Executive Turntable: Moves at Sony Music UK, Republic Records, BMI & More

Jessica Carsen
Bonita Wellard

Jessica Carsen

Sony Music UK announced on Monday (Nov. 25) that Jessica Carsen was appointed to senior vice president, communications. She will report to chairman and CEO of Sony Music UK and Ireland Jason Iley.

Carsen previously served as director of communications for News UK, specifically The Times and The Sunday Times. Prior to that, she worked as a reporter at Time Magazine and as an investment writer for a global macro hedge fund.

“Jessica understands dynamic global companies that have been digitally disrupted and need to be innovative and creative,” said Iley. “Her vast experience and knowledge of the media landscape is exceptional and will complement our senior leadership team. I am delighted to have her join us.”

“I am thrilled to join a company as forward thinking as Sony Music, home to some of the industry’s most talented artists and executives,” added Carsen. “The company has a compelling vision under Jason’s leadership. This is an exciting new chapter for me and I am looking forward to joining such an energetic team at an evolutionary time for the industry.”



Mel Carter was appointed as senior vice president of a&r at Republic Records, the company announced Monday (Nov. 18).

In 2018, Carter joined the company as an a&r consultant and aligned his independent label Hikari Ultra with Republic.

“Mel has proven himself to be a true disruptor,” said evp Rob Stevenson. “He ignited a movement with Hikari Ultra that is diverse, dangerous and dynamic -- cutting his own path in the industry. We are grateful he has decided to join our team in an expanded role.”

“Talking to Rob, I’ve learned so much from him,” added Carter. “Monte [Lipman, CEO, Republic] and Avery Lipman [COO, Republic] offered me an amazing opportunity that was an honor to seize. Our job is to find the next big urban acts, develop them and break them on a global scale. I’m excited to do that with this incredible team and leave a mark on the culture as the #1 label in urban and across the board!”



BMI’s vice president of creative Charlie Feldman is retiring at the end of the year, the company announced on Thursday (Nov. 21). He will continue to consult for BMI in the new year.

Feldman spent 31 years at BMI. He has helped establish the company's presence at many music festivals, as well as been the liaison with many industry organizations. He’s served as a trustee and past president of the New York Chapter of The Recording Academy and been a board member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

“I have had the privilege to work with Charlie for the past 25 years and can say without a doubt that he has the heart and soul of a songwriter,” said BMI president and CEO Mike O’Neill. “Charlie’s love for the profession of songwriting is evident in all he does, and his contributions have truly enriched the world of music.  I want to thank Charlie for all he has done for our company, as well as his guidance and support of me over the years.  He will be missed by everyone at BMI, and we are grateful that he will continue to serve as a consultant for us while we work through this transition.”

“Songwriting was my first love, and I have the greatest respect and admiration for this wonderful profession,” added Feldman. “I have been so fortunate to have met and worked with some of the greatest songwriters in the world, and the fact that I was able to help them in some way and might have had even the smallest impact on their craft is nothing short of amazing to me. I am so grateful to everyone I have met throughout my journey at BMI and all of the wonderful people I have had the privilege to work with. While my time at BMI has come to a close, I look forward to what’s next for me and my family.”



David Weitzman joined Primary Wave Music Publishing as partner, the company announced Tuesday (Nov. 19). He will be based out of the Los Angeles office and work with Primary Wave president Justin Shukat and founder and CEO Lawrence Mestel.

Weitzman previously headed business development at Anthem Entertainment Group.

“I am thrilled to announce this new chapter in my professional career joining Larry, Justin and the fantastic Primary Wave team as partner, sourcing acquisitions to enhance the company’s aggressive growth strategy,” said Weitzman.

“I have known David for quite some time,” added Mestel. “He had been a formidable opponent when at his former company. We couldn’t be happier to provide David a platform where his vast experience and talents can flourish.”



Kobalt promoted Jeannette Perez to chief experience officer, the company announced Monday (Nov. 25).

Perez previously served as president of global synch & brand partnerships. She has worked at Kobalt since 2014.

"The music industry needs more leaders like Jeannette,” said Kobalt CEO and founder Willard Ahdritz. “She has always ensured that we deliver the highest quality creative services and opportunities to our partners and her dedication to our songwriters and artists perfectly aligns with the values of Kobalt. Combined with her positive attitude and how she manages her teams, I am very proud to have an amazing leader like Jeannette on our team.”

