Executive Turntable: ADA ‘Godfather’ Steps Down; Disney Star’s Manager Forms Company
A list of moves and shakes across the industry, including at ADA, Capitol Music Group, Audacy and more.
The Alternative Distribution Alliance’s “godfather” David Orleans celebrated his 28th anniversary with the company last Friday (Aug. 13) — just as he’s stepping down as president and assuming a new role as chairman emeritus. The well-loved executive — referred to as the “heart and soul” of the company in the press release — will continue being actively involved as an advisor for the company.
Orleans was one of the first hires back in 1993 when ADA launched and is credited with helping build the company from the ground up. He started out as a sales manager and through time, rose to the rank of President. “It’s impossible to overstate the central role that David has played in making ADA what it is today, and what his passion and support has meant to the independent label community,” said Cat Kreidich, ADA head, in a memo. “He’s forged invaluable relationships, proving time and time again the value that a major music company can bring to launching and amplifying the careers of indie artists.”
The company will soon have news as to who might fill the leadership role left by Orleans, whose approach was “let’s do amazing things and have fun while we’re doing them,” according to Kreidich. Andy Allen, head of ADA from 1994 to 2008, stated in the memo how impressed he was with his passion for indie music and enthusiasm for the company’s future.
“Anchoring our West Coast office, he quickly developed relationships with both of our customer groups – the retail community and the music makers,” Allen said. “David built a strong team around him and led by example, challenging his staff to work as hard as he did. I also need to mention he’s one funny bastard, offsetting his intensity for the job with a wicked sense of humor.”
Janelle Lopez Genzink has launched a woman-fronted, artist-first management company called Volara, founded on the “premise that a character-driven team of women can work from a place of shared understanding with clients, embracing their innate ability to lead with strength, compassion, and empathy,” the press release reads. Its client list includes Disney star Sabrina Carpenter as well as Carmen DeLeon, a rising Latin artist, and Riah, an indie songwriter.
Volara will begin with a small, handpicked group of executives on the team, which will grow in tangent with its clientele. “My commitment will remain steadfast to forging solid, lasting relationships with the kind artists who align with the vision and ethos of the company, which draws its name from the Spanish verb ‘volar,’ or ‘to fly,’” Genzink said in a statement. “At Volara, we believe artists are meant to soar, and we’re here to guide them on their journey.”
Genzink started out at The Firm, a management company where she later secured a full-time position working on a roster including Audioslave, Phantom Planet, and Pete Yorn. She then moved to Azoff Music Management, signing Fifth Harmony immediately after their departure from X Factor. Since then, she’s worked with Lea Michele and Sabrina Carpenter. “I’m not scared of taking the long road,” Genzink said. “I don’t sign artists very often, but when I do, I’m committing to the whole journey, to being there alongside them every step of the way.”
Kieran Thurgood has been promoted to senior vp of global marketing at Capitol Music Group, where he will lead the label’s international department and oversee global marketing and promotion strategy for CMG’s labels: Capitol, Blue Note, Capitol Christian Music Group and more.
Thurgood had been vp of International Marketing for the label group since 2017, and has been with the company since 2013. He’s credited with overseeing the global campaigns of artists such as Halsey, Katy Perry, Paul McCartney, Niall Horan, Calum Scott, Migos, Lil Baby, Troye Sivan, Maggie Rogers, Fletcher, NE-YO, Mary J. Blige, Banks, Alesso, Beck, Norah Jones, Avenged Sevenfold and NF.
“Our ambition moving forward is clear: to expand CMG’s global reach & cultural impact, while fostering a nurturing & creative environment where our artists can thrive,” Thurgood said. “I’m also hugely thankful to all of our world-class Universal Music Group teams globally and even more so to our phenomenal artists who entrust me each day to champion them and their art around the world.”
Some of the recent hallmark moments of his career are overseeing the global strategy for Katy Perry since the release of her 2013 multi-platinum album Prism, working to double the overseas sales of Migos over the last 18 months, and expanding the international footprint of Lil Baby. “Kieran has a passion for music that has helped him develop deep relationships with our artists, and he’s forged strong partnership with our international affiliates through his decisive leadership and strategic thinking,” said Capitol Records general manager and CMG executive vp Larry Mattera. “He consistently develops innovative methods for breaking artists on a global level as well as enhancing the careers of established superstars. His contributions to CMG’s success make him the ideal executive to lead our International endeavors.”
Famed Los Angeles rock venue the Troubadour has a new talent booker: Jordan Anderson. She’ll serve as the sole booker for the venue, once owned by Doug Weston, and is “known for being a fierce supporter of live and recorded music,”the press release reads.
Anderson, previously based in Nashville, has worked for Exit/In and Marathon Music Works in Nashville, and AEG Presents. There, she oversaw marketing efforts for Brandi Carlile’s six night, sold-out run at Ryman Auditorium and Elton John’s final tour in the Southeast. She’s also a founding editor of Cool Stuff Music, an A&R playlist on Spotify. She’s bought and marketed shows as well as signed and shepareded artists for much of her decade-long career in the industry.
“After the past year of feeling like I had lost a piece of my identity due to COVID-19’s impact on the live music industry, I am absolutely honored to have earned the opportunity to book the most iconic club in the world,” Anderson said. “I am also excited to be able to represent a changing South by holding such a legendary position, and hope to reflect some of that in what you see on the calendar.”
