Ryan Brady, a longtime employee of Atlantic Records who most recently served as vp of marketing at the label, died in a car crash early Thursday morning (Nov. 26) in Los Angeles. He was 34.
“We had the privilege of working alongside Ryan as he grew up in this business at Atlantic Records. He was incredibly bright, curious, creative, and a passionate music executive,” said Atlantic Records chairman & COO Julie Greenwald in a statement emailed to Billboard. “He loved his role as a champion for artists, remaining patient and steadfast in their development. Being a musician in his own right, he truly understood their journey. He was the eternal optimist, and bright light for all of us that got to work closely with him. I know I speak for the staff and all the artists, we will miss him terribly.”
Also killed in the crash was Max Perenchio, 33, who was riding in the vehicle with Brady. Perenchio, a guitarist and founding member of the Chicago-based bands Bad City and Real Lunch, also worked as a songwriter and producer. In September, Brady and Perenchio released Tropical Purgatory, the debut album for their musical project Uncle Salsa and the Pelican Boy.
A 2008 graduate of Northwestern University, where he majored in economics, Brady was hired as a digital marketing coordinator at Atlantic that same year. Over the next decade, he rose through the label ranks and pioneered Atlantic’s first proper artist development department, where he helped launch the careers of Ty Dolla $ign, Meg Myers, O.T. Genasis and Absofacto.
In Sept. 2018, Brady was named president at Ricky Reed’s Atlantic sub-label Nice Life, where he led marketing efforts for Lizzo’s Grammy-winning breakthrough album Cuz I Love You. In Apr. 2019, he returned to Atlantic as vp of marketing, where he helped spearhead campaigns for the SCOOB! Soundtrack as well as releases by Charlie Puth and emerging artists Faouzia and Jake Troth.
Brady also co-hosted Take It Away: The Complete Paul McCartney Archive Podcast, on which he and co-host Chris Mercer broke down each of McCartney’s solo releases between 1970 and the present day.
“In addition to his accomplishments as a marketing VP at Atlantic and as a beloved podcaster, Ryan was a gifted musician and producer,” Mercer said in an email to Billboard. “His love for music was generous and open-minded. This love was infectious, reminding all of us why we were cared about music in the first place. My experience as his friend and collaborator was a deeply enriching adventure.”