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Executive Turntable: Former RCA Co-Prez’s New Venture, Universal Music Names Russia Chief

A rundown of recent music industry hires and promotions at Universal Music Russia, Warner Chappell, Arista Records and more.

Radio promotion veteran Joe Riccitelli, who departed his role as co-president of RCA Records earlier this month, has launched Gold’n Retriever Entertainment, where he will work on new projects from RCA artists Miley Cyrus and Justin Timberlake, among others.

“I have been blessed that over the past 22 years I have been surrounded by some of the most talented artists and a passionate label family,” Riccitelli told RAMP in a statement announcing the new venture. “I led promotional efforts on over 100 No. 1 songs, including 45 No. 1 songs at Top 40 alone, ranging from the incredibly successful from the gritty independent label that was Jive to the powerhouse company RCA has become over the past 11 years. I’m so thankful the opportunities that were afforded me when Barry Weiss hired me to join Jive Records in 1999. I’m grateful to continue working with RCA artists and beyond as I launch Gold’n Retriever Entertainment.”

Riccitelli left RCA in an executive reshuffle that saw Mark Pitts promoted to label president and John Fleckenstein upped to chief operating officer.

Maxim Vlasov has been named managing director of Universal Music Russia, effective immediately. He replaces Dmitry Konnov, who “leaves the company amicably and by mutual agreement,” according to a release.

The hire marks a homecoming of sorts for Vlasov, who was executive director, Universal Music Russia until 2019 before leaving to serve as COO for the Russian football team FC Spartak Moscow. He previously worked at the Walt Disney Company and Olympus.

Vlasov will be tasked with strengthening relationships with artists and partners while continuing to grow UMG’s Russian operations. He will be based in Moscow and report to Frank Briegmann, chairman & CEO of Universal Music Central Europe and Deutsche Grammophon.

Warner Chappell has promoted Natalie Madaj to senior vp, digital licensing, Americas and Daniel Lang to vp, digital licensing, EMEIA, effective immediately. Both will continue reporting to executive vp, global digital strategy Eric Mackay, with whom the will work to oversee Warner Chappell’s global commercial digital initiatives.

Madaj has been with Warner Chappell since 2018, when she joined as vp, digital licensing, North America. She has since helped lead digital licensing negotiations and reached partnerships with companies including Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Pandora, Spotify, TikTok and YouTube. She also played an instrumental role in supporting Warner Chappell’s regional affiliates in Canada and Latin America to align local deals with the publisher’s global strategy.

Lang joined Warner Chappell in 2017 as digital account executive and was subsequently named head of digital licensing, EMEIA the following year. During his time at the publisher, he’s expanded the company’s multi-territory licensing strategy and fostered relationships with partners like Spotify, Amazon, YouTube, Deezer and Facebook. He also implemented a more proactive licensing strategy in developing markets.

Arista Records has named Nick Petropoulos senior vp, promotion and head of pop and alternative radio.

In the new role, the New York-based Petropoulos will oversee pop and alternative radio promotion while helping executive vp of promotion John Boulos manage Arista’s promotion staff across the U.S.

Petropoulos began as an intern at Sony RED and was later promoted to associate director of alternative promotion. Beginning in 2009, he joined Glassnote Records as head of promotion, a role he held for 11 years. While there, he expanded the department and field staff in the U.S. and Canada and oversaw campaigns for all artists on the Glassnote roster, including Mumford & Sons, Phoenix, CHVRCHES and Childish Gambino.

Sony/ATV has promoted Audrey J. Ashby to senior vp, business affairs and catalog.

In the role, Ashby will manage relationships with several of Sony/ATV’s songwriters and catalogs, including Valerie Simpson, Holland-Dozier-Holland, Pete Moore, Marvin Gaye, Ron Miller and Sandy Linzer. Her responsibilities include extending existing agreements and negotiating new deals.

Ashby began her career at CBS Songs, which later became SBK and then EMI. There, she rose to vp, copyright administration  and eventually led the copyright department. She subsequently moved into business affairs at the company and later joined the business affairs team at Sony/ATV when it was acquired by EMI.

Driift, the livestream platform that has mounted ticketed online shows for artists including Niall Horan and Kylie Minogue, has appointed Adam Shore general manager U.S.

