Revealed: Billboard’s 2021 International Power Players

Some 63% of the world’s music, by value, is consumed outside the United States, according to IFPI.

Billboard’s International Power Players recognizes industry leaders — nominated by their companies and peers and selected by our editors — with primary responsibility outside the United States. Honorees include label executives, music publishers, independent entrepreneurs, artist managers and concert promoters.

The late Michael Gudinski of Australia, who died March 2 at the age of 68, achieved success in all of those roles and more. A music industry pioneer whose Mushroom Group would become a template for independent companies, Gudinski, with his exuberant personality, became the face of his country’s music scene.

In recognition of his incomparable five-decade music career, Billboard posthumously honors Gudinski as our International Power Players Executive of the Year.

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“The touring side is decimated. It’s frustrating. I really can’t see [international tours] happening before the end of the year,” Gudinski told Billboard over the phone during an interview on Feb. 11. “But it’s a great time for Australian acts to shine.”

Gudinski loved music, his birthplace of Melbourne and his homeland. He loved family more than anything — a brood that, to him, included the more than 250 employees across Mushroom Group, the independent music powerhouse he built from scratch.

In that final interview, Gudinski talked about the many things he cherished: Bruce Springsteen and Foo Fighters, great songs, cricket and good food. (He shed 17 pounds during the pandemic, which he attributed to eating grilled fish and removing French fries from his diet.) And, of course, he mentioned his immediate family: his wife, Sue, and his grown children, Kate and Matt.

Michael Gudinski with his son, Matt Gudinski, in 2019. Mushroom Creative House

Gudinski died in his sleep on March 2. His impact on Australia’s music industry is immeasurable, highlighted by the state memorial held March 24 in his honor at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena.

The careers of countless artists and music industry figures moved forward thanks to the 24-strong companies that form Mushroom Group. Gudinski established the company in 1973 and led as chairman until his death.

Today, the group includes Mushroom Music Publishing, the country’s leading independent publisher; The Harbour Agency; labels I Oh You, Liberation and Bloodlines; and the concert promotion juggernaut Frontier Touring, which ranked as the third-largest promoter in the world in 2018, according to Billboard Boxscore, with gross ticket sales of $245.1 million and over 2.7 million tickets sold to 440 reported shows.

During the tribute in Melbourne, held in the city’s largest indoor arena, those closest to Gudinski appeared onstage or in the audience, including Kylie Minogue, Jimmy Barnes and Ed Sheeran, who made the long haul from the United Kingdom to pay tribute to “this titan of a man.” Sheeran performed a new song in celebration of Gudinski, “Visiting Hours,” which he wrote during his stay in quarantine, a hurdle for every visitor entering Australia.

Those who couldn’t make the trip to Melbourne opened their hearts in other ways. On March 3, Springsteen unveiled his video for “I’ll See You in My Dreams” with a dedication to Gudinski and earlier stated he had “never met a better promoter.” Rock stars from Dave Grohl and Elton John to Billy Joel, Sting and many others remembered his infectious, larger-than-life spirit in video tributes.

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Archie Roach, the iconic Indigenous artist who was inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association Hall of Fame in 2020, recounted Gudinski’s tireless championing of First Nations artists, including Troy Cassar-Daley, Christine Anu and Dan Sultan, and for his support of Yothu Yindi and its breakthrough hit, “Treaty.”

“He gave us a chance,” said Roach. “If it wasn’t for Michael Gudinski, I wouldn’t have been working or been a recording artist.”

Gudinski always found a way. In 2020, at the height of the pandemic, he recalibrated his company and focused on a string of new projects, which included the launch of a new label, Reclusive Records, with Yorta Yorta singer-songwriter Scott Darlow as its first signing.

With touring grounded, Gudinski’s considerable live-entertainment assets were mothballed. He threw himself into content production through his company’s Mushroom Vision division. He spearheaded the April 25 Anzac Day special Music From the Home Front, which was a ratings hit (capturing 1.4 million TV viewers, according to OzTAM data), as well as a spinoff multidisc fundraising album that reached No. 1 on the ARIA albums chart.

He then orchestrated a six-part virtual concert series, State of Music, through an alliance with Victoria Together, the online platform of the Victoria state government. A third project was realized when season one of The Sound premiered in July on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. A second season wrapped in December, while Music From the Home Front is confirmed to return on April 24, this time with a live, all-star concert at Melbourne’s Sidney Myer Music Bowl.

Gudinski with Madonna in 1993. Mushroom Creative House

Gudinski shaped the landscape of Australian music, and he also introduced the world’s biggest acts to Australian audiences through Frontier Touring. Prior to the pandemic, the company had enjoyed a strong run that included stadium tours for Paul McCartney, Justin Bieber, Foo Fighters and Taylor Swift.

When asked to describe himself for a Billboard feature published in 2010, Gudinski said, “I’m a man of my word. I’m persistent, and I’m loyal.”

Those qualities paid off when Frontier Touring produced Sheeran’s ÷ (Divide) tour of Australia and New Zealand in 2018 that sold over 1.1 million tickets, shattering the all-time record for a single tour that had stood since Dire Straits set the mark in 1986.

Gudinski’s son, Matt, will now lead Mushroom Group as CEO. During his speech at the state memorial, the younger Gudinski hinted at big things to come. Mushroom Group, he said, is in its “strongest position ever,” and with its 50th year approaching, “I know that our incredibly talented Mushroom family will help me deliver the vision Dad and I had for the next 50 years of our business.”

Dominique Casimir
Executive vp global repertoire and marketing, Continental Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America, BMG
Justus Haerder
Executive vp group strategy and M&A, BMG
Sebastian Hentzschel
Chief information officer, BMG

Casimir’s role — signing, promoting and working with artists and songwriters across continental Europe — expanded to Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region in November. She also helped lead BMG’s new partnership with independent German live-music promoter Undercover as “the logical extension of BMG’s plan to integrate all the services an artist could need under one roof.” Responsibility for BMG’s global technology infrastructure falls under Hentzschel, who saw the company’s workforce dispersed last year to over 900 locations. The instant-messaging app myBMG allowed artists and songwriters to track royalty payouts and also collaborate during the lockdown. Under Haerder, BMG continued its run of music-rights deals in 2020, including the Undercover partnership, the COVID-19-fighting charity single “cOMbat quotidien” released with the French football club Olympique de Marseille and a deal for the recording catalog royalties of Mick Fleetwood. This spring, BMG’s film and TV business, under Haerder, plans a multimedia release of Fleetwood’s tribute to Peter Green, the guitarist who originally co-founded Fleetwood Mac.

Adam Granite
Executive vp market development, Universal Music Group
Dickon Stainer
President/CEO, global classics and jazz and Verve Label Group, Universal Music Group

For the world’s largest music company, Granite guides strategy for some of the globe’s fastest-growing markets. He has overseen UMG’s expansion within China, Hong Kong and Taiwan and the launches of Universal Music Nigeria, headquarters for Universal Music Southeast Asia in Singapore and new operations in Israel, Morocco and Vietnam. UMG has launched labels including Def Jam Africa & South East Asia, Astralwerks Asia and Island Records Philippines. Stainer guides the strategic direction of UMG’s market-leading classical and jazz labels including Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, Mercury KX, the distributed label ECM and Capitol Music Group’s Blue Note, as well as Verve Label Group, including Verve, Impulse! and Decca U.S. In the past year, Stainer has overseen major campaigns for artists including Lang Lang, Melody Gardot, Ludovico Einaudi, John Williams, Gregory Porter, Max Richter and Andrea Bocelli — whose performance from the Duomo Cathedral in Milan on Easter Sunday 2020 reached over 2.8 million peak concurrent viewers worldwide, according to UMG.

Wouter Jansen
VP streaming and digital marketing strategy, Sony Music Entertainment
Monica Cornia
Senior vp international marketing, RCA Records and Arista Records, Sony Music Entertainment
Melissa Thomas
Senior vp international marketing, Columbia Records and Epic Records, Sony Music Entertainment

Jansen oversees streaming and digital marketing strategy for Sony Music’s U.S. labels across more than 50 markets. With his colleagues, he helped Columbia Records achieve four concurrent top 10 hits on the Spotify Global chart with Harry Styles’ “Watermelon Sugar,” Jawsh 685’s “Savage Love (Laxed — Siren Beat),” Powfu’s “death bed” and StaySolidRocky’s “Party Girl.” As co-heads of Sony’s international marketing group, Cornia and Thomas are responsible for global campaigns for artists from RCA and Arista (Cornia), and Columbia and Epic (Thomas). For Doja Cat, Cornia helped drive her single “Say So” to chart peaks in multiple markets and 2.52 billion global on-demand streams, according to MRC Data. She also guided Sony Nashville on Kane Brown’s debut tour in Europe. Thomas has helped lead campaigns for Camila Cabello, DJ Khaled, French Montana, Travis Scott and others while also leading Sony Music’s international urban team.

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Donny Novakovic
VP international marketing, Disney Music Group

The soundtracks for some of the biggest movie franchises in the world — from Disney, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm and Pixar — are marketed outside the United States with campaigns overseen by Novakovic. The soundtrack for Frozen II has been released in 26 languages, resulting in 4.6 billion streams and 3 million albums sold outside the United States, according to Disney. Novakovic guided the launch of Disney Spotify hubs in Germany, Japan, Southeast Asia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Middle East and North Africa, adding to the existing hubs in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

Simon Robson
President, international, Warner Recorded Music, Warner Music Group
Eric Wong
President/chief marketing officer, Warner Recorded Music, Warner Music Group
Jess Keeley-Carter
Senior vp global marketing, Warner Recorded Music, Warner Music Group

Since November, Robson has led WMG’s recorded-music operations outside the United States and United Kingdom. He has been president of Warner Music Asia since 2015 and expanded WMG’s presence in markets including China, Japan, Korea, Indonesia and Vietnam. WMG has a new joint-label venture in China with Tencent Music Group. It has also invested in Africori, the largest music distributor in sub-Saharan Africa, and Rotana Music, the Arab world’s leading independent label. Wong, who joined WMG in July 2020, guides worldwide marketing while also overseeing Warner’s international A&R function in collaboration with the company’s local repertoire centers around the globe. Keeley-Carter, who reports to Wong, played a key role in one of the company’s biggest campaigns of 2020, for Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia. Setting up marketing best practices for Warner worldwide, she has also guided campaigns for artists including Bebe Rexha, Burna Boy, Cardi B, David Guetta, Jason Derulo, Lizzo, Roddy Rich and Sia.

