Billboard’s 2023 International Power Players Revealed
As the global recorded-music business sees its eighth year of consecutive growth, the industry's top executives driving success outside the U.S. are leading the way.
In London in late March, at the unveiling of its annual report, IFPI offered a world of good news.
“Hot off the press,” said IFPI CEO Frances Moore, while holding up the trade group’s Global Music Report at a March 21 press conference. “We’re announcing that global recorded-music industry revenue grew by 9% in 2022, up to $26.2 billion. The growth came on top of the 18.5% increase last year, so it’s growth on top of growth” — driven by streaming, which now accounts for 67% of the overall music market.
While acknowledging that the higher 18.5% increase in 2021 reflected increased music consumption during the second year of the pandemic, Moore adds, “This is the eighth year of growth. So for those of us who lived through the period when we never saw growth, this is definitely something to be excited about.”
Among those who have contributed to that growth are Billboard’s 2023 International Power Players — executives nominated by their firms and peers and chosen by our editors from selected industry sectors. All have primary responsibility for markets outside the United States, which account for the overwhelming majority of the world’s recorded-music sales.
This is the most geographically diverse group of honorees yet named to this list, reflecting the economic trends cited by IFPI, the trade organization of the global recorded-music industry.
According to IFPI, the growth in several regions of the world far surpassed the global average of 9%: Asia grew by 15.4% overall, with China growing 28.4% and seizing the No. 5 spot among the world’s top 10 music markets by revenue (displacing France, which dropped to No. 6). Every market in Latin America saw double-digit percentage growth, contributing to a regionwide rise of 25.9%, its 10th year of increases. The Middle East and North Africa had the world’s third-largest growth rate, with an increase of 23.8%. And the most dramatic rate of growth came from Sub-Saharan Africa, with a 34.7% increase in revenue in 2022, led by South Africa, the region’s largest market.
Behind the numbers, of course, is the music. The era when artists from English-speaking markets dominated the global pop charts has long passed. A 12-month recap of Billboard’s Global Excl. U.S. chart, which ranks the top hits based on streaming and/or sales activity from more than 200 territories around the world excluding the United States, as tracked by Luminate, shows hits in the past year have come from Bad Bunny, who hails from Puerto Rico but has gained Latin music fans worldwide; Argentina’s Bizarrap and Spain’s Quevedo; Britain’s Sam Smith and Germany’s Kim Petras; Nigeria’s Rema with Mexican American Selena Gomez; and Colombia’s Manuel Turizo, among others. And three of the acts on IFPI’s Global Top 10 Albums chart for 2022 — BTS, Stray Kids and BLACKPINK — are from South Korea.
Factors including music company investment and innovation have contributed to the music industry’s global growth. But the overriding importance of great songs and performers is cited by Universal Music Group chairman/CEO Lucian Grainge in his forward to IFPI’s Global Music Report: “To succeed, music’s future must be artist-centric,” he writes. Grainge calls for ongoing industry support for a “robust, growing and sustainable music ecosystem” in which “creators of all music content, whether in the form of audio or short-form video, are fairly compensated and can therefore thrive for decades to come.”
Chief content officer, BMG
As CFO, Coesfeld was key to BMG’s catalog investment strategy — the company spent more than half a billion euros ($545 million) acquiring catalogs and signing artists in 2022 — as well as its decision to upgrade its technology. “BMG is the most active music company — as opposed to an investment vehicle — buying music rights at scale,” Coesfeld says. “We have also doubled our investment in IT infrastructure, migrating systems to the cloud and using [artificial intelligence] tools to maximize income.” Coesfeld is the 33-year-old scion of BMG parent company Bertelmann’s founding family, and in January, he will succeed Hartwig Masuch as BMG’s next chief executive. BMG’s future, he says, will focus “increasingly on the value-add, on our ability via technology to optimize an artist’s work and career.”
Executive vp of market development, Universal Music Group
President/CEO of Verve Label Group; president/CEO of global classics & jazz, Universal Music Group
Granite points to the huge growth in recorded-music revenue industrywide in places like India and Africa, as well as China — which is up 28.4% year over year, pushing into the top five markets for the first time, according to IFPI — as examples of the success of UMG’s global strategy over the past few years, where it has focused on expanding services and launching new labels. Meanwhile, Stainer has continued to guide a global classics and jazz division that has set streaming records, while landing a best new artist win at this year’s Grammys for Samara Joy. That streaming success “illustrates the scale to which these artists connect with a vast and rapidly growing consumer fan base,” Stainer says. “Their appeal transcends demographic and physical boundaries.”
Vp of international marketing, Disney Music Group
Releasing soundtracks for some of “the biggest movie franchises in the world” has been a major international achievement, says Novakovic, pointing to James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water and Marvel’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. The latter scored an Academy Award nod for Rihanna and her single “Lift Me Up,” which peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Global 200 and Billboard Global Excl. U.S. charts in November. Disney also “localized” the soundtrack to the 2021 animated smash Encanto, which is now available in 25 languages worldwide.
President, Big Hit Music
HYBE’s increasingly diversified business fired on all cylinders in 2022. Shin’s top act at Big Hit Music, BTS, was No. 1 on the year-end World Albums chart with Proof, while TOMORROW X TOGETHER topped Billboard’s Artist 100 in February with its EP The Name Chapter: Temptation. Park led the development of a video game, BTS Island: In the SEOM, and launched a non-fungible token platform, Momentica. At HYBE’s ADOR imprint, Min helped the girl group NewJeans score two hits, “OMG” (No. 74) and “Ditto” (No. 82), on the Billboard Hot 100.
Executive vp of international marketing, U.S. repertoire, Sony Music Entertainment
Senior vp of digital and commercial strategy, international marketing, Sony Music Entertainment
Vp of international marketing, RCA Records
Vp of international marketing, Columbia Records
Vp of international marketing, Epic Records
Director of international marketing, Arista Records
In the past year, Sony has benefited from some of its biggest global stars, including Adele, Beyoncé and Harry Styles, each of whom required coordination and activations in cities and countries around the world. But it wasn’t just those stars propelling the label forward: SZA’s SOS made waves in Asia and Latin America, Chris Brown’s “Under the Influence” went to No. 3 on the Billboard Global 200 and Beach Weather’s “Sex Drugs Etc” exploded out of Eastern Europe to become a worldwide hit. “In the current landscape, global hits can truly break from anywhere in the world, but there is heavy competition in this attention economy,” says Thomas, who guides the efforts of international marketing executives Jansen, Novak, Ryan, Tara and Hilton. “My team prides ourselves on figuring out how to cut through and bring our artists into that local conversation by helping tell their stories in an authentic and compelling way.”
Pieter van Rijn
President of Downtown Music, Downtown Music Holdings
President of artist and label services, Downtown Music Holdings
President of FUGA, Downtown Music Holdings
Chief revenue officer, CD Baby/Downtown Music Holdings
It has been a heady year for Downtown Music. The company evolved from what was a publishing-focused business in 2019 to a robust home for artist and label services and distribution, with more than 2 million clients in over 145 countries and a catalog of more than 38 million music assets across recorded music and publishing. “The formation of Downtown Music in 2022 was the next natural step in creating a clear offering that empowered our clients,” van Rijn says, “and allowed the businesses in our professional music services divisions to share best practices and fully unlock the potential of the catalog.”
President/chief marketing officer of recorded music, Warner Music Group
President of international, Warner Music Group
Executive vp of global marketing, Warner Music Group
Warner had a major international breakout with British singer PinkPantheress, whose song “Boy’s a Liar, Pt. 2” ricocheted around the world to become her first top 10 on the Hot 100, while peaking at No. 3 on the Billboard Global 200 and No. 6 on the Billboard Global Excl. U.S. charts. “The incredibly talented artist and her devoted fans were the driving force behind both tracks’ [“Boy’s a Liar” and “Boy’s a Liar, Pt. 2”] initial social buzz, and our teams around the world put resources and thoughtful investment behind those organic sparks to sustain the momentum,” Wong says. “We fueled the original’s TikTok trend at first in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the U.K., followed by markets we saw bubbling, like the Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia — and the second version in places as far as Saudi Arabia and the [United Arab Emirates].”
Chairman/CEO, Universal Music Central Europe/Deutsche Grammophon
CEO, Universal Music France/Universal Music Africa
Managing director, Universal Music Africa
In Germany, the world’s fourth-largest market as ranked by revenue by IFPI, albums by four Universal Music Group acts — Rammstein, Helene Fischer, ABBA and Taylor Swift — were among the year’s top sellers. The company also boasted the three top-selling singles of the year, led by DJ Robin and Schürze’s “Layla” and followed by “Heat Waves” from Glass Animals and “Beautiful Girl” from Luciano, according to GFK, the German chart provider. Briegmann is responsible for UMG’s operations in Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg), Scandinavia, Greece, Eastern Europe and the Western Balkans, as well as the classical label Deutsche Grammophon, which launched a subscription streaming service, Stage+, in November, months ahead of Apple Music Classical. Under Nusse, UMG France has become a market leader with stars including Angèle, Niska, Nekfeu, Vitaa & Slimane, Maes, Damso and Dadju, while also achieving success for global UMG stars like Swift and The Weeknd. UMG claimed three of the market’s top five singles of 2022 with Rema’s “Calm Down,” Soolking’s “Suavemente” and Timal’s “Filtré.” Kacou — who previously was signed to Polydor/Universal Music France as the rap artist Black Kent and who earned two master’s degrees in international finance — guides Universal Music Africa. In June, he announced the launch of Virgin Music Africa, which now has partnerships with 60 labels and 120 artists from over 30 countries on the continent.
GM, Gallo Music
One of Africa’s oldest record companies, Gallo has made efforts to modernize its business over the past year. This included a project to digitize the label’s archive of out-of-print recordings “to further increase our local market share,” says Cowling, adding that the company’s catalog now sits “at well over a billion annual streams.” Gallo further acquired a majority stake in African digital and mobile ringtones distributor Content Connect Africa and expanded its services offering, while Cowling promises other “exciting new ventures” that have yet to be announced.
