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Executive Turntable: Warner Chappell & Columbia Records Name A&R Senior VPs

Also: ONErpm hires a 12 Tone executive to spearhead its DSP operations and BMG elevates a senior vp to head its global synch licensing department.

Warner Chappell expanded Rich Christina’s role to senior vp, A&R and venture partners.

Christina’s increased area of oversight will include Warner Chappell’s recently announced venture with Tim & Danny Music (Sam Smith) as well as a number of deals he orchestrated, including with Mykah Music (Nate Rhoads), Song Battle (Dylan Brady of 100 Gecs), Therapy (Ralph Castelli) and Bad Habit. He has also signed deals songwriters/artists including Grimes, Stephen Kirk (BTS’ “Butter”) and Masked Wolf.

In 1991, Christina launched his career at Atlantic Records, where he was initially hired as mix show coordinator and worked with Big Beat label founder Craig Kallman while managing the label’s dance music department. He later moved into A&R at Atlantic, working with artists including Robin S, Everything But the Girl and Brandy.


After 12 years at Atlantic, Christina joined Sony/ATV in 2004 as senior director and later senior vp, A&R. He moved to EMI Music Publishing as senior vp, creative in 2009 before returning to Sony/ATV three years later when the company acquired EMI. He boarded Warner Chappell in 2019 as senior vp, A&R and has since signed deals with singer-songwriters including Vinylz, Jenna Andrews and X Ambassadors.

In a statement, Warner Chappell president, North America Ryan Press called Christina “an expert dealmaker with creative instincts who has had an illustrious career,” adding that his “new role sets him up to better connect our writers with our venture partners’ rosters through songwriting camps, strategic sessions and more. This position will focus on helping our partners grow, and with Rich’s deep understanding of songwriters at all levels of their careers, he’s the perfect person for the job.”

Christina added, “I have always loved working with songwriters and their teams, from directly developing an artist and helping them craft their sound, to providing resources and guidance through a joint venture. This expanded role lets me do both, and I’m more inspired than ever to find new ways for our songwriters and our partners to succeed.”

Columbia Records named Stefan Max senior vp, A&R.

The Los Angeles-based Max was previously senior vp, A&R at Warner Music Group, where he signed and developed Bella Poarch, Sub Urban, Vance Joy, Zach Bryan, Young the Giant, Icona Pop and more after joining the company in 2012. He has also produced tracks for Poarch and Joy.

Earlier in his career, Max worked as director, A&R at Roadrunner Records.

George D’Errico was named head of DSPs, North America at ONErpm.

In the role, D’Errico will develop and manage ONErpm’s digital marketing, streaming initiatives and playlist strategies while reporting to U.S. head of marketing Jenna LoMonaco and working with the company’s marketing division.

Formerly an artist who started his music career playing shows with his band, Outburst, across the Northeast and New York City, D’Errico launched his executive career at Universal Music Group Distribution managing commerce and marking campaigns for No Doubt, The Wallflowers, Nine Inch Nails and more. He later served in roles at Disney Music Group, Republic Records, Island Records and, most recently, 12 Tone Records, where he helped break artists including The Jonas Brothers, Demi Lovato and Post Malone.

Allegra Willis Knerr was appointed to oversee BMG’s global synch licensing team. She was previously senior vp, synch licensing.

In her new role, Willis Knerr will report directly to Dominique Casimir, BMG’s executive vp, global repertoire & marketing Europe, LatAm and Apac. She’ll also continue to work alongside Jonathan Palmer, BMG’s senior vp, creative synch in the U.S.

The new structure will allow an increased focus on the two key disciplines of BMG’s global synch team — creative and licensing — to drive growth for the company. Willis Knerr will now guide and support all licensing initiatives and policies in North America and worldwide.

Willis Kneer joined BMG in 2011 following the company’s acquisition of Bug Music, where she worked in film and TV licensing. She has led BMG synch licensing teams in the U.S. and Canada for more than a decade.

Capitol Christian Music Group promoted EJ Gaines to senior vp, marketing/co-executive director of Motown Gospel.

In his new expanded role, Gaines’ responsibilities will include overseeing the marketing and brand development for many Capitol CMG artists, while also maintaining his role and responsibilities as co-executive director at Motown Gospel. Gaines reports to CCMG co-president Hudson Plachy.

Prior to joining Motown Gospel, Gaines worked as an entertainment attorney and artist manager, helping guide the careers of artists including Mary Mary, Natalie Grant and Jonathan McReynolds. He launched his career at Jive Records and Verity Records before becoming an executive assistant for Donnie McClurkin.

