Maria “Mechas” Mercedes Montejo has joined Sony Music Latin-Iberia as managing director of the Andean region, including Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. She will supersede Adriana Restrepo, who moves to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry as the regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean (see that announcement below).

Based in Buenos Aires, Montejo will report directly to Damián Amato, who manages Sony Music Latin’s South American operations (Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay). Amato has been with Sony Music for the past two decades and with this expanded role, he will additionally oversee the Andean region.

“This new structure is part of our ongoing transformation efforts to make Sony Music the most dynamic, efficient and nimble organization that can respond quickly to the needs of a dynamic and ever-changing industry,” said Afo Verde, chairman and CEO of Sony Music Latin-Iberia.

He continued: “I am very grateful to Adriana for all her efforts and contributions to this important part of our region, both artistically and commercially…Fortunately, we have a strong successor in Mechas, who has broad experience in the industry and the Andean region. I am confident that she will build upon the success and trajectory of the region. I’m also grateful to Damián for taking on this broader role. I’ve had the privilege of working with him for many years, and I know this will be another significant chapter in his illustrious career.”

Before her stint with Sony Music, Montejo was the general manager for Warner Music Latina Andean region.

+ The Syndicate has hired music industry veteran Rob Gross as senior VP of label services. In the newly created role, Gross will handle project management for album releases and sales for all pillars of the company’s services in radio, marketing, and PR.

Gross will bring with him his current clientele, including Warner/Rhino Records (Black Sabbath, Dio, Pantera, Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Roadrunner Records deep catalog) and the Canadian label Dine Alone Records (Sparta, NOBRO, The Dirty Nil, Alexisonfire).

“For 25 years, music and artist development have been at the core of our business,” says Jon Landman, partner and CEO of the Syndicate. “We are so excited to add industry veteran Rob Gross to bolster our amazing team at The Syndicate. Rob’s passion for music and working with artists is infectious, and his expertise will help take our offerings to the next level. He’s a natural fit within our organization, and our staff is thrilled that he’s part of our team.”

Gross has previously worked on global marketing campaigns for the Rolling Stones, Run The Jewels, Carly Rae Jepsen, Vanessa Carlton and Hollywood Undead, among others. He’s also helped develop the careers of artists such as the Struts, Broncho, Billy Raffoul, Nightly, Goodbye June and JJ Wilde.

+ Range Media Partners and Big Machine Music, a subsidiary of HYBE America, have signed Geoff Warburton to an exclusive songwriting agreement in a joint music publishing deal.

Warburton’s credits span from Shawn Mendes (“There’s Nothing Holding Me Back,” “In My Blood”) and Machine Gun Kelly (“Love Race”) to Keith Urban (“Polaroid”) and Jake Owen (“Best Thing Since Backroads”). He joins Range’s stacked roster of country acts such as Midland, Hailey Whitters, Luke Grimes, Ryan Bingham and Yola. Range also represents the likes of Jack Harlow, Lauv, Cordae and Nova Wav, among others.

+ Sony Music Publishing Nashville and Droptine Music Publishing have jointly signed country artists Russell Sutton and Tommy Karlas to global publishing deals.

Sutton drew music industry attention as part of the duo Grassroots Revival, having shared the stage with Toby Keith, Lady Antebellum, Billy Currington, Brothers Osborne, Walker Hayes and others. As a songwriter, Sutton recently earned chart success with his first No. 1 single “My Boy” by Elvie Shane. Karlas has written songs for artists including Blake Shelton, Warren Zeiders, Old Dominion, Randy Travis, and Montgomery Gentry. In 2021, Tommy released his debut songwriter album entitled “Put It In Drive.”

Droptine Music Publishing, a newly formed company run by Jim Catino, has signed several songwriters in partnership with Sony Publishing Nashville including Dalton Dover, Tommy Karlas, Alex Maxwell and Russell Sutton.

“We couldn’t be happier to expand our relationship with Jim Catino and his Droptine Publishing team. Russell and Tommy are true Nashville craftsmen with the abilities to make big things happen,” said Rusty Gaston, Sony Music Publishing Nashville CEO.

Monday, Jan. 30

Thomas Coesfeld has been named the new CEO of BMG and will succeed longstanding CEO Hartwig Masuch effective Jan. 1, 2024, the company announced Monday. Masuch will remain a consultant to Bertelsmann, BMG’s parent company.

The change in leadership is part of a long-term succession plan “which will be finalized at the end of the year,” said Thomas Rabe, chairman and CEO of Bertelsmann. In addition to his new appointment, Coesfeld will also receive a seat on the Bertelsmann Group Management Committee (GMC), which advises the group executive board.

“After 32 years at Bertelsmann and more than 14 years at BMG, now is the right time for me to hand over the reins to a new generation,” said Masuch in Monday’s announcement. “As our annual results will show, the company is in excellent shape both creatively and financially. I look forward to a seamless transition by the end of the year. I am sure that under Thomas’ leadership, BMG’s core values of service, fairness and transparency will continue to evolve and flourish, leading the company to even greater success.”

Masuch has been CEO of Bertelsmann’s music division since BMG was newly founded in 2008 with Rabe, who was Bertelsmann’s chief financial officer at the time. In recent years, the company has acquired catalog rights from Peter Frampton, Mötley Crüe, Jean-Michel Jarre, Simple Minds and Tina Turner, among others.

