Atlantic President of Promotion Andrea Ganis Departing After 43 Years
Ganis is one of the first women to head a major-label promotion department.
Andrea Ganis, a 43-year veteran of Atlantic Records and the label’s first president of promotion, announced Thursday she is leaving the company. In a memo to staff, the glass ceiling-breaker graciously thanked her staff (“you are all warriors”) and bosses, including former CEO Doug Morris (“my mentor”) and current chiefs Craig Kallman and Julie Greenwald (“they… have the courage to take chances”).
Ganis joined Atlantic in 1980 as a secretary (“yes, we were called that”) and worked her way up to vp of national promotion by 1988. Two years later she was named a senior vp and in early 1996 was elevated to executive vp. In 2019, Ganis was promoted to the then-newly created role of president of promotion, overseeing all promotion activities pertaining to Atlantic and its subsidiaries, as well as serving on the company’s leadership team.
“Andrea is a force of nature and a legend in the promo universe,” said Kallman and Greenwald at the time. “She’s been a rock star at Atlantic for nearly four decades and the godmother to countless career-defining records.”
Ganis recounted her early days at the historic label in a lengthy message to colleagues, first picked up by Variety.
“I couldn’t believe my good fortune to then get a job at the mighty Atlantic Records led by the legendary Ahmet Ertegun,” she wrote. “I started in January of 1980 and thanks to his and Jerry Wexler’s unparalleled A&R acumen, got to work with many of the greatest artists on the planet and, amazingly, helped them reach even greater heights. Working with baby bands and developing artists brought its own joys, particularly when they too achieved new heights and we helped them realize their own dreams. I found all of it incredibly inspiring and still do — I will always get a rush from the many songs I hear for which I can claim ‘I worked that record.'”
As one of the first women to head a major-label promotion department, Ganis has been a regular honoree in Billboard’s Women In Music issue. In 2011, her “continued focus on teamwork, strategic planning, creativity, innovation and humor in an ever-challenging environment” was credited for big wins that year with Bruno Mars and others. In 2017‘s list, she noted that “artist development is in Atlantic’s DNA” when calling out a roster that included Cardi B, Charlie Puth and Portugal. The Man. In 2020, her 40th year at the label, she and her staff were feted after Atlantic overdelivered across genres from a roster including Lizzo, Jack Harlow and Coldplay.
Read her message to staff below:
With 15,877 days at Atlantic including 2,262 add dates under my belt, Malcolm Gladwell and his 10,000 hours got nothing on me.
So yes, its my time to say to all of you goodbye for now. After 43+years at Atlantic, I can truly say I have had the greatest ride of all time. Every era had its own magic and though the work was hard, it was also incredibly exciting, tremendously rewarding and quite fabulous in every way—an understatement if there ever was one.
I was one of the original glass ceiling girls who started as a secretary (yes, we were called that) and worked my way up to President of Promotion—not bad for a girl who went to college with the largest record collection of anyone, leaving 4 years later with an even larger one!
I started out like all of you—with a great love of music. Ironically, how I was exposed to it became my lifelong career—through the radio…..WNEW, WLIR and WHFS were responsible for my initial musical discoveries—whatever I heard I usually purchased. In junior high and high school I bought my albums at Korvettes—a discount store near where I grew up; they knew me by name and I came in every week like clockwork hungry for music of every genre. BTW, they were 3 for $10.00 then and I continued those purchases throughout my college days in Washington DC negotiating for the same price—ah promotion already in my blood!
I was lucky enough to be brought up in a musical era that was diverse in every way. FM radio was free form and callout research did not exist. Though there was no social media and bands were far more mysterious then, I became totally immersed in the music and culture enhanced by radio, word of mouth, concerts and clubs, Rolling Stone magazine, conversations with record store personnel and anything I could pick up from other members of my musical community. And the best part was the music scene was remarkably prolific populated by bands whose work was not only unique but identifiable by the first note. Like you, I was addicted to all of it.
I couldn’t believe my good fortune to then get a job at the mighty Atlantic Records led by the legendary Ahmet Ertegun. I started in January 1980 and thanks to his and Jerry Wexler’s unparalleled A&R acumen, got to work with many of the greatest artists on the planet and amazingly, helped them reach even higher heights. Working with baby bands and developing artists brought its own joys, particularly when they too achieved new heights and we helped them realize their own dreams. I found all of it incredibly inspiring and still do—I will always get a rush from the many songs I hear for which I can claim “I worked that record”.
And even now, so many years later, the joy of hearing the song on the radio for the first time brings me to tears…this will forever be a constant and knowing how much effort it took to create that moment makes it all the more special. Seeing any act we’ve been a part of perform in any arena for sure will make me cry, particularly when the fans sing every word.
My tremendous thanks to Julie and Craig who continue to guide with intelligence, vision, honesty and heart. They lead by example and continue to have the courage to take chances. Always a shout out to my mentor, Doug Morris, who believed in me and saw the potential to what I could become.
Which brings me to promotion….a land that I love. I was a solid athlete in my formative years and it taught me the importance of teamwork, a lesson I swear is one of the great keys to success….yes, a village indeed. So to be given the opportunity to grow from a young team member to leading the greatest squad there is for as long as I have has been a dream come true.
Throughout all these years I’ve worked with so many wonderful, smart, talented people on the record, radio and management sides and I thank each of you for helping me learn and grow—I hope I’ve done the same for you.
To my current team—my colleagues but better still, close wonderful lifelong friends, I can’t begin to express the love and respect I have for each of you—we have changed culture one spin at a time! You are all warriors and the best there is at getting the job done.
It has been an honor and a privilege to carry the promotion torch for Atlantic Records. We are a skillful, smart, strategic, creative, word-is-our-bond kind of crew, who always took the time to laugh, even at our own expense. Continue to turn no’s into yesses, stay passionate and in the toughest of times, know you’ve got this.
Long may we all run—