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Executive Turntable: Moves at Mixhalo, CD Baby, Warner Music Artist Services, Fender & More

A list of moves and shakes across the music business, including at Mixhalo, CD Baby, Warner Music Artist Services and Fender.

Mixhalo, the immersive audio platform that delivers real-time audio directly to concertgoers’ phones, has hired John Vars as its chief product officer, it was announced Wednesday (Sept. 18). In his new role, Vars will help to grow and evolve Mixhalo’s product vision, strategy and roadmap and work with CEO Marc Ruxin to continue scaling the company, which just came off a $10.7 million Series A funding round led by Foundry Group.

“I’m passionate about the combination of network technologies, sound, using digital to enhance the real world, and building up early-stage companies quickly,” said Vars in a statement. “There is such a strong need for event organizers to continue improving and enhancing the live experience. There are nearly endless applications for Mixhalo in verticals like sports, conferences, theatre, and more using our technology for multiple audio feeds, volume control, interpretation, play-by-play, and so much more.”

Vars has more than 20 years of experience as a product and technology leader. He previously held the role of chief product officer at mobile-first bank Varo Money and TaskRabbit.



CD Baby has named Geoff Halliday head of promotions on its creator services team, the company announced Tuesday (Sept. 17). The executive, who previously served as director of digital marketing at Red Light Management, will oversee the company’s artist marketing globally.

“Having spent years as an advocate for independent music and having worked across DSP relations in a variety of roles, I am extremely enthusiastic and eager to join CD Baby’s growing Creator Services team,” Halliday said in a statement. “I am truly delighted to be a part of enriching the experience for both new and existing members of the CD Baby roster.”

CD Baby’s creator services division was launched in 2018 in an effort to provide an alternative to the traditional label system for artists at all stages of their careers. The team currently works with acts including Aloe Blacc, El Alfa, Oh Land and Jayden Bartels.



Andrew Peterson is the new vp tour & artist services at Warner Music Group’s in-house merchandising, e-commerce and digital marketing division, Warner Music Artist Services (WMAS), the company announced Tuesday (Sept. 17). 

“We’ve been lucky to have Andrew build our Live department since its inception nearly 10 years ago,” said WMAS senior vp Dan Goldberg in a statement. “He truly understands the intricacies of touring and the ins-and-outs of merchandising — and it’s been a pleasure to watch him evolve into the leader that he is today.”

In his new role, Peterson will lead WMAS’s live efforts and head up its Nashville operation. He and his team will be responsible for optimizing artist merch sales on the road and maximizing bespoke VIP fan experiences.



Guitar maker Fender has promoted Christina Stejskal to vp communications, PR, the company announced Wednesday (Sept. 18).

In her new role, Stejskal will lead consumer strategy for all outward facing communications on behalf of the company while continuing to oversee media relations and external strategic communications across global product launches, business initiatives, events, partnerships and influencer marketing. She will also be responsible for leading marketing efforts around Fender’s recently-announced Fender Play Foundation.

“Christina continues to position Fender as a global leader in the industry through strategic communications efforts,” said Fender CEO Andy Mooney in a statement. “Under her leadership, the team and our agency partners, have successfully amplified our marketing campaigns within and beyond Music Industry Media, leveraging strategic partnerships and artist collaborations. We’re excited to see what comes next.”



Kobalt has hired Sebastien Cayla as director of synch and brand partnerships, France and Belgium, the company announced Tuesday (Sept. 17). In his new role, Cayla will oversee synch and brand partnerships within the territory for Kobalt and its full-service recorded music company AWAL.

“Sebastien is a highly respected executive with a proven track record of success in synch, brand partnerships and overall client service,” said Kobalt president of global synch and brand partnerships Jeannette Perez in a statement. “Sebastien will be integral to our growth as we continue to expand our footprint in France & Belgium.”

Cayla has more than 20 years of experience in the industry, including gig promoter for artists including Radiohead and Pulp and a 15-year career at Warner Chappell Music France, where he rose to head of synch.



On Monday (Sept. 16) Creative Artists Agency (CAA) announced it has promoted trainee Anthony Brown to agent.

Brown was promoted in CAA’s touring division, which booked more than 32,000 music and comedy show dates last year. He will continue to operate from the agency’s London office.