Music Industry Moves: New Edition Signs With CAA

Singer-songwriter Chris Isaak has partnered with Primary Wave in a deal that sees the publishing company acquiring a 50% stake in his master recordings and signing with the legendary Sun Records for future recordings (which was recently acquired by Primary Wave). He also has entered into a joint venture with the company that will allow him to sign new artists.

The acquisition, which is described as being “multi-million dollars,” includes Isaak’s biggest hits, including “Blue Hotel,” “San Francisco Days,” “Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing,” “Somebody’s Crying,” as well as his most well-known recording “Wicked Game.” The Sun deal is thematically resonant: In 2011, Isaak released an album titled “Beyond the Sun” that was recorded at the label’s historic Memphis studio and includes songs originally recorded by such legendary Sun artists as Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis.

Isaak said, “Life has a unique way of coming full circle. I spent hours of my youth looking at secondhand singles at thrift shops, and while those old records might have been several generations before me, the impression they’ve made on me has lasted a lifetime. The most captivating of all the singles were always the ones with that coveted Sun logo. The label was, and still is, home to the voices of my heroes and icons. To now be officially part of the label and have the Sun logo on my music is humbling and gratifying in ways I cannot quite convey. Further to that, I feel it’s important that we look to the future and go about creating the next generation of legends.”

“Our team couldn’t be happier to welcome Chris to the Primary Wave and Sun Records family,” says Larry Mestel, CEO and founder of Primary Wave Music. “Chris is a true iconic talent, and I was drawn to his almost encyclopedic knowledge of the Sun catalog and its rich history. We look forward to working with Chris and his amazing manager Sheryl Louis.”

+ Warner Chappell Music has entered into a worldwide administration agreement with the estate of legendary jazz singer, songwriter, artist and actor Cab Calloway. The pact includes classics from across his 65-year career, including “Minnie the Moocher” (renowned for its “hi-dee-ho” chorus), “Are You All Reet?” and “Are You Hep to the Jive? (Yas, Yas).” Warner Chappell Music Co-Chair and CEO, Guy Moot, and Co-Chair and COO, Carianne Marshall, said: “Cab Calloway had an enormous influence on the course of modern music, from the swing era of the ‘30s to the hip-hop of today. He was a pioneering artist whose wide-ranging talents crossed musical, racial, and cultural boundaries. Calloway literally defined what it meant to be hip, while writing and performing music that remains as irresistible today as it was nearly a century ago.”

According to the announcement, Calloway was the first Black artist to sell a million records (with the 1931 release of “Minnie the Moocher”) and was one of the most popular entertainers of the 1930s and ‘40s, leading his big band during the height of the Harlem Renaissance and often performing at the legendary Cotton Club. His recordings charted for five consecutive decades, from the 1930s to the 1970s, when he released a disco version of “Minnie the Moocher.” In 1993, he was honored with the National Medal of Arts from the United States Congress, and in 2008, he received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. “Minnie the Moocher” was added to the U.S. Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry in 2019. He died in 1994 at the age of 86.

Warner Chappell’s Chuck Gamble, VP of Catalog Promotions, Creative Services and Scott McDowell, EVP, Head of Legal & Business Affairs, U.S., represented the publisher in negotiation and drafting of the agreement, while Joshua “Young Cab” Langsam and Carlos Alejandro acted on behalf of the Estate of Cab Calloway, along with the estate’s entertainment lawyer, Bernard M. Resnick.

+ Veteran management and PR exec Keith Hagan has joined Brooklyn Made Presents as chief strategy officer for the company. He joins after 12 years at SKH Music, the management/marketing/publicity firm he co-founded; he previously held roles at IRS Records, Chrysalis Records, EMI, Arista Records, Mammoth Records and as GM for the independent publicity firm PFA Media. He will be bringing several unspecified management clients to Brooklyn Made Presents.

“Keith and I have been best of friends for the better part of over a decade,” says Anthony Makes, who founded Brooklyn Made last year.  “We started discussing ideas to do something like this over the past couple of years. I couldn’t be more thrilled to have Keith help me guide this company into the future.  With this addition, Brooklyn Made Presents continues to build on what we strive to be…a quality, smart, forward thinking, music company. Keith will be overseeing all angles of our business..”

Hagan added, “When Anthony shared his initial vision with me on what he wanted to create with Brooklyn Made Presents, I knew I had to be a part of it. I have zero doubt that artists along with their teams won’t find a more forward-thinking group than what Anthony is putting together here.”

