Executive Turntable

Executive Turntable: Blue Note Records Appoints General Manager, Pandora Names Director of Hip-Hop

Joshua “J1” Raiford Pandora
Pryme

Joshua “J1” Raiford

Justin Seltzer has been promoted to the newly-created position of general manager at Capitol Music Group’s jazz label Blue Note Records. He was previously vice president.

In his new role, the Los Angeles-based Seltzer will manage all day-to-day operations at Blue Note under president Don Was, to whom he will directly report. He will also spearhead the company’s business strategy and play a key role in artist signing, marketing campaigns and directing commercial aspects of Blue Note’s releases in the U.S. and across the globe.

Seltzer, who is currently leading the development and strategy behind Blue Note’s e-commerce store, joined the label in 2014 as a director in A&R, marketing and general operations. Since boarding the company, he has been integral in mounting successful campaigns around Blue Note artists including Wayne Shorter, Robert Glasper and Trombone Shorty. He has additionally been instrumental in initiatives including the limited-edition subscription box set Blue Note Review; Blue Note’s 80th anniversary campaign, including a 25-city tour featuring several Blue Note artists; the Tone Poet Audiophile Vinyl Reissue Series; the limited edition watch collaboration with G-Shock; and the annual Blue Note at Sea cruise.

Just one year prior to joining Blue Note, Seltzer was hired at Capitol, where he built an A&R research team and supported the A&R teams at Capitol’s portfolio of labels while also supporting Capitol executives in various marketing, promotion and operational capacities. Earlier in his career, he worked at the sustainable camping festival Rothbury Festival (now Electric Forest) and digital marketing firm ePrize (now HelloWorld), where he worked with clients including Live Nation, Nike and Microsoft.

 


 

Pandora has named Joshua “J1” Raiford as its new director of hip-hop. In the role, Raiford will oversee hip-hop programming, manage hip hop-leaning brand partnerships with Uninterrupted and OVO and host and co-host two specialty shows on SiriusXM. He will also develop and host SiriusXM’s Pandora Playbacks.

“I’m truly blessed, humbled and honored for this opportunity,” said Raiford in a statement. “Glory to God for opening up these doors. Thank you Scott Greenstein, Alex Luke and Alex White for entrusting with this huge responsibility. Special thanks to my team in the Pandora Atlanta office, ‘The A-Team,’ for your support and love since I joined the company a year and half ago. I am committed to continuing to amplify Black Voices and Culture at SXM Pandora.”

Raiford started his a career as a club DJ in Atlanta, which led to him being hired as an on-air mixer at Hot 107.9. He then rose through the ranks at the station’s parent company Radio One, eventually becoming program director at SKYW in Washington D.C. He was recruited by Pandora Music in 2019 to be the streamer’s head of hip hop. In his time at Pandora, he has created new and exclusive content series including The Sirius XM Pandora Playback, New Music Friday Top 3 and The Connect 4 Convo. He also created the popular hip-hop and R&B station/playlist Top Shelf.

 


 

Mark Flaherty has been promoted to executive vp marketing at Warner Records. In the role, Flaherty will continue to oversee the label’s marketing strategy for the pop, rock and alternative artist roster. He reports to Warner Records co-chairman and COO Tom Corson.

Since joining Warner Records in 2017 as senior vp/head of marketing, the Los Angeles-based Flaherty has created and driven marketing campaigns for artists including Dua Lipa and Bebe Rexha. He previously held the same title at Interscope Records for five years, working with artists such as Imagine Dragons, Lady Gaga and Selena Gomez. He also worked in the marketing department at Sony Music and additionally has experience as a songwriter, publisher, and performer.

 


 

The American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) has announced the election of three new members and one returning member to its board of directors.

The first-time voting members on the board are Heads Music founder/CEO Madeline Nelson; Ninja Tune head of North America & global streaming Marie Clausen; and Warp Records director of North American & global projects Steven Hill. The returning member is Louis Posen, president of Hopeless Records.

Continuing board members include Beggars Group founder/chairman Martin Mills; Secretly Group co-founder/co-owner/co-CEO Darius Van Arman; Partisan Records managing director Zena White; Sub Pop president Tony Kiewel; Merge Records co-founder Laura Balance; Tommy Boy Records president Rosie Lopez; and Robbins Entertainment vp of sales & marketing Lisa Levy. The 2020 executive committee consists of Kiewel (chairperson), White (treasurer) and Posen (secretary).

In addition, A2IM president and CEO Richard James Burgess has appointed the organization’s new slate of advisory board members, all of whom will serve one-year terms. They are: Blue Élan chief business officer Mary Jurey; Made in Memphis president/managing director Tony D. Alexander; Ninety9 Lives CEO/owner Heather Johnson; Familiar Territory managing partner Roland Williams; and Mountain Apple Company vp Lisa Soong.

 


 

Universal Music China has named veteran film marketing executive Kelvin Hou as CEO of Magic Muses, a new label dedicated specifically to film soundtracks and scores. Based in Beijing, Magic Muses is the first domestic label to be launched by Universal Music China in over a decade and the first label dedicated to film and TV soundtracks and scores to be set up by a major international music company in the country.

