Music Industry Moves: Warner Music Group Hires Goldman Sachs’ Michael Ryan-Southern as Executive VP of Corporate Development

Warner Music Group (WMG) has elected Michael Ryan-Southern to the newly created position of executive vice president of corporate development.

Ryan-Southern, who will assume the role starting Aug. 5, is leaving his position as global head of music and live entertainment investment banking at Goldman Sachs to join WMG, leading the search in mergers and acquisitions for the global music company. In his new role, Ryan-Southern will work to identify and acquire companies and catalogs, reporting directly to WMG CEO Robert Kyncl. He will be based at the company’s New York headquarters.

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“The market is filled with opportunities, in both recorded music and music publishing, and across different geographies,” said Kyncl. “We’re bullish on the long-term value of music, and having someone with Michael’s domain expertise and wide-ranging network run point on M&A will supercharge our efforts.”

“This is an incredibly exciting time to be in the music industry, and WMG’s entrepreneurial spirit and tech-forward approach make it a tremendously welcoming environment for both artistic creativity and business innovation,” said Ryan-Southern. “I’m excited by Robert and the team’s vision for the company, and I’m looking forward to working with him and the entire WMG team to help grow and evolve the company into the future.”

Prior to joining Goldman in 2021, Ryan-Southern spent eight years in senior leadership positions among a number of Mubadala Capital and Mubadala Investment Company portfolio companies including deputy CFO at EMI Music Publishing and president of the Hakkasan Group.

+ Peter Shapiro and Dayglo Presents have hired Jesse Lauter as head of production and media. In this newly created position, Lauter will have general creative and technical oversight on all facets of video and audio production for Shapiro’s properties, which include the Capitol Theatre, Brooklyn Bowl (Williamsburg, Las Vegas, Nashville and Philadelphia), the newly added Bearsville Theatre (Pollstar), and two other venue projects currently in development.

He will oversee and direct live-streams for and Relix, primarily broadcasting out of the Capitol Theatre. He will also be involved in the creative development and production of various special projects for Dayglo, including festivals, special events and album releases.

Lauter is a producer, engineer and mixer who has worked with the likes of Ben Harper, Stephen Stills and Judy Collins, Scarlett Johansson, the Low Anthem, Langhorne Slim, Ingrid Michaelson, Lenny Kaye (Patti Smith Group), Lola Kirke, Neal Francisa and Mikaela Davis, among others.

He spearheaded and executive produced ATO Record’s “Bob Dylan In The 80s: Volume One,” and also produced “Sincerely, L.Cohen: A Live Celebration of Leonard Cohen.” In 2021, Lauter released “Learning To Live Together: The Return of Mad Dogs & Englishmen,” about Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs & Englishmen tour and Tedeschi Trucks Band’s reunion of the Mad Dogs at Pete Shapiro’s LOCKN’ festival. The film features the late Leon Russell, Rita Coolidge, and Chris Robinson (the Black Crowes), and can currently be seen on Delta Air Lines.

+ Island Records has tapped Austin Jenkins as VP of A&R.

Jenkins started working with Island in 2023 and played a key role in the label’s signing and development of artists such as Wyatt Flores and Medium Build, among many more. In his new role, Jenkins will continue leading Island’s Nashville operations, including identifying, signing and cultivating talent for the label.

Jenkins was the founder, guitarist and songwriter for the seminal Texas band, White Denim. In 2014, Jenkins stepped away from the band and co-founded Fort Worth, TX recording studio Niles City Sound with Josh Block and Chris Vivion. After Jenkins and Block discovered Leon Bridges, the collective—under the name of Niles City Sound—co-produced, recorded, and mixed his debut “Coming Home,” which garnered a Grammy nomination in the category of best R&B album.

+ Melody Tseng, creative producer at Live Redesigned, has been tasked to work on Alanis Morissette’s “Triple Moon” North America tour, starting June 9.

“It has been so inspiring to collaborate with such a passionate team of creatives to visually set the stage for Alanis’ iconic music,” Tseng said.

“Melody, as she always does, brought her unique creative vision to life as both the Art Director and Creative Set Designer for the tour through the artistic use of various stage and scenic elements,” said Nick Whitehouse, CEO of Live Redesigned.

