With a little more than a year under his belt as CEO of RCA Music Group, Peter Edge, who headed up the label's A&R team for 16 years, has handed over those reins to new executive vice president, head of A&R, RCA Records, Keith Naftaly.
Since 2009, Naftaly has been with the RCA/Jive Label Group, working with Pitbull, Britney Spears, Santana, Leona Lewis, Rod Stewart, Jordin Sparks and others. Previously, he held senior A&R positions at Sony Music, J Records and Arista Records. Before his label career, he worked in radio, first at KMEL in San Francisco followed by KKBT/The Beat in Los Angeles. Naftaly's team consists of J Grand (SVP, A&R and Marketing), Shawn Holiday (SVP, A&R, West Coast), Wayne Williams (SVP, A&R), Mr. Morgan (VP, A&R), Trevor Jerideau (VP, A&R) and Adonis Sutherlin (Sr. Director, A&R).
Billboard.biz spoke with Edge late last month -- when the label had three albums in the Billboard 200's top 10: P!nk, Brandy and Miguel -- about the company's new A&R layout and its current and upcoming releases.
Billboard.biz: It's been a little over a year since the new RCA management team was put in place. How are things going?
Peter Edge: We have a lot of major releases coming out and we just released P!nk's album "Truth About Love," which did great for us and that will continue to sell. Brandy came in at No. 3. We have albums from Alicia Keys, Pitbull, Christina Aguilera, and Ke$ha still coming out. We also have new developing artists doing well, like A$ap Rocky, which is building beautifully and he has a single with Drake called "Problem." Miguel is one of our biggest success stories: He was brought in by Mark Pitts and Bystorm [Entertainment]. It's a big story when we are breaking a new artist. We also have other developing artists like Dry the River, Sleeper Agent, and Walk the Moon, which are all building.
What's the new A&R structure?
We appointed Keith as the head of A&R, and he will continue to work with the artists he has now. For example, Keith worked on getting the Kelly Clarkson greatest hits album out -- he saw that the best of P!nk album ("Greatest Hits So Far") had done so well for us so he decided it would be a good idea to do one for Kelly Clarkson. So with his new responsibilities, Keith will also oversee most of the A&R staff.
Other senior executives, like Mark Pitts -- who will remain president, A&R Urban Music /CEO Bystorm Entertainment -- Rani Hancock (executive VP, A&R), David Wolter (senior VP, A&R), and Bryan Leach (Senior VP, Urban A&R, RCA Records / president of Polo Grounds Music) will continue to report to me.
How are your plans going on beefing up the label's rock repertoire?
We already have a great bunch of rock acts like the Dave Matthews Band, the Strokes, Kings of Leon, and the Foo Fighters, and we have signed a bunch of new acts. We have signed an artist called Mikky Ekko, who is incredible and who I am really excited about. He is a great writer and right now there is a whole new crop of alternative acts like Gotye who are enjoying success. I think Mikky Ekko can do the same thing.
So you feel like the new regime has its groove going?
Yes, we have three records in the top 10 of The Billboard 200. We had a No. 1 record (Dave Matthews Band "Away From The World") in the last eight weeks. We are bringing back established artists and breaking new ones, most of which we have signed or developed. Breaking new acts is a huge part of our business and that is not an easy thing to do, yet we are showing success. When you have a new company, it takes a minute to get into the swing and get a great working relationship. Now our creative team and business side are hitting their stride. Most of our big releases are still coming. Over the next two months we will have five big albums, and a couple of others we will be announcing shortly. We have a really incredible release schedule.