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Executive Turntable: Gould Hired as EVP at Roc Nation, Sesay joins OkayMedia as CEO

A list of moves and shakes across the music business, including at Roc Nation, OkayMedia, The MLC, and more.

Roc Nation appointed Andrew Gould as evp of publishing. He will report to CEO Desiree Perez and work closely with vp Jay Brown.

“Roc Nation is one of the most trusted and respected brands in music, culture, and beyond,” said Gould. “I am thrilled to work with this team of professionals to grow the Roc Nation publishing footprint.  Thank you Desiree and Jay Brown for this incredible opportunity. And a thank you to Omar Grant, without whom this would not have happened.”

Gould joins Roc Nation from Downtown Music Publishing where he held several leadership roles. He also spent time at BMG and have aided in signing and developing Andra Day and placing Zedd‘s hit “The Middle” featuring Maren Morris.

In his new role, Gould will lead the music publishing department, oversee signing and roster management, identify and negotiate partnership deals and leverage the Roc Nation ecosystem.

OkayMedia appointed former CNN International anchor Isha Sesay as CEO. In her new role, she will combine her decades of reporting experience to expand and continue the company’s commitment to innovative storytelling.

“I’m so thrilled to be joining the OkayMedia family,” said Sesay. “This is an exciting company that has long done great work that I have admired. I can’t wait to bring to life all my ideas to expand our content offerings and ways to expose this fantastic brand to even more people in Africa and beyond.”

Sesay also joined OkayMedia’s board of directors and was named co-founder and CEO of their new production arm, SPKN/WRD. This new venture was created to bring lesser known voices and fresh perspectives to the forefront via feature films, documentaries, television, podcasting and publishing.

OkayMedia is dedicated to uplifting the artistic and progressive voice of global Black culture. The multimedia organization includes digital publications OkayAfrica and OkayPlayer.

The Mechanical Licensing Collective (The MLC) announced three new members to its leadership team.

Kristen Johns will serve as chief legal officer. She will be responsible for leading the organization’s strategic legal affairs, managing the statutory blanket licensing process for digital service providers and overseeing compliance with statutory obligations. Johns was formerly a partner at Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis, LLP in Nashville.

Nathan Osher will serve as assistant general counsel – publisher relations, The MLC’s in-house expert on music publishing and copyright issues. He will also oversee the management and resolution of claims and litigation-related matters. Osher joins The MLC from Warner Chappell Music where he was senior vp of legal and business affairs.

Andrew Mitchell will serve as head of analytics and automation. He will oversee the design and implementation of business intelligence reporting for The MLC’s internal teams, develop strategies and tools for analyzing usage reporting data and manage the company’s manual sound recording and musical works matching processes. Mitchell previously worked as vp of analytics and process automation at Warner Music Group.

S10 Entertainment announced the appointment of Josh Hallbauer as vp of business and operations and head of publishing. He will report to founder and CEO Brandon Silverstein.

The publishing division was started less than a year ago and is celebrating their first No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart with “Peaches” by Justin Bieber featuring Daniel Caesar and Giveon. The song was co-written and co-produced by S10’s Bernard “Harv” Harvey. S10 has published countless hits from big names like The Weeknd, Selena Gomez and John Legend amongst others.

“We’re excited to welcome Josh to the team,” said Silverstein. “Bringing his deep experience to S10 is another example of how we’re continually thinking about how we can offer more to the creatives signed to the S10 family.”

Hallbauer has been in the music industry for over a decade as his experience includes that of artist management, music publishing, strategic marketing and creative ideation for brands.

Jen Pearce, founder and CEO of music licensing and consulting agency Low Profile, has teamed up with Out of Office Management CEO Justin Spindler to launch the new record label CASUAL.

The label’s stated mission is to “nurture songs far beyond their release dates… ensuring they have more staying power than the typical two-week arc.”

Spindler explains, “When Jen and I first began speaking about the idea that eventually became CASUAL, we recognized there is a bit of a gap right now in how music is being actively pushed forward. So many great tracks are connecting with audiences, finding their place in the culture at large and often being embraced in the sync and/or branding world long before more traditional outlets are ready for them. By the time radio, press or even DSPs are primed to come on board an artist can be caught flatfooted with trying to build a team in the middle of what might be ‘their moment’. Our aim is to recognize these instances earlier in the process and marry what Low Profile does so well with the type of overall push those artists and their songs deserve.”

Pearce adds, “I love what we do at Low Profile because licensing is forever. No matter how new a song is, how many Instagram followers or Spotify streams the artist has – incredible songs live on far beyond the release date. And we are excited to cultivate long-term, meaningful campaigns focused on getting those songs heard by as many people as possible through sync and thoughtful artist-specific initiatives.”