Wednesday, June 5

Singer-songwriter Carter Faith signs her first major label record deal with Universal Music Group Nashville.

The country singer has performed with Little Big Town, Keith Urban and one of her biggest influences, Willie Nelson. In addition to working with Range Music, she recently inked a deal with Universal Music Publishing Group and was the first country artist featured in Spotify’s Fresh Finds multi-genre program.

Faith’s upcoming appearances include CMA Fest and UMG Nashville Takeover at Skydeck in Nashville, support for Jon Pardi in Des Moines, Kickoff Jam in Panama City Beach, and GoldenSky Festival in Sacramento. In addition to Faith’s summer tour dates, she is actively working on new music expected later this year.

“Carter is not only a masterful storyteller, but her vocals are distinctive, delicate, feminine, and powerful. There’s such a clear fingerprint and country tone in her voice,” said UMGN chair and CEO, Cindy Mabe. “Carter’s music can transport you through past decades of country music while it paints a picture of a strong woman who knows who she is. I’m so excited that Carter is joining the UMGN roster and the next era of country music.”

Pictured above: Front Row (L-R): UMG Nashville’s Rob Femia and Cindy Mabe, Carter Faith, Range Music’s Cameron Lutz; Middle Row (L-R): UMG Nashville’s Hannah Wilson, Range Music’s Jack Minihan, UMG Nashville’s Chelsea Blythe; Back Row (L-R): UMG Nashville’s Lori Christian, Range Music’s Ash Wolk, Pound It Out Loud’s Margaret Valentine, Range Music’s Shawn McSpadden, UMG Nashville’s Mike Harris

+ Rimas Publishing has partnered with Made in Memphis Entertainment (MIME) — a full-service entertainment group that includes 4U Recording, Beatroot Music, Heavy Hitters Music, and MIME Publishing.

“We are thrilled to embark on this visionary partnership with Made in Memphis Entertainment, ushering in a new era of creative expansion for our clients. Through the synergy of our unique talents and perspectives, our shared mission is to craft music of unparalleled quality, transcending boundaries and igniting a renaissance of intercultural innovation within the industry,” said Emilio Morales, managing director of Rimas Publishing. “We have already witnessed the extraordinary fruits of our partnership, which fuels our anticipation for the promising horizons ahead.”

“MIME’s mission is all about providing global reach for artists wherever they are, and this deal with Rimas Publishing moves us even closer to achieving that goal,” added Tony D. Alexander, president and managing director of MIME. “We’ve been impressed with all of Rimas Publishing’s work on behalf of their artists and are excited about what our roster can bring to the table to create incredible music that bridges countries and cultures.”

+ The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), has today announced that singer-songwriters Kenya Grace and Cian Ducrot will receive the ASCAP Global Impact Award and the ASCAP Vanguard Award, respectively.

South Africa-born British artist and producer Grace will receive the ASCAP global impact award in recognition of her impact on dance music. She is best known for her chart-topping 2023 hit “Strangers,” which merges R&B melodies, soulful stylings and electronic influences.

Meanwhile, Irish indie-pop artist Ducrot will receive the ASCAP Vanguard award, which recognizes artists whose innovative work is helping to shape the future of music. After landing a viral TikTok hit with “All for You” in 2022, Ducrot released his debut album “Victory” last year, reaching the top of UK and Irish charts. Cian also recently co-wrote SZA’s “Saturn,” and completed a four-date UK tour supporting Ed Sheeran.

+ Concord Music Publishing has signed Maddie Kerr, songwriter and lead vocalist of Nashville rock group, mercury. The worldwide co-publishing deal includes Kerr’s full catalog and all future works.

“Working with the Concord team has been an incredible honor and one of my most treasured experiences,” said Kerr. “They are all so excited about music and passionate about their people. I feel so seen and accounted for and am so excited to continue my work with them!”

Kerr’s latest three-track project, set to be released on June 7 via Big Loud Rock, includes the songs “Born In Early May,” “Special,” and “Crick,” and will be accompanied by a short film. The bundle was recorded in Asheville, North Carolina with producer Alex Farrar (Wednesday, Snail Mail, Indigo de Souza).

“Maddie is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of creator that exemplifies why so many of us get into the music business – to be part of something special and irreplicable,” added Melissa Spillman, VP of A&R at Concord Music Publishing in Nashville. “She exudes an artistry that is rare and compelling, and I am so proud to add her to our Concord roster.”

