Ron Pence has joined EMI North America as its new head of brand partnerships, the company announced Thursday (Jan. 19), overseeing advertising and brand deals for a roster that includes Katy Perry, Coldplay, David Guetta and Swedish House Mafia. Pence joins EMI from Live Nation Entertainment, where he brokered multi-million dollar deals with brands ranging from Coca-Cola to Constellation Wines to Pernod Ricard as a senior strategic alliance executive.
"Ron's experience in the consumer products and music industries gives him a strong understanding of the delicate balance between the activation requirements of brands and the varying needs of the artist," Dominic Pandiscia, EMI Music North America's EVP of commercial and revenue development. "His work in social and digital media proves that he can deliver the best possible outcome for brands and creative talent alike."
Brand partnership groups are increasingly pivotal for the majors to create new revenue streams, as well as vie for their place in the branding ecosystem. Oftentimes, a label's brand partnership group is competing for their piece of the same deal as an artist's agent at William Morris Endeavor, Creative Artists Agency or International Creative Management, particularly when it comes to larger commercial endorsements. In recent years, EMI's brand partnership team has helped execute major deals with brands like Microsoft, American Express and Starwood Hotels and artists like Perry (Ubisoft's "Just Dance"), Guetta (Coca-Cola's sponsorship of "Nothing But the Beat") and Swedish House Mafia (Absolut sponsored the dance act's sold-out run at New York's Madison Square Garden last month.)
"EMI Brand Partnerships offers a tremendous opportunity for artists and consumer brands to engage consumers through high-impact, integrated marketing solutions while maintaining brand integrity," said Pence, who has also had entertainment-marketing roles at PepsiCo, Young & Rubicam and MillerCoors.
Pence joins EMI at a pivotal time for the company, as it prepares to face regulatory scrutiny over its sale to Sony and Universal. Should both deals get approved, Sony/ATV would inherit EMI's valuable publishing catalog, while Universal would claim EMI's recorded music, boosting its market share to a commanding 39.9% compared to Sony's 28.4%, per SoundScan's 2011 estimates of album and track-album equivalent sales.