Gaines is a graduate of St. John’s University School of Law and served as an associate at Carter, Ledyard & Milburn LLP, later launching the entertainment division at Waterford Law Group, PLLC in 2013. – Jessica Nicholson

Music licensing platform Songtradr hired Steven Moran as its new CFO. Moran succeeds Clare Nicholls, who will assume the role of chief corporate development and strategy officer and also join Songtradr’s board of directors, working closely with CEO Paul Wiltshire on the group’s B2B music growth strategy.

In the new role, Moran will direct and oversee all financial actions for the global music tech company, which has grown from 100 employees to over 330 in the past year. He’ll be responsible for global forecasts and financial growth strategies for all 16 countries where Songtradr operates.

Nicholls’ new role will see her lead strategic M&A that supports Songtradr’s existing tech and data innovation across the B2B music industry.

Moran boasts over 20 years of experience, having spent the past decade at Australian tech company SEEK Limited. He has worked in all strategic aspects of finance, including commercial and strategic planning and corporate finance and governance.

In a statement, Wiltshire noted Moran’s “impressive track record” at SEEK and added that Nicholls “has been a key leader on our executive team and led our highly successful M&A activities to date.”

UTA hired Irene Agbontaen as director, artist brand strategy on the music brand partnerships team, a newly created role.

The London-based Agbontaen will focus her efforts on artist brand strategy for the London office’s European roster. Her duties will include developing strategies for artists in the brand partnerships space, leading endorsement and sponsorship opportunities, and building long-term brands and businesses for artists.

Agbontaen brings over a decade of experience to the role. In the past, she’s consulted with brands such as Apple, Nike and YouTube Music and is also the founder of accessible style brand TTYA London.

Toni Wallace, co-head of global music brand partnerships at UTA, called Agbontaen “a tastemaker and entrepreneur who has continuously helped leading brands redefine how they connect with younger audiences and talent in music and the arts.”

Canadian singer-songwriter Dan Hill was appointed chairman of Anthem Entertainment’s newly formed diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) committee.

In the role, Hill will be an integral player in Anthem’s long-term strategy and commitment to ensuring that diversity, equity and inclusion are part of the company’s overall ethos. The committee is looking to foster an inclusive work environment by bringing employees from all Anthem divisions together and actively engaging varying levels of seniority with the shared commitment of amplifying, promoting, and encouraging the company’s DEI.

“We are humbled and grateful to have Dan as Chairman of our DEI committee,” said Helen Murphy, CEO at Anthem Entertainment, in a statement. “In addition to being a Black artist in America struggling to be treated equally, Dan and his family have been trailblazers for advancing Black rights for over half a century in Canada and the U.S. In 1962, Dan’s father was appointed to start the first Ontario Human Rights Commission during a time when the media and the public were resistant to the rights of minorities. Anthem Entertainment is honored to have Dan’s creativity, integrity and amazing life journey as a guiding light.”

“I am both honoured and inspired to be the Chairman of Anthem’s newly formed Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) committee,” added Hill. “Since releasing records in the early ’70s to present day, I’ve witnessed seismic advancements in the vital work of making the music industry a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable field. And in many respects, Anthem has been a front runner in the entertainment business when it comes to implementing DEI initiatives and bringing much needed awareness to the challenges so many creators face. Naturally, there is always more work to be done. I will do everything in my power to further galvanize, implement, and bring awareness to all things related to DEI, both at Anthem and throughout the music business as a whole.”

Three Six Zero elevated Carly Mann to executive vp, marketing.

During her tenure at the company, Mann has played a key role in global marketing campaigns for Willow and Jaden Smith as well as Calvin Harris in a managerial and marketing capacity. Last year, she and her team were behind the marketing campaign in support of Willow’s album Lately I Feel Everything; she also oversaw the release of Harris’ “By Your Side” feat. Tom Grennan as well as releases from Harris’ house music project Love Regenerator. She additionally helped Harris become the first electronic artist to be featured in the Apple Fitness+ Artist Spotlight Series.

Mann joined Three Six Zero in 2015 as part of Harris’ management team and was later named head of marketing in 2018. Prior to that, she worked in management at The Firm and Prospect Park with artists including Jane’s Addiction and Ice Cube.

Sony Music Publishing named Roberto Razzini managing director of the company’s Italy operation, effective March 1.

