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Revealed: Billboard’s 2022 Women In Music Top Executives

Reservoir Media CEO Golnar Khosrowshahi leads this year's list of high-achieving women from every sector of the industry — including 12 Hall of Fame honorees.

Reservoir Media CEO Golnar Khosrowshahi, the first female founder and chief executive of a publicly traded independent music company, leads this year’s list of high-achieving women from every sector of the industry — including 12 Hall of Fame honorees.

Women In Music Executive of the Year

Golnar Khosrowshahi
CEO, Reservoir Media

Golnar Khosrowshahi
Sage East

On Aug. 30, 2021, Reservoir Media CEO Golnar Khosrowshahi and rapper Offset laughed as they rang the opening bell at NASDAQ’s Marketsite Studio in New York.

As confetti — in Reservoir (and NASDAQ) blue — fluttered around them, Khosrowshahi soaked in the initial moments of becoming the first female founder and chief executive of a publicly traded independent music company.

“It was a true moment of arrival,” she recalls.

Although the presence of Offset, who signed with Reservoir in 2017, and a very pregnant Cardi B may have looked like a contrived photo op, Khosrowshahi says the Migos member had asked to attend the ceremony. “It just came up in conversation, and he told me he wanted to be there,” she recalls. And though she admits she was skeptical that he would show, she says the husband-and-wife hip-hop duo arrived at the NASDAQ studio fashionably dressed and precisely on time and continued celebrating with the Reservoir team that day.

Reservoir is one of several independent music rights holders — among them Hipgnosis Songs Fund, Round Hill Music Royalty Fund and One Media iP Group — that have gone public within the last few years, but, unlike her predecessors, Khosrowshahi chose to launch her company’s initial public offering stateside instead of on the London Stock Exchange. “It’s a finite universe as far as the investor base goes,” she says of the London exchange. With the field there already crowded and a reverse merger with the Roth CH Acquisition II special purpose acquisition company bringing $115 million to the offering, choosing NASDAQ “made a lot of sense.”

Read the full profile on Khosrowshahi here.

Women In Music Hall of Fame Honorees

Chosen as the first among their peers in prior years, these former Executive of the Year honorees reflect on their recent achievements — and offer their thoughts for advancing women and other underrepresented groups in the music industry.

Co-Executives of the Year 2020

Brianna Agyemang
Co-founder, #TheShowMustBePaused; senior artist campaign manager, Platoon
Jamila Thomas
Co-founder, #TheShowMustBePaused; vp of artist marketing, Motown Records

Brianna Agyemang
Brianna Agyemang Flo Ngala
Jamila Thomas
Jamila Thomas Flo Ngala

After putting the music industry on notice for its systemic racial bias with the launch of their organization #TheShowMustBePaused, Agyemang and Thomas celebrated the first anniversary of Blackout Tuesday in June 2021 by sending accountability reports to music companies. They asked for an outline of changes that had been made to further growth opportunities for Black executives and employees. Their goal is “radical activism,” which means working to create “lasting change and a safe space for music professionals to strategically address issues affecting Black music and culture,” according to a statement from the two activists.

Executive of the Year 2019

Desiree Perez
CEO, Roc Nation

Desiree Perez
Desiree Perez Andrew Zaeh

When Perez was honored as the Women in Music Executive of the Year in 2019, Roc Nation vice chairman Jay Brown described her as “fearless, a champion and she saves the day. A true humanitarian.” In accepting her honor on the 2022 Billboard Power List in January, Perez noted that Roc Nation is “always putting philanthropic endeavors and community initiatives first” — epitomized by the Team Roc Job Fair in November, which “hosted over 3,000 attendees, offering close to 10,000 jobs and services,” she says. In the past year, Perez also guided Roc Nation’s partnership with the NFL, which led to an Emmy Award nomination for the Super Bowl LV Halftime Show featuring The Weeknd, and the return of its Philadelphia Made in America Festival for its 10th anniversary, which drew 60,000 fans. Roc Nation management division clients Moneybagg Yo and DJ Khaled both reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with their albums A Gangsta’s Pain and Khaled Khaled, respectively, while J. Cole, signed to the company’s recorded-music division, achieved the same feat with The Off Season.

Co-Executives of the Year 2018

Danielle Aguirre
Executive vp/general counsel, National Music Publishers’ Association

Danielle Aguirre
Danielle Aguirre Courtesy of NMPA

Aguirre shared recognition as Billboard’s Women in Music Co-Executive of the Year in 2018 with Jacqueline Charlesworth, Susan Genco and Dina LaPolt for their support of the Music Modernization Act. This past year she played a role in some of the NMPA’s “largest settlements to date” with Roblox and Twitch, which ensured proper compensation for songwriters and publishers on these platforms. Aguirre, 44, and the NMPA set the standard for licensing songs in gaming and social media. “These deals have brought not only value to the music publishing industry,” she says, “but also helped develop new relationships and partnerships between publishers and some of these fast-growing platforms.”

Jacqueline Charlesworth
Principal, Charlesworth Law

Jacqueline Charlesworth
Jacqueline Charlesworth Bonnie Schiffman

A former general counsel at the U.S. Copyright Office who has worked as a litigator at firms such as Alter Kendrick & Baron and Covington & Burling, Charlesworth struck out on her own in 2021, aiming to create what she called “a dynamic and diverse practice focused on the creative community.” A year later, her firm has handled infringement and royalty claims for content creators and distributors, and tackled “thorny” questions of copyright termination and other complex music law issues. “What a difference a year makes,” Charlesworth says. “Even a COVID-19 year.”

Susan Genco
Co-president, The Azoff Company

Susan Genco
Susan Genco photographed on November 10, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. Timothy Norris

Genco is co-president of The Azoff Company alongside Elizabeth Collins. The company’s Iconic Artists Group, which has acquired stakes in the rights of legacy acts such as The Beach Boys, David Crosby and Linda Ronstadt, “has grown into a safe haven for influential artists who value legacy preservation in addition to monetization,” says Genco. Full Stop Management “has led the way in touring, safely bringing the music of Harry Styles, the Eagles, Maroon 5, Earth, Wind & Fire and more to their fans.” The music licensing division Global Music Rights “continues to offer the best transparent service to its incredible roster of songwriters, from Drake and Lizzo to Anderson .Paak and Bruno Mars,” Genco says. She also notes that the Music Artists Coalition, co-founded in 2019 by Irving Azoff, Coren Capshaw, John Silva and others, has joined forces with other artist advocacy groups “to protect artists,” she says. “After all, without them, none of us would have jobs.”

Dina LaPolt
Founder/owner, LaPolt Law

Dina LaPolt
Dina LaPolt Bonnie Schiffman

LaPolt is a forceful attorney and advocate who says the most important issue facing the music industry in 2022 remains “the failure to adequately compensate songwriters for their indispensable contributions to music.” Representing superstars from Cardi B to Steven Tyler, she recently added The Kid LAROI and rapper YG to her roster of clients; negotiated all of deadmau5’s non-fungible token deals with blockchain platforms; helped reach an agreement for Offset to be a judge on The Hype, the streetwear competition show on HBO Max; and oversaw the sale of Mick Fleetwood’s catalog to BMG, among other recent achievements.

Executive of the Year 2016

Bozoma Saint John
Chief marketing officer, Netflix

Bozoma Saint John
Bozoma Saint John attends the Los Angeles premiere of “The Harder They Fall” at Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall on October 13, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. Rich Fury/GI

Named the Women in Music Executive of the Year in 2016 for her role as head of global consumer marketing at Apple Music, Saint John subsequently held senior positions at Uber and Endeavor and joined Netflix in 2020. “I have always been a student of pop culture and to now work for Netflix, an organization that is not only shaping but defining culture, is truly remarkable,” she says, adding that the video streaming service “believes that more people deserve to see their lives onscreen and has achieved huge strides in increasing representation in front of and behind the camera.” She cites the release of The Harder They Fall from the Black British director Jeymes Samuel, the directorial debuts of Halle Berry and Lin-Manuel Miranda with Bruised and tick, tick…BOOM!, respectively. “Being here has also allowed me to continue to be peripherally around music,” she says, with Netflix showcasing “incredible female artists” with works like Blackpink: Light Up the Sky and Selena: The Series. “In the promotion of that show, we broke the Guinness World Record for the largest number of videos of people lip-syncing to the same song [“Como La Flor,” by Selena y Los Dinos] uploaded to TikTok in one hour, as part of the #TodosComoLaFlor challenge.”

Executive of the Year 2015

Jody Gerson
Chairman/CEO, Universal Music Publishing Group

Jody Gerson
Jody Gerson John Michael Fulton

Gerson achieved multiple music publishing triumphs in the past 18 months, including the acquisition of Bob Dylan’s entire song catalog; new relationships with hitmakers like Lionel Richie, Holly Humberstone, Clairo, Louis Bell, Tommy Brown and Julia Michaels; and deals with tech platforms such as TikTok and Triller. As co-founder of She Is the Music, however, her leadership goes further. The nonprofit launched in 2018 with the goal of increasing the number of women working in the global music industry. “The continued success of She Is the Music has been absolutely astonishing, due in no small part to the leadership of our executive director, Michelle Arkuski, our board, our committee and chapter leaders, and our female members around the world,” Gerson says. “Our list of accomplishments from 2021 is long and impressive, but highlights include hosting global writing camps in Beijing, Tileyard Studios London and Jungle City Studios in New York, in partnership with Mercedes-Benz and Alicia Keys; launching our first-ever scholarship program with Blackbird Studio Academy with grants of $350,000; and completing our third annual Connect TogetHER Mentorship program. Additionally,” Gerson continues, She Is the Music “launched its first-ever She Is the Producer online tutorial courses in partnership with Femme House, We Are Moving the Needle and Ableton; our first-ever college ambassador program, She Is U, in partnership with American Express in each of our chapter cities; a Music Business Basics YouTube series and more. We created SITM to increase the number of working women in music, and we are doing that and more to come.”

Executive of the Year 2014

Michele Anthony
Executive vp, Universal Music Group

Michele Anthony
Michele Anthony attends the UJA-Federation of New York’s Music Visionary of the Year Award Luncheon, on June 14, 2017 in New York, NY. Stephen Lovekin/Variety

“For some years, choosing an achievement to highlight can be fairly straightforward, but that’s certainly not the case for 2021,” says Anthony, who notes that UMG surpassed its own benchmark from 2020 by holding the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 “for nearly three-quarters of the year,” with hit albums from Taylor Swift, Drake, Olivia Rodrigo and Morgan Wallen leading the albums chart for 38 weeks total. UMG achieved “unprecedented commercial and creative success, in just about every area of our business,” she adds, citing catalog division Universal Music Enterprises scoring top 10 albums with reissues from The Beatles and George Harrison, and PolyGram’s film projects on Frank Sinatra and The Velvet Underground.

Executive of the Year 2006*

Julie Greenwald
Chairman/COO, Atlantic Records

Julie Greenwald
Julie Greenwald attends the UJA-Federation of New York 2019 Music Visionaries Of The Year at The Pierre Hotel on June 11, 2019 in New York City. Roy Rochlin/GI

Atlantic Records ranked at No. 3 on the year-end Top Billboard 200 Labels list thanks to the success of Ed Sheeran, Cardi B and Bruno Mars, among others, while established labelmates Coldplay, Roddy Ricch, Meek Mill and YoungBoy Never Broke Again also released new albums during the fourth quarter. In January, Gunna topped the Billboard 200 with DS4Ever, Kodak Black went top five on the Hot 100 with “Super Gremlin” and Charli XCX released her new single, “Beg for You,” featuring Rina Sawayama. In accepting her honor on the 2022 Billboard Power List, Greenwald also emphasized the importance the label places on “our babies,” she says, “because that’s all you want: to make sure your babies have all the sunlight and oxygen and water to grow.” Those rising artists include Pooh Shiesty, whose breakthrough debut, Shiesty Season, went to No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Rap Albums chart, and Dallas-born teen singer-songwriter GAYLE, whose first single, “abcdefu,” reached No. 6 on the Hot 100 and No. 2 on Hot Rock & Alternative Songs. Greenwald also supports the growth of rising executives, particularly women. Through the years, among all the major labels, Atlantic has been the most consistent with encouraging veteran honorees on Billboard’s Women in Music list to step aside so that their younger colleagues could gain recognition.

*also named in 2008, 2010-13 and 2017

Executive of the Year 2005**

Judy McGrath
Board member, Amazon

Judy McGrath
Judy McGrath attends the Variety’s Power Of Women: New York 2016 at Cipriani Midtown on April 8, 2016 in New York City. Paul Zimmerman/WireImage

McGrath’s storied career as the chair/CEO of MTV Networks from 2004 to 2011 and as an Amazon board member since 2014 has given her a particular perspective. Named Billboard’s Women in Music Executive of the Year three times, beginning in 2005, she urges young women to “create your own path as much as possible, while expanding the relevance and value of your organization,” and notes that veteran female executives should “make it a point to connect with a broader, younger community,” she says. “Be available to any young woman who needs some inspiration, confidence or a candid storyline from your own experience.”

**also named in 2007 and 2009

Women In Music

Towalame Austin
Executive vp of philanthropy and social impact, Sony Music Group
Tiffany R. Warren
Executive vp of diversity, equity and inclusion, Sony Music Group
Julie Swidler
Executive vp of business affairs/general counsel, Sony Music Entertainment
Melissa Thomas
Executive vp of international marketing, U.S. repertoire, Sony Music Entertainment
Deirdre McDonald
Executive vp of global public policy and industry relations, Sony Music Entertainment
Susan Meisel
Senior vp/corporate deputy general counsel, Sony Music Entertainment

As Sony celebrates the success of artists including Adele, Lil Nas X, Doja Cat, Giveon and The Kid LAROI — “some of the biggest artists and campaigns around the world,” says Thomas — the company is also in what Meisel describes as “a moment of robust strategic investment activity” to increase what it can offer the creative community, while also focusing on its broader needs. Sony’s Global Social Justice Fund has “impacted local communities across more than 60 countries,” says Austin, “providing contributions to more than 800 organizations with the support of its Global Social Justice Fund, COVID Relief Fund and employee matching programs.” Warren has helped expand equity and inclusion efforts “across all SMG’s global recorded-music, publishing and corporate divisions,” she says. Swidler notes that Sony has created a fellowship program for recent law school graduates to address “the multicultural talent gap” in business and legal affairs industrywide. “We have led the industry in transparency, equity, new music engagement opportunities, artist assistance and so much more,” McDonald says.

