When IFPI presented its Global Music Report on March 22, the exceptional growth of the worldwide music business was actually the second item on the agenda.
“Before we start, I just wanted to say one word on Ukraine,” said IFPI CEO Frances Moore. “And that is to reiterate the position taken by the industry that we stand by Ukraine — and we call for peace and for an end to violence.” Among other participants in the event, Simon Robson, president of international, recorded music, at Warner Music Group, echoed Moore’s comments. “The news from Ukraine is just heartbreaking,” he said.
No report on the global music business can begin without an acknowledgement of the toll of the war, which has also affected the industry. Following the invasion of Ukraine in late February, numerous music companies — including the three multinational music groups, Live Nation, Spotify and YouTube — have announced the suspension of operations in Russia.
At the unveiling of its annual report, IFPI noted that global recorded-music revenue reached $25.9 billion in 2021, an 18.5% increase over 2020 and the highest level ever reported by the trade organization. The results were driven largely by a 21.9% jump in paid streaming subscription revenue. Streaming now accounts for a startling 65% of global music sales, according to IFPI.
Billboard’s 2022 International Power Players — nominated by their firms and peers and chosen by our editors from selected industry sectors — have contributed to that growth. All have primary responsibility for markets outside the United States, the territories that account for the overwhelming majority of the world’s recorded-music sales.
On IFPI’s global top 10 albums chart, it’s no surprise that Adele is No. 1. But local artists in each market —Yung Hurn from Germany, Anitta from Brazil, Burna Boy from Nigeria and many others — have broken the long dominance of Anglo-American repertoire on the world stage. The multinational music groups, seeking to maximize their access to local artists and propel local talent to global audiences, have steadily increased their presence in regions they previously did not prioritize.
“Around the world record companies are engaging at a very local level to support music cultures and bring on the development of [an] emerging music ecosystem,” said Moore, in announcing the latest global numbers. “As more markets mature, they join with and contribute to the rich, globally interconnected music world.”
The 2021 results exceeded the highest previous totals ever reported by IFPI — a tally of $24.1 billion in 1991. And Moore took a moment to put the historical trend in perspective.
“Some of you may have lived through the days when we were reporting year after year about the decline of the industry,” she said. “But now we’re in our seventh year of global growth. There’s a lot of optimism in the market.”
Executive vp of market development, Universal Music Group
President/CEO of global classics and jazz, Universal Music Group
Granite oversaw UMG’s significant expansion in China over the past year, which included the launching of Republic and Capitol outposts and the relaunching of PolyGram Records China and EMI China as front-line labels, making Universal “the first major music company to introduce a multilabel structure” there, he says. And in India, UMG was the first music company to create dedicated labels for all the major local dialects. “UMG doubled down on our unmatched commitment and belief in the diverse and unique music talent globally,” Granite adds. Stainer, who runs all of Universal Music’s classical music operations from London, oversaw the evolution of Italian pianist-composer Ludovico Einaudi as an “international streaming phenomenon,” he says, who helped score the Academy Award-winning movies Nomadland and The Father and also scored on TikTok with his track “Experience,” which topped 23 billion combined views, including 11 million video creations — “a truly astonishing feat.”
Executive vp of group investments and strategy, BMG
Executive vp of global repertoire and marketing, European Union, Latin America, Asia-Pacific and synch, BMG
As BMG’s earnings grew 5.1% from 2020 to 2021 and the publishing business came “roaring back,” as BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch told investors recently, the company scored unusual hits like its first-ever live musical — Ku’damm 56, based on a popular German TV series. “Despite all the obstacles of the pandemic, it has become 2021’s most successful new German musical,” Casimir says. Next up for the Bertelsmann-owned company, whose publishing division represents songwriters from Keith Richards to the late rapper Juice WRLD, is setting up its Mexico division as “the new hub” for its Latin American operations, says Casimir.
Vp of international marketing, Disney Music Group
Novakovic and his team had a fairytale few months with the blockbuster success of the Encanto soundtrack, as the U.S. chart performance of the hit “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” surpassed every Disney song of the past 26 years. “We localized the soundtrack in 23 languages and celebrated the No. 1 album in Canada, Australia, Ireland and New Zealand for multiple weeks,” he says. “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” held the No. 1 U.K. singles chart position for seven consecutive weeks and the album continues to top the compilation chart.
President, BIGHIT MUSIC
When a company represents some of the world’s biggest pop stars, such as BTS and Tomorrow X Together, it doesn’t take much to “transcend regional borders to establish a strong foothold for artists to be loved worldwide,” says Shin. In early 2021, Park and his team in South Korea rebranded from Big Hit Entertainment to HYBE and led “an industrial innovation of sorts” to increase the company’s efficiency in production, distribution, tech and concerts. The goal? To establish a “fan-centered industrial ecosystem,” says Shin, “so that fans and artists can constantly continue to interact.”
Executive vp of international marketing, U.S. repertoire, Sony Music Entertainment
Senior vp of digital and commercial strategy, U.S. international, Sony Music Entertainment
The highlight of international marketing for Sony in the past year can be summed up in one word: Adele. Her album 30 debuted at No. 1 in over 30 countries, according to the company. Thomas was promoted this past year to oversee the international strategy for Sony Music’s front-line U.S. labels. She oversees a global department that includes marketing and promotion, digital, streaming and sales expertise, guiding Sony’s biggest U.S. artist campaigns in over 50 markets in Europe, Latin America, Australasia and Africa. For those regions, Jansen guides streaming and digital marketing strategy, including campaigns involving Spotify, TikTok, Apple Music, Instagram and YouTube.
President/chief marketing officer, Warner Record Music
President of international, recorded music, Warner Music Group
Senior vp of global marketing, Warner Music Group
For Warner’s international division, “superstar artists and hits are coming from all corners of the world and connecting with people globally,” says Robson, who was named to the post in late 2020. CKay broke out of Nigeria and experienced global stardom with “Love Nwantiti (Ah Ah Ah),” while Brazilian pop star Anitta and Argentine rapper Paulo Londra reached the top of Spotify’s Global Chart — securing the No. 1 and No. 2 spots for “Envolver” and “Plan A,” respectively, the first time that both a Brazilian and Argentine artist have climbed that high. “It has been great to see so many international artists enjoy worldwide success,” says Robson, “and this is a trend that will only continue to grow.”
Chairman/CEO, Universal Music Central Europe/Deutsche Grammophon
CEO, Universal Music France/Universal Music Africa
CEO, Universal Music South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa
Managing director, Universal Music Africa
Under Briegmann, UMG expanded operations across the Balkans, Eastern Europe and Russia, including the launch earlier this year of Virgin Music in Russia, to support its independent label distribution and artists — until the war in Ukraine led UMG to join other countries in suspending operations in the country. In Germany, the largest music market in Briegmann’s region, Universal had the top single of 2021 with Nathan Evans’ “Wellerman,” as well as the top two albums with ABBA’s Voyage and Helene Fischer’s Rausch. Nusse, with responsibility for France and Africa, saw Universal win in nine out of 14 categories at France’s NRJ Awards. Dlamini oversees all of UMG’s operations in English-speaking Africa, where he grew the local market and helped create new opportunities for African talent to reach global audiences. In 2021, according to the company, seven of the top 10 artists on Apple South Africa were from UMG labels. Kacou struck a partnership with leading French rapper-entrepreneur Booba and his Tallac Records label. The deal marked the launch of 92 i Africa in partnership with Universal Music Africa and Universal Music France to develop African rap and hip-hop acts like DopeBoy DMG (Senegal) and Didi B (Ivory Coast).
GM, Gallo Music Group
Gallo Music Group includes Africa’s largest and oldest independent label, which marks its 95th anniversary this year, and Cowling oversees the company’s label and publishing divisions. Last year, Gallo Music Investments announced the appointment of managing director Simukayi Mukuna and took a significant stake in one of Africa’s biggest independent content aggregators, Content Connect Africa. Among the music group’s recent initiatives, the Gallo Remixed project has allowed current artists to reinterpret songs from Gallo’s deep publishing catalog of African classics. Producer-DJ Black Coffee, who worked on Gallo Remixed, won the best dance/electronic album Grammy Award for Subconsciously.
Co-presidents, Warner Music Central Europe
President, Warner Music Nordics
President of emerging markets, Warner Recorded Music
Drebes and Schimk were promoted last year to co-lead Warner Music Central Europe and have overseen the launch of Atlantic Records Germany, which is focused on discovering and developing German hip-hop. Austrian-born Yung Hurn, described by the company as one of the most influential German-speaking artists of recent years, is the label’s first signing. Fry, who had been managing director of market-leading Warner Music Finland, now oversees operations in that country along with Sweden, Norway and Denmark. The song “Habibi” (Arabic for “darling” or “sweetheart”), credited to Swedish rapper Ricky Rich and AMRAM Mafia, has charted in Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Greece. Perez-Soto, also named to his role last year, has responsibility for Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and North Africa; India and South Asia; the eastern Mediterranean region; and Eastern Europe — home to 40% of the world’s population, according to WMG. Among Perez-Soto’s achievements is bringing Nigerian artist CKay into the WMG network. The singer-songwriter reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Emerging Artists chart in November thanks to his hit “Love Nwantiti (Ah Ah Ah).”
Managing director of Europe and the U.K., Concord Recorded Music
Having expanded his U.K. managing director role to encompass all of continental Europe, Gillham says he also celebrated “three great successes for our artists.” Swedish rock band Ghost’s fifth album, Impera, debuted at No. 1 in multiple European countries. The Tipping Point, Tears for Fears’ first album in 17 years, debuted at No. 8 on the Billboard 200, matching the peak of 1989’s The Seeds of Love. And Korn scored its sixth No. 1 title on Hard Rock Albums with its latest release, Requiem.
CEO, Warner Music U.K.
Senior vp of international marketing, Warner Music U.K.
