Executive Turntable: Fusion Entertainment Company Launches in Nashville; Moves at Capitol, Concord & More

Ted Ellis, Mike Meade, Amy Aylward, Chuck Rhodes, Tom Cross and Wayne Halper
Bob Frank, Chuck McDowell III

Ted Ellis, Mike Meade, Amy Aylward, Chuck Rhodes, Tom Cross and Wayne Halper 

Nashville veterans Chuck Rhodes, Mike Meade, Amy Aylward and Wayne Halper, along with Bob Frank, Ted Ellis, Tom Cross and Chuck McDowell III, have launched Fusion Entertainment Company, it was announced Wednesday (Feb. 12). Fusion will operate as a booking agency while also offering management and label services to select clients. Other staffers at the new company include agents Tayler Bock and Joan Saltel.

As part of the new venture, Meade and Aylward’s booking agency Acceleration Music Group (AMG) -- which they formed in 2018 -- has effectively merged with Fusion, which had already been in the works.

"We had an incredible year with AMG in 2019 and are looking forward to the future with this new venture, Fusion Entertainment Company," said Meade in a statement. "Our long history with this team in other facets of the industry and the relationships we all share with our clients and friends will prove to be the perfect merger."

The initial artist roster for Fusion’s booking division includes Darryl Worley, Ty Herndon, John Schneider, Michelle Wright, Danielle Peck, Smith & Wesley, Billy Gilman, Brody Ray, Trent Tomlinson, Keith Anderson and Jason Michael Carroll, with additional artists to be announced soon. The management division launches with guitarist Denny Jiosa.

Frank, the founder and CEO of Bob Frank Entertainment (BFE), is Fusion’s co-founder and chairman, while Rhodes will serve as executive vp and general manager and will oversee day-to-day operations along with vps/agents Meade and Aylward. Halper will head up legal affairs and business development.

"Chuck Rhodes and I have been discussing this opportunity for a long time now,” added Frank. “We work with so many artists who we feel are underserved in this space. Fusion will now super-serve these same artists, and we are thrilled to be able to put together such an experienced team."

 


 

Amanda Samii has been named senior vp of A&R at Capitol Records, it was announced Wednesday (Feb. 12) by label president Jeff Vaughn, to whom she will report.

In her new role, Samii will sign and develop artists for Capitol while also overseeing recording projects for new and established artists at the label. She will begin her tenure on March 2 out of the Capitol Tower in Hollywood.

Samii arrives at Capitol from Kobalt Music Publishing, where she worked for 10 years, most recently as vp creative. During her time there, she was key in signing a number of successful writers, artists and producers including Finneas O’Connell and Marshmello. She has also signed and worked with artists including Syd, Rogét Chahayed, Mike Crossey, Michael Matosic, Peter Thomas, Paul Meany, Vegyn, Jon Hume, Some Randoms and Uffie.

 


 

Concord has promoted a total of eight members of its staff across the company, it was announced Tuesday (Feb. 11).

The round of promotions includes Jeremy Yohai, who was upped to senior vp A&R in New York after signing such successful songwriters as Teddy Sinclair, Noah Goldstein, Jacob Collier and Denzel Curry. In his new role, he will be responsible for all U.S. A&R and for signing and developing writers outside of the country, classical and theatrical genres.

Brad Kennard was promoted to senior vp A&R in Nashville, where he will continue to support the company’s roster including Marcus King, Ruston Kelly, Keb’ Mo’, Tofer Brown, Sean McConnell and Jeremy Lutito. Kennard has worked in publishing for nearly 25 years for companies including Razor & Tie Music, Big Yellow Dog Music, Song Garden Music, Carnival Music and Curb Music Publishing.

Promoted to senior vp catalog A&R in Los Angeles is Mason Williams, who joined Concord four years ago to oversee A&R for the company’s catalog label Craft Recordings. During his time there, he has managed projects by artists including Otis Redding, Creedence Clearwater Revival, John Lee Hooker, The Pharcyde, Travis and John Coltrane. He previously spent 13 years in A&R at Rhino Records and has also worked at Beats Music and Apple Music.

Several others were promoted to the vp level, including Alanna Goracy to vp production & development, Kidz Bop; Charles Graytok to vp finance in New York; Bevis Hungate to vp rental services in London; Kourtney Kirkpatrick to vp synchronization in Nashville; and Casey McLain to vp retail & systems operations in New York.

 


 

On Thursday (Feb. 13), Downtown Music Holdings announced a number of key promotions and staff additions in the company’s business development and creative marketing divisions.

On the business development side, promotions include Andrew Sparkler, who has been named executive vp global business development, and Bruce Lampcov, who has been upped to senior vp global business development. Additionally, Brad Yuan has been hired as senior vp global operations, a newly-created role. The New York-based Sparkler and Yuan will report directly to Downton COO Andrew Bergman, while the L.A.-based Lampcov will report to Sparkler.