Hou previously served as founder and CEO of Mtime, China’s online movie database and community.

Magic Muses will work with local artists and composers to create bespoke musical works for film and TV projects in China, which now ranks as the second-largest movie market in terms of box office behind the U.S.

“The launch of Magic Muses shows UMG’s strategic commitment to helping further raise the awareness of Chinese music culture and creativity globally,” said Universal Music Greater China chairman and CEO Sunny Chang in a statement announcing the launch. “In the future, the label will play an important role in helping Chinese movie and TV music reach new audiences around the world, thanks to UMG’s unparalleled global network of labels and support. We look forward to working alongside the Chinese film industry collaboratively to create projects that will help firmly establish the genre in China.”

Magic Muses’ first collaborative film project will be the forthcoming anthology film My People My Homeland, executive produced by filmmaker Yimou Zhang. The label will produce and release the film’s original soundtrack and provide musical promotion and marketing. It also recently launched Hi! Movie Music, China’s first original online series dedicated to the promotion of Chinese movie and TV music.

 


 

Warner Chappell Music has appointed Anastasia Ellis as vp regional European administration, effective Sept. 14. Ellis will report to Warner Chappell senior vp of global administration Claire McAuley.

Ellis joins Warner Chappell from Kobalt Music Publishing, where she worked on the copyright team. In her new role, she will be responsible for the regional coordination of all European administration functions. She will additionally collaborate with all sectors of Warner Chappell’s business to develop new initiatives, while also leading the local U.K. administration team.

Prior to joining Kobalt in 2011 as a senior copyright assistant, Ellis worked as a copyright officer at PRS for Music. In her nine years at Kobalt, she worked her way up to vp copyright, where she led a team of 50 in executing the publisher’s copyright administration strategy whilst fostering closer ties to markets including Australia, Asia and Latin America.

 


 

Peermusic has promoted Heather Cook to director of marketing and brands. She previously served as creative manager for the company’s advertising markets department, where she helped manage PR and marketing strategies for peermusic’s catalog and emerging repertoire.

Cook will lead marketing activities to agencies and brands while continuing to provide creative and admin support for the company’s roster.

Since boarding peermusic in 2013, Cook has helped land song placements for brands including IKEA, Payless, Marriott, Kellogg’s Raisin Bran, KIWI Shoe Polish, Kay Jewelers, Pandora, Nordstrom, J.C. Penney, Hershey's and ESPN. She has also played a key role in brand partnerships and collaborations with Dragon Age, Mist Twist (PepsiCo) and Question Tequila, among others. In addition, she has been instrumental in signing songwriters including The Royal Foundry, The Weeks and Grand Canyon Music (Bob Feldman).

Before peermusic, Cook owned the boutique artist management company Cook’n Up Music. She also served as administrative director for the Association of Independent Music Publishers (AIMP) in Nashville. She is a member of The Recording Academy and serves as a mentor to the organization’s GRAMMY University membership.

 


 

Montreal-based artist manager Sarah Armiento has launched the record label Hot Tramp, which will focus on “raising the stage for womxn artists.” It has slated album releases by Janette King, Maryze and Alicia Clara in 2021 via worldwide distributor Outside Music. King’s first single from her forthcoming album, “Mars,” releases on August 21.

The label venture is an expansion of Armiento’s preexisting Hot Tramp artist management company, which launched in 2019 before branching out into show promotion, tour booking and PR, working with over 20 artists in its first year. Last August, the company hosted the inaugural Hot Tramp Fest, which showcased over 25 womxn artists across five days of programming with sponsorships from Grolsch, Vans and MOOG, among others.

“I’m launching Hot Tramp as a label firstly because I think it’s a necessary pandemic-adjusted pivot from my former format of management company and show promotion and secondly I think that the industry needs some more women-run labels to create safer spaces for artists, especially in the wake of all these industry call-outs,” said Armiento in a statement announcing the launch.

Prior to Hot Tramp, Armiento served as talent booker at Montreal venue The Bog and a freelance artist manager.

 


 

Warner Music Canada has hired Jeffrey “LordQuest” Nuamah to its A&R team.

Nuamah is an artist with 15 years of experience in production, songwriting, recording and mixing. He has written songs with Kelly Rowland and SiR and produced music for Arin Ray and Juice WRLD, among others.

“I’m excited to be joining the Warner family and to embark on this new chapter,” said Nuamah in a statement. “I’m looking forward to working with this great team to discover and showcase the amazing talent Canada has to offer.”

 


 

Nashville management firm The AMG has hired Brooke Mansfield and Meagan Bennington to its marketing team. Mansfield will serve as the company’s senior digital marketing manager, while Bennington will serve as marketing manager with a focus on partnerships and branding.

Mansfield most recently worked as a digital strategist at Capitol Christian Music Group, working on projects including Chris Tomlin’s country collaboration album Chris Tomlin & Friends and Kari Jobe’s The Blessing. Prior to that, she managed a roster of social media infuencers at Fullscreen Media.

Bennington joins the firm from Neste Live!, where she assisted with festival marketing, talent buying, social media and influencer campaigns.