Harlow’s role includes oversight of the Atlantic, Parlophone, Rhino and Warner Records labels in the market as well as ADA U.K. Among several key moves by Harlow is the creation of a new joint-venture label with Darcus Beese, previously president/CEO of Island Records in the United States. Aroldoss leads international marketing strategies for the front-line U.K. labels that are home to Anne-Marie, Charli XCX, Coldplay, Dua Lipa, Ed Sheeran, Foals, Jess Glynne, Lianne La Havas, Muse, Royal Blood and Rudimental. The company celebrated the rise of three singles by four U.K. artists — Ed Sheeran’s “Shivers,” Lipa and Elton John’s “Cold Heart (PNAU Remix)” and Coldplay and BTS’ “My Universe” — into the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100.
Chairman/CEO, Sony Music U.K. and Ireland
COO, Sony Music U.K. and Ireland
Under Iley and Tuer, Sony Music U.K. scored nine No. 1 albums, including the second album from Rag’n’Bone Man, the breakthrough release from Tom Grennan, the Manic Street Preachers first chart-topping album in 23 years and hits from London Grammar, Bring Me the Horizon, Foo Fighters, Kings of Leon and The Script. BRIT Award nominations went to Grennan, Joy Crookes, Mimi Webb, Riton and Little Mix — the first all-female act to win the award for British group. Tuer oversees the company’s commercial group, which helped give Mariah Carey a No. 1 U.K. hit with “All I Want for Christmas Is You” (26 years after its release) and created a TikTok campaign for the 30th anniversary of George Michael’s “Freedom! ’90.” Iley has been responsible for the U.K. division of Sony’s worldwide Social Justice Fund, which in the United Kingdom has distributed more than $1 million in grants to 16 beneficiaries since its launch in June 2020.
Chairman/CEO, Universal Music U.K. and Ireland
Among the top-selling artists in the United Kingdom in the past year, the Universal labels under Joseph could boast seven of them: Taylor Swift, Drake, ABBA, Olivia Rodrigo, Eminem, The Weeknd and The Beatles. In his territories, Joseph has responsibility for the Capitol, Decca, Island, Polydor, EMI and 0207 Def Jam labels, as well as the renowned Abbey Road Studios. In 2021, Joseph helped reestablish the iconic Virgin brand with the launch of Virgin Music Label and Artist Services and launched the new Mercury Studios, whose first announced film project is a new Abbey Road documentary directed by Mary McCartney. He also oversaw the creation of a U.K. Task Force for Meaningful Change, led by Afryea Henry-Fontaine and Fay Hoyte, with representation from across UMG’s U.K. business, to contribute to UMG’s Global Task Force for Meaningful Change.
Executive vp of repertoire and marketing, continental Europe, BMG
Kolb helped BMG’s European division develop rising stars such as Italian singer-songwriter Ditonellapiaga (“Chimica”) and Spanish Eurovision contestant Chanel (“SloMo”) while boosting veteran artists like German production trio KitschKrieg as well as Netherlands label partner 8ball. The division “really showcases all the facets we work in, from recordings to publishing, live and more,” says Kolb. Plus, BMG acquired an extensive portfolio of rights from Tina Turner in October. “Introducing an icon like her as the female force that she has always been to a new generation is extremely inspiring,” Kolb adds.
President of continental Europe and Africa, Sony Music Entertainment
CEO of Germany, Switzerland and Austria, Sony Music Entertainment
Managing director, Sony Music Entertainment France
Within his region of responsibility, Lieberberg recently has expanded Sony’s business in Israel and Africa; overseen breakthroughs for artists in France, Germany and Italy; and built a team to advance social justice in the music industry and beyond. Under Mushatsi-Kareba, Sony Music Germany has achieved border-crossing success with hits including “Beggin’ ” by Måneskin, “Roller” by Apache207, “Savage Love” by Jawsh 685 and Jason Derulo, and the “Roses” remix by SAINt JHN and Imanbek. Mushatsi-Kareba signed the German-Ghanaian rap star Pajel and has helped drive international collaborations such as German artist AriBeatz teaming up with Latin superstar Ozuna. Sony Music in September named Robert managing director of the label’s French operation, making her the first woman to fill the role. She will oversee signings and acquisitions for Sony France and work to boost the digital transformation of the world’s fifth-largest market.
President, Warner Music Latin America
President, Warner Music Brazil
Managing director, Warner Music Mexico
Warner’s Latin focus is highlighted by the recent success of Anitta, who became the first Brazilian artist to top Billboard’s Global Excl. U.S. chart with “Envolver” the same week Argentina’s Paulo Londra hit No. 3 with “Plan A,” as well as signings of Colombia’s Blessd and Argentina’s Tiago PZK. In Mexico, Warner signed top producers SOG (Blessd, Ryan Castro) and MAFF (J Balvin, Sech) and rising Costa Rican star Siho Villalobos. The latter deal exemplifies Warner Mexico’s strategy of tapping Central American acts with regional and international potential. “Internationally,” says Duque, “Latin music has never been in a better position.”
Chairman/CEO, Universal Music Latin America and Iberian Peninsula
President, Universal Music Southern Cone
President, Virgin Music Label and Artist Services Latin America and Iberian Peninsula
President, Universal Music Brazil
Universal’s ability to internationalize local Latin artists has been highlighted by Sebastián Yatra’s Academy Awards performance of “Dos Oruguitas” and collaboration with John Legend; Karol G’s success as Latin music’s leading female artist; and J Balvin’s collaborations with Ed Sheeran. Estrada has focused on spotlighting local genre cumbia 420, helping sign a joint-venture deal with Kriterio Music and Universal Spain. And in his new position at Virgin, Gonzalez has expanded his operation, establishing regional support teams that have closed deals with HUB Records in Brazil and signed emerging talent like Samantha Sánchez in the United States and Maximiliano Calvo in Spain. In the last year, Lima has developed over 15 successful local acts in Brazil, including Jão.
Chairman/CEO, Sony Music Entertainment Latin Iberia
Executive vp/COO, Sony Music Entertainment Latin Iberia
José María Barbat
President, Sony Music Iberia
President, Sony Music Brazil
Managing director, Sony Music Entertainment Central America and Caribbean
Sony continued to be the market leader in Latin America and Spain thanks to the international success of artists like Rauw Alejandro, Farruko, Maluma and Camilo. In Spain, the company led for an eighth consecutive year, posting a record market share in 2021 thanks to C. Tangana’s El Madrileño and the launch of Nathy Peluso at an international level. In Brazil, Sony finalized the acquisition of Som Live, Brazil’s largest independent, and led in popularizing the pisadinha genre. New signings in the region include acts like Colombia’s Beéle. Sony’s Central America and Caribbean region also broke its first global star, 24-year-old Boza from Panama, the first Latin American artist featured on Spotify’s U.S. Radar program.
CEO, Greater China, Sony Music Entertainment
Managing director, Sony Music Entertainment Russia
Managing director of India, Sony Music Entertainment
President of corporate strategy and market development for Asia and the Middle East, Sony Music Entertainment
Sony and other major U.S. companies suspended operations in Russia in March in response to the invasion of Ukraine. Previously in that market, Dmitrieva had taken a lead in anti-piracy actions both in outreach to government officials and through the rights association NFMI. She also advanced an educational program for young people from Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States who seek to work in the music business. In China, under Chan, Sony reports local repertoire breakthroughs including the track “Stars and Sea” from HL Entertainment, which surpassed 300 million streams worldwide in one month, according to the company; C-pop star Eric Chou’s “You Don’t Belong to Me,” which topped charts in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia; and awards for veteran star Karen Mok from the digital platform NetEase. In India, Kakar oversaw an industry milestone as the tracks “Rataan Lambiyaan” and “Ranjha” from the soundtrack to the film Shershaah helped propel the album to over 1 billion streams. Subramaniam oversees all Sony companies throughout Asia and the Middle East, with responsibility for joint ventures, investments and partnerships for one of the world’s fastest-growing regions.
Chairman/CEO, Universal Music Greater China
CEO of Southeast Asia/senior vp of Asia, Universal Music Group
President/CEO, Universal Music Japan
Managing director/CEO of India and South Asia, Universal Music Group
Last year under Chang, Universal Music Greater China announced a significant expansion of its recorded-music operations, including a multilabel structure and new flagship labels — Republic Records China, EMI China, PolyGram Records China, Universal Music China and, most recently, Capitol Records China — to focus more closely on domestic A&R and local-language artists within the region. Wong leads UMG’s operations in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Artists from Def Jam Southeast Asia were among those chosen to appear on Snoop Dogg’s recent release The Algorithm (Global Edition). In Japan, Fujikura last year saw BTS named Billboard Japan’s top act on its year-end chart and the group’s release BTS, The Best named top album. Local artists King & Prince, Backnumber and Mrs. Green Apple are among the recent breakthroughs, and Fujikura has expanded the services his company offers artists to include merchandising, live entertainment and fan clubs. In India under Sanyal, UMG reports it had the top four non-film songs of 2021: “Baarish ban Jaana” from Payal Dev, “Baarish Ki Jaaye” and “Filhaal 2” from BPraak and “Jugnu” from Badshah featuring Nikhita Gandhi.
Co-presidents, Warner Music Asia
President, Warner Music Australasia
Warner Music Asia has “significantly expanded” its footprint and roster of regional Pan-Asian labels, including Asiatic Records (hip-hop), Whet Records (dance) and WMA (pop), “enabling top artists in the genres from different Asian countries to more rapidly grow their fan base across the wider region,” says Serbin. Gobalakrishna adds that strategies like the artist mentorship, marketing and distribution program WAVE in Southeast Asia are helping accelerate collaborations by artists such as British singer James Blunt and Chinese superstar Jason Zhang, “creating awareness for artists in new markets.” Warner Music Australasia’s Rosen has focused on setting up homegrown artists like Australia’s Budjerah and New Zealand’s Harper Finn for success through investments in the label’s roster, appointing new executives in A&R, marketing and promotions.
