Music promotion veteran “Heavy” Lenny Bronstein is retiring from the industry after a 50-year career.
“I was fortunate to have thousands of stories and nearly 2000 artists I helped. But now, the industry & practices have changed. Promotion was always about communication & relationships, friendships and bold ideas, creating excitement about the artists and their music,” says Bronstein in a self-penned release announcing his retirement. “Even before the pandemic, the climate changed and communication withered. Instead of one-to-one dialogue, an eblast is considered brilliance. I’ll miss the interaction but am thrilled at all the friendships I made and still will maintain.”
Bronstein got an early start on his career while still a student at Brooklyn College, where he co-founded the school’s first radio station, WBCR, in 1968.
“We were treated royally by the record industry and I actually was the first person in the world to play ‘Get Back’ by The Beatles,” Bronstein writes. “I also premiered ‘Layla’ and so many other ‘firsts and exclusives.’ [Concert promoter] Bill Graham allowed me passes to nearly every Fillmore East show, telling everyone Mike Jahn of the NY Times gets the first pair and that ‘pain in the ass kid’ from Brooklyn College gets the second pair!”
During his tenure at WBCR, Bronstein worked to convince record labels to start college radio promotion departments. When A&M established one in 1970, he was hired by Lance Freed to work there.
While at A&M, Bronstein worked with artists including Carole King, Cat Stevens, the Carpenters, Joe Cocker and Styx, among others. During his tenure at the label, he “innovated” monthly sampler cassettes of the label’s upcoming releases, “which became the norm for other labels very quickly,” Bronstein writes. He was additionally a force behind a “dollar concerts” touring series in which A&M artists such as Ozark Mountain Daredevils and Joan Armatrading were introduced to listeners via radio station-sponsored shows that doubled as food-collection events for local charities.
In 1980, Bronstein launched Heavy Lenny Promotions, where he worked to raise the profiles of artists including Joan Jett, Pat Benatar, Eurythmics, Megadeth, Huey Lewis & the News and Richard Marx and “helped resurrect radio airplay” for established stars including Bob Dylan, Kiss and Bad Company. He additionally worked with U2 in the first decade of the band’s career.
Bronstein helped launch Charisma Records in 1990, orchestrating campaigns for John Lee Hooker and The Wallflowers, among others. He pivoted back to independent promotion in 1993 and worked for himself for the remainder of his career.
Bronstein can still be reached at email@example.com.
Livestreaming platform LiveXLive, which recently launched a music publishing division led by David Schulhof, has hired Roe Williams as global head of talent and artist partnerships.
Williams most recently served as general manager of the record label ART@WAR, which is part of Global Think Entertainment, the talent procurement and consulting agency she founded in 2016. The roster at the label, a joint venture with Atlantic Records, includes YBN Cordae, YBN Almighty Jay, YBN Nahmir, Jucee Froot and SK8.
Prior to that, Williams was managing partner and senior vp of strategic partnerships at KWL Enterprises, a strategic holding company that includes KWL Management, the talent and brand development firm led by 300 Entertainment founder Kevin Liles. During her tenure, Williams partnered with Liles in expanding KWL Management’s roster from just one artist to 15, including Big Sean, D’Angelo, Nelly, Young Jeezy and Estelle. She also spearheaded the firm’s expansion into non-musical representation.
Before joining KWL, Williams served as chief of staff for Sean Combs, a pivot from her previous work as a financial analyst at Goldman Sachs. Over the course of her career, she has orchestrated endorsement deals for artists including Big Sean (Adidas and Unilever/AXE), Trey Songz (Grey Goose and Calvin Klein), Justin Bieber (Tosy), Brandon Marshall (Office Max) and Nelly (General Mills).
“My career trajectory has always been about artists first, which is very much the centerpiece of LiveXLive’s flywheel philosophy in all of the platforms they operate,” said Williams in a statement. “The ability to join a team with this level of skill, creativity and future thinking made it an easy choice for me. The music and entertainment industries are in the midst of a revolution. LiveXLive is leading the way not only in streaming live and pay per view, but in multiple innovative and original formats from awards shows to podcasts to virtual festivals. I am joining to help keep the company ahead of the creative and cultural curves in entertainment and music by partnering authentically with artists, audiences and brands.”
Artist, songwriter and producer Shooter Jennings has joined Concord as a staff producer. In the role, Jennings will work closely with Concord chief label executive Tom Whalley to develop the company’s current roster while scouting new talent.
“To have the opportunity to join this [Concord] family is really a dream-come-true,” said Jennings. “I now find myself with so many more opportunities and resources to make the impact on music I have always dreamed of. Right off the bat, I am grateful for this. I am now looking forward to all the ways I can apply myself and my abilities alongside this great, global team to make great music and keep the world of music that grabbed me at such a young age growing, healthy, youthful, experimental and wild so that it might snatch up another generation of kids like me. I couldn’t be happier with the folks I’m surrounded by, and I’m lit up with excitement for all the work we’re going to be able to do together.”
