Former A&R exec to head initiative as GM.

Warner/Chappell Music is branching out into the record business. The publisher has formed Perfect Game Recording Co., a new incubator designed to promote and develop emerging songwriter/artists.

Perfect Game will sign to Warner/Chappell songwriter/artists who are not already signed to a record label. The songwriters will have the opportunity to write, record and release albums and singles supported by Warner Music Group's incubator infrastructure: WMG’s East West Records will provide marketing and promotion resources, while WMG's independent music distributor, Alternative Distribution Alliance, will handle U.S. distribution.

Howie Abrams, a former record and publishing A&R executive with the Zomba Music Group, will head Perfect Game as its general manager. He will be based in New York City. Prior to joining Zomba, Abrams held A&R and marketing positions at Roadrunner Records and In-Effect/Relativity Records.

"With Perfect Game, Warner/Chappell can now organically develop its performing songwriters in a low-risk environment, with an eye towards long-term career growth in either the independent or the major label community," says Richard Blackstone, Warner/Chappell chairman/CEO. "With an executive of Howie's caliber at the helm and by drawing on the resources of WMG's successful incubator initiative, I'm confident that Perfect Game will enable us to kick start the careers of developing songwriter/ recording artists and help them grow their audience."

Hip-hop/punk band the Lordz is the first signing to Perfect Game. The Brooklyn, N.Y., band's debut album features collaborations with Rancid's Tim Armstrong, Bowling for Soup's Jaret Reddick and Everlast.

"Perfect Game marks an evolution in music publishing by providing songwriter/ recording artists with a greater breadth of tools to help them grow and build a strong fan base," says Abrams. "This initiative is also an ideal way for me to combine my passion for discovering talent with my experience in both music publishing and recorded music."

The Warner/Chappell catalog includes standards such as "Happy Birthday To You," "Rhapsody in Blue," "Winter Wonderland," the songs of Cole Porter and George and Ira Gershwin, as well as the music of Dido, Dr. Dre, Eric Clapton, Green Day, Led Zeppelin, Madonna, Nickelback, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sheryl Crow, T.I. and others.