Richelle Parham
President of global e-commerce and business development, Universal Music Group
Celine Joshua
Executive vp of commercial innovation and artist strategy, Universal Music Group
Menna Demessie
Senior vp/executive director, Task Force for Meaningful Change, Universal Music Group
Kristen Bender
Senior vp of digital strategy and business development, Universal Music Group
Susan Mazo
Executive vp of global corporate social responsibility, events and special projects, Universal Music Group
Erika Begun 
Executive vp/head of investor relations, Universal Music Group

The senior female executives at UMG shared in the company’s successes of the past year, which include the biggest direct listing in the history of the music industry; a global expansion of its direct-to-consumer business; and new creative and commercial opportunities for its artists, with technologies from blockchain-based Web3 to non-fungible tokens. But they were also involved in the philanthropic and community service-focused efforts of UMG’s employee-driven Task Force for Meaningful Change and the All Together Now Foundation, both launched in 2020. “All of this was accomplished during an unrelenting pandemic, demonstrating the passion, focus and commitment of our colleagues around the world to deliver on behalf of our artists, their fans and our communities,” the UMG honorees said in a joint statement.

Masha Osherova
Executive vp/chief people officer, Warner Music Group
Oana Ruxandra 
Chief digital officer/executive vp of business development, Warner Music Group
Addie Adeniran 
Senior vp of people team, Warner Music Group
Jessica Goldenberg 
Senior vp of digital strategy and business development, Warner Music Group
Kathleen Strouse
Senior vp/head of global data, management, and strategy, Warner Music Group

“It has been a massive year for Warner Music Group and for my team,” says Ruxandra, describing the disruption that Web3 technology is bringing “to the way we create, connect and consume.” The label also invested in gaming platform Roblox; signed deals with Twitch, the avatar company Genies and Spotify’s podcast division; and partnered with Snap. “My team is focused on ensuring that WMG and our artists and songwriters are not just part of the story, but we are writing it,” Ruxandra says. Meanwhile, to meet WMG’s business goals, Osherova and her colleagues are focused on the company’s recruitment challenge: “How do we attract creative, independent-minded leaders and build a workplace for the next generation of talent?”

Women In Music

Dahlia Ambach Caplin   
Senior vp of A&R, Verve/Verve Forecast/Impulse!

Ambach Caplin is no stranger to Recording Academy honors, having worked in the past on Grammy-nominated works by Herbie Hancock and Ledisi. However, the 2022 ceremony could be her biggest yield yet, with Jon Batiste leading all others with eight nominations for his album We Are. At Verve, Verve Forecast and Impulse!, she is proud to help steer the development of new “powerful voices,” such as Tank and the Bangas and Joy Oladokun, who is officially signed with Republic.

Angela Barkan 
Cyndi Lynott 
Senior vps of marketing, BMG Music 

Barkan leads marketing efforts for BMG’s front-line recorded repertoire in New York, with recent achievements including the first virtual global listening event for Soho House worldwide through its ROOMS app and the launch of Duran Duran’s Future Past album. Lynott manages its pop and rock repertoire in Los Angeles, where she oversaw a promotional visit for K-pop group Monsta X in December. The group premiered its movie, The Dreaming, during a fan pop-up event that generated $200,000 of revenue over three days. “This year, I am looking forward to releasing the new album from 5 Seconds of Summer,” Lynott says. “It’s an honor to partner with this incredibly talented band and show them what it’s like to have full creative control, full transparency and a full global team with BMG.”

Marisa Aron
Brianna Harrison
VPs of marketing, Atlantic Records
Erica Bellarosa
Senior vp of business and legal affairs, Atlantic Records
Catherine Ciapas
Senior vp of creative services, Atlantic Records

In the past year, Atlantic superstars and breakout stars alike have thrived with new releases: Coldplay, Bruno Mars (as part of Silk Sonic with Anderson .Paak) and Cardi B have all landed Hot 100 No. 1 hits, while Ed Sheeran scored his fourth Billboard 200 chart-topper with =, his latest mathematically titled album. Meanwhile, breakout acts GAYLE and CKay added to the label’s international success, with the former’s “abcdefu” and the latter’s “Love Nwantiti (ah ah ah)” reaching Nos. 1 and 2 on the Global 200 chart, respectively. The label shows no signs of slowing down in 2022, with Bellarosa, 43, noting the “roster has been enriched by the signing of top-class talent that we can’t wait to bring to the worldwide stage.”

Stacy Blythe   
Senior vp of promotion, Big Loud Records

Big Loud celebrated six years in business in 2021, as well as its second consecutive year in the top five of Billboard’s year-end Top Country Labels recap, an acknowledgement of the work that Blythe, 38, and her colleagues have put into the company. “We expanded our regional team as well as our promotion executive team to align with our growing artist roster,” she says. “We also rounded out the year on top of the all-genre Billboard 200 albums chart with Morgan Wallen’s Dangerous: The Double Album.”

Lessa Brunson-Boland 
Senior vp/head of A&R operations and administration, 300 Entertainment 

Known as “The Closer” by her colleagues, Brunson-Boland was pivotal in the chart-topping success of Billboard 200 No. 1 albums Slime Language 2 by Young Thug’s YSL label and Gunna’s newly released third album, DS4Ever. Overseeing the business of A&R, cultivating relationships and creating balance are essential to Boland and her team at 300 — who are awaiting the release of Megan Thee Stallion’s second album, expected later this year. “As a leader, it makes me proud to see the results from the structure I have implemented within the A&R department at 300,” she says.

AUSTIN, TEXAS - OCTOBER 08: Megan Thee Stallion performs during Austin City Limits Music Festival at Zilker Park on October 08, 2021 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Erika Goldring/WireImage)
Megan Thee Stallion performs during Austin City Limits Music Festival at Zilker Park on October 08, 2021 in Austin, Texas. Erika Goldring/WireImage

LaTrice Burnette
President, 4th and Broadway Records; executive vp, Def Jam Recordings   

Burnette was named head of 4th and Broadway in November 2020 and hit the ground running with Young Devyn, helping secure the up-and-coming Brooklyn rapper festival gigs at WQHT (Hot 97) New York’s Summer Jam in August and Rolling Loud New York in October. She also helped execute Emotional Oranges’ global DHL Fast-Track program last fall, which included their “first-ever livestream performance aired from the legendary Capitol Studios,” Burnette says. The pop-R&B duo’s partnership with the international courier also gave fans what she calls the “world-first” opportunity to win digital and physical merchandise designed by Emotional Oranges and delivered by DHL. Burnette recently took on the additional title of executive vp at Def Jam after previously holding that position at Island Records.

Kristen Bushnell Perez 
Head of film/TV, Glassnote 

Longtime mainstream-crashing independent label Glassnote has a roster full of veteran alt-rock crossover stars like Mumford & Sons, Phoenix and Two Door Cinema Club. But Bushnell Perez, 33, is eager to highlight the achievements of one of the label’s newer signings, singer-rapper-instrumentalist Dylan Cartlidge. Tracks from his debut album, Hope Above Adversity, have been used in global campaigns for brands like Apple and Amazon. “Dylan has progressed tremendously thanks to these moments,” says Perez, “combined with Glassnote’s ability to nurture developing artists into career artists.”

Katina Bynum 
Executive vp of East Coast labels, urban, Universal Music Enterprises 

Throughout 2021, Bynum sought to bring hip-hop and R&B fans the classic music they had been craving from the catalog label’s vast archive. Along with heading up special anniversary releases from artists like Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Janet Jackson, The Weeknd and even the late Marvin Gaye and DMX, Bynum also oversaw the creation of UMe’s Global Cypher series, which saw the brand “introduce music, artists and executives from around the world through interviews, playlists and territory highlights,” she says.

Jennifer Cary    
Executive vp of rights and royalties, Ingrooves Music Group   

As part of Ingrooves’ continued global expansion, Cary set up worldwide rights and royalty teams to maintain strategy and consistency for its label and artist clients around the globe. The marketing and distribution company (a division of Universal Music Group) further bolstered its accounting solutions with the launch of a new suite of royalty tools for its acts to easily pay out and establish songwriting and publishing splits, among other tasks. “My focus is on making sure everyone can approach royalties with the knowledge and skills they need to make the most out of the tools offered,” says Cary.

Nicki Farag   
Executive vp/GM, Def Jam
Dara Michelle
Executive vp/head of marketing, Def Jam
Natina Nimene
Senior vp of promotion and artist relations, Def Jam

Def Jam had a big year with releases by roster stars Kanye West, Justin Bieber, YG and Alessia Cara, while preparing to welcome incoming CEO Tunji Balogun in January to lead the company forward. “Even as we went through a second year of the pandemic and internal changes at the highest levels of the company, [we achieved] outstanding market share and cultural impact [with] superstar rollouts for some of the biggest artists in the world,” Farag says. “It’s a testament to the dedication, professionalism and passion of our executives and staff.”

María Fernández
Executive vp/COO Latin Iberia, Sony Music Entertainment 

As Sony Latin Iberia’s top female executive, Fernández worked on Sony’s acquisition of Brazil’s biggest independent label, Som Livre, which is awaiting antitrust approval, and its deal for equity in WK Records, which was founded by star manager Walter Kolm (Maluma, Carlos Vives, Wisin). Fernández is focused on increasing diversity in the workplace — and is proud to have mentored over 15 employees in the organization — as a way to “ensure that our talent has everything they need to reach their full potential,” she says.

Lori Giamela 
Senior vp of promotion, RCA Records
Steph Pensa   
VP of digital marketing, RCA Records
Sabrina Rivera 
VP of visual content production, RCA Records 

Wizkid’s summer single — “Essence (Remix)” featuring Justin Bieber and Tems — earned a top 10 spot on the Hot 100 in October, a major breakthrough for African music on U.S. charts. The growth that Afrobeats artists attained through mainstream exposure in 2021 became a focus for RCA Records. “I’m really proud of Wizkid’s recent accomplishments and everyone’s efforts to take him to No. 1,” Giamela says. “We worked really hard to bring an important culture and sound to the world.”

Wendy Goldstein
Co-president, Republic Records
Kerri Mackar
Executive vp of brand partnerships, Republic Records
Xiarra-Diamond Nimrod
VP of marketing strategy, Republic Records
Stephanie Perez
VP of international marketing, Republic Records 

As Republic capped off 2021 with major projects from Drake and Taylor Swift — as well as another No. 1 finish on Billboard’s year-end Top Labels chart — the Republic Records Action Committee (R2AC) spent the year launching mental health initiatives and providing mentorship opportunities. “We’ve made incredible strides in bringing awareness to diversity and inclusion throughout our company and the industry at large,” says Nimrod of R2AC, which she has been a part of since the organization’s launch. Nimrod also led marketing strategy for Pop Smoke whose posthumous album Shoot For The Stars Aim For The Moon debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, spent 34 weeks in the top 5, and had the most weeks at No. 1 in the history of the Billboard Top Hip Hop/R&B Albums chart since 1990.

Ethiopia Habtemariam
Chairman/CEO, Motown Records
Alison Finley
COO, Motown Records

“There’s real ability in the company, and I wanted them to have a chance to fly,” Universal Music Group chairman/CEO Sir Lucian Grainge said of Motown in his Billboard Power List interview, explaining why UMG had returned the legendary imprint to its status as a stand-alone label under Habtemariam, who was promoted in March 2021 to her new role as Motown Records chairman/CEO. Through its partnership with Quality Control, Motown reached the peak of the Billboard 200 in recent months with My Turn from Lil Baby (five total weeks) and The Voice of Heroes from Lil Baby and Lil Durk.

Allison Jones
Executive vp of A&R, Big Machine Label Group 

Big Machine’s Carly Pearce has seen her star rise even higher over the past 20 months, after earning a No. 1 Country Airplay hit with the Lee Brice duet “I Hope You’re Happy Now.” Pearce has since earned two Country Music Association Awards (including female vocalist of the year) and two Academy of Country Music Awards. She also released her third studio album, 29: Written in Stone, and co-hosted the CMA Country Christmas special. Jones notes that “Never Wanted To Be That Girl,” with Ashley McBryde, is Pearce’s “fastest-rising country radio single to date.”

Carly Pearce
Carly Pearce performs during Faster Horses Festival at Michigan International Speedway on July 16, 2021 in Brooklyn, Michigan. Erika Goldring/GI

Michelle Jubelirer 
Chair/CEO, Capitol Music Group
Dixie Tipton
Senior vp of rhythm promotion, Capitol Music Group
Terese Joseph
VP of A&R operations, Capitol Music Group

In December, Jubelirer succeeded Jeff Vaughn as leader of Capitol Music Group (opting for the gender-neutral title of chair/CEO) and became the first woman to helm the label group, which has helped Halsey, Sam Smith and Katy Perry rise to stardom while nurturing new signings like rappers Toosii and Justus Bennetts and electronic musician Surf Mesa. Universal Music Group chairman/CEO Sir Lucian Grainge, in his recent Billboard Power List interview, said Jubelirer has “terrific followership. She has been an independent lawyer, she’s got phenomenal relationships with artists, and this is her shot at CEO and putting her stamp on the business. The staff, the teams, the artists, they’re excited about her, and I believe that now is the time for her.”

Sheldra Khahaifa
CFO/executive vp of operations, Commercial Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment

Khahaifa has a key role at the company that manages Sony Music’s partnerships with the Prince estate, Jack White’s Third Man Records, AC/DC, Philadelphia International Records and Mariah Carey for the singer’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” holiday campaign, among other repertoire sources. But she has also found “special purpose,” she says, in helping launch and lead the Commercial Music Group’s diversity and inclusion task force, including mentorship and career development of Black professionals. Khahaifa is also involved in Sony’s Global Social Justice Fund and its Artists Forward program, which forgives unrecouped balances for qualifying acts signed prior to 2000. Says Khahaifa: “It has been a privilege to help lead and meaningfully contribute to an important shift in evolving company practices.”

