David Massey to Helm Relaunched Arista Records For Sony Music Entertainment

Clive Davis, David Massey and Rob Stringer
Courtesy Sony Music

Clive Davis, David Massey and Rob Stringer

David Massey, who left his post as president/CEO of Island Records at the end of June, has been named president/CEO of a rejuvenated Arista Records by Sony Music Entertainment CEO Rob Stringer

Massey’s leadership of Arista is part of a creative partnership between the industry vet and Sony Music that also includes a joint venture for artist management and music publishing companies run by Massey. The New York-based Massey reports directly to Stringer. 

“We are excited to be reintroducing the iconic Arista brand as a full major label under the leadership of David Massey,” Stringer said in a statement. “David is a visionary and progressive talent developer and his recent success at breaking new artists around the world only highlights his remarkable consistency of creative success year after year.”

“I am really delighted to see the Arista name return to a place of prominence under an executive with the talents of David Massey,” said Davis, SME’s chief creative officer. “David is a true music man who has tremendous respect for artistry, and he is the ideal choice to carry on the label’s great tradition.”

Massey’s move marks a return to Sony where he was executive VP, A&R, for Sony Music Label Group US, a post he assumed in 2004 after previously spending 10 years at Sony’s Epic Records, where his titles included EVP/GM and exec VP of A&R. While at Sony, he also oversaw his own imprint, Daylight Records.

Massey, who ranked No. 60 on Billboard’s 2018 Power List, ran Universal Music Group’s Mercury Records from 2007 until he was named president of UMG’s Island Records in 2013. Then, the label was still part of the combined Island Def Jam Music Group before it became a standalone company with the breakup of the UMG collective in April 2014. Over the past five years, he's shepherded the careers of Shawn Mendes, Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas, Tove Lo, The Killers, Fall Out Boy, Bon Jovi and Mike Posner, among others.

“I want to thank Rob Stringer for the phenomenal opportunity to return to Sony Music in an expansive new partnership and lead the next chapter of Arista Records,” said Massey. “Clive Davis made the Arista name synonymous with tremendous creativity and great songs, and I look forward to continuing that identity by working with the many talented people at Sony to build a new roster of hit artists. I am also excited to join forces with Sony to drive additional growth through artist management and music publishing.”

Arista, which was founded by Davis in 1974 and had been home to Whitney Houston, Patti Smith, Carlos Santana and Barry Manilow, among others, was shuttered in 2011 by RCA CEO Peter Edge and then COO Tom Corson. Sony Music Nashville has continued to operate Arista Nashville, which includes Brad Paisley among the artists on its roster.  

Massey’s Island U.S. replacement, former Island Records U.K. head Darcus Beese, began his post July 1.