Jerome Spence, Music Licensing and Publishing Executive, Dead At 40

Courtesy Photo
Jerome Spence

Music publishing and licensing executive Jerome Spence, 40, died suddenly from unknown causes on July 2. 

At the time of his death. the Los Angeles-based Spence, who was senior VP of music publishing for Chaka Khan Enterprises, was in New Orleans for the Essence Festival where Khan was performing.  "I am deeply saddened by the passing of Jerome. He was a valued member of my team and we will miss him greatly," Khan told Billboard. 

The affable Spence, who leaves behind a 13-year old son, had a long career in film and TV licensing. Prior to joining Chaka Khan Enterprises in April, he served as VP of Film, Television, Advertising Markets and Business Development at Secret Road Music Services for nearly two years. 

“Jerome approached life and work with his infectious humor and heart. He will forever be a beloved sparkling light in our music supervision community,”  says Secret Road founder/CEO Lynn Grossman.

From 2011-2015, Spence was senior creative director of film and TV at Peermusic. The Oakland, Calif. native had also worked in licensing at Position Music, Firstcom Music, and Arista Records, after studying business administration at Santa Monica College. While at Peer, he placed “Cups” derived from AP Carter’s “When I’m Gone,” in Pitch Perfect. 

Spence founded a songwriter camp and mentorship program held in Hawaii last summer that sought to create a bridge between Hawaiian songwriters and mainland film and TV projects, the songwriting community and music supervisors. Funded by a grant from the state of Hawaii, the project brought together music supervisors and nearly two dozen writers. 

“Jerome was a beacon of light for so many in the music industry, a rare individual whose passion for music and life was evident in everything he did,” says Charles Michael Brotman, a Grammy-winning producer and director of the Kauai Music Festival, who administered the camp with Spence. “Jerome lived his life with such a high level of integrity, and he was always looking for ways in which he could be of help to others in the industry. Here in Hawaii there are so many songwriters that he inspired and helped; to say we will miss him is a huge understatement.”

Services for Spence will be held July 13 at 11 a.m. at Shiloh Church in Oakland, Calif.  In addition to his son, Spence is survived by his fiancĂ©, parents, and sister.