Cat Kreidich
President, ADA Worldwide

Over the past year, Alternative Distribution Alliance — Warner Music Group’s independent label/artist services division — executed a companywide “culture shift,” says Kreidich, which included a new leadership team and its first head of product and integration, Andrea Slobodien, who was named in December. “We’ve put a global strategy behind the company, with tech as the backbone,” she adds, citing the launch of a new website to match ADA’s ambition to be “a truly digitally savvy, fast-moving music company of the future.”

Milana Lewis
Co-founder/CEO, Stem

The distribution and payments company Stem continued to pursue its goal of bringing financial clarity to the music industry in 2021, launching Recoup Rules, a new feature that allows users to track and recoup expenses before splits are paid out. The company is also developing non-fungible tokens, partnering with the blockchain startup Royal to develop an interface that will give fans more visibility into the economics of songs in which they purchase shares. “As we look to ways in which NFTs can challenge the traditional music industry,” Lewis says, “we are keeping Stem at the forefront of this conversation.”

Cindy Mabe
President, Universal Music Group Nashville 

UMG Nashville’s biggest victories came from its developing artists, who each “made a huge contribution to growing the country format,” says Mabe. Mickey Guyton became the first Black female solo artist to be nominated for a 2021 Grammy Award in a country category with her single “Black Like Me” and followed it up with three nominations this year. Priscilla Block “made her way from exposing new music on TikTok” to breaking into the mainstream with her hit single, “Just About Over You,” which reached No. 14 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart, the highest-peaking female country radio debut released in 2021.

Jenifer Mallory
Executive vp/GM, Columbia Records
Erika Alfredson
Executive vp/co-head of marketing, Columbia Records
Jennifer Frommer
Senior vp of commercial licensing and brand partnerships, Columbia Records

Columbia Records has “a strategy that works for each individual artist; we’ve been able to build out stories and narratives — telling stories in this attention economy in which we live,” Mallory said in comments following her 2022 Billboard Power List honor. That strategy has amplified the talent of a roster that gave Columbia the No. 1 spot for a combined 33 weeks in 2021, the most in a year by a label since MRC Data’s information began powering the chart in 1991, with No. 1 hits from Mariah Carey, 24kGoldn, The Kid LAROI, Polo G, Lil Nas X, BTS — and Adele, who has ruled the Billboard Artist 100 chart for 20 weeks as of Feb. 12.

Adele Raven B Verona

Victoria Mason
Senior vp of strategic marketing and analytics, Warner Music Nashville

Warner Music Nashville prioritizes making data “intelligible and exploitable” to bolster its marketing efforts, says Mason, 35. Proof of concept? Gabby Barrett spent 27 weeks atop Hot Country Songs with her Charlie Puth-assisted hit “I Hope” and closed out the year as the sole country artist on Billboard’s Top Female Artists year-end ranking. Mason adds, “We’ve been able to amplify that success by intentionally incorporating data into our strategy and decision-making.”

Katie McCartney
GM, Monument Records

“Fancy Like” by Monument Records artist Walker Hayes became a pop and country phenomenon, reaching No. 3 on the Hot 100 and becoming his first No. 1 Country Airplay hit. “The strategy put into place by the Monument team and Walker’s team to capitalize on such an amazing moment has been unreal,” says McCartney. “From the original digital moments to sitting on top of the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart for multiple weeks to a national TV ad campaign to critical mass airplay in multiple genres — nobody deserves it more.”

Simone Mitchell
President, Quality Control Music 

Mitchell, 32, joined Quality Control in 2014 as a part-time employee working in administration and assisting with the Atlanta label’s early signees, including Migos. In October 2021, CEO Pierre “P” Thomas and COO Kevin “Coach K” Lee promoted Mitchell to president of the influential hip-hop indie. In recent years, Quality Control expanded its divisions beyond music and its head count to 30-plus people, and in her new role, Mitchell hopes to make use of the larger team. “With department heads and recent executive hirings,” she says, “we are able to execute ideas and campaigns as a fully equipped unit.”

Michele Nadelman
CFO, Warner Records
Karen Kwak
Executive vp/head of A&R, Warner Records
Claudia Butzky
Executive vp of brand partnerships and sync, Warner Records

“2021 was an extremely challenging year, to say the least, but I’m very proud of our team, as we pulled together and delivered our highest-revenue year in over 10 years,” says Nadelman. The label’s 2021 successes included Dua Lipa’s rise to global superstardom, Saweetie’s best new artist Grammy nomination, the introduction of Bella Poarch with her hit video “Build a B–ch” and the breakout of critically acclaimed Los Angeles rapper Remble. “Warner Records is now perfectly poised to make a lot of noise in 2022,” Nadelman adds, citing new projects from Remble, Poarch, Saweetie, Omar Apollo, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Walters, NLE Choppa, Michael Bublé, Muse, Benson Boone and Nessa Barrett, among others.

Dua Lipa
Dua Lipa attends The Fashion Awards 2021 at the Royal Albert Hall on November 29, 2021 in London, England. Karwai Tang/WireImage

Erica M. Paul
VP/head of digital marketing, Island Records

After a role in which she guided digital initiatives for three of Universal Music Group’s East Coast labels (Def Jam, Republic and Island), Paul last year became vp/head of digital marketing for Island. She has used her expertise to create and capitalize on viral moments for Shawn Mendes, The Killers and R&B vocalist Trinidad Cardona — whose 2017 release, “Dinero,” become a TikTok smash in 2021. For Demi Lovato’s Dancing With the Devil… The Art of Starting Over, Paul created one-on-one fan experiences and intimate listening parties. “Our work is focused on artist integrity,” she says, “while also advocating for fans.”

Gabrielle Peluso
Co-president, Asylum Records

Since joining Asylum three years ago, Peluso has leaned on what she learned during 15 years working for Def Jam, where she discovered how much a small, close-knit team could accomplish. “That was my focus when I was offered this opportunity at Asylum: bring things back to basics,” says Peluso, who is co-president of the label alongside Dallas Martin. Asylum’s roster includes Seddy Hendrinx, Ken the Man, Jay Loud and Detroit rapper Sada Baby — whose “Whole Lotta Choppas” featuring Nicki Minaj reached No. 35 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. “It may take us longer to break an artist, but the process is 100 times more meaningful,” says Peluso. “The artists signed to Asylum are in control of their careers, learning the business, becoming their own bosses, and there is nothing more rewarding than that.”

Sylvia Rhone
Chairwoman/CEO, Epic Records
Margeaux Watson
Senior vp of marketing, Epic Records

With a roster of established hitmakers like DJ Khaled, who landed his third No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in May, and Giveon, who turned a breakout year into a half-dozen Grammy nominations, Epic managed a banner year on both fronts in 2021, with BIA and Mimi Webb set to continue making waves as well. “Power is empowering others,” said Rhone in comments regarding her Billboard Power List honor in January. “It’s the daily application of your authentic self to effectively uplift those around you. If done right, it makes everyone stronger.”

Katie Robinson
VP of marketing, Elektra Music Group 

Elektra scored with twenty one pilots, which earned their third No. 1 on Top Rock Albums in June with Scaled and Icy, and secured a new partnership with Avril Lavigne to support the release of her seventh studio album, Love Sux, alongside Travis Barker’s DTA Records. The record will “inspire an entire new generation,” says Robinson, 38. On the night that the “Bite Me” singer signed to DTA, there was a celebration at Barker’s Los Angeles studio that ended with an “epic cake fight,” she adds. “Everyone left covered in vegan cake, confetti and champagne.”

Brenda Romano
President of promotion, Interscope Geffen A&M
Michelle An
Executive vp/head of visual, Interscope Geffen A&M
Annie Lee
CFO, Interscope Geffen A&M
Nicole Wyskoarko
Executive vp/co-head of A&R, Interscope Geffen A&M

In 2021, Interscope Geffen A&M celebrated its highest annual revenue in its 30-year history, according to the company. It’s a feat that Lee credits to its growing film division, which in 2020 became a “significant source of revenue” thanks to IGA working alongside partner The Darkroom to produce and sell two Billie Eilish projects — documentary Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry and partially animated concert film Happier Than Ever: A Love Letter to Los Angeles — to Apple and Disney+, respectively. At the same time, says Lee, “Our core business has thrived,” noting continued success for Lady Gaga and Machine Gun Kelly alongside a “new set of superstar artists” including Olivia Rodrigo, Moneybagg Yo and Kali Uchis. “All of these artists have moved culture in their own way.”

Jacqueline Saturn
President, Virgin Music Label and Artist Services

Saturn, who turned her backyard into “a home office and a gathering place for the team,” has guided the newly rebranded Virgin as it expanded globally with 12 international offices. The company has leveraged partnerships with Primary Wave/Gaither Music Group, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Soulja Boy and NCT-127, among others. And that’s in addition to No. 1 Billboard 200 debuts since 2019 from Lil Baby, Trippie Redd, NF and K-pop act SuperM. Says Saturn: “Power is our artists and label partners trusting us with their vision and empowering us to build and tell their story for them and with them.”

Michele Smith
VP of estate and legacy brand management, Concord

Smith, who is responsible for the label partnership and brand licensing of Stax Records and the estates of Billie Holiday and Tammy Wynette, co-produced the 2019 documentary Billie, which won documentary of the year at the 25th annual JJA Jazz Awards. Smith also worked with the Concord Stax Scholarship Fund, which she says will raise $1 million “for 100 deserving Memphis-based Stax Music Academy students over the next five years.”

Camille Soto Malave
CEO, Glad Empire

Soto Malave’s digital music distributor Glad Empire has released remixes of hit singles “Travesuras” by Nio García, Casper Mágico, Myke Towers, Ozuna, Wisin & Yandel and Flow La Movie and “AM” by García, Bad Bunny and J Balvin, accruing millions of streams. Those successes came through her company’s multimillion-dollar distribution deal with independent label Flow La Movie, which was founded by and named for the Puerto Rican producer who was born José Angel Hernández. Following Hernández’s death in a December plane crash, Soto Malave will continue to serve as exclusive administrator for the company, gearing up to release García’s first solo album, El de los Hits.

Colleen Theis
COO, The Orchard

The Sony-owned global independent music distributor is celebrating its 25th year with a new partnership with Bad Bunny manager Noah Assad and his Rimas Entertainment, as well as an improved market share, both domestically and internationally. “The power of streaming means music knows no boundaries,” says Theis. “In the past year, we’ve broken boundaries and seen success in every genre. We will continue to redefine distribution by expanding our comprehensive suite of services and tackling every challenge with the artist in mind.”

Nicola Tuer
COO, Sony Music UK & Ireland

One of the highest-ranking women in the music business in the repertoire-rich British market, Tuer has shared in the success of Adele’s record-breaking album 30, which spent five weeks at No. 1 on the United Kingdom’s Official Albums chart. Breakout hits from Tom Grennan, Joy Crookes and Riton helped further lift the label’s domestic market share, while the launch of Sony’s global Artist Forward initiative confirmed its commitment to supporting acts “across all aspects of their career,” says Tuer, who began her career in music retail. “We only thrive if our artists do, so this level of holistic support is fundamental to improving our business.”

Natalie Turano
VP of marketing, Disney Music Group
Barbara Vander Linde
VP of music publishing and A&R, Disney Music Group 

Disney Music Group is dedicated to projects rooted in “authentic storytelling,” says Vander Linde, citing the animated film Encanto, with music by Lin-Manuel Miranda; the Our Family to Yours holiday ad series starring a Filipino family; and singer-actress Brandy serving as the spokeswoman for the 18-month Ultimate Disney Princess franchise celebration. Turano notes that Disney’s collaboration with ESPN on the Music for the Movement EPs is an example of how the company creates “awareness and conversations about social justice through music.”

Marcela Vaccari
VP of business development, Latin & Iberia, Warner Music Latin 

Warner Music Latin is “continuing to grow in market share,” says Vaccari, 36, thanks to the achievements of artists like Myke Towers and Justin Quiles. In April, Towers won new artist of the year at Billboard’s 2021 Latin Music Awards and reached No. 3 on the Top Latin Albums chart with Lyke Mike, while Quiles’ La Última Promesa peaked at No. 12 in September, propelled by the summer hit “Loco.” To “keep the momentum going,” she says, the label is focused on emerging acts across Latin America, recently signing Micro TDH and Tiago PZK.

Heather Vassar
VP of marketing, Nashville, EMPIRE

Vassar helped EMPIRE’s country music division reach new heights with a trio of rising acts: Shaboozey, Sophia Scott and Tenille Arts. Shaboozey is “already causing a stir in hip-hop and country spaces,” says Vassar, 35, while Scott was featured on Iggy Azalea’s “Sex on the Beach” and supported Kelsea Ballerini and the Jonas Brothers on tour, and Arts’ “Somebody Like That” peaked at No. 50 on the Hot 100 and No. 3 on Country Airplay. The latter song became EMPIRE Nashville’s first platinum record, as well as, Vassar says, “the first song to reach No. 1 written, produced and performed by an all-female team in country music.”

Jennifer Way
Senior vp of marketing, Sony Music Nashville

Way, 38, has supported the success of Kane Brown, Miranda Lambert and Brad Paisley, among others. But Way also cites the importance of the Nashville Equity Taskforce, comprising staff from Sony Nashville, Provident Entertainment and Sony Music Publishing, all seeking to improve inclusion among their workforce and support local activist groups. The task force was created after Sony Music Group in June 2020 established its $100 million Global Social Justice Fund amid the national outcry for racial and social justice. “We have a lot more work to do in addressing equity and inclusion within the [country] format,” says Way, “but I’m incredibly proud of our team’s efforts to effect change in our company and our community.”

Miranda Lambert
Miranda Lambert performs during the 55th annual Country Music Association awards at the Bridgestone Arena on November 10, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. John Shearer/GI

Elsa Yep
CFO/executive vp of operations, Universal Music Latin America & Iberian Peninsula

Yep’s successes in the past year include the international growth of the label’s marquee talent, including Karol G and Sebastián Yatra. According to Vevo’s annual year-end recap, Karol G was the most-viewed artist globally of 2021, with 3.11 billion views, beating out The Weeknd for the top slot. Meanwhile, Yatra, who most recently scored his first Hot 100 entry with Encanto’s “Dos Oruguitas,” reaching No. 36 (and still climbing), landed three Top 100 Spotify Global hits, including the Myke Towers-assisted “Pareja del Año,” which peaked at No. 10 on the Hot Latin Songs chart.