Co-presidents, Warner Music Central Europe
President, Warner Music France
President of records and publishing, Warner Music Benelux
President, Warner Music Nordics
President of emerging markets, recorded music, Warner Music Group
Managing director, Warner Music South Africa; senior vp of strategy and special projects, Sub-Saharan Africa, Warner Music Group
For Drebes and Schimk, the year began with a flurry of hits: Ayliva’s “Sie weiß,” Peter Fox’s “Zukunft Punk” and David Guetta and Bebe Rexha’s “I’m Good” at Nos. 1, 2 and 3, respectively, on Germany’s singles chart, while Daniela Alfinito’s Frei und Grenzenlos and Iggy Pop’s Every Loser took the top two spots on Germany’s albums chart. The two co-presidents expanded Warner Music Central Europe’s partnership with the Frankfurt-based dance specialist artist agency Stefan Dabruck Management to bring European dance music to a wider global audience. In France, Veille’s team welcomed the return of French superstar Aya Nakamura, who charted her first No. 1 album with DNK, while five album tracks entered the top 20 of the French singles chart. Perez-Soto guided WMG’s acquisition of a majority stake in Divo, a leading digital media and music company in India, with a presence across all four South Indian-language music markets, boosting the reach of Warner Music India. Veteran Sony Music executive Walboomers in November moved to his new WMG role overseeing both recorded music and publishing in the Benelux territories. In the Nordic region, Fry’s team celebrated the success of Finland’s Käärijä and Denmark’s Reiley, who will represent their respective countries at the Eurovision Song Contest in May in Liverpool, England. Adeniji played a key role in bringing to Warner Music the legendary South African artist Big Zulu, who is due to collaborate with singer-rapper Sjava on an album set for release later this year.
CEO, Warner Music U.K.
Senior vp of international marketing, Warner Music U.K.
For Harlow, who oversees front-line U.K. labels Atlantic, Parlophone, Rhino, EastWest, Dark Recordings and Warner Records, as well as Alternative Distribution Alliance U.K., a highlight of the past 18 months was “getting back in person with our artists and colleagues to collaborate and create after a very long time being remote.” Aroldoss leads international marketing strategies for the company’s roster, including Coldplay, Dua Lipa, Ed Sheeran, Muse, Pa Salieu, Royal Blood, Fred again.. and breakthrough British singer PinkPantheress. Her collaboration with Ice Spice, “Boy’s a Liar, Pt. 2,” hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Streaming Songs chart in March and peaked at No. 3 on the 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. landed the top-selling single and album in the United Kingdom last year with Harry Styles’ all-conquering “As It Was” and third studio set Harry’s House. Also in 2022, the company scored chart-topping albums by George Ezra, Steps, Kasabian, Beyoncé and a 14th No. 1 by Robbie Williams — the most for a solo artist in the United Kingdom. Cat Burns, Mimi Webb and Venbee were among Sony’s recent breakthroughs. In October, Iley launched an initiative that provides employees with funding toward childcare costs for preschool children — one of a number of recent measures to improve diversity and inclusion. Tuer oversees the company’s commercial group, which helped Wham’s “Last Christmas” hit No. 1 for a second time in the United Kingdom (38 years after its original release) and cross 1 billion streams on Spotify.
Chairman/CEO, Universal Music U.K.
Under Joseph, the Universal labels claimed 12 of the 20 artists in the United Kingdom last year, based on total consumption — a list that includes The Weeknd, Queen, Elton John, Drake, Eminem, Dave, Sam Fender, Billie Eilish and Taylor Swift, whose Midnights was 2022’s fastest-selling album, scoring 204,000 first-week chart sales, according to the Official Charts Company. The start of this year has seen No. 1 albums by Lana Del Rey, The Lathums, Shania Twain, Sam Smith and U2. “I couldn’t be prouder of our artists and teams,” says Joseph, whose responsibilities include the Capitol, Decca, Island, Polydor, Fiction, EMI and 0207 Def Jam labels, as well as the renowned Abbey Road Studios. He’s confident of more success to follow “with several of our emerging artists poised to step up to the next level, not just in the U.K. but on the international stage.”
Executive vp of repertoire and marketing, continental Europe, BMG
Over the past year, BMG notched its biggest European label acquisition to date with the addition of the German independent label Telamo and completed its biggest rights acquisition deal in France with the addition of Jean-Michel Jarre’s publishing rights, says Kolb, executive vp of repertoire and marketing for continental Europe. “And 2023 has started very well indeed,” Kolb adds, whether it’s working with icon Tina Turner to further develop her legacy or developing newer German artists like Trettmann and Cro. “I am in a uniquely privileged position to be running Europe for the only global music company based in Europe.”
President of continental Europe and Africa, Sony Music Entertainment
CEO of Germany, Switzerland and Austria, Sony Music Entertainment
Vp of marketing, continental Europe and Africa, Sony Music Entertainment
Managing director of France, Sony Music Entertainment
Managing director of South Africa, Sony Music Entertainment
“We know how to break new local artists in a very crowded market that sees thousands of new tracks every day,” says Robert, who leads Sony Music Entertainment France — but offers views that echo the achievements of her Sony colleagues. “We have strived to be as creative as possible, developing new ideas to bring music to more people across the country and beyond. We strongly believe in forging partnerships with other verticals to develop artists and have opened up new opportunities in areas including gaming, pictures, podcasts and more.” Under Lieberberg’s leadership in continental Europe and Africa, Sony has achieved breakthroughs with artists like Oxlade, Måneskin, Purple Disco Machine and Lost Frequencies, while strengthening the local repertoire base in markets — and taking steps to advance social justice in the music industry and beyond. In Germany, Switzerland and Austria, Mushatsi-Kareba has deepened Sony’s relationship with its artists by building value-added services, including premium content and podcasting production, brand-deal business development, creator partnerships and merchandising services. Bensoussan oversees innovative global marketing campaigns for artists signed in continental Europe and Africa, like Nigeria’s Oxlade, whose performance for Germany’s tastemaker COLORS channel resulted in a TikTok trend that generated 300 million streams worldwide, according to Sony. Under Watson in South Africa, Sony has entered into agreements with three labels — New Money Gang, Piano Hub and Black Is Brown Entertainment — each leading the development of the hot dance-driven amapiano genre.
President, Warner Music Latin America
President, Warner Music Brazil
Guillermo González Arévalo
President, Warner Music Iberia
Managing director, Warner Music Mexico
Warner’s Latin Iberian team had a wildly creative year. Duque’s Warner Music Latina teamed up with Warner Music Entertainment and Warner Chappell Music to produce the Amazon Prime Video series Melody, starring Warner Music Latina artists Yas Gagliardi and Sarah Lenore. González Arévalo announced a partnership with Yamaha in Spain, where the company will invest in high-end instruments for WMG Spain’s in-house recording studios, The Music Station. Warner Spain also hosted She Sounds, a three-day songwriting camp, conference and showcase for women. And in Mexico, Rodríguez signed up-and-comers Bellakath and Yng Lvcas, who entered the Hot 100 in April with the Peso Pluma collaboraton “La Bebe.”
Chairman/CEO, Universal Music Latin America/Iberian Peninsula
President, Universal Music Brazil
Managing director, Universal Music Mexico
Narcis Rebollo Melcio
President, Universal Music Iberian Peninsula
President, Virgin Music Latin America & Iberian Peninsula
“Universal Music Group has always been on the leading edge of developing world-class talent and has a knack for setting trends industrywide,” says López. The company began the year with a bang, when star Karol G became the first woman to place an all-Spanish-language album (Mañana Será Bonito) at No. 1 on the Billboard 200; it is only the third time an all-Spanish album has topped the chart. Feid’s recent meteoric rise to stardom included his first U.S. tour selling out in 2022, which he’s following up with an additional 30-plus-date run this year, while growing his Spotify followers from 470,000 to 4 million in a year. Colombian Sebastián Yatra also had a standout year, performing the Oscar-nominated “Dos Oruguitas” from Disney’s Encanto at the 2022 ceremony following his successful Dharma release and his “Tacones Rojos” remix alongside John Legend.
Chairman/CEO, Sony Music Latin-Iberia
COO/executive vp, Sony Music Latin-Iberia
President, Sony Music SUR (Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay)
José Maria Barbat
President, Sony Music Iberia
President, Sony Music Brazil
President, Sony Music Mexico
Executive vp of strategic partnerships, Sony Music Latin-Iberia
Sony’s recent successes make a case for having and developing artists who cross borders. While newcomer Camilo cemented his success with a historic performance at Puerta de Alcalá in Madrid in front of 80,000 people last fall, veteran Shakira returned with hits like her “BZRP Music Sessions, Vol. 53” with Bizarrap, which hit No. 2 on the Billboard Global 200. Then, of course, there’s Bizarrap himself, another global-charting phenom signed to indie label Dale Play, which has a partnership with Sony. Elsewhere, Maluma kept churning out hits and performed for 50,000 in his native Medellín, Colombia, and star couple Rauw Alejandro and Rosalía are jointly topping charts with their collaborative EP, RR.
CEO, Greater China, Sony Music Entertainment
Chair/CEO, Sony Music Entertainment Australia and New Zealand
Managing director, Sony Music Entertainment New Zealand
Managing director of Korea, Sony Music Entertainment
President of corporate strategy and market development for Asia and the Middle East, Sony Music Entertainment
In May, Chan launched the first Asia division of RCA Records. Under his leadership, Sony Music Entertainment Greater China has signed artists like AnQi, Nene Zheng Naixin and Ozone and partnered with Taiwanese Mandopop singer Jay Chou, who ranks at No. 1 on IFPI’s Global Albums Sales chart for 2022. Picken became the first female CEO of any large recording company in Australia’s history with her new role as chair/CEO of Sony Music Entertainment Australia and New Zealand. She previously was managing director of [PIAS], where she helped develop artists including triple BRIT Award winner Arlo Parks. In New Zealand, Boshier formed a joint venture with the band Six60 to launch Massive Records, and the label’s first signing, Coterie, was nominated as breakthrough artist of the year at the country’s Aotearoa Music Awards. In Korea, Ju and his team signed rapper I.M, a member of the globally successful MONSTA X, marking Sony as the first major label in Korea to sign a 360 deal with an established K-pop star, according to the company. With responsibility for two of the world’s fastest-growing music regions, Asia and the Middle East, Subramaniam in the past year opened Sony’s first Southeast Asia headquarters in Singapore and guided strategic investments, partnerships and the launch of multiple labels in the region.
CEO, Kakao Entertainment America; executive vp/global strategy officer, Kakao Entertainment; chief business officer, SM Entertainment
As South Korean music companies burst beyond their borders, Chang oversees the global expansion strategy and business of Kakao Entertainment and an artist roster that includes IVE, The Boyz and MONSTA X, whose track “Deny” reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Trending Songs chart in January. The momentum is building in 2023. In March, Kakao increased to 40% its previous stake in competing K-pop stalwart SM Entertainment, Chang was named to its board of directors, and Kakao forged a partnership with Columbia Records to help promote and distribute its releases in North America.
Co-presidents, Warner Music Asia
President, Warner Music Australasia
Serbin and Gobalakrishna oversee Warner Music Group operations for 11 markets, and it was a record financial year in 2022 for WMG by many metrics — revenue, artists signed and number of releases, according to the company. Working with Warner’s international roster, launching new artist-development programs — and co-producing successful concerts throughout the region — the two co-presidents report building momentum despite the lingering effects of the pandemic. Rosen has been president of Warner Music Australasia since 2021; achievements include ARIA Award wins for Australian acts Budjerah, LUUDE and Rüfüs Du Sol, plus the latter’s Grammy win for best dance/electronic recording for “Alive.” Among his other initiatives in the past year was the acquisition in July of indie label Purple Phase, home to producer, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Stevan, and the hiring in September of Alex Young as Warner’s new head of domestic marketing.
