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HomeMusicExecutive Turntable: Spotify Names International & Latin Heads, EMPIRE Launches in Africa

Executive Turntable: Spotify Names International & Latin Heads, EMPIRE Launches in Africa

Spotify elevated two executives in its international and Latin departments. Monica Herrera Damashek was promoted to North American lead, international music, while Maykol Sánchez was upped to head of artist & label partnerships, Latin America & U.S. Latin.

In her newly-created role, Damashek will identify strategic opportunities in the U.S. and Canada while expanding collaboration with Spotify’s global music team across markets. She has been with Spotify for seven years and was most recently head of U.S. Latin artist & label partnerships in North America.

Maykol, who has been with Spotify for nearly four years, already led the artists and label partnerships team in Latin America but will now be responsible for those functions for the U.S. Latin market.

Independent label, distributor, and publisher EMPIRE launched EMPIRE Africa and hired Ezegozie Eze Jr. as vp, market development; Kareem Mobalaji as regional head, West Africa; and Titilope Adesanya as project manager.

In their roles, Eze, Mobolaji, and Adesanya will broker new talent partnerships and promote artists in Western Africa as well as the rest of the continent. All three are based in Lagos, Nigeria.

Eze joins EMPIRE from Universal Music Nigeria, where he served as general manager. Mobolaji was previously a marketing executive at mobile technology company MTech and also founded his own digital marketing agency, Ingle Mind, where he worked developed and worked with Burna Boy, Tiwa Savage, WizKid and more. Adesanya most recently worked at digital music distribution company Africori in product management and communications.

At launch, EMPIRE Africa boasts strategic partnerships with African artists including Olamide (and his YBNL label), Afro B, Zlatan and many more.

Paul Smith, formerly the global head of international licensing at Spotify, joined YouTube APAC as director, YouTube Music.

In his new role, Smith will run YouTube’s Music business in the APAC region, heading up music partnerships and further strengthening relationships with artists, rights holders and industry stakeholders.

At Spotify, Smith led the licensing of digital content from the international community of rights holders globally, playing a key role in launching and introducing Spotify around the world. Before that, he held leadership roles at Nokia, Microsoft, MixRadio and Universal Music.

Ged Doherty will step down as chair of BPI, the U.K. record labels association, after seven years. He’ll continue in the role until a successor is found.

Doherty is departing to focus on his film company Raindog Films, which he founded in 2012 with actor Colin Firth.

“I have loved every minute of working with the BPI and its members and its amazing team led by Geoff Taylor,” said Doherty in a statement. “I can look back with pride at many achievements accomplished together, but after seven years in the role I feel the time is now right for me to move on – especially as this year is Raindog’s 10th anniversary and is set to be our busiest ever, with several films and documentaries about to be announced including the filming of a $60m TV drama series to be shot in the UK this summer.”

Geoff Taylor, CEO of BPI, BRIT Awards & Mercury Prize, thanked Doherty “for his support not just to the BPI and its members, but also his dedication to our charity The BRIT Trust, and leading the work to refresh The BRITs Academy to ensure the continuing relevance and success of The BRIT Awards. He will always be part of our music family.”

Anthony Rodol was promoted to managing director, U.S. music at YMU. He was formerly general manager.

The Los Angeles-based Rodol joined YMU in 2017 when Deckstar Management was acquired by James Grant Group (now YMU). During his time there, he has worked on teams representing Common, Steve Aoki and Vicetone, among others. In his new role, he’ll reported to Matt Colon, global president of YMU’s music division.

Rodol started his career at Universal Music Group, where he worked on the U.S. launch of the NOW compilation series. He went on to a variety of marketing roles at Warner Music Group and switched over to management as general manager at Complete Control Management.

10K Projects promoted Molly McLachlan to executive vp, global marketing. She will continue overseeing global marketing for the label and its artists in the new role.

During McLachlan’s time in international at 10K, the label claims it has seen a nearly 200% increase in streams outside of the U.S. Major successes have included Internet Money’s “Lemonade” hitting No. 1 on the UK singles chart, iann dior racking up more streams in territories outside the U.S. than within it, Surfaces’ “Sunday Best” breaking globally and salem ilese’s single “Mad At Disney” charting in multiple territories.

“From the day Molly took on oversight of international at 10K, we saw an immediate positive effect on the success of our artists outside the United States,” said Zach Friedman, co-president of 10K Projects. “She continues to evangelize for our artists overseas in powerful ways and we are pleased to be able to offer her this expanded role at the label.”

Troy Carter and Suzy Ryoo’s Venice Music tapped three new executives to fill leadership roles on its global streaming team: Beth Cherry as head of streaming, U.K.; Isobel Kelly as head of alt/pop streaming U.S.; and Jamal Jimoh as head of hip-hop/R&B streaming U.S.

