5 Up-and-Coming Young Music Power Players to Watch

2015's 40 Under 40 Rising Stars: Walter K. Frye, Jeff Krones, Sophie Ash, Aaron Tannenbaum and Mike Navarra.

Beyond the 40 Under 40: These rising stars deserve recognition for their significant professional promise.

This year's Rising Stars were chosen by Billboard editors from more than 500 nominations submitted to Billboard.biz. Executives were judged on business impact, audience, market share and the chart and/or touring performance of clients during the past 12 months, as measured by Nielsen Music and Billboard Boxscore.

40 Under 40: Music's Top Young Power Players Revealed


Vp entertainment and sponsorships, American Express

Frye, a Harvard Business School grad, forged a deal this past year to feature Taylor Swift's "Blank Space" as a multicamera "immersive" video on the American Express Upstaged app -- and secured presale access to Swift's tour for American Express members. "We have been getting rave reviews from cardmembers around the world," he says.


Project manager, Parkwood Entertainment

Ash had worked with 2 Chainz, Cam'ron and Joe Budden, and previously at branding and marketing firm Translation, when she joined Beyonc√©'s Parkwood Entertainment in time to help execute 2014's On the Run stadium tour with Bey and Jay Z. A resident of Manhattan's Washington Heights neighborhood, Ash proudly says that "to have any involvement with that tour was a great achievement."


Director of publicity, Columbia Records

"One Direction has made my career over the past five years," says Navarra, who has been with Columbia since 2008 and worked with 1D since the 2010 setup for the act's debut album. The New Jersey native led the press plan for the launch of the band's latest album, Four, including a partnership with NBC that brought Today to Florida last November for a live performance by the group before 15,000 fans at Universal Orlando Resort.


Agent, Creative Artists Agency

"I've worked with Needtobreathe since I was an intern 11 years ago," says Krones and, in July, the act sold out the 9,500-capacity Red Rocks Amphitheater near Denver. The Nashville-based agent reps acts well beyond the country genre (Owl City, Michael Franti) and is developing the live draw of A Thousand Horses, the only act to play both Bonnaroo and the 2015 CMA Music Festival.


Agent, Creative Artists Agency

Georgia-born, Nashville-based Tannenbaum books rising country acts including Brantley Gilbert, Canaan Smith, Lucy Hale, Aaron Watson and Michael Ray. He signed Gilbert as a club act and this summer had the singer open for Kenny Chesney on the Big Revival stadium tour. When one of his acts makes that kind of career leap with his help, he says, "they always look so proud and happy, and that gives me a sense of accomplishment."

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