Managing director, Concord Music Publishing Australia and New Zealand
Label manager of Australia, Concord Label Group
In August 2022, Concord acquired music publishing company Native Tongue and expanded to Australia and New Zealand with the launch of Concord Music Publishing ANZ. “We have integrated with Concord systems and are housing Concord’s Australian label operations,” Gough says. He adds that their recent publishing signings include Australian singer-songwriter Meg Mac; Australian EDM producer LUUDE, who won the 2022 ARIA Award for best dance/electronic release with “Down Under”; Australian electronic duo Vallis Alps; and Australia-New Zealand five-piece band Coterie.
CEO, Mushroom Group
Founded by its late chairman, Michael Gudinski, the Australian independent music company Mushroom Group celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Now led by Michael’s son, Matt Gudinski, the company includes the concerts division Frontier Touring. Among recent highlights are “the strong return of live music and our record-breaking Ed Sheeran Mathematics Tour, which delivered the biggest ticketed show in Australian history at the [Melbourne Cricket Ground], with close to 110,000 in attendance,” says Gudinski, “as well as relaunching the recorded-music division of Mushroom globally in partnership with Universal/Virgin.”
President of Australia and New Zealand, BMG
Johns was BMG’s first employee when it launched in Australia in 2016. Last year, his team notched notable honors when Masked Wolf’s “Astronaut in the Ocean,” co-written by BMG client Tyron Hapi, amassed over 1 billion streams, becoming one of TikTok’s most popular songs worldwide. It also achieved success with Daniel Johns’ FutureNever, ARIA’s most popular Australian album release of 2022. “As a company, we’ve proved ourselves as a formidable creative force in the market, but delivering on our industry-first Indigenous scholarship initiative and becoming the first music company ever to appear on the Australian Financial Review’s Best Places to Work list shows that this is a team business,” Johns says.
Japanese label Avex debuted the seven-member girl group XG in 2022, after five years of development. “We are gradually realizing indications of their entry into the U.S. and global markets through their achievements,” Kuroiwa says, noting that the group appeared as the lead cover photo of Spotify’s Pop Rising playlist and was the first female Japanese act to rank on the Mediabase Top 40 Radio Airplay chart with “Left Right.” The company’s Avex USA offshoot also has publishing contracts in the works with talents such as writer Jasper Harris, a co-producer of Jack Harlow’s “First Class.”
Executive chairman, Tencent Music Entertainment Group
CEO, Tencent Music Entertainment Group
Although Tencent Music Entertainment Group’s 2022 revenue fell 9.3% to $4.1 billion due to a sagging social business, its surging subscription business finished the year with 88.5 million customers (up 16%) and revenue of $1.3 billion (up 19%). On the financial front, the company completed a secondary listing on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong; the share price jumped 21% in 2022 while most music stocks sank. On the busy product front, Tencent launched Dolby Surround Sound; introduced Shengbo, an audio-creation tool for podcasters; and attracted 7 million viewers to a virtual avatar rap concert sponsored by Adidas Originals. (Tencent is a partner in Billboard China.)
CEO of Southeast Asia/senior vp of Asia, Universal Music Group
President/CEO, Universal Music Japan
Chairman/CEO of India and South Asia/senior vp of strategy for Africa, Middle East and Asia, Universal Music Group
President, Universal Music Australia & New Zealand
New partnerships and ventures are driving growth for UMG in Southeast Asia under Wong’s leadership. In July, Universal Music Vietnam and the multichannel network and media company METUB announced the launch of the monoX label, with singer-songwriter-influencer Wren Evans named as the venture’s first signing. Universal Music Japan, led by Fujikura, saw King & Prince’s “Life Goes On” sell over 1 million physical units to top Japan’s Billboard Hot 100 in its first week in March. The million-unit threshold for first-week CD sales hadn’t been surpassed since March 2020. Universal Music Japan also joined with Capitol Music Group to sign popular boy band Travis Japan, from the talent management agency Johnny & Associates. Sanyal, in an expanded role that includes overseeing UMG’s strategy for Africa, the Middle East and Asia, continues as chairman/CEO of India and South Asia. In February 2022, he oversaw the launch of Def Jam India and, in April 2022, Universal Music India released the first global single from Indian superstar Badshah, a collaboration with J Balvin that helped him reach audiences in 173 countries. In December, Warner was named president of Universal Music Australia & New Zealand, succeeding George Ash, who had previously announced his retirement. Warner brings a 15-year history with UMG in the region to his new role, including launching Bravado’s merchandise and licensing operations in Australia and New Zealand, and developing Universal Music Australia’s e-commerce business.
Director of Europe, the Middle East and Africa, YouTube Music
Director of Latin America Partnerships, YouTube Music
Managing director of Asia-Pacific, YouTube Music
At a time when short-form video platforms are increasingly important for driving listener streaming and fan engagement, Chalmers is “particularly excited” about the rapid growth of YouTube Shorts, which launched globally in summer 2021. Clips on the platform are earning over 50 billion daily views, as of December 2022, and reaching 1.5 billion logged-in users a month, according to Chalmers. In addition, he notes that YouTube “partner[ed] with some of the world’s biggest artists and events across the music calendar globally” in 2022, from BLACKPINK to the BRIT Awards to Taylor Swift.
Director of content and strategy, Boomplay
Since its 2015 launch in Nigeria, Boomplay has been expanding its reach across Africa. In the past year, new subscription and data bundles with major telcos have made streaming more affordable and convenient for users. The Boomplay app has introduced African artists and music globally through virtual concerts and platforms such as Triller and TikTok. In addition to being the first Africa-based digital service provider to have its streams data count toward the Billboard charts, it has launched the Top Africa Charts Show on France-based Generations Radio to spotlight African artists and music.
Head of international, music, Spotify
GM, Latin America, Spotify
Global head of editorial, music, Spotify
“No matter where you live,” Crolot says, “you can reach a global audience through our platform.” Spotify recently revealed that over 55,000 artists on the platform generated more than $10,000 in 2022, and close to 20,000 of those acts live in countries outside IFPI’s top 10 music markets. Crolot points to initiatives such as RADAR, a program focused on identifying and elevating emerging artists, and Spotify Clips, which allows acts to post short videos on their profiles. “All of those tools and programs can create magic,” he says. “Somewhere, a fan will discover for the very first time an artist who will become a favorite, and a lasting connection will be created, no matter the geographical and linguistic barriers.”
Director, Amazon Music, international
Director, Amazon Music, Europe, Australia & New Zealand
Director, Amazon Music, Latin America
In recent years, Amazon Music has enjoyed “unprecedented growth” in international markets. Firth oversaw the company’s expansion into Brazil (2019), Chile and Colombia (2021), and then Argentina last year, while Pedersen “led all local teams in preparation for a successful launch.” Meanwhile in Europe, Gerngross’ work on “customer acquisition and engagement” helped push Amazon Music past the 55 million global customer threshold in 2020. In addition, Gerngross has overseen award-winning campaigns for Ed Sheeran and global livestream events with Coldplay and Stormzy.
“As a pioneering company, we’ve taken the lead on key industry initiatives,” says Folgueira, referencing the recent news that Deezer is working with Universal Music Group to explore new data-driven models for streaming royalties that would better compensate artists and writers. The French company also became the first streamer to raise prices. Deezer will also power Sonos Radio under a new partnership with the company finalized this year and will be available on RTL Deutschland’s app RTL+Musik. Deezer also went public on Paris Euronext in July.
Deputy CEO, Qobuz
Over the past three years, Qobuz has significantly accelerated its international expansion under Fornay’s leadership. “We more than doubled the number of countries where we operate,” he says. In addition to Central Europe and the United States, Qobuz’s platform is now available in Northern Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Latin America. “In 2023, music lovers and audiophiles in Canada and Japan will soon be able to enjoy our high-quality music plans, available for both streaming and download, continuing to focus on sound quality, editorial richness and cutting-edge recommendations,” he adds.
Co-founder/chairman/chief technology officer, Anghami
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates-based Anghami — the first Arab world tech firm to list on the NASDAQ — is the biggest legal audio streaming platform in the Middle East, an investment priority for the global music industry. Despite a round of layoffs in 2022, the company continued its transformation from streaming platform to a music and entertainment ecosystem player. It launched label Vibe Music Arabia, acquired events promoter Spotlight and launched the first music venue of Anghami Lab, a joint venture with UAE hospitality group Addmind. “Anghami continues to break barriers and solidify its presence in the industry,” says Maroun.
Senior vp of marketing and brand strategy, Audiomack
Audiomack’s Johnson and team are committed to “providing a platform where African creators can authentically tell their stories and monetize directly off their creations.” Since Audiomack launched Audiomack Africa in 2018, it has been at the forefront of introducing the next generation of African artists to the world. Through their #UpNow and #KeepTheBeatGoing campaigns, the company has provided a global reach to established and up-and-coming African artists such as Ayra Starr, Black Sherif, Adekunle Gold and Joeboy.
Senior director of international content, Apple
Global head of Latin music business, Apple Music
Apple Music’s global reach is impressive, and Walsh and Paz, in their respective roles, are recognized for their contribution to the streaming service’s international impact. Worldwide, Apple recently reached a new milestone, with over 2 billion active devices in its installed user base, while its services business — which includes Apple Music and the company’s other digital content: books, video, games and podcasts — set a new revenue record of $20.8 billion, according to the company’s results for the first fiscal quarter of 2023. Walsh is a nearly 16-year veteran of Apple. (She began with iTunes in Canada in 2007.) Miami-based Paz joined Apple Music in June 2022. In his newly created role, Paz oversees Apple Music’s global Latin business and the Latin music business partnerships teams, working with established and rising artists, majors, indies, media partners, creative agencies and other industry players.
Senior vp of business and legal affairs, music, SoundCloud
Vp of music intelligence, SoundCloud
In July, SoundCloud signed a crucial deal with Warner Music Group for its Fan-Powered Royalties initiative, which pays artists based on the number of individual users streaming their music as opposed to their market share of total streams. “As a deal without a road map, we found many creative legal solutions that will generate a ton of new learnings and insights to help inform the future of streaming music,” says Walton, who calls the initiative part of the platform’s “commitment to fairness and transparency for artists.”