The label’s first single, “Still Got It” by Alex Frankel of Holy Ghost, debuts on April 15 and will be accompanied by a vinyl release in partnership with Paris’ Ed Banger Records as well as forthcoming remixes from Choices and Breakbot.

Before starting Low Profile in 2017, Pearce served as senior vp of licensing & strategic marketing at Downtown Records, head of commercial licensing at Warner Bros. Records and creative licensing manager at Terrorbird.

Spindler’s Out of Office manages Holy Ghost!, JR JR, Nation of Language, American Football and Now, Now, among others. Before starting the firm, he helped spearhead the launch of d2c ecommerce platform MusicGlue in North America and spent several years at indie label Mute Records. He got his start as an independent promoter.

GRAMMY-nominated gospel singer Marvin Sapp announced his new multimedia company Elev8 Media & Entertainment, a hub for upcoming film, television and music projects.

“Elev8 has been many years in the making. I have studied the inner workings of the entertainment business as the impact of my own music ministry expanded into new territories and new opportunities. As an entrepreneur, developing my own entertainment company was a bucket list item that I am excited about finally becoming a reality,” said Sapp.

His company is the newest addition to Nashville-based music label services company Thirty Tigers’ roster. Elev8 already has several releases lined up including those from: Jamar Prince (Marvin L. Sapp, Jr.), The Chosen Vessel Cathedral Music + Arts and Sapp’s next solo album.

“Marvin Sapp is a legend in the music business, and it’s beyond exciting for Thirty Tigers to be entrusted to serve him in the launch of Elev8 Media & Entertainment,” said David Macias, Thirty Tigers co-founder and president. “We were attracted to his vision about how he wanted to start and operate his company, as well as being obviously excited about getting to work with an 11-time Grammy nominee whose music we’re fans of.”

Samuel Tatum was promoted to vp of integrated marketing and partnerships at Radio One and Reach Media. He has been with Radio One since 2004 and was most recently the director of sales for their Washington, D.C. radio station cluster.

“I am humbled by the confidence Reach Media and Radio One has placed in me and am excited to continue to grow the legacy of our founder, Cathy Hughes, in this new role,” said Tatum. “Radio One and Reach Media have a rich portfolio of assets, and I am passionate about the opportunity to create, develop, and execute unique, on-brand, and culturally appropriate solutions that provide reach and engagement with the Black consumer for our advertisers and partners. Let’s blaze new trails!”

In his new role, Tatum will further unify Radio One and Reach Media’s sales and integrated marketing efforts to help brands and agency partners effectively connect with Black consumers. He will also lead a team of marketers and project managers in developing and implementing new innovative marketing solutions for national advertisers and agencies.

“Sam’s deep understanding of the sales process along with his innate understanding of integrated marketing strategies will boost our integrated marketing efforts and help our sales team reach new heights,” said Josh Rahmani, svp of national and network sales for Radio One and Reach Media. “His proven leadership in one of our largest radio clusters and his long tenure with the company uniquely position him to maneuver adeptly and help our sales teams deliver effective cross-platform solutions and extraordinary value to our advertisers.”

dick clark productions (dcp) appointed Chris Czarkowski as chief revenue officer and Robert Foothorap as svp of sponsorship. The former will report to president Amy Thurlow while the latter reports to Czarkowski.

Czarkowski joins dcp from NBCUniversal, where he most recently served as svp of client relationships. In his new role, he will be responsible for dcp’s revenue, including a newly created sponsorship sales function, business development and international sales and distribution teams.

Foothorap joins dcp from BET Networks/ViacomCBS where he managed a team and was responsible for revenue generation for linear, digital, social and experiential platforms with focus on sponsorship for the network’s major events like the BET Awards and Soul Train Awards. In his new role, he will oversee the sponsorship team and integrated marketing team, sourcing and executing sponsorship deals and opportunities across dcp’s portfolio.

“I’m excited to welcome Chris and Robert, who bring a wealth of experience and incredible client relationships, to dcp as we look to build upon our best-in-class opportunities for partners with our dynamic slate of live event programming,” said Thurlow.

Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) named Stacy Margolis as their new vp of development. She joined BAM in 2017 as associate vp of major gifts and patron programs and most recently served as interim vp of development.

“Stacy has been instrumental in shaping and stabilizing BAM’s development initiatives during the unprecedented challenges posed by Covid-19,” said Jennifer Anglade, co-interim president and CFO. “Her ability to pivot and recognize opportunity amidst a changing landscape has strengthened the organization.”

In her previous roles, Margolis expanded the donor prospect pool and revamped cultivation efforts, resulting in an increased number of donors across the board. She also spearheaded several campaigns and led the strategy and implementation for all levels of individual giving at BAM.

