From left: Timeflies manager Jared Glick: Island Records president David Massey; Matt Galle (Photo Finish founder and A&R Island); Guggenheim Digital Media CEO Ross Levinsohn; Timeflies' Rob Resnick and Cal Shapiro; IDJ Music Group president/COO Steve Bartels; Billboard publisher Tommy Page (Photo: Arnold Turner)

Billboard celebrated the brand's relaunch Thursday night with an appropriately lavish kickoff party befitting of a 119-year-old brand. Held at Stage 48 west of New York’s Hell’s Kitchen, Billboard’s relaunch party featured performers Timeflies, Neon Trees and headliner Ludacris, with lively between-set tunes from the night’s DJ ?uestlove.

The party and Universal-centric lineup drew industry heavy-hitters like Steve Bartels, president-chief operating officer of Island Def Jam Music Group; David Massey, president of Mercury Records; Pandora's Alison White; RCA Records' Joe Riccitelli, Jessie Maldonado and Nathalie Marin; Republic's Gary Spangler, Jay Wilson and Myisha BrooksFuse Sr. VP Liana Huth; SiriusXM's Steve Leeds; Vevo SVP David Adams; Musicmetric's Mark TindleMTV host Lenay Dunn; A2IM president Rich Bengloff; Pepsi's Bozoma Saint JohnIDJ's Jazmine ValenciaHarry Fox Agency's Dalita Kevmura and John RasoNew York Times music business reporter Ben Sisario; Brandon Martinez and Jon Baltz, co-founders of INDmusic; Beats Electronics' Daniel Oakley; and recording artists like Atlantic’s Marina Diamanidis of Marina & The Diamonds and Charli XCX as well as Lizzy Plapinger of Columbia’s MS MR. Guggenheim Digital Media CEO Ross Levinsohn was also seen holding court from the crowded VIP section.

 Check Out Billboard Relaunch Party's Instagram Gallery With Ludacris, Neon Trees, ?uestlove, Timeflies and YOU!

Ludacris who put on a blazing performance at Stage 48 at Billboard's relaunch party. (Photo: Arnold Turner)

Behind the velvet rope A2IM's Bengloff discussed his indie trade group's preparations for its second annual Libera awards, which is just starting its nomination process. This year the ceremony is leaving its comfy confines at NYC's Le Poisson Rouge for the larger HIghline Ballroom. Nearby attorney Elliot Resnik of Shukat Arrow Hafer Weber & Herbsman explained how the management for Shinobi Ninja, a band he reps, is dealing with the crush of this year's SXSW shows: they bought their own Austin venue — Empire Auto --  for this year's SXSW. And upstairs in the artists' lounge Pepsi's Bozoma Saint John enthused about Beyonce's incredible Super Bowl half time performance and the success of having 1,000 contest winners attend the event. And needless to say, people were talking about how great the redesigned magazine and websites look -- not to mention the fact that Billboard and Nielsen have added YouTube video streaming data to their platforms, including the Billboard Hot 100. 

 

Billboard editorial director Bill Werde (second from left) with Neon Trees (from left) Branden Campbell, Tyler Glenn, Chris Allen and Elaine Bradley (Photo: Arnold Turner)

On the artist front, Marina Diamanidis chatted about her month-long stint in New York to begin writing songs for her third album, and the release of a new song “E.V.O.L.” last week on Valentine’s Day. The track was a holdover from the sessions of her sophomore album “Electra Heart,” released last July in the States via Atlantic, but was completed too late to make the final track listing. “I wanted to do something special with it to kind of close out that chapter,” she told Backbeat, hence the cheeky decision to release the anti-romance track (“It only takes two lonely people/to f--- love up and make it evil,” she sings on the charging track, reminiscent of '70s rock.) 

 

RCA Records Joe Riccitelli and Jessie Maldonado, RCA Records. (Photo: Michael Seto)

 

Atlantic labelmate Charli XCX, meanwhile, was in town to do early promo and press for her debut album, “True Romance,” due this April. The 13-track set includes favorites from a series of self-released mixtapes she put out in 2012, including “You’re The One,” “Nuclear Seasons” and “So Far Away,” as well as all-new tracks like lead single “You (Ha Ha Ha)” and the electro-bubblegum rave-up “Take My Hand.” And the New York-based Plapinger is gearing up for her own debut album, with MS MR’s “Second Hand Rapture” due this May from Columbia.

 

Billboard's Emily Lichtenberg, Lizzy Plapinger of Columbia’s MS MR, Charli XCX and Marina Diamanidis of Marina & The Diamonds (Photo: Arnold Turner)

  From left: Beats Electronics' Daniel Oakley; IDJ's Jazmine Valencia, IDJ; Billboard's Reg Gonzalez (Photo: Michael Seto)

 

 Questlove tearing it up on Stage 48's balcony DJ booth (Photo: Michael Seto)

 

Billboard Digital Sandwich: Billboard.biz editor Jem Aswad, Fuse's Liana Huth and Billboard.com editor Tye Comer (Photo: Michael Seto)

 From left: Billboard editor Joe Levy, Ross Levinsohn, Steve Bartels, Pepsi's Bozoma Saint John and Billboard publisher Tommy Page (Arnold Turner)

Billboard's Tommy Page and Diageo's Patricia Popowich (Photo: Michael Seto)

 

New York Times music business reporter Ben Sisario (left) with A2IM's Rich Bengloff (Photo: Michael Seto)

From left: Mark Tindle, MusicMetric; Dalita Kevmura, Harry Fox Agency; Billboard's Bob Weil; and John Raso, Harry Fox Agency. (Photo: Michael Seto)

From left: Universal Republic's Myisha Brooks and Jay Wilson with Billboard's Jem Aswad and Tommy Page (Photo: Michael Seto)

 

Additional reporting by Andy Gensler

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