songs.

Verdes, who was working at a Los Angeles Verizon Wireless store when his TikTok videos began to take off, has racked up more than 120 million streams for his breakout single “Stuck in the Middle” and even more for “A-O-K” — 200 million streams — and the song is currently at No. 34 on the Billboard Hot 100 and has been certified platinum. He’s performed on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” and made his live debut the 2021 Lollapalooza festival, and released a new single, “Last Day on Earth,” on Thursday morning.

“Kobalt was the most passionate about my project and artist friendly in terms of the deal,” Verdes said. “I’m huge on ownership of my music. At the end of the day, I wanted people who are ready to jump on the train. Kobalt jumped, did a somersault and stuck the landing.”

Verdes’ managers, Brandon Epstein and Ryan Chisholm, added, “It was honestly just the obvious choice for us. Kobalt provides us with incredible resources while still allowing us to bet on ourselves. We couldn’t be more excited to add Kobalt to Team Tai Verdes.”

Kobalt VP of creative Amanda Tufeld, “Tai has a unique ability to marry honest and relatable lyrics with music that is fun to its core. He creates out of pure passion and makes us all feel good in the process. As one of the most refreshing and exciting artists of 2021, I cannot wait to see where he goes next.”

+ LVRN, the Atlanta-based record label and management firm that represents Summer Walker, 6lack and others, has named Amber Grimes executive vice president/GM of LVRN Records and as a partner in its management company. According to the annoucement, Grimes will oversee day-to-day operations across all of the company’s operating divisions, develop new strategies and marketing initiatives across LVRN’s full roster of artists. Grimes joins LVRN after three years at Capitol Records, where she served as senior VP of global creative; previously she held a senior marketing post at Spotify and ran her own brand management agency.
“Amber has become one of the most well-respected executives in the industry through her early work with artists in Atlanta, major labels and streaming,” said LVRN President Tunde Balogun.  “In her amazing career, she has amassed a high level of management and creative marketing expertise all of which will be of huge value to us as we continue to expand our business around the world.”

+ Universal Music Group has announced a series of promotions across the executive management team within its Global Classics & Jazz division: Liz Chew takes on a new role as senior director of global priorities – marketing after two years as director of international marketing; Rachel Tregenza is upped to senior director of global priorities – communications & artist strategy, after two years leading on PR for the division; and George Irwin has been promoted to the newly created role of audience & analytics manager, reporting to SVP Paul Moseley.

Announcing the promotions, Dickon Stainer, president & CEO of global classics & jazz said, “These changes mark the latest step in our mission to deliver best-in-class service for our incredible artists, and for these genres of music which hold global cultural significance and are of great importance to us at UMG.”

+ Warner Music Group announced that Janelle Curtis has joined the company as chief enterprise transformation Officer. According to the announcement, she will spearhead the company’s ongoing tech-enabled evolution across its global corporate operations, with a focus on business structures, processes, and digital solutions. Curtis was most recently managing director and global head of process automation at Bank of America and previously held posts at Goldman Sachs, Citi, Chase, and HB Curtis & Associates. In her new post, she reports to WMG CEO Steve Cooper, and is based at the company’s New York headquarters.

Cooper said, “As a company that thrives at the intersection of pioneering creativity and disruptive technology, we need a unified approach to our innovation and execution on a global scale. It’s also important we constantly evolve our use of emerging and best-in-class platforms to supercharge our support of our artists, songwriters, and teams, as well as our consumers and partners. Janelle is a world-class executive who comes to us with deep knowledge and wide-ranging experience. With her fresh perspective and technical expertise, she’ll be a tremendous catalyst for growth as we create our future and lead our industry.”

+ Gary Gorman has joined RCA Records as senior vice president of rock formats promotion.  In his new role, Gorman will oversee all rock radio formats including Rock, Alternative & AAA. He will report to RCA co-head of promotion Keith Rothschild and operate out of the company’s Los Angeles office.

Gorman joins from Capitol Music Group, where he was SVP of rock formats. Prior to that he spent over 17 years at Atlantic Records, rising to VP of alternative promotion.

+ John Franck and Eddie Levy announce the formal launch of UNDRCVR Entertainment, a “digital-first” marketing agency, artist management firm, and influencer agency in partnership with AUDIOCLOUT. Previously, Franck held roles at 300 Entertainment and ADA Worldwide, while Levy was with Razor & Tie Records, City Winery and Fearless Records.

“We believe that independence is not just the future, it is the NOW in entertainment, music and tech,” the pair said. “Our mission is to create and facilitate long-game success by creating multi-tiered, panoramic marketing solutions for our partners across entertainment, music, film, touring, branding, and more.”

+ Global distributor Ingrooves Music Group has named Guji Lorenzana country manager of the Philippines and has signed the Philippines-based Curve Entertainment label to a global distribution deal. The agreement includes future releases from Broadway star Lea Salonga, the Ryan Cayabyab Singers and singer-actress Geneva Cruz.

“Guji brings the perfect combination of creative and industry experience to support our labels and artists as we look to work with the best indie artists in the Philippines,” said Bob Roback, Ingrooves Music Group CEO. “Guji will work closely with our team throughout Southeast Asia as we grow our business in the region, as well as with our global team as we take artists from the Philippines into new markets.”