Universal Music Group (UMG) appointed Robbert Baruch as svp of public affairs in Europe, a newly created position effective May 1.

Baruch will be responsible for public policy and government relations across Europe, including the European Union. He will report to UMG’s evp of public affairs Eric Berman.

“We are very pleased to welcome Robbert to UMG in this important senior position,” said Berman. “With his deep experience in the European political arena, his creativity and his broad network – built over a lifetime of engagement in European affairs – Robbert will play a significant role in our growing operations in the Netherlands.”

Baruch previously served as manager of public affairs at Buma/Stemra — a Dutch collective management society for composers and music publishers — for over nine years.

Larry Blake of Concord Music announced his retirement after 25 years of representing the company both internally and externally. At the end of May, the evp of business and legal affairs will hand the reins over to Gregg Goldman who will assume the role and report to general counselor Amanda Molter.

“It has been my great fortune to have been able to combine my legal education with my passion for music, to have been mentored by one of the deans of music lawyers, Lee Phillips, and to have gotten the opportunity to help build Concord from a small jazz label to the indie powerhouse it is today,” said Blake. “As much as I have loved working with the great team of people built under the leadership of Scott Pascucci and Glen Barros before him, it’s now time for me to turn my focus to my wife and family, and with Gregg Goldman on board, I can do so guilt free, knowing that Concord has found the ideal person to replace me.”

­Blake joined Concord in 2005 as their svp of legal and business affairs after serving as the company’s outside counsel for 10 years. During his time at Concord, Blake has overseen its royalties department, guided numerous transformative acquisitions, and negotiated Concord’s worldwide licensing and distribution agreements with UMG.

Goldman will become a vital member of the recorded music team and support the continued growth of the Concord front line labels and catalog through new artist singings, acquisitions and historical rights.

Warner Chappell Music announced two new A&R promotions: Katy Wolaver to svp of A&R and Wallace Joseph to vp of A&R. Both will report to president of A&R Ryan Press and work closely with him to grow the company’s roster of songwriters and producers.

“Katy and Wallace both have an amazing ear for talent discovery and a natural ability to turn someone with potential into the next big hitmaker,” said Press. “They’ve already helped to build the careers of some of today’s hottest songwriters and are truly a great example of where hard work and dedication can get you in this business. I couldn’t be more proud to see them continue to grow with us as A&R executives.”

Wolaver joined Warner in 2016 as senior director before promoted to vp in 2018. She has facilitated setting up high-profile sessions that resulted in hits like “Anyone” by Justin Bieber and “Prisoner” by Miley Cyrus featuring Dua Lipa. She has also managed a plethora of talent from different genres.

Joseph joined Warner in 2017 and has worked closely with big artists, songwriters and producers such as Summer Walker, Tay Keith and Murda Beatz amongst many others.

Ledger announced the hire of Parker Todd Brooks as vp of NFTs. In his new role, he will help the security and infrastructure solutions company expand their NFT offering, as well as: bridge the artist and NFT communities, develop NFT management products and make sure these assets are prioritized across Ledger’s software and hardware platforms.

Brooks formerly worked as head of dance and electronic artist relations at Apple Music. While there, he also helped launch Apple Music and Beats 1.

“I’ve spent my career serving the artist community. With NFTs there is an opportunity to reimagine how art and music are created, sampled, and managed while simultaneously addressing the security issues in storing NFTs on internet-connected devices. Ledger is perfectly situated as the industry leader in both crypto security and self custody,” said Brooks. “At Ledger, we’ll be simplifying the process to help artists showcase and manage their digital works, and to securely store them.

Virgin Music Label and Artist Services announced the promotion of Adam Starr to svp of marketing. He currently serves as head of marketing for Virgin Music/CMG Label. In his new role, he will continue to lead strategy, planning and execution of all marketing campaigns.

“Adam’s ability to create, identify and execute on opportunities at any stage of artist development, through every lens of a campaign, is bar none, the best,” said GM Matt Sawin. “His continued leadership in marketing will further allow Virgin Music to elevate the already established best in class services we provide to our artists and labels.”

Songtradr promoted David McConnell to chief technology officer. He previously worked as director of technology architect and then vp of architecture.

“David has been integral to the rapid growth of the Songtradr range of new products and the development of scalable global solutions,” said Paul Wiltshire, CEO of Songtradr. “We’re working to create unique technologies that help solve some of the biggest problems faced by the music industry and David is the best person to lead the team.”

McConnell has over 15 years of experience in software architecture and development across multiple industries. In his new role, McConnell will oversee all tech and engineering teams at Songtradr.