CEO, Mushroom Group
Mushroom Group enters a new era with a flurry of deals under Matt Gudinski, following the 2021 death of his father, Australian music business pioneer Michael Gudinski. In quick succession, Mushroom has launched an artist management division, an alliance with Universal Music Group’s Virgin Music and a new structure at Frontier Touring that has announced tours by Ed Sheeran and others. “Mushroom’s proudest achievement over the last 18 months was our ability to keep our full team together during the pandemic whilst continuing to grow the Mushroom family,” says Gudinski, who was on hand for the March 24 unveiling of a statue honoring his father in Mushroom’s home city of Melbourne. “We also created unique opportunities for not only Mushroom artists but the whole Australian music industry with new ventures such as [Australian Broadcasting Corporation music series] The Sound.” With Frontier’s full calendar, “we are leading the pack with the return to live concerts and events,” Gudinski says, and “kick-starting international touring for the region.”
Executive chairman, Tencent Music Entertainment Group
Tsai Chun Pan
Group vp of content cooperation department, Tencent Music Entertainment Group
In 2021, the crackdown by Chinese regulators on numerous tech companies led Tencent Music Entertainment Group to wind down its exclusive licensing contracts with labels, among other actions. But TME kept its momentum, finishing the year with a 7% revenue gain to $4.9 billion and 32% growth in music subscriptions, by focusing on superserving the 300,000 independent artists on its streaming platform, hosting 56 livestream performances through TME Live and fostering industry opposition against piracy. “With all these efforts,” says Pang, “TME has become the partner of choice for music labels.”
Director of music partnerships for India and South Asia and label business development for Asia Pacific, YouTube
Head of music for Europe, Middle East and Africa, YouTube
Director of music partnerships for Latin America, YouTube
Director of music partnerships for Korea and Greater China and public relations for Asia Pacific, YouTube
Ruuben van den Heuvel
Director of music partnerships for Australia and New Zealand and label relations for Asia Pacific, YouTube
In their respective regions, YouTube’s international executives are drawing views to the platform by working closely with local artists and industry executives. Pawan leads music partnerships in India, one of the world’s fastest-growing markets, with one of YouTube’s biggest audiences. He and his team have helped genres like Desi hip-hop gain national attention across India. Chalmers played a key role in securing the deal that led the BRIT Awards to stream on YouTube. He helped engineer Ed Sheeran’s album preview session on YouTube Shorts and ABBA’s global livestream with the band’s avatars. Jimenez and her team have supported the breakthrough of such artists as Anitta (who has 16.2 million YouTube subscribers), Camilo and Karol G. Lee led the YouTube Shorts partnership with BTS. Van den Heuvel co-manages the YouTube APAC music partnerships team, which works directly with the region’s music industry (and includes staff representing 11 nationalities). He has overseen the local licensing of YouTube Shorts, contributing to the successful launch of that feature in the region, and has supported regional YouTube and music industry events involving artists, managers, labels, publishers and others.
With a reach far beyond its New Jersey headquarters, Kiswe delivered hundreds of interactive livestream concerts and events worldwide. The company connected millions of fans to each other — and to their favorite artists — with tools like “cheering’” and “chat” functions that ultimately enabled 1 billion fan engagements, according to Booth. While Kiswe reached milestones with BTS — which used the platform to play to Guinness World Record-breaking crowds — the company and its partnership with HYBE also helped drive global visibility for other K-pop groups like Seventeen, Tomorrow X Together and Enhypen. “It has been an incredibly exciting ride,” says Booth.
Head of international for music, Spotify
Global head of editorial, Spotify
Managing director for Latin America, Spotify
In 2021, Spotify expanded its reach into more than 80 new markets and now serves 406 million monthly active users in 184 markets. The streaming service brings “real scale to the music industries of emerging markets,” says Crolot, with the help of its global emerging-artist platform RADAR and the international expansion of Spotify Singles. Of the 52,600 artists who generated over $10,000 on Spotify in 2021, 34% live in countries outside IFPI’s top 10 music markets.
Celebrating 10 years in business, Dantas’ ever-evolving entertainment company now encompasses KondZilla Records — boasting over 100 artists on the roster — KondZilla Films, KondZilla Licensing and news channel KondZilla Portal. “We still remain at the top of the music industry,” the Brazilian executive says, thanks to its fast-growing YouTube channel, which has 65.5 million subscribers — equivalent to 31% of the Brazilian population. Another milestone for the company was the release of season two of its in-house-produced Netflix series Sintonia, which became one of the most streamed shows of 2021 in Brazil.
Director, Amazon Music International
Director/GM, Amazon Music Japan
Head of music industry, Amazon Music Spain
Head of Amazon Music Mexico
Head of Amazon Music Brazil
Amazon Music launched in Chile and Colombia and spent the past year focusing on high-definition audio, rolling out the premium sound for free to all of its Unlimited customers in October and adding spatial audio capability to more devices in its smart speaker portfolio. “Spatial audio puts the listener inside the music with an immersive, multidimensional audio experience and allows fans to hear music as the artists who created it intended,” says Firth. “I’m very proud of our work in HD sound and how this helps to bring fans and artists closer together.”
Under Folgueira, the French streaming service Deezer has introduced local talents to audiences through its Originals content, offering podcasts and playlists including Souvenirs d’enfance for French listeners and Forró Viral for those in Brazil. “In Reggaeton Acústico, for example, which featured acoustic versions of songs from the United States and Latin America, we showed fans a side of reggaetón they had never heard before,” says Folgueira. A partnership with German broadcaster RTL+ was announced in November that he calls “a first of its kind in the world” that will “very clearly differentiate RTL+ and Deezer in Germany.”
Vp of marketing and brand strategy, Africa, Audiomack
Max Escobar Souffrain
Director of marketing and Latin strategy, Latin America, Audiomack
Manager of media and brand partnerships, Africa, Audiomack
Director of reggae and gospel, Caribbean, Audiomack
Audiomack reports that it became the top-ranked Apple iOS music streaming app in 2021 in Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, Senegal and Kenya — all territories under Johnson’s region of responsibility. He has developed marketing initiatives to collaborate with Afrobeats stars like Davido, Wizkid and Burna Boy that help boost their international presence. Escobar Souffrain, who leads Audiomack’s Latin music curation and marketing strategy, has boosted programming including the En la Mira series, highlighting rising acts like Noreh, Tokischa and Immasoul. Bwana created Audiomack’s new podcast show, Swahili Radio, that features prominent African artists. Lawson helped Audiomack become a top-ranked music streaming app in Jamaica, Haiti, St. Vincent, Grenada and Barbados.
CEO, The Beatport Group
Over the last year, The Beatport Group signed over 125,000 subscribers and produced what McDaniels describes as “some of the most daring activations across livestreams and the metaverse” in partnership with consumer brands such as Desperados beer. In the wake of the company’s recent 20-hour electronic music livestream benefiting Ukraine through its ReConnect fundraiser platform, McDaniels says that “The Beatport Group has continued its investment in the DJ community by providing access to tools and services that have accelerated growth even through the pandemic. It has been an active few years for this company that helps define DJ culture around the world.”
Senior director of international content and services, Apple
This past year, Apple introduced “its most innovative lineup of products and services ever,” says Walsh, a key international executive for the company. “With the launch of spatial audio with Dolby Atmos, Apple Music brought the next generation of sound to subscribers, a notable advancement in sound quality that also offers artists the opportunity to bring an immersive, multidimensional audio experience to fans.”
Senior vp of business and legal affairs, music, SoundCloud
As SoundCloud transitions from indie-first streaming platform to full-service distributor and label-services operation, Walton points to the launch of fan-powered royalties — which pays artists royalties based on who is listening to their music rather than market share — as the cornerstone of the company’s efforts. Says Walton: “There is an urgency now to innovate and help more artists, especially emerging and independent artists, get paid and have more equitable payouts, transparency and control over their own careers.”
CEO of Asia Pacific, GoDigital Media Group
In the last year, Winship has been sharing a clear message: “Music presents a stable and lucrative long-term asset class for [the Asia Pacific] investment community.” Leading GoDigital, which focuses on intellectual property rights through its various subsidiaries (including Cinq Music, AdShare and SoundRoyalties), Winship says his company “positions music as a welcome addition to the traditional equity, fixed income and real estate portfolios of Asian private and institutional investor communities.”
Vp of international, 300 Entertainment
Earlier this year, Gunna’s top 10 Hot 100 hit, “Pushin P,” with Future and featuring Young Thug, had a lasting effect not only stateside but also internationally. With over 270 million streams and more than 1 million “creates” on TikTok, “Pushin P” is an enduring hit beyond social media, says Adams. “With ‘Pushin P,’ the velocity at which the song went viral was a testament to Gunna’s global influence at the most granular level,” he says. “Everyone from schoolteachers in Nigeria to pro Euro soccer players and British celebrities to K-pop choreographers posted content to ‘Pushin P.’ ”
Head of ADA Japan
Director, ADA France
Head of ADA Central Europe
Senior vp, international, ADA Worldwide
Head of ADA Music Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg
Chee Meng Tan
Managing director, ADA Asia
ADA Worldwide has rapidly expanded over the past year, adding 60 employees outside the United States; opening offices in new territories throughout Asia, Latin America and Europe; and working with Warner Music Group’s newly acquired African digital music company Africori and Middle East/North Africa music distributor Qanawat. “We’ve built up our presence around the world,” says Sein, a former Sony Music international marketing executive who joined ADA in September. “Our strategy has evolved to offer even more from day one to our partner artists and labels to fast-track their growth internationally.”
Co-presidents, EMI Records U.K.