In his new role, Sparkler will continue overseeing all new business opportunities for Downtown and its portfolio of brands on a global scale, including acquisitions, catalog purchases, publishing agreements, digital partnerships and performing rights strategy. Since joining the company in 2014, he has brokered deals with songwriters including Ryan Tedder, Benny Blanco and Jimmy Napes and artists including Booker T. Jones, Natalie Merchant, Phish and Primus. He also led a direct partnership with YouTube that increased royalty revenue for Downtown songwriters and was key in supporting John Prine?’s induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Lampcov, who joined Downtown in 2018 and was most recently head of west coast business development, has brokered deals with The Miles Davis Estate, Shaggy, Leslie Bricusse, Aimee Mann and others during his tenure. He previously served as an executive vp at Fintage House and also worked at Kobalt Music. Yuan will focus on building Downtown’s operational efficiency, accountability and alignment across its entire portfolio. He previously worked as global head of rights management operations at Songtrust (a Downtown portfolio company), where he was responsible for all publishing administration, including copyright, licensing, royalties and production music.

Also on Thursday, Downtown announced the promotions of key executives on the company’s creative marketing team: Jumee Park, who has been promoted to senior vp film & television music; Rachel Kruk, who has been promoted to vp music for advertising and brands; and Dylan Silbermann, who was promoted to director of creative. All three are based in Los Angeles; Park and Kruk will continue reporting to Downtown executive vp and global head of sync Jedd Katrancha while Silbermann will continue reporting to senior vp creative Andrew Gould.

In her new role, Park will continue to oversee the placement of music from Downtown’s catalog in film and TV productions. She recently struck licensing deals for The Call of the Wild, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, Midsommar, Good Boys, and The Chi. She has been with Downtown since 2008. Kruk -- who previously served as director of creative licensing -- will oversee creative licensing for all advertisements and brand activations in North America. She has over a decade of experience in sync licensing and worked at several independent publishers before joining Downtown in 2015. Finally, Silbermann joined Downtown in 2017 and was instrumental in signing Evie Irie last year.

 


 

The “creator first” social media monetization and talent development company TalentX Entertainment has added former Gersh digital agent Michael Senzer to the team as vp business development, it was announced Friday (Feb. 14). Additionally, the company has revealed that Maverick Management partner Larry Rudolph is a member of the TalentX advisory board. Both men join a team that includes chief revenue officer Warren Lentz (WME, Fullscreen) and vp talent Michael Gruen (a former NBA agent and entrepreneur).

“TalentX is the future of talent management and is the company that will bridge the gap between the digital world and the traditional world,” said Rudolph in a statement. “The new age of talent is here, and their voice is stronger and better than ever before. TalentX is truly building a world-class team to deliver a world-class product to their clients.”

Launched in late 2019 by co-founders and CEOs Tal Fishman (a.k.a. YouTube star Reaction Time) and Jason Wilhelm, TalentX works with social media stars on various platforms. The company recently kicked off Sway LA, a talent collective that brought together six of the top creators on TikTok -- Josh Richards, Griffin Johnson, Anthony Reeves, Bryce Hall, Kio Cyr and Jaden Hossler -- to “film, dance, and prank” each other in a Bel Air mansion. The collective has racked up one million followers on their group TikTok account in a single month.

With the addition of Senzer, the company hopes to move into brand partnerships, merchandising, live events, and television and film development, as well as product and intellectual property deals.

 


 

Red Light Management has acquired Eric Silver’s GRAVEDANCER artist management company, the company announced Friday (Feb. 14). Silver will join Red Light’s electronic division, bringing his staff and roster from GRAVEDANCER including SubtronicsBoogie T, HE$H and Dubloadz.

“With the explosion of dubstep and bass music in general, the growth of GRAVEDANCER and its artists has been remarkable,” said Steve Satterthwaite, managing partner at Red Light’s electronic division. “At RLM we have an amazing roster of artists in the Bass Music space and Eric’s roster adds hugely to that footprint.  We are excited to have Eric and his staff join us as we expand our Electronic music business.”

A 20-year music industry veteran, Silver founded the Brooklyn-based GRAVEDANCER in 2015.

“I am grateful….for this opportunity to bring our artists and dedicated team to the premier management company in the music entertainment space today,” added Silver, “and I look forward to growing the east coast presence of the Red Light Electronic Division.”

 


 

John Gibson has been named managing director of ticketing services and live entertainment provider Eventim UK, the company announced Monday (Feb. 10). The company is a subsidiary of CTS Eventim holding in Germany.

Gibson, who began his new role in January, joins the company from Groupon UK, where he led the company’s live ticketing business pan-EMEA. He previously held senior roles at SeatGeek Entertainment, Vivaticket, Ticketmaster UK and SEE Tickets.

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