CHARLIE WALK, 48
President, Republic Group
Last Year’s Rank: 91
With nearly one out of every three top 10 songs on the 2015 Mainstream Top 40 airplay chart belonging to a Republic-affiliated artist — The Weeknd, Shawn Mendes and Nick Jonas among them — Walk’s record as a promotion man is undeniable. Now, after three years as executive vp at the label, the married father of four has been elevated to president.
You helped break Nick Jonas as a solo star but built a band, DNCE, around Joe Jonas. Why that strategy?
Joe was a great frontman for the Jonas Brothers, so he and I made a decision: Be a great frontman again.
What’s the biggest challenge facing record companies today?
The designation “record company.” We are in the artist-as-brand development business. We’re the bank that puts up money all the way through to develop and provide expert A&R, promotion, marketing and strategy. We are the machine behind those artists and no longer just a company that puts out records.
You have added radio promotion for Island to your responsibilities. Isn’t that just one man doing two jobs?
It absolutely has been more work, but Republic is set up to work with partners. So, Big Machine Label Group’s Scott Borchetta brought us Thomas Rhett, whom we’re crossing over. Drake is going to have an amazing album out this year on Cash Money. With Island, it has been the year of Shawn Mendes, and new music from Nick Jonas and Demi Lovato is on track.
As executive vp, you touched every aspect of Republic’s business. What will change in your new role?
I don’t want to work great records, I want to work great artists. The great artists make the great records.