Co-presidents, EMI Records
Allen and Charrington successfully integrated Capitol Records — a front-line Universal Music Group label in the United Kingdom since 2013 — into the wider EMI group last year, which helped make EMI Records one of the top U.K. imprints. Their 2022 chart successes included No. 1 hits by Lewis Capaldi, Sam Smith and Taylor Swift and No. 1 albums by Bastille, Blossoms, Olly Murs, Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott and Swift, whose Midnights was the year’s third-best-selling album in the United Kingdom, according to the Official Charts Company. In January, Capaldi scored his fourth domestic No. 1 single with “Pointless.”
Executive vp of global artist/label services and sales, The Orchard
Executive vps of global artist and label partnerships, The Orchard
The Orchard, in partnership with Rimas Entertainment, “helped push Bad Bunny’s Un Verano Sin Ti to career-high chart positions in 15 global markets,” Arnold says of the superstar whom Billboard named Top Artist of 2022 in the United States, while his set, relased in May, was the Top Billboard 200 Album. The Orchard also had global success with Bizarrap, Jack White, RAYE and others. “We have amazing artist and label partners who continue to inspire us as we empower them to break into new markets … around the world,” notes Arnold, crediting the company’s clients and global teams with helping sustain The Orchard’s profile “as the worldwide leader in independent distribution.”
Bedford says Bandzoogle, which is based in Ottawa, Canada, continues to refine its “robust e-commerce tools” enabling artists to run their own businesses by easily selling music, merchandise, tickets, lessons and subscriptions. However, she believes the artists themselves deserve the credit for effectively using those tools to help power an eye-popping $100 million in sales for Bandzoogle last year. “It’s important to us that we offer those tools,” she says. “We have never taken a commission on sales — 100% of that $100 million went directly to artists. This amazing accomplishment is really their own.”
“The last 18 months has seen IDOL go from strength to strength as the company continues to pivot its focus toward international expansion,” says Bittard. The Paris-headquartered company’s growth has been led by Sylvain Morton, director of distribution, and Tarafa Sahloul, head of A&R development, in collaboration with over 60 full-time employees worldwide. Bittard adds that 2022 also brought “the continued growth of IDOL’s audience development department, to maximize marketing capabilities and better connect our repertoire with their respective fan bases.”
Co-presidents, 0207 Def Jam
Senior vp of international marketing, Def Jam Recordings
Under the leadership of twin brothers Alec and Alex Boateng, 0207 Def Jam celebrated Stormzy’s third album, This Is What I Mean (his first title for the label), reaching No. 1 on the U.K. albums chart last year. The siblings also have achieved success launching artists including Debbie, Potter Payper, Tendai and Bru-C. With responsibility for driving international success for artists signed to Def Jam in the United States, Lauro-Norris and her team have been focused on priority acts like Armani White, Coco Jones and Muni Long, as well as the return of Rihanna. “Lift Me Up,” from the soundtrack Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, charted for Apple Music in 106 markets and reached No. 3 on the U.K. singles chart.
President of Virgin label and artist services, United Kingdom, Virgin Music Group
Ingrooves managing director, Latin America, Virgin Music Group
Ingrooves managing director, Asia-Pacific, Virgin Music Group
Ingrooves managing director, Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa, Virgin Music Group
Over the last year, the Ingrooves Asia-Pacific team has “doubled in size and built local teams in key countries,” says Rabe-Cairns. It thinks globally but cultivates locally. Earlier in 2023, it partnered with Australian label Teamwrk Records (which brought home its international breakthrough artist Masked Wolf), and it secured a relationship with Filipino label Tower of Doom and its top streaming act, December Avenue. “As we begin to realign Virgin and Ingrooves under Virgin Music Group around the world,” says Rabe-Cairns, “we’re already seeing synergies emerging that will make us stronger and more powerful advocates for the labels and artists we represent around the world.”
Company directors, Transgressive
All three of Transgressive’s business sectors (label, publishing, management) grew in 2022, fueled by new records from Flume, Arlo Parks, Alvvays, Julia Jacklin, Mykki Blanco and The WAEVE, as well as top three U.K. albums from Foals and Loyle Carner. L also points to the success of its management wing, noting the buzzy Wesley Joseph signing to Secretly Canadian following a bidding war among majors and indies. “Next year marks 20 years of the company, and with new staff hires and a North American office opening on the horizon, there’s a lot to look forward to,” says L. “Given the volatility of our current times, we are grateful for where things are at, and we are committed to our ongoing quest of supporting true artists who take risks while nurturing a culture of empathy and support.”
President, Warner Music Canada
Burke, who is the only female head of a major label in Canada, has appointed a number of women to vice president roles since joining Warner Music Canada in 2021, after 20 years with Universal Music Canada. Her A&R team also has a diversity mandate “to ensure a broad spectrum of perspectives,” as evidenced by the signings of synth-pop singer Diamond Café and viral pop duo Crash Adams. She has signed distribution deals with progressive labels Chaos Club in Vancouver and Lisbon Lux in Montreal. And for the first time in the company’s history, the label’s headquarters will be moving to the heart of downtown Toronto. “The new office will include a recording studio, writers’ rooms and a performance space,” she says, adding that she wants the location to serve as “a cultural hub to Canada’s vibrant artist community.”
CEO, Remex Music
Chávez acknowledges that after 50 years as an established record label, it wasn’t easy to become a management company as well. He considers its association with Sony Music a great success, as it has helped Remex learn “many important things, especially in legal matters.” He also highlights the work of his brother Germán Chávez, his nephew Germán Chávez Jr. and his son Víctor Chávez in developing Remex as a “successful, world-renowned” regional Mexican label and management company. “We have an extensive list of artists who have placed their trust and faith in us; the most recent are Pablo Montero and La Casetera,” Chávez says, “while Edwin Luna, Leandro Ríos, La Leyenda and Kikin y los Astros are just some of the talents that have made us grow as a company.”
Label manager of Canada, Concord Label Group
In Canada, Concord Label Group’s artists scored numerous victories in 2022, including Allison Russell’s debut album, Outside Child, winning the Juno Award for contemporary roots album of the year. Marketing activations for Denzel Curry’s Melt My Eyez See Your Future — which included the rapper taking over Toronto for a week “with a sold-out show and a vinyl release party with a performance, signing and custom Denzel burgers for all attendees,” says Columbus — boosted the album to No. 1 on Luminate’s Canada Rap Albums and Vinyl Albums charts, “which were Denzel’s highest chart numbers in Canada to date.”
Senior director of global marketing, Warner Recorded Music
For Drummey, the highlight of the last 18 months has been introducing Atlantic Records artist GAYLE and her massive hit, “abcdefu,” around the world. In that time, the song went from a viral hit to logging over 3.9 billion global streams. “The track received recognition around the world, picking up nominations at the BRITs, MTV [European Music Awards], NRJ Music Awards, Los 40 Music Awards and Danish Music Awards,” says Drummey, as well as a Grammy nod for song of the year. Next up for GAYLE is opening for P!nk in arenas across Europe this summer.
At Platoon, the artist services company he founded in 2016 and sold to Apple in 2018, Feigelson is looking to help African talent break internationally. The company scored 20 nominations and seven wins at the South African Grammys in February. To challenge the music business inequity that “out of the industry’s music engineers, only 2% are women,” he is working with a training and mentoring program at Platoon’s studios in London and Los Angeles. The company is also offering healthcare to Platoon artists, starting in South Africa and Nigeria before a larger rollout.
The 40th anniversary of [PIAS] found the music distribution giant as strong as ever. Co-founders Gates and Lambot were honored with the 2022 Indie Champion award from the Association of Independent Music for leading [PIAS’] perpetual growth within its label group, including Arlo Parks registering over 500,000 equivalent album sales. The [PIAS] distribution services division, Integral, additionally celebrated multiple No. 1 albums from Wet Leg, Fontaines D.C. and others across the United Kingdom, France and Australia. [PIAS] has also acquired the Spinefarm Label Group.
Executive vp/head of international, Interscope Geffen A&M
Breaking new artists is “always incredibly gratifying,” says Grebner, noting recent signees Reneé Rapp and d4vd. Of singer-songwriter-actress Rapp, Grebner recalls, “It was inspiring watching her perform her first show for 3,000-plus fans in London after selling out the gig in five minutes” earlier this year. Signed in partnership with label/management firm The Darkroom, d4vd has over 1.6 billion streams globally, according to Grebner, with “culture-moving music” that blends alternative, rock and pop. With his first global tour in the books, “d4vd is poised to be one of the biggest developing artist stories this year,” adds Grebner.
Executive vp of global marketing strategy, Republic Records
Thanks to No. 1 albums from Taylor Swift (Red [Taylor’s Version], Midnights), Drake (Honestly, Nevermind) and Stray Kids (Oddinary, Maxident), Republic clinched the crown for three year-end rankings — Top Labels, Billboard 200 Labels and Billboard Hot 100 Labels — for the second year in a row. Gryn, who was promoted to her current post last October, says, “What I have come to learn, and what I am most proud of, is how diligent, adaptable and truly astounding our international marketing team is.”
Co-owner/managing director, Redeye Worldwide International/Border Music
The music services company Redeye Worldwide was busy the last 12 months developing and integrating its global distribution and reporting systems with Border Music’s, which it acquired in 2019. “We have aligned our staff to create a highly efficient and powerful global solution for distribution, which focuses on transparency, logistics, [business-to-business] services and strong sales and marketing,” Hansen says. In addition, Redeye has created a “unique physical and digital sales, marketing and logistics strategy” for its growing indie label and artist roster, alongside Border.
Vp of distribution, Utopia Music
Utopia Music acquired Proper Music Group in January 2022, shifting Hill into the vp of distribution role for Utopia the following month, while also remaining managing director of Proper. Following the merger, business predictably boomed. “Our biggest achievement over the last 12 months has to be stepping in to secure the U.K.’s physical music supply chain after Cinram Novum fell into administration,” Hill says. Utopia’s acquisition of Cinram — responsible for about a 70% share of the United Kingdom’s physical music market as a distributor for [PIAS], Sony and Universal Music Group — integrated it into Utopia Distribution Services.
Vp of international marketing and operations, EMPIRE
Ezegozie Eze Jr.
Vp of market and strategy development of Africa and diaspora, EMPIRE
Regional head of West Africa, EMPIRE
EMPIRE continued to bolster its international reach by adding territory managers in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, South Africa, Ghana and Brazil. Managers within these markets have “played a crucial role in implementing our ambitious international growth strategy, offering our artist and label partners a comprehensive global solution to enhance their worldwide releases,” says Jules. EMPIRE also remains a crucial player in the African music sector with the success of Black Sherif, Fireboy DML, Asake, BNXN and Kizz Daniel.
President, Create Music Group India
After huge growth in its YouTube monetization, distribution and rights management divisions, India’s Create Music Group is now also flourishing with its music publishing business. Kaushish — who was president of India’s Nirvana Digital when Create Music Group acquired it in 2020 — says the company served over 100 billion streams last year on tracks such as “Unforgettable” by French Montana featuring Swae Lee and “Love Is Gone” by SLANDER featuring Dylan Matthew, and that total international streams doubled across its distribution clients on digital service providers such as Spotify. “We look forward to releasing some iconic cross-border music collaborations between our U.S. and South Asian artists in 2023,” he says.
