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Executive Turntable: Artist Partner Group Boosts Leadership Team; Dalton Sim Launches Good Harbor

A list of moves and shakers across the music business, including at Create Music Group, Elektra Music Group, Artist Partner Group and more.

Artist Partner Group (APG) has promoted a number of staff members, it was announced Thursday (Jan. 16). They include Miles Beard to senior vp, A&R; Eli Piccarreta to vp, A&R; Jessica Kelm to vp, digital marketing; and Nikisha Bailey as vp, A&R admin & operations.

Beard, Piccarreta, and Bailey will report to APG’s CEO Mike Caren, while Kelm will report to executive vp Elyse Rogers.

“APG’s chart toppers and accolades in 2019 were due to the collective strength of our team,” said Caren in a statement. “Miles and Eli have demonstrated their ability to identify and develop true talent, and Nikisha and Jessica are strategic thinkers who are committed to executing artists’ visions. I look forward to seeing how they collectively develop new creative ideas and push boundaries to build upon APG’s success in 2020.”

Beard previously served as the company’s vp, A&R; in that role, he signed both Charlie Puth and Alec Benjamin. In publishing, he signed Pink Sweat$ and will be the point person for songwriter Amy Allen.

Piccarreta joined APG in 2016 and has since helped develop acts including YoungBoy Never Broke AgainQuando RondoRico Nasty, and NoCap.

Kelm, who has been with APG since 2017, was previously senior director of pop marketing. She’s responsible for carrying out the company’s digital strategy and advertising. She was previously a senior talent manager at full-service influencer agency and digital studio Collab, Inc.

Finally, Bailey has served as head of A&R admin since joining APG/Arista in 2018 and will continue overseeing logistics of the recording process and driving A&R innovation. She has worked at Def Jam Recordings, Cash Money Recordings, and Atlantic Records and was elected as governor for the Recording Academy’s New York Chapter last year.

Technically known as the Artist Partner and Artist Publishing Groups, APG provides label services including marketing, A&R, sync, video content, art, international, legal, accounting and recording studios for artists, producers, songwriters and more.



Create Music Group hired electronic music industry veteran Ethan Baer as senior vp, business development, head of electronic, it was announced Wednesday (Jan. 15). He will be based out of the company’s Hollywood, California headquarters.

Baer is the founder and former CEO of international media platform, which he launched in 2013 and eventually grew to over two million monthly visitors. While there, he formed relationships with brands including Red Bull, Tidal, 7UP, Insomniac, ID&T, Live Nation, PioneerDJ, and SiriusXM and oversaw growth in the company’s social media platforms to over 10 million followers.

Baer will oversee all aspects of Create’s electronic music clients across multiple verticals, including all major digital service providers, while driving client and catalog acquisition, developing new brand deals and alliances. He will also act as the company’s primary liaison with the electronic music community.

In a statement, Baer says Create’s co-founder and COO Alexandre Williams and co-founder and CEO Jonathan Strauss have built “a next generation music company…with an unmatched executive talent pool and a technology stack that is revolutionizing our industry.”

“Electronic music is a foundational genre for Create,” added Strauss.  “Bringing in an executive like Ethan, who is widely respected as a leader in the electronic community, to help us maximize revenue for our current clients and drive our overall growth is a game-changer for us.”

Baer was previously CEO of the record label and music promotion company Artist Intelligence Agency, formerly The EDM Network. During his tenure, the company generated over 100 million monthly streams for emerging acts including Illenium, TroyBoi, Nitti Gritti, Dr. Fresch, Ghastly, William Black and Prismo. He also served as executive director at Indie Music Group/Indie Music Publishing, a record label group and publishing company made up of 15 label imprints. He remains a partner in the streetwear and exclusive artist merchandise organization Electric Family/Top Drawer Merch.



Longtime Nettwerk Music Group executive Dalton Sim has started the management company Good Harbor alongside Ben Levin, it was announced Wednesday (Jan. 15). They will retain their entire staff and existing artists, which include fun., Father John Misty, Rostam and Guster.

“I am very excited to start 2020 creating a new stand alone independent company to focus on the future of artist management at the highest level for the next decade and beyond,” said Sim in a statement, noting he has the support of Nettwerk co-founder and CEO Terry McBride in his new venture. “With the constantly changing landscape of artists career’s now felt like the perfect moment to launch a new management company that is uniquely positioned to continue to create long term sustainable careers through the evolving direct relationships artist have with their fans,” he continued. “Good Harbor will be able to provide artist services to support each artists unique path whether it’s completely independent or supported with partners.”

Good Harbor’s other clients include a mixture of artists, producers and mix engineers including Lucius, Dispatch, I’m With Her, Aoife O’Donovan, Nate Ruess, Alexi Murdoch and Jonathan Wilson.



Johnny Minardi has been promoted to vp of A&R at Elektra Music Group, the company announced Monday (Jan. 13).