Based in Milan, Razzini will oversee Sony Music Publishing Italy’s operations, expand its global strategy and strengthen and develop the company’s roster. He’ll work closely with Sony Music Publishing Italy general manager Roberto Curti and report to president, international Guy Henderson.

Razzini has been CEO of Warner Chappell Music Italiana since 2002. He started at Warner Chappell Italiana in 1990 when he joined the company as product manager; he was later named head, international in 1993. He’s a member of the management board of S.I.A.E. (Italian Society of Authors and Publishers), a position he’s held since 2018. Additionally, he works as an adjunct professor at 24Ore Business School for the music business management master and at IULM University for the publishing and music production master.

Music and talent management firm Activist Artists Management promoted Kristina “Red” Tanner to partner and hired Chris Ruff as global marketing head, a newly created position. Tanner will remain in Atlanta while Ruff will continue to be based in New York.

Tanner joined the Activist team as a manager in 2010 and later launched the firm’s ticketing, commerce and sustainability department to optimize clients’ ancillary revenue streams. She specializes in ticketing, merchandise, sponsorship activation, fan clubs and VIP programs and is an authority on all aspects of producing special events and festivals. In her role, she works with all Activist clients to neutralize their carbon emissions for tours, management offices and travel. She’s also on the advisory board for REVERB, a nonprofit dedicated to greening tours and engaging concert fans to take action on environmental and social issues. Additionally, she’s in her second year as a governor on the Atlanta board of the Recording Academy.

Ruff comes to Activist from Elektra Music Group, where he served as director, international for three years. During his tenure at the label, he implemented global strategies and marketing campaigns for over 70 Elektra, Roadrunner and Fueled By Ramen artists across 52 countries. He was previously the London-based product manager for Atlantic Records and has also worked at Sub Pop, Warner Records and Parlophone.

Charlie Cook, vp of country music at Cumulus Media, signed a long-term contract extension with the company. The extension encompasses Cook’s role as programming operations manager for Cumulus Nashville’s five-station cluster and as program director for 95.5 Nash Icon (WSM-FM) and 103.3 Country (WKDF).

Brian Philips, executive vp, content and audience at Cumulus Media, said in a statement, “Charlie Cook is a warrior who lives to lead our powerful Nashville stations, the Cumulus Country stations and the Nashville music industry. He’s a legendary programmer who serves as a wise teacher and mentor to many at Cumulus.”

ALIBI Music vp, publishing Jonathan D. Haskell and Concord Music Publishing senior vp, synchronization Brooke Primont were appointed to the Los Angeles and New York chapters of the Association of Independent Music Publishers (AIMP) boards of directors, respectively.

Haskell will finish out the final year of outgoing L.A. board member Cassie Lord’s two-year term, while Primont will do the same for outgoing N.Y. board member Dana Siegel. Both Haskell and Primont will be up for a full term during the next AIMP election slated for November 2022.

Entertainment business management firm FBMM promoted Betsy Lee to business manager, the highest position at the company.

In the new role, Lee will continue to oversee all financial aspects of her clients’ careers. She boasts extensive worldwide touring experience and, while at FBMM, has served as interim European tour accountant for both stadium and arena tours for major headliners. She additionally oversees FBMM’s philanthropy committee and has played a significant role in the firm’s expansion to Los Angeles over the last several years.

Lee is a member of the Recording Academy, the 2020 Grammy Next class, the Society of Leaders in Development, the Country Music Association, the Academy of Country Music and SOURCE.

SoundExchange added Marc Rucker as manager, industry engagement on the company’s brand marketing & industry engagement team.

Based in Nashville, Rucker will foster local and national artist and management relationships. He will also help broaden SoundExchange’s visibility and provide in-person support and education to stakeholders and at industry events, as well as help form alliances with entertainment and brand partners, as well as artist-based communities and organizations.

Rucker has been part of the Nashville music industry community for 13 years, with experience in artist management, business management and publishing. He also co-founded Young Entertainment Professionals and remains on the organization’s board of directors. – Jessica Nicholson

Additionally, SoundExchange hired Omar Paredes as associate director, industry engagement on the brand marketing & industry engagement team.

Based in Miami, Paredes will foster local and national artist and management relationships. He will also help expand SoundExchange’s visibility and provide in-person support and education to critical stakeholders and at industry events. He will additionally lead the development and execution of programs and franchises that amplify SoundExchange’s position in the entertainment and music tech space.

Paredes has held roles at ViacomCBS, Warner Music Group, and Sony Music Entertainment. He joins SoundExchange from The Orchard, where he was director, artist services of Latin. He also founded artist services company Olympus Music Group.