Executive Turntable: TalentX Founder Named Triller Chief Strategy Officer, Radio Vets Launch New Company
A rundown of new hires and promotions across the music business, including at Triller, ONErpm and Sony Music Nashville.
Social media star, entrepreneur and TalentX Entertainment co-founder Josh Richards has been named chief strategy officer at AI-driven music video and entertainment platform Triller, which he also invested in. In his new role, Richards will lead strategy at Triller while also overseeing the company’s implementation of live streaming and monetization tools.
Triller, a rival to the wildly popular video-sharing platform TikTok, last year raised $28 million in a funding round led by Proxima Media last year, also drawing investors including Snoop Dogg and Lil Wayne. In June, the platform — which currently has music licensing partnerships with Warner, Sony Music and UMG — hit 50 million monthly active users.
“After seeing the US and other countries’ governments’ concerns over TikTok – and given my responsibility to protect and lead my followers and other influencers – I followed my instincts as an entrepreneur and made it my mission to find a solution,” said Richards in a statement. “I am proud to announce that I am formally an investor in Triller and will serve as their Chief Strategy Officer.”
Veteran radio promo executives Brent Battles and Christopher Brown have launched the radio promotion and artist development company further and entered a joint venture with indie label Mom+Pop Records through the newly-created company. Under that agreement, Mom+Pop artists will have the ability to tap into further’s commercial radio team at pop, crossover and rock formats while the label invests in further’s growth.
In just six months of existence, further has already championed a variety of artist projects. Notably, its campaign for Mom+Pop artist Ashe lifted the track “Moral of the Story” to the top 10 at Alternative radio and helped it cross over to Pop and Hot AC.
Further has additionally enjoyed success with Flume, helping the artist chart at U.S. Alternative radio for the first time ever with the track “The Difference” feat. Toro Y Moi. It also recently landed a top 10 Alternative hit for Lovelytheband.
Battles and Brown previously served as vp and senior director, pop, respectively, at Sony/RED/Orchard. Prior to launching further, they led campaigns for artists including Max, The Chainsmokers and Courtney Barnett.
“As we neared the end of our time at the Orchard, we took a long look at the state of the industry,” said further president and founder Battles in a statement. “It was clear that as streaming continues to create more and more independent hit songs, the industry needed a nimble independent company that could bring those songs to radio, no matter where they come from – indie label, distributor, management company, international markets or just DIY. Having worked with the Mom+Pop team for years, we knew they were serious about creating long term careers. Their understanding of both the short and long-game made Mom+Pop an obvious partner for further.”
Added Brown, who serves as further partner and co-founder, “With further, we’re able to be extremely selective about what we take on, and this investment will ensure the flexibility to continue working with artists and executives with whom we have great history.”
FACTOR, the national funding body for the Canadian music industry, has announced a succession plan in anticipation of the retirement of current president and CEO Duncan McKie at the end of the year.
Following a national search, Meghan Symsyk is being brought on to replace McKie. She will join FACTOR on August 4 as president and CEO (Elect) and begin leading the organization in 2021.
A 20-year veteran in the Canadian music industry, Symsky is currently chair of the board of FACTOR, president of the Music Manager Forum and a director at CARAS and MusiCounts. She began her career in 1998 at Universal Music Canada and has spent the last 10 years working in the independent sector, most recently as vp, international marketing and artist management at Entertainment One. Prior to that, she worked at SRO/Anthem, where she managed Rush and served as director of creative, marketing and media for the band’s record label Anthem.
Music-focused YouTube Multi Channel Network (MCN) ONErpm has announced several new promotions as it celebrates its 10th anniversary. They include Ken Madson, upped to general manager USA (from GM, Nashville); Martin Price, upped to director of A&R (from head of A&R in the Caribbean/Jamaica); Julia McLeod, upped to associate director of artist marketing (from project manager); and Casey Childers, upped to senior project manager (from project manager).
Additionally, the company has hired Joe Guzik to head ONErpm’s New York office. Guzik steps into the role following a stint at JG Music Group.
Industry veterans Carlo Fox, Benjamin Willis and Joshua Andriano have launched Independent, an invite-only music distribution and media company designed to support artist-owned streaming businesses.