In March, Universal Music U.K. announced that Charrington and Allen would jointly serve as co-presidents of EMI Records U.K. Allen had been named to lead EMI in 2020 and Charrington previously had been named president of Capitol Records U.K., so this move brought Capitol under the EMI umbrella. During her nine years at the helm of Capitol U.K., Charrington oversaw the global success of Sam Smith and the rise of emerging artists like Aitch, Mae Muller and Zoe Wees, all of whom have upcoming releases this year. During the past 12 months, EMI has achieved No. 1 albums in the United Kingdom with releases from Bastille, Elton John, Kanye West, Taylor Swift and The Killers.
Senior vp of global label management and sales, The Orchard
Senior vps of global artist and label partnerships, The Orchard
Vp of international marketing, Asia Pacific; managing director of Southeast Asia and Korea, The Orchard
For the 45 cities worldwide in which The Orchard operates, Arnold drives global release strategy and leads the team responsible for managing key international label relationships. For the BTS single “Butter,” Columbia Records and The Orchard worked closely with BIGHIT Music to propel the single to No. 1 on the Hot 100 for 10 weeks. Arnold oversaw The Orchard’s global sales strategy that led to top 10 chart positions for the song in over 30 territories and more than 500 million streams globally — earning the group a Guinness World Record in 2021 for the most streamed track on Spotify in 24 hours. Cichowski and Pascal jointly closed a distribution deal with Rimas Entertainment, home to Bad Bunny, under which the two companies also created a new independent label, SONAR, focused on artist development throughout Latin America. Dewan holds The Orchard’s first Pan-Asian management role and has guided the success of its Asian catalog, which includes acts like ITZY, GOT7, Kiana Valenciano, Inigo Pascal, DPR Live and BTS.
Bedford is thrilled that Bandzoogle’s commission-free, direct-to-fan sales tools helped its members sell nearly $10 million in merchandise and tickets in 2021, “during a global pandemic, no less.” The company offers turnkey solutions for website management, analytics, marketing and e-commerce, as well as a robust blog with best practices on search engine optimization, bio writing and web design. In tandem with continuing advancements in music tech, these Bandzoogle features enabled scores of indie artists to keep themselves solvent over the past two years. Bedford says she’s “proud to be at the helm of a company that has provided transparency, visibility and autonomy to musicians globally.”
Co-presidents, 0207 Def Jam
Senior vp of international marketing, Def Jam Recordings
As Universal Music Group expanded the Def Jam brand around the globe in recent years, twin brothers Alec and Alex Boateng have driven the success of the 0207 Def Jam label that they launched in the United Kingdom while Lauro-Norris has responsibility for international marketing of repertoire from the U.S. flagship label. The first signing to the British label, rapper Stormzy, reached No. 1 on the Official U.K. Albums chart in 2017 with his debut, Gang Signs and Prayers, and the Boatengs are now focused on launching artists such as Potter Payper, Debbie and Tendai. In the past year, Lauro-Norris has guided global campaigns for Justin Bieber’s Justice (which has achieved global sales of 7.7 million, according to UMG) and Kanye West’s Donda, which set an Apple Music record by charting at No. 1 in 152 countries while selling 2 million albums globally, according to UMG.
Ezegozie Eze Jr.
Vp of market development of Africa and Diaspora, EMPIRE
Project manager of Africa, EMPIRE
Regional head of West Africa, EMPIRE
Senior director of international marketing, EMPIRE
While EMPIRE continues to boast wins on the hip-hop side with acts such as Tyga and Key Glock, the company’s most significant feat now lies in its expansion into Africa, especially after the success of Fireboy DML and his Hot 100 hit, “Peru.” “Over the past 12 to 18 months,” says Kareem, “the rapid development of our EMPIRE team on the ground in Lagos and globally has already reaped tangible rewards with the success of our artists such as Fireboy DML, Kizz Daniel, BNXN fka Buju, Black Sherif and KiDi — not only in West Africa but around the world.”
Managing director of Brazil, Ingrooves Music Group
Managing director of Europe, Middle East and India, Ingrooves Music Group
Managing director of Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia, Ingrooves Music Group
Ingrooves reports that its global expansion over the past year was up by nearly one-third with new personnel hired in India, Mexico, the Philippines, Italy, the Netherlands, Denmark and Iceland, increasing its local presence to 23 countries. The distribution, marketing and technology company has “global streaming success powered by top indie labels GR6, Dirty Hit, Del Records and a massive year in K-pop,” says Roden. Ingrooves’ long reach is evident in Shouse’s global hit “Love Tonight” on label Onelove, which racked up over 1 billion streams and received top 20 airplay in 21 territories, according to Ingrooves. “I’m personally so thankful and proud,” says Roden, “to be part of a cohesive global team that kicks into gear whenever and wherever needed.”
In 2016, the U.K.-based South African native launched Platoon, a creative services agency that Feigelson sold to Apple in 2018. Calling his staff “team Platoon,” Feigelson touts the recent global successes of Nigeria’s Adekunle Gold, America’s Victoria Monét and Ghana’s Amaarae, and breaking new artists like Britain’s Holly Humberstone and Nigeria’s Khaid, as well as “nontraditional” chill music and children’s music. The new Platoon7 facility in London has three recording studios, two Dolby Atmos rooms, a podcast booth, two writing rooms, a content capture studio and an educational lab “to help artists of all levels reach their next octave,” he says.
Head of global expansion, ONErpm
Managing director of Brazil, ONErpm
Vp of Latin-Iberia region, ONErpm
For the digital distribution and artist services company ONErpm, Price has helped guide growth at multiple new offices around the globe. The company reports that revenue doubled at its office in Jamaica (it did not report dollar volume) while the debut album 438 from Jamaican signing Masicka started at No. 14 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart and reached No. 2 on Reggae Albums. Fitzgibbon oversaw the addition of more than 110,000 new Brazilian artists to ONErpm distribution in 2021, reaching over 60 billion YouTube views in the market, according to the company. López pursued growth in Argentina, Chile and Peru and expansion into other Latin markets. After opening an office in Turkey in 2021, Price this year is preparing for ONErpm to move into Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, South Africa, Senegal, Greece, Egypt and Azerbaijan.
Since 1982, [PIAS] has been an industry leader in music distribution. The company is headquartered in London and Brussels, with offices worldwide. But it still pays careful attention to each release — including British singer-songwriter Arlo Parks’ Collapsed in Sunbeams album. “From international partnerships with Apple and Spotify to TikTok making her one of the faces of their Black History Month programming,” says Gates, “this is an ongoing campaign that continues to establish Arlo as a major new artist.”
President/CEO, Intertwine Music
Last June, Gazit founded record label Intertwine Music in partnership with BMG, with a specific focus “to support artists’ worldwide success with a strong emphasis on the U.S. market,” he says. Gazit quickly signed K-pop talents Monsta X and Wonho to global deals and helped serve as an A&R executive for new projects from each act. “Intertwine stands for creating a global music fabric intertwining cultures and music from all over the world as one,” he adds. Outside of his efforts at Intertwine, he manages international songwriters and producers including Bekuh Boom, who has worked with Jennifer Lopez, Blackpink and others.
Senior vp of international marketing and promotions, Warner Recorded Music
Geiger points to the company’s success in growing its market share in the R&B/hip-hop sector, which she puts down to “developing artists like Jack Harlow, Cordae and Pooh Shiesty while continuing to increase the exposure of our superstar artists like Lizzo, Cardi B and Silk Sonic.” She specifically notes that the lattermost, the Grammy Award-winning supergroup of Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak, has generated over 3 billion streams worldwide.
With the help of TuneCore Social Platforms, which let artists upload music directly onto social media networks such as TikTok and Instagram, 18-year-old Lauren Spencer-Smith’s single “Fingers Crossed” went viral prior to its release, after which it hit No. 1 in four countries, reached No. 19 on the Hot 100 and sat just outside the top 10 of Billboard’s Pop Airplay chart. “Spencer-Smith’s ascension to stardom is the very reason TuneCore launched this innovative service — to help our independent artists grow and reach new heights never before imaginable,” Gleeson says. “[We’re] not only enabling indie artists to connect with fans and create viral moments, we’re helping them to monetize those interactions.”
Executive vp/head of international marketing, Interscope Geffen A&M
Between Billie Eilish’s first Academy Award for best original song (“No Time To Die”) and second consecutive record of the year Grammy (“Everything I Wanted”), alongside Imagine Dragons’ 2 billion-plus global streams for megahit “Enemy” (with JID) in collaboration with Riot Games’ Arcane series, IGA has been on a roll. “We’ve had a number of global successes over the last year,” says Grebner, also citing Machine Gun Kelly’s latest album, Mainstream Sellout, and, of course, Olivia Rodrigo, who snagged best new artist at the 2022 Grammy Awards and “whose Sour debut has sold almost 10 million copies around the world,” he says.
Managing director, Proper Music Group
In January, leading U.K. physical music distributor Proper Music Group was acquired by Swiss fintech firm Utopia Music — “a company that shares our values,” says Hill. The Proper team “worked incredibly hard to maintain our service levels in the face of COVID-19 and navigate international trade in a post-Brexit environment,” Hill says. “Following our acquisition by Utopia, I can’t wait to see the business continuing to excel and grow on the global stage.”
Director of international marketing, Arista Records
Hilton made sure that Tai Verdes’ international launch went “A-O-K,” with his debut single of that title passing the 400 million-stream mark, according to the label, breaking into Spotify’s top 20 and finishing in the top 10 of Billboard’s 2021 year-end Hot Rock & Alternative Songs chart. Hilton also set Emmy Meli’s career in motion with her female empowerment anthem “I Am Woman” charting in 13 countries, with marketing initiatives timed for Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day. “I’m also proud to continue to help develop the careers of marquee artists for the label,” she says, having pushed Grammy nominee JP Saxe to over 1.7 billion global streams.
AWAL — which had its acquisition by Sony approved by U.K. officials in March — enjoyed its “best year yet, both commercially and creatively,” says the London-based Hitchman, who has spent the past decade at the label-services company. In the United Kingdom, Hitchman points to seven top 10 albums in 2021 including releases from You Me at Six, Jungle, girl in red, The Vaccines and Nick Cave & Warren Ellis, while The Wombats have already landed a No. 1 album in 2022 for AWAL and Little Simz took home the BRIT Award for best new artist in February.