Women In Music

Elizabeth Collins
Co-president, The Azoff Company

Collins, who is co-president of The Azoff Company with Susan Genco, is “very happy with how the year played out” for the multifaceted company. “First and foremost, our entire team showed incredible resilience and flexibility in the face of an ever-changing environment,” she says. The company’s venue development division, Oak View Group, celebrated the opening of the Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle and the UBS Arena in New York. “We also closed on our acquisition of Spectra, which expanded significantly our [live-event] services business. At Full Stop Management, we welcomed back touring with incredible shows by Harry Styles, the Eagles, The Doobie Brothers and Maroon 5, among others. We also had our first full year of operations at Iconic Artists Group, where we are very proud to be involved with the timeless music of [such acts as] The Beach Boys, Linda Ronstadt and David Crosby.”

Danielle Engen
Director of studio operations, Electric Feel Entertainment

Electric Feel reports that it was represented on the Hot 100 during every week of 2021 by one of its artists, songwriters or producers. Engen’s recent accomplishments include working to open new studios in Miami, Utah and New York, as well as a mobile studio that Post Malone used to record singles such as “Motley Crew” and “One Night Row” during the second leg of his Runaway Tour and at his home during the beginning of the pandemic. Says Engen: “It’s amazing to be part of a team hitting such exciting milestones.”

Amber Grimes
Executive vp/GM, LVRN Records; partner, LVRN Management

Grimes’ dual appointments earlier this year — after LVRN announced the hiring and promotion of five female staffers last May — further underscore the company’s commitment to invest in and strengthen its female leadership: Currently, 40% of its staff is female. LVRN also teamed with psychotherapist Syreeta Butler to establish its mental health and wellness division, offering employees and artists access to free therapy services. “Female leadership has produced innovative and visionary ideas across our company,” says Grimes. “And we hope that as a balanced organization, we will inspire a well-balanced industry.”

Bea Koramblyum
Global head of business affairs, Downtown Music Services

In April, Downtown Music Holdings announced “a strategic decision to focus its business interests exclusively on the fast-growing music services sector, providing distribution, copyright management, creative marketing and financing solutions for songwriters and artists,” says Koramblyum, 42, who was promoted to her current position last year after being with the company for a decade. She has negotiated and signed deals with artists and writers including Arca, Ibeyi, Tank and the Bangas and Suzanne Vega.

Suzanne Vega
Suzanne Vega poses at the Re-Opening Night of “Girl From The North Country” on Broadway at The Belasco Theatre on October 13, 2021 in New York City. Bruce Glikas/GI

Clara Pablo
Senior vp of global marketing, WK Entertainment

Maluma’s 27-date Papi Juancho Tour in the United States was one of WK Entertainment’s biggest achievements of 2021. “We were the first to announce a major arena tour post-pandemic cancellations,” Pablo says, adding that “every night was nearly sold out.” The successful trek, which ranked No. 14 on the year-end Top Tours chart with a gross of $24.5 million, plans to hit Europe in 2022. Additionally, Pablo highlights Los Legendarios, Wisin and Jhay Cortez’s “Fiel” as “one of the biggest Latin songs in 2021 worldwide” released under WK Entertainment and La Base/WK Records. “Fiel” ended the year among Billboard’s top 10 Hot Latin Songs.

Elyse Rogers
Executive vp, Artist Partner Group

The past 12 months marked an “incredible new phase” for Artist Partner Group as an independent label, says Rogers. The company (which also includes a music publishing arm) boasts recent breakouts Lexi Jayde and Cico P. “It’s so rare to find yourself in a position of having the track record of breaking multiple platinum artists globally and starting 2.0 of what was already a young, successful company,” says Rogers. “It gives us the speed and flexibility to stay on the front edge of the modern music business.”

Maria Weaver
President, WMX

In November, Warner Music Group launched new services division WMX to connect artists and fans with brands. The platform includes a commercial services and marketing network and a creative content division, giving Weaver control of “culture-shaping brands,” as she calls them, such as Uproxx and HipHopDX, and concert platform Songkick. The division’s online properties have 249 million monthly visitors, according to WMX. Weaver adds: “We’ve multiplied opportunities for our artists, streamlining the media-buying process for advertisers and giving brands unparalleled access to our massive, music-obsessed audience.”

Women In Music

Lydia Asrat
Co-founder, 10Q Management

Along with 10Q partner Josh Kaplan and SALXCO’s Wassim “Sal” Slaiby and Gordan Dillard, Asrat has guided the breakthrough of Doja Cat, whose “Need To Know” returned to the top 10 of the Hot 100 in January (it previously hit No. 8 in November), fueling the continued success of the rapper-singer’s album Planet Her. “We have managed the creation, promotion and release of an album that has received 11 Grammy nominations,” says Asrat, citing her artist’s nods for the 2021 and 2022 Grammy Awards.

Virginia Bunetta
Managing partner, G-Major Management

After a year of lockdown, Bunetta, 41, can sum up the highlight of 2021 in just one word: touring. Her client Thomas Rhett returned to the road last year, bringing his Center Point Road tour to hungry crowds after the pandemic forced a postponement of 2020 dates. “I’m so proud of launching and executing a successful tour in 2021,” she says. The wins kept coming offstage, too: Rhett scored his 17th No. 1 on the Country Airplay chart with “Country Again,” which also netted him a 2022 Grammy nomination for best country song.

Kelly Clague
Executive vp, EM.Co; president, SafeTour

Clague, 53, says her management client Tim McGraw had “an incredible year” that included a starring role in the Western drama 1883, which premiered on Paramount+ in December. Clague also guides the nonprofit SafeTour, which has established itself as a touring industry leader in battling harassment and discrimination in the work environment while strengthening accountability and best practices. “With our partners at Hollaback!,” says Clague, “we completed the build-out of our new training program and were able to make it available to artists and their tours.”

Rebecca Drucker
CEO, That’s What She Said

Drucker worked closely with star client Ricky Martin and producer Jaycen Joshua on the development of a new immersive headphone and speaker technology, Orbital Audio, which launched in 2020. The company counts H.E.R. and Myke Towers among its users and is “the best on the planet,” she says. Drucker notes that other highlights of the past year include helping to secure a lucrative new deal for Martin with skin-care line Kumiko and his 15-date arena tour alongside Enrique Iglesias, which grossed nearly $20 million. A new run of dates is scheduled for later this year.

Martha Earls
Owner, EFG Management

Earls’ Nashville-based company helped its clients find success on multiple fronts during the past year. Kane Brown staged an NBA arena tour, Restless Road sent its single “Growing Old With You” to No. 1 on Country Digital Song Sales, Dylan Schneider signed with Broken Bow Records, and alt-pop band NIGHTLY joined the EFG roster. Earls says, “I am proud of the work that we did to continue to grow our artists’ careers and raise their profiles.”

Ann Edelblute
Owner, The HQ

Carrie Underwood’s longtime manager guided the launch of the singer’s first Las Vegas residency with six sold-out shows at Resorts World Theatre in December. Edelblute also secured an equity partnership between the seven-time Grammy winner and Coca-Cola’s Bodyarmor sports drink and oversaw the release of her new album, My Savior, with a concert at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. The event was “livestreamed globally on Facebook on Easter Sunday,” Edelblute says, “raising over $112,000 for Save the Children.”

Kerri Edwards
President, KP Entertainment

“Team KPE,” as Edwards calls it, had plenty of wins in 2021 among its management clients: Cole Swindell scored a Country Airplay No. 1 with “Single Saturday Night,” while Dylan Scott’s summer hit “Nobody” took home breakthrough video of the year at the CMT Music Awards. And then there was Luke Bryan. The American Idol judge and country star’s achievements included launching a documentary series on IMDb TV, My Dirt Road Diary; earning the Academy of Country Music’s entertainer of the year prize; hosting the Country Music Association Awards; and wrapping a 35-date tour.

Mary Hilliard Harrington
Artist manager, Red Light Management

As the leader of Red Light’s Nashville office, Harrington, 45, guides the careers of Dierks Bentley, Caylee Hammack, Elle King and others. The former chairwoman of the Country Music Association wrapped the year by adding “executive producer” to her résumé with the creation of the country music special New Year’s Eve Live: Nashville’s Big Bash, which aired on CBS and “highlighted our genre and city in a fresh way,” she says.

Kelly Hughes
Day-to-day manager, Blue Raincoat Music

Hughes’ client Phoebe Bridgers had a banner 2021, including a Saturday Night Live appearance, a collaboration with Taylor Swift on Red (Taylor’s Version) and the continued growth of her own Secretly Group label, Saddest Factory Records. A successful return to the road, however, was perhaps the most meaningful win. “She set a precedent by moving all shows to outdoor venues and requiring attendees to be vaccinated or tested per state regulations,” says Hughes, 35. “Phoebe did everything in her power to keep the band, crew and fans as safe as possible.”

Allison Kaye
President, SB Projects
Jennifer McDaniels
GM, SB Projects

“The possibilities are endless,” said Kaye in January, when she appeared on the Billboard Power List, describing the $1.05 billion deal that brought together Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings (the parent company of SB Projects) with Bang Si-hyuk’s HYBE in April, merging the management homes of Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato and BTS. While McDaniels worked closely with the SB Projects team and HYBE during the merger of the two companies, she also played a key role in Bieber’s New Year’s Eve pandemic livestream from Los Angeles on Dec. 31, 2020, which led to the documentary Justin Bieber: Our World. Her marketing skills have helped Grande achieve a social media following of 413 million fans, according to SB Projects.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 27: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) (EDITORS NOTE: This image has been retouched) In this image released on May 27, Ariana Grande performs onstage at the 2021 iHeartRadio Music Awards at The Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California, which was broadcast live on FOX on May 27, 2021. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)
Ariana Grande performs onstage at the 2021 iHeartRadio Music Awards at The Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California, which was broadcast live on FOX on May 27, 2021. Kevin Mazur/GI

Tina Kennedy
Dani Russin
Managers, Full Stop Management

At Full Stop Management, Russin takes pride in her role at a company “whose roster represents such a diverse and inclusive vision of our future,” she says. “Artists such as Troye Sivan, Lizzo, Orville Peck and Carlie Hanson have a unique and innate ability to connect and give hope to audiences who have historically felt underrepresented and/or unseen.” Kennedy was an executive producer of the 24-hour Global Citizen Live event in September that addressed climate change and poverty. Among her clients is Gwen Stefani, a coach on The Voice who has wrapped a multiyear residency in Las Vegas and is launching a beauty business. “Bringing dreams to fruition is what I’m passionate about,” she says.

Marion Kraft
CEO, ShopKeeper Management

Kraft, 57, saw her superstar client Miranda Lambert claim a third Grammy in 2021 for best country album with Wildcard, a sold-out tour and the title “restaurateur,” thanks to ownership of the new Nashville hotspot Casa Rosa. Kraft is most proud that Lambert — who holds the record for the most Academy of Country Music Award wins with 35 — is the first female entertainer to stake a claim on Broadway, Nashville’s rollicking restaurant row. Kraft’s clients Tenille Townes (a Juno Award winner for The Lemonade Stand) and Ashley Monroe have also worked continuously through shutdowns and challenges, as have the Pistol Annies — Lambert’s trio with Monroe and Angaleena Presley, which recently released the Christmas set Hell of a Holiday.

Rebeca León
Founder/CEO, Lionfish Entertainment

One of Latin music’s most influential managers, León has spent the year paving the way for client Rosalía’s next big album for Columbia Records and expanding Lunay’s touring footprint with mainstream U.S. festival appearances at Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits despite continuing “uncertainty around touring.” There’s also a new partnership with Paulus Music to support budding Dominican star Tokischa, whose collaboration with Rosalía, “LINDA,” made waves last fall.

Jaime Levine
CEO, Seven Mantels

Shakira’s longtime manager scored a coup for her superstar client when she brokered the sale of the artist’s 145-song publishing catalog to Hipgnosis Songs Fund in January 2021. Shakira, meanwhile, continued to work on new music for her upcoming 2022 Sony album (which is not part of the Hipgnosis sale). Levine will also serve as co-executive producer, along with Shakira, of the Colombian star’s new NBC dance competition series, Dancing With Myself. Other TV and film projects are also in development, says Levine.

Shakira performs onstage during the Pepsi Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show at Hard Rock Stadium on February 02, 2020 in Miami, Florida. Kevin Winter/GI

Stacia Mac
CEO, ODA Management/House of Legends

CEO and “momager” Mac celebrated the success of her son Polo G’s hit song “Rapstar,” which debuted at No. 1 on the Hot 100 and ruled for two weeks. The single is from his Billboard 200-topping album Hall of Fame, which has surpassed 1 million consumption units. “Despite reluctance from others to release ‘Rapstar,’ [we decided] to proceed,” says Mac. She notes of this “pivotal point” in her career: “Being attentive to fans and keeping a pulse on what interests our audience propelled the track.”

Jeanine McLean-Williams
President/managing partner, MBK Entertainment
Misha Hedman Mayes
GM, MBK Entertainment

It was a double win for MBK Entertainment when two of its clients, H.E.R. and Tiara Thomas, won the song of the year Grammy Award in 2021 for co-writing “I Can’t Breathe” and then captured the best original song Academy Award for co-writing “Fight for You” (from Judas and the Black Messiah). “To have two African American women share the honor of both an Oscar win and Grammy win in the same year is historic,” says McLean-Williams. “H.E.R. and Tiara exemplify what it means to be bosses, power players and women in music.”

Wendy Ong
Co-president, TaP Music

TaP Music’s former client Dua Lipa, whose “Levitating” was the No. 1 Hot 100 song of 2021, launched one of the most anticipated tours of 2022 in February. Ong, who has been helping Noah Cyrus develop new music, is always looking to bring fresh talent into the fold. K-pop superstar CL, a recent signee, is a case in point. “We put a lot of passion into the work we do and take pride in being able to bring value to our artists at any point in their career,” Ong says. It’s no coincidence these musicians are all women, as TaP’s nonprofit division is working to right the imbalance in representation of female artists.

Luana Pagani
President, Seitrack U.S.

Pagani’s artist management agency surpassed its expectations in 2021. With Alejandro Fernández, Los Ángeles Azules, Alejandro Sanz and David Bisbal, among others, hitting the road, the company was responsible for 170 dates across the United States between August and December, she says. “I am proud to say that most of the shows were sold out with an extremely low [evidence of] COVID-19 spread,” says Pagani, who credits her team for helping make it all possible. Seitrack U.S. also grew its roster by signing Joss Favela, Edith Marquez, The Change and Nuevo Elemento, to name a few.