Cherry joins Venice Music from Parlophone, where she served as streaming lead across the label’s entire roster. She previously worked at Eleven Seven Music Group and wrote for NME.

Kelly arrives from Premier Music Group & Downtown Records, where she led commerce and streaming initiatives at Barry Weiss’ RECORDS. She previously worked at Sony Music in the U.K.

Jimoh has served in leadership roles at a variety of companies, including as vp & head of commerce at HITCO; vp, marketing & revenue at Rostrum Records; senior director, urban programming & revenue at Premier Music Group; director, urban digital marketing at Entertainment One; and general manager at Nick Cannon’s Ncredible Entertainment. Earlier in his career, he oversaw Island Def Jam’s Teen Island marketing arm.

AEG Presents promoted Adam Weiser to senior vp, global touring and talent out of Nashville. In the new role, he’ll work with agents, managers, and label partners to identify new talent and artist-development opportunities and oversee the continued growth of the division’s Nashville office. He’ll also continue producing and promoting tours.

Weiser has been with AEG Presents for 15 years. He currently books and promotes tours for artists including Kelsea Ballerini, Kane Brown and Luke Combs. He was named to Billboard’s Country Power Players list in 2020 and 2021 and has also garnered three nominations for Promoter of the Year from the Academy of Country Music.

Prior to his move to Tennessee, Weiser was a senior talent buyer for AEG Presents in the Northeast region.

Kabiru Bello, more commonly known as simply Bello, was promoted to the new role of vp, global A&R at Warner Recorded Music. He’ll continue to lead Asylum Records Nordics.

The expanded role will see Bello driving hip-hop and R&B-focused collaborations across the global Warner Recorded Music network. He’ll continue working from Stockholm and report to Eric Wong, president and CMO at Warner Recorded Music.

“This role gives me the chance to push culture forward, creating and growing new collaborations across our global A&R network, and enabling our artists to connect with fans in places they’ve never previously reached,” said Bello in a statement.

Wong added, “As we continue to build our domestic repertoire centers, it’s vital that we strengthen the connections across our entire A&R team around the world – a mission that Bello will do a first-class job at driving, while continuing to oversee the powerhouse that is Asylum Records Nordics.”

Bello has been with Warner Music Group since 2017, when he joined the A&R team at Warner Music Sweden. In 2018, he launched Asylum Records in the Nordics, where he’s signed 1.Cuz, A36 and Ricky Rich, among others. Over the course of his career, he additionally launched 20/20 Records, a Stockholm-based music company encompassing a record label, music publisher and management division.

Tricky Bizness Entertainment promoted Sarsha Venord from vp, operations to president. Vernod started at Tricky Bizness as an assistant in 2010.

In a statement, CEO Tricky Montgomery said, “Whether she is negotiating a deal or advocating on a client’s behalf with a record label, she shows up consistently in the best interest of our clients. This promotion was a natural progression based on Sarsha’s unrelenting commitment to our talent.”

“I’m looking forward to delivering even more successes, taking our artists to the next level and working with new talent,” added Venord. “It’s also very important for me to mentor younger women as they learn and grow in their careers.”

Venord’s promotion to president comes as Tricky Bizness transitions into additional genres and spaces, including film/TV projects, the metaverse and NFTs.

Tricky Bizness Entertainment’s clients include NLE Choppa, Unghetto Mathieu and producer Da Honorable CNote.

Republic Records hired Alyssa LoPresti as vp, marketing strategy.

In her new role, the New York-based LoPresti will develop and execute marketing campaigns and initiatives for Republic artists including James Bay, Bastille and Of Monsters and Men.

Before arriving at Republic, LoPresti worked at Columbia Records for a decade, rising from marketing assistant to director, marketing.

Dan Parrott was promoted to vp, commerce at Atlantic Records. In the newly-created role, he’ll help the label manage an integrated physical release schedule.

“Dan and the entire Commerce Team will be Atlantic’s one-stop shop for all physical formats (CD/MOD, vinyl, cassette, etc) and all artist D2C offerings,” said Atlantic senior vp, creative services Catherine Ciapas. “They will leverage WMX for account setup (Target, Amazon, etc), continue to work with WMX merch product managers to create and launch D2C offerings, and help increase the number of physical releases through products like music-on-demand (MOD).”

Parrott’s previous title was senior director, e-commerce marketing.

The Academy of Country Music announced new hires across several departments. They include Lori Kraft, joining as director, brand creative & design; Steve Mekler as director, brand marketing & partnerships; Jennifer Davis as manager, events; Rebecca Fisher as manager, strategic partnerships; Jesse Knutson as manager, publicity & media relations; and Kristan Pridgen as executive assistant to CEO Damon Whiteside.