Jennings scored a Grammy win for Best Country Album in 2020 for co-producing Tanya Tucker’s While I’m Livin’, which was released on Concord’s Fantasy Records. The prior year, he won a Grammy for Best Americana Album for co-producing Brandi Carlile’s 2018 release By the Way, I Forgive You. His other recent collaborators include Marilyn Manson (We Are Chaos), Lukas Nelson (“Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys”) and Duff McKagan (Tenderness).
Sony/ATV has hired Naomi Asher as vp, neighboring rights, U.K. and international. Based in the publisher’s London office, Asher will report directly to president and co-managing director David Ventura and co-managing director Tim Major.
Asher will be responsible for managing the neighboring rights division and driving growth there, while maintaining relationships with societies and clients in the U.K. and internationally. Additionally, she will be tasked with developing and executing strategic initiatives to ensure performers receive fair pay.
Asher was most recently director and president at Wixen Music UK, where she helped expand the company’s neighboring rights division. During her time there, she co-founded the Independent Alliance for Artist Rights (IAFAR), a trade body for the neighboring rights business. The organization grew out of Asher’s advocacy for standardization and increased transparency in neighboring rights across the music industry.
Victoria Goodvin has been named vp/general manager at the newly-relaunched Wide Open Music Publishing.
Originally established in 2013, Wide Open’s current songwriter roster includes Chris Bandi, George Birge, Maddie Larkin, John Marlin and Tim Owens. The publisher was acquired by Endurance Music Group earlier this year.
Goodvin kicked off her publishing career after being hired as creative director at Song Factory (now Riser House). She worked for several other publishing companies before joining Wide Open Music in 2019 to assist with publishing and management responsibilities.
“I have so enjoyed working with the entire Wide Open team,” says Goodvin. “I am very grateful for this opportunity and for their continued belief in me. I am so excited to get to work on the new company. We have an incredible roster already and you’ll be seeing a lot from them in 2020 and beyond!”
SyncFloor, the sync marketplace for commercial music, has hired David Rojas to lead the company’s business development efforts.
In his new role, Rojas will play a key role in SyncFloor’s ongoing push to open up new opportunities for independent music in sync.
Rojas has worked in a variety of roles in the music industry for two decades, with a history that includes stints as a producer, touring DJ, mixing/mastering engineer, EP, program manager, strategist and music supervisor. Most recently, he established a music strategy and partnerships team that led music and community-focused projects for brands including Google and LA28. Prior to that, he ran music programming initiatives at companies including Reebok Classics, Nestle and Cricket Wireless. He is currently a Google NextGen Tech Policy Fellow, advising on matters that involve the convergence of tech policy, social justice and entrepreneurship.
Paul Schiminger, executive director of the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA), will retire from the organization when his contract ends on May 31, 2021. Schiminger has served in the role since 2015.
Board chairman Ben Surratt will assemble a search committee and hire an executive search firm to assist in the search for a new executive director. Schiminger has offered to remain beyond his May 31 retirement date if needed to assist with the transition.
During his tenure, Schiminger oversaw a number of successful initiatives, including converting the IBMA to a 501(c)(3) organization; creating greater awareness of IBMA’s trust fund and foundation for potential donors and recipients; increasing programming to foster diversity and inclusion in bluegrass music; improving IBMA’s online visibility through a new website and e-newsletter, among other efforts; mobilizing the IBMA trust fund to assist those in need during the pandemic; and executing a virtual version of the IBMA World of Bluegrass event.
“I was honored and humbled by my selection in early 2015, and I feel more so today knowing the true weight of the responsibilities in my role,” said Schiminger in a release. “It was impossible to foresee the incredible experiences and friendships I have gained throughout this time. I arrived embracing the challenges facing all of us to build upon the IBMA’s successes and make impactful progress to strengthen and move the association forward for even greater future success. I could not be more proud of the achievements we have all made together.”
Alistair White has been promoted to head of streaming and audience – UK music at international artist management company YMU. He was previously streaming strategy and partnerships manager.
White’s appointment is effective immediately; he will report directly to Iain Watt, managing director of YMU’s UK music division. The two worked together for eight years at Machine Management before the firm’s 2018 acquisition by YMU.
In his new role, the London-based White will develop processes for identifying core and potential audiences so that YMU can create for strategic campaigns for its clients, which include James Arthur, Blink-182, Steve Aoki and Take That.
Artist, songwriter and producer Cliff Downs has been named senior vp of publishing and artist development at Given Entertainment.
As an artist, Downs was previously signed to Atlantic Records. In 2000, he won a Daytime Emmy for Best Original Song for co-writing “When I Think Of You,” which was featured in the soap opera One Life to Live. His songs have been recorded by artists including Foreigner, Wynonna and Gabby Barrett.