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Executive Turntable: Cumulus Names Music & Entertainment Head, EMPIRE Hires A&R Hitmaka

Moves at Cumulus, EMPIRE, Capitol Music Group, IMPALA and more. A rundown of executive hires, promotions and exits in the week ending Sept. 24, 2021.

Cumulus Media has hired Doug Cohn as senior vp music & entertainment, content and audience and promoted Bruce Gilbert to senior vp of sports, content and audience.

In his role, Cohn will lead new music and entertainment content development across the company’s platforms, including broadcasting, podcasting, streaming, social media, digital and live events. Gilbert will do the same on the sports side.

Cohn, an Emmy-winning music and content executive, joins Cumulus from ViacomCBS, where he was senior vp music & talent for Nickelodeon. During his tenure, Cohn started and led Nickelodeon’s music division, produced live events and secured top talent for the Kids’ Choice Awards, SlimeFest and the H.A.L.O. Awards. He also developed highly-rated programming and forged partnerships between Nickelodeon and companies including Sony Music, AEG and Live Nation. He was additionally a key player in building and developing JoJo Siwa for Nickelodeon and was on the senior creative team that developed the Tony-winning SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical. He previously worked at Atlantic Records and VH1.

During his seven-year tenure at Cumulus to date, Gilbert has leveraged the company’s sports portfolio to build new franchises and partnerships. He has nearly four decades of industry experience that has included roles at ESPN, FOX Sports and CBS. In his new role, Gilbert will continue to direct all sports programming for Cumulus radio stations and Westwood One Sports, which includes overseeing partnerships with brands including the NFL, the NCAA, the Masters and the PGA Championship/Ryder Cup.

In a statement, Cohn and Gilbert’s direct report, executive vp content and audience Brian Philips, said Cohn “has shown a Midas touch in understanding what the next generation will want” and added that Gilbert “has forged groundbreaking partnerships for years and will now have more runway to innovate.”


Producer, artist and A&R executive Hitmaka has joined indie distributor, label and publisher EMPIRE as vp A&R. He’ll report to EMPIRE CEO and founder Ghazi and senior vp A&R Tina Davis.

In his new role, Hitmaka – who boasts 77 million in sales and 9 billion career streams, according to a press release – will help develop and break artists across the San Francisco-based label’s roster. He has already helped deliver singles for EMPIRE — including Yung Bleu’s “Baddest” feat. Chris Brown and 2 ChainzTink’s “Rebel” feat. Jeremih and Rotimi’s “What To Do” — while also prepping releases for a new venture with the company via his Makasound imprint.

Commenting on his new position, Hitmaka says that “partnering with EMPIRE and Ghazi has given me the freedom to create with global talent. Being wholly independent allows us to make great music and let the fans enjoy it without any hurdles or restrictions – we strike while the iron is hot!”

Added Ghazi, “We’re already off to the races with several of Hit’s records charting and have more on the way.”

Hitmaka has worked with such top-tier artists as Drake, Nicki Minaj, Ariana Grande, Meek Mill, Usher and Lil Wayne over the course of his career. His discography includes hit singles such as “Bounce Back” by Big Sean, French Montana’s “No Stylist” feat. Drake, Meek Mill’s “Dangerous” and A Boogie wit da Hoodie’s “Startender” feat. Tyga and Offset.

In addition to the announcement of his new role, Hitmaka recently debuted the single and video for his song “Quickie” feat. Ty Dolla $ign and Queen Naija.


Jenny Swiatowy has been elevated to senior vp creative sync licensing & brand partnerships at Capitol Music Group (CMG). She was previously vp, head of creative sync licensing.

In her new position, the Los Angeles-based Swiatowy will lead CMG’s in-house creative sync, sports marketing and brand partnerships team while expanding the department’s role within the company to, according to a press release, “generate and maximize revenue streams, while adding points of artist discovery” across CMG’s portfolio of labels, including Capitol, Blue Note, Astralwerks, Capitol Christian Music Group, Harvest and Virgin Music Label & Artist Service. Swiatowy and her team of 10 – including seven women – will also provide these services for Motown Records.