Said Coesfeld, “Under Hartwig Masuch’s leadership, BMG has delivered an impressive growth story and developed into a modern music company in which data, technology, and services play a key role. My aim is to continue this success story together with the company’s top management and its more than 1,000 employees worldwide and to leverage the enormous creative and entrepreneurial potential of the music industry for Bertelsmann. Music has played a vital role at Bertelsmann since 1956. I look forward to leading this legacy into the future.”

+ Baroline Diaz has launched her own label, Great Day Records, in partnership with Santa Anna and Alamo Records.

Formerly vp of A&R at Interscope Records, Diaz is a manager to Babyface Ray, and previously oversaw the promotional careers of DaBaby, Moneybagg Yo, Est Gee, Rob 49, Lil Poppa and more. Diaz will serve as the chairwoman of Great Day Records, which will be headquartered in New York.

“Baroline is a force to be reckoned with and a major player in the music industry,” said Todd Moscowitz, CEO and founder of Alamo Records and co-Founder of Santa Anna. “We cannot wait to work alongside her and develop new ways to scale her impressive roster and discover new ways to expand her growing empire.”

“I want my label, Great Day Records, to bring back real artistry and artist development,” said Diaz. “I want it to be a label where we are building the next generation of superstars in music and Alamo / Santa Anna is the best partner to execute that. They understand my vision and what the future of music is gonna look like.”

+ Warner Music Group has announced the launch of Rhythm City, a music-themed social roleplay experience on Roblox developed in partnership with Gamefam.

Choosing from a variety of roles including music producer, DJ, dancer, and many more, users will have the opportunity to explore, dance, and bond with friends while enjoying the world’s hidden gems and competing in mini-music challenges. In addition, Rhythm City will host virtual concerts and events featuring select WMG artists.

Over the years, WMG has brought several of its artists to the Roblox platform including Twenty One Pilots, Why Don’t We, Ava Max, David Guetta, and Royal Blood. Rhythm City will be available to play and explore on the Roblox platform on Feb. 4 across Android, iOS, Mac, Windows PC, and Xbox One.  

“As our lives become increasingly digital, exciting opportunities are opening up for artists and fans to engage and interact”, said Oana Ruxandra, chief digital officer and executive VP, business development at WMG. “WMG is focused on facilitating the foundations of these new experiences by building and experimenting across evolving ecosystems. This partnership with Gamefam sees WMG creating a place for artists and audiences to come together to define and contextualize their communities within living spaces.”

+ IFPI has appointed Adriana Restrepo to the role of regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean. Javier Asensio steps down after spending 12 years as the company’s regional director.

Restrepo will start her new role on Feb. 1 out of IFPI’s regional office in Miami and will report to IFPI chief executive, Frances Moore. The exec was previously president of Sony Music Andes, where she oversaw the company’s strategic operations in the Andean region (which includes Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela). Before that, she was president of Codiscos, one of Latin America’s longest-established independent record labels and publishers.

“Having worked directly with Adriana for a number of years as she served on our boards, I know first-hand the level of passion, commitment and knowledge of the Latin American music sector that she brings to the role,” commented Frances Moore, chief executive of IFPI.

Jesús López, chairman and CEO of Universal Music Latin America & Iberian Peninsula, said: “Adriana brings experience, knowledge and a great capacity for work, at a time when the challenges we face in Latin America continue to be enormous. There is nobody better than her to continue the great job done by Javier Asensio during the last decade. We welcome Adriana to this important new role.”

+ Halsey has announced the promotion of Maria Chon from day-to-day manager to brand manager of their makeup brands, about-face and af94.

“I am beyond thrilled to announce Maria’s new position. It is so exciting, as Maria has been an integral member of my team for 6 years,” said Halsey in the official announcement. “Her professionalism and dedication are appreciated everyday and I am lucky to call her a close friend after all this time. She was by my side from the very first conceptual conversations in developing about-face, and eventually af94, and she has been instrumental to the growth of the companies ever since. I can’t wait to see what the future holds with her by my side on this journey.”

Chon said, “I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to help develop these brands and continue bringing Halsey’s vision to life. After many years with this team, I couldn’t be more excited for what’s next.”

News of Chon’s appointment follows the about-face and af94’s partnership announcement with Live Nation Entertainment from last year. The partnership offers fan experiences throughout venues and festivals, encouraging individuality and makeup experimentation. Live Nation also made an equity investment to support the growing brands as they provide live music fans with an outlet for creativity.

+ Big Yellow Dog Music has promoted Jacee Badeaux to senior creative director, A&R, and Halle Bartlett to coordinator, A&R. Among Badeaux’s credits: signing Brandon Davis, who toured with Tim McGraw, and setting up the co-write with producer-writer Dave Pittenger on Gayle’s Grammy-nominated “abcdefu.”

Bartlett joined the independent music publishing, record label and artist development company as creative assistant in Jan. 2022, following an internship while studying music business at Belmont University. In her new role, Bartlett will be responsible for calendar management, writer coordination, song pitching and social media efforts for Big Yellow Dog Music’s songwriters.