Fred Gillham
Managing director, Concord Recorded Music U.K.
Vivien Goodwin
Senior vp, Concord Theatricals (U.K. and Europe)

During the past year, Gillham set up Concord’s first recorded-music division outside the United States, recruiting a London-based team to build a footprint for the company in the United Kingdom and continental Europe. Concord enjoyed U.K. success across genres. Gillham is no stranger to Concord’s roster. He is a former vp of international for Universal Music Group, which has a global distribution deal with Concord. During the pandemic, Goodwin and her teams in the United Kingdom and Germany worked with theaters and theater companies to think creatively in staging outdoor performances and creating musicals with smaller casts, supporting streaming initiatives and, overall, to offer audiences new ways to engage with performers and productions.

Tony Harlow
CEO, Warner Music U.K.
Bernd Dopp
Chairman/CEO, Warner Music Central Europe
Mark Fry
President, Warner Music Nordics
Alfonso Perez Soto
President of emerging markets, Warner Music
Victor Aroldoss
Senior vp international marketing, Warner Music U.K.

Harlow, along with Aroldoss and the Warner Music U.K. team, guided the launch during lockdown of Future Nostalgia from Britain’s Dua Lipa. The album spent four weeks at No. 1 in the United Kingdom, where Warner’s team also celebrated chart-topping releases from Biffy Clyro, Liam Gallagher, Nines and Stormzy. Leading Central Europe, Dopp is a five-decade veteran of WMG and the company’s longest-serving CEO. He has continued to deliver hits with international artists and domestic talent, the latter ranging from German rap to the repertoire of children’s label Kiddinx to the leading schlager label Telamo. Fry was named head of Warner Music Nordics last year and has enjoyed success with stars including Antti Tuisku, Emma Gaala and Miriam Bryant. Perez Soto has been expanding WMG’s presence in new markets including Africa, where the company invested in Africori, a company that manages distribution, rights and artists development. That deal gives Warner access to a range of African artists through Africori’s roster of 6,500 artists and 700 labels.

Stormzy Isabel Infantes/PA Images via Getty Images

Jason Iley
Chairman/CEO, Sony Music U.K. and Ireland
Nicola Tuer
COO, Sony Music U.K. and Ireland
Daniel Lieberberg
President, Sony Music Entertainment Continental Europe and Africa
Patrick Mushatsi-Kareba
CEO, Sony Music Entertainment Germany, Switzerland, Austria
Sean Watson
Managing director, Sony Music Entertainment South Africa

Iley, who was named a Member of the Order of the British Empire at the Queen’s Birthday Honours in October 2020 for his services to charity and music, has worked with Tuer and the Sony U.K. team to achieve success for Sony’s international stars (from Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan to Doja Cat, Powfu and Tate McRae) and its strong domestic roster (Little Mix, J Hus, Headie One, Sam Fischer and Regard). Under Lieberberg, Sony opened a new German and European headquarters in Berlin housing recording and publishing teams along with an in-house studio. Responsible for Germany, Switzerland and Austria, Mushatsi-Kareba saw an increase in chart shares via hits from artists like Jawsh 685, Imanbek and Apache 207, the most streamed German-speaking artist in the region, according to Sony. Watson, a 30-year veteran of the African music industry, guides a roster that includes AKA, Shekinah, Mlindo, Sha Sha, Black Motion, KDDO and Dice Ailes. He’s a member of the board of the South African Music Performance Rights Association and its nonprofit division supporting the growth of the South African music industry.

David Joseph
Chairman/CEO, Universal Music U.K. and Ireland
Frank Briegmann
Chairman/president, Universal Music Central Europe and Deutsche Grammophon
Olivier Nusse
CEO, Universal Music France
Sipho Dlamini
CEO, Universal Music South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa
Franck Kacou
Managing director, Universal Music Africa
Chindedu Okeke
Managing director, Universal Music Nigeria

Under Joseph, Universal Music U.K. claimed the No. 1 album of 2020 in the United Kingdom with Lewis Capaldi’s Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent and boasted four of the market’s top five streaming artists (Capaldi, Drake, Eminem and Billie Eilish), while the company launched the 0207 Def Jam label and relaunched EMI Records (with Motown U.K. as one of its imprints). Briegmann saw Universal lead the market in Germany on the strength of both international repertoire and local stars including Capital Bra, Bonez MC, Die Ärzte and Kerstin Ott. Universal Music France, under Nusse, likewise celebrated chart success with Versus by Vitaa/Slimane and Les Derniers Salopards by Maes, the country’s two top albums of 2020. Nusse’s team also shared in the achievements of local artists Angèle, Niska, Nekfeu, Damso and Dadju — and posthumous success for French legend Johnny Hallyday. In 2019, Kacou took on responsibility for UMG operations in Ivory Coast and across 27 French-speaking markets within Africa. Dlamini was promoted last December to oversee all of UMG’s operations within English-speaking Africa, working with colleagues on the continent including Okeke, based in Lagos, who is leading the growth of UMG’s Nigeria operations and other English-speaking markets in West Africa.

Jesús López
Chairman/CEO, Universal Music Latin America and Iberian Peninsula
Luis Estrada
President, Universal Music Southern Cone
Victor Gonzalez
President, Universal Music Latin Entertainment
Paulo Lima
President, Universal Music Brazil

After J Balvin released his latest album, Colores, in March 2020, it debuted at No. 1 in 14 markets on Apple Music/iTunes rankings and earned gold certifications in its first week in 15 countries, according to Universal Music Group. The achievement is just one of the success stories of the past year for the team that reports to Lopez, who leads UMG’s operations in all Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking territories around the world, as well as the U.S. Latin market. To launch new songs by Balvin, Luis Fonsi, Chino & Nacho and others during the lockdown, UMG held virtual press conferences with journalists from all over Latin America, organized streaming concerts and struck brand sponsorship deals, while also supporting charitable initiatives by the artists themselves. A 40-year veteran of the Latin music industry, López has been an innovator, from anticipating the reggaetón boom with the creation of the Machete Music label to launching the management and artist services division GTS (Global Talent Services). He has played an essential role in the international success of Latin superstars including Balvin, Juanes, Paulina Rubio, Gloria Trevi, Enrique Iglesias, David Bisbal, Luis Fonsi and Wisin & Yandel.

Afo Verde
Chairman/CEO, Latin-Iberia region, Sony Music Entertainment
Maria Fernandez
Executive vp/COO, Sony Music Entertainment Latin-Iberia
José María Barbat
President, Sony Music Iberia

Stars like Maluma, Ozuna, Anuel, Nicky Jam, Camilo and Rauw Alejandro have thrived internationally under the leadership of Verde, who oversees Sony’s operations in Latin America, Spain, Portugal and the U.S. Latin market, and whose purview includes superstars like Enrique Iglesias, Shakira and Jennifer Lopez’s Spanish-language releases. Verde also worked closely on Sony’s recent acquisition of leading Brazilian indie label Som Livre, a deal that further cements Sony’s leadership in the biggest market in Latin America. He and his team have nurtured the rise of Nathy Peluso, Boza, Nicki Nicole and Trueno, and he has made the expansion of Latin music in European and Asian markets a priority. Fernandez has been involved with the growth of artists including Maluma, Camilo, Carlos Vives, Lali, Dvicio, Carlos Rivera and Reik. She has also overseen strategic moves like Sony’s joint venture with the concert promotion company Eventim in Brazil. Under Barbat, Sony Music Iberia has seen the breakout of Rosalía, C. Tangana, Nathy Peluso and María José Llergo.

Iñigo Zabala
President, Warner Music Latin America & Iberia
Sergio Affonso
President, Warner Music Brazil
Tomas Rodriguez
President, Warner Music Mexico

As in-person performances became unsafe, Zabala supported Rodriguez’s team in Mexico to deliver Mi Casa, Tu Casa, one of the earliest online showcases featuring artists at home, including music from Piso21, Sofia Reyes and Zion & Lennox. Over the past year, Warner Music’s hits from its Latin roster have included Piso21 and Maluma’s “Más de la Una,” Karol G and Danny Ocean’s “Midedito o Qué?,” Zion & Lennox’s “Gota Gota” (featuring El Alfa) and Justin Quiles’ “Jeans,” according to the company. Zabala and his team have made a priority of developing local talent for international audiences. Over two decades, he has supported the global rise of other Warner artists including Alejandro Sanz, Anitta, Danny Ocean, Jesse & Joy, Laura Pausini, Luis Miguel, Maná, Miguel Bose, Pablo Alborán and Ricardo Arjona. In early April, Zabala announced he will step down from his position at the end of this year but will remain a consultant through 2022.

George Ash
President, Universal Music Asia Pacific
Naoshi Fujikura
President/CEO, Universal Music Japan
Devraj Sanyal
Managing director/CEO, Universal Music Group and EMI Music, India and South Asia; managing director, Universal Music Publishing Group, India and South Asia
Calvin Wong
Senior vp Asia/CEO, Universal Music Southeast Asia

Ash has been Universal Music Group’s top Asia-Pacific executive since 2013. In the past year, he has shared in the success of his Australian team and their domestic artists including Tame Impala, Indigenous singer Miiesha and Hilltop Hoods, the most streamed Australian act of 2020. In Japan, a stronghold for physical music sales, Fujikura has moved his company’s focus toward streaming and expanded services offered to artists, such as merchandising, live events and fan clubs. In July, the Japanese-language version of BTS’s Map of the Soul: 7 – The Journey generated record sales for an international act in Japan, according to UMG. Sanyal’s initiatives in India have included a global distribution deal, announced in July, with Desi Melodies, a leader in Punjabi music. Wong has overseen UMG’s expansion in Vietnam and the launch of Def Jam South East Asia, Island Records Philippines, Astralwerks Asia, Spinnup and the regional expansion of Ingrooves.

BTS ay 21, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Steven Ferdman/Getty Images for ESB

Andrew Hajgato
Label manager, Australia, Concord Recorded Music

Skegss hit No. 1 on the Australian Recording Industry Association’s albums chart with their second release, Rehearsal, while domestic star George Alice gained two airplay hits on the nation’s influential Triple J radio outlet and Florida rapper Denzel Curry earned his second ARIA-certified gold single with “Ricky.” All benefited from campaigns driven by Hajgato, who is boosting Concord’s status as an indie label with clout Down Under.

