With an eye on innovation in a rapidly changing industry, Warner Music Group has announced a consolidation of all its global business development functions under a single leadership team. Under the new structure, WMG COO Rob Wiesenthal will oversee the company’s digital biz-dev efforts while continuing to report to CEO Steve Cooper.
The company also announced a promotion for Jonathan Dworkin, SVP of digital strategy and business development, to EVP of digital strategy and business development. Dworkin will report to Wiesenthal and continue working on building global-minded partnerships that expand WMG’s success with artist development.
In a statement announcing the shuffle, Cooper said the new unified structure will give artists a portfolio of “unmatched” innovative services and opportunities. “This move recognizes that digital technology is a driving force across all aspects of our business, and that the pace of change — both globally and locally — requires nimble experimentation,” he said.
Wiesenthal — who joined WMG in early 2013 and oversaw the company’s partnership with Shazam and also managed to nail down a deal with Clear Channel to become the first U.S. major to receive artist performance royalty payments when their master recordings are played on the radio — said in a press release that there’s an opportunity to “establish new business approaches for artists, and build on WMG’s reputation as the most ambitious and progressive music company in the world.” Prior to joining WMG, Wiesenthal spent many years at Sony Corp. as CFO of Sony Corp. of America and chief strategy officer for Sony Entertainment. During that tenure, he oversaw the merger of Sony and BMG and then subsequently engineered the buyout of Bertelsmann to give Sony complete control of the major. Likewise, he helped build Sony/ATV by hiring Martin Bandier to take the reins of the publisher in 2008, then the smallest of the major music publishers; and he organized the consortium which bought EMI Music Publishing, making Sony/ATV the largest force in music publishing.
Also fairly new to WMG, Dworkin said he’s looking forward to the new team and WMG artists to “harness technology” to drive new music discovery. Dworkin previously worked at Nokia as global head of business affairs and strategy. While there, he licensed and launched Mix Radio.