President, Create Music Group India
Since acquiring India’s Nirvana Digital in November 2021, Create Music Group has enjoyed exponential growth in its YouTube monetization, distribution and rights management businesses. The views on the content that Create Music Group monetizes within India grew from 30 billion in 2019 to 137 billion in 2021 — an increase of more than 400%, according to Kaushish. Overall watch time rose to 6.9 billion hours from 2 billion in 2019, which Kaushish says “would take an individual 787,000 years watching videos 24 hours a day to watch what we served last year.”
Director of project management, XL Recordings
After hiring three new global project managers, Kendrick was proud to see the “brilliant, innovative” campaigns they rolled out for U.K. electronic dubstep star Joy Orbison, as well as for Canadian instrumental jazz-hop trio BadBadNotGood and The xx bassist-singer Oliver Sim. “This year I am personally looking forward to overseeing the debut album from The Smile — who I look after in addition to Radiohead — [and the start of a cycle of three releases] from The xx as they develop their solo entities,” says Kendrick, who also awaits “the next project from envelope-pusher FKA Twigs.” The past year also brought success for nonbinary, Latinx trans artist Arca with a five-album drop on XL, as well as the reimagining of Radiohead’s Kid A and Amnesiac albums as KID A Mnesia and a Juno nomination for Mustafa’s debut, When Smoke Rises.
Senior vp of Europe, Middle East and Africa, FUGA
For business-to-business music distributor FUGA, expanding into Japan and building a joint venture with Space Shower there have been among the highlights of the last 18 months. “Japan is a huge music market where the digital music business has been a bit slower in gaining momentum compared with other parts of the world,” Kroner says. “The potential in the coming years in Japan is enormous due to the inevitable shift toward more digital music sales.” He adds that by joining forces with the distribution and entertainment company, FUGA is “well positioned to take on the expected growth in the market.”
Senior vp of international marketing, Warner Records
Larsen points with pride to a concerted international effort to break American rapper Saweetie through remixes of her hit single “Best Friend.” “We added German superstar Katja Krasavice to a version that went to No. 1 in Germany,” he says. “Likewise, the impact we made in Australia by teaming up with JessB and OKENYO has put Saweetie in an amazing place in my home country. Add to that similar looks in the U.K., China, Korea and Japan, and we had something that made all the late nights and early mornings worth it.” The payoff for her U.S. version with Doja Cat: a No. 14 peak on the Hot 100 and a Grammy nomination for best rap song.
CEO, Dubbing Hits
Co-founder/COO, Dubbing Hits
After 28 years at Sony Mexico, most recently as vp of marketing and promotion, Laviada launched indie marketing and promotional company Dubbing Hits as a one-stop shop for press, radio and digital marketing. In three years, Dubbing has emerged as a small (10 employees) but mighty “can-do” company that delivers results-driven campaigns in Mexico and Latin America for a broad range of acts from rapper Residente and Rimas Music to up-and-comers Eladio Carrión and Mora, as well as superstars like Maluma, Ozuna and Wisin y Yandel. Standouts include the launch of a Latin Grammy campaign for Ricardo Montaner’s Fe throughout Latin America and the groundbreaking campaign for Ricardo Arjona’s Blanco y Negro.
Sung Su Lee
CEO, SM Entertainment
Young Jun Tak
COO, SM Entertainment
Tak says that Seoul-based SM Entertainment continues to soar in its 27th year as K-pop keeps reaching new global heights. Despite the ongoing pandemic, “last year we achieved our highest performance in the company’s history with nearly 18 million albums sold,” he says. Much of the credit goes to the success of metaverse girl group aespa, whose members each have avatars occupying a unique fictional world. The group signed with Creative Artists Agency in July for representation. “SM is taking the vast virtual world we have envisioned and turning it into reality,” says Tak, “and the opportunities are limitless.”
In the past year, the digital distribution company hired over 40 staff members to join its global crew. Headquartered in Spain, Altafonte now has 15 offices in 11 countries, including key markets Mexico and Brazil. With a “very clear vision of internationalizing our artists,” Luaces says that his company signed over 1,800 acts in 2021 and developed a new platform that “allows us to automate almost 90% of the company’s processes, providing our artists with access to multiple global analysis and advanced management tools.”
Co-presidents, Polydor Records U.K.
March and Mortimer have helped make Polydor one of the top imprints in the United Kingdom, working with acts like Billie Eilish, ABBA and Florence + the Machine. According to Mortimer, their crowning achievement in recent years came with the release of Glass Animals’ first album on the label, 2020’s Dreamland, which reached No. 7 on the Billboard 200 while their single “Heat Waves” crowned the Hot 100 after a 59-week climb. “It was their first record on Polydor, so we had a point to prove,” says Mortimer, adding, “We were able to go beyond our wildest dreams.” In July, March will become president of Geffen Records (U.S.) while Mortimer will move up to sole president of Polydor.
Managing director of U.K. and international, MNRK Music Group
With the sale of eOne’s music division to Blackstone Group last year, the company was rechristened MNRK Music Group and became a stand-alone focused on recordings, publishing and artist management. It has become a major indie power that controls the catalogs of music labels Last Gang Records and Dualtone Music Group and the publishing catalog of Chuck Berry (through Dualtone), among other assets. “MNRK now builds on its incredible history as one of the biggest independent labels in the U.S. to look toward a truly global future,” says May, as “the first choice for the best music creators in the world with the resources and drive to meet that ambition.”
Co-founders/co-presidents, PMR Records
The Parmar brothers founded PMR a decade ago, and their roster — beginning with the success of Jessie Ware and Disclosure — now generates 1 billion-plus streams annually, according to the company. While continuing their leadership of PMR, the two also previously served as A&R executives for EMI Records U.K., contributing to the success of TikTok-driven stars A1 x J1 and pop singer Bree Runway. This year, the brothers are focused on singer-songwriter Hope Tala; New York’s Amber Mark, who released her debut album, Three Dimensions Deep, on PMR/Interscope in January; and producer-writer-remixer SG Lewis, who is scheduled to play Las Vegas’ Life Is Beautiful Festival in September.
Head of international, Redeye Worldwide
Managing director, Redeye Worldwide
While maneuvering through a global pandemic and the impact of Brexit, distribution and music services company Redeye Worldwide has been making big moves in the past year. In what Petkov calls “an important step for the future of the company’s international business,” Redeye acquired Border Music Sweden, which allows the former to “offer a unique global distribution set.” In addition to making acquisitions, Redeye has grown physical and digital revenue year over year, introduced its own global business-to-business platform for international customers and signed label partnerships like the worldwide distribution deal with New West Records.
Co-owner/CEO, Armada Music
The long-standing Dutch electronic label opened offices in New York and made hires this year, while also finding and developing fresh talent and overseeing a sprawling roster that includes global star (and Armada co-founder) Armin van Buuren and over 60 other acts. The 2017 Armada release “Body” by Loud Luxury (featuring Brando) hit the 1 billion streams mark, and the label signed new artists and kept established acts on a steady trajectory despite the ongoing pandemic. “We had to adapt and evolve so fast my head’s still spinning,” says Piron, “but the team put their shoulders to the wheel and powered through very impressively.”
Chairman/CEO, Universal Music Canada
The opening (amid COVID-19 restrictions) of Universal Music Canada’s new Toronto headquarters last May has set up the label “for a new era,” says Remedios. He touts global prospects for new signings Rêve, Savannah Ré, Banx & Ranx, La Zarra, Valley and Johnny Orlando and is deliberately making “major shifts in how we work and support artists,” including assuring representation for Black and Indigenous people and people of color; gender equity; and the Francophone market. To that end, the company has partnered with the Indigenous women-led Ishkōdé Records, continued investment in Québec through its French label imprint Maison Barclay Canada and established a domestic artist-focused Black music marketing team bolstered by “new leadership in senior roles across marketing, A&R, communications and more,” says Remedios.
Vp/head of international, Island Records
Rowen has overseen international campaigns marketing some of the biggest artists in the world including Shawn Mendes, and in 2022, Rowen says his “defining moment” has been the release of Keshi’s debut album, Gabriel. The project was released in March after Island signed the Texas artist who had built a SoundCloud following. Keshi’s first European headlining tour sold out in minutes. Rowen calls Keshi’s growth “while staying true to his artist vision and integrity” a major achievement of the past 12 months. Gabriel reached No. 16 on the Billboard 200 and No. 4 on Top Album Sales.
Senior director of international marketing, Columbia Records
Ryan’s team at Columbia Records has achieved a lot in the past year, but the highly anticipated return of Adele with the release of her fourth studio album, 30 — the singer’s first under Sony Music worldwide — was a “major highlight,” says Ryan. “It was a project that required us to operate at our most strategic and absolute best,” she says of the album, which debuted at No. 1 in 35 countries. To promote the release, Ryan’s team oversaw the launch of 30 visual projections at landmarks around the world, including the Colosseum in Rome, the London Eye, Brandenburg Gate in Berlin and the Louvre in Paris.
Wassim “Sal” Slaiby
Founder/CEO, Universal Arabic Music
Launched by superstar manager Slaiby, Universal Arabic Music is a division of Universal Music Group focused on bridging Arabic music with global partners, platforms and brands. The label was the exclusive music partner of Egypt’s El Gouna Film Festival and launched its theme song, “Gaw El Banat.” The label’s first signing, Jordan’s Issam Alnajjar, had his single “Hadal Ahbek” become the first Arabic song to reach No. 1 on Shazam’s Global chart, while the latest addition to its roster, Palestinian-Chilean artist Elyanna, has received support from stars like The Weeknd and Lana Del Rey,and has appeared on the covers of GQ Middle East and Elle Arabia. In 2021, the label’s gala dinner for the Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon helped raise over $1 million for the organization.