Denis Handlin
Chairman/CEO, Australia & New Zealand, Sony Music Entertainment
Andrew Chan
Managing director, China, Sony Music Entertainment
Joseph Chang
Managing director, Korea, Sony Music Entertainment
Shridhar Subramaniam
President, strategy and market development, Asia and Middle East, Sony Music Entertainment

Handlin, Sony Music’s longest-serving global executive, leads the team that launched Tones and I and The Kid LAROI in Australia, setting up their international success. Sony Australia saw No. 1 albums from Harry Styles, Guy Sebastian, Midnight Oil and AC/DC, and celebrated Amy Shark winning best pop release at the ARIA Awards — for a third time. Handlin has been recognized with the Order of Australia for his philanthropy and “distinguished service to the Australian recording industry.” Chan guides operations across China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, achieving success with regional artists like G.E.M., Karen Mok and Eric Chou as well as international releases by Sasha Sloan, NYK and Doja Cat. Chang has overseen the growth of Sony’s international repertoire across Korea while also helping K-pop acts such as Kang Daniel, Oh My Girl, ATEEZ and Momoland find a global audience. Since January 2020, Subramaniam has overseen all of Sony’s strategic acquisitions, joint ventures, investments and partnerships in a region that is expected to grow at an average of 20% annually, according to the company.

Amy Shark Rmv/Shutterstock

Dan Rosen
President, Warner Music Australasia
Jonathan Serbin
CEO, Warner Music Greater China

Rosen, who for the past decade has served as CEO of ARIA, was named president of Warner Music Australasia effective Feb. 1. Rosen concurrently had held the post of CEO of the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia. With advanced degrees in business and law, Rosen has been praised as an advocate for the rights of musical creators (and in the early 2000s he was the founder and frontman for the indie band Second Dan). Serbin was named to his regional role in November and will run the newly launched, Pan-Asian dance label Whet Records.

Pawan Agarwal
Head of music partnerships, India and South Asia, and business development, Asia Pacific, YouTube
Dan Chalmers
Director, YouTube Music, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, YouTube
Sandra Jimenez
Director, YouTube Music partnerships, Latin America, YouTube
Sun Lee
Head of music partnerships, Korea and Greater China, and artist relations, Asia Pacific, YouTube
Ruuben van den Heuvel
Director, YouTube Music partnerships, Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia, and label relations, Asia Pacific, YouTube

At YouTube India, under Agarwal, the T-Series channel (an offshoot of the country’s largest music label) became the platform’s biggest channel worldwide, with over 178 million subscribers. Earlier in April, T-Series agreed to license its music through the Indian Performing Rights Society, which IPRS called a “game-changing” boost for creators in the market. Chalmers last year launched a new version of YouTube Analytics for Artists, giving acts a complete picture of how their YouTube content is reaching music fans. Jimenez in August congratulated Daddy Yankee as his collaboration with Snow, “Con Calma,” surpassed 2 billion YouTube views. Lee partnered with YG Entertainment for Blackpink’s first livestream concert in January from Seoul. Van den Heuvel has played a key role in the launch of YouTube Music and YouTube Music Premium in Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

Hans-Holger Albrecht
CEO, Deezer

Under Albrecht, Deezer is a rival to the big three streaming services (Amazon Music, Apple, Spotify) with a distinctly international perspective. “I’m proud of what we accomplished in a challenging year,” he says. “We delivered over 40 product initiatives, updates and launches to improve the service for our subscribers.” Among those moves: a feature that allows users to explore the music and podcasts of different countries without searching for specific content. Deezer, which has been growing in Mexico, via a partnership with TV Azteca, and in other Latin American markets, also has been seeking a more fair streaming payment system that will allow performers to get paid based on how individual listeners divide their attention rather than by their share of aggregate streams.

Raoul Chatterjee
VP/head of content partnerships, SoundCloud
Josh Nicoll
VP independent label services, SoundCloud

Chatterjee and Nicoll oversee music industry partnerships at SoundCloud. Amid the pandemic, Chatterjee renewed multiple deals with major and indie labels, distributors, publishers, performing rights organizations and other collection societies. His team set up the launch of SoundCloud’s subscription and advertising business in the Nordic territories. In Australia, leveraging a partnership with Southern Cross Austereo, he helped launch SoundCloud Radio, which showcases emerging artists. Nicoll has strengthened SoundCloud’s relationships with over 500 new and existing independent rights-holder partners. His work yielded a year-over-year increase of more than 40% in on-platform content from indie labels and an all-time-high market share of indie rights-holders on the platform, according to SoundCloud.

Paul Firth
Director, Amazon Music International
Rene Fasco
Director, Amazon Music Japan
Jillian Gerngross
Director, Amazon Music Europe
Sahas Malhotra
Director, Amazon Music India
Federico Pedersen
Head of music, Latin America, Amazon Music

Firth was named to his new role in October and oversees Amazon Music in markets outside the United States. He helped secure a partnership with Twitch to bring livestreams to Amazon Music’s mobile app in over 40 territories. In Japan, Fasco saw J-pop stars Sekai no Owari and Aimyon stage Amazon Music-exclusive livestreams. Gerngross oversees industry relations, editorial, programming and marketing across the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. In the past year, Malhotra has expanded Alexa functionality for Amazon Music in India, allowing customers to create or add to existing playlists just by using their voice. Pedersen has led the addition of Amazon Original podcasts to Amazon Music in Mexico and Brazil.

Mathieu Jaton
CEO, Montreux Jazz Festival

When the Montreux Jazz Festival was canceled in 2020 for the first time in its 55-year history, Jaton moved from live music to event streaming. The festival and its partner, Eagle Rock, teamed up with Qello Concerts by Stingray to make over 50 classic festival performances available online — driving 100,000 new Qello registrations. In March, the festival announced a global deal with BMG to launch a series of previously unreleased recordings from the archives of the festival’s late founder Claude Nobs, along with a three-part documentary on Montreux’s history and impact.

Khee Lee
Chief monetization officer, Kiswe

In July, Guinness World Records certified that BTS had set a new record for the most viewers for a concert livestream when 756,000 fans from 100 countries tuned in for a June 14 show carried live from Seoul. The technology platform behind the event? Kiswe — which under Lee struck a partnership with BTS’ home label, HYBE (formerly Big Hit Entertainment). Lee also has led Kiswe’s partnership deals for livestream events as varied as a live U.K. performance by Culture Club and the 43rd Dresden Music Festival in Germany. Kiswe has hosted 13 livestream pay-per-view concerts, most from outside the United States, reaching nearly 200 countries, according to the company.

Rishi Malhotra
Co-founder/CEO, JioSaavn

“For us, last year was a master class in humanity, global leadership and ultimately invention,” says Malhotra, leader of India’s streaming service JioSaavn, which also operates a label, management company, podcasting service and more. “Global conditions accelerated our business as more people turned to streaming.” In 2019 JioSaavn worked on U2’s historic tour of India and last summer it announced a partnership with Triller, designed to drive local usage and subscription growth for both services. (The move came in the wake of India’s ban of TikTok and other Chinese-owned apps over data privacy concerns.) During the pandemic and under Malhotra’s leadership, JioSaavn teams have worked with Habitat for Humanity and the health-care nonprofit Ketto through corporate responsibility partnerships.

U2 Pratik Chorge/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Robb McDaniels
CEO, Beatport

Under McDaniels, the online EDM-focused retailer Beatport reports that 75% of its business comes from outside the United States. As touring and festivals shut down in the past year, the company supported moves by DJs to livestream. In April, Beatport organized the 24-hour ReConnect livestream that featured 33 DJs from around the globe and raised $185,000 for COVID-19-related charities. “People can still dance,” said McDaniels at the time. “You can dance anywhere; you can dance alone; you can dance in groups — but dancing is going to make you feel better.”

Mia Nygren
Managing director, Latin America, Spotify
Federica Tremolada
Managing director, Southern and Eastern Europe, Spotify

Nygren oversees the region with one of the fastest growth rates in the world for Spotify. “Superstars are now coming from all corners of Latin America,” she told Billboard last year when she was chosen for the Latin Power Players list. “Smaller artists are charting globally, and it’s not just limited to Puerto Rico and Colombia anymore.” Tremolada has responsibility for 26 markets in her region, with a specific focus on content, marketing and partnerships. Last year, she launched Spotify’s new podcast strategy in Spain and Italy, including the XRey podcast that received a Premios Ondas, the equivalent of an Emmy Award, as Spain’s best podcast of the year.

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Ola Sars
CEO, Soundtrack Your Brand

From its base in Stockholm, Soundtrack Your Brand operates in 73 countries offering background music with a streaming service. Sars struck a global licensing deal in August with Universal Music Group to use its music catalog on the platform. “Now, when the world of music is about to hit ‘play’ again, we stand ready to contribute to the industry by adding [business-to-business] streaming to the market,” says Sars, “bringing transparency and a usage-centric royalty flow.” Sars says his company’s model will yield “eight to 10 times more in royalties to music creators” than consumer-focused streaming services.

Jen Walsh
Senior director of Apple content and services, international, Apple

Walsh is a veteran international executive at Apple, which last spring reported that its Apple Music service is available in 167 countries and regions, offering 70 million songs as well as thousands of playlists and the global radio station Beats 1. In April 2020, Apple announced that new Apple Music subscribers in 52 recently added countries could receive a six-month free trial of the service. This includes playlists created by local music experts such as Africa Now, Afrobeats Hits and Ghana Bounce.

Jay Winship
CEO, Asia, GoDigital Media Group

AdShare, which is GoDigital Media Group’s social media rights manager for music and video, has achieved a 40% market share in South Korea under Winship’s guidance, according to the company. That’s the result of rights management deals with the artist PSY and companies including YG Entertainment, the record label Kakao M and Times Music in India. Winship, who is based in Seoul, spent the past year in Singapore, citing “5G connectivity, [which] has been overwhelmingly stable, making working from home, in all frankness, very pleasant.”