Managing director, Americas, Believe
Believe surpassed 1.1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) in digital music sales in 2022, growing digital revenue by 34.7%. The company that houses TuneCore (which reached a milestone $3 billion earned by users since its 2006 launch), Nuclear Blast, Naïve and other label and distribution services confirmed its position as France’s No. 2 player in the Top 200 streaming albums chart for new releases for local repertoire, by way of artists including JUL and burgeoning act Nej. “Year after year, our mission remains unchanged: be the best music company at successfully developing artists and labels at each stage of their career in the digital world,” says Ladegaillerie, “with expertise, respect, fairness and transparency.”
Senior vp of global marketing, Warner Music Group
This year, says Larsen, WMG achieved “some amazing moments internationally across our roster, with Zach Bryan, Nessa Barrett, NLE Choppa and Omar Apollo all having gold and platinum records. But the breakout of the year for us was Benson Boone. He’s a young artist of extraordinary talent, developing quickly and often on the road.” The American singer-songwriter made touring and promotional stops “all across Europe, Asia and Australia,” says Larsen. “He hit his first career billion streams in the first year of him releasing music, with 80% of that coming from international markets.”
Founder/CEO, Dale Play Records
Lauría’s Dale Play Records is the home of Bizarrap. The Argentine producer’s hit “BZRP Music Sessions, Vol. 53” with Shakira went to No. 1 on Hot Latin Songs and Latin Airplay and No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100. Duki, whom Lauría first signed to Dale Play Records after launching his label in 2018, is also finally seeing the fruits of his labor. Over the past year, the Argentine rapper became a global touring powerhouse after playing two sold-out shows at the WiZink Center in Madrid and recently announced his first U.S. tour, set to kick off May 17 in New York.
Sung Su Lee
Chief A&R officer, SM Entertainment
Young Jun Tak
COO, SM Entertainment
In 2022, former co-CEOs Lee and Tak guided SM Entertainment to sales of $440.6 million, up 23%, highlighted by aespa’s Coachella debut and two appearances at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 — aespa’s Girls: The 2nd Mini Album (EP) and NCT 127’s 2 Baddies (with a repackaged version of the album, with bonus tracks, released under the title Ay-Yo, fueling global sales of 3.2 million units). In March, SM named a new CEO, Jang Cheol-hyuk, and appointed a slate of new board members to revamp its corporate governance following its break with SM’s founder, Lee Soo-man, in December and HYBE’s attempted takeover in February.
With 15 offices in 11 countries — including Colombia and Argentina — Altafonte continues to expand, most recently as part of a partnership with Berklee Valencia in Spain (sister campus of the Boston-based Berklee College of Music). The Madrid-based independent music company and the music school announced the launch of The Radiography of an Artist, which offers master’s students in the global entertainment and music business program who attend the data analytics class an opportunity to create strategies for Altafonte’s artists.
Managing director, U.K./head of international, MNRK
Since the sale of eOne Music in June 2012 and its rebranding as MNRK three months later, May’s international team “delivered more than 500 million streams for acts signed outside of the United States and over 100 plays at BBC’s important Radio 1 for U.S.-signed acts.” Among the team’s successes is Sam Wills, whose debut album, May says, “hit an incredible 300 million global streams this year with viral chart hits in China and across Southeast Asia.” Also, he notes that the Gee Lee remix of the catalog hit “Fake ID” is now outperforming Riton & Kah-Lo’s original at 150,000 streams per day and is on course to be a viral hit this year.
President, Polydor Records U.K.
After spending six years as joint leader of Polydor in the United Kingdom alongside Tom March, Mortimer was promoted to sole president of the label in the summer after March left to run Geffen Records in the United States. Crowning Polydor’s achievements over the past 12 months is the success of British group Glass Animals topping Billboard’s 2022 year-end Hot 100 Songs chart with “Heat Waves,” which spent five weeks at No. 1 and a record 91 weeks on the Hot 100 overall, becoming the longest-charting hit in the list’s 64-year history. In March, Lana Del Rey scored the fastest-selling album of 2023 so far in the United Kingdom, according to the Official Charts Company, with her sixth No. 1, Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd.
Founder/CEO, YBNL Nation
Though Olamide is still enjoying his run as a preeminent Afrobeats artist, his role as a burgeoning executive is starting to take precedence. Since the 2012 inception of his YBNL Nation label, Olamide has given his team of executives and artists, most notably Fireboy DML and Asake, the knowledge to win. “We’ve celebrated a decade milestone as a label, and it’s only the beginning, with the recent massive global success of Fireboy DML’s smash ‘Peru’ with Ed Sheeran,” says Olamide. “His success and the rising stardom of Asake has been gratifying to watch.”
Rising pop artist JVKE’s career streams went from “under 300,000 per day to over 6 million per day,” resulting in 2.5 billion career streams “and his first top 10 Hot 100 hit, ‘Golden Hour,’ ” says Olinick, citing one of the recent successes for AWAL, the former independent distribution and label division of Kobalt Music Group that Sony Music completed acquiring in 2022. In addition, Lizzy McAlpine sold out tours in North America and Europe and scored her first No. 1 hit on Alternative Streaming Songs with “Ceilings,” which also charted in 11 countries overall, says Olinick. He adds that Little Simz, Genesis Owusu, The Wombats and Spacey Jane are matching that momentum.
Among the latest achievements of Colombia’s long-standing independent label Codiscos is the success of salsa artist Fresto Music, whose hit “Me Hace Daño Verte” reached No. 1 on Shazam in Colombia and is gaining popularity worldwide. Codiscos also has a leading presence in children’s music with Mundo Canticuentos. “We currently have through our various platforms 65 million users on a monthly basis,” Ovalle says. That includes 23 million subscribers to its YouTube channels.
President, Columbia Records U.K.
After a six-year tenure at Ministry of Sound, including the last two as president of the Sony-owned label, Parmar in December was named president of Columbia Records U.K. He was promoted along with Amy Wheatley, who had been managing director of MoS and now holds that title at Columbia. Following the arrival of Parmar and Wheatley, MoS — where the two drove the success of domestic stars like Regard and Sigala — has become part of Columbia Records U.K.
Head of global expansion, ONErpm
Andrés López Quiroga
Vp of business development, Latin-Iberia, ONErpm
Marketing director, ONErpm
Over the past year, ONErpm focused all its divisions on inclusivity and expansion. ONErpm Brazil became one of the few companies in the country to speak openly about mental health, according to Amazonas, and later opened discussions on LGBTQ+, Black power and female empowerment guidelines in its communication channels. ONErpm also completed its first Africa expansion, opening offices in Ghana, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa. ONErpm’s revenue in Africa grew by more than 100% year over year, fueled by breakout artists 1da Banton, Bella Shmurda, Zlatan and Kelvyn Boy, according to the company.
CEO, Beggars Group
Beggars Group’s recent growth in Asia and Latin America has been vital to its ongoing success, says Redding. “What were once considered emerging markets are clearly key now, and our focus has been to build the best possible structure to serve our artists and labels.” Housed under the Beggars Group umbrella are the labels 4AD, Matador, Rough Trade Records, XL Recordings and Young.
Chairman/CEO, Universal Music Canada
Senior vp of marketing, Universal Music Canada
In 2022, eight of the top 10 albums in Canada were by Universal Music Group artists, with Taylor Swift at No. 1 and The Weeknd taking two spots — and both artists also broke records in radio, sales, streaming and e-commerce. “Despite that incredible success,” and other year-end chart-toppers, Remedios says he’s most proud of Universal Music Canada’s domestic roster, which includes top 10 hits and double-platinum certifications by artist-producers Banx & Ranx, their 31 East label and collaborations with Rêve and Preston Pablo. All three acts won Juno Awards this year. Ishkōdé Records, an Indigenous label founded by women (artists ShoShona Kish and Amanda Rheaume), introduced Aysanabee, who earned his first Juno nomination and wowed viewers with his live performance during the awards show. Rising country artist Josh Ross, a direct UMC signing, performed during halftime at the CFL’s Grey Cup (Canada’s Super Bowl). Remedios and Boucher also oversaw several internal promotions and “reorganized key teams,” as well as naming former Rogers Sports & Media executive Julie Adam as the company’s new executive vp/GM.
Senior vp/head of international marketing, Island Records
With borders once again open after the pandemic shutdown, Rowen says Island Records is focused on “highlighting superfans in key regions such as Southeast Asia with great success across our roster.” He points to Keshi as the ultimate example — the pop act inspired by R&B, hip-hop and rock recently wrapped a sold-out headlining tour there. Meanwhile, developing artist Stacey Ryan reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Indonesia Songs chart with “Fall in Love Alone,” which has surpassed 234 million global streams. Also thriving are Sabrina Carpenter and Lauren Spencer-Smith: The former will tour Europe this summer, and the latter is gaining ground globally since jointly signing with Island Records and Republic Records in early 2022.
Vp of A&R, Latin America, Cinq Music Group
Maintaining Cinq’s partnership with regional Mexican label Rancho Humilde, Santos has boosted the booming corridos genre. Under his leadership, rising star Victor Cibrian’s “En el Radio un Cochinero” (2022) reached nearly 159 million streams on Spotify and 151 million more on YouTube, according to the company. Santos signed Tito Torbellino Jr. and has worked on successful releases from acts such as Grupo Marca Registrada and DannyLux. On the música urbana side, he worked on recent releases from artists Natti Natasha and Ñengo Flow and the label Full Harmony. “Mexico,” says Santos, “is a vital territory for Cinq Music.”
Global head of artist & market development, ADA Worldwide
Managing director, ADA U.K.
Director, ADA France
Director, ADA Iberia
GM, ADA Australia
Alternative Distribution Alliance, the Warner Music-owned distribution and label services company, represents rising stars such as Big Freedia and Mia Gladstone. It landed numerous international hits in the past year, from U.K. rapper Central Cee’s “Doja” (No. 13 on the Billboard Global Excl. U.S. chart in August) to Spanish singer-rapper Quevedo’s “Punto G” which reached No. 33 on the Global Excl. U.S. chart. The company also signed rising French rap acts La Fève, Beendo Z and Menace Santana, while signing KAHUKX in Australia and staffing up in Canada, Ireland and Cambodia.