Since joining CMG in 2014 as director of creative sync licensing, Swiatowy has grown CMG’s sync revenues by double digits each year, according to the release. During her tenure, she has helped land high-profile syncs for Lewis Capaldi, Katy Perry (Target), Niall Horan (Smallfoot), Jonas Blue (Hotel Transylvania 3), City Girls (P-Valley), Tiana Major9 (All American) and Shaed (Apple). The company claims the placement in the latter ad led to 1,000% growth for Shaed’s song “Trampoline.”

Swiatowy also co-A&R’ed and produced the soundtrack for the Oscar-winning film Promising Young Woman, which featured 15 songs by female artists, half of them from CMG’s frontline roster. She has additionally been a key player in executing several projects with Netflix, including soundtracks for To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You and its sequel and He’s All That. She also helped spearhead CMG’s move into the children’s music space by partnering with Netflix on the animated kids’ film Arlo the Alligator Boy and its spin-off series I Heart Arlo, as well as the Netflix children’s series Ridley Jones.

Swiatowy and her team have also secured opportunities for CMG artists in the brand partnerships realm for projects including Pokémon 25: The Album, Apple Music’s spatial audio campaign (Masego’s “Mystery Lady”) and JD Sports (FLETCHER, “Riot”).

Prior to CMG, Swiatowy held sync and licensing roles at Bug Music and Warner Chappell. She started her career at CAA in 2005 and secured her first sync licensing role at Universal Music Enterprises (UMe) the following year.


Livestreaming company Dreamstage has named Jesse Kirshbaum — formerly the CEO of entertainment marketing agency Nue — to the role of CMO.

Kirshbaum will oversee the Dreamstage marketing team while working with closely Erick Charles, the company’s newly-promoted vp of marketing & strategic partnerships who joined Dreamstage earlier this year. Kirshbaum will report to CEO Thomas Hesse.

“The pandemic has changed the live business and consumer & artist habits around it, forever,” said Kirshbaum in a statement. “The data shows that when done right livestreaming has a positive effect on artists relationships with their fans, and creates even more demand for live shows.”

Kirshbaum, who comes directly to Dreamstage from Nue, has an extensive history of securing talent for concerts, tours, endorsement deals and brand partnerships. He began his career scouting and developing talent and representing acts including Pusha T, J. Cole, Big Sean, Solange and Wale. More recently, he has focused his efforts on developing strategies and campaigns for brands including Pepsi, YouTube Music, Spotify, Bain Capital and Planned Parenthood. He will continue publishing Beats & Bytes, his weekly newsletter centered on the intersection of music, technology and brand marketing.

Charles previously worked with artists including Paramore, Panic! At The Disco and Twenty One Pilots at Fueled By Ramen, where he ran lifestyle marketing. He also worked on the marketing teams at Atlantic, Roadrunner and Elektra for 15 years, spearheading campaigns for Young the Giant, Bruno Mars and Slipknot, among others. He also works as a third-party promoter in Nashville’s music and events scene.

Since joining Dreamstage, Charles has led the marketing team through livestream campaigns for Mastodon, Saint Motel and Yo-Yo Ma.


Mari Arionne Davies is the new vp booking and talent at Live Nation Urban.

In the role, the Los Angeles-based Davies will oversee the department, booking artists for Live Nation Urban festival properties and touring brands while seeking out partners to introduce “a new generation of tours, festivals, and activations” that will be revealed soon. She will additionally identify “avenues to support underserved voices in the business.”

In her career as an agent, Davies helped developed hip-hop and R&B stars including A Boogie wit da Hoodie, Cordae, Kiana Ledé and Jacquees. She also signed G Herbo, Yung Bleu and Davido, among others.