Bang Si-Hyuk
Chairman/CEO, HYBE
Lenzo Yoon
Global CEO, HYBE

Bang’s South Korean entertainment company HYBE (formerly known as Big Hit Entertainment), the home of BTS, announced in March that it’s acquiring Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings. The deal brings under common ownership K-pop groups BTS, TXT and Seventeen, and U.S. pop stars Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande and Demi Lovato, among others. Yoon moved to the United States last year to focus on his global CEO role and plans to bring HYBE’s successful business model to new markets.

Rob Cowling
GM, Gallo Music Group

Cowling guides South Africa’s Gallo Music Group, which includes one of the continent’s largest and oldest labels and publishing companies. Last May, Flightmode Digital, the investment holding company owned by DJ Black Coffee, acquired a significant stake in Gallo Music Investments, says Cowling. And in March, Gallo Music Publishers signed a worldwide agreement (excluding Africa) with Sony Music Publishing that will help promote Gallo’s songs around the globe. “In a year plagued by challenges, despite piracy and work-from-home connectivity issues, creativity was rife,” says Cowling. “Gallo still managed to grow digital streaming numbers and maintain our market share.”

André de Raaff
CEO, CTM Entertainment

De Raaff leads the multifaceted Dutch music company CTM Entertainment, which last August acquired the catalog of CNR/Arcade, described as the largest independent record label in the Benelux region (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg) and the home to acts such as Twenty 4 Seven, Alan Parsons and Doop. In 2019, de Raaff oversaw the extension of CTM’s worldwide publishing agreement with Scott Storch, who has written for Ariana Grande, The Kid LAROI, Jack Harlow, Chloe x Halle, Marshmello, Russ and Trippie Redd. A partnership struck with producers Juan “Play” Salinas and Oscar “Skillz” Salinas has boosted CTM’s activity in Latin music.

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Colin Gayle
Founder/CEO, Africa Creative Agency

Gayle manages and produces South African rapper Nasty C, who signed last year to Def Jam Recordings through a joint venture with Universal Music Group in Africa. His album Zulu Man With Some Power was released before the pandemic. Gayle executive-produced the Netflix documentary Zulu Man in Japan, exploring connections between the music and culture of South Africa and Japan. He also has been expanding the publishing division of his agency, and he curated and produced Essence Festival of Culture for Africa as a virtual event.

Jeremy Lascelles
Co-founder/CEO, Blue Raincoat Music
Robin Millar
Co-founder/chairman, Blue Raincoat Music

Lascelles, the former CEO of Chrysalis Records, teamed up with record producer Millar to launch Blue Raincoat Music in 2014 to offer artist management services, music publishing and recorded-music operations through Chrysalis, which is now a subsidiary label. Blue Raincoat represents a roster that includes Cigarettes After Sex, J.S. Ondara and Phoebe Bridgers. Lascelles says the process of signing and recording artists is his “first love,” and it reflects how he and Millar run their company. Reservoir acquired Blue Raincoat in 2019, but its founders remain at the helm.

Suhel Nafar
VP strategy and marketing development, West Asia, North Africa and the diaspora, EMPIRE

Nafar, a former hip-hop artist, joined EMPIRE early this year after previously helping Spotify launch programming in West Asia and North Africa. He developed the streaming service’s Arab Culture Hub and curated over 120 playlists, including Yalla Today’s Top Hits, Arab X, Shisha Lounge, Global X and Women O Bas, which spotlights female Arab artists. He also contributed to Spotify’s Sawtik campaign to boost the visibility of emerging Arab women in music. “If you look at artists who are top tier in the Arab world,” says Nafar, “they’re being streamed in the United States, Brazil, Mexico and Germany.”

Bose Ogulu
Co-founder, Spaceship Collective

Amid the pandemic, Ogulu co-executive-produced, released and promoted the Twice As Tall album from Nigeria’s breakout global star Burna Boy (aka her son, Damini Ogulu). He is signed to Bad Habit/Atlantic in the United States and Warner Music International for territories outside of Africa. Twice As Tall won best global music album at this year’s Grammy Awards. Bose has set up a publishing company through Spaceship Collective to enable Africans to own their own catalogs “so that the authenticity of our stories, our glory, our culture is sustained,” she says, “and we are empowered.”

Cussion Kar Shun Pang
Executive chairman, board of directors, Tencent Music Entertainment Group

Tencent Music Entertainment Group and Warner Music Group announced in March that the companies will expand a multiyear licensing agreement and launch a joint record label. Under Pang, Tencent will continue to make Warner’s repertoire available across all of its online platforms in mainland China, including QQ Music, Kugou Music and Kuwo Music, as well as its livestreaming platforms and WeSing, an online karaoke platform. Warner in 2014 became the first major label to license its repertoire to an internet provider on mainland China.

Phil Sales
Partner, Three Six Zero
Pete Tong
President, Three Six Zero Recordings; Partner, WME

Sales leads the U.K. and European operations for Three Six Zero, the international management and entertainment company that represents Calvin Harris and the entire Smith family (Will, Jada Pinkett, Jaden and Willow), among others. He also maintains his own roster of management clients, including Fraser T. Smith, Disciples and Franky Wah. In 2019, Tong, the influential BBC DJ and partner at WME, took on the additional role of president of Three Six Zero Recordings, a joint venture with Sony Music.

Peter Coquillard
Head of international, Milk & Honey Music + Sports + Ventures

For Milk & Honey, which manages writers, producers and, most recently, athletes, Coquillard has built relationships abroad with artists who need great songs. Amid the pandemic, he has overseen the opening of new offices in London and Amsterdam. One example of his networking savvy: a Mandarin version of “Just My Luck,” which brought together Chinese singer Tia Ray and American R&B singer Kehlani on a track produced by Milk & Honey client Oak Felder. Pre-pandemic, producers and writers (including Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas, Kesha and Noah Cyrus) have taken part in Coquillard’s annual songwriting camp in Bali, which for five years has included a fundraising evening to benefit orphanages on the Indonesian island.

Eshy Gazit
Partner, Maverick Management; CEO, Gramophone Media

Gazit was one of the first K-pop advocates in the United States. “Early on, many people in the industry mocked my attempts to break BTS,” he told Billboard in 2017. “They thought that it was never going to happen in the United States.” Along with BTS, he has worked with Monsta X and that group’s former singer, Wonho, who launched a solo career last year. Gazit has also guided Western artists like Steve Aoki, Halsey, The Chainsmokers and French Montana in their collaborations with K-pop stars.

Walter Kolm
President/CEO, Walter Kolm Entertainment

The leading Latin music manager — whose clients include Maluma, Carlos Vives, CNCO, Wisin, Emilia Mernes and Rombai — launched WK Records in June. Distributed by The Orchard, the label’s first signings include Puerto Rican R&B singer Alex Rose, Argentine trap artist Seven Kayne and Colombian freestyle rapper Cheo Gallego. Initial success has come in Spain, Mexico, Colombia and Chile, as well as airplay hits in those markets, according to the label. “Launching a label is tough in normal circumstances, but launching it during a global pandemic was extremely challenging, to say the least,” says Kolm. “But I’m proud of my team for not only making it happen but also making it an immediate success.”

Ben Mawson
Ed Millett
Co-founders/co-CEOs, TaP Music

Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia, released in March 2020, reached No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and was one of the delights of the early days of the pandemic, earning the British star a Grammy Award for best pop vocal album. Mawson and Millett last year celebrated the 10th anniversary of their firm, which also represents Lana Del Rey, Ellie Goulding, Hailee Steinfeld and one-time Dublin street busker Dermot Kennedy. With 45 employees across offices in the United States, Europe and Australia, says Mawson, “we really believe in an international focus.”

Dua Lipa Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Polo Molina
Artist manager, Grassroots Music

Over the past 12 months, Molina has guided international success for management clients in two different genres: The Black Eyed Peas’ Translation album became a hit in European markets including Spain, France and Italy, while regional Mexican star Gerardo Ortiz’s Más Caro, Que Ayer made an impact in Mexico. Molina’s management roster — which covers pop, Latin and hip-hop — also includes Shoreline Mafia’s Ohgeesy, Adriel Favela,Vice Menta, Sweet Taboo.  Says Molina: “We continue to go above and beyond for our clientele despite what is going on around us, which I am very proud of.”

James Sandom
U.K. managing director, Red Light Management

The past year offered time “to focus on where we can improve, culturally, commercially and creatively,” says Sandom. He handles established acts including Interpol, Kaiser Chiefs, Belle & Sebastian, Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien and The Strokes (managed by Red Light founder Coran Capshaw), as well as rising talents such as Alfie Templeman, Amy Michelle, Phoebe Green, Sinead O’Brien (each signed to Chess Club), Delilah Montagu and Cole LC (Columbia Records), Punctual (Polydor), Mysie (70Hz) and Luz (Platoon). Writer-producers including Flood, ShiftK3Y, Violet Skies/sheWrites, Karma Kid and Ben Matravers also benefit from guidance from Sandom, who credits Capshaw for “encouraging calm, entrepreneurial thought and a culture with patience for artist development during these times.”

Wassim “Sal” Slaiby
Co-manager, The Weeknd; founder/CEO, SALXCO and XO Records; board adviser, Global Citizen; head of international partnerships, Anghami; board member, HXOUSE
Amir “Cash” Esmailian
Co-manager, The Weeknd; co-founder, XO Records; founder, YCFU
La Mar C. Taylor
Creative director, The Weeknd; co-founder, XO records and HXOUSE

This power trio’s work led to The Weeknd receiving the IFPI global digital single award for 2020 for “Blinding Lights,” the most popular single of the past year across all digital formats. The song’s parent album, After Hours, amassed 2.5 billion on-demand audio streams in the United States, according to MRC Data, and hit No. 1 in over 30 countries including the United States. Slaiby, a refugee from the Lebanese Civil War who immigrated to Canada at 15, also struck a deal to launch Universal Arabic Music and also recently signed on as manager for Swedish House Mafia.

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Kaz Aida
Head, ADA Japan
Alassane Konaté
Head, ADA France
Juan Paz
Head, ADA Latin
Sander Stijnen
Head, ADA Benelux
Chee Meng Tan
Head, ADA Asia

Alternative Distribution Alliance’s global heads worked through the past year to build their teams, artist rosters and local partnerships while launching their respective operations during the pandemic. Aida joined ADA from Universal Music Japan, where he had worked with local stars such as Kiyoshiro Imawano and the rock group PassCode. Before launching ADA France, Konaté had spent the last 15 years running his own independent label, Din Records. From Miami, Paz oversees ADA’s activity in Latin America, Spain, Portugal and the U.S. Latin market. Guiding ADA expansion in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, Stijnen has already signed a host of new deals and partnerships with multiple Belgian and Dutch labels and artists. Tan, who came from Spotify’s operation in Asia, will expand ADA into China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea and Southeast Asia.

