Music Industry Moves: Yandel Inks Deal With Warner Music Latina

Warner Music Latina has inked a new deal with reggaeton artist Yandel. After 20 years in the music industry, Yandel has achieved global recognition as both a solo artist and as one half of the duo Wisin y Yandel.

The new signing took place at the Empire State Building in New York City, where Yandel performed in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 – Oct. 15) by conducting the lighting ceremony that evening. It was the first time that a Latin music artist sang at the venue, with recent performers including Pink and Ed Sheeran.

More from Variety

“Yandel’s iconic career has resonated with audiences worldwide, and his influence in the music industry is undeniable,” said Alejandro Duque, president of Warner Music Latina. “This collaboration signifies a new chapter of innovation and creativity. We are excited to work hand in hand with Yandel to bring his music to fans across the globe.”

Added Yandel, “I am truly excited to join the Warner Music Latina family and look forward to bringing new music to fans worldwide, fostering this new adventure with the label, and continuing to write my musical story together.”

+ Indie Rock duo Mae has signed with Equal Vision Records with plans to release new music early next year. Mae vocalist, David Elkins, is currently producing the new album this fall and winter in Nashville, per the press release.

After achieving success with their first record “Destination: Beautiful,” the Norfolk, Virginia natives were added to the lineup for the Vans Warped Tour and also performed as support for Foo Fighters, Weezer, and The Fray, among others.

To coincide with the announcement, Mae is launching a 20-year re-press of “Destination: Beautiful” on vinyl to celebrate their signing to Equal Vision and the anniversary. They will also be hitting the road to celebrate the anniversary.

+ Maryland-bred recording artist Joony and his collective 211have initiated a partnership with Red Bull Records/Evgle.

The creative partnership with Red Bull Records and Grammy-nominated artist Blxst’s Evgle imprint will allow Joony and 211 to expand their reach globally. Kicking things off, Joony has announced his forthcoming EP, “Memento,” with the first single, “Need It” out today.

Karl Fowlkes, COO/Co-Founder of Evgle, shared: “At Evgle, we think Joony is a generational artist and songwriter, and he and 211 are building something we truly admire in terms of creativity and business. With additional resources of Evgle and Red Bull Records at their disposal, the sky is the limit. We look forward to helping Joonyand 211 reach their heights.”

Red Bull Records Senior VP and Head of A&R Kenny “Tick” Salcido added, “Evgle continues to identify culture-moving artists with the newest addition to our partnership in the signing of Joony. Joony has unlimited potential as he brings a different sound with his melodic delivery and unique sonic choices. He represents a career artist at its core and we’re thrilled to welcome him.”

Thursday, Sept. 21

A series of internal moves were confirmed by Spotify on Thursday: Nine-year company veteran Monica Damashek has been promoted to head of label partnerships for North America. She moves into the role previously occupied by Vic Trubowitch, who transitions into the Spotify Music Product Strategy team for Artist Expression.

With these shifts, the Label Partnerships team will also move into Joe Hadley’s supervision. According to a company rep, what was formerly known as Artist Partnerships and Audience team will now be known as Music Partnerships and Audience, which includes Label Partnerships, Artist Partnerships, and Songwriter Publisher Relations. Day-to-day responsibilities for each team will continue to be business as usual. The news was first reported by Billboard.

Damashek (formerly Monica Herrera) previously worked in Latin music and international roles at Spotify. Before joining the company in 2014, she worked in editorial roles at Billboard, Rolling Stone, Latina magazine and MySpace.

Prior to joining Spotify in 2017, Trubowitch held roles at BMG, Vagrant Records and Warner Bros. Records. Hadley was previously co-head of CAA’s the hip-hop/R&B touring group; he joined Spotify last year.

+ Virgin Music has announced a new partnership with Position Music. Both companies have already worked on recent releases from such artists as Kid Bloom, Ryan Oakes, Kyle Dion, Layto, 2WEI, and Blackway.

As part of the partnership, Virgin Music will distribute Position Music’s new releases and existing catalog, as well as assist in marketing and promoting Position Music’s frontline label roster. Position Music will continue to develop its roster through the partnership with the Virgin Music team.

“Position Music is at the center of the creative community and is connected with some of the best creative minds in the business,” said Jacqueline Saturn, president of Virgin Music. “They have an enormous sync business, and along with that, they are signing and developing some truly incredible artists. We are so excited to work with their artists and expect big things to come.”

“Partnering with Virgin Music immediately upgraded our marketing, playlisting and overall commercial efforts across the roster,” added J Scavo, general manager of Recorded Music at Position. “When looking for a new partner, we had a laundry list of requirements and Virgin handily checked every box. Foundationally, both companies are artist-first, putting creative concerns above all else and we look forward to building something special together.”

Position is home to artists, songwriters, and producers such as Judah & the Lion, Kyle Dion, Welshly Arms, Ryan Oakes, Kid Bloom, Layto, ¿Téo?, Jack LaFrantz and more.

