+ A new podcast dedicated to needle drops in film and television is set to launch on April 11. “*IN SYNC,” hosted by writer Rachel Brodsky and filmmaker/podcaster Aviv Rubinstien in partnership with Gotham West Studios, will debut with an episode centered around the use of Sia’s “Breathe Me” in “Six Feet Under.” Future episodes will feature music supervisors behind the synchs, as well as historical and cultural context provided by Brodsky, a freelance critic and reporter who has contributed to Stereogum, the Independent and Grammy.com, among other outlets, and Rubinstien, who is a member of the band Jacob the Horse, and has hosted the podcasts “Law and Order: Special Viewing Unit” and “Lyric for Lunch,” in addition to teaching screenwriting and filmmaking.
Tuesday, March 7
+ Producer Metro Boomin has sold a portion of his publishing catalog to Shamrock Capital for close to $70 million, Variety can confirm.
News of the hip-hop acquisition was first published by Billboard on Tuesday morning and arrives as Shamrock continues to forge major investments in catalog sales, expanding a portfolio that includes the master recordings for Taylor Swift’s first six albums, which it acquired in 2020 from Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings.
Metro Boomin is riding high on the streaming and sales success of his second full-length album, “Heroes & Villains.” The R&B and hip-hop set was released last December and was the St. Louis artist’s biggest album in terms of first-week sales. It was also his second record to debut at No. 1 on the all-genre inclusive albums chart.
The star-studded project features narration from Morgan Freeman and includes verses from the late Takeoff, along with John Legend, 21 Savage, A$AP Rocky, Future, Gunna, Travis Scott, Don Toliver, the Weeknd, Chris Brown and Young Thug.
In February, Shamrock revealed they had raised $600 million to launch Shamrock Capital Content Fund III, to target acquisitions in film, television, music, video games, sports rights and other forms of content.
+ UTA has signed Grammy-award-winning singer and television personality Kelly Rowland for global representation in all areas.
During her time with Destiny’s Child, Rowland earned several awards including two Grammys and sold over 60 million records. Following the girl group’s disbandment in 2006, Rowland worked as a solo artist and produced four full-length records. She went on to win two additional Grammys for “Dilemma,” with Nelly, and for “When Love Takes Over” with David Guetta.
As an actress, Rowland has appeared on “The Equalizer,” “L.A.’s Finest,” “A Black Lady Sketch Show,” “American Soul,” and “Empire.” She was also a judge on several competition shows including “The X Factor” and “The Voice.”
Rowland is set to appear in and produce Tyler Perry’s “Mea Culpa,” opposite Trevante Rhodes and more, for Netflix. Her film credits include stints on Paramount’s “Fantasy Football,” Netflix’s “The Curse of Bridge Hollow,” and “Freddy vs. Jason,” among others.
Rowland will continue to be represented by Jennifer McDaniels and Del Shaw Moonves.
+ Tori Kelly has signed to Epic Records and will make her label debut with “missin u,” a new single set for release on March 17. It will be her first original solo release since 2020.
Per the press release, “missin u” is produced by Jon Bellion and is described as an “ultra-modern take on R&B,” where “[Kelly’s] soaring vocals are instantly recognizable, stretching her range between slick verses and a fluttering chorus.”
Kelly is a four-time Grammy nominee and boasts platinum-certified singles such as “Hollow” and “Should’ve Been Us” as well as gold-certified singles, including “I Was Made For Loving You” and “Nobody Love.” She’s also appeared in “Sing” and “Sing 2” in addition to “Sesame Street,” “The Masked Singer,” “American Idol,” “Rugrats,” and more.
+ Legendary R&B singer Bettye LaVette has signed with Jay-Vee Records, where she joins a roster that includes Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm, Mix Master Mike and cofounders Steve Jordan and Steve and Meegan Voss’ band, the Verbs. Jordan has produced two previous albums for LaVette.
“After having made two albums with Steve, I am so happy that he wanted to make another record together, and put it out on the Jay-Vee label,” LaVette said.