Rebecca Allen
President, EMI Records

Last June, Universal Music U.K. relaunched EMI Music (rebranded from Virgin EMI) and named Allen to lead the label, which is the home of Elton John, Paul McCartney, Mark Knopfler, Florence + The Machine and Bastille, and releases international repertoire from Justin Bieber, Lewis Capaldi, The Killers, Metallica, Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Taylor Swift, among others. When announcing her new role, Universal Music Group chairman/CEO Lucian Grainge said Allen “is such a strong leader — creatively and commercially — and has the values, dedication and acumen to keep EMI as the unquestioned home for some of the U.K.’s greatest talent.”

Stacey Bedford
CEO, Bandzoogle

At Canadian web services and direct-to-fan e-commerce platform Bandzoogle, Bedford leads the company’s efforts to help artists amid the pandemic, including commission-free livestream ticket sales, a digital “tip jar” for virtual performances, pay-what-you-want subscription pricing and expanded integrations with Twitch and Crowcast. Bandzoogle reports that artists have earned over $13 million through their websites since the pandemic began. Bandzoogle has also been raising funds for the Emergency Mental Health for Music Community campaign led by Unison Benevolent Fund, Canada’s leading music industry charity.

Alec Boateng
Alex Boateng
Co-presidents, 0207 Def Jam, Universal Music U.K.
Marisa Lauro-Norris
Senior vp international marketing, Def Jam Recordings

Since November, London-born Ghanaian twin brothers Alec and Alex Boateng have led the newly launched 0207 Def Jam label. Their first signing, British rapper Stormzy, topped the charts while with Warner Music U.K., won best worldwide act at the 2017 MTV Europe Music Awards and collaborated with acts such as Ed Sheeran and Linkin Park. Meanwhile, for Def Jam Recordings in New York, Lauro-Norris oversaw the global campaign for Justin Bieber and his Changes album, which, according to the label, debuted at No. 1 on Apple Music and iTunes in over 85 countries.

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Chris Cannon
Head of international strategy, Secretly Distribution
Irene Lydon
Head of project management, Secretly Distribution

London-based Cannon and Lydon are key players abroad for Secretly Distribution, a division of Secretly Group, one of the largest independent label companies, and home to artists such as Bon Iver, Angel Olsen, Sharon Van Etten, Whitney, Jamila Woods and Phoebe Bridgers. Cannon launched a neighboring rights division for the distribution company, while Lydon built and manages INTL Project Management, which works with over 75 independent label and artist clients.

Priya Dewan
VP South Korea and Southeast Asia, The Orchard
Laura Tesoriero
VP Latin, The Orchard
Albert Torres
VP Latin, The Orchard

For The Orchard, the digital distributor for independent artists and labels in 45 territories, these three colleagues have responsibility for some of the world’s fastest-growing markets. Based in Singapore, Dewan oversees Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Korea. She has worked with The Orchard’s Asian catalog, which includes artists like ITZY, GOT7, Kiana Valenciano, Inigo Pascal, DPR Live — and BTS, from early in its career. When The Orchard partnered with Argentina label EPSA Music, the deal also brought into the fold Tesoriero. In Spain and Mexico, Tesoriero and Torres have helped grow The Orchard’s digital and overall market share to double digits, according to the company.

Arthur Fitzgibbon
Managing director, Brazil, ONErpm

With livestreams driving consumption, digital music distributor ONErpm reports over 70 sales certification awards for its artists in Brazil in 2020 under Fitzgibbon’s leadership. A former artist, producer and manager, Fitzgibbon invested in adding staff — and personally called members of his team to check on them during the pandemic. “It has been an unbelievable and a challenging year full of livestream performances and awards,” he says. “Our years of commitment resulted in a solid strategy for thousands of artists that we love.”

Andreea Gleeson
Co-head/chief revenue officer, TuneCore

Gleeson has made international expansion a priority for TuneCore during the past year. Previously operating in eight countries (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Japan, Australia, Canada, Germany and Italy), the digital distributor is now in 43 countries, including Russia, South Africa and markets in Southeast Asia and Latin America. Through a partnership with the artificial intelligence-driven translation service Unbabel, TuneCore now offers artist support in 29 languages. The company reports partnerships with over 150 digital streaming and online store partners, and independent artists on the platform can be heard in more than 200 countries.

Jurgen Grebner
Executive vp international, Interscope Geffen A&M

Interscope Geffen A&M closed 2020 as Billboard’s top label, and Grebner made sure that success was not limited to the United States. With the 15-year label veteran overseeing global campaigns, IGA reports that Billie Eilish sold over 10 million albums outside the United States and reached No. 1 in more than 20 markets worldwide, Lady Gaga’s Chromatica debuted at No. 1 in 15 countries, DaBaby’s Rockstar had nearly 314 million on-demand streams outside the United States, according to MRC Data, and Olivia Rodrigo’s “drivers license” reached No. 1 in over 30 territories on Spotify and 40 on Apple Music. Benny Blanco, Selena Gomez, Juice WRLD, Machine Gun Kelly and Lil Mosey also benefited from Grebner’s marketing savvy abroad.

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Cindy Gu
Head of Astralwerks Asia, Astralwerks

Gu was named head of Astralwerks Asia in August. Based in Singapore, she leads the label’s operations across Southeast Asia, Korea and China and works closely with Astralwerks GM Toby Andrews. Universal Music Group executive vp market development Adam Granite, in announcing the move, described Gu as “a true dance music enthusiast” with “a proven history of executing successful artist campaigns … vital to establishing Astralwerks Asia as the trusted home for the genre in Asia.”

Drew Hill
Managing director, Proper Music Group

At Proper Music Group, which says it’s the United Kingdom’s leading physical distributor with 10% of the physical music market, Hill made certain the company navigated the pandemic to keep serving its clients, from independent music retailers to supermarkets. Representing more than 1,000 indie labels and handling over 1 million titles, Proper was the first distributor to work with Amazon to directly fill physical orders for the online retailer, according to the company. While physical music sales fell nearly 40% as the pandemic began, Proper contributed to the chart-topping success of Gerry Cinnamon’s The Bonny, released on AWAL in April 2020. Proper won Music Week’s Diversity in the Workplace Award in 2017, and the distributor reports that equality and diversity remain top priorities.

Ben Larsen
Senior vp international, Warner Records

Since taking on leadership of the international department of Warner Records two years ago, Larsen has racked up wins for the label’s roster outside the United States. In less than three months since the artist CJ signed to Warner, Larsen and his team have helped the New York-bred rapper achieve 200 million streams on Spotify and TikTok, plus 140 million views on YouTube, according to the label. Saweetie has been featured on six U.K. magazine covers, while her single “Best Friend” (featuring Doja Cat) has become a hit in the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada. Larsen has boosted other developing acts abroad, including Cavetown, IDK, Ali Gatie and Sub Urban.

Saweetie Gilles Mingasson/ABC/Shutterstock

Fede Lauría
Founder, Dale Play Records

Lauría launched Argentina’s Dale Play Records in 2018 with a focus on the country’s rising trap scene. “We saw a real movement happening here, and all these artists were coming from the streets, winning freestyle battles,” Lauría told Billboard in October after Dale Play struck an exclusive partnership with Sony Music. The label’s roster has grown to include several of Argentina’s top trap artists and producers, such as Nicki Nicole, who was nominated for best new artist at the 2020 Latin Grammy Awards.

Nando Luaces
Founder/CEO, Altafonte

Luaces’ digital distribution company, Altafonte, is headquartered in Spain; has offices in Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Argentina and Chile; and plans new outposts this year in Ecuador, Paraguay and Bolivia. Not surprisingly, the company has emerged as a force in Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries. Altafonte reports signings in the past year of Brazilian DJ Alok; the 547 label from Colombia, guided by DJ Pope (a partner of J Balvin); and the Argentine group Babasonicos, among others.

Torsten Luth
Executive vp international marketing, Atlantic Records

Artists signed to Atlantic Records in the United States benefit from the marketing and promotion efforts abroad led by Luth, who has been in his role for 12 years. With experience working in Germany and the United Kingdom and now based in New York, Luth and his team work with Warner Music Group companies around the globe. While the pandemic halted international promotional trips by artists, Luth and his colleagues guided campaigns for acts including Jack Harlow, Roddy Ricch, Why Don’t We, Ava Max, Pink Sweat$, Melanie Martinez, Sia, Burna Boy and Cardi B, whose “WAP” duet with Megan Thee Stallion was a worldwide smash.

Scott Macrae
Marketing manager, Glassnote Music

From London, Macrae has helped the career growth of international Glassnote artists including Jade Bird, Dylan Cartlidge, Half Moon Run, Mosa Wild and William Prince. He has contributed to Bird’s rise since her 2019 self-titled debut album, which topped the Official Americana Album chart in the United Kingdom and helped her 2020 singles “Headstart” and “Houdini” gain airplay throughout Europe and Australia. Macrae laid the base for Cartlidge’s EP released in Brazil, Australia and Mexico. For Canada’s Half Moon Run, he helped market the indie rockers’ videos, filmed during the pandemic, that have yielded a half-million views and 5 million streams, according to Glassnote.

Gary Mandel
VP creative, Entertainment One U.K.
Ted May
Managing director, U.K./head of international, music, Entertainment One

Mandel, a veteran music attorney whose clients included Lana Del Rey, joined eOne in 2019 to recruit a roster of writers and artist-producers. He introduced brothers Marco and Giampaolo “Jack” Parisi to producer Fred Again and they collaborated on Ed Sheeran’s year-end single, “Afterglow.” May has been guiding eOne’s evolution from a U.S.-oriented distributor to a front-line alternative to the major labels in the United Kingdom while recruiting a team to expand eOne to other territories.

