In the latest sign that the future is looking rosy for the music business, Warner Music Group is launching a new standalone record company to be staffed by a mix of WMG employees and new hires.
The company, Elektra Music Group, will launch October 1 and consist of WMG’s labels Elektra Records, Fueled By Ramen (FBR), Roadrunner Records, Low Country Sound, and Black Cement Records, marking the first time in 15 years that the storied Elektra label will operate independently. Heading the new 60-person team will be FBR/Roadrunner president Mike Easterlin and Elektra’s current president Gregg Nadel.
As co-presidents, they will report to Atlantic Records Group chairman/CEO Craig Kallman and chairman/ COO Julie Greenwald, who architected the plan, even though the new unit won’t be part of the Atlantic group. Its roster will include twenty one pilots, Zac Brown Band, Brandi Carlile, Fitz and the Tantrums, Sturgill Simpson, Paramore, Slipknot, Panic! At The Disco, Coheed and Cambria, Kaleo and Gojira.
With its own departments including A&R, artist development, business and legal affairs, international, marketing, promotion, publicity, sales and streaming, and video, Elektra Music Group could help the third-biggest major record company sign more acts and increase its output, as the steady growth of all-you-can-eat subscription streaming services makes volume more important for labels than ever.
“The birth of Elektra Music Group is all about creating opportunity for artists,” said Greenwald and Kallman in a statement. “It opens up a new door to bring more game-changing talent into the WMG family, while giving them the personal attention that is our hallmark. Just as importantly, it will allow some of the most outstanding members of our team to run their own shop and their own departments, taking their careers to new places.”
The announcement comes less than a year after Max Lousada took the helm as CEO of WMG’s global recorded music division, during which time he has also rebooted Warner Bros. Records with new leadership and opened shop in the Middle East.
“Our whole approach is to create environments that give artists and entrepreneurs the freedom and support to pioneer the future of music,” Lousada said in a statement. “It feels great to be bringing back the iconic Elektra brand as a major company for the first time in 15 years.”
Easterlin has been president of FBR and Roadrunner Records since January of 2016 while Nadel has been president of Elektra Records since January 2017, joining the Atlantic empire 21 years ago straight after college.