One month after adding Rhino Records to his portfolio of responsibilities, Warner/Chappell Music chairman and CEO Cameron Strang is now adding the Warner Bros. Records label. Strang is replacing president/CEO Todd Moscowitz, who has resigned, the company confirmed in a statement issued late this afternoon. Rob Cavallo and Livia Tortella, Warner Bros. Records' Chairman and co-President/COO, respectively, will report directly to Strang.
The move means that Strang will now oversee all of WMG's West Coast U.S. operations.
If some saw Strang's purview adding Rhino Records as a portent that he was the Warner Music Group executive likely to eventually step into the departed WMG recorded music chairman/CEO Lyor Cohen's shoes, then today's news can only fuel that speculation.
While Moscowitz is regarded as a disciple of Cohen, who left the major in late September, that relationship is not seen as a factor in his departure from Warner. Instead, some says Moscowitz exit is more related to Strang's ascension. Moreover, asince the appointment of chairman Rob Cavallo, Moscowitz and co-president/COO Livia Tortella in 2010, Warner Bros. market share for albums plus track-equivalent ones has descended from the 6.19% it stood at for the week ending Sept. 12, 2010, to 5.81% at the end of 2011 to its current level of 4.72%.
But Moscowitz is hailed for adding R&B album market share to 3.1 percent this year from 1.4 back at the end of 2009. He's also credited with growing R&B track market share to 4.35 percent this year.
So far the team has produced three platinum sellers, Michael Buble's "Christmas," and the Black Keys albums "Brothers" and "El Camino." On the urban side, while it has yet to produce an album with gold-level sales of 500,000 units, it has had several big sellers with Wale, Meek Mill and Jill Scott. Moreover, one of the reasons why CEO Tom Whalley was let go in 2010 was because his affinity for rock music was going against the grain of the explosive sales power generated by pop music. The addition of Moscowitz and Tortella to the Warner Bros. leadership was supposed to fix that by getting the label into the pop-music business, but the label hasn't yet produced a million-selling hit this year. It produced two last year with Jason Derulo's "It Girl" and Waka Flaka Flame's "No Hands."
Strang headed up his own New West label and publishing operation before coming to the Warner Music Group. While initially an entertainment lawyer, he is considered a serious business executive, who understands both technology and has an appreciation for the creative process.
Recently, Strang brought in Jon Platt as president of Warner/Chappell and also has Rhino president/CEO Kevin Gore also reporting to him.