Wassim “SAL” Slaiby
Founder/CEO, Universal Arabic Music/SALXCO/XO
After creating Universal Arabic Music in 2021 — a joint venture with Republic Records and Universal Music Group — Slaiby delivered on his mission to elevate Arabic music worldwide. His first signee, Issam Alnajjar, scored success with “Hadal Ahbek” in the United States, Mexico, Canada, Germany and other regions. Nancy Ajram’s “Sah Sah” (with Marshmello) became the first Arabic song to appear on Billboard’s Dance/Electronic Songs chart. At this year’s Coachella, UAM act Elyanna is the first artist booked to perform a full set in Arabic.
President, Som Livre
In March 2022, Som Livre officially became part of Sony Music Entertainment after Sony completed its acquisition of Brazil’s largest independent label for about $255 million, following approval by regulators in Brazil. The purchase not only strengthens Sony’s grip on the fast-growing Brazilian music market but also brings an array of multinational capabilities that will expand the reach and access to partnerships of artists. “I can’t think of a better way to begin this new post-pandemic world,” says Soares, who has led Som Livre for the past 16 years.
Co-president, RCA U.K.
In Tang’s view, the past year at RCA U.K. has been dominated by successful women. “It has been brilliant to see so many female artists on the RCA U.K. roster succeed, both domestically and internationally,” says Tang, who was promoted to co-president alongside Glyn Aikins in February. Backing up this sentiment are Cat Burns, who had the best-selling U.K. single by a female artist in 2022 with “Go,” and Mimi Webb, whose 2023 album, Amelia, had a top five debut in the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, Beyoncé and P!nk celebrated their fourth U.K. No. 1 albums, with Renaissance and Trustfall, respectively, and Miley Cyrus’ “Flowers” became the longest-running U.K. No. 1 single by a female solo artist this decade, according to EMI.
Senior vp of global marketing, Capitol Music Group
CMG spent much of the past year shoring up its digital and strategic international capabilities “to accelerate artist discovery on a global scale,” says Thurgood. “What we are now is a truly ‘artist-first’ company that can execute world-class global marketing initiatives with greater speed, precision and sophistication than ever before.” The result was a slew of global hits from Troye Sivan, Lil Baby, TALK, Ice Spice, Doechii and Young Miko. “In this era of hyper-localization,” he says, “our approach in each territory is uniquely crafted with the aim of authentically embedding our artist into the local cultural fabric.”
Executive vp, Universal Music U.K.
In November, Lewis Capaldi’s “Someone You Loved” overtook Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” to become the United Kingdom’s most streamed song of all time with 562 million audio and video streams, according to the Official Charts Company. The achievement capped another successful year for the United Kingdom’s biggest record company, whose roster also includes The Weeknd, Queen, The Rolling Stones, ABBA, Olivia Rodrigo, Elton John and Taylor Swift. A recent highlight for Webb, who has been executive vp of the label since 2016, has been the growth of a dedicated effort to address the relative lack of women in senior A&R roles across Universal labels.
Chief executive, IFPI
With the global recorded-music market growing by 9% in 2022, according to IFPI’s latest report, Moore emphasizes pockets of rapid international expansion — sub-Saharan Africa was the fastest-growing region of the year. To boost the trend, IFPI opened new offices in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and Vietnam; appointed a new regional director in Latin America and the Caribbean; and helped establish national groups in Kenya and Nigeria. “We have continued to expand our reach and activities around the world,” says Moore.
Director general, International Confederation of Music Publishing
As director general of ICMP, a trade group representing both major and independent publishers worldwide, Phelan is steadfast in his efforts to defend creators’ rights across six continents. After a few years of “consistent” growth in music publishing year over year for ICMP members around the world, “copyright is back with a bang,” he says. Why? He suggests a few factors: European Union efforts to address “the value gap in Europe” (the difference between what free user-upload sites and subscription services pay creators for their music), limitations on the spread of “safe harbors” in Asia (territories that limit the copyright infringement liability of online companies) and the growth in digital consumption of music.
Marking its 15th anniversary in 2023, digital music licensing organization Merlin welcomed 33 new member companies, bringing its total to more than 500, including 38 in Japan and another 24 across Southeast Asia. Sirota says Merlin now represents 15% of the global recorded-music market share. “Merlin now has premium deals with over 40 digital platforms, as it has expanded recently into some exciting areas across a variety of digital mediums,” says Sirota, highlighting pacts with Pinterest, short-form video platform Kuaishou, gaming music platform STYNGR and the virtual reality fitness app Supernatural. Among its new members are Giri (India), Al Oud for Art Production and Distribution (Iraq), Fole Publishing (Kosovo) and Silent Roar Productions (Pakistan).
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 U.K., Universal Music Publishing Group
As Latin artists command larger audiences around the world, UMPG-signed superstar Bad Bunny topped IFPI’s Global Top 10 Albums chart for 2022, and Colombian singer-songwriter Feid, who signed to UMPG Latin six years ago, sent his album Feliz Cumpleaños Ferxxo: Te Piratemos el Álbum to No. 6 on Top Latin Albums in October. In late March, UMPG’s AfroLatin songwriting camp in Portugal brought together writers, producers and artists from Brazil, South Africa, France, Spain and Portugal in the latest example of the music publisher’s drive for global collaborations. On the awards front, UMPG was named regional Mexican publisher of the year at the BMI Latin Awards in March, and UMPG writer Harry Styles swept the 2023 BRIT Awards, winning in four categories, while his collaborator and fellow UMPG writer Kid Harpoon received the songwriter of the year award. In November, UMPG China announced an exclusive global publishing agreement with RYCE Publishing, a division of RYCE Entertainment, one of China’s leading music and entertainment companies, to represent over 700 compositions, including expansive and popular K-pop song catalog rights across China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.
Managing director/global strategic liaison, Reservoir; president, International Music Publishers Forum
Hussain “Spek” Yoosuf
Executive vp of international and emerging markets, Reservoir; founder/CEO, PopArabia
Co-founder/CEO, Blue Raincoat Music; CEO, Chrysalis Records
At Reservoir, a diverse global team over sees the company’s international growth, including signing new artists DIVINE (India) and Mohamed Ramadan (Egypt), along with Egyptian label 100Copies and Mashrex in Saudi Arabia. Lascelles, whose companies became part of Reservoir in 2019, has celebrated “success with Phoebe Bridgers, Arlo Parks, Nova Twins and Cigarettes After Sex,” among others, he says. Barrett, who also serves as president of the International Music Publishers Forum, is proud of IMPF’s inaugural summit in 2022, held in Mallorca, Spain, which she calls “an enormous success.”
CEO, Budde Music Publishing/Budde Group
As CEO of the independent publisher based in Germany, Budde has overseen expansion into businesses, including artist management and new acting and touring agency BTA, as well as continued growth outside its home market. The company recently celebrated its 75th anniversary with two big wins: Budde’s French division was named publisher of the year by SACEM, the French collection society, and signee Matthew Stevens won a Grammy Award for best international jazz album.
Head of global creative, Kobalt
Senior vp of investment/corporate vp, Kobalt
Senior vp of royalties and business intelligence, Kobalt
Vp of deals and digital partnerships, Latin America, Kobalt
Head of creative services, Australia and New Zealand, Kobalt
With Francisco Partners (in conjunction with Dundee Partners and Matt Pinkus’ MUSIC) acquiring a significant majority ownership in Kobalt for an estimated $750 million last year, the rights management company doubled down on its commitment to its core publishing business and its AMRA royalty collection operation, while serving the interests of the creator community. Kobalt songwriters and their songs picked up 14 Billboard Latin Music Awards, nine Australian Recording Industry Association Awards and eight Swedish Grammis, with Sam Fender winning the best song musically and lyrically at the Ivor Awards for “Seventeen Going Under,” among other honors. The company says it has paid out $300 million in advances in the last fiscal year. In its April 5 filing for the year ended June 30, 2022, it posted $65.6 million in net income from revenue of $631.2 million.
Partner/executive vp, Primary Wave U.K. and Europe; director, Blue Mountain Music
“It’s a tremendously exciting time at Primary Wave,” says Dowling. He notes the “creation of a permanent capital vehicle” with a $2 billion infusion from Brookfield; a new strategic partnership with CAA, which has taken a minority ownership in the company, as well as “many big Bob Marley projects forthcoming on stage and screen; and the addition of seasoned executives with Clive Black and Robin Godfrey-Cass in London.” Dowling says that all of these recent developments will help Primary Wave better serve its “incredible roster of songs, catalogs and artists.”
Executive vp of worldwide A&R, Concord Music Publishing
Frankiewicz helped Concord acquire a bundle of rights from Phil Collins and his Genesis bandmates Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford in September 2022, after previously working with the band’s repertoire at Imagem Music and MMA Music Publishing in her native Australia. Last year, Concord also acquired Australian music publisher Native Tongue, which expanded its reach in the region, forming Concord Music Publishing ANZ. Having worked with the Native Tongue team for years, Frankiewicz played a key role in adding its roster to Concord’s, which already boasts the works of creators such as The 1975, Omar Apollo, Tre Jean Marie and Fred Ball.
Managing director, Warner Chappell U.K.; head of international A&R, Warner Chappell Music
Managing director of Canada, Warner Chappell Music
Managing director of Germany and Nordics, 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
Gonzales and her team in the United Kingdom began the year with new signings including Sam Tompkins, Caro, Morgan Cole and Jacob Manson. Beyond that region, she continues to lead Warner Chappell’s international A&R strategy. In Canada, Barclay recently signed hot Canadian producers Aliby (Drake, Machine Gun Kelly) and Tom French (Joyner Lucas featuring Lil Baby, DaBaby, Rod Wave). Karlsson’s territories include Sweden, where Warner Chappell songwriters Jimmy Jansson and Thomas G:son are among the co-writers of “Tattoo,” which artist and co-writer Loreen will perform in May at the Eurovision Song Contest. Leading Warner Chappell’s Latin teams, Menéndez renewed a deal with hit-making Argentine rapper-singer Duki, who will launch his first U.S. tour on May 17 in New York. Overseeing Southern Europe, Menéndez-Pidal and his team count among their signings Spain’s Quevedo, whose collaboration with producer Bizarrap led to the hit “BZRP Music Sessions, Vol. 52,” which spent multiple weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Global 200.
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/CEO of Latin America and U.S. Latin, Sony Music Publishing
President of Asia, Sony Music Publishing
Managing director of Scandinavia/senior vp of A&R, international, Sony Music Publishing
Managing director of Australia, Sony Music Publishing
Under Major and Ventura, Sony Music Publishing scored a leading market share of credits on over 30% of the top 100 songs in the United Kingdom in 2022, according to the company, with successes from writers such as Tems, PinkPantheress, Central Cee, Ed Sheeran, Becky Hill, Tom Grennan, Mimi Webb and Plested. Under Mejia, Sony was named contemporary Latin publisher of the year at BMI’s Latin Awards in March, on the strength of hits including “BZRP Music Sessions, Vol. 52” from SMP Argentina writer Bizarrap and collaborator Quevedo. Ng leads SMP across the Pan-Asian region including China, where the company had six of the top 10 songs in Tencent Music’s annual ranking for 2022, including the No. 1 track, “Gu Yong Zhe,” written by SMP’s Qian Lei and Tang Tian and sung by Eason Chan. SMP Australia, under Trotter, closed key catalog and extension deals with Tame Impala (led by Kevin Parker), while also nurturing emerging talent including King Stingray, which took home the coveted Australian Music Prize for 2022 with its self-titled debut album. SMP Scandinavia, led by Tennander, achieved No. 1 market-share positions across 2022 with representation of songs including the No. 5 Global 200 hit “I Ain’t Worried” by OneRepublic from the soundtrack to Top Gun: Maverick.