Pat Paxton, chief programming officer of Audacy, is stepping down from his role and leaving Audacy after being involved with the company for 21 years. The news comes just as Jeff Sottolano is promoted to executive vp, head of Programming.
During his time at Audacy, Paxton spearheaded programming and played a critical role in build some of the industry’s most prominent brands. According to a memo sent by the company, “Pat’s steady, decisive leadership and thoughtful insights have made him a valuable and trusted voice on Audacy’s leadership team.”
“Pat has left an outstanding legacy at Audacy which will stand the test of time,” the memo read. “We deeply appreciate his many important contributions to our success and everything he has meant to this company.”
In his new role, Sottolano will be responsible for the content strategy and performance of Audacy’s local brands in all formats across both broadcast and digital distribution platforms. He will oversee the programming leadership team and work closely with the Music Initiatives and Live Events team.
Andreas Katsambas has been named president of strategy, marketing and operations at Chartmetric, a data analytics and business intelligence resource serving the entertainment industry founded in 2015. Katsambas most recently served as an executive vp leading developments in Latin America and Canada at BMG, where he worked since 2017.
“We are thrilled to welcome Andreas to our team,” said Chartmetric founder & CEO Sung Cho. “He is joining the company at a pivotal moment, as we scale and grow. Andreas brings to Chartmetric his extensive industry experience, a vast network, humility, and a great work ethic–also making him a great role model for our employees.”
In 2000, Katsambas founded The End Records, an independent New York-based, rock and indie-focused record label that signed and developed Lemonheads, Badly Drawn Boy and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees The Zombies. It was acquired by BMG in 2016, and Katsambas transitioned to an executive role at BMG while maintaining his CEO position with The End.
“Earlier in my career, we always looked for the best options to develop their careers on a global scale through as many mediums as possible,” Katsambas said. “Many of the opportunities came through data that helped us pinpoint the best areas to tackle for quick results, but Chartmetric has developed the best process for putting data together. It has lately been my go-to app, so I’m very excited to be joining such a great organization. With new Chartmetric features in the works, I look forward to bringing more value to artists and those who work toward their success.”
Heather VanDyke is stepping down from her general counsel position at SXSW LLC, the company behind the South by Southwest media conference/music festival, due to personal reasons. “After a lot of agonizing, I’ve made the incredibly tough decision to step down from my role as GC of SXSW so I can focus on trying to start a family, which hasn’t come easily for me,” she wrote in an update on her LinkedIn profile. “SXSW has been an amazing ride and is such a phenomenal organization.”
Hired in 2015, VanDyke will remain as an employee for South by Southwest providing legal advisory in a less involved role. SXSW is currently on the hunt for her replacement, telling Bloomberg Law that they are finalizing the interview process with a few candidates. The next SXSW conference is scheduled for March 11-20, 2022.
The news follows SXSW’s agreement in April to sell a 50% stake to P-MRC Holdings LLC, an affiliate of Penske Media Corp. VanDyke, who is also an adjunct professor at the University of Texas School of Law, is credited with leading an outside legal team advising the company on that transaction.
Nashville-based content director Rachel Reynolds has joined FlyteVu as a producer at a time when the company’s staff is seeing immense growth. Formerly the senior director of the Creative Content Production Department at Concord, where she oversaw the creation and execution of content for multiple record labels, Reynolds has spent over a decade working in radio, PR, journalism, storytelling and content creation.
Reynolds is one of many new hires for FlyteVu, whose latest boom of hires resulted in a 36% staff growth for the agency. These include Chris Simmons, head of Talent and Influencers, Ellen Prinzi, Integrated Media Director, McKenna Monk, digital strategist, Sara McCauley, account manager, Lauren Miller, senior account manager and Hannah Sandfeld, talent strategist.
In a move aimed at showcasing FlyteVu’s innovation, the entertainment marketing company hosted a “first-of-its-kind” hiring session on the drop-in audio app, Clubhouse. From this event, FlyteVu found and hired five new people — Rachel Brittain, former project coordinator at Turner Sports, Kaetlin Fehl, former Digital Marketing coordinator at Vector Management, Milan Nolen, previously at TikTok and Wayne Leeloy, former CSO at CANVAS.
Concord has promoted Kayle Kiener to vp of recorded music royalties. Formerly director of Artists Royalties, Kiener will be based in Concord’s Nashville headquarters and report to the general manager of the company’s Global Administration department, Jeff Van Driel.
In his new role, Kiener will manage Concord’s initiative to incorporate leading-edge technology to data ingestion, analysis and reporting tools, allowing the Company to facilitate ongoing growth and improved visibility for its artists. “I had the pleasure of working with Kayle in a previous lifetime and am so pleased to have him now heading up Concord’s Recorded Music Royalties,” Van Driel said. “He has shown remarkable adaptability, leadership and innovation in the short time he has been at Concord and I look forward to continued success as we prioritize reporting and paying our valued partners in the artist and songwriting communities.”
The now-executive started his career in the industry as a professional musician, then eventually ended up at Warner Music Group’s newly created Center of Excellence in downtown Nashville. There, Kiener trained and supervised a 16-person team while working with other departments to streamline the information flow from Business Affairs, A&R Administration and Contract Administration.
“Concord’s ability to manage a diverse catalog and promote an incredible corporate culture is unrivaled and I am proud to be a member of its team,” Kiener said. “The department is made up of some of the most talented and dedicated people in the business and I am lucky and excited to work alongside them.”