Warner Music Group today announced the promotion of Mike Caren to president, worldwide A&R across its myriad labels. Caren had previously served as EVP, A&R for Atlantic Records and as co-president for the recently relaunched Elektra Records label.
In his new position, Caren will be overseeing the development and recruitment of Warner’s artists for all of its subsidiaries, including Atlantic, Elektra, Warner Bros. Records, and Rhino Entertainment, among others. He will report directly to WMG CEO of recorded music Lyor Cohen.
Caren will also be forming a new company in association with Atlantic called Artist Partners, which will offer “creative services” to artists. The company said more information on that venture will be announced in the coming weeks.
“Mike is an outstanding A&R executive. His unwavering commitment to extraordinary music has resulted in the discovery of many visionary artists, and the achievement of their true potential,” said Cohen in a statement. “He will now bring his rare mix of musical ability, creative instinct and entrepreneurial drive to WMG’s company-wide focus on artist development.”
Caren got his start in the music industry with stints at SRC/Loud Records and Ruthless Records before moving to WMG as part of Atlantic’s Big Beat imprint (founded by current Atlantic Records Group co-chairman/CEO Craig Kallman) in 1995. In the intervening years, he signed artists such as T.I., B.O.B., Trey Songz and Flo Rida to Warner, and took up the mantle as co-president of the relaunched Elektra in 2009, working with Bruno Mars and Cee-Lo Green, among others.
Caren, along with former Elektra co-president John Janick, has been the subject of months of industry rumors about his next move. News broke last month that Janick will assume a “presidential” role at Interscope in the coming weeks.
“During the past twenty years I have been involved in every aspect of the creative process. I’ve learned how important A&R can be in all stages of an artistic career, and I’m delighted to work at a company where that commitment to artists is at the center of everything we do,” said Caren in the statement. “I am excited to be collaborating with them as we develop the latest generation of A&R talent and nurture tomorrow’s global superstars.”
“My goal, with both WMG and Artist Partners, is to help artists realize their entire vision, be it creative, marketing or entrepreneurial,” he added.