CEO, Som Livre
Som Livre in March became part of Sony Music Group after the multinational company acquired Brazil’s largest independent label for about $255 million following the deal’s announcement in 2021. The purchase not only strengthens Sony’s presence in the fast-growing Brazilian music market but also brings a vast array of resources to Som Livre artists. “I can’t think of a better way to begin this new post-pandemic world,” says Soares.
Senior vp of global marketing and digital strategy, Republic Records
Vp of international marketing, Republic Records
The pandemic forced Republic’s international team “to adapt and rethink how we approach marketing and promotion on a global scale,” says Perez. Indeed, worldwide strategies for superstars like Taylor Swift, The Weeknd, Drake and Ariana Grande have had to endure shifts, postponements and major upheavals. Sutnick says that, even despite travel restrictions, Republic artists have grown closer to their global label teams in recent months: “Whether it’s an artist presenting music to our label partners, our business partners or meeting directly with fans, we’ve continued to grow our artists’ audiences around the globe,” he says. “And now, as the world opens up, they are eager to get on the road and reconnect.”
Executive vp, RCA Records U.K.
Senior director of international marketing, RCA Records
RCA was named the No. 1 label in the United Kingdom for 2021 on four different market-share rankings of the Official Charts Company, including the principal All Music (Artist Albums) measurement and Track Streams, with an accumulated tally of 15.1 billion streams last year. Tang, who was named executive vp of the label in August, played a key role in that success. She led campaigns for domestic acts including Mimi Webb, Paloma Faith, Bring Me the Horizon, Sam Fischer and Little Mix, which was the first all-female act to win the British group honor at the BRIT Awards. She also guided international campaigns for artists including Miley Cyrus, The Kid LAROI and Lil Nas X. As part of Sony Music’s international marketing team, Novak is responsible for the roster of RCA Records in the U.S. and led the global strategy for Doja Cat’s Planet Her. Novak has also played a key role in expanding the international reach of SZA and WizKid, while laying the groundwork for global breakouts by Tate McRae, Latto, Tems, Nardo Wick and more. She also is an active member of The Show Must Be Paused committee.
Vp of international marketing, Epic Records
Tara has worked on countless international marketing campaigns for high-profile clients and, in 2021, she focused on R&B singer-songwriter Giveon, who “had many ‘firsts’ on foreign soil,” she says, including Spotify No. 1s for his single “Heartbreak Anniversary” in South Africa, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Indonesia, as well as his first magazine cover with tmrw in the United Kingdom and his first headlining show at London’s Village Underground. “I’m very proud that the artists and campaigns I’ve been a part of across the last year have been very global in their reach and success,” says Tara, mentioning acts such as Camila Cabello, Mimi Webb, JNR Choi, Zara Larsson, Travis Scott, Future and the Black Eyed Peas.
Senior vp of global marketing, Capitol Music Group
CMG has continued to expand its global footprint over the last few years, launching Astralwerks Asia, Capitol Records Italy, Motown Records U.K. and, in March, Capitol Records China. There’s more to come, says Thurgood, adding that the efforts are “all in order to truly embed our artists in the local cultural conversation and maximize global opportunity.” That approach has led to recent worldwide successes for Halsey’s Grammy Award-nominated collaboration with Nine Inch Nails, If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power, and Motown/Quality Control artist Lil Baby.
President, Better Noise Music
“This past year, we’ve put a lot of effort into making sure we have the right team in place across all of our international markets,” says Waite. “Now that we do, we’re excited to expand the global presence of all of our artists.” He notes that Better Noise topped Billboard’s year-end Hot Hard Rock Songs and Mainstream Rock Songs Imprint charts in 2021. “I continue guiding each team’s focus on increasing consumption in the U.S. and internationally, with a growth in presence in Europe, including Scandinavia, over the past year, and the opening of distribution in Southeast Asia in 2021.”
Director of commercial strategy, Beggars Group
The tech and operational teams at Beggars Group recently guided the company with making a “seamless” transition to using FUGA, a distributor that specializes in digital supply chain technology and works to “provide flexible music distribution and marketing services,” says Wheeler. Throughout the transition, Wheeler says the company worked remotely to expand its global reach, especially in Southeast Asia, “without getting on a plane.”
Regional director of Southeast Asia, IFPI
IFPI opened a Middle East/North Africa office in November, followed in March by a Southeast Asia office, led by Seow. “Having a local presence in these regions helps us to engage with policymakers and local stakeholders to help create the right environment to enable music markets to grow,” says the London-based Moore. During her tenure as head of the international trade association of the recording industry, global trade revenue has climbed from $15.1 billion in 2010 to $25.9 billion in 2021, according to IFPI’s latest Global Music Report.
CEO, Association of Independent Music
Since 2016, Pacifico has led U.K. trade group AIM, which represents more than 1,000 independent labels, artists and music companies, including Beggars Group, Domino and Ninja Tune. In December, the London-based organization launched the Music Climate Pact, an industrywide initiative to decarbonize the record business backed by all three major labels and dozens of indies. “It has been inspirational to see so much of the global music sector come together and take action,” says Pacifico. An associate professor at Berklee College of Music in Valencia, Spain, he spoke on behalf of the indie sector during last year’s U.K. Parliament probe into music streaming.
In the past year, Merlin expanded “the territorial reach of both its partnerships and its membership around the world,” says Sirota, welcoming 33 independent labels and distributors from 17 countries to the global digital rights organization, including first-time members from Kenya, Pakistan and Turkey. New partnership deals include agreements with livestreaming service Twitch, music licensing platform Lickd and Tencent-owned streaming service JOOX, which operates in Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and South Africa. In December, Merlin extended its licensing agreement with Boomplay to cover 47 additional countries in Africa.
Executive vp of international legal and industry affairs, Universal Music Publishing Group
Managing director of France, Universal Music Publishing Group
Managing director of China, Universal Music Publishing Group
Senior vp of film and TV, Europe, Universal Music Publishing Group
President of U.S. Latin and Latin America, Universal Music Publishing Group
Managing director of Germany/senior vp of Austria and Switzerland, Universal Music Publishing Group
Alway is UMPG’s expert on public policy, digital licensing and rights society relations in territories worldwide and, last year, became the first woman elected chair of the International Confederation of Music Publishers. She has been a leading voice for copyright and the reform of safe harbor regulations of online services and also an advocate for the rights of creators and rights holders in the European Union and worldwide. In France, David has built a roster of writers with border-crossing impact, recently signing Kel-p, a Nigerian producer for Burna Boy. In China, in collaboration with She Is the Music, Fang and his colleagues organized the first all-female songwriting camps in Asia. Under Foster’s leadership, UMPG’s European synch team has paired the works of Coldplay with BMW, Metallica with Ford, “Chim Chim Cher-ee” from the Disney catalog (which UMPG administers in Europe) with Coca-Cola and a new original song from BRIT Award winner Griff with Sky TV for its new Sky Glass system. Lioutikoff, the first female president of Latin America and U.S. Latin for a major music publishing company, oversees a roster of hitmakers that include J Balvin, Rosalía, Bad Bunny, Romeo Santos and Espinoza Paz. Vidovic has guided his company’s signings and developments of songwriter-artists, including badmómzjay, Lucio101, Mathea and Luna, as well as joint ventures with Electric Feel Europe and We Publish Music.
Managing director/global strategic liaison, Reservoir
Hussain “Spek” Yoosuf
Executive vp of international and emerging markets, Reservoir
The past year was about growth and reach for Reservoir. The New York-based independent — the first female-founded and publicly traded music company in the United States — now represents more than 140,000 copyrights and 35,000 master recordings worldwide, and recent deals include Lebanese musician Seid Hamdan, Arab superstar Mohamad Ramadan and a joint venture with Egyptian label 100 Copies to invest in new content in North Africa. Longtime Reservoir songwriter Jamie Hartman was also named songwriter of the year at the Ivor Novello Awards. “I’m proud of the work we have done this year to further build a better environment for songwriters and independent publishers,” says Barrett, “with significant advocacy across the European Union, including regarding Brexit and also via the outreach to our international partners.”
Senior vp of global publishing and society relations, Songtrust
Senior director of business development, Songtrust
Director of business development, Songtrust
Songtrust, which represents songwriters in 175 countries and territories around the globe for royalty collection administration, is working at expanding its international client base, including staging a virtual Songtrust Summit in October with participants from over 70 countries. The company is also making its educational content available in more languages to educate independent songwriters about their rights. Aubry and Baker are focused on growing the company profile and business-to-business relationship network across Africa, Asia and Australasia, while Berger and her team work directly with its society collection partners around the globe. Songtrust has seen a 75% increase in international collections in 2021 over 2020, and ex-U.S. clients have experienced a 160% increase in royalty revenue, the company reports.
Managing director of France, Kobalt
Vp of creative of Germany, Switzerland and Austria, Kobalt
Director of Asia, Kobalt
Kobalt celebrated its 20th anniversary by chalking up its first profitable year in 2021, turning in a net profit on continuing operations of $5.8 million on $519.4 million in revenue. The international team oversees territories — outside North America — that bring in 54.6% of revenue, or $283.6 million, for the company. Recent global publishing signings include MOLI, who has co-written Topic & A7S’ “Breaking Me,” which has tallied 1.6 billion global streams, according to Kobalt; writer-producer Vito Kovach; and writer/producer/multi-instrumentalist Johannes Roemer, signed from the German office. In Asia, Kobalt has signed a deal with film company One Cool Group. Kobalt clients took home 15 Grammy Awards in the past year.
CEO, Blacklist Entertainment; partner, Primary Wave U.K.