“Jeannette has built the best synch team in the business and made Kobalt the destination for both talent and licensees alike,” added president and chief revenue officer Laurent Hubert. “Jeannette demands excellence from her team and her results speak to that. This promotion is a natural next step for Kobalt, and Jeannette as a leader, to ensure we continually improve our services and provide standards that are consistent across the organization.”



Courtney Beebe was promoted to associate director, media of Sony Music Nashville, the company announced Thursday (Nov. 21).

She joined the Sony Music Nashville team in September 2018 and most recently served as manager of media. She will continue to report to senior vice president Allen Brown.

I have been a huge Courtney believer since I first worked with her as a member of the Communication Department at the Country Music Association,” said Brown. “As she has presented from day one with our team, Courtney has a collaborative spirit and strong ability to craft a compelling narrative that has contributed immensely to the advancement of our artists as well as our label group as a whole. She has strong relationships with impactful traditional and non-traditional media partners, and the track record that demonstrates it.”

“I can’t imagine a more exciting team to be a part of at this moment than Sony Music Nashville,” added Beebe. “Being a member of this innovative, talented group has been an immense honor and incredible learning experience. I am beyond grateful to learn every day from Allen Brown, and the larger SMN family who consistently strive to challenge the norm.”



BMI announced Tuesday (Nov. 19) that Perry Sook, chairman, president and CEO of Nexstar Media Group, Inc., was appointed to the BMI Board of Directors.

Sook has served on many industry boards and received many accolades, mostly recently The Media Institute’s 2016 American Horizon Award for leadership in promoting the independence of American media.

“We’re extremely pleased to welcome Perry Sook to the BMI Board of Directors,” said chairman of the BMI Board of Directors and The Dispatch Printing Company Michael J. Fiorile. “Perry has achieved incredible success at Nexstar, and we know he will be a valuable addition to the Board as we continue our mission of protecting the rights of songwriters, composers and music publishers and advocating for the value of music.”

BMI also announced that the following Board members were elected to three-year terms: Susan Davenport Austin, cfo Grace Church SchoolPaul Karpowicz, presiding director, BMI Board of Directors and retired president, Meredith Local Media GroupVirginia Hubbard Morris, vice president, Hubbard Broadcasting, Inc. and chair & CEO, Hubbard Radio, LLC and G. Neil Smith, president, GNS Media, LLC.



Epidemic Sound announced the appointment of Kate Vale as managing director of North America, the company announced Tuesday (Nov. 19).

Vale previously served as head of sales and operations at Google in Australia and New Zealand, Head of YouTube ANZ and spent six years launching music streaming in the ANZ market for Spotify.

“We’re thrilled Kate has joined the Epidemic team,” said co-founder and CEO of Epidemic Oscar Höglund. “We knew straight away she was the right person for the role given her track record of taking individual markets from zero to hundreds of employees, scaling companies into the thousands worldwide. We’re delighted to have her on board our journey to Soundtrack the World.”

“Since joining, I’ve been incredibly impressed by the potential of Epidemic’s product, people and mission,” added Vale. “It’s the perfect time for me to join the team and I’m excited to continue building out our presence in the US over the coming months and beyond.”



The National Music Publishers’ Association hired Kerry Mustico as svp, legal & business affairs, the company announced on Monday (Nov. 18).

She previously served as senior counsel at Oppenheim + Zebrak, LLP. Prior to that, she worked as counsel at Crowell & Moring LLP and was a litigation associate in the New York offices of WilmerHale and Lovells.

“The output of our legal and business program continues to exceed expectations and we are thrilled to grow by hiring Kerry who has an established track record of success for clients in the copyright space and will be a phenomenally important addition to NMPA,” said NMPA president & CEO David Israelite.

“Kerry’s experience and background will bring additional depth and value to NMPA’s legal department and, by extension, to our music publisher members,” added evp & general counsel Danielle Aguirre. “We are very excited for her to join our team.”



Adam Vodofsky was promoted to vice president of tour marketing at APA, the company announced Wednesday (Nov. 13).

Vodofsky joined APA in 2014 as a tour marketing agent before he was promoted to director.

“Adam has done a tremendous job spearheading our tour marketing operations across the Concerts division,” said APA co-heads Steve Martin, Bruce Solar and Steve Lassiter in a joint statement.  “We’re very pleased to award his hard work, expertise and tenacity with this well-deserved promotion.”



YMU Group appointed Fiona McAuley as head of digital -- UK Music, the company announced on Monday (Nov. 18). She will be based in London and report to Iain Watt, managing director of the UK music division.

