Island Def Jam Music Group
Twitter: @IslandRecords 
POWER MOVE: In 2012, IDJ delivered Rihanna’s first No. 1 album and breakthroughs from 2 Chainz and Frank Ocean.
THE RUNDOWN: With the departure of Antonio “L.A.” Reid (No. 40 ) nearly two years ago, IDJMG created a void that Bartels filled by using his knowledge gained from more than a half-dozen years with the company, originally serving as president of Island since May 2004 and adding the title of COO at IDJMG in early 2005.
An avid cyclist who takes his Cannondale road bike with him on most out-of-town trips, Bartels says, “I look at everything like a race,” including his job, which sees him out most nights with label artists. The day Billboard spoke to him, he’d spent the afternoon with Bon Jovi at a SiriusXM broadcast, and was ready for an evening in the studio with Mariah Carey. “It sounds like fun, but I take this very seriously,” he says. “You’re carrying the artists’ dreams in your hands.”
While his background involved radio promotion and catalog marketing -- he’s the guy behind the Ultimate Dance Party series of the late ’90s -- Bartels has been stepping up his game on the artist-relations front, letting acts know they have a real home with the company. “It’s important artists feel comfortable and able to talk about their issues, and for us to be able to talk to them about doing great things for their [image],” he says.
During the past year, IDJ delivered Rihanna’s first No. 1 album (Unapologetic), helped 2 Chainz and Frank Ocean break through and detailed plans for Justin Bieber to bring his audience along as he grows from teen idol to serious artist.
People who have worked with Bartels know him as a motivator who can mentor younger staff, yet light a fire under them when needed. He’s also credited with IDJ’s exemplary execution. “When they have a potential hit album,” a Universal insider says, “you can be sure nothing falls through the cracks.”