“My mom didn’t really know half the artists I worked with,” says Taryn Haight, Warner Bros. Records newly hired director of dance marketing & artist relations, Haight says — before admitting that her “all-time favorite artist” is Neil Young. “To be in the same building, or even a meeting, where people are talking about Neil Young’s new music before it’s out is unbelievable,” she says.
Haight — along with Lauren Lipsay, who joins the label as manager of dance marketing — will be responsible for the development of WBR’s growing roster of dance music artists which includes Pete Tong’s FFRR label, part of Parlophone (which parent company WMG acquired last year) as well overseeing the U.S. marketing for Warner Music UK dance imprint One More Tune (OMT), headed by Anton Partridge. The duo will report directly to Brian Frank, EVP of marketing & strategy at WBR.
The hires represent a move forward in Cameron Strang’s evolution of WBR, which has traditionally focused on rock acts like Young, Tom Petty or the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The news comes on the heels of announcing the hires of key marketing execs like Frank and Dion Singer as well as A&R execs Peter Thea and president Dan McCarroll.
“I am thrilled to welcome Taryn and Lauren to the WBR team,” said WBR chairman/CEO Cameron Strang in a statement. “The level of innovative and exceptional talent within the burgeoning dance music scene is extraordinary, and we continue to deepen our commitment to this rapidly evolving sphere.”
Formerly a marketing manager at Ultra Music, Haight has worked with such artists as Benny Benassi, The Bloody Beetroots, Araabmuzik, Wolfgang Gartner, Paul Woolford, Bondax and the West End Records’ roster, among many other acts, before landing at WBR.
Lipsay is a journalist and dance music world strategist and has worked with Rolling Stone, Billboard, Dancing Astronaut, Elektro, and inthemix among others.
”Taryn and Lauren bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to their new posts,” Frank said in a statement. “The dance music culture is unique in our business, and to play in that arena requires specialized insight into the community and immersive expertise in its artists and various subgenres.”
Haight credits a heavily-played Ace of Base cassette with “planting the dance music seed” early. Eventually, however, it was a stint in Paris in 2007 that made her a dance music die-hard. “I got to witness first hand the Ed Bangers crew at places like Social Club and Rex,” she says name-checking sets by Justice, DJ Mehdi and Birdy Nam Nam. “Whether I realized it or not, it was the right place at the right time. It was a great time to be living in Paris.”
In Haight and Lipsy’s immediate future are upcoming WBR dance music releases by Oliver Heldens & Becky Hill’s “Gecko (Overdrive),” which Haight describes as “massive,” as well as a Tom Starr remix of Dansson & Marlon Hoffstadt’s “Shake That,” and remixes of “Come On Now (Set It Off) by Tube & Berger feat. Juliet Sikora.
About the move to a major, Haight says it feels like “working at a start-up in a big company.” Based out of WBR’s Burbank, CA offices, she says there’s a “great energy in this building, you can feel it when you walk in. Everyone’s open to new ideas and passionate about music and there’s a lot of back and forth. Who would have thought ten years ago the industry would be where it is now?”