Ashley Poitevin
VP of artist management, MNRK Music Group

As the manager for Canadian acts like electro-pop singer-songwriter Lights and alt-rock band Arkells, Poitevin, 35, says her MNRK artists have pushed back against the livestream model since the beginning of the pandemic, preferring to keep the focus on “real-life experiences and connection” whenever possible. That included Arkells’ return to live shows for 30,000 fans at Toronto’s Budweiser Stage last August, which Poitevin calls “a dice-rolling dream that was largely built in three weeks” and “a memory that you cannot buy.”

Tamara Simmons
Director of operations, SALXCO

Simmons stayed busy with a flurry of high-profile projects including The Weeknd’s Emmy Award-nominated Super Bowl LV halftime show in February 2021, during which he performed hits such as “Blinding Lights” — a track that later made history as the No. 1 Hot 100 song of all time. Fellow SALXCO management client Doja Cat was nominated for eight 2022 Grammys, including album, record and song of the year, while client Metro Boomin was named producer of the year at the BMI R&B/Hip-Hop Awards. Meanwhile, Swedish House Mafia, which is now also under SALXCO management, announced its reunion and a global tour.

Kristen Smith
Founder, Camp Far West Management

Though they recently parted ways, Smith helped guide client Olivia Rodrigo into the stratosphere during a breakout 2021. Not only did the singer reach the summit of the Hot 100 and the Billboard 200, she earned seven Grammy nominations — including record, song and album of the year and best new artist — and the title of Woman of the Year from Billboard. “Olivia has incredible vision for her art,” said Smith in January when she appeared on the Billboard Power List, “and witnessing her rise to the occasion over and over again is amazing.”

Taren Smith
Artist manager, YM&U Group

Smith, 31, was at the forefront of music’s non-fungible token boom, overseeing 3LAU’s game-changing NFT auctions that have generated over $20 million in revenue for the independent dance music producer-DJ, the highest-earning musician in the digital-collectible space. After that success, Smith began giving crash courses in NFTs to other managers and industry executives both inside and outside her firm, helping drive much-needed income for artists unable to tour during the pandemic. The Albuquerque, N.M., native also manages an array of other dance acts, and she signed the first digital-artist client, Slimesunday, to her company’s new visual arts division.

Ebonie P. Ward
Management partner, Emagen Entertainment Group

From opening her own clothing boutique to working with a then-up-and-coming Future, Ward established herself in Atlanta’s hip-hop scene well before Anthony Saleh asked her to join his artist management company, Emagen, in 2018. Her latest triumph at the firm is client Gunna, whose third album, DS4Ever, debuted atop the Billboard 200 in January. “Working with my team to develop the marketing and rollout strategy to impact the culture in a way that wasn’t done before was a challenge that I was determined to meet,” she says.

Women In Music

Audrey Ashby
Senior vp of business affairs, catalog, Sony Music Publishing
Katie Welle
Senior vp of creative, Sony Music Publishing
Anna Weisband
VP of creative, Nashville, Sony Music Publishing
Meghann Wright
Director of royalty administration (North America), Sony Music Publishing
Jen Gobeille
Associate director of copyright (North America), Sony Music Publishing

As part of Sony Music Group and under the guidance of its chairman/CEO, Jon Platt, Sony Music Publishing continued to pursue a more transparent, songwriter-friendly future. In July, the company launched Songwriters Forward, a new program that allows certain legacy signings to receive royalties from their work even if they have never recouped their advance. The publisher hopes to “wipe the slate clean” for songwriters so that they can “focus on creativity,” says Ashby. “Under Jon’s leadership, [we have] risen to the occasion.”

Kat Basolo
VP of creative synch, Kobalt
Jamie Kinelski
Jill Tschogl
VPs of creative, Kobalt

Kobalt’s creative team celebrated a banner year: Tschogl helped to close recent deals with Young Thug, Roddy Ricch, London on Da Track, Machine Gun Kelly and M.I.A.; Basolo, 39, landed over 100 synch placements for the publisher’s artists in campaigns with Google, Apple, Toyota and the Summer Olympics in Tokyo; and Kinelski’s signing of Kali Uchis scored a breakout hit with “Telepatía,” which spent eight weeks at No. 1 on the Hot Latin Songs chart. Kinelski signed her after catching the artist’s set at South by Southwest in 2016, when she “played a show for 10 people,” she says, “so it has been thrilling to witness her finally receive the recognition she deserves.”

Mandy Gabriel
VP of film, television and advertising, Universal Music Publishing Group
Lillia Parsa
Senior vp of A&R, Universal Music Publishing Group
Ana Rosa Santiago
VP of Latin music, Universal Music Publishing Group
Taylor Testa
VP of A&R, Universal Music Publishing Group

In December 2020, Universal Music Publishing Group writer Bad Bunny made history when El Último Tour del Mundo became the first all-Spanish-language album to reach No. 1 on the all-genre Billboard 200. In 2021, the Puerto Rican star became Spotify’s most streamed artist in the world for the second consecutive year with more than 9.1 billion streams and a No. 1 on the Top Latin Albums chart with his recent vinyl-exclusive Anniversary Trilogy. “Bad Bunny is a well-rounded artist who constantly surprises our team with his individuality,” says Santiago.

Golnar Khosrowshahi
Founder/CEO, Reservoir Media
Donna Caseine
Executive vp/global creative director, Reservoir Media
Faith Newman
Executive vp of A&R and catalog development, Reservoir Media

See Executive of the Year profile above.

Carianne Marshall
Co-chair/COO, Warner Chappell Music
Jenni Pfaff
Senior vp/head of global strategic integration and operations, Warner Chappell Music
Shani Gonzales
Managing director, Warner Chappell Music U.K.; head of international A&R, Warner Chappell Music

Marshall, along with Warner Chappell Music co-chair/CEO Guy Moot, has guided efforts to bring a new unified strategy to the publisher that is “department-agnostic,” as Marshall says. One step in that process was the appointment last year of Pfaff, whose role has included gathering input and feedback from Warner Chappell songwriters and their managers from around the world, while working with company leaders in synch, creative services, digital and administration to promote synergy. In London, Gonzales renewed Warner Chappell’s deal for the song catalog of the late George Michael, promoted collaborations across the company’s international roster and signed British songwriter-rapper Central Cee, who was nominated this year for three BRIT Awards.

Clio Massey
GM, Work of Art Music Publishing; vp of A&R, Arista Records

Massey’s Work of Art scored early by signing JP Saxe in 2019. Since then, she has helped steer the Canadian artist’s mainstream breakthrough, led by the hit “If the World Was Ending,” co-written by and featuring songwriter-artist Julia Michaels. The track has notched over 1.2 billion global streams and is certified three-times platinum in the United States. It earned a Grammy Award nomination for song of the year in 2021 — a milestone that Massey notes is “a particularly meaningful category for songwriters and publishers.”

Katie Mitzell Fagan
Head of A&R, Nashville, Prescription Songs
Rhea Pasricha
Head of A&R, West Coast, Prescription Songs

Prescription Songs’ revenue increased 40% in the past year, according to the company, while it expanded its offices in Los Angeles and Nashville “with new A&R and team hires,” says Mitzell Fagan, 34. The company’s marquee songwriter Doja Cat had major success with her singles “Kiss Me More,” “Need To Know” and “You Right,” and is also nominated for best rap song at the Grammy Awards after appearing on Saweetie’s “Best Friend.” Elsewhere on the Prescription roster, KbeaZy became one of the youngest producers to have a No. 1 on the Hot 100 with 24kGoldn’s “Mood,” featuring iann dior. KbeaZy also co-produced Lil Nas X’s “That’s What I Want.”

Helen Murphy
CEO, Anthem Entertainment

Under Murphy, Anthem Entertainment’s most recent achievement is the acquisition of the country hit-laden catalog of songwriter Kelly Archer, whose songs have been recorded by Jason Aldean, Dustin Lynch, Reba McEntire, Trisha Yearwood and many others. Among the Vancouver native’s hits are Travis Denning’s “After a Few” and Justin Moore’s “Somebody Else Will,” both of which hit No. 1 on the Country Airplay chart, and Brett Young’s “Sleep Without You,” which reached No. 2. Anthem and RED Creative Group have also signed Archer to an exclusive go-forward deal that covers her future songs.

Kelly Archer
Kelly Archer performs at City Winery Nashville on February 28, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. Jason Kempin/GI

Natalia Nastaskin
Chief content officer, Primary Wave Music

Amid a busy year overseeing artist management clients, brand partnerships, synch rights, NFTs, theatrical musicals and more, Primary Wave continued to make waves with its music catalog acquisitions. It has secured deals with Sun Records and the estates of Prince, James Brown, Luther Vandross, Bing Crosby and Gerry Goffin. And in January, it expanded its catalog partnership with Def Leppard. “When we acquire catalogs or sign talent, it is because we believe that we can bring them certain opportunities,” says Nastaskin. More rewarding than working on the world’s “most important music,” she adds, “is knowing that our partners — the creators — are seeing the value of their retained shares increasing through our team’s efforts.”

Molly Neuman
President, Songtrust

Songtrust, which represents over 350,000 songwriters with more than 3 million songs in 245 countries and territories, continues to pursue growth by reaching out to songwriters, producers, collaborators and other music creators. Serving such professionals at all career stages from the DIY sector to established songwriters that own their copyrights, as well as working with music publishing companies that need administration solutions, the Downtown Music Holdings company has expanded its outreach in Africa, Latin America and Asia, where education about songwriter rights and publishing administration services are deeply needed, Neuman says.

Miwa Okumura
Senior vp of West Coast operations and licensing, Beggars Group

Okumura advocates for and works closely with all artists on the Beggars roster, but has found the past year particularly special because it “provided a great opportunity to hone in on our recent signings who happen to [comprise] those in the LGBTQ, BIPOC and AAPI communities,” she says, citing acts including Lucinda Chua, Tkay Maidza, Spencer., Yaeji and Arca who all “had great placements in shows like HBO Max’s Euphoria, Gossip Girl, Betty and Insecure.”

Kathy Spanberger
President/COO, Anglo American region, peermusic

Despite disruption in their normal routines — including “huge personal challenges and loss” — independent music publisher peermusic’s staff and songwriters “showed up every day to do their work,” says Spanberger, who has been at the company for 43 years. “Their dedication and loyalty not only kept the firm on track but allowed us to continue to thrive during a pandemic. They are indeed the greatest achievement any executive could hope for.” Spanberger directly supervises, approves and is actively involved in recruitment of all of peermusic’s publishing signings in the United States, Canada and Australia, spanning pop, R&B, hip-hop, rock, Latin and country. The family-owned publishing company ranked at No. 8 on Billboard’s year-end Hot 100 Publishing Corporations chart.

Founder, 3:02 Publishing

After co-writing hits for Camila Cabello, Maroon 5 and Drake, Starrah launched her own publishing outfit, 3:02, with manager Nick Jarjour. The company comprises other songwriter-producers that she first met on Myspace, Twitter and Instagram. The publisher’s latest credit? Co-writing and producing Normani and Cardi B’s “Wild Side,” which became its “first No. 1 placement” when it topped the Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart dated Jan. 1. The milestone, says Starrah, “shows the manifestation power of a team that has the same vision.”

Women In Music

Kathy Baker
Head of U.S. label relations, YouTube
Anh Nguyen
Global head of marketing, music, podcasts and premium, YouTube

YouTube made a “steadfast commitment to supporting Black artists” on the platform with the launch of its #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund in 2020, says Baker. The program provides financial support, training and networking for Black creators on YouTube. Rapper Slick Rick served as a mentor for the class of 2022, which includes 52 artists, producers and songwriters from countries such as Brazil, South Africa, Nigeria and Uganda in addition to the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada. “We’re providing dedicated partner support, funding for content creation and opportunities to participate in training and networking programs focused on production, fan engagement and well-being,” says Baker.

Sara Clemens
Former COO, Twitch

During the pandemic, Twitch established itself as an outlet for artists who weren’t able to perform live shows in front of fans. The service partnered with creators to “build direct fan relationships, launch new music and innovate with live, interactive experiences,” says Clemens, noting that the median viewership for artists making $50,000 a year was roughly 183 fans. “We were delighted that Twitch was a natural home for these artists to maintain and grow their connections with fans and create new revenue streams at such a critical time,” said Clemens prior to departing from Twitch in January.

Jillian Gerngross
Director, Amazon Music Europe, Australia and New Zealand
Rochelle Balogun
Senior music curator, Amazon Music
Ana Martínez
Senior label and artist relations manager, Amazon Music

Amazon Music worked extensively in R&B/hip-hop and Latin over the past 18 months, which helped grow its subscriber count to exceed 55 million globally. The streaming service is continuing to diversify its Latin music audience with the creation of two new verticals: Whiskey & Tequila, which “brings together regional Mexican and country music,” and Fluent, which “celebrates those that move between languages and generations,” says Martínez. “At Amazon Music, we’re proud to celebrate the fluidity and universal reach of Latin music by connecting cultures, languages and genres.”

Min Hu
CFO, Tencent Music Entertainment Group

As China’s largest music streaming service, Tencent Music Entertainment Group (“TME”) had over 71 million music subscribers and 636 million monthly mobile music users in the third quarter of 2021. To that end, Tencent Music Entertainment Group used what it calls a “dual engine content-and-platform” strategy to create “a powerful magnet for launching talent,” especially younger Generation Z artists. The platform offers support services, livestreaming and other opportunities to strengthen the presence of its 300,000 registered acts. “Music platforms need to entertain users,” Hu says, “and, at the same time, build a broad and valuable stage for musicians.”

Mary Kay Huse
CEO, Mandolin

As the live business faced pandemic-related challenges, Mandolin helped bridge the gap between virtual and in-person experiences, working with clients including John Legend, Grace Potter, The Decemberists and the London edition of the Pitchfork Music Festival. The company’s success is defined by its “future-proof hybrid platform,” says Huse, which provides insights on fan preferences to its clients, streamlines fan experiences and “helps virtual fans enjoy the communal aspects of a show as if they were really there.”