Founder/CEO, Hipgnosis Song Management/Hipgnosis Songs Fund/ Hipgnosis Songs Capital
Hipgnosis and its collection of companies keep vacuuming up music assets at an unprecedented pace. The company has invested roughly $800 million in the last 12 months for ownership stakes in songs or recordings by Justin Timberlake, Leonard Cohen, Nile Rodgers, Kenny Chesney, Nelly Furtado, Erika Enders, Tobias Jesso Jr., the British songwriting/production duo TMS and other acts, with a recent deal for Justin Bieber’s music rights valued at about $200 million. Mercuriadis calls that transaction “the biggest deal we have ever made.”
Mary Megan Peer
Managing director/European president, peermusic
An international music publishing powerhouse, peermusic makes its presence around the globe known in numerous operational ways, but also as a champion of the global rights for music creators. Elderton, who served on the board of the Performing Rights Society for over 30 years, including six years as PRS chairman, has been involved with landmark music industry shifts including the passing of the European Union Copyright Directive, the launch of the joint venture PPL PRS Limited for public performance licensing and the appointment of PRS for Music’s CEO, Andrea C. Martin. Peer serves as a publishing member on the board of ASCAP. Overall, peermusic executives sit on the advisory boards of collection management organizations on five continents, according to the publisher.
President of publishing, Downtown Music
Along with a broader recent reorganization, Downtown Music Holdings realigned the entities that handle its publishing services — Downtown Music Publishing, Songtrust and Sheer — and named Stephenson its top music publishing executive. The company boasts repertoire from Jason Isbell, Phish, Wu-Tang Clan and the late John Lennon and John Prine. “Downtown Publishing continues to successfully navigate an ever-changing industry, and its shift into a services-focused publishing group has positioned it to maximize revenue for our clients,” Stephenson says. “Our team is well-placed to offer the right services at the right time at scale and in-depth.”
Entertainment director, Bizarro Live Entertainment
In the 15 years since its launch, Bizarro Live Entertainment experienced its biggest growth yet in 2022, with over 1.6 million tickets sold in four South American countries by promoting superstars such as Bad Bunny (Chile), Daddy Yankee (Chile, Bolivia) and Sebastián Yatra (Chile, Colombia, Bolivia, Uruguay). Under Alonso’s lead, Bizarro produced and televised the Viña del Mar festival after a two-year pandemic break and received “the highest ratings and ticket sales in the last 10 years,” he says. In 2022, Bizarro also launched its own management and content division headquartered in Chile, signing Jesse & Joy, Polimá Westcoast, Kudai and the kids’ musical El Perro Chocolo, which has been streamed 5 billion times, according to Alonso.
Marcos “Marquinhos” Araújo
Founder/president, Grupo AudioMix
In 2022, Brazilian promoter Araújo organized a second edition of BBQ Mix — events that combine barbecue and live concerts — and once again earned the Guinness World Record for the most barbecued beef sold in eight hours. The entrepreneur also brought Guns N’ Roses to the city of Goiânia in Brazil in September, a show he says sold out. He is planning a launch premiere in July for the 2024 edition of Villa Mix Festival, one of the country’s biggest events for sertanejo (Brazilian country) acts. “The pandemic has changed the way the public consumes music, resulting in a wide range of events and festivals in the Brazilian market over the past two years,” Araújo says. “But I have noticed that there has been a decrease in the quality and delivery of events.”
CEO, Frontier Touring
COO, Frontier Touring
Powerhouse promoter Frontier Touring in Australia came out swinging once borders and venues reopened. “We have gone through some incredibly difficult times over the last two years with COVID-19, [chairman] Michael Gudinski’s passing and the loss of our dear colleague Oana Gilbert,” says Brant, adding that the team “stuck together, worked tirelessly” and “achieved incredible results.” Ed Sheeran’s Mathematics stadium tour was a blockbuster, and Frontier also lassoed the biggest names in country (including Kane Brown, Zac Brown Band and Morgan Wallen) for two sold-out CMC Rocks QLD festivals in a six-month window. And fellow star Luke Combs, Heymann says, “sold out more shows than any other country artist in [Australia and New Zealand] history for his upcoming arena tour.”
Booking director, CMN
CMN ended the year at No. 3 on Billboard Boxscore’s Top Promoters chart, an exceptional achievement for an independent Latin-owned company. CMN promoted (with Live Nation) Bad Bunny’s entire smash U.S. tour, as well as seven Latin American dates. The company also expanded significantly in Latin America, opening the 20,000-capacity Coliseo Live in Bogotá, Colombia, and producing 25 shows in the country for the first time. “We promoted over 70 shows in Latin America,” says Cárdenas, “including Daddy Yankee’s tour,” which wrapped 2022 at No. 13 on Billboard Boxscore’s year-end Top Tours chart.
Chairman, Live Nation U.K. and Ireland
President, Live Nation Europe, the Middle East and Africa
International group counsel, Live Nation Entertainment; general counsel, Ticketmaster
President, Asia Pacific, Live Nation
Managing director, Live Nation Electronic Asia
Under Desmond’s leadership, Live Nation scored record results in the United Kingdom and Ireland in 2022 with 16 million tickets sold at venues of all sizes, according to the company. Reid’s expanded responsibilities include the Middle East, Africa and India, and he led Live Nation’s international team through its biggest year of shows and festivals as live music returned three years after the pandemic shutdown. Emeny’s roles include overseeing government and regulatory affairs across global markets and coordinating between Live Nation’s U.S. headquarters and international operations. In the Asia Pacific region, Field has overseen acquisitions including Music Management International in the Philippines, Tero Concerts & Events in Thailand and Clockenflap in Hong Kong, as well as growing the division’s portfolio of venues, including Festival Hall in Australia. Wong expanded the EDM festival Creamfields in 2022 to new Asian markets including Thailand and Vietnam, and sold out Hong Kong and Taiwan, with performances from Calvin Harris, The Chainsmokers and Tiësto. Creamfields is also confirmed to take place in China’s cities of Chengdu, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Beijing in 2023.
Head of Europe, WK Entertainment
The pandemic’s halt to touring didn’t slow WK Entertainment from taking on greater opportunities. “We were the first company to tour throughout Europe after the pandemic, [and] our turnover has doubled compared to previous years,” says Egea. “We are working in more than 25 countries on this side of the world with our artists” with a roster that includes Latin stars such as Prince Royce, Maluma, Carlos Vives, Emilia and Wisin. “Without a doubt,” he adds, “we are in a sweet spot of growth and expanding our agency to new markets and services.”
Ava L. Hall
Founder/CEO, Hall Media Group
In February, Hall’s company partnered with The Africa Channel, and she took on the role of head of content and brand, focusing on global music strategy. She will develop activations and content that centers on “African and Caribbean artists highlighting global music genres,” she says. Hall is no stranger to launching groundbreaking global initiatives, having served as vp of programming for BET International before founding Hall Media Group in 2021. In 2022 and 2023, Hall was appointed to both Amplify Africa’s media board and the advisory board for the Africon conference and global music festival.
In addition to executing the in-person return of the Amsterdam Music Festival (now rebranded as AMF) — over 40,000 fans and executives attended the dance event following a two-year break — ALDA is diversifying beyond the dance scene, staging events for various genres. Last year, the production company acquired the Pal Mundo Festival, which celebrates Central and South American music, with a new hip-hop focus. Additionally, ALDA hosted two fundraisers: We Are One in Romania and A State of Trance (#DanceForUkraine) in Poland, bringing in over $1 million to aid Ukrainians. ALDA produces events on six continents.
CEO, Hayashi International Promotions
Hayashi says the highlight of 2022 for Hayashi International Promotions was producing five sold-out Bruno Mars stadium shows in October after Japan reopened following the pandemic. “To sell that amount of tickets in under a week in a market just reemerging from the COVID-19 shutdown of international artists was something we were very proud of,” says Hayashi. The company followed up two months later with three sold-out Maroon 5 stadium shows.
President/CEO, AEG Europe
Chairman/CEO, AEG Asia Pacific
CEO, AEG Presents U.K.
CEO of European festivals, AEG Presents
Senior vp of international touring, AEG Presents
Hill led AEG Europe’s operation out of the pandemic into what the company reports was one of its biggest years. He is overseeing the development of new venues across the United Kingdom and AEG Europe’s expansion into new genres, including comedy and classical. Wilkes took on a new role as Frontier Touring’s chairman of the board following that company’s reorganization after the death of founder Michael Gudinski. He has also spearheaded the launch of AXS ticketing in Australia and is guiding AEG’s development of new venues in Bangkok, Seoul and the Japanese cities of Nagoya and Osaka. In the United Kingdom, Homer and his team last year welcomed over 2.5 million fans to more than 1,200 shows as live music returned. Under King, AEG’s festival division had its most successful year to date, with the launch of Forwards Festival and record attendances at Paris’ Rock en Seine and London’s All Points East and BST Hyde Park festivals, according to the company. Helming the international tours of AEG Presents, Jones last year saw Justin Bieber sell 1.5 million tickets on his Justice world tour with dates in Europe, South America, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Australia.
Global festival promoter, C3 Presents
Promoter, C3 Presents
Staging “the first international live shows to take place in South America since the pandemic” was a meticulous process, says Howard of Lollapalooza, which he also brought to Mumbai, India. “Tracking and anticipating ever-changing COVID-19 and immigration policies in each country” was a top priority. He says the inaugural Lollapalooza India — the first project in Asia by C3 Presents — shows the potential for future events in the region. Working in “under-toured territories is an exciting process,” he says, noting that fans have fewer opportunities to see major international touring acts. “Lollapalooza is the perfect vehicle to bring our fans a diverse array of talent across many different musical genres.”
CEO, Westwood Entertainment
Founder/chairman, Westwood Entertainment
In 2022, Westwood Entertainment took some of Latin music’s biggest tours to Mexico, including high-demand treks by Karol G, Bad Bunny, Camilo and Rauw Alejandro. With a hand in management, marketing and concert promotion, Westwood’s leaders recently scored big by handling more than 200 U.S. tour dates for their signed talents, including Carin León, Carlos Rivera, Santa Fe Klan (on its first U.S. arena tour) and joint nostalgia runs from girl groups Pandora and Flans as well as pop duos Camila and Sin Bandera. Juárez says that several “international collaborations” that the firm has secured, among them Reik’s “A Veces Bien y a Veces Mal” with Ricky Martin, a No. 1 Latin Airplay hit, and the group’s “Loquita” with Alejandro, have also been recent high points.