On the social justice front, Davies was a founding member of Diversify ICM at her former agency and served as a mentor and founding member of Next Gen Femme in conjunction with Femme It Forward.

Marquis “Quest” Malloy, named one of Billboard’s Top Music Lawyers this year, has been hired as an entertainment associate attorney at Shihadeh Law P.C.

Malloy started his career in-house at CAA and Funny or Die and later moved into private practice at Del Shaw Moonves and Herz Lichtenstein Young & Polk. His practice also focuses on film and television.

In music, Malloy has represented D Smoke, writer and producer Jeanine Daniels and Rostrum Records vp of A&R Jhared “Jae” Brown.

Shihadeh Law’s clients include J White Did It, Roy Lenzo, Paul Phamous and El Guincho.


The Hello Group, a full-service international entertainment company that offers talent management, label services, music publishing, digital, live touring and sports, is moving to Hollywood with the launch of Hello Studios and Hello Pictures.

The two new ventures will be led by an executive team including Hello Group founder and CEO Taylor Jones, who will serve as CEO of Hello Pictures; Hello Group chairman Phil Quartararo, who will serve as president of Hello Pictures and Hello Studios; COO Kyran Jones; senior vp of production Seth Harden; vp of production Christine Tolson; senior vp of original programming Scott Holroyd; vp of strategic partnerships Nick Schlein; and senior development executive Cory Riskin.

Located in Burbank, Hello Studios is a 25,000 square foot, 360 production facility featuring sound stages, recording studios, editing bays and production suites. The studio includes a 13×60 foot semi-circle LED screen utilizing Unreal Engine virtual sets and a MoCap technology system allowing filmmakers and creators to capture 2,048 markers on an actor’s body as opposed to the 20 to 30 markers used in traditional productions.

Hello Pictures is a production company that develops and produces original IP in TV and film with an emphasis on YA, family and music-based series and films. The company, which is represented by CAA, will leverage the studio facility and will also look to open additional revenue streams in the future, including games, books, consumer products, live entertainment, endorsements, sponsorships and licensing.

The two companies will be backed by an advisory board that includes Bill Gerber of Gerber Pictures; Tim van Rongen, the former co-CEO of Talpa North America and former senior vp of SYCO Entertainment; Sara Curran, founder & CEO of Tricycle Talent; and David G. O’Connell, formerly executive vp of production and operations for NBC Universal Cable and currently a consulting executive at Showtime Networks.

IMPALA has elected a new board for a term of two years. To support diversity and inclusion, the organization has also launched a new program that will provide free membership combined with board tenures to local labels. Under the initiative, all national associations will select a member company to share their board position for two years. Those companies will also be granted full access to IMPALA membership benefits during that time. In addition, label members of IMPALA will be joined by a second representative from their companies in an effort to bring young executives on board to contribute new ideas.

For leadership roles, the board chose Everlasting Records CEO Mark Kitcatt as president; he succeeds Kees van Weijen, who will continue as an IMPALA board member and as president of Dutch indie association STOMP. Francesca Trainini of Italian national association PMI was re-elected as IMPALA chair, while Geert De Blaere, who represents Belgian association BIMA, will continue as treasurer. Helen Smith, meanwhile, has been confirmed as executive chair.

“My priority will be to continue the work we have started with our ten-point streaming plan,” said Kitcatt in a statement. “We want to ensure diversity in streaming and support reform that grows the market and boosts our artists. The correct implementation of the copyright directive all over Europe, together with the proposals in our plan, can ensure real and lasting change.”

Smith added, “We are all set for the next two years and we look forward to welcoming more participants at our meetings. Alongside artist remuneration, and diversity work, our members prioritised touring, copyright, maximising EU performance monies for performers and labels, carbon literacy and other key issues.”