Kraft most recently served as a freelance art director and has worked with magazines including US Weekly, Field & Stream and Better Home & Gardens. She will steer the overall visual branding and identity of the academy.

Mekler comes to the academy from more than three years at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, where he was senior digital manager. He also founded and currently serves as creative director at Stove Creative. In his role, he will lead and manage the Academy’s organic promotional reach through partnerships and collaborate with the marketing and creative departments to develop and maintain a clear brand identity for the organization.

Davis most recently led VIP and fan experience and events for FirstBank Amphitheater’s inaugural concert season in Franklin, TN. In her role at the academy, she’ll manage venue logistics and event operations for the ACM Awards, Academy of Country Music Honors and ACM Party for a Cause events, among other duties.

Fisher arrives at the academy from the Nashville-based commercials, branded content, live television programming and music video production company Taillight, where she created campaigns for major brands including Kleenex, Cottonelle, Ram Trucks and Camping World. At ACM, she’ll manage and activate partnerships for the Academy and manage relationships with key strategic partners, communicate sponsorship needs internally and secure new ACM brand partners.

Knutson is a journalist who has worked in both producing and reporting roles for TV stations in Los Angeles, Seattle, Harrisburg, PA and, most recently, Nashville, where he covered the entertainment industry while reporting for NewsChannel 5 (WTVF). In his new role, he will support publicity and media relations efforts for the Academy of Country Music.

Pridgen joins the academy from WME, where she worked for 12 years in a variety of roles. She will provide administrative support to the academy’s CEO, board of directors and executive team.

Music industry veterans Hallie Anderson, Hana Mogulescu and Jessica Page launched Rareform, described as an “artist services hub where musicians can harness expert industry executives and create their own team to perfectly tailor and suit their release needs,” according to a press release.

Rareform provides direct marketing support to artists and label teams to help realize goals beyond traditional album campaign cycles. The company does not own a percentage of artists’ business.

Anderson most recently served as marketing head and co-general manager of Mom + Pop Records (alongside Page). During her time there, she helped run global marketing and release strategy for artists including Courtney Barnett, Flume and Alice Merton. She’s also worked at AEG Live NW and Foundations Artist Management.

Mogulescu most recently worked as vp, management and label manager at September Management, where she helped launch the September Recordings label and run the global marketing campaign for Rex Orange County’s Pony album. Prior to that, she oversaw campaigns at Beggars Group as senior product manager.

Page served as streaming and digital strategy head at Mom + Pop Music for five and a half years before being promoted to co-general manager alongside Anderson, a role she served in for two years. During her tenure at the label, she led digital strategy and fostered relationships with DSPs. Before Mom + Pop, she worked in distribution at Virgin Music and label services at Caroline.

Rareform’s company client list includes Interscope, The Orchard, September Management and threesixzero, while artist clients include Faye Webster, Jawny and Oberhofer, among many others.

Magnolia Music Group launched with Randy Houser as its flagship artist. The company is being distributed by Empire and will use Thinkswell’s marketing services.

At launch, Heather Propper and Kimmie Trosdahl joined Magnolia as co-vps, radio promotion. Propper previously spent five years at KMLE in Phoenix, followed by over 10 years at Stoney Creek/BMG and Warner Music Nashville. Trosdahl previously worked at Warner Music Nashville, with other career stops including Wheelhouse/BMG and Bigger Picture.

Kyleigh Roberts also joined as director, content, while Emily Hoch joined as coordinator. Roberts previously worked at Still Working Music Group.

“I couldn’t be more excited about the creation of Magnolia Music Group and feel like it’s time to be more present than ever,” Houser said. “Magnolia’s commitment to artistry is very important to me and has been a cocoon of safety for me while writing and recording new music. I can’t wait to emerge and share what we’ve been creating!” – Jessica Nicholson

Triple Tigers Records regional promotion managers Annie Brooks, Parker Fowler and Julianna Vaughn were promoted to director roles at the label, effective immediately. All three executives have been with Triple Tigers since launch and have led the label’s radio-driven success in their respective regions.

Brooks represents Triple Tigers in the west from her home base of Portland, OR. Before joining Triple Tigers, she served as marketing and promotion director for KWJJ.

Fowler covers the southeast from Nashville. He previously served as a promotion specialist at RCA Records before joining Triple Tigers.

Vaugh, also based in Nashville, covers the southwest. She started as promotions coordinator at MCA Nashville.

Triple Tigers’ roster includes Scotty McCreery, Russell Dickerson and Jordan Fletcher.

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