Partner/executive vp, Primary Wave U.K. and Europe; GM, Blue Mountain Music
Primary Wave’s international operation placed Bob Marley songs in campaigns for the Dutch football club Ajax, Sandals Resort and the Apex Legends game, synched Free’s “All Right Now” with Stations Casino and Bretzi Pharma, and landed John Grant’s “Black Belt” in a Facebook campaign narrated by Grace Jones. “The increased internationalization of Primary Wave … has enabled so many partnerships and acquisitions to complete this year by way of harmonious synergy across time zones,” says Dowling. “Such [achievements] can only happen through will, determination and a united team pulling in the same direction guided by inspirational leadership.”
CEO, Budde Music
Now in its third generation of family ownership and leadership, Budde Music is not only expanding its traditional publishing business but also supporting the management and agency ventures that now operate alongside it. “We’ve doubled in size over the last decade by almost any measure — turnover, [net publisher’s share] and staff,” says Budde. Last year, the company integrated its London staff into the Shoreditch headquarters of Phrased Differently, which Budde bought a part of in 2020, and started brand partnership divisions at Budde Talent Agency, where a new agent now handles corporate and special events.
Executive vp of worldwide A&R, Concord Music Publishing
Managing director, Concord Music Publishing Germany, Switzerland and Austria
For Concord’s global publishing A&R team, the last year “has been about growth and working to both integrate and expand our roster by signing new talent and incorporating acquired catalogs,” says Frankiewicz. Concord recently signed Ghanaian “Sad Girlz Luv Money” singer Amaarae, Jamaican hitmaker Bounty Killer and Kazakh “Roses” remix producer Imanbek. And with its acquisition of Downtown Music Publishing’s owned and published copyrights, Concord gained Grammy-nominated artist Yola and Academy Award-winning “Shallow” co-songwriter Anthony Rossomando, as well as the catalogs of Ryan Tedder, Benny Blanco and Mötley Crüe’s Nikki Sixx. The strategy, Frankiewicz says, “continues to be about challenging the publishing status quo.”
Managing director of Warner Chappell U.K./head of international A&R, Warner Chappell Music
President of U.S. Latin and Latin America, Warner Chappell Music
President of Southern Europe, Warner Chappell Music
Managing director of France, Warner Chappell Music
In 2021, Gonzales reached an agreement to extend Warner Chappell’s representation of George Michael’s catalog, covering both Michael’s solo work and the songs he wrote as frontman of ’80s pop duo Wham! Among Menéndez’s recent achievements is the signing of superstar Mexican singer-songwriter Marco Antonio Solís, while his team in Brazil signed two other legendary Latin songwriters, Carlinhos Brown and Caetano Veloso. Menéndez-Pidal rose to his new role last year with responsibility for Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece — the latter a new area of focus for the company. In France, Tessier recently signed a global subpublishing deal covering the catalog of the late iconic singer-songwriter Jacques Brel and also played a key role in breaking the chart-topping French rapper Orelsan.
Co-founder/CEO, Blue Raincoat Music
Co-founder/chairman, Blue Raincoat Music
In 2021, Blue Raincoat Music — which provides management services for artists like Phoebe Bridgers and Arlo Parks, as well as publishing deals with ABISHA, Let’s Eat Grandma and others — oversaw the signing of new publishing deals with John Parish and the estate of Nick Drake. Meanwhile, Chrysalis Records, Raincoat’s front-line label, signed pop singer Emeli Sandé to a global record deal. Throughout this expansion, Blue Raincoat promoted “equality and proportional diversity across age, gender, race, disability, sexual orientation and education” within the company, says Lascelles. “It’s a constant challenge to keep it on track — but worth it.”
Co-managing director of the United Kingdom, Sony Music Publishing
President/co-managing director of the United Kingdom; senior vp of international, Sony Music Publishing
President of Asia, Sony Music Publishing
Managing director of China and Greater China, Sony Music Publishing
Hyun-Hoon (Kenny) Lee
Managing director of Korea, Sony Music Publishing
Managing director of Benelux, Sony Music Publishing
Major and Ventura led Sony Music Publishing to market-leading status in the United Kingdom in 2021, according to the company, representing over one-third of the top 100 songs and shares of four out of the most popular singles, including Ed Sheeran’s “Bad Habits,” written by Sheeran and Johnny McDaid, and “Shivers,” co-written by Sheeran, McDaid and Kal Lavelle. Awards in the past year have gone to the company’s writers including Arlo Parks, Pa Salieu and PinkPantheress. Ng has driven the company’s growth in Asia, opening an office in Indonesia, as the first independent international publishing company in the country. Hua has created key relationships with major digital platforms throughout China and Greater China while also helping to establish industry standard music licensing structures with TV stations for online and offline broadcasting. In Korea, Lee and his team recently signed a subpublishing agreement with HYBE, home to BTS, as well as partnerships with JYP and Iconic Sounds. In the Benelux region (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg), Walboomers and his team celebrated the Grammy wins of two songwriter-producers on their roster, Tierce “Kizzo” Person and Andrae Alexander, for their work with Jon Batiste.
Founder/CEO, Hipgnosis Song Management/Hipgnosis Songs Fund/Hipgnosis Songs Capital
Mercuriadis has spent the last 18 months assembling an intricate network of complementary companies, but he still had time to continue purchasing music assets. His funds have spent $1 billion acquiring rights to song catalogs of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, Kenny Chesney, Shakira, and Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac, among other songwriters of “great cultural importance,” he says. Now Mercuriadis is ready to deploy funding to buy more music assets, thanks to the double firepower he wields with the publicly traded Hipgnosis Songs Fund and the recently launched private equity-based Hipgnosis Songs Capital — backed by financial firm Blackstone.
Mary Megan Peer
Managing director/European president, peermusic
During the past year, peermusic — with 38 offices in 31 countries — established a new neighboring-rights division business. The neighboring-rights roster now encompasses over 2,500 artists and 300 record labels, according to Peer, who notes that “we find the ability to deliver these important royalties to our clients rewarding.” Meanwhile, peermusic U.K. acquired Accorder Music Publishing, established a joint venture with Whispering Bob Harris’ Under the Apple Tree platform and had a global hit with GAYLE’s “abcdefu” through a subpublishing deal with Big Machine for all territories outside the United States.
President, Downtown Music Services
Senior vp of new markets, Downtown Music Holdings
Smith says, “Over the last 18 months, we have successfully launched [Downtown Music Services] and have been hard at work building the global infrastructure and team” in Argentina, Brazil and the United States, as well as Bogotá, Colombia; Johannesburg; London; Mexico City; Paris; and Tokyo. Downtown works with 1.7 million creators and 2,500 business clients, with DMS representing the song catalogs of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, as well as Mexico’s Los Tucanes de Tijuana and France’s Ibeyi. “Our goal each day is to support the creators and rights holders who depend on our services to achieve success and get paid fairly for their work,” Smith says. Alexander guides the global growth of Downtown Music Holdings, which includes FUGA, Songtrust and CD Baby.
Alfredo Alonso Ramos
Partner/director of entertainment, Bizarro Live Entertainment
Having already established a footprint in Colombia, Bizarro — an arena owner and operator and Chile’s biggest producer of live events — this year opened outposts in Peru, Bolivia and Uruguay. The company, which owns Movistar Arenas in Santiago, Chile and Bogotá, Colombia, will be opening an arena in Bolivia by summer and is poised to launch 2022 tours in the Southern Cone by Sebastián Yatra, André Rieu, Wisin & Yandel and J Balvin in addition to individual shows by Bad Bunny, Karol G and Daddy Yankee. When Chile entirely shut down live shows during the pandemic, Bizarro spearheaded the operation of the country’s two biggest vaccination centers, while its immersive art show, “Beyond Van Gogh,” sold over 150,000 tickets in Chile and Peru.
Chairman, Live Nation U.K. and Ireland
President, Live Nation Europe, the Middle East and Africa
Joint managing directors, Live Nation Korea
International group counsel, Live Nation Entertainment
President, Asia Pacific, Live Nation
Managing director, Live Nation Electronic Asia
Desmond praises his team for “a blockbuster year in 2021” despite the pandemic, with Live Nation staging shows as soon as attendance restrictions lifted, resulting in “an astounding fourth quarter” last year. Fan demand is fueling strong bookings for 2022, 2023 and beyond, according to Live Nation. Reid has expanded his areas of responsibility from Europe to the Middle East, Africa and India, dealing with a constantly shifting landscape of restrictions and COVID-19 mitigations. Cho and Kim have collaborated on the return of K-pop to the world’s stages, including the BTS stadium shows that coincided with the Grammy Awards in Las Vegas. Field has worked with Australia’s Live Entertainment Industry Forum to support the safe return of live events across that market. Wong has focused on artist development in China and Live Nation’s electronic music business in Asia. He has helped establish the Live Nation artist management company Dancing Dragon, based in Hong Kong, as a leading artist agency in the region. As international group counsel for Live Nation and general counsel for Ticketmaster, Emeny oversees government and regulatory affairs across global markets, liaising between Live Nation’s U.S. headquarters and its international operations.
Event sales director, ASM Global Sweden
Programming director, ASM Global U.K.
After the pandemic hit, ASM Global shifted to creating new business, like repurposing arenas as padel tennis courts. In Stockholm, ASM acquired the Södra Teatern theater and took control of food and beverage services at some of its arenas in Stockholm. ASM also spearheaded the project to rename Stockholm’s famed The Globe as Avicii Arena, a tribute to the late superstar DJ and “a hub for initiatives focused on young people’s mental health,” says Blomqvist. More recently, the company created a central programming resource for its U.K. venues, offering clients “a single point to reach our arenas spread across the country,” she adds.
President/CEO, AEG Europe
President/CEO, AEG Asia
CEO, AEG Presents U.K.