UK-based Primary Talent International is returning to its roots as an independent music talent agency. The 32-year-old company’s roster includes the 1975, the Cure, Lana Del Rey, Noel Gallagher, Jack Harlow, Mitski, Rina Sawayama and Patti Smith, will continue to operate from London, while also maintaining a presence in Los Angeles and New York City.
In 2020, the company sold to ICM Partners, which was subsequently acquired by Creative Artists Agency. The transaction to re-establish Primary’s independent status was led by Managing Partner and CEO Matt Bates along with former ICM founding partner and COO Rick Levy, who will continue to act as a senior advisor to Primary.
Under the new construct, Bates will oversee all aspects of the agency, and serve as Managing Partner and CEO. Agent Ben Winchester will continue to serve as a board member along with Bates and Levy; the agency has elevated Laetitia Descouens, Sally Dunstone, Martje Kremers and Ed Sellers to partner status. They will be joined by Simon Clarkson, who will be based in Los Angeles.
+ Discovery platform Audius has named Shamal Ranasinghe chief business officer. He joins from SiriusXM/ Pandora, where he was VP of product management, catalog and creators. Prior to his tenure at SiriusXM/Pandora, Ranasinghe was a co-founder of Fluence and Curators.com, and also was a co-founder in Topspin Media, which was acquired by Beats Music in 2014.
+ Merlin has announced a slate of new promotions across several departments. In business and legal affairs, Ryan McWhinnie moves to VP and Shrina Patel to senior director, while Chris Tarbet moves to senior director of commercial partnerships. Additionally, Chaida Kapfunde is the new senior director of business and technology solutions; Pavan Vasdev is upped to director of strategy and growth; Quentin Martins to senior manager of commercial partnerships; and Grace Styles is senior finance assistant.
+ B2B distributor FUGA, a division of Downtown Music, has struck a new partnership with the Marathon Music label group, parent company to flagship label Marathon Artists. The company’s roster ranges from singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett and Lava La Rue to Afrobeats stars such as Naira Marley and Afro B, along with British jazz artists Ill Considered and Theon Cross.
FUGA also announced the expansion of its global UGC and rights management offering with the integration of the platform Adrev. Both businesses are part of Downtown’s professional music services division, Downtown Music, led by president Pieter van Rijn.
Adrev launched in 2012 and was acquired – alongside label services provider and distributor, DashGo – by AVL Digital Group in 2018, which in turn was acquired by Downtown the following year.
+ Hannah Babitt has launched Babz Nashville, a second home for the boutique management company that she launched in Los Angeles in 2020.
Babz’s roster of songwriters and producers has expanded over the past three years to include Alex Hope (Selena Gomez, Alanis Morissette, Troye Sivan), Nick Monson (Tate McRae, Lady Gaga, Nick Jonas, Little Mix), Leroy Clampitt (Madison Beer, Ashe and Finneas, Sabrina Carpenter) and songwriter Madi Yanofsky (Leah Kate, Nessa Barrett), Konrad Snyder (“Until I Found You” with Stephen Sanchez), Jesse Fink (Dove Cameron and John Legend).
Since January 2022, BABZ has been consulting for Nashville-based independent music publisher Big Machine Music to help them to expand into the LA pop scene, working with Grammy songwriter of the year nominees Laura Veltz and Sara Davis, and recent signing Geoff Warburton, among others. Babz also consults with Barry Weiss on his Records label, a venture of Sony Music.
“As we celebrate the third anniversary of Babz, we’re thrilled to be a hub for the creation of pop music in both LA and Nashville with our immensely talented songwriters, producers and the community around us,” said Babitt in a statement. “It is a crucial moment for Babz to contribute to the pop marketplace via the collaborations between the Nashville talent and our relationships in LA’s pop artist and songwriting community as we simultaneously expand our producer and songwriter roster.”
VIP+ Analysis: The Booming Business of Music Catalog Sales