“I got a lot of WTF emails,” said Rick Krim, VH1’s EVP of Talent & Music Programming, who announced yesterday (May 8) that he is leaving the cable network after 13 years without specifying his next move. “I’m just exploring a bunch of options right now,” he said. “It’d be great to end up somewhere where music is the driving the force to whatever the organization is.”
In a company-wide email obtained by Billboard, Krim wrote enthusiastically about changes taking place in the music business. “It’s an understatement to say that the music industry has changed dramatically since I first returned after a brief hiatus, to Viacom in 2001. Through my years at MTV and more recently at VH1, the way music fans consume music, the way artists are launched, the way technology has allowed a more free flowing form of music access, and especially the role our music brands have played in this landscape has been nothing less than profound and exhilarating.”
Krim began his career at MTV Networks in 1982 as a business manager working his way up to VP of talent and artist relations in 1992. He spent six years at EMI Music Publishing where he is credited for signing and developing artists like the Goo Goo Dolls, Good Charlotte, Train, The Verve Pipe, Meredith Brooks, Tonic and Matthew Sweet.
Krim returned to the Viacom fold at VH1 in 2001. The work he is most proud of at VH1 includes the “You Oughta Know” franchise which he says has “become an important launching pad for new artists” as well as music programming like “Story Tellers,” “VH1 Divas” and “Hip-Hop Honors.” More recently Krim helped work on the network’s ambitious six-night “Super Bowl Blitz” concert series in January.
The music exec also noted that as reality programming has become more popular his team managed to do “a great job of keeping the music brand strong with events and inserting music into these shows.” He thanked VH1 president Tom Calderone for giving him a free hand and for being as passionate about music as he is.
The move comes just two weeks after VH1 laid-off ten staffers on its New York development team including two vice-presidents after less than a year into new programming chief Susan Levison’s tenure. A move which Krim said did not impact his decision.
The network’s primetime viewership is up more than 30 percent in the key 18-49 demographic this year. And though VH1 dominates cable television on Monday nights and is the No. 1 non-sports cable TV network for adults aged 18-49 with its “Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta,” and “T.I. and Tiny the Family Hustle” slate, according to Nielsen, the network in 2013 was not a top 20 network for adults aged 18-49.