Independent will work as an extension of artists and their teams — who will retain ownership of their recordings — to provide personalized DSP pitching, distribution, financing, data trends and creative marketing. During its soft launch, the company took on projects by Theophilus London, Shoffy, Zack Villere and more.
Lauren Thomas has been promoted to vp, national promotions at Sony Music Nashville.
Thomas joined Sony Music Nashville in October 2009 as national promotion coordinator for Arista Nashville. Within a year, she was upped to regional promotion manager and, in 2016, director of promotion at Sony Music Nashville. She was named to Billboard’s “40 Under 40” list in 2019.
U.K. record industry charity The BRIT Trust has announced the appointment of two new trustees: Kobalt vp of business affairs Mulika Sannie and Kwame Kwaten, who serves as a manager at Ferocious Talent and director of A&R at Point Black Recordings.
Sannie and Kwaten join a board that is now made up of 14 trustees, from all areas of the music industry, who volunteer their services. It is chaired by John Craig OBE.
Founded in 1989, the BRIT Trust works to promote diversity and inclusion in the U.K. music industry. The organization supports causes including The BRIT School and Nordoff Robbins music therapy and has distributed over £27 million to date.
Marathon Music has named former Sony vp of strategy Federico Bolza to lead New Soil, a brand-new division specializing in U.K. jazz.
New Soil will use Marathon Music’s existing infrastructure to align with the contemporary jazz community in the U.K. in providing strategy, infrastructure, amplification and monetization for artists, labels and live concert promoters looking to release their catalogues of live recordings. The division’s inaugural signings are Ill Considered, Theon Cross and the London based-concert promoter Church of Sound.
Drew Magid has joined the management team at Big Loud, effective immediately. Magid currently serves as day-to-day manager for Warner Records artist Bren Joy, who is signed to Big Loud Management and Publishing.
Prior to joining Big Loud, Magid served as tour manager for acts including The War on Drugs, Charlie Puth, Imagine Dragons and Florida Georgia Line. He won Young Gun Tour Manager of the Year during the 2020 Pinnacle Awards at the Live Production Summit.
Kate Alderton has been promoted to the new role of vp, operations and finance at Warner Chappell Music U.K. She will report to Warner Chappell co-chairs Guy Moot and Carianne Marshall until a new managing director of the U.K. business is appointed.
In her new role, Alderton will oversee the operational side of the publisher’s U.K. business in cooperation with all other existing department heads. She joined Warner Chappell in 2012 as financial controller, working her way up to head of finance and, later, U.K. finance director.
UTA has named Rich Paul, CEO and founder of Klutch Sports Group and head of UTA Sports, to the agency’s board of directors. Paul’s appointment is effective immediately.
Paul was named a UTA partner in July 2019 after the agency took a substantial stake in Klutch Sports Group. In addition to boasting A-list athlete clients such as LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Draymond Green, Ben Simmons and John Wall, last year he launched “Klutch Conversations” in partnership with Chance the Rapper’s charity SocialWorks and General Mills to focus on youth empowerment through arts, education, sports and civic engagement.
Sound Royalties, which provides royalty-based financing to creatives in the music industry, has hired a pair of senior-level executives to serve as regional directors of business development and artist relations in New York (Jamie Dominguez) and Atlanta (Cappriccieo “Capp” Scates).
Dominguez joins Sound Royalties after nearly two decades at SESAC, where she most recently served as senior director of creative services. While there, she led the organization’s New York-based team.
Scates most recently served as president/CEO at Mytrell Records. Prior to that, he worked as senior director of writer/publisher relations at SESAC’s Atlanta office and was formerly director of operations for PM Music Group.
Surround, the blockchain-powered ecosystem for the music industry, has hired George McIntyre as CTO.
McIntyre – who previously led teams at Microsoft, Oracle and IBM – brings over 35 years of experience in digital media and blockchain to the role. In addition to his work with those companies, he has collaborated on projects with both Stanford and MIT and worked to develop new digital media codecs and formats.
“With his background as both an executive and a developer, George brings the right balance of technical and management savvy to our company,” said Surround CEO Stefan Schulz in a statement. “He was also an early pioneer of Ethereum and other blockchain technologies with hands-on expertise in the crypto space, making him ideally placed to lead the Surround technology group.”