CEO of European festivals, AEG Presents
Senior vp of live music international, AEG Presents
Under Hill’s leadership, AEG Europe managed pandemic restrictions while bringing the All Points East festival back to London last August. King, who played a key role in that event, is now preparing for British Summertime Hyde Park in June and July (featuring the Rolling Stones on their 60th-anniversary tour) and is also revitalizing Paris’ Rock en Seine festival in August. Hill also oversaw the redevelopment of the Olympia London venue. Homer is booking that location as well as the renovated Wolverhampton Civic Halls, the Eventim Apollo and Indigo at the O2. In Asia, Wilkes continues to guide the development of AEG’s new arena in Seoul and led the partnership between AEG Presents and AVEX Group that was announced in 2021. Jones is involved in summer tours in Europe by superstars including Elton John and Justin Bieber.
Co-CEOs/co-founders, Westwood Entertainment
The Mexican management, marketing and concert promotion stalwarts scored big by landing major tours in Mexico, including Karol G’s upcoming arena tour, Camilo and Rauw Alejandro’s sold-out 2021 tours and upcoming 2022 stints, as well as Bad Bunny’s 2022 stadium tour that has already sold 300,000 tickets, according to the company. Beyond Mexico, Westwood booked 30 U.S. dates for Reik as well as Camila and Sin Bandera’s 4 Latidos tour that has sold out venues north and south of the border and Carlos Rivera’s Spanish tour in the midst of the pandemic. Although associated mostly with pop, Westwood has also partnered with hip-hop artist Santa Fe Klan as he begins his first U.S. arena tour.
Promoter, C3 Presents
During the pandemic, C3 Presents faced a blank calendar for the first time. The Austin-based promoter behind Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo and seven global Lollapalooza festivals was less than two weeks away from kicking off its South American shows in March 2020 before pivoting to two years of rebooking gigs. “We moved those shows to the fall of 2020, then to the fall of 2021 and, ultimately, to March of 2022,” Powell says. With successful editions of Lolla in Brazil, Argentina and Chile under their belts, Powell says those shows “hopefully played a role in helping the international touring market take one step closer to being fully open.”
CEO, Move Concerts
Touring is “finally up and running” again for Move Concerts, which has marked the return to live events with sold-out shows from Kany Garcia and a-ha, as well as upcoming shows by Karol G, Michael Bublé, Justin Bieber, KISS, Myke Towers, Arctic Monkeys, Sebastián Yatra and others. Move Management — the company’s growing management division that launched in late 2020 — has landed acts like Argentine artists Tiago PZK and Alejandro Lerner. In February 2021, Move also created a new division with Grand Move Records, which is licensed to Warner Music Latina. Tiago PZK was the first signing for Grand Move Records, with Rodriquez promising “more signings to follow.”
CEO, CTS Eventim
CTS Eventim, one of the world’s largest concert promoters, spent a tough 2021 setting itself up for the future. The company launched its Eventim Live Asia business and brought its Eventim.com ticketing platform to North America, as well as announced a deal to build a 16,000-capacity arena in Milan and acquired the software company simply-X. Past moves also started to pay off in the form of a Genesis tour in the United States promoted by EMC Presents, its joint venture with promoter Michael Cohl. “We have seen just how eager people are to get back to live entertainment,” Schulenberg wrote in his annual letter to shareholders, “based on demand for tickets to see top German and international artists.”
Alejandro Soberón Kuri
The pandemic forced OCESA “to reinvent itself” and “reimagine how to provide audiences and artists ways to remain close,” says Soberón Kuri, who founded Mexico City-based OCESA Entretenimiento in 1990 and built it into the world’s third-largest concert promoter (as of 2019 year-end Billboard Boxscore data). So, until the return to normalcy, OCESA held digital performances, car concerts and events with safe distances between groups of fans. “Alex and the OCESA team are incredible at what they do,” said Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino after his company bought a 51% stake in OCESA for $431.9 million in December.
CEO, Duke Concept
From Wizkid’s Made in Lagos U.S. tour to Burna Boy’s historic headlining performance at the Hollywood Bowl, 2021 saw a surge in the number of Afrobeats shows in the United States. One common thread throughout this influx of African acts taking the stage is Ugeh’s Duke Concept, which, over the last decade, has become an expert in bringing top African acts to U.S. venues, including 92 shows across North America in the last year alone, says Ugeh. Following Duke Concept’s 2021 joint venture with Live Nation, Ugeh will be co-producing Afrofusion pioneer Burna Boy’s April show at Madison Square Garden in New York, making him the first Nigerian to headline the iconic arena.
Maarten van Beusekom
Lead promoter of international events, Insomniac
While Insomniac Events has long been a dance festival leader in the United States and beyond, van Beusekom and his team elevated the company’s offerings on the international circuit when live events returned in 2021. Along with co-producer ALDA, they hosted Romania’s SAGA Festival last September and launched the Amsterdam debut of their Secret Project brand during the Amsterdam Dance Event, with 10,000 tickets sold in less than a day. The house and techno-oriented Secret Project Portugal will happen in June, and Croatia’s new Pula Music Week will take place in July at an ancient Roman amphitheater. During a challenging period, van Beusekom says the key has been to “remain positive and to keep booking, producing and executing our global events.”
Co-heads of international touring, Creative Artists Agency
Head of electronic/international, Creative Artists Agency
CAA reports having an incredibly successful year coming off the pandemic. They agency has been working with clients like Sigur Rós, Justin Bieber and Red Hot Chili Peppers on a number of successful tours and concert bookings that have regularly landed the agency atop the touring charts. CAA helped Harry Styles earn a coveted booking: headlining Coachella 2022 after Rage Against the Machine dropped off the lineup, as well as Styles’ highly successful Love on Tour outing that grossed over $150 million in ticket sales, according to the agency.
Head of international, ICM Partners; managing director, Primary Talent International
Director/agent, Primary Talent
Agent, Primary Talent
Since ICM Partners acquired Primary Talent International in 2020, the London-based music agency has been on a mission “to take the European strength in electronic music and build it worldwide,” says Bates. Primary Talent has leveraged its integration with ICM to hire key electronic agents in North America to build “a global powerhouse in dance music.” Notable signings include Imanbek in 2021, shortly after the 20-year-old Kazakh producer won a Grammy for best remixed recording.
Founding partners/agents, TBA Agency
Despite challenges brought on by the pandemic, TBA booked over 200 artists in countries across the globe in the last two years. The new agency expanded its artists’ reach through slots at noteworthy events across countries like Mexico, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil and Peru, including Lollapalooza Brazil, Primavera Sound Spain and Portugal. With rumors of Canada’s reopening swirling, Davidman became a guiding force in bringing a trio of Caribou shows to fruition, selling 3,500 tickets in hopes that restrictions would be lifted — and they were, marking Vancouver’s first full-capacity shows in two years. “The guidelines for shows were lifted just 48 hours before their shows were to happen,” Davidman says, “and they moved forward with the first full-capacity shows in Vancouver in almost two years.”
Co-head of music, WME
D’Souza joined WME as partner in the company’s London office after an 11-year stretch at Primary Talent. The roster includes Aitch, ArrDee, D-Block Europe, Dave, Jacob Banks and Joy Crookes. His success, he says, is due to the “trust and loyalty my artists and their managers put in me.”
Partners, Paradigm Agency
“After the most turbulent two years imaginable,” Paradigm has its “biggest ever year” lined up for 2022, says Whitting, noting European tours for A-list clients including Billie Eilish, Imagine Dragons and Lewis Capaldi. “The chaos has made us take stock and really reflect,” he adds, including by “continuing to spearhead change to the industry’s approach to sustainability” as well as by becoming a more diverse and inclusive company “that reflects that wonderful mix of people that is both our roster and their fan bases.”
Agent, X-ray Touring
In the last year, the United Kingdom’s X-ray Touring formed a strategic partnership with Artist Group International in the United States, bringing the latter’s roster of artists into the fold of X-ray’s 300-plus clients. Javor also points to the organization’s recent handling of Coldplay’s world tour, for which it managed to sell “over 1 million tickets on the on-sale day in Europe alone” as a professional highlight of the last year.
Partner/agent/co-head of international, ICM Partners
Agent, ICM Partners
Without shows to book, ICM concert agents focused their efforts on helping clients make a difference through the ICM politics department. Earthgang created community gardens on Earth Day through a partnership with the Atlanta Public school system and performed a virtual show for the United Nations on World Ocean Day. In addition, the agency helped Khalid’s The Great Khalid Foundation get involved with Michelle Obama’s When We All Vote initiative and worked to connect Ne-Yo with the Omaze campaign to benefit foster youth, which raised over $150,000 for nonprofit Journey House. As ICM and its clients “were questioning our political system,” says Bernstein, “we helped our clients use their power to effect change and advocate on the issues most important to them.”
Co-heads, UTA U.K.
Jules de Lattre
Longtime independent agent Asika became the co-head of UTA’s fast-growing U.K. office in 2021 with Warnock after UTA Music acquired Asika’s U.K.-based Echo Location Talent Agency. The acquisition added international representation of Marshmello, Alesso and Wizkid to UTA’s growing client list. Describing the partnership as one built around “strength, ingenuity and true commitment,” Asika has enjoyed a number of triumphs out of the gate, including a highly successful dual headlining tour between Alesso and Sentinel built on the success of their newest track, “Only You.”
Contributors: Trevor Anderson, Rania Aniftos, Rich Appel, Megan Armstrong, Chuck Arnold, Katie Bain, Alexei Barrionuevo, Karen Bliss, Lars Brandle, Dave Brooks, Anna Chan, Ed Christman, Leila Cobo, Jonathan Cohen, Stephen Daw, Thom Duffy, Chris Eggertsen, Griselda Flores, Eric Frankenberg, Adrienne Gaffney, Josh Glicksman, Gary Graff, Paul Grein, Gil Kaufman, Steve Knopper, Katy Kroll, Carl Lamarre, Robert Levine, Jason Lipshutz, Heran Mamo, Gail Mitchell, Taylor Mims, Melinda Newman, Glenn Peoples, Bryan Reesman, Neena Rouhani, Jessica Roiz, Dan Rys, Richard Smirke, Jewel Wicker
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