Victoria Needs
VP international, AWAL

Needs brought 23 years of major-label experience, including international marketing roles at Sony, EMI and Warner, when she joined the independent label/distribution company AWAL in January 2020. In the past year, with the support of Needs and her team, AWAL reports that the debut album How I’m Feeling from American singer-songwriter Lauv became the most streamed album on Spotify in the Philippines and Singapore; Norway’s Girl in Red used TikTok to close in on 1 billion global streams; Australia’s Blake Rose gained airplay in Germany; and FINNEAS (brother of Billie Eilish) has been building his own fan base worldwide following AWAL’s 2019 release of his album Blood Harmony.

Maykel Piron
Co-founder/CEO, Armada Music

With offices in Amsterdam, New York and London, Armada Music is one of the world’s leading independent dance labels, founded in 2003 by DJ Armin van Buuren, Piron and David Lewis (who combined their names to create the company’s moniker). Along with van Buuren, Armada’s roster includes dance artists such as Andrew Rayel, ARTY, Brando, Cat Dealers, Ferry Corsten, Loud Luxury, Morgan Page, Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano and Tensnake, with repertoire heard on dance music stations worldwide.

Ilich Rausa
Founder, Rude Records

Rude, which this year marks its 20th anniversary, has signed alt-rock singer-songwriter Sydney Sprague and the rock quartet A Will Away and finalized a crowdfunding campaign that allows fans to own equity in the label. “And we launched RudeCares, Rude’s charity branch,” says Rausa. In October, Rude Records signed a worldwide agreement with The Orchard for digital distribution and a deal with Sony Music Publishing for management of its publishing assets.

Bob Roback
CEO, Ingrooves Music Group

Ingrooves Music Group, under Roback, has opened new offices in Brazil, Mexico, Spain, Korea, Japan, Singapore, Turkey and South Africa, while also boosting its presence in Sweden, Norway and Australia. The distributor signed deals with leading local labels like GR6 in Brazil and Mushroom Pillow in Spain and, in South Africa, acquired one of the market’s leading independent distributors, Electromode. As a competitive edge, Ingrooves points to its proprietary, privacy-focused marketing methods that use artificial intelligence and machine learning. The company’s technology gives its label and artist partners the ability to identify and target prime music audiences anywhere in the world, according to Ingrooves.

Adriana Sein
VP international, Columbia Records

For artists across the Columbia Records roster, Sein guides the international teams who execute campaigns in over 50 countries. She has helped AC/DC, Bruce Springsteen and Harry Styles achieve chart-topping success while contributing to the development of rising talents, including 24kGoldn, Jawsh 685, Powfu and The Kid LAROI. She also worked on what Columbia calls the biggest global launch to date for Rosalía with “TKN” (featuring Travis Scott), which has reached the top 10 in markets in Europe, Latin America and the United States since its release last May.

Marcelo Soares
CEO, Som Livre

On April 1, it was announced that Sony Music Entertainment had agreed to acquire Som Livre, Brazil’s largest independent label, for about $255 million, securing Sony’s leadership in Latin America’s largest market. Soares, who has run Som Livre since 2007, will remain as CEO. Under Soares, Som Livre has become home to over 80 artists, including sertanejo superstars Jorge & Mateus, forró artist Wesley Safadao and Latin Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Maria Gadú.

Jorge & Mateus Rubens Cerqueira

Jonathan Strauss
Co-founder/CEO, Create Music Group
Alexandre Williams
Co-founder/COO, Create Music Group

Create Music Group, which acts as a digital distributor and allows artists to monetize content across multiple digital platforms, was founded by high school friends Strauss and Williams and generated over $100 million in revenue in 2020 — almost half of that outside the United States, according to the company. Last year, Create acquired Mumbai-based Nirvana Digital in the first of $30 million worth of deals the company plans in Asia.

Brian Sutnick
Senior vp global marketing, Republic Records

Pop Smoke’s posthumous hit album Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon has set records in the United States (spending 21 total weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Rap Albums chart), but Republic reports it has also led album charts in 12 other countries through the work of Sutnick and his Universal Music colleagues worldwide. Sutnick helped Ariana Grande’s “Positions” hit No. 1 in the United Kingdom and five other markets and has also handled global marketing for The Weeknd, whose single “Blinding Lights” won IFPI’s global digital single award for 2020.

Mez Tara
VP international, Epic Records

“Heartbreak Anniversary” by Giveon has risen to No. 14 on the Billboard Global Excl. U.S. chart — just one example of Tara’s work on international strategy for Epic’s biggest artist campaigns. The song broke out of Southeast Asia, hitting No. 1 in markets including the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, according to Epic. Among other artists and projects for which Tara has guided international marketing: Future’s High Off Life, Travis Scott’s collaboration with Kid Cudi on “The Scotts,” Fiona Apple’s Fetch the Bolt Cutters, DJ Khaled’s duets with Drake on “Popstar” and “Greece,” and The Black Eyed Peas’ Translation.

Black Eyed Peas Kevin Winter/MTV VMAs 2020/Getty Images for MTV

Frances Moore
CEO, IFPI
Jenny Wong
Asia regional director, IFPI

For IFPI, the global trade organization of the recording industry, Moore has advanced the interests of record companies around the world, from offices in London, Brussels, Miami, Hong Kong, Beijing and Nairobi, Kenya. Wong’s appointment in 2019 has strengthened IFPI’s presence in Asia. Moore fought for the passage by the European Union two years ago of the Copyright Directive, which compels platforms that use user-uploaded content, like YouTube, to license music they make available to the public. She’s now leading the organization’s efforts to ensure the directive is implemented into national law in all of the EU countries.

Jeremy Sirota
CEO, Merlin

In early 2020, as Sirota arrived as the new CEO of Merlin, the worldwide digital licensing organization for independents, he focused on closing deals and expanding partnerships to diminish the impact of the pandemic. “We’ve been inspired by our members’ resilience,” says Sirota. In 2020, he reports, Merlin welcomed 81 new members from across the globe “including first-time members from Burkina Faso, Ghana, Peru, Singapore, Slovakia and the United Arab Emirates,” he says. “As we move forward, Merlin is excited to find new ways to enable our members and celebrate the thing that brings us all together — the music.”

Leslie Ahrens
Senior vp creative, Kobalt Music, Latin America
Johan Ekelund
Managing director, Kobalt Music, Scandinavia
Simon Moor
Managing director, Kobalt Music, Asia Pacific

Kobalt continues to expand its roster worldwide. Among Ahrens’ recent signings are El Alfa from the Dominican Republic, Alex Campos from Columbia and Jesús Adrián Romero from Mexico. Ekelund signed Victor Leksell, whose Sony Music single “Svag” has hit No. 1 in both Sweden and Norway and received over 136 million streams on Spotify. Among the writers and artists Simon has worked with is Tones and I, who is signed to Kobalt for Australia and New Zealand and for a global neighboring rights deal for repertoire including the artist’s worldwide hit “Dance Monkey.”

David Alexander
Founder/managing director, Sheer Publishing Africa

Alexander, founder of Sheer Publishing Africa, which describes itself as the largest independent music publisher on the continent, struck a deal with Downtown, which acquired the company in May 2020. Downtown gets access to the African market, and Sheer Publishing benefits from Downtown’s global reach. (Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.) Alexander remains at the helm of Sheer Publishing, whose copyrights were featured last year in the Netflix series Blood & Water.

Jackie Alway
Executive vp international legal and industry affairs, Universal Music Publishing Group
Bertil David
Managing director, Universal Music Publishing France
Joe Fang
Managing director, Universal Music Publishing Beijing
Tom Foster
European head of film and TV, Universal Music Publishing Group
Alexandra Lioutikoff
President, Universal Music Publishing Group, Latin America

Alway, who was awarded an Order of the British Empire at the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2019 for her efforts on behalf of creators and rights holders, has been an advocate for copyright reform in the United Kingdom and Europe. Developing UMPG’s French roster, David has signed Burna Boy producer Kel-p and struck a co-publishing deal with the Nigerian-based Aristokrat Group. In the past 18 months, Fang and the UMPG team in China have worked with MCSC, the Chinese performing rights organization, to strengthen recognition for copyright owners under Chinese law. Foster leads the European synch team with wins that include newcomer Griff, who recorded a song for Disney’s 2020 Christmas commercial; the placement of Frozen anthem “Let It Go” in Audi’s 2020 Super Bowl spot; and songs from U.K. stars featured in Netflix’s The Crown. In 2019, Lioutikoff became the first woman to hold the role of president of Latin America and United States. She is the only woman to hold the position of president for a multinational Latin music company.

Ichiro Asatsuma
Chairman, FujiPacific Music

A major figure in the Japanese music industry for over five decades, Asatsuma has been chairman of FujiPacific Music since 2005 and was chairman of Japan’s Music Publishers Association from 2004 to 2010. In 2020, Concord acquired FujiPacific’s global stake in Pulse Music Group, the publisher of hits written by Starrah, Ty Dolla $ign and others, in a deal credited to Asatsuma’s long-term vision and financial savvy.

Mandy Aubry
Director of business development, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific, Songtrust
Lara Baker
Director of business development, U.K. and Ireland, Songtrust

In their respective regions, Aubry and Baker work with Songtrust clients to access the company’s global publishing administration network and collect their royalties. In 2020, they achieved year-over-year client growth of 225% in the United Kingdom and Ireland, according to Songtrust. Aubry brought over 60 new music creators and companies from across Africa to Songtrust. One new client, Ghanaian music distributor Highvibes, estimates that 95% of songwriters in Africa are not signed with publishers to administer their rights.

Annette Barrett
Managing director/global strategic liaison, Reservoir
Hussain “Spek” Yoosuf
Founder/president, PopArabia; executive vp international and emerging markets, Reservoir

From London, Barrett pursues international opportunities for Reservoir writers like Jamie Hartman, Cutfather and Ivor Lifetime Achievement Award winner Nitin Sawhney. She’s a co-founder of the International Music Publishers Forum and in 2020 was named both president and chair of the organization’s board. Following a joint-venture deal struck in February 2020 between Reservoir and PopArabia, Yoosuf, based in Dubai, oversees strategy, signing and development of talent for both companies across Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.

