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Executive Turntable: Moves at Spotify, Big Machine Label Group, Sony & More
Longtime Spotify publicist Graham James will step down next month, sources told Variety on Wednesday (Aug. 29).
Dustee Jenkins, who was named the company’s head of public relations in November, will relocate to New York in the coming weeks.
James served as Spotify’s first communications hire in the U.S., joining shortly after its U.S launch in July 2011. During his tenure, he has helped grow the domestic subscriber base, aided with launches in Latin America and Canada, and played a role guiding it through its direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange in April.
James has no set destination at this point and is planning on taking some time off, the sources added.
Big Machine Label Group (BMLG) and Republic Records have officially announced on Tuesday (Aug. 27) that Jon Borris is the new senior VP of promotion. Under the promotion, he will be working with Taylor Swift, Florida Georgia Line, and others at Republic’s New York headquarters.
“Scott Borchetta’s entrepreneurial spirit is infectious. I knew immediately that I wanted to work with him and the BMLG team to spread his unique vision for some of the industry’s top talent across multiple genres,” says Borris. “I’ve watched from afar as Monte and Avery Lipman, Gary Spangler, and the Republic Records team have done nothing short of extraordinary work on behalf of their artists and it is truly a thrill to now join the #1 Promotion team in the music industry!”
“Monte, Gary and I have been searching for just the right person to propel our Big Machine releases to the next level, and Jon is that person,” said BMLG President/CEO Scott Borchetta. “Along with added focus on Taylor’s extraordinary Pop success, Jon will continue to build the crossover platform for Florida Georgia Line, Thomas Rhett and more talent coming out of our Nashville-based global headquarters.”
Prior to the promotion, Borris previously at Sony Music Entertainment, where he was responsible for pop promotion at Columbia Records. There and with Epic, he worked with Adele, Beyoncé, John Mayer, Calvin Harris, Shakira, Jennifer Lopez, One Direction, The Chainsmokers, and many others.
Sony Music Entertainment announced on Tuesday (Aug. 28) that Constance Williams has been appointed senior vice president and head of human resources, Americas.
Williams will report to evp, global chief human resources officer Dasha Smith Dwin in Sony’s New York headquarters, where she will be responsible for leading talent acquisition and management, as well as organizational development functions in the Americas.
“Sony Music is an iconic global leader in entertainment, and I am extremely proud to be part of the team here,” Williams said in a statement. "I look forward to partnering with management to develop innovative and impactful HR approaches that help the company meet its business goals, enable our employees to thrive, and strengthen Sony Music’s position as an exceptional place to work.”
Added Smith Dwin: "Constance is a highly experienced, successful human resources executive who knows how to deliver forward thinking HR insights. I look forward to her helping Sony Music continue to develop a best in class employee experience."
Williams joins Sony Music after serving as the principal of management consulting firm HR Ace Consulting, LLC. Williams has previously worked and held HR roles at IMG, Warner Media and Nielsen Media.
Matador Records announced the hires of Jake Whitener as director of A&R and Alex Keague-Davies as U.K. general manager to the company’s New York and London offices, respectively, on Tuesday (Aug. 28).
“I’m very excited to be joining the Matador team,” said Keague-Davies. “A hugely respected label, I’m looking forward to not only continuing the legacy and success of Matador and their artists, but growing and building on that, both in the U.K. and internationally.”
Previously, Whitener worked as a publicist at Big Hassle Media, as well as the founder of two small labels (Mock Records, Unsatisfied Records) and Unscene Fest (a DIY music festival in Los Angeles. He also has former experience at Capital Records and Red Light Management.
Prior to joining Matador, Keague-Davies spent recent years leading global campaigns for various labels. She has worked with in-house imprints such as [PIAS] Recordings & Play It Again Sam, as well as labels such as Ipecac and Partisan.
Crush Music announced the hiring of Aaron Matusow on Tuesday (Aug. 28). He will lead creative marketing and brand strategy, based in the company’s New York office reporting to CMO, Dan Kruchkow.