COO, commercial, ASM Global, Asia Pacific
Loxton’s work with ASM Global, Asia Pacific has led to the venue management company’s development of Brisbane Live, a new 18,000-seat multipurpose arena for Queensland’s capital city. In February, the venue was named as a fully funded 2032 Olympic site to host swimming and potentially basketball finals and will also serve as a state-of-the-art entertainment and sporting venue. Loxton adds that ASM Global has also been “working on new arena projects for [Ghana], Hong Kong and the Gulf region” in the Middle East.
CEO, Move Concerts
Rodriguez’s Move Concerts, operating throughout Latin America, promoted shows in 2022 by Iron Maiden, Michael Bublé, Billy Idol, Liam Gallagher and Green Day, among others. As a manager, Rodriguez has guided the career of Argentine rapper-singer Tiago, who released his debut album, Portales, in 2022 and performed 38 shows in 11 countries. “We take pride in the upward trajectory of his career,” Rodriguez says of the artist, who signed a recording deal with Warner Music Latina through a partnership with Rodriguez’s Grand Move Records label.
CEO, CTS Eventim
Recent partnerships with Michael Cohl, Mammoth and AG Entertainment Touring have helped German ticketing giant CTS Eventim make further inroads in the United States. But Schulenberg says the company’s top innovation is its Eventim Pass — a digital ticket enabling it “to actively combat ticket fraud and unauthorized sales and completely eliminate the secondary market” for tours by superstars such as Ed Sheeran. CTS Eventim has also already sold 3.3 million tickets for the 2024 Paris Olympics, marking the first time they were made available from a single platform in the event’s history.
President, OCESA/Live Nation
President, OCESA Seitrack
Soberón highlights the company’s 2022 post-pandemic comeback, which he credits to the “unwavering dedication and remarkable talent of our team” and its recent association with Live Nation. This year, he says, “we are excited to continue offering the fans exceptional concerts, music festivals and family events,” Soberón says. Padilla says, “2022 was a record-breaking year for Seitrack, and 2023 is looking even more promising.” Among its highlights, he mentions Alejandro Fernández’s sold-out Latin American tour and the launch of management company Seitrack Spain with the signing of Alejandro Sanz.
Co-heads of international touring, Creative Artists Agency
Music touring agent, CAA
CAA’s international team recently launched massive global tours for some of the biggest artists in the world, including The Weeknd’s ongoing After Hours Til Dawn shows and Harry Styles’ 30-date Love on Tour run, which includes four nights at London’s Wembley Stadium in June. The tour recently wrapped 13 spring stadium shows across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. Also forthcoming are Beyoncé’s hotly anticipated (and already largely sold-out) Renaissance world tour; Muse’s summer trek, which will run from North America to Europe to Malaysia; and Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band’s European tour, which hits over a dozen countries this summer. The Red Hot Chili Peppers will also take their show on the road in North and South America and in Europe.
Managing partner/CEO, Primary Talent International
Founding partner/board member, Primary Talent International
Primary Talent International was already in the midst of a record 12 months — 6,000 shows booked, according to Levy, for the U.K. agency’s roster of more than 460 performers and DJs — when it decided to separate from CAA, which had acquired the agency from ICM, in 2022. “Our decision to return to our independent roots was made to benefit our clients as well as our agents to better position them to guide our artists toward great success without any other conflicting agendas,” Levy says. The move makes PTI the largest independent agency in the United Kingdom. It also added four more agents as partners and a New York office with Pete Nash, bringing Kings of Leon, Pet Shop Boys, Regina Spektor and Steve Winwood into the fold. The firm is still basking in a big year for The 1975 and Jack Harlow, as well as The Cure, which will head out on the road this year.
President, The Feldman Agency
Craib is proud of his team of 30 who oversaw a “cumulative gross of ticket sales of over $25 million [Canadian]” ($18.4 million) the past year, he says. The Feldman Agency has over 4,000 contracted artist performances this year, including Canadian tours with Avril Lavigne, Shania Twain, Bryan Adams and Michael Bublé, as well as a global tour for Canadian poet Rupi Kaur. Since early this year, Craib has been implementing strategies he devised during lockdown, focused on TFA’s “agencywide rebrand, with expansion of our divisions involving brand partnerships, talent buying, licensing and owned/operated properties initiatives.” TFA is also buying shows for numerous new casinos, festivals and corporate clients and handling licensing for new clients such as the Boots & Hearts music festival. “These areas of expanded business create opportunities for our artists,” says Craib, “and pave the way for explosive growth and an overall new trajectory for TFA.”
Co-founders/partners, TBA Agency
Since its launch less than three years ago, TBA Agency has blossomed into a boutique firm with a global staff of 25 and a client roster that exceeds 250. The company has taken a lead in developing the careers of Latin and Spanish-speaking artists along with “headline” clients such as Courtney Barnett, Chvrches, Tune-Yards, Jay Som and Hot Chip. During the past year, Davidman and Landau elevated Mexican singer-songwriter Ed Maverick with an appearance at Coachella and tours in the United States, South America and Europe (he’s recording this year in preparation for a “robust 2024,” says Landau), while California-based indie rocker Cuco expanded the markets in which he operates in 2022. “At the root of it, our focus is being incredibly thoughtful and knowing what the strategy is and how to execute it, not skipping steps,” Landau explains.
Global head of contemporary music and touring, WME
WME’s music division scored undeniable wins last year, booking clients for more than 4,000 festival slots, forming a partnership with Diverse Representation — an organization working to increase the hiring and exposure of Black industry leaders — and seeing clients earn Grammy and BRIT award nominations across genres. Adele sold out a pair of shows in London’s Hyde Park, Bruno Mars sold five Dome Stadium shows clean in Japan, Rihanna made history as the first Super Bowl halftime show artist to perform while pregnant, Miley Cyrus’ “Flowers” broke Spotify’s all-time one-week record with over 100 million streams, and Shakira and Bizarrap’s “BZRP Music Sessions, No. 53” hit No. 2 on the Billboard Global 200.
Partner/senior vp/head of international touring, APA
In the past two years, APA has added 20 agents and over 300 new clients — 200 of them active on the music and comedy touring circuits. Naisbitt says the bulked-up agency flexed its muscle with a European tour by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson. The trek followed the success of his hit TV series, BMF, and his appearance during the Super Bowl LVI halftime show in 2022. The trek grossed over $50 million from more than 40 dates, including selling out in Milan and drawing over 25,000 in Paris. And that was “without any paid promotion at all” or a major promoter, Naisbitt says. “We bet on the fact that coming out of COVID-19, none of the old rules applied, and with a superstar performer like 50 Cent, to our delight, we were right.” With six offices worldwide, the 61-year-old firm represents a broad range of talent in music, film, TV, comedy, podcasts and more.
In recent months, WorkShow, a 16-year-old sertanejo label and artist booking and management company, has sought out new show-business frontiers in the north and northeast of Brazil while maintaining the success of artists like Hugo & Guilherme, whose song “Mal Feito” (“Badly Done”), featuring the late Marília Mendonça, was the most streamed song on Spotify Brazil in 2022. The company is developing projects for Maiara & Maraísa, including the release of EP Identidade (Identity) and the filming of a DVD in Portugal, as well as continuing to release music from Mendonça through the posthumous project Decretos Reais (Royal Decrees).
Executive vps/managing executives, Wasserman Music
Partners/senior agents, Wasserman Music
The Wasserman team’s big wins include Billie Eilish’s sold-out European arena tour, which featured a six-night residency at London’s O2 Arena that was filmed for her Grammy Award-nominated movie, Billie Eilish Live at the O2. Kendrick Lamar’s Big Steppers Tour, which played arenas in the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, grossed over $100 million with upwards of 750,000 tickets sold, according to the agency. Wasserman Music also opened its London office last April, adding Slater’s international representation for Grammy winner Wet Leg, which performed more than 80 shows in Europe. Meanwhile, the tour that Schroeder launched for Fred again.. helped make the U.K. producer one of the buzziest new names in music.
Co-head of UTA U.K. and head of global touring
Co-head of UTA U.K.
Agents, music, UTA
Director of artist brand strategy, music brand partnerships, UTA
UTA has booked prominent slots for Afrobeats stars Burna Boy and Wizkid at European festivals including Glastonbury and Primavera along with headlining shows at New York’s Citi Field stadium, Paris’ La Défense arena and London’s O2 Arena. Lizzo booked her third European tour, EDM star Marshmello played dance festival Tomorrowland, and Kx5 (the electronic supergroup of Kaskade and deadmau5) performed a rare club set at London’s revered Printworks. UTA also pushed boundaries on the dance scene, working with rising acts Major League Djz, Uncle Waffles and Scorpion Kings, and, Asika says, “leading the charge in the drum’n’bass and amapiano spaces.”
Contributors: Trevor Anderson, Rania Aniftos, Cathy Applefeld Olson, Megan K. Armstrong, Nefertiti Austin, Katie Bain, Alexei Barrionuevo, Karen Bliss, Lars Brandle, Anna Chan, Ed Christman, Leila Cobo, Jonathan Cohen, Elizabeth Dilts Marshall, Thom Duffy, Chris Eggertsen, Griselda Flores, Adrienne Gaffney, Gary Graff, Raquelle “Rocki” Harris, Gil Kaufman, Steve Knopper, Katy Kroll, Carl Lamarre, Elias Leight, Robert Levine, Heran Mamo, Taylor Mims, Gail Mitchell, Melinda Newman, Ronda Racha Penrice, Glenn Peoples, Sigal Ratner-Arias, Isabela Raygoza, Bryan Reesman, Kristin Robinson, Jessica Roiz, Neena Rouhani, Dan Rys, Crystal Shepheard, Richard Smirke, Jewel Wicker, Deborah Wilker
Methodology: Nominations for Billboard’s executive lists open no less than 150 days in advance of publication, and a link is sent to press representatives by request before the nomination period. (Please email email@example.com for inclusion on the email list for nomination links and for how to obtain an editorial calendar.) Billboard’s International Power Players were chosen by editors from selected industry sectors, based on factors including, but not limited to, nominations by peers, colleagues and superiors. Executives have primary responsibility for markets outside the United States. In addition to information requested with nominations, editors consider industry impact as measured by metrics including, but not limited to, chart, sales and streaming performance as measured by Luminate and social media impressions using data available as of March 15.
This story originally appeared in the April 22, 2023, issue of Billboard.