The new board members (additions to follow under the diversity and inclusion program) are:

!K7 (represented by Horst Weidenmüller and Tom Nieuweboer)
8Ball Music (represented by Floris Janssen and Helene Koekoek)
AIM (represented by Paul Pacifico and Gee Davy)
AIM Ireland (represented by Gill Dooley)
AMAEI (represented by Ana Rita Feijão)
Beggars Group (represented by Paul Redding and Martin Mills)
Better Noise Music (represented by Dan Waite and Claudia Mancino)
BIMA (represented by Geert de Blaere)
Cooking Vinyl (represented by Martin Goldschmidt and Michelle Polley)
Cosmos Music Group (represented by Robert Litsen)
DUP (represented by Kristoffer Rom and Laura Littauer)
Edel (represented by Jonas Haentjes)
Epitaph (represented by Roger Dorresteijn)
Everlasting Records (represented by Mark Kitcatt and Yavanna Cubas Callero)
FONO (represented by Larry Bringsjord and Erik Brataas)
HAIL (represented by Zsolt Jeges and Csaba Nasz)
IndieCo (represented by Tapio Korjus and Riku Pääkkönen)
INDIERO (represented by Dan Muraru and Anca Lupes)
IndieSuisse (represented by Andreas Ryser)
[PIAS] Music Group (represented by Michel Lambot)
Playground Music Scandinavia (represented by Jonas Sjöström and Rebecka Sjöström)
PMI (represented by Francesca Trainini)
RUNDA (represented by Dario Draštata)
SCL / Lusitanian (represented by Nuno Saraiva)
SOM (represented by Eva Karman Reinhold)
STOMP (represented by Kees van Weijen and Helene Koekoek)
Sugar Music (represented by Andrea Cotromano)
UFI (represented by Sonia Durán)
UPFI (represented by Guilhem Cottet and Laure Cavaillé)
VTMÖ (represented by Alexander Hirschenhauser)
VUT (represented by Jörg Heidemann)
Wagram Music (represented by Stephan Bourdoiseau and Arthur Zeller)


Diane Warren, Hildur Gudnadóttir and Rachel Portman are among A-listers from the world of film music named to the advisory board of The Alliance for Women Film Composers (AWFC) on Thursday (Sept. 23).

Hildur won the 2019 Academy Award for best original score for Joker. Portman won the 1996 award in that category for Emma. Warren is a 12-time Oscar nominee for best original song.

AWFC founding members Lolita Ritmanis, Miriam Cutler and Chandler Poling will head the advisory board.

Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman, long-time members of The Revolution, Prince‘s former band, are also on the board, along with Amy Andersson, Amy Dunning, Kathryn Bostic, Madonna Wade-Reed, Mitchell Leib, Peter Golub, Rickey Minor, Suzie Katayama, Tamar-kali and Tony Scudellari.

Founded in 2014, The AWFC is a community of composers and colleagues who seek to support and celebrate the work of women composers through advocacy and education. Their mission is to bring diverse voices to film, television, video games and multimedia projects. — Paul Grein

Vanessa French has been hired as vp communications and content strategy at SoundExchange.

In the role, French will oversee SoundExchange’s communications team, covering public relations, social media and digital communications, corporate communications, executive communications, content strategy and paid media. She’ll be tasked with amplifying the company’s near and short-term business development goals and brand messages and initiatives. She’ll report to SoundExchange’s chief marketing and communications officer Esther-Mireya Tejeda out of New York.

Over a career spanning nearly 20 years, French has worked at Brinks Home, the D.C.-based PR firm Beekeeper Group and Pivot Communications, a creative communications agency she co-founded and managed prior to its 2017 acquisition by Beekeeper.


Jaclyn Ulman has been promoted to senior public relations director at Grandstand Media. She was previously senior publicist.

Ulman joined Grandstand in 2018 after previous stints at Press Here and Motormouth Media. In her new role, she will continue leading national campaigns for clients including Soccer Mommy, Jay Som and Speedy Ortiz. She will additionally oversee the company’s press strategy, systems and utilization of new technology while managing the associate staff.