Grace Potter
Grace Potter performs at the fifth annual Love Rocks NYC concert to benefit God’s Love We Deliver at the Beacon Theatre on Thursday, June 3, 2021, in New York. Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

Amanda Marks
Global head of business development and music partnerships, Apple
Rachel Newman
Global head of editorial and content, Apple Music
Jen Walsh
Senior director of content and services, international, Apple

During the past year, Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos came to Apple Music, “which galvanized the industry to come together to bring the newest advancement in audio fidelity to life on our service,” says Marks. “Working in tandem with our global label partners and the creative community to bring the extraordinary experience of immersive audio to a global listening audience has been an incredibly gratifying challenge.”

Dawn Ostroff
Chief content and advertising business officer, Spotify
Mia Nygren
Managing director, Latin America, Spotify

For the world’s largest streaming service, which now reaches over 381 million users in 184 countries, Nygren oversees the Latin American region and Ostroff plays a key role in driving the company’s exponential growth in podcasting. Its podcast division now hosts over 3.2 million titles, including exclusive deals with former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Kim Kardashian — and Joe Rogan. Controversy over the content of Rogan’s podcast led Neil Young, and then other artists, to withdraw their music from Spotify earlier this year. “I do not believe that silencing Joe is the answer,” wrote CEO Daniel Ek in an email sent to Spotify employees. “We should have clear lines around content and take action when they are crossed, but canceling voices is a slippery slope.”

Lauren Wirtzer-Seawood
Chief content and marketing officer, SoundCloud

In 2021, Wirtzer-Seawood joined SoundCloud to help supercharge its effort to move beyond music distribution and emerge as a genuine entertainment destination. That included the introduction of the fan-powered royalties program, which allows over 125,000 independent artists to collect funds directly from their followers, an innovation that delivered a 60% increase in revenue over the traditional pro rata model, according to the company. The new First on SoundCloud campaign focuses on nine emerging creators, including rapper SoFaygo, fingernail icon Charmaine and EDM artist Ela Minus, while the company’s new SCENES and SoundCloud Player One features invested in documentaries and gaming, respectively.

Women In Music

Francesca Bodie
President of business development, Oak View Group
Randi Bernstein
Senior vp of business development, Oak View Group

Oak View Group marked multiple business milestones in the past year. “We completed the acquisition of Spectra, one of the industry’s leading venue management and hospitality providers, to create a new full-service live-events company,” says Bodie. In October, OVG opened the Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle — which Bodie calls “the most progressive and sustainable arena in the world” — followed in November by the debut of the UBS Arena at Belmont Park, the new Long Island home of the NHL’s New York Islanders. The company has also announced arena projects in Baltimore; Mesa, Ariz.; Hamilton, Ontario; and São Paulo. “Our next world-class arenas, Moody Center at the University of Texas in Austin and Coachella Valley Arena in Palm Springs, Calif., are opening later this year,” says Bodie, “along with Co-op Live in Manchester, which will be the largest arena in the U.K., opening in 2023.”

Chen Castaño
Managing director, Planet Events

As one of the few female Latin music event promoters, Spain-based Castaño consistently produced shows throughout the past year, including Camilo’s maiden tour of Spain that stretched across 20 dates; Concierto Hispanidad in Madrid, featuring Spanish-speaking artists from around the world; and the Los40 Music Awards, Spain’s top music awards show. For upcoming tour dates in her market by the likes of Marc Anthony and Alejandro Fernández, Castaño will continue to work solely “with local partners,” she says. “Supporting each other is key.”

Christy Castillo Butcher
Senior vp of programming and booking, SoFi Stadium/YouTube Theater/Hollywood Park

Christy Castillo Butcher
Christy Castillo Butcher photographed on Feb. 3, 2022 at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. Yuri Hasegawa

“Opening two major venues in Los Angeles in the middle of a pandemic and hosting over 1 million concertgoers within five months of each other was a huge achievement,” says Castillo Butcher, whose role at the 300-acre Hollywood Park includes programming at the 6,000-capacity YouTube Theater and the 70,000-capacity SoFi Stadium, which hosted Super Bowl LVI on Feb. 13. (The YouTube Theater will host Billboard’s Women in Music event on March 2.) The stadium’s bookings have so far included Kaskade; 1DayLA’s The Freedom Experience with Justin Bieber, Chance the Rapper and others in July; and performances by Los Bukis in August, The Rolling Stones in October and BTS in December. BTS’ four-night run earned $33.3 million and sold over 200,000 tickets, becoming the sixth-highest-grossing engagement in Billboard Boxscore history. “I’m proud that our team curated a diverse lineup of events,” Castillo Butcher says, “building on our goal of making our venues a local and global destination.”

Amy Corbin
Promoter, C3 Presents

Corbin was key to the Live Nation-owned festival team’s work on some of the best-attended events in the company’s history, including a sold-out Lollapalooza at Chicago’s Grant Park and a comeback for Austin City Limits headlined by hometown hero George Strait. C3 put on “an incredible amount of concerts successfully,” Corbin says, “while setting industry standards for protocols that created a path to return to live music safely.”

Brittany Howard
Brittany Howard performs on day four of the Lollapalooza music festival on Sunday, Aug. 1, 2021, at Grant Park in Chicago. Rob Grabowski/Invision/AP

Shauna Elvin
Executive vp of global human resources, ASM Global
Shani Tate Ross
VP of sales and marketing, T-Mobile Center

In October, ASM Global launched its corporate social responsibility initiative, ASM Global Acts, “an extension of our long-standing commitment to creating a better workplace, a more diverse workforce, serving our communities and contributing to a healthier environment and planet,” says Elvin. Its foundation division will support socially conscious and community-based philanthropic efforts, while its career development scholarship program will provide educational opportunities in the fields of entertainment, hospitality and the culinary arts to underresourced communities, according to the company.

Kristine Lingle-Griffith
VP of marketing, AEG Presents/Concerts West, Las Vegas

Last year, Concerts West opened its new Resorts World property on the Las Vegas Strip, with residencies since by Céline Dion, Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Carrie Underwood. The promoter will book the 5,000-seat theater exclusively alongside AEG Presents. Lingle-Griffith says Concerts West “looked forward when so many were looking back,” adding that “what we achieved over the last 18 months in unprecedented times is unprecedented.”

Martha Mota Lowry
VP of creative services, AEG Presents
Kelly Stelbasky
Senior vp of global touring, AEG Presents

AEG marked an impressive return to touring last year, grossing nearly $400 million from roughly 2,000 shows. To meet the demand, Mota Lowry tripled the size of her team to cover new business priorities, from short-form videos and trailers to social media. Stelbasky was one of many promoters tasked with booking, postponing and rescheduling countless dates amid the pandemic, but rallied thanks to her team of “unsung heroes” from talent bookers to road crew, she says.

Marla Ostroff
Managing director, North America, Ticketmaster

Ticketmaster responded “nimbly” to the demand from performers and fans alike with its return to live shows, says Ostroff. “We were with our clients every step of the way, developing solutions to support new revenue streams, adapting to new ways of operating and, ultimately, supporting a fast return to live [concerts].” According to Live Nation, the ticketing platform has already sold 65 million tickets for concerts in 2022, after achieving its highest quarter of operating income and adjusted operating income ever, at $114 million and $172 million, respectively.

Stacy Vee
VP of talent, Goldenvoice
Mapi Moran
VP of branding and marketing, Goldenvoice

Stagecoach, Goldenvoice’s marquee country music festival, will return in 2022 with its most inclusive bookings yet and a roster that boasts members of the LGBTQ+ community, artists of color and top-billed female acts. It will “hit every kind of country music fan,” adds Vee. Across town, Moran helped rebrand the Day N Vegas festival with performances by Kendrick Lamar, Post Malone and Tyler, The Creator. She says her team aimed to bring “real intentionality” to the event, noting their collaboration with integrated designers on social content and an on-site darkroom helped make it a “dream come true.”

Kathy Willard
CFO/executive vp, Live Nation Entertainment
Ali Harnell
President/chief strategy officer, Live Nation Women
Lesley Olenik
VP of touring, Live Nation
Sherri Sosa
President, Venue Nation

After 25 years at Live Nation, including 18 as CFO, Willard retired in June, having overseen 10 consecutive years of growth from 2010 to 2019. She advocated for diversity efforts at Live Nation and played a pivotal role in increasing the company’s $2 billion annual spend on staging and sourcing shows with Black and minority-owned vendors. Known as a champion of women in the music industry, Willard sits on the board of the Music Forward Foundation, which helps underserved youths advance into music professions. Harnell, who leads Live Nation Women, oversees its early-stage investment fund for female entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups. A highlight of 2021 for her was commissioning the Grammy-nominated song “Beautiful Noise” recorded by Alicia Keys and Brandi Carlile, which Harnell calls “a powerful anthem for women’s suffrage and social justice.” Live Nation Women also supported the Diversify the Stage Inclusion Initiative, created by artist Noelle Scaggs. “Live music contributes so much to local communities, and we really saw that last year as shows returned,” Harnell says. “It was special for me to help women-led efforts to raise millions of dollars for those who need it most in my hometown through the Feeding Nashville and Hometown Rising benefit concerts.”

In Memoriam: Theresa Velasquez
Senior vp, Live Nation media and sponsorship

Theresa Velasquez
Theresa Velasquez Courtesy of Live Nation

Velasquez, 36 — as well as her parents, Julio and Angela Velasquez — died June 24 in the collapse of the Surfside Towers in the Miami suburb of Surfside, Fla., which killed 98 people. Velasquez was a driving force on the sponsorship team at Live Nation, making a huge impact on its business during her seven-year tenure at the company. Her colleagues described her as a passionate, fun, innovative and fierce leader who worked to break down barriers for women, advocated for equality within the LGBTQ+ and Latina communities, and formed long-standing partnerships with the biggest global brands. She was also an accomplished artist-performer who moonlighted as DJ Theresa. She is “missed dearly and will always be remembered for the amazing human she was,” Live Nation officials said in a statement.

Sara Winter-Banks
Senior vp, Messina Touring Group

For Messina Touring Group, Banks leads the pop and alternative marketing team and develops strategies for touring clients including Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Shawn Mendes and The Lumineers. She has worked with Swift and Sheeran from their arena tours to their stadium outings. “My team launched [ticket sales for] the Shawn Mendes Wonder: The World Tour in the fall of last year, and we are very much looking forward to that tour kicking off in June,” she says. Earlier in February, The Lumineers announced their Brightside world tour. An earlier globe-spanning run “got cut short in 2020 due to COVID-19,” notes Winter-Banks. “This tour will see stops at Coors Field in Denver and Wrigley Field in Chicago.”

Women In Music

Jenna Adler
Carole Kinzel
Alli McGregor
Music agents, Creative Artists Agency
Marlene Tsuchii
Co-head of international touring/music agent, Creative Artists Agency

When touring resumed nationwide last summer, CAA booked three of the four highest-grossing tours of 2021, with the Hella Mega Tour, Harry Styles and the Eagles bringing in over $186 million combined. The agency also helped fill dates in Las Vegas with residencies by Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Shania Twain and Carrie Underwood. Outside of touring, CAA continued to broker major deals for its clients, including pairing Jennifer Lopez with Coach, Jennifer Hudson with MasterCard and duo Chloe x Halle as the new faces of Neutrogena.

Sara Bollwinkel
Lenore Kinder
Senior vps, Wasserman Music
Jessica Lawson
VP of tour marketing, Wasserman Music
Stephanie Miles
Senior vp of branding, Wasserman Music

Kinder highlights Wasserman Music’s brand partnerships team as “a huge asset for our clients” during the pandemic, facilitating “multimillion-dollar deals” for both established and emerging artists. The division also promoted two new agents, Edenized Perez and Mallory Smith. Among other opportunities, Wasserman clients Joy Oladokun and Black Pumas discussed music and mental health at the UCLA Health virtual program “We Shine Together” last May, while Pink Sweat$ performed at AT&T’s Playoff Playlist Live! event during college football’s national playoff championship weekend in January.

Joi Brown
Head of strategic partnerships, ICM Partners
Yves C. Pierre
Jacqueline Reynolds-Drumm
Agents, ICM Partners

ICM’s pending merger with Creative Artists Agency has been the biggest agency story of 2021, capping two years of change that have transformed the representation business. “ICM recognized the need for a forward-thinking marketing, culture and strategy team to help guide and build upon the success of the talent aligned with the agency,” Brown says of the mega merger, which still needs approval from the U.S. Department of Justice before closing. Brown joined ICM in August as the agency’s new head of strategic partnerships after 21 years at Atlantic Records. “As one of the only agencies with a department focused on building, ideation and creativity around culture, it was a chance of a lifetime to join the ICM family to lead the efforts.”

Lucy Dickins
Co-head of music, WME
Ashley Gonzalez
Music agent, WME
Caroline Yim
Partner/co-head of hip-hop/R&B, WME
Shari Lewin
Partner/agent, brand partnerships, WME

WME has celebrated milestones with Adele’s return and Olivia Rodrigo’s rise, both achievements that Dickins calls “super exciting.” WME’s music for visual media group earned a flurry of Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations, with clients Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross winning at both with their score for Soul. Meanwhile, pivoting to different platforms provided clients with new opportunities during a challenging time. “Our team’s camaraderie has never been higher,” says Dickins. “I’m so proud of what we have all achieved in the face of touring coming to a halt.”

Erika Savage
Senior vp of global music operations, UTA
Sara Schoch
Agent, music brand partnerships, UTA
Belinda Law
Mary Petro
Music agents, UTA

Since the start of the pandemic, the music brand partnerships division secured over 500 deals with brands including adidas, ESPN, Fortnite, Ford, Jägermeister, Jack in the Box, Pokémon and Adore Me lingerie, according to the company. The music innovation team paired electronic duo SLANDER with Twitch to broadcast an artist-curated livestream festival that drew over 600,000 viewers, while the music crossover division secured a deal for Florence + The Machine to write and perform the original song “Call Me Cruella” for the Cruella soundtrack. Says Savage: “At the end of the year, we shared a well-deserved sense of accomplishment knowing that our global music team is the strongest we’ve ever been.”