Laura Bedikian
Senior creative manager, Downtown Music Publishing
Charles Braud
Head of sync, France, Downtown Music Publishing
Dean Francis
GM, Downtown Neighbouring Rights

Bedikian and Braud jointly run Downtown Music Publishing’s operation in France. Bedikian represents artist-composers ranging from Israeli-born, Paris-based singer Keren Ann to rising rappers Luidji and Green Montana. Braud’s deals with brands such as Lancôme, Jimmy Choo and others drove a “double-digit percentage” of Downtown’s synch revenue for 2019-2020, according to the company. Francis’ success leading neighboring rights collections for Downtown’s music publishing division led the company in June to announce a new stand-alone business unit dedicated to performance royalties with Francis at the helm.

Keren Ann David Wolff - Patrick/Redferns

Benjamin Budde
President, Budde Music

Budde has carried on the music publishing legacy of his father, Dr. Rolf Budde, who died in 2018 after a lifetime of building the family’s independent Berlin-based company. During the pandemic, Budde struck a deal to acquire the London-based independent publisher Phrased Differently, “a strategic creative merger,” he says, “as it grows our U.K. office and studios tremendously.” Meanwhile, sister company BTA launched a brand partnership and acting department that, says Budde, “opens up new paths in these fields.”

Justin Dowling
GM, Blue Mountain Music; executive vp, Primary Wave U.K. and Europe

After Primary Wave acquired Chris Blackwell’s share of both Blue Mountain Music and Bob Marley’s song catalog in 2018 for an estimated $50 million, Dowling took on responsibility for both catalogs and, from his base in London, has guided the publisher’s expansion into Europe. He oversaw a record year of synch deals for the Marley catalog in 2020, according to Primary Wave. Dowling secured sampling usage for Marley’s “Could You Be Loved” for the hit “Safaera” from Anuel and Bad Bunny, one of the most streamed songs of the past year. He has also has taken the lead on Primary Wave acquisitions in the United Kingdom and Europe, including the publisher’s deal for the catalog of KT Tunstall announced in January.

Related

Gustavo Menendez
President, Warner Chappell Latin America
Shani Gonzales
Managing director, Warner Chappell U.K.; head of international A&R, Warner Chappell Music
Santiago Menéndez-Pidal
Managing director, Warner Chappell Music Spain
Matthieu Tessier
Managing director, Warner Chappell Music France

Under Menendez, Warner Chappell Latin America in the past year has inked agreements with the Mexican grupero band Bronco and Latin Grammy-winning producer Tony Succar, among others. Gonzales’ international A&R role has her working with writers across borders, such as Ari Pensmith and MNEK from the United Kingdom, Capital Bra from Germany and El Guincho from Spain. In October, Menéndez-Pidal renewed Warner Chappell’s publishing agreement with Spanish superstar Pablo Alborán (who also re-upped his recording deal with Warner Music Spain). Tessier and his team have been working with Aya Nakamura, whose remixed hit “Djadja” (featuring Maluma) has spent 13 weeks on Billboard’s Global Excl. U.S. chart, peaking at No. 32.

Jorge Mejia
President/CEO, Latin America and U.S. Latin, Sony Music Publishing
Sharon Boyse
Senior vp international operations and society relations, Sony Music Publishing
Sarah Lockhart
Head of A&R, U.K., Sony Music Publishing
Johnny Tennander
Managing director, Scandinavia/senior vp A&R, Europe, Sony Music Publishing

Miami-based Mejia is responsible for Sony Music Publishing operations in the U.S. Latin market and throughout Latin America, with offices in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico. In 2020, the company was named Latin publisher of the year by both BMI and SESAC for the fifth consecutive time. Boyse’s global expertise has allowed Sony to become the first publisher to introduce real-time processing for foreign earnings, according to the company, along with royalty and copyright administration across multiple digital platforms. Lockhart, who joined the company just over a year ago, signed British rap duo Young T & Bugsey, whose “Don’t Rush” reached No. 5 on the Rhythmic Airplay chart. Boosting the presence of Sony’s Scandinavia roster on the global charts, Tennander has signed writers including Benjamin Lasnier, who has co-written with Megan Thee Stallion, among others.

Merck Mercuriadis
Founder/CEO, Hipgnosis Songs Fund

Under the guidance of Mercuriadis, the 4-year-old Hipgnosis Songs Fund, based in London, has reshaped the music rights business, spending over $2 billion so far acquiring some 140 publishing catalogs including the works of Blondie, Lindsey Buckingham, Rick James, Journey, Barry Manilow, Nelly, Mark Ronson, RZA, Richie Sambora and Neil Young. Profits were up 917% in its fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2020, and the company now has a market capitalization of almost $2 billion, according to Hipgnosis.

John Minch
President, international publishing, Concord
Kim Frankiewicz
Executive vp worldwide A&R, Concord Music Publishing
Kent Hoskins
CFO, Concord

Concord’s Boosey & Hawkes division has become an international partner under Minch for classical publishers including Oxford University Press in the United Kingdom, Germany’s Schott Music and Austria’s Universal Edition. Frankiewicz leads Concord’s A&R teams worldwide and has done so in the past year “all from her kitchen table in London,” she says. Concord writers Biff Stannard and Fiona Bevan contributed to Kylie Minogue’s album Disco, which hit No. 1 last year in the United Kingdom. When the pandemic struck, Hoskins and senior executives followed a “European business continuity and resilience strategy” — covering relocation, remote working and more — that he had prepared in 2013.

Ralph Peer II
Executive chair, peermusic
Mary Megan Peer
CEO, peermusic

The international pedigree of peermusic goes back to 1928, when visionary founder Ralph S. Peer recognized the potential of the Latin market after a visit to Mexico City. Today, peermusic operates in 31 countries with a global network developed by Ralph Peer II and his daughter Mary Megan Peer. In October 2020, peermusic Neighbouring Rights was formed after the acquisition of Premier Muzik (Canada), All Right Music (France) and Global Master Rights (the Netherlands). Mary Megan, promoted to CEO in December and now based in Amsterdam, has worked alongside her father to advance her grandfather’s legacy, with peermusic ranking at No. 8 on Billboard’s year-end Hot 100 Publishing Corporations chart in 2020.

Robert Wise
Chairman, Wise Music Group

In January 2020, Music Sales Group rebranded itself as Wise Music Group, recognizing that the firm is “very much a family business,” says Wise. One of the world’s leading publishers, the company owns and manages over 200,000 popular and classical copyrights, including the catalog of G. Schirmer Inc., the American classical publisher that was founded in 1861. Earlier this year, Wise oversaw the acquisition of a company that owns the music publishing rights to hit songs by The Zombies.

Marcos Araújo
CEO, Villa Mix

Brazilian promoter Araújo has helped popularize Brazil’s country music genre sertanejo, discovering and initially managing talents like Jorge & Mateus and Gusttavo Lima. He also helped propel the international success of dance music DJ-producer Alok, whose global rise came thanks to his 2016 song “Hear Me Now,” recorded with Bruno Martini and Zeeba; it became the first track from Brazil to break 100 million streams on Spotify. The song and Villa Mix exposure helped push Alok’s performance fee in Brazil to between $100,000 and $150,000, says Araújo.

Alok MAURO PIMENTEL/AFP via Getty Images

Henry Cárdenas
Founder/CEO, CMN

Cárdenas was recognized as Billboard’s 2019 Latin Power Players Executive of the Year as the promoter behind tours by Marc Anthony, Maluma and Bad Bunny. Based in Chicago, he has spent much of the past year leading the multimillion-dollar development of Arena Bogota, which will include a 20,000-seat venue in his native country of Colombia. Along with Marc Anthony, Cárdenas is co-founder of the Maestro Cares Foundation, which provides housing, community centers, outreach programs, and educational and medical initiatives to children in 13 countries.

Denis Desmond
Chairman, Live Nation U.K. and Ireland
John Reid
President, Live Nation Europe, the Middle East and Africa
Roger Field
President, Live Nation Asia Pacific
Selina Emeny
International group counsel, Live Nation

Desmond spent the last year devoting himself to steadying the Live Nation ship abroad, which he says “is easy when you have a great team.” Reid, a veteran of the European live- and recorded-music businesses, expanded his responsibility to include the Middle East, Africa and India, in addition to Europe, with a focus on drive-in shows, streaming and socially distanced events. (In Madrid, he oversaw a series of socially distanced Crew Nation Presents shows to provide employment and raise money for concert workers.) Along with other Australian industry leaders, Field co-founded the Live Entertainment Industry Forum to support the safe return of live events, producing state-of-the-art protocols and working to create risk management plans that met the needs of fans, governments, artists and the industry. Emeny, celebrating her 22nd year with Live Nation Entertainment, has an expansive role that includes international group counsel, liaison between the company’s U.S. headquarters and its international operations, government affairs and envoy for Live Nation with regulatory authorities across global markets.

Steve Homer
Toby Leighton-Pope
Co-CEOs, U.K., AEG Presents
Alex Hill
President/CEO, AEG Europe
Adam Wilkes
President/CEO, AEG Asia
Jim King
CEO of European festivals, AEG Presents U.K.
Simon Jones
Senior vp international touring, AEG Presents

Homer and Leighton-Pope guided the team behind marquee festivals like Country to Country, which brought Nashville stars to London, Glasgow, Dublin, Berlin and Amsterdam before the pandemic. When live shows ceased, the two helped livestream shows from AEG venues — and donated food and beverages from the Hammersmith Apollo to a local London hospital. Under Wilkes, AEG in Asia entered a joint venture with South Korea’s CJ Group to build a new arena in Seoul. King helped confirm the extension of AEG’s agreement to promote the BST Hyde Park festival in London through 2027. Amid the many concerts and tours that Jones saw canceled in 2020, he helped pull off Justin Bieber’s acoustic show in London in February 2020 to promote his Changes album.

Harvey Lister
Chairman/CEO, Asia Pacific, ASM Global
John Sharkey
Executive vp, ASM Global
Tim Worton
Group director, Australia arenas, ASM Global
Marie Lindqvist
Senior vp Europe, ASM Global
Dana DuFine
VP global booking, content and development, ASM Global

In late 2019, the merger of venue management companies SMG and AEG Facilities brought together 112 arenas and 24 stadiums worldwide, including in the Asia-Pacific region, overseen by Lister; Australia, where Worton guides arenas; and Europe, where Sharkey and Lindqvist work with venue clients and promoters. DuFine, whose role involves bringing concerts and other events to all those venues, is working at rescheduling shows across the globe. “I have no doubt we’re coming back strong,” she says. “But it’s going to take everything we got.”