“Aaron is one of the most creative thinkers in the business, hands down,” said Kruchkow. “We’re very excited to change the game by leveling-up our creative marketing and creating partnerships in a whole new way with him on board.”
Previously, Matusow spent 10 years at WWE, where as music director he drove artist partnerships and music strategies for the sports entertainment company. He managed song placement in worldwide programming including Monday Night RAW and SmackDown Live, music branding for talent including John Cena and Ronda Rousey, and artist performances at special events including WrestleMania and SummerSlam.
CD Baby announced Thursday (Aug. 30) that the company has hired Heli Del Moral as its first vp of international development. He will join the Portland team starting Tuesday, Sept. 4.
Del Moral will be building CD Baby’s business outside of North America and Europe. Previously, he worked at Disney as director of international marketing and promotion for ESPN and ESPN Desportes, driving profitability for the Latin America region, developing the European market, and supporting business growth in Australia, sections of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.
“I believe that CD Baby is ideally positioned to expand its global reach and I am excited to wrok together with our international group to help artists around the world release their music, gain their independence and realize their dreams,” said Del Moral. “I can’t wait to see what we can achieve together.”
“We’re delighted to welcome Heli to the team,” added Tracy Maddux, CEO of CD Baby. “His deep knowledge and experience in growing international markets has been well demonstrated at ESPN and Univision. We’re excited to unleash his talents to help market and develop the CD Baby brand worldwide.”
Crowd Surf announced on Tuesday (Aug. 27) that H. Read Davis is the new Director of Creative Operations. The appointment comes from co-founders Cassie Petrey and Jade Driver.
In this role, Davis will be responsible for managing all video, graphic, web, and photo productions. He will oversee delivery independent releases, all content I.D. and Facebook Rights manager initiatives, handle playlisting placement for Crowd Surf’s independent artist through Spotify and YouTube, and recruit and train staff.
“Jade and I are thrilled to announce the expansion of Crowd Surf services that will be led by Read,” said Petrey in a statement. “He has done so much for our clients already and know he will continue to deliver valuable results.”
Crowd Surf currently provides speciality marketing and publicity services to Britney Spears, Guns N’ Roses and the Backstreet Boys. Crowd Surf also offers artist management, and is currently managing AJ McLean (of Backstreet Boys).
Los Angeles-based management company Faculty Management CEO Jared Paul has announced on Monday (Aug. 27) that Janelle Lopez has been named general manager.
“It has been an honor to work with Jared and the entire Faculty staff,” said Lopez. “The team has always encouraged and empowered me to excel at the highest level for our clients. I’m extremely excited for the future ahead.”
“Janelle has been consistently instrumental to the success of Faculty and its entire roster. Over the years, she has proven herself to be one of the most diligent, dedicated, and driven managers in the business. In this post, she will undoubtedly continue to flourish and guide our artists towards profound success,” Paul added.
Lopez has worked for Faculty Management since the company’s formation in 2015, and has most notably worked to develop artists like Sabrina Carpenter, Lea Michele, New Kids on the Block, and Fifth Harmony.
The T.J. Martell Foundation announced on Thursday (Aug. 30) that Melissa Goodwin will assume to the role of executive vp and general manager of the organization. Goodwin will oversee all office operations, such as finance, human resources and staff, with consultants reporting directly to her.
Goodwin has spent the past 14 years with the T.J. Martell Foundation and served most recently as the senior vp of operations and human resources. Prior to that role, she was national director of administration and human resources. She'll continue to report to foundation CEO Laura Heatherly and will remain based in Nashville.
“I have the privilege of working with an incredible group of people who are on the team at the T.J. Martell Foundation," Goodwin said in a statement. "I look forward to always pursuing the standard of excellence Tony Martell set forth when he founded the Foundation as a way to honor his son. I am honored at the trust the Foundation has put in me and look forward to elevating the awareness of the organization -- music’s promise for a cure.”
“Melissa’s leadership skills are exceptional, and with her extensive knowledge of our offices, events, and donors, I’m confident the T.J. Martell Foundation is well-positioned to continue our outstanding growth and development,” Heatherly added in a statement.