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Executive Turntable: New Senior VP of A&R at Warner Records; Moves at Kobalt, Sony/ATV, APA

A rundown of moves and shakers across the music business, including at Kobalt, Sony/ATV and APA.

Warner Records has brought in music business veteran Stefan Max for the role of senior vice president of A&R, the label announced on Friday. Max is a 10-year WMG veteran, having joined Warner’s Roadrunner Records in 2010 as director of A&R before making his way to Atlantic two years later as vp of A&R.

Some of Max’s top signings over the years include Young the Giant (at Roadrunner), and Icona Pop, Vance Joy and Absofacto (at Atlantic). His first signing at Warner was Sub Urban, whose lead single, “Cradles,” has risen to No. 3 on the Alternative Songs chart.


“Stefan’s track record and tenacity in signing great artists, and his skill in unlocking that talent in the studio, separates him from the pack,” said Warner co-chairman & CEO Aaron Bay-Schuck. “Stefan thinks and speaks the language of music creatives, and he’s an invaluable member of our A&R team. Tom and I are excited to see him soar in his new role.”

Max will be based at the company’s new downtown Los Angeles headquarters.



Kobalt has promoted Julie Hurwitz and Rob Christensen to co-heads of synch and brand partnerships, the company announced Wednesday (March 11).

In their new roles, both will be responsible for overseeing Kobalt Music Publishing’s global synch team. Hurtwitz will oversee the East Coast, European and LATAM teams, while Christensen will be responsible for the West Coast, Asia and Australia/New Zealand teams.


In Hurwitz’s previous role as Kobalt’s senior vp, synch & brand partnerships, she negotiated licensing deals while working with artists including James Murphy, Beck, Stevie Nicks, Steve Winwood and Lionel Richie. She previously served as a vp at Nettwerk Music Group, was the founding executive creative director at music production company Q Department and also worked at companies including Ogilvy, MCA Records International and TVT Rccords.

Christensen was upped from his previous role as senior vp, synch operations, in which he negotiated synch deals and built synch processes and financial frameworks that helped track and grow the business. He joined Kobalt from BMG, where he helped oversee the synch clearance and administration teams. Prior to that, he worked in synch at Bug Music before BMG acquired the company.



Lila Gerson has joined APA’s concerts department as senior vp, strategic marketing & brand partnerships, it was announced Wednesday (March 11) by APA worldwide music co-heads Steve Martin, Bruce Solar and Steve Lassiter. Based out of APA’s New York office, Gerson will oversee all artist partnership, tour sponsorship, endorsement and digital and social campaigns for the company’s music roster.

Gerson most recently served as senior vp, global marketing & communications at Nielsen Entertainment, where she oversaw global brand, content, event, digital, product marketing and communications for the company’s music, sports, eSports, games and book businesses. She has additionally worked in brand partnerships at Warner Records and was formerly executive director of business development and strategy at Billboard, where she helped launch franchises including Women In Music and consumer events including the Billboard/Pepsi Summer Beats concert series. She was additionally part of the team that re-launched the Billboard Music Awards.



Sony/ATV has promoted Michèle Hamelink to senior A&R, Europe and Sarah Gabrielli to U.K. and Europe A&R manager, it was announced Wednesday (March 11).

In a release, Sony/ATV notes that the promotions are a recognition of Hamelink and Gabrielle’s work “to advance the goals of Sony/ATV’s European A&R team, which include working across European borders to ensure representation in every territory, prioritizing songwriters through providing international opportunities, and supporting all European A&R departments in finding, signing and developing songwriters.”

Hamelink joined Sony/ATV in 2012 and became part of its European A&R team in 2015. She most recently served as the team’s senior creative manager and has worked with songwriters and producers including a.o. Gia Koka, Yung Felix, Son Mieux, and Jonas Kröper. Gabrielli joined the company in 2016 as an A&R assistant before being promoted to A&R manager. In that role, she signed songwriters including beabadoobee, Jordan Rakei, DamexDame and Loryn.