+ Los Angeles-based band LA LOM has signed to Verve Records. The trio — consisting of Zac Sokolow (Guitar), Jake Faulkner (Bass) and Nicholas Baker (Drums/Percussion) — will release their debut album under the label in Aug. 9.

LA LOM, short for “the Los Angeles League of Musicians,” is set to go on tour starting June 6, opening first for Vampire Weekend before launching their own headlining tour.

+ Sphere Entertainment Co. has tapped Chandra Allison, a sales and marketing leader with 30 years of diverse experience in the hospitality and events industries, as its new executive VP of sales and service.

Allison will be responsible for driving Sphere’s sales strategies and ensuring customer experiences at Sphere. She will additionally develop and implement sales and service strategies aligned with the company’s overall business objectives and strategic direction, including developing a corporate conference business for product launches and other events. She will also work to develop and execute comprehensive sales plans, optimize service delivery, and build strong relationships with key clients and stakeholders in the Las Vegas market and beyond.

“Sphere has established itself as a destination for immersive experiences unlike anywhere else, but we’re just scratching the surface of what this new medium can offer,” said Jennifer Koester, president of Sphere business operations. “Chandra has been working with our team as a consultant, and we are excited to make her an official part of our Sphere family as we continue raising an already high bar for what artists, brands, and customers experience at Sphere.”

Allison formerly served as senior VP of strategy and growth at Oak View Group, a partner of the Sphere. Allison also served in roles at The Venetian Resort in Las Vegas, and is an active member of several industry trade organizations, including Meetings Professional International and Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International.

+ Universal Music Publishing Germany and Electric Feel Europe has signed producer and songwriter Jumpa to a worldwide publishing agreement. This new agreement builds upon his previous administration deal and adds UMPG as co-publisher. Throughout his career, Jumpa has written and produced Top 10 hits, including “Fühlst Du das auch” by Apache 207, Loredana and Mozzik’s “Rosenkrieg” and “Auf die Party” with badmómzjay and Domiziana.

+ Peermusic has signed songwriter, recording artist, and music executive Jessica Vaughn, to an exclusive global publishing agreement. Through the deal, peermusic will administer select catalog and future works. The deal also encompasses a synch representation deal for Vaughn’s masters and for select roster of Vaughn’s company, Head Bitch Music, where Jessica helps her roster to build their catalogs for the sync market.

Monday, June 3

Universal Music Group has announced the formation of the UMG Global Impact Team, which will “enact and amplify the company’s vision for positive change through community engagement, environmental sustainability, events and special projects.” The team’s leadership includes:

Susan Mazo, who is promoted to EVP and chief impact officer; she was previously EVP of social responsibility, events and special projects. She brings nearly 30 years of industry experience, joined UMG in 2014 and has been a leader in the fields of sustainability, charitable giving, and community engagement; she also has developed numerous initiatives in the fields of artist healthcare, mental health and the unhoused, and was honored at Variety’s Power of Women New York event in 2023.

Dylan Siegler has been appointed SVP, head of sustainability. She brings two decades of experience in driving environmental and social impact in the Fortune 500, including decarbonization and climate justice strategy in energy, tech and the built environment. Previously, she was a music journalist.

Inside Projects, a strategy and marketing agency that specializes in social impact, will make UMG its exclusive partner within the music industry, advising the global impact team and the company across communications, public policy, artist and shareholder relations.

Menna Demessie, SVP and executive director, task force for meaningful change and former SVP of policy and the Leadership Institute of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, will also serve as a member of the Global Impact Team leadership, as will
      •    Markie Ruzzo, who has been promoted to VP global impact, and
      •    Sharlotte Ritchie, who previously served as senior director, communications and head of the Task Force for Meaningful Change in the UK, and will now serve as to senior director, global impact & communications.

In making the announcement, UMG chairman-CEO Lucian Grainge said, “The formation of the Global Impact Team reflects our commitment not only to accelerating our work in these critical areas but to do so in a way that leverages the experience and talent of these exceptional individuals to drive positive impact across our company, our industry and in the communities in which we serve.”

