Rani Hancock Named Head of A&R at Columbia Records

Rani Hancock
Annie Tritt

“Streaming has changed the industry in a great way, because anything is available anytime, and as a fan of music, that’s the most exciting thing to me,” says Hancock, photographed on Nov. 19, 2018 at Sire Records in New York. “But at its heart, the music is what’s most important, and that hasn’t changed. It’s all about making great records, and the rest works itself out.”

Rani Hancock has been named executive vp/head of A&R at Columbia Records, according to an internal memo obtained by Billboard sent today (July 6). Hancock, based in New York, will begin her new role Aug. 1 and report to Columbia chairman/CEO Ron Perry.

Hancock has spent the past four years as president of Warner Music Group’s Sire Records. Prior to running Sire, she spent 15 years at Sony Music, eventually rising to executive vp A&R at RCA, before moving to Universal Music Group's Island Records as executive vp/head of A&R.

"Throughout her career, Rani has worked alongside numerous superstars and is an exceptional record maker," Perry said in the memo. "I’m thrilled that Rani will help lead our A&R department into the future."

Hancock takes over a department that had been led by Imran Majid and Justin Eshak, who earlier this year were tapped as the new co-heads of Island Records, after the resignation of Island chief Darcus Beese.

Hancock's career in A&R began at Arista Records, before she followed mentor Clive Davis to J Records, the imprint he founded in 2000. When J merged with RCA, Hancock began working with artists such as Kesha, Becky G and MAGIC!, signed Miley Cyrus (who herself just moved to Columbia in a new recording contract) and worked with Britney Spears, Pitbull and others.

After moving to Island, Hancock helped develop the careers of Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas, among others, and signed Bob Marley's grandson Skip Marley, before moving to take over Sire, the label founded by Seymour Stein and Richard Gottehrer, in August of 2017. At Sire, she signed artists such as Bryce Vine and Omah Lay.