Marsha Vlasic
President, Artist Group International

AGI expanded internationally in the past year. In August, the organization and the United Kingdom’s X-Ray Touring partnered for a new venture that would bring AGI’s roster of artists — which in 2021 added to its ranks acts such as Jane’s Addiction, Limp Bizkit and Why Don’t We — to a larger global audience. “We were thrilled to be able to close a strategic partnership with our very dear and admired friends at X-Ray Touring,” says Vlasic. And despite the continued complications caused by the pandemic, “we continue to package our artists for stadiums and festivals,” she says.

Women In Music

Ashaunna Ayars
Co-founder/executive vice chair, Black Music Action Coalition
Caron Veazey
Co-founder/co-chair, Black Music Action Coalition

Pledging to monitor industry advances in racial diversity, equity and inclusion, BMAC released its first Music Industry Action Report Card last June. The organization also hosted its inaugural Music in Action Awards in September, honoring artists, executives and companies — including Motown chairwoman Ethiopia Habtemariam — that are fostering “meaningful change beyond the hashtags and performative gestures,” Ayars and Veazey said in a joint statement. “We reminded the industry why Jamila [Thomas] and Brianna [Agyemang] demanded ‘the show must be paused,’ hopefully inspiring our peers to continue to speak out and fight for social justice and racial equity.”

Heather Lowery
President/CEO, Femme It Forward

Femme It Forward, a joint venture with Live Nation Entertainment, celebrated its one-year anniversary in July with the release of Big Femme Energy Vol. 1, a “first-of-its-kind compilation led by an incredibly powerful all-female team of artists,” says Lowery, citing tracks by Tayla Parx, Lauren Jauregui, Kiana Ledé, Rapsody, Tierra Whack and Sinéad Harnett, among others. Another standout? The launch of its mentorship program, Next Gem Femme, which she says is working to “make careers in music more attainable to young women of color.”

Laura Segura
Executive director, MusiCares

MusiCares, which the Recording Academy founded as a charity in 1989, rose to the occasion amid the COVID-19 pandemic, raising and distributing $29 million to 38,000 industry members in need. “I think the pandemic woke a lot of people up to the importance of preventative and mental health and its impact on our overall well-being, especially within the music community,” says Segura, 42. “I’m so proud of not only our team, who expanded all our services in those areas over the last year, but all the people who rallied around our community to uplift those in need. Through this effort, we were able to support the people who keep the music playing because music gives so much to the world.” Joni Mitchell will be honored at the MusiCares Person of the Year gala that has been rescheduled for April 1 in Las Vegas.

Joni Mitchell
Joni Mitchell attends the 44th Kennedy Center Honors at The Kennedy Center on December 05, 2021 in Washington, DC. Paul Morigi/GI

Women In Music

Alessandra Alarcón
President, SBS Entertainment

Alarcón and her team at SBS Entertainment staged the three-day sold-out Calibash at the Arena in January. Headlined by J Balvin, Ozuna and Daddy Yankee, the event — one of the country’s biggest festivals for urban Latin music — returned to Los Angeles after being sidelined in 2021, selling 13,000 tickets each night, according to SBS. Says Alarcón, “I am so proud of my team and me for having weathered the storm and flawlessly executing the biggest Calibash weekend.”

Tolu Ayeni
Strategic partner manager, Instagram music partnerships, Instagram

With over 1 billion users globally, Instagram has unique cross-cultural reach. Ayeni is most proud of the platform’s role in bringing the African diaspora to the rest of the world, citing its robust partnership with the Ghana-based music, art and culture festival Afrochella. “Music is central to development of creativity and community on a global scale,” she says. “Having spent some time in Ghana and Senegal over the holidays, I’m looking forward to exploring new opportunities to push culture forward and support talent from historically underrepresented categories and unite the global diaspora.”

Mary Berner
President/CEO, Cumulus Media

“Music has an unparalleled power to soothe, heal and connect people, all of which have been vital during these past difficult months,” said Berner in January when she appeared on the Billboard Power List. Under her leadership, Cumulus reaches “a quarter of a billion people every month, who listen on every platform that technology enables.” She adds: “We need to be mindful of that power and act carefully.”

Megan Daly
Entertainment partnerships manager, Twitter

Twitter remained a vital channel for artists engaging with fans during the past year, as well as a key to Olivia Rodrigo’s explosive rise and Taylor Swift’s continuing domination, while also boosting artists such as Saweetie and Kim Petras. Twitter’s new Spaces product in particular has been important. “Artists immediately took to Spaces,” says Daly, citing programs with Nick Jonas to launch a conversation about his Spaceman album, a virtual meet-and-greet with FINNEAS during Grammy Week and a Jay-Z discussion about his new film, The Harder They Fall. “We launched best practices and virtual activations for artists to stay engaged with their fans and found a new way to help support their careers during this difficult time.”

Leslie Fram
Senior vp of music and talent, CMT

Fram helped launch CMT’s Equal Play initiative, which aims to elevate underrepresented voices in country music. The program has celebrated pioneers of the genre like Linda Martell and Charley Pride as well contemporary stars Mickey Guyton and Our Native Daughters. For its Next Women of Country and Listen Up music franchises, the network named its most diverse classes yet, says Fram, adding that the platform will allow it to “maximize artist exposure within the whole ViacomCBS family.”

Mickey Guyton
Mickey Guyton performs onstage during the 36th Annual Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on October 30, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. Dimitrios Kambouris/GI

Tracy Gardner
Head of label licensing and partnerships, TikTok

TikTok drives music discovery globally for artists both new and old: 175 songs that first trended on the platform cracked the Hot 100 in 2021 — double the prior year’s tally, according to the company. “It’s no surprise that this combination of discovery and engagement within TikTok led to massive promotional success off TikTok,” says Gardner, 40, who cites the recent rise of PinkPantheress (1.1 million followers) and Olivia Rodrigo (12.4 million) alongside veteran acts like ABBA (2 million). Since joining the app in August, the latter pop act earned its highest debut on the Billboard 200 — and first-ever top 10 — with comeback album Voyage, which reached No. 2 in November.

Zeina Grenier
Director of North America music publishing, Meta
Megan West
Director of music label partnerships, Meta

Meta (the new corporate name of Facebook) is helping creators and rights owners build new revenue streams. Since mid-2020: Instagram launched its Reels short-form video platform to compete with TikTok, Messenger added “soundmojis” — emojis that play music and other audio — and Facebook started streaming official music videos in the United States, which began counting toward the Hot 100, Billboard 200 and other charts in 2021. The addition of music to Meta’s three platforms — Facebook, Instagram and Messenger — “has opened up new forms of creativity and expression that have music at their core,” says West.

Cindy Hill
VP of content and industry relations, Univision Communications

Univision’s fan favorite El Bueno, La Mala y El Feo festival featured performances by regional Mexican acts El Fantasma and Los Dos Carnales in Los Angeles and Grupo Firme in Dallas. Its live-music series Uforia returned in August with sets from Karol G and Don Omar in New York and a headlining performance from J Balvin in Dallas. The latter star “returned to the stage for the first time since the pandemic in front of 20,000 music lovers,” says Hill. “We continued to connect wholeheartedly to our listeners via the artists and music they love.”

Thea Mitchem
Executive vp of programming/executive vp of hip-hop and R&B programming, iHeartMedia; program director, WWPR (Power 105.1) New York
Marissa Morris
Senior vp of artist relations, iHeartMedia
Lisa Worden
VP of rock and alternative, iHeartMedia; program director, KYSR (ALT 98.7) Los Angeles

Following iHeartRadio’s inaugural Living Black! event last year, Mitchem is once again executive-producing its second edition, which will feature performances by Lizzo, Big Sean, H.E.R., Moneybagg Yo and Ari Lennox, and appearances by J. Cole, John Legend, Alicia Keys, Saweetie, Bas and more, all filmed at the iHeartRadio Theater in Los Angeles and Black-owned businesses across the country. “It’s a celebration of Black culture while weaving in the story of our culture,” says Mitchem of the special, which fans can access Feb. 23 through TikTok, iHeartMedia stations and the iHeartRadio app.

Connie Orlando
Executive vp of specials, music programming and music strategy, BET

Orlando says that BET became “a pioneer in the tentpole and awards space” after the network claimed the top five ranked cable awards shows in 2021 among all Black viewers ages 18-49, according to the company. The BET Awards were “the first to return to full-scale live events with a fully vaccinated audience,” she says, and the Soul Train Awards ended the year on a high note at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, while “acknowledging the important cultural conversations of the moment.”

Jennifer Witz
CEO, SiriusXM

Witz described 2021 as “an outstanding year across the board” in comments that accompanied SiriusXM’s fourth-quarter earnings report released Jan. 31. “We added more than 1 million net new SiriusXM self-pay subscribers for the 10th time in the past 11 years. Our performance last year is a testament to our strong execution — and staying true to our vision of connecting listeners to the content they love.” Acts including Alicia Keys, Ed Sheeran, The Go-Go’s, H.E.R., J. Cole and Jason Aldean performed for SiriusXM’s Small Stage series. Exclusive artist channels showcased the music of Keys, David Bowie, J Balvin, ABBA and Neil Young.

Women In Music

Lisa Alter
Founding partner, Alter Kendrick & Baron

Among the estimated $2 billion in recent music-asset transactions involving clients of her firm, Alter has noted that the sale of Julia Michaels’ catalog to Influence Media Partners stood out “because virtually everyone involved in the deal was a woman. In an industry that is still predominantly male-dominated, the deal represents the refreshing face of the future.” Alter and her colleagues began 2022 with yet another major deal, representing Primary Wave in the expansion of its partnership with Def Leppard, which involved the company acquiring an additional stake in the band’s music publishing catalog as well as its master-royalty income stream. (Terms of the deal were not announced.)

Aurielle Brooks
VP/general counsel, Collective Gallery; associate attorney, Arrington & Phillips

At Arrington & Phillips, Brooks’ clients include Muni Long, whose single “Hrs and Hrs” recently went viral on TikTok; Lil Baby and Lil Durk, who released their collaborative album, Voice of the Heroes, in June; and YoungBoy Never Broke Again, who released a joint project with Birdman, From the Bayou, as well as the solo album Sincerely Kentrell in 2021. At Collective Gallery, which connects photographers with top brands and celebrities, Brooks helped to sign six new artists — half of whom are Black women — in 2021, which is helping to put “Black and brown faces in positions to show up and show out in this industry,” she says.

Christine Lepera
Partner, Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp

As a litigator and adviser, Lepera in the past year has worked with the National Music Publishers’ Association in its copyright action against the gaming platform Roblox (which led to a September settlement), represented Dr. Luke in ongoing actions involving Kesha, served as lead counsel for the defense in the copyright suit over Katy Perry’s 2014 No. 1 Hot 100 hit “Dark Horse” (featuring Juicy J) and represented Post Malone in a dispute over his 2019 hit “Circles.” “But what I’m most proud of is how my firm is leading through the crisis with COVID-19,” she says, as well as the firm’s diversity initiatives, which have included partnerships with a variety of organizations and firm-generated programs addressing gender bias, discrimination against Asian Americans, anti-Semitism, the need for inclusivity and other issues.

Berkeley Reinhold
Owner, Reinhold Global

For the 24-hour Global Citizen Live broadcast event last September, Reinhold served as chief outside counsel with responsibility for artist contracts, as well as TV production and event production agreements. With the goal of uniting the world to focus on fighting climate change and poverty, the concert’s scope was ambitious, simulcast from six continents on multiple networks and media channels, with appearances by over 50 acts including Billie Eilish, Coldplay, Jennifer Lopez and BTS, along with the participation of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The event raised over $1.1 billion in pledges to fight poverty and climate change through the planting of 157 million trees worldwide.

Diana Sanders
Partner, media and entertainment, Russ August & Kabat

Home to superstar acts Drake and Post Malone, Russ August & Kabat elevated Sanders to media and entertainment partner in October from her previous role as a senior associate. Recent firm successes range from “resolving significant confidential disputes for our clients” to “helping them enter innovative and creative projects and endeavors in the music and tech space,” says Sanders, 35. “Our firm and practice have continued to grow, and our clients are prospering.”

Sarah Scott
Managing partner, LaPolt Law

A former top in-house lawyer at Universal Music Group, Scott has recently focused on negotiating endorsement and collaboration deals for top artists. For Cardi B, she struck a deal in which the chart-topping rapper was named as Playboy’s first-ever creative director in residence and also helped the star launch a line of spiked dessert drinks called Whipshots. Scott also represents Saweetie and negotiated partnership deals with both Crocs and Beats by Dre, which featured the rapper as the star of an ad campaign that teased her new track, “Get It Girl.”

Cardi B
Cardi B performs onstage during the 63rd Annual GRAMMY Awards at Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles, California and broadcast on March 14, 2021. Kevin Winter/GI

Debbie White
Vice chair, music industry practice group, Loeb & Loeb

White had a packed year in 2021: representing Primary Wave in catalog acquisitions for Stephen Marley; cutting recording deals for Diane Warren with BMG, Nessa Barrett with Warner Records and Duran Duran with S-Curve; and representing Singaporean artist JJ Shin in his soundtrack album deal for Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Other highlights: a brand ambassador deal between new client Christina Aguilera and Nintendo, and a partnership between BTS and McDonald’s to create a BTS Meal in 86 countries. “Seeing BTS and Korean lettering on the meal packaging, and people around the world so excited and accepting of it, felt like a cultural movement,” she says. “It was a truly rewarding project.”

Women In Music

Sherrese Clarke Soares
Founder/CEO, HarbourView Equity Partners

A veteran investor — she opened HarbourView Equity in October after previously serving as a managing director at Morgan Stanley and subsequently founding Tempo Music — Clarke Soares has invested in or evaluated more than $3 billion and over 300 investment opportunities, according to the company. She launched HarbourView with $1 billion in funding from Apollo Global Management — and chose the firm’s name as a nod to her Jamaican roots.

Denise Colletta
Senior vp/team leader, City National Bank

Colletta, with the help of her team, was able to secure over 200 loans through the Paycheck Protection Program, totaling some $45 million for City National’s clients during the pandemic. “I’m very passionate about identifying ways that the bank and I, personally, can support the music industry and underserved groups with financial education as well as monetary support,” says Colletta. She notes that CNB “invested more than $11 million in our communities in 2021, in organizations that are making real social impact and change.”