+ Industry vets Alex Valenti, Matt Steger, Justin Garza, Josh Deane, Travis Alexander and Mark Mendoza have announced the launch of 3V Method, a Los Angeles-based management, publishing company and record label. The label has entered into a partnership with Virgin Music Label and Artist Services, where they signed their first act 19&You, while the publishing wing has partnered with Sentric Music, where they have signed writer/producer duo Voila.

Management clients include Peach Tree Rascals, Clay, Jon Waltz, Kaleena Zanders, Oston, Not the Main Characters and others; writer/producer clients include Melanie Fontana and Lindgren (Dua Lipa, BTS), Gino Barletta (Daya, Katy Perry, Selena Gomez), Erick Serna (Sia, Olivia Rodrigo), Simone Torres (Cardi B., Normani) and more.

The company actually formed just before the pandemic but managed to expand during that period, growing into a team of 13 staff and managers within its first year; it plans to add more managers this year.

Valenti said, “I’m proud of the team and roster we have been building. We formed this business a week before quarantine started, and I’m grateful for the wins we have been able to earn as a team. We see the importance of rising with each other as young executives with our creatives and I think our mindset of doing well by doing good sets us apart from our competitors.”

+ Concord has promoted Justin Prakash to CFO of Concord Music Publishing and Concord Theatricals, replacing Kent Hoskins, who was elevated to CFO of Concord in March. Prakash will be based in London and will report to Hoskins; he was previously with classical publisher Boosey & Hawkes and was involved in its 2007 sale to Imagem, which was later acquired by Concord. 

According to the announcement, Prakash will be responsible for leading the global publishing and theatrical accounting teams, including all aspects of reporting, planning and corporate compliance. He will partner closely with the senior executive team, especially Chief Publishing Executive Jim Selby and Chief Theatricals Executive Sean Patrick Flahaven, in assessing new artist signings, shows and opportunities.

I have worked closely with Justin for over 15 years and his dedication and forensic understanding of our business is second to none,” said Concord CFO Kent Hoskins. “He is a finance executive that marries the rare ability to work collaboratively with a diverse set of internal and external stakeholders, while delivering top notch financial reporting and analysis.”

Wednesday, July 7

Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) has opened an office in Israel which will sign and develop domestic music creators. Heading up UMPG Israel as general manager, publishing and production music, is Itamar Shafrir, whose credentials include work in film and television as well as a position at UMG’s Havas London. He dually reports to Simon Baker, GM of UMPG Europe Publishing, and Michael Sammis, president of Universal Production Music worldwide.

Said Shafrir: “We are thrilled to open our offices in Israel and build on Universal Music Publishing Group’s outstanding global network. UMPG has the most incredible roster of talented writers for whom we will be seeking unique opportunities throughout the region. Furthermore, we will be looking to add to our ever-growing catalogue by discovering and developing local talent.”

Previously, UMPG’s interests in local songwriting talent was handled by Dalia Publishing and Miles of Music. In June, Universal Music Group announced the launch of a recorded music division in Israel.

Creative Artists Agency announced that it has signed all six members of New Edition: Ronnie DeVoe, Bobby Brown, Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, Ralph Tresvant and Johnny Gill. The company will represent the group in all areas worldwide, including touring, theatre, literature, TV/film, production, composing and others. Since 1984, the group has released six studio albums and multiple solo efforts and won several Soul Train and American Music Awards and the BET Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2017 BET produced a three-part 2017 biopic titled “The New Edition Story,” which aired over three consecutive nights and drew 29 million total viewers, according to the announcement. The group plans a U.S. arena tour next year, along with a residency in Las Vegas.

+ Goldenvoice announced that Marcus “Don Dada” Johnson will be joining the company as talent buyer. He joins the company after nearly two decades as an independent promoter and marketer for events in Southern California, and has worked with Goldenvoice on many events over the years. His responsibilities will include handling talent buying for the company’s various festivals and clubs, including the Novo in downtown Los Angeles. He will report to Goldenvoice President and CEO Paul Tollett.

“Marcus brings a level of musical taste and knowledge that fits perfectly with what we do here at Goldenvoice,” Tollett said. “He’s basically been part of the family, so I’m very excited that we are making it official.”

“I’m really excited to bring my skillset and expertise to such a forward-thinking company as Goldenvoice,” Johnson said. “Hip-hop and R&B play such an important part in moving the needle on popular culture, and the same can be said for Goldenvoice…the team always has a finger on the pulse. And after spending the last twelve years working closely with everyone here, this feels like a natural progression.”