+ Global sports, music, and entertainment company Wasserman has announced the expansion of Lee Anderson’s role to president of Wasserman’s music division, effective immediately. Anderson, a founding member of Wasserman Music’s executive leadership team, played a pivotal role in establishing the agency when it launched in 2021.

In addition to serving as president, Anderson represents such artists as Cautious Clay, David Guetta, Disclosure, Kenny Beats, Skrillex, Swedish House Mafia and Zedd. He previously held senior leadership roles at AM Only, which was acquired in 2017 by Paradigm; Paradigm’s North American live music representation business was acquired by Wasserman in 2021 to create Wasserman Music.

“As our music business has continued to grow and expand, Lee has taken on an increasing number of leadership responsibilities and has been instrumental in shaping the foundation of Wasserman Music and charting a path for even broader global success,” said Casey Wasserman, Chairman and CEO of Wasserman.

+ Big Loud Records has promoted Patch Culbertson to EVP / GM, effective immediately, reporting directly to the company’s partners, Seth England, Joey Moi and Craig Wiseman.

Culbertson first joined Big Loud Records as VP of A&R in 2017 and rose to SVP / GM of the label in 2021. With this promotion, he continues to oversee day-to-day operations. The label’s roster includes Ashley Cooke, Dylan Gossett, Ernest, Hardy, Lauren Alaina, Lauren Watkins, Lily Rose, Maggie Rose, Morgan Wallen, Stephen Wilson Jr. and others. Previously, Culbertson spent eight years at Republic Records, rising to director of A&R at their New York headquarters.

“Patch has been a critical part of Big Loud’s success for over seven years now,” England says. “He is a true leader that’s continued to invest in this company with his time and expertise, and his impact can’t be underestimated.”

+ Arista Records has promoted of longtime A&R exec Matt D’Arduini to executive VP of A&R. He will continue to work out of the New York office and report to president David Massey.

D’Arduini, who has been with Arista since its relaunch in 2018, has worked closely with such artists as Måneskin, JP Saxe, Paul Russell and on the recently released soundtrack for “The Idea of You.” He previously worked with Massey at for six years at Island Records (working with such artists as Nick Jonas, Demi Lovato, Shawn Mendes and Mike Posner) after 10 years at Robins Entertainment (Cascada, Afrojack, more).

Massey said, “It has been a privilege to work with Matt since the very beginning to bring our roster to where it is today. His leadership is integral to our continued success and I look forward to the future growth of our artists under his guidance and support.”

+ Day After Day Productions (DADP) has announced the hiring of Melanie Davis as head of tour marketing, along with promotions for Marc Ertel to head of creative, and Erin Patterson to head of marketing.

Davis was previously head of marketing for ICM Partners’ concert division (2013-2022) and held similar leadership roles at Azoff Music, Nederlander Concerts, Live Nation, and Bill Graham Presents. The company’s clients include Rock Hall of Famer Missy Elliott, Ludacris, Flo Rida, Bow Wow, The Queens of R&B featuring Xscape, Staind, Aaron Lewis, 98 Degrees, Wayne Newton, Engelbert Humperdinck and and more.Davis, Ertel, and Patterson will be supported by Marketing Coordinator Justin Scott-Young and DADP’s central services division.

Founder-CEO Seth Shomes said, “Melanie’s experience and strategic vision will be invaluable as we continue to elevate the marketing efforts for our artists and live events.  Additionally, Erin and Marc’s well-deserved promotions recognize their exceptional contributions to our clients and agency and ensure a cohesive and powerful marketing force.”

+ The American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) has hired Alex Machurov as head of business development, where he will oversee A2IM’s strategic partnerships as well as sponsorship opportunities for the association’s event properties such as the annual Indie Week Conference and the Libera Awards.

Machurov previously was with Superfly for more than a decade, overseeing brand sponsorships and activations for festivals such as the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival and the Outside Lands Festival in San Francisco, among others. He was also chief revenue officer at Revolution Marketing, managing sponsorships for properties such as the Merriweather Post Pavilion amphitheater in Maryland and the Orion Amphitheater in Alabama, as previously was VP of national events & experiential partnerships at iHeartMedia.

“Alex’s expertise and his passion for the independent music community will enrich our current activities and steer A2IM to more expansive opportunities,” said Richard James Burgess, CEO of A2IM.

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