Lylette Pizarro McLean
Founder/co-managing partner, Influence Media Partners

After buying and subsequently selling a portfolio of music assets to Tempo Music in 2019 and then working with that firm for a while, Pizarro McLean’s Influence Media Partners went its own way in 2021, with two investment funds dedicated to partnering with the music community. So far, the company has said its investment platform has deployed $300 million across multiple acquisitions, including deals for select copyrights of singer-songwriter Jessie Reyez, whose co-writes include Dua Lipa (“One Kiss”) and Calvin Harris & Sam Smith (“Promises”), and Skyler Stonestreet, a rising songwriter who’s co-penned songs for Dua Lipa, Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande. While total funding is so far undisclosed, a June 2021 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission under the name of Influence X Music Fund II shows that the company had by then raised $270 million. According to other publicly available information on a partner’s website and in news reports, the company’s investors include BlackRock, Warner Music and the Municipal Employees Retirement System of Michigan. Pizzaro McLean says the company’s investments focus on female songwriters and music entrepreneurs with enterprising record labels. In building Influence Media Partners, she says she’s proud the company has assembled “a brilliant, swaggy, culturally savvy team that’s 75% diverse and 50% female.”

Shara Senderoff
Founder/partner, Raised in Space

Venture capital firm Raised in Space, which invests in next-generation technology, spends between $500,000 and $5 million on each investment into Silicon Valley ventures with applications in music and entertainment. The company has funded 14 companies thus far. Senderoff says she is excited to continue investing in and building the future of web 3, including the evolution of non-fungible token and metaverse ecosystems; and working with visionary founders like Aaron and David McDonald who founded portfolio company Altered State Machine. “NFTs are poised to become true ‘access keys’ to the metaverse,” says Senderoff, by “unlocking opportunities for artists to evolve their businesses and for consumers to engage in new ways.”

Women In Music

Julie Boos
Co-owner/chairman, FBMM

Amid the changes shaping the music industry, business management firm FBMM has found new avenues to explore for its clients from its offices in Nashville, New York and Los Angeles. Boos is helping lead the company’s recent pivot to growth areas such as intellectual property deals with private equity players in nearly every genre. “We have managed to continue our training and coaching programs,” adds Boos, which has enabled its employees to “achieve higher levels of expertise.”

Becky Harris
President, Huskins-Harris

Harris praises the ability of her business management clients to navigate the global shutdown by “learning to be creative in new and innovative ways,” she says. She celebrated the victory of client Riley Green, who was named new male artist of the year at the Academy of Country Music Awards in 2020, and the success of Chris Young and Kane Brown’s radio hit, “Famous Friends,” which topped Billboard’s 2021 year-end Country Airplay ranking.

Women In Music

Marcie Allen
President, MAC Presents

Instead of going big with its event productions, MAC Presents focused on creating meaningful impact — from booking private Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley shows to bring “joy and appreciation to health care employees” to taking on new clients the United Nations and Laura Glass to produce events to “show the power of culture in bringing forth inclusivity and equality,” says Allen.

Shana Barry
Head of music, celebrity and entertainment partnerships, Anheuser-Busch

While creating a Notorious B.I.G.-themed line of Budweiser cans and merchandise, as well as a tribute concert at the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! festival, Barry’s team has also doubled down on community-based marketing moves, like its Bud Light Thursday Night Shoutout ­commercials that spotlighted Black-owned eateries and a $100 million commitment from Michelob Ultra to promote equality in women’s sports. A partnership between ­Michelob Ultra Pure Gold and Becky G for a Super Bowl commercial is an example of a “long-term relationship [that] showcases our ­commitment not only to women but to celebrating the ­Hispanic community in an ­authentic way,” she says.

Diana Dotel
Co-founder, MTW Agency

The independent marketing agency MTW had success in “three different verticals of the music business,” says Dotel, citing her team’s work in brokering the renewal of Amazon’s audio and video podcast En la Sala and in leading branding and marketing for HBO Max’s Latin music programming, including Romeo Santos’ King of Bachata. But it was the Nicky Jam-led De Colombia Para el Mundo concert, which Dotel created and produced at New Jersey’s Prudential Center in July, that stood out the most, she says.

Emma Quigley
Founder/president, Shakermaker

“There is tremendous power in the right partnerships,” said Quigley in January when she appeared on the Billboard Power List. “When there is trust on both sides, that’s when the magic happens.” The former head of music and entertainment for PepsiCo put that magic to work by bringing Megan Thee Stallion and Charlie Puth together for the Flamin’ Hot Super Bowl campaign for Cheetos. The ad featured a new song from Megan that paid tribute to Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It.”

Bess Spaeth
Senior vp of global brand media and experiences, American Express

Spaeth, a 20-year veteran of American Express, guides brand marketing at the company, which during the pandemic has maintained its support for the music and entertainment industry and its commitment to offering unique experiences to its card members. (American Express is a sponsor of Billboard’s Women in Music event.) Spaeth oversees the team that manages the brand’s industry relationships and experiences like card member passes for Coachella, Austin City Limits and the Unstaged concert series, which features artists including Lizzo, who first partnered with Amex in 2019 for its Proudly Backing Pride program. Within her company, Spaeth is also recognized for her work in mentoring the next generation of female business leaders.

Women In Music

Catherine Brewton
VP of creative, Atlanta, BMI

With record returns for its fiscal year closing in June, BMI reported that its domestic licensing revenue exceeded $1 billion for the first time. Among Brewton’s many accomplishments, she played a role in signing and retaining several songwriters and producers in the R&B/Hip-Hop/Gospel space, including Sevyn Streeter, Jason Derulo, Rodney Jerkins, Wesley “Wheezy” Glass, Doja Cat, Moneybagg Yo and J. Cole, to name a few. Brewton also spearheaded a new diversity, equity and inclusion task force at the company, and she aided in the search process that led to identifying and hiring BMI’s DEI chief officer, Sandye Taylor, who she says is “highly respected in this field.” In addition to her work at BMI, Brewton is also one of the founding members of the Black Music and Entertainment Walk of Fame in Atlanta.

Erin Collins
VP of film, television and developing media, SESAC

In October 2020, SESAC launched its Reel Change fund for diversity in film scoring. The five-year program, which addresses composers in film from historically marginalized groups, offers mentorships and $1 million in grants to qualifying applicants; New Music USA will administer it. With Collins, who has been with the performing rights organization for over a decade, and composer Christophe Beck (Frozen, WandaVision) at the helm, Reel Change announced its first award recipients in May and has distributed over $100,000, she says, adding that “SESAC is committed to diversifying the film and television composer landscape.”

Elizabeth Matthews

As performing rights organizations worldwide suffered revenue declines due to COVID-19, ASCAP was able to increase both the revenue it collected and distributed. Matthews led her team to optimize results across platforms, including major cable, broadcast TV, radio, audiovisual and audio streaming services, and to increase distributions to its members. The organization made several other moves to help its members during the pandemic, including accelerating royalty distributions, launching an information-rich Music Unites Us website and creating a special MusicCares Fund for its members. In comments following her Billboard Power List honor in January, Matthews praised “the ASCAP employees who have maintained their grace, goodwill and sense of humor throughout the immense pressure and isolation of the past two years and who consistently give of themselves in order to help songwriters and composers.”

Anjula Singh
Executive vp/CFO, SoundExchange

At SoundExchange, Singh has led efforts to modernize the royalty and payment service’s infrastructure through investments in new technologies, proprietary systems and creator-facing tools. The organization is prioritizing its future financial growth, adds Singh, despite earning record returns for its roster; it distributed nearly $1 billion in 2021 — an increase of almost 5% from 2020. And since its establishment in 2000, SoundExchange has distributed almost $9 billion.

Ellen Truley
Chief marketing officer, Mechanical Licensing Collective

Mechanical Licensing Collective
From left, Joya Carmichael, Kristen Johns, Ilene Weintraub, Ellen Truley, Indi Chawla, Monique Benjamin, Lindsey Major, Serona Elton, and Leigh McCorkle photographed on Feb. 7, 2022 at The Mechanical Licensing Collective in Nashville. Katie Kauss

The Mechanical Licensing Collective in 2021 completed the first full year of its mission, as described by chief marketing officer Ellen Truley: “ensuring that every rights holder who is eligible to receive mechanical royalties for streams and downloads of their music is paid those royalties on time and in full.”

Created by the 2018 passage of the Music Modernization Act and designated by the U.S. Register of Copyrights in July 2019, The MLC named Kris Ahrend as its first CEO in 2020. He led the effort to build the nonprofit organization from scratch, which meant creating a “diverse and inclusive team that includes people with different backgrounds, views and experiences,” according to The MLC’s statement of its guiding principles.

One sign of The MLC living up to those principles is an exceptional leadership team of nine women. Truley, who is a Women in Music honoree, is a representative of an executive group that also includes CFO Ilene Weintraub, chief legal officer Kristen Johns, chief people officer Leigh McCorkle, head of international relations Indi Chawla, head of operations Joya Carmichael, head of customer experience Lindsey Major, head of finance Monique Benjamin and head of educational partnerships Serona Elton.

The MLC team has celebrated “meeting several notable benchmarks and milestones despite the challenges created by the ongoing pandemic,” says Truley. “I am particularly proud of the fact that through our extensive outreach and engagement efforts, we were able to double our membership over the course of the year to more than 17,000 members.”

She adds, “Growing our membership to that degree in a relatively short period of time — and distributing more than $280 million in royalties to those members in 2021 — shows The MLC is already fulfilling its mission,” of distributing mechanical royalties from streaming and downloaded repertoire, “and making a real difference in how rights holders are compensated for the use of their music.”

Women In Music

Michele Ballantyne

Steering policy and legislation, Ballantyne advocates on behalf of labels and the recorded-music industry at large. Her most meaningful moment in 2021? Leading a virtual discussion at the National Museum of African American Music in March, which featured Andra Day and Congressional Black Caucus chair Joyce Beatty, tackling the topics of Billie Holiday, music and race. “RIAA works every day to help artists like Andra and policymakers like Joyce connect and understand each other,” says Ballantyne, 55. “It all came together in the most powerful way that day.”

Valeisha Butterfield Jones
Co-president, Recording Academy

The Recording Academy unveiled a series of newsmaking measures in 2021. It announced an end to its controversial nomination review committees in April, named Butterfield Jones and Panos A. Panay co-presidents in June and upped the number of nominees in each of its Big Four Grammy Award categories from eight to 10 in November. Butterfield Jones cites another move as the most meaningful, though — its new inclusion rider, “a tool designed to ensure equity at every level of the production” ahead of its 64th annual ceremony in April. The measure will help the academy “cultivate a culture of belonging and respect” in the industry, “while laying the groundwork to combat systemic barriers,” she adds.

Frances Moore

Moore, who leads the trade association of the global recorded-music industry, was honored as a Member of the Order of the British Empire on the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in June for her contributions to the U.K. music industry. Under her leadership, IFPI continues to expand its geographical reach, reflecting “the truly global nature of today’s music industry,” says Moore. In the past year, it opened a Middle East North Africa office under regional director Rawan Al-Dabbas and also won approval from the Vietnamese government to establish an office in Hanoi.

Portia Sabin
President, Music Business Association

The Music Business Association executed over 70 virtual events in the past year, from its ongoing one-hour interview series with industry executives to “multiday deep dives on metadata, brands, streaming, diversity, equity, inclusion, mental health and wellness,” says Sabin, 50. The strategy helped Music Biz shift its board makeup from “100% white and 12% female to 70% female and 48% people of color — which is not the end goal but a good start,” she adds. “I look forward to leading Music Biz in providing the rooms — both digital and physical — where these conversations can continue and positive action for change can be encouraged and celebrated.”

Sarah Trahern
CEO, Country Music Association

The CMA remains committed to its mission of “expanding country music globally,” says Trahern, noting the establishment of the organization’s Music Industry COVID Support program to aid music industry professionals across all genres coping with food insecurity, mental health issues and job assistance needs. “MICS allowed us to broaden the dialogue and forge deeper relationships outside of country,” says Trahern. “Many of those conversations are informing the way CMA positions itself as a trade organization to the industry at large and continues to innovate through new member strategies.”

Contributors: Darlene Aderoju, Trevor Anderson, Rania Aniftos, Cathy Applefeld Olson, Megan Armstrong, Chuck Arnold, Katie Bain, Alexei Barrionuevo, Starr Bowenbank, Dave Brooks, Keith Caulfield, Anna Chan, Ed Christman, Leila Cobo, Mariel Concepcion, Stephen Daw, Bill Donahue, Thom Duffy, Chris Eggertsen, Nolan Feeney, Griselda Flores, Eric Frankenberg, Adrienne Gaffney, Josh Glicksman, Gary Graff, Paul Grein, Lyndsey Havens, Gil Kaufman, Steve Knopper, Carl Lamarre, Jason Lipshutz, Joe Lynch, Heran Mamo, Geoff Mayfield, Taylor Mims, Gail Mitchell, Melinda Newman, Jessica Nicholson, Glenn Peoples, Kristin Robinson, Jessica Roiz, Neena Rouhani, Dan Rys, Micah Singleton, Richard Smirke, Gary Trust, Andrew Unterberger, Christine Werthman, Natelegé Whaley, Jewel Wicker, Deborah Wilker, Nick Williams, Xander Zellner

Methodology: Nominations for Billboard’s executive lists open no less than 120 days in advance of publication. (To obtain our editorial calendar, please email The online nomination link is sent to press representatives who send a request for notification before the nomination period to Billboard editors chose the industry sectors to be included on each list, the most significant companies within each sector and the maximum number of honorees per company. In choosing honorees, editors weigh a variety of factors including, but not limited to, nominations by peers, colleagues and superiors. For Women in Music, we considered the impact of each nominee’s company on consumer behavior, as measured by chart, sales and streaming performance; social media impressions; and radio/TV audiences reached, using data available as of Jan. 4. We heavily weighed year-end Billboard charts for 2021 and also considered career trajectory and industry impact. Where required, U.S. record-label market share was consulted using MRC Data’s current market share for albums, plus track-equivalent and streaming-equivalent album consumption units and Billboard’s quarterly top 10 publisher rankings. Unless otherwise noted, Billboard Boxscore and MRC Data are the sources for tour grosses and sales/streaming data, respectively. MRC Data is also the source for radio audience metrics.

This story originally appeared in Billboard’s 2022 Women in Music issue, dated Feb. 26, 2022.