“Johnny has the great gift of not only being able to uncover truly original talent, but knowing how to spark his artists to take their work to the next level,” said Elektra Music Group co-presidents Mike Easterlin and Gregg Nadel in a joint statement.

Minardi’s Elektra signings include The Band CAMINO, Grandson, nothing,nowhere., Fever 333 and Tones and I. He has additionally worked with All Time Low, The Front Bottoms, Against the Current, Lights and MisterWives and played a central role in bringing Travis Barker’s new DTA Records to the label.

At age 18, Minardi founded the independent label Little League Records, through which he discovered bands including The Academy Is, Hidden in Plain View, Gatsbys American Dream and August Premier. He later worked for nearly a decade in A&R at Fueled by Ramen and Atlantic Records, before briefly moving to indie Equal Vision Records. He returned to Fueled by Ramen in 2017 and, since Elektra Music Group was spun off as a stand-alone company, has been serving as senior director, A&R, where he was worked across the Elektra, Fueled By Ramen, Roadrunner, and Public Consumption labels.

“When we established EMG just over a year ago, we knew that Johnny had to be on the team, and he’s continued to deliver and nurture amazing talent,” Easterlin and Nadel added.



Aaron Randall and Bill Ashton are the new managing directors of the Warner Music-owned global live music discovery platform Songkick, it was announced Tuesday (Jan. 14). They will be both based out of Songkick’s London headquarters and report to Emmy Lovell, the company’s executive vp, WEA Europe.

Both men come from the Warner Music fold, with Ashton previously serving as the company’s senior vp, artist services and Randall transitioning from his role as Songkick’s chief technology officer.

Songkick’s outgoing CEO Mark McIntyre will support the transition to the new leadership team as an advisor.

In a joint statement, Randall and Ashton noted they have “ambitious expansion plans” and are “delighted to lead the team as we set about implementing them.”



Industry veteran Kate Sweetsur has been named head of creative, U.K. at Downtown Music Publishing, the company announced Monday (Jan. 13). In her new role, Sweetsur will be responsible for strengthening creative support and developing opportunities for Downtown’s global roster and copyrights, while also overseeing the scouting and signing of new artists, songwriters and producers in the region.

“I am so inspired by Downtown Music Publishing’s unique vision and am very excited to join the company. [Downtown CEO and founder] Justin Kalifowitz, Andrew Gould, and the entire team are building a truly global publishing company with a boutique feel that provides songwriters with a real partnership,” said Sweetsur, who will report to Gould, Downtown’s global head of creative.

Sweetsur joins the company from her role as senior vp of A&R/Creative at Big Deal Music, which hired her to establish the U.S.-based publisher’s U.K. presence. Her more than 20-year run in the publishing industry includes A&R positions at BMG Rights Management, Chrysalis Music, Edel, and Notting Hill Music and working with artists and songwriters including Steve Mac, Fraser T Smith, Labrinth, Steve Robson, Joy Crookes, Sam Dixon and Jimmy Hogarth.

In his own statement, Gould called Sweetsur “a passionate tastemaker, seasoned leader, and a highly respected creative executive.”



The independent concert promotion agency Emporium Presents has hired 30-year industry veteran Rob Buswell as head of radio shows & special events, it was announced Tuesday (Jan. 14). In his new role, he will help increase Emporium’s show production and expand their specialty events.

Beginning in 2001, Rob owned and operated Pro Events, a promotion company for radio stations, corporate and special events, festivals and Pride events. During his tenure there he worked with a wide array of top-tier artists including Drake, Christina Aguilera, Destiny’s Child, Kanye West, Tool and Jay-Z. Prior to that, he developed the radio events division at Jacor Broadcasting and later produced radio events nationwide for Jeff McClusky and Associates. He also served as head of marketing at both Avalon Attractions and Fey Concerts.

“Rob has been a longtime friend and partner of Emporium Presents,” said Emporium COO Tina Suca in a statement. “He brings his exceptional experience and relationships to a great team and will help us continue to grow our business.”

Emporium Presents is directed by partners Jason Zink and Dan Steinberg and majority owned by Live Nation Entertainment.



Independent music label, distributor and publisher EMPIRE has hired Heather Vassar as vp of marketing, it was announced Wednesday (Jan. 15).

Vassar has been tasked with overseeing day-to-day artist strategies and development, marketing and digital initiatives and partner relationships with sales and streaming services for the company’s growing Nashville roster. She will report directly to EMPIRE CEO and founder Ghazi and work closely with Eric Hurt, EMPIRE’s vp of A&R in Nashville, who said Vassar’s hiring is “a big step in growing EMPIRE’s Nashville division.”

“Heather brings a wealth of expertise across marketing and strategy that’ll cement EMPIRE’s growth and footing in the Nashville market,” said Ghazi in a statement. “She’s a perfect fit for EMPIRE’s culture – and will help elevate our presence in Country.”

Added Vassar, “With the expertise, support and influence of Ghazi, Eric and the team, we are poised to break some incredible artists and disrupt the Nashville landscape. It’s what this business is all about.”

