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Moody Jones Named GM of Dance at EMPIRE: ‘I’m Trying To Help Dance Artists Turn Pennies Into Profits’

The newly created role follows EMPIRE's acquisition of the Dirtybird label last fall.

EMPIRE is pushing further into clubland, with big ambitions for helping DJs and producers get paid.

Today (Feb. 1), the San Francisco-based label announced that Moody Jones will step into the newly created role of GM of dance. Jones was previously EMPIRE’s senior vp of digital & creative, a position from which he worked across genres including dance projects by artists like The Martinez Brothers and Santino Le Saint.

Jones tells Billboard that this position will allow EMPIRE to “prioritize our expansion in this scene.” Jones’ new role follows EMPIRE’s acquisition of Claude VonStroke‘s storied Dirtybird label last October, with Jones adding that EMPIRE Dance is currently in talks with other labels and properties and “are open to other opportunities including catalog acquisitions.” Jones — a 2022 Billboard Indie Power Player honoree — will lead a dance team made up of the Dirtybird team, along with a team of new hires.


In this new role, his day-to-day involves signing artists, reintroducing songs from the EMPIRE catalog and developing ways to incorporate dance strategies into the company’s daily priorities. Most crucially though, is time spent “getting obsessed with artists that deserve more exposure and figuring out where EMPIRE Dance can add value to them,” Jones says.

“The music industry has been evolving over the last five years and the dance labels haven’t caught up yet,” Jones says. “Our goal is to improve dance artist and label deals and reintroduce strong communities. DJs and dance artists have gotten used to making pennies on their music and making majority of their income on touring, which unfortunately means less quality time in production and more negative impact on their mental and physical health. I’m trying to help artists turn the pennies they are making on music into profits to better their livelihood.”

While EMPIRE has previously worked largely in genres like hip-hop and Latin, it’s bringing a significant competitive edge to the dance space. The company has its own publishing division and boasts “our own distributor so we have better data insights and audience analytics that empower us and our artists to make more proactive decisions,” he says.

EMPIRE also has its own studios, synch and partnership team, and international staff in more than a dozen cities to help with regional rollouts.

“Moody has been an integral part of EMPIRE’s growth over the years,” EMPIRE CEO Ghazi Shami adds in a statement. “As we expand into Dance, I’m confident in Moody at the helm with his ability to identify and develop artists that are impacting culture.”