The Amsterdam-based Hamelink directly reports to the company’s managing director Niels Walboomers, while the London-based Gabrielli reports to president & co-managing director David Ventura.



Squeak E. Clean Studios, the international creative audio network, has hired Chris Clark as producer of its Chicago studio, the company announced Monday (March 9).

Clark joins Squeak E. Clean after 11 years as global music lead at Leo Burnett Chicago. In his new role, he will use his expertise in original music production, music strategy, artist partnerships, deal negotiation and licensing to facilitate new creative collaborations between clients and Squeak E. Clean Studios’ composers, sound designers and more.

“At a time where audio is truly coming back to the forefront of marketing strategies for brands and CMOs, it’s a perfect point to pivot from the agency side to join what I consider one of the most innovative music companies in our space,” said Clark in a statement.

Over the course of his career, Clark has secured track placements in content for brands including Samsung, Nintendo, MillerCoors, P&G, McDonald’s, Allstate and Esurance. He was named a Billboard Branding Power Player last year.



Shellie Lewis has been hired as the first business development manager at commercial music licensing platform SyncFloor, it was announced Tuesday (March 10). In her new role, Lewis will guide the startup in building relationships with advertising, TV, film, gaming, and music professionals in an effort to expand SyncFloor’s customer base.

In a statement, SyncFloor co-founder and head of business affairs Cestjon McFarland said Lewis’s “experience producing content for advertising agencies and digital production companies gives her a deep understanding of the industry use cases for SyncFloor, including how it applies to emerging forms of produced content.”

Over nearly 20 years in the industry, Lewis has designed and project managed visual and marketing assets for major labels and managed recording artists. In a statement, she said that after being approached by SyncFloor about including the catalog of one of her clients on its platform, she was “blown away by the initial demo.” She continued, “From a seller perspective, SyncFloor solves issues of catalog visibility, process transparency, and transactional efficiency. And as a former advertising producer and animator, the collaboration tools SyncFloor offers were a kismet sign.”



The independent music marketing service and distribution company Ingrooves Music Group has named Daniel “Tive” Tivemark as country manager of Ingrooves Sweden, it was announced Thursday (March 12). The hiring marks the company’s expansion into Sweden after other recent moves into Brazil and Japan.

Tive, who will be based in Stockholm, most recently served as a manager on Spotify Sweden’s artist & label marketing team. He has also worked at Burning Heart Records, Victory Records, Nuclear Blast, BMG and as an artist manager for the Swedish band In Flames, among other roles.

“We are excited to add an exceptional talent in Stockholm to our expanding operations in the Nordic region,” said Ingrooves CEO Bob Roback in a statement. “Ingrooves is always committed to better serving our label and artist partners. Tive is well known within the local music industry, as well as on the global stage, and is the perfect person to lead our efforts in Sweden.”



Janine Ebach has launched the boutique artist management company Ebach Entertainment, it was announced Friday (March 13). Based out of Nashville while also operating in Los Angeles, the new firm will focus on a number of business verticals, including music publishing, songwriter management and artist development.

“Since I began my career in music publishing, I’ve had the desire to launch my own entity and am energized to finally announce this multi-faceted music company,” said Ebach in a statement. “I look forward to sharing my experience, passion and love for creatives within our unique industry and aim to discover, nurture and develop the next generation of music makers.”

Ebach started her career as creative director at THiS Music Publishing and later worked as head of Wordcountry and vp at Curb|Word Music Publishing. She has worked with artists including Brett Young, Jon Pardi, Jordan Davis, Dustin Lynch, George Strait, Luke Bryan, Lady Antebellum and Lauren Daigle.



Publicist Taryn Pray has joined the Nashville-based PR firm Monarch Publicity, the company announced Monday (March 9). Pray’s 13 years of experience include stints at UMG Nashville and Sony Music Nashville. She started her own independent publicity firm in 2013.

Monarch Publicity’s clients include Chris Bandi, Chris Young, Craig Morgan, Laine Hardy, Matt Stell, Sara Evans, The Shires, Temecula Road, Tiffany Woys and Music Health Alliance.