Vassar hails from Universal Music Group Nashville, where she most recently spearheaded the company’s strategy and research, helping optimize the flow of releases, leveraging competitive advantages and providing best practices. She has also worked in digital marketing for artists including George Strait, Luke Bryan, Carrie Underwood, Kacey Musgraves and Keith Urban.



Tracy Zamot has joined Jaybird Communications as director, it was announced Monday (Jan. 13). The public relations executive has over 20 years of communications experience, with an emphasis on music, technology and the intersection of the two.  

In a statement, Jaybird president Laurie Jakobsen noted that Zamot has been working with the company since last summer and in that time has made an “immediate, clear impact” on clients including Linkfire, Muserk, Seven Seas Music, and Angry Mob.

“Her background at major labels and then some of the biggest audio platforms gives her the perfect perspective to provide counsel, determine communications plans that further business goals, and then effectively execute on those plans,” Jakobsen continued.

In her own statement, Zamora said at Jaybird she’s “able to use the knowledge and expertise that I fostered at labels, consulting, and with streaming services, and amplify the already excellent work Laurie and her team have been doing for a decade.”

Starting her career as an assistant at Atlantic Records in 1992, Zamot rose from assistant to vp of the company, where she strategized media promotions for Matchbox Twenty and its frontman Rob Thomas’s solo career while also working with artists including Phil Collins, Rush, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, Tori Amos and Brandy. She later ran the public relations departments at Virgin Records and Universal Motown Records, where she worked with Janet Jackson, Gorillaz and KT Tunstall. She later joined Pandora in 2015 as director of artist and industry communications. After a stint at SiriusXM in 2018, she began consulting for companies including Jaybird.



Atlantic Records has promoted Sherry Alaghehband senior director, promotion, it was announced Monday (Jan. 13). In a statement, the label’s president, promotion Andrea Ganis noted Alaghehband has been with the company for eight years and that her “drive, creativity and strategic vision continuously brings new opportunities to the promotion fold.”

“She is a unique talent, master communicator and implementer and from day one has shown great acumen for collaborating with the staff and consistently encouraging camaraderie and teamwork,” continued Ganis, who says Alaghehband will continue to oversee the Seattle and Portland markets for the label.



Clio Massey has been named general manager at Work of Art Publishing and will take on the additional role of vp of A&R at Arista Records, it was announced Wednesday (Jan. 15). Work of Art was founded by Massey’s father David Massey in 2018 under a joint venture with Sony Music Entertainment, which houses Arista.

At Work of Art Publishing, which Massey joined at launch, she will oversee business operations and development of the company’s songwriter roster. Her notable signings in that division to date include singer-songwriter JP Saxe, who is also signed to Arista Records, as well as emerging artists Sophia Messa and Julian Lamadrid and songwriter Mary Weitz (a.k.a. Normani).

At Arista, Massey will focus her efforts on the strategic and creative development of emerging artists on the label’s roster as well as talent acquisition. She will split her time between the company’s New York and Los Angeles headquarters and continue to report to Arista’s senior vp of operations Terry Hole.

Massey began her career in music publishing at Liberal Arts Music in 2013. She worked in A&R for Sony/ATV Music Publishing between 2014 and 2018, during which time she signed songwriters including Maggie Rogers, Geoff Warburton and 6ix.



N.W.A. founding member Arabian Prince has joined France-based modular MIDI controller manufacturer Joué as an advisor and lead brand ambassador, the company announced Monday (Jan. 13). The Grammy-nominated producer will help guide the company in its entry into the U.S. market.

“An instrument like Joué fits into what’s happening in music tech, as the whole way people see their creative output is changing,” said Arabian in a statement. “The lines are blurring between artist, DJ, and producer. The people who were just artists are becoming DJs. There are amazing DJs who are getting into production. A product like Joué makes sense to creatives who don’t fit into one single box.”

Joué founder and CEO Pascal Joguet added that Arabian Prince “is a great bridge between DJs, electronic music artists, and hip hop producers, and shares our commitment to empowering people to make music with what they have.”

A press release notes that Arabian Prince first experience Joué’s products firsthand when he met the company’s French team at an event in California. The company notes that he will work with them to develop additional Pads — which are silicone overlays that make Joué products “flexible and pleasant to the touch” — that pay tribute to classic drum machines and other vintage tech products for musicians.



Kelsey Wise has joined Given Music Publishing as creative director, Given founding partner Cindy Owen announced Monday (Jan. 13).

“Kelsey’s passion and drive for championing songwriters is beyond impressive, as are her incredible creative instincts,” Owen said. “She brings a number of invaluable skills to our company and is a tremendous asset as we continue to build our team at Given.”

Wise, who previously worked at Sony/ATV Music and Big Deal Music Group, added that she is “incredibly excited” to join the company. “There are so many cool things coming down the pike for our writers and the company in general, and I am just thrilled for the opportunity to work with such talented writers and staff,” she said.