+ Live Nation, in partnership with the nonprofit Music Forward Foundation, has announced the recipients of its 2021 scholarship awards. Five outstanding college students pursuing music industry careers have been awarded a total of $45,000 in scholarships.

This year’s group of recipients were selected based on academic performance, leadership skills and a passionate commitment to the live entertainment experience, according to the announcement. Recipients of this year’s awards include Holly Grace Jamili, a student at New York University, who is a Recorded Music major with a minor in Entertainment, Media, & Technology and a focus on elevating live music experiences through technological innovation; Tandrea Hawkins, a Music Business major and Hip Hop studies minor at Columbia College Chicago, a self-managed rapper who also runs a platform for underground college artists to showcase their artistry; Jalen Holloway, an Arts Leadership and Administration major and Music minor at Queens University of Charlotte, a veteran and multi-instrumentalist who has made dean’s list every semester of his college career; Kayla Erhardt, a Music Business major and Marketing minor at Berklee College of Music, who is finding recent success with her original music placed in television network shows; and Will Keebler, a Minnesota State University-Mankato junior, with a passion for live entertainment who leads outdoor live music events on campus.

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Live Nation scholarships
Courtesy Live Nation

“Live Nation is committed to supporting the future of live entertainment through our unique scholarship program,” said Mark Campana, chief operating officer, Live Nation Concerts. “We are dedicated to amplifying voices and providing opportunities for the next generation as we return to live and beyond.”

Tuesday, July 6

Brent Smith has left WME and joined Wasserman Music, the new company formed after Casey Wasserman acquired Paradigm’s North American music representation business, as executive vice present and managing executive, the company announced Tuesday (July 6).

“As many of you know, the senior leadership team and I have been spending time with Brent Smith, and today I am pleased to share that he is joining Wasserman Music as EVP and Managing Executive,” Casey Wasserman wrote in a note to staff. “We have come to know Brent as a smart, genuine, professional team player who always puts clients first & is ready to embrace the Wasserman value system and culture.

“Brent began his career at Ian Copeland’s FBI (Frontier Booking International). When that agency closed, he went to WMA (William Morris Agency), later WME (William Morris Endeavor), where he spent over two decades building and nurturing one of the most important rosters in the music industry.”

The message concludes, “I am really proud of our team and the discipline and insight they brought into this process. We are committed to quality, clients and teamwork and this is just one more win for Wasserman Music as we grow together.”

+ Warner Chappell Music, the global publishing arm of Warner Music Group (WMG), today announced the appointment of Jenni Pfaff to Senior Vice President, Head of Global Strategic Integration & Operations. In addition, Jesse Dang has joined as Senior Vice President of People, supporting Warner Chappell.

Reporting to WCM’s Co-Chairs, Guy Moot, CEO, and Carianne Marshall, COO, Pfaff will serve as an adviser and change agent, ensuring that the company’s global business priorities and strategic initiatives are successfully implemented, according to the announcemt. In addition, she will work closely with senior management to support cross-functional projects and help to identify ways to create efficiencies and synergies across the business.

Reporting to WMG’s EVP and Chief People Officer, Masha Osherova, Dang will focus on executing Warner Chappell’s People agenda across the company’s U.S., Europe, Latin America and Asia territories, as well as provide HR counsel and support to the publisher’s leadership team.

Moot and Marshall said: “Jenni has been an incredible strategic partner over these past few years as we looked to reenergize our company’s culture and launch our new business strategy. As a trusted adviser to our team, she has very strong relationships across our global organization and this role truly couldn’t be a better fit. We’re equally as excited to welcome Jesse to our Warner Chappell family and look forward to partnering with him on our People strategy and the employee experience for our global teams.”

Pfaff joined Warner Chappell in 2019 as VP of People before being promoted to her current role as SVP of People. Prior, she founded Pfaff HR, and before that, spent 17 years working as a senior HR leader at PwC, Activision Blizzard, and Northrop Grumman.

Most recently, Dang was the Head of People Partners, Sales & Distribution / News & Sports at WarnerMedia. Prior, he worked at Warner Bros. Entertainment for ten years and focused on a number of HR initiatives, which included leading the reorganization efforts for a joint venture with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Before Warner Bros., Dang spent ten years at PwC.

+ Jaxsta Limited, the platform that’s home to a database of official music credits, has named Beth Appleton chief marketing officer. She will be based in the company’s Sydney, Australia headquarters. Appleton previously served as  general manager and senior vice president of marketing Australasia at Warner Music Australia, supervising campaigns for such artists  as Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars, Coldplay, Twenty One Pilots and Michael Bublé, among others.

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