The Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) – the nonprofit entity charged with managing blanket licenses for digital music services and collecting and paying out digital royalties to copyright owners under the landmark Music Modernization Act – has announced several new hires in advance of its expected launch in January 2021.
Monique Benjamin has been hired as head of finance. In the role, she will lead the MLC’s internal budgeting process and track operational costs while spearheading efforts to set up the organization’s internal financial policies and processes. Benjamin boasts 18 years of experience in finance, having held roles at Word Entertainment and Warner Music Nashville, where she was most recently senior vp of finance.
Natalie Kilgore has been hired as head of public relations. She will oversees the MLC’s external communications, including those aimed at the organization’s songwriter and music publisher stakeholders. Earlier in her career, Kilgore launched in-house publicity departments at both Big Machine Label Group and BBR Music Group. She also previously served as communications director for the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI).
Maurice Russell has been hired as head of rights management. Russell will lead the MLC’s internal team of publishing experts, providing support and subject-matter expertise to all of the organization’s operational teams; lead the MLC’s publisher relations efforts to ensure publishers have a direct line of communication with the organization; and coordinate the operational relationship with the Harry Fox Agency, the MLC’s primary outside vendor for administration. Russell most recently served as CEO and founder of the consultancy firm Media Rights Management. He has additionally served on advisory groups at the U.S. Copyright Office and the U.S. Patent and Trade Office and has been a longtime participant in the Digital Data Exchange.
BMG has promoted Tim Reid to senior vp, repertoire & marketing at BMG Record Music. Reporting directly to BMG executive vp, repertoire & marketing Thomas Scherer, Reid will be responsible for leading the development of BMG’s R&B and hip-hop releases in the U.S. out of the company’s Los Angeles office.
At BMG, Reid has worked with artists including Anthony Hamilton, Keyshia Cole and Janet Jackson. Upcoming projects include releases for Derez De’Shon, Ayo & Teo and Ledisi. Reid was instrumental in expanding the company’s footprint in rap and hip-hop with artists including Lil Dicky and MadeinTYO via his work with BMG partner Commission Music.
Prior to joining BMG in 2014, Reid served as vp of product management at Ingrooves Distribution. He previously held high-level marketing roles at Interscope Geffen A&M Records, MCA Records and Priority Records.
Arjun Pulijal has been promoted to senior vp of marketing at Capitol Records. In the new role, the Los Angeles-based Pulijal – upped from vp of marketing – will lead the Capitol marketing department, overseeing campaigns for the label’s roster.
In his time at Capitol, Pulijal has been a key architect behind large-scale campaigns for releases including Paul McCartney’s Egypt Station, Beck’s Morning Phase and Colors, Halsey’s Manic, Arcade Fire’s Reflektor and Maggie Rogers’ Heard In a Past Life. He was named to Billboard’s “40 Under 40” list in 2017.
Having first joined Capitol in 2013 as director of marketing, Pulijal previously spent seven years at Epic Records in New York, first in A&R and later publicity and marketing.
First Artists Management, a talent agency that specializes in representing composers and music supervisors, has expanded its operations with a new London office that will be led by Hamish Duff. Duff will oversee all UK and EU operations in the role.
Duff, who hails from the independent management and publishing company Involved Productions, brings existing clients Solomon Grey, Clark, Alex Baranowski, Will Gregory, Blanck Mass, Hannah Peel, Nico Casal and The Grandbrothers to First Artists.
Also joining the First Artists team is Sabrina Hutchinson, who will join agents Vasi Vangelos and Alexander Vangelos in the Los Angeles office. Hutchinson founded the entertainment PR agency Defiant Public Relations in 2011 and has represented composers including Rolfe Kent and Bear McCreary. She brings clients Gordy Haab and Joshua Mosley into the First Artists fold.
Creative director Lucy Prada, founder of the London-based creative agency Before Lucy, has brought on a pair of executives to fulfill the agency’s goal of creating new opportunities for independent artists: artist manager, project manager and creative consultant Andre Mcdonald and art director Scott Butler.
Mcdonald previously headed up the digital marketing division at Crown Management/Nettwerk Records and also worked at Universal Music Group.
Along with the hires, Before Lucy — which offers services including art direction, animation and design, marketing, social media content and website design — is launching a new “social project” inspired by the COVID-19 crisis that will provide two independent artists with a free single or EP campaign each quarter.
MUSIC ROW MOVES: Sony Music Nashville promoted Lauren Thomas to vp national promotion from director … Big Machine Label Group promoted Heather Luke to GM for its rock label, Big Machine/John Varvatos, from senior vp/head of promotion … Management firm The AMG hired two new staff members: marketing strategy specialist Diana Garcia and creative director David Colon. Garcia, a marketing vet, will continue to operate House of Darlings, a charitable fashion brand she founded in 2015. (Tom Roland)