Columbia Records aims to build upon its A&R might with the addition of Steve Greenberg, who has been named president of the label. He started Jan. 26.
LOS ANGELES -- Columbia Records aims to build upon its A&R might with the addition of Steve Greenberg, who has been named president of the label. He started Jan. 26.
That is according to Will Botwin, who at the same time has been promoted to chairman of Columbia Records Group. He had served as president of CRG since 2002.
"Our commitment is to bolster and strengthen our A&R department, and Steve Greenberg is a big part of that," Botwin says.
Greenberg founded and served as president/CEO of S-Curve Records, home to such acts as Joss Stone and Fountains of Wayne.
In his new capacity, Botwin will continue to determine the overall direction of CRG, reporting to Don Ienner, president/CEO of Sony Music Label Group U.S. CRG encompasses Columbia Records and its affiliated labels, including Aware Records and DMZ.
Greenberg, who will oversee Columbia's A&R team and develop strategies for breaking and building artists' careers, reports to Botwin, as do all department heads.
For Ienner, Botwin's promotion and Greenberg's arrival signal a strengthened core.
"Will's ascension to chairman is a recognition of his particular talents as an executive and a leader, and he brings a distinctive, forward-looking perspective to the position," Ienner says. "He will make the job his own very swiftly and persuasively. The goals were to strengthen the Columbia team at the top, add a major asset in Steve Greenberg, broaden Will's responsibilities and remain the No. 1 record company. And they will."
While the key goals remain breaking new artists and expanding the base for established acts, among the broader issues Botwin will focus on are "looking at retail and how we're pushing the boundaries through the introduction of the DualDisc and new initiatives of that nature," he says. "We also have to look at our digital space and how we build our lead in that area. It's a matter of taking a creative approach from a broader perspective of how we introduce artists and albums into the marketplace."
That philosophy dovetails with Greenberg's experience at S-Curve. "There are ways to develop things without spending a fortune," he says. "There are lots of ways into the marketplace. While radio is one of the primary vehicles we rely on, it's not the only vehicle. By being clever and hustling, you can get your stuff heard."
For example, while the Baha Men were known primarily for their mainstream radio hit "Who Let the Dogs Out," the group has had so many songs placed in movies that S-Curve was able to release a hits set by the band based on that activity.
The move to chairman is the latest promotion for Botwin, who has climbed Columbia's executive ladder since starting with the company as senior VP in 1996. He was promoted to CRG executive VP/GM in 1998, a post he held until he was named president. The role of chairman has been vacant since Ienner's promotion to his current title.
Prior to joining Columbia, Botwin owned Side One Management, whose clients included Lyle Lovett, John Hiatt, Steve Earle and Los Lobos.
Greenberg brings a track record as a hitmaker to Columbia from his years at Mercury, where he was senior VP/head of A&R-working with Hanson and Jon Bon Jovi, among others-and through the development of artists at the EMI-distributed S-Curve.
Greenberg retains the S-Curve name, while EMI keeps a number of its acts, including Stone and Fountains of Wayne.
Sources say the artists will be assigned to other EMI-owned labels, and the S-Curve imprint will go away. Discussions are ongoing with S-Curve's remaining staff of eight, some of whom are expected to continue to work the label's acts within EMI. Greenberg says there are no plans to reactivate S-Curve "at this time."
While excited about the opportunities ahead, Greenberg looks back fondly on his S-Curve experience. "I'm proud of the fact that we were able to sell 10 million albums worldwide in four years with one of the smallest staffs in the business," he says. "We had an incredible run, and we ended S-Curve at its peak."
For Greenberg, the task goes from the challenges of working with a small staff and roster to one of the largest in the industry. "It will be more of a time-management challenge to make sure that the records get the same amount of care and thought that I applied to them at S-Curve, but that's my intention," he says.
Upcoming releases from Columbia include new albums from System of a Down, Frankie J and Anna Nalick.