Coronavirus

Neil Lasher, Longtime Music Publishing Executive, Dead Following COVID-19 Complications

Neil Lasher
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Neil Lasher arrives at the 8th Annual MusiCares MAP Fund Benefit at Club Nokia on May 31, 2012 in Los Angeles.

Longtime industry veteran Neil Lasher has died from complications related to coronavirus on Sunday morning (April 5).

His passing was confirmed by several of his colleagues. Lasher was 73 and had been in the hospital in Connecticut battling COVID-19 for the last several days.

Lasher worked both as a label and music publishing executive for more than four decades. He was best known for his tenure at EMI Music Publishing, where, according to his LinkedIn page, he worked for 21 years, from 1986 to 2007, rising to VP promotion, marketing and artist relations.

In the ‘90s, Lasher also worked on the label side, doing rock promotion for labels, including SBK Records, the label co-founded by Martin Bandier, who ran EMI Music Publishing at the time.

For the last several years, he had served as a consultant, including for Sony/ATV Music Publishing (Sony/ATV bought a portion of EMI Music Publishing in 2012 and finished the acquisition in 2018).

In an internal memo to Sony/ATV staffers obtained by Billboard, chairman/CEO Jon Plat wrote, "Today, we learned the sad news of the passing of our friend and former colleague, Neil Lasher. I wish to extend my deepest sympathies to his family and friends, which include so many of us at Sony/ATV. Neil spent more than twenty years as an executive at EMI Music Publishing and Sony/ATV. Beyond his passion for music, Neil found his purpose in helping others. As a specialist in addiction recovery, Neil changed and saved the lives of countless people in the music business and discovered his life’s work. I feel lucky to have known him and call him a friend. My thoughts are with Neil’s family and all of you as we mourn this devastating loss. I will be sure to share information about special tributes for Neil, as it becomes available. Please take care of yourselves and stay safe."

As Platt notes, Lasher also was a consultant and certified interventionist with the Caron Institute and devoted much of his time to helping addiction recovery efforts in the music industry. Lasher, who had been in recovery for more than 30 years, played a leading role in establishing the MusiCares Safe Harbor Room (a sober backstage area at the Grammy Awards that is set up every year) since 1997.

Lasher's longtime friend and former Sony/ATV chairman/CEO told Billboard, "Neil was a very special guy who was part of my extended family for nearly 30 years. I lost a close colleague and friend. Neil  was always there for anyone who had issues. No one was better at helping those who needed help. He will be missed by all."

“Neil was one of the most kind and compassionate human beings I have ever met,” Evan Lamberg, North American president of Universal Music Publishing Group, told Billboard. “I loved him dearly and we worked so closely together at EMI Music Publishing where he added to much value promoting our songwriters and artists to radio. Through his tireless and selfless work with addiction counseling, he was responsible for saving the lives of so many. Neil was a real-life hero.”

"Neil and I were friends for 30 years, and he had three stellar paths over his lifetime," says Jeffrey Jampol, Jampol Artist Management.  "As a very warm, caring and present friend and human; as an amazing promotion executive over decades, and as a recovery counselor, interventionist and a man always available to others for fun and for free. Neil changed a lot of lives during his time here, and the world is a different place as a direct result of his living in it."

He is survived by his longtime partner, Jill Jordan.

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