Alejandro Soberon Kuri
President/CEO, Ocesa/CIE

Before COVID-19 shut down the touring industry, Soberon Kuri’s OCESA/CIE ranked at No. 4 — just behind Live Nation, AEG Presents and MSG Entertainment — among the world’s most successful concert promotion companies, according to Billboard Boxscore rankings for November 2019 to January 2021. Since founding OCESA (CIE is its holding company) in 1990, Soberon Kuri has made Mexico a must-play for international artists. Although a planned acquisition by Live Nation was scuttled by the pandemic, Soberon Kuri pivoted to livestreaming. “Live experiences will return with a lot of power,” he says, “and we’ll be able to amplify these experiences in a much better way with the digital world. That’s the growth opportunity.”

Emma Banks
Chris Dalston
Mike Greek
Marlene Tsuchii
Co-heads, international touring, Creative Artists Agency
Maria May
Music agent, Creative Artists Agency

With Banks and Greek based in London and Dalston and Tsuchii in Los Angeles, CAA has a powerhouse quartet of top agents focused on international markets bolstered by May, who is also based in London. The agency boasts a star-studded roster that included Harry Styles, Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Bon Jovi, Foo Fighters, Queen, Adam Lambert, AC/DC, Sting, Ricky Martin and the Eagles. May, with her roots in electronic and dance music, represents David Guetta, The Black Eyed Peas and The Chainsmokers, among others. CAA reports that in 2019 the agency booked over 8,000 shows outside North America in 98 countries. During the pandemic, its agents found new creative and commercial channels for clients — not only virtual shows but endorsement deals, books and podcasts. CAA’s international roster has continued to grow with new signings that include Chvrches, Playboi Carti, Bauhaus, Todrick Hall, Declan McKenna, Claire Rosinkranz, Phantogram, Bree Runway, Gok Wan, Gracie Abrams, BENEE, Celeste and Tomfoolery.

Ariana Grande attends the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards at STAPLES Center on Jan. 26, 2020 in Los Angeles. Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Amy Davidman
Devin Landau
Co-founders/partners/agents, TBA Agency

Davidman and Landau are the internationally focused co-founders, along with three other former Paradigm agents, of TBA Agency. For over a decade Davidman has been an advocate for bringing Latin artists to the mainstream and international artists to Latin markets. Landau represents (outside the European Union) Brazil’s Luísa Sonza, whose engagement on BeApp led to a monthlong focus by the social media platform on the Brazilian market.

Lucy Dickins
Co-head, music, WME
Tony Goldring
Partner/head of international music department, WME
Brett Murrihy
Partner/head of Asia Pacific, music, WME
James Rubin
Partner/co-head of hip-hop department, WME
Ashley Gonzalez
Music agent, WME

In early 2020, Dickins was promoted to co-head of WME’s music division while continuing to represent clients including Adele, James Blake, Bryan Ferry and Mumford & Sons. Her client Mabel won a 2020 BRIT Award for best female solo artist. Goldring oversees tours outside the United States for WME artists including Rihanna, Justin Timberlake and John Legend and last year signed Shakira to the agency. Murrihy oversaw the most successful quarter on record for WME’s Sydney office in early 2020 before touring halted. Rubin’s hip-hop and R&B roster includes Tyler, The Creator, Solange, Killer Mike, Travis Scott, Goldlink and Run the Jewels, as well as R&B singer Summer Walker. Gonzalez developed strategy to book hundreds of WME clients in Latin markets and coordinated global tours for her own roster, including St. Vincent, Kali Uchis and Jenny Lewis. She recently signed Camilo, one of the most followed artists on TikTok.

Peter Elliott
Managing director, Primary Talent International
Matt Bates
ICM Partners, head of international/head of Europe and director, Primary Talent International
Ben Winchester
Director, Primary Talent International
Craig D’Souza
Agent, Primary Talent International

In March 2020, Elliott played a key role in securing the partnership of Primary Talent International and ICM Partners, which strengthened both agencies during the pandemic. He represents artists such as Lana Del Rey, Dizzee Rascal and Sofi Tukker. After the two agencies joined forces, Bates became a Primary Talent International partner and worked alongside ICM’s then-head of concerts Rob Prinz to grow ICM’s international department. Winchester books tours outside the United States and Canada for acts including Noel Gallagher, Slowdive and Ride. (One highlight of his three-decade career: booking Oasis’ legendary 1996 concert in Knebworth, England, which drew a quarter of a million fans.) D’Souza, whose client Stormzy headlined the 2019 Glastonbury festival, received Music Week’s 2020 award for live music agent of the year.

Alex Hardee
Tom Schroeder
James Whitting
Partners, Paradigm Agency

Hardee’s client Lewis Capaldi finished his first arena tour of the United Kingdom and Ireland in March 2020, days before the pandemic halted in-person concerts, then did an Amazon Prime Day livestream in October to raise funds for shuttered venues. Schroeder worked with clients like FKA twigs, Disclosure and slowthai to donate memorabilia for the #ILoveLive campaign, which raised a half-million pounds for out-of-work touring crews and technicians. Whitting’s client Ellie Goulding unveiled her new album Brightest Blue in July and played a global pay-per-view livestream from London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.

Lewis Capaldi Shirlaine Forrest/WireImage

John Jackson
President, K2 Agency

In August, the private equity firm Yucaipa Companies entered into a joint venture with Jackson’s K2 Agency, bringing the renowned London-based booking firm under the same umbrella as Yucaipa-owned Artist Group International. Jackson, who represents Metallica, Iron Maiden and Slayer for European touring, says that the highlight of 2020 was “joining forces with Dennis Arfa and his colleagues at AGI and, consequently, K2 becoming a Yucaipa company. The lowlight is the realization that I have not seen a K2 artist play live for over a year and a half and counting.”

Scott Mantell
Co-head of international, ICM Partners
Ari Bernstein
Agent, ICM Partners

In March 2020, ICM Partners acquired U.K. talent agency Primary Talent International, expanding its reach and roster by over 600 music clients. Mantell oversees ICM’s entire international roster and during the pandemic built relationships with streaming platforms not only for musicians but also ICM clients in the podcast, unscripted talent and comedy sectors. From New York, Bernstein has managed touring abroad for Kendrick Lamar, Khalid, Migos and others. During the touring shutdown, he has focused on diversifying income streams for his clients.

Steve Strange
Director/agent, X-ray Touring
Beckie Sugden
Senior agent, X-ray Touring

Coldplay, Eminem, Snow Patrol, Queens of the Stone Age and Jimmy Eat World are among the clients booked by Strange at London-based X-ray Touring, all awaiting the full-scale return of tours. Sugden helped bring Anderson .Paak and Russ abroad; represents Jhené Aiko, Gucci Mane and Ghostemane; and is one of the first agents to book many shows in emerging markets in the Middle East, according to the agency.

Neil Warnock
Obi Asika
Co-heads of U.K. office, UTA
Jules De Lattre
Agent, music, UTA
Sean Hill
Director of tour marketing, music, UTA
Cleo Thompson
Executive, music brand partnerships, UTA

UTA in March announced the acquisition of Echo Location Talent Agency, founded by Asika, who personally represents Alesso, Marshmello, Chase & Status and Trippie Redd, among others, while UTA will also book former Echo clients Diplo and Major Lazer. Warnock, a five-decade veteran in live booking, played a key role in guiding UTA clients and supporting U.K. music venues during the pandemic. De Lattre and his colleagues booked hundreds of virtual shows viewed by fans worldwide while generating “substantial revenue,” according to UTA. Hill developed artist marketing strategies for over 30 virtual concerts, including a 360-degree livestream from London in November for Burna Boy. Thompson guides UTA’s European brand-partnerships business and has helped the team close over 300 deals globally since the pandemic began.

Contributors: International Power Players was written by Thom Duffy with reporting from Katie Bain, Alexei Barrioneuvo, Lars Brandle, Dave Brooks, Patrick Brzeski, Keith Caulfield, Ed Christman, Tatiana Cirisano, Leila Cobo, Frank DiGiacomo, Chris Eggertsen, Griselda Flores, Tim Ingham, Glenn Peoples, Dan Rys, Marc Schneider and Rebecca Sun.

Methodology: Nominations for Billboard power lists open not less than 120 days in advance of publication. (For a contact for our editorial calendar listing publication dates, please email thom.duffy@billboard.com.) The online nomination link is sent to press representatives and/or honorees of companies previously featured on any Billboard power list, as well as those who send a request to thom.duffy@billboard.com. Nominations close and lists are locked not less than 90 days before publication. Billboard’s 2021 International Power Players were chosen by editors based on factors including, but not limited to, nominations by peers, colleagues and superiors, limited to the industry sectors shown. Consideration was given to geographic diversity and the industry impact of honorees and/or their companies. That impact is measured by metrics including, but not limited to, chart, sales and streaming performance as measured by MRC Data and social media impressions using data available as of March 15.


Where Royalties Flow

Artists worldwide create music to delight and inspire their fans. But they also need to get paid, whether through performance royalties (for songwriters and music publishers), mechanical royalties (for owners of sound-recording copyrights), digital performance royalties (paid in the United States by noninteractive digital streaming services) or neighboring rights royalties (earned outside the United States from the public performance of a master recording). Who can keep track? In the world’s top 10 markets as ranked by IFPI, these are the leading rights-collection organizations. Most are commonly identified by the widely used acronyms for their full names.


The Latin Boom

When IFPI released its 2021 Global Music Report in March, it confirmed that only one region in the world experienced a double-digital rate of revenue growth in the preceding year — Latin America, where revenue increased by 15.9%.

That growth boosted the region’s share of the global recorded-music market to 3.6%, up from 3.3% in 2019. (Music consumption in the region outpaces that market share. Were it not for currency devaluation, the region would account for a higher share of global revenue.)

Streaming revenue grew by 30.2% and accounted for 84.1% of Latin America’s total revenue. The growth is driven by the strength of the region’s artists, including multiple performers who are global superstars.

For a snapshot of that talent, Billboard highlights some of the most influential talents in Spain, which, bound by language with Latin America, as both a source and a destination for music in Spanish; Portuguese-speaking Brazil, which is the largest Latin American territory (by music revenue); and the Latin markets of Mexico, Argentina and Colombia.

This article originally appeared in the April 24, 2021, issue of Billboard.