McAuley previously served as senior digital marketing manager at Polydor Records. Prior to that, she held a senior position at WMA and roles at Universal Music Global Insights and Audiences NI.

“Fiona joins YMU Group at an exciting time for the company and will lead our thinking on digital strategy across our expanding roster of artists,” said Watt. “She is a well-respected innovator in her field with a strong track record of success. Her experience, expertise and insight into this increasingly important area will ensure she becomes a valuable addition to our senior leadership team. ”

“YMU Group puts the artist at the heart of everything they do and the opportunity to be part of that philosophy and to help maximise the opportunities available to them is really motivating,” added McAuley. “I’m looking forward to working as part of the YMU Group team and to helping innovate and shape the way we move forward in the digital space.”



Michelle Rusnack joined TickPick as chief financial officer, the company announced Thursday (Nov. 14).

She previously spent 14 years at New York Public Radio, working as director of finance and administration and chief financial officer.

“TickPick continues to evolve -- we’re no longer a startup,” said co-founder and co-CEO Brett Goldberg. “We’ve reached a critical point in our company’s history. It’s time to add structure to the team that allows us to scale, while still sticking to our roots and the remarkable company culture that has been such a big part of our story. With Michele’s pedigree, she’s the ideal person to take on these tasks.”

“It was clear from the moment I met Brett, Chris [O’Brien, co-founder and co-CEO] and the rest of the team that TickPick has a tremendous culture and is poised for massive growth,” Rusnak added. “I knew it was a company I wanted to be a part of as it enters this high-growth phase. TickPick’s no-fees model has changed the ticketing industry. I’m eager to utilize my background and experience to help TickPick capture an even greater share of the market.”



Opry Entertainment Group promoted Dolly Chandler to senior talent buyer on its artist relations and programming team, the company announced Tuesday (Nov. 19). She has worked with Opry Entertainment Group as a talent buyer since 2017.

Additionally, Mallorie McRea was hired as a talent buyer. She will also report to Chandler.

McRea previously served as show coordinator at Outback Presents and junior agent at Atomic Music Group.



The House of Blues Music Forward Foundation elected Emily Simonitsch, senior vice president of talent for Live Nation U.S. Concerts, and Patti-Anne Tarlton, chairman, Ticketmaster Canada and executive vice president of venues and promoters for North America, to the nonprofit’s board of directors, the company announced Tuesday (Nov. 18).

“I want to motivate young people generally and women of all ages to reach for influential positions across the music industry,” said Tarlton. “Music Forward is dedicated to serving youth, providing leadership and vocational skills that become a bridge to success for the next generation of industry leaders -- which must include diversity of backgrounds, experiences and be representative of the communities we work in. I couldn’t be more excited to join the board for this exceptional organization.”

“We are thrilled to add two innovative, inspirational and influential female music industry executives to the board,” added executive director of House of Blues Music Forward Foundation Nurit Siegel Smith. “We look forward to their support in securing partnerships and expanding Music Forward’s critical work.”



The Berklee College of Music’s Professional Music Department named Toki Wright as chair, the department announced Tuesday (Nov. 19).

An acclaimed MC, producer, writer, radio host and community organizer, Wright has served as the second assistant chair since July 2018.

"We are fortunate to have Toki Wright as the new chair of the Professional Music Department,” said Darla Hanley, dean of the Professional Education Department. “Toki brings a unique perspective as an experienced educator, administrator, hip-hop artist, producer, community leader and media personality. [Our department] is all about pursuing multiple professional interests and Toki is a fantastic role model of that for our students."

“Coming to Berklee in 2018 became a turning point in my journey navigating through the worlds of music, education, community development, policy and media,” added Wright. “When my former institution [McNally Smith College of Music] closed… Berklee took on the incredible role of accepting the transfer of many students who were left with few options to complete their educational journey… It displayed not only the power of Berklee but also the willingness to help students in need.” 



Spectra announced on Thursday (Nov. 21) that it promoted Richard Schneider to executive vice president, food services & hospitality, Tyler Fike to vice president, finance, food services & hospitality, Blair Cardinal to vice president, communications and Amy Minniti to vice president, deputy general counsel.

Additionally, the company hired David Livingston as vice president of the Spectra partnerships team and Mike Reinert as vice president of procurement.

Livingston was most recently the executive vice president of the Atlanta Blaze of Major League Lacrosse and president of the Atlanta Legends of the Alliance of American Football. Reinhert spent 15 years building best-in-class programs across field operations for Delaware North.



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