Shore joins Driift from Red Bull and Red Bull Music Academy, where he served as head of global programming (music) for eight years. During that time, he spearheaded event concepts for Solange, Bjork, Megan Thee Stallion, Rosalia, Brian Eno and more. Before that, he developed music initiatives for Adult Swim and Toyota’s Scion brand; co-founded VICE Records (where he signed The Streets, Bloc Party and Justice, among others); managed artists Best Coast and Jay Reatard; produced the Blackened Music and Tinnitus events series; and worked for seven years at TVT Records.

In his new role, Shore will help to expand Driift’s North American operations, which was launched in 2020 by ATC Management’s Ric Salmon and Brian Message, with further investment from Beggars Group. The company has since sold over 400,000 tickets to fans in more than 150 territories, according to a press release.

Bridgeman Sports & Media has named Michele Ghee CEO of the iconic magazine brands Ebony and Jet, both of which were started by Black businessman and publisher John H. Johnson.

“Everything we say will come through the lens of Black journalists,” said Ghee in a statement. “We will ensure there is a safe space for Black journalism to thrive. I’m a little Black girl from Oakland, CA. I’m not apologizing for any of it. Our voices matter. We are History in the making!”

Ghee added, “Our brands’ main responsibility will be to focus completely on what our Beloved audience wants and needs with bold informed editorial, brilliant content, and the opportunity to connect with like minded people. Paying homage to Mr. Johnson’s legacy means that my team will carve-out and create our own path. We will NOT succumb to the status quo.”

In the role, Ghee will commit herself to extending the brands’ reach to a global audience. Over a 25-year-plus career, she has served in roles at CNN, A&E, The History Channel, WME and BET Networks, where she created and led BETHer, a network dedicated to Black women.

Bridgeman Sports & Media — the company owned by former NBA player Ulysses “Junior” Bridgeman — purchased Ebony and Jet last year after the magazine brands were forced into involuntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Loop Media, which focuses on 360-degree engagement of music videos and other premium content, has hired Darcy Fulmer as head of music.

Fulmer will oversee a team of curators and the company’s large music video library in creating programming for Loop Media’s apps for business, mobile and television as well as its collection of 24/7 music video TV channels.

Fulmer’s many roles have included music director of KROQ-FM in Los Angeles; director of music programming for VH1, MTV, and MTV2; vp of music at MTV Interactive, where she oversaw the creation of 10 digital radio channels; senior vp of music and talent for Universal Music Group’s Jimmy and Doug’s Farmclub; and a music consultant for Napster and Revolt TV.

Business manager Josh Klein has launched TKG Business Management out of Beverly Hills. The company will offer business management, tax and personal CFO services to “the upper echelon of the music industry,” athletes, entrepreneurs and more, including Klein’s existing clients The Chainsmokers, Big Sean, Logic and Kelly Rowland.

“To me, business management is the most personal and important relationship one can have on their team. It’s easy for an accountant to check all the right boxes on your tax forms, send them in on time, and only talk to you once a year – but I’m not just some accountant. I’ve always been driven by an entrepreneurial spirit, and now that’s what drives TKG,” said Klein in a statement announcing the launch. “It’s time for a more personal approach. Times have changed, we need to be able to provide our clients with stable, more hands-on financial support while also coming to the table with new ideas that help bring their more entrepreneurial interests to life.”

In addition to his role as managing partner of TKG, Klein is a partner in both Mantis Venture Capital and JAJA Spirits Company.

Audionamix, a company that specializes in AI-driven audio source separation, has hired music licensing expert and tech advisor Cory Sims to lead its new music business services initiative. In the role, Sims will help Audionamix foster new relationships in the industry.

“Cory’s expertise in both sync licensing and music technology makes him the perfect liaison between our best-in-class AI stemming solutions and the needs of the music industry,” said Audionamix general manager, North America Ellie McNeil in a statement. “We remain committed to offering the most powerful AI algorithms exclusively as custom solutions for content owners.”

Sims began his music industry career as an artist and manager before joining the Harry Fox Agency (HFA) in 2017, where he led the business development team for HFA’s Rumblefish, a suite of data, licensing and royalty administration services. In that role, he worked on new digital agreements, including downloads, streaming, games and karaoke licensing deals. In 2019, he founded CES ADVISR, a boutique consulting and advisory firm where he worked with companies at the intersection of music and tech.

Audionamix’s audio isolation technologies “allow it to separate audio elements, allowing for audio to be removed, dialog re-recorded, or a cappella or instrumental tracks to be generated, even when multitracks no longer exist.” It has partnered with artists including Barbra Streisand and Barry Manilow, major media companies and studios.