+ Downtown Music Holdings has announced the appointment of Pieter van Rijn, president of the group’s business and professional services division, to its Board of Directors.

Van Rijn joins Downtown’s existing board of directors, including independent directors Alison Moore and Kelli Turner, who joined in January 2022. Prior to becoming president of Downtown Music, van Rijn was the CEO of music distributor FUGA, which Downtown acquired in January 2020.

“When we first set out to transform Downtown Music, our B2B division, into a fully integrated suite of business service offerings, we were fortunate to have such a strong executive in our organization who could help us execute on that vision,” said Andrew Bergman, CEO of Downtown Music Holdings. “The addition of Pieter to our board further demonstrates Downtown’s commitment and mission to empower creators and the businesses that serve them.”

+ Warner Music Nashville has signed singer-songwriter Matt Schuster just as he gears up to release his debut track on the label, “Tell Me Tennessee,” on Sept. 22.

“Matt’s unique sound instantly drew us to him,” said co-chair and co-president Ben Kline. “Add to that his skill as a songwriter and the fan reaction he invokes, and the result is a very special artist that we are excited to partner with.”

“Matt’s voice has a quality and a range that will stop anyone in their tracks,” continued co-chair and co-president Cris Lacy. “There’s an instantaneous feeling that you’re hearing something material in a way you’ve never heard it before.”

Tuesday, Sept. 20

Warner Music Group has appointed Bryan Castellani as its new executive vice president and chief financial officer, effective Oct. 16.

Castellani joins with more than two decades worth of experience at the Walt Disney Company, most recently as CFO for Disney Entertainment and ESPN. Castellani was also the executive VP of finance for Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution, where he led finance for the segment as well as for its platform distribution, advertising sales, and network businesses.

“Bryan has wide-ranging experience helping one of the world’s most impactful creative enterprises build long-term value and unlock new global possibilities,” said WMG’s CEO Robert Kyncl. “A dynamic, operational CFO, he’ll be an excellent addition to our executive leadership team, as we grow the WMG of the future for the benefit of our artists, songwriters, investors, employees, and partners.”

He succeeds WMG’s long-time CFO Eric Levin, who will remain at WMG before retiring in January. Based in New York, Castellani will report to Kyncl.

Added Kyncl, “[Levin will] leave with our deepest respect for his many contributions during an extraordinary period of growth that included WMG’s global expansion, numerous major acquisitions, and a successful IPO. We wish him all the best.”

Said Castellani, “I’m delighted to be joining WMG at such an exciting and pivotal time for the company and the music industry. Music is a powerful global force, unconstrained by any specific model or format, and has significant business upside. Robert’s vision for differentiating WMG is inspiring, and I’m looking forward to working with the leadership and finance teams to take the company to the next level in a rapidly evolving landscape.”

+ Concord has announced the acquisition of the music publishing catalog of New York, Nashville, and London-based music publisher, Mojo Music & Media, including the works of REO Speedwagon, KISS, and Cheap Trick.

Mojo has built a roster that includes, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Rick Nielsen (Cheap Trick) and Warren Cuccurullo (Missing Persons, Duran Duran), Country Music Hall of Fame members Bob Morrison (“Lookin’ For Love”), as well as Earth Wind and Fire’s Al McKay (“September,” “Best Of My Love”), producer Jacknife Lee (Taylor Swift, Snow Patrol, and Kodaline) and the estates of Johnny Burke (“Misty”), Bernie Wayne (“Blue Velvet”) and Johnny Russell (“Act Naturally”), among numerous others.

“My nearly 30-year adventure in music publishing has always been about surrounding myself with the greatest songwriters, getting them paid, keeping them inspired, and elevating the power of their songs in pop culture so they vibrate forever,” said Mark Fried, Mojo’s co-founder and CEO.

Concord was represented by Ritholz Levy Fields LLP, Adam Ritholz, Cody Brown, John Brill, Gillian Sloane, Amanda Inglesh, and Jason Barth, and by DLA Piper, Rob Sherman. Shot Tower Capital acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Mojo. Mojo was represented by Reed Smith LLP as legal counsel.

+ Influence Media Partners (Influence Media) and Warner Chappell Music Nashville (WCM Nashville) have sparked a new partnership with DJ Jesse Frasure.

Both companies are investing in Frasure’s full publishing catalog, encompassing more than 160 songs, with chart-topping hits like “Dirt on My Boots” by Jon Pardi, “One Mississippi” by Kane Brown, and “What’s Your Country Song” by Thomas Rhett, along with future tracks written by Frasure.

Frasure has written for country acts such as Kacey Musgraves, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Kelsea Ballerini, and more. Along with writing for Jay-Z’s entertainment company Roc Nation, Frasure has co-written 22 No. 1 songs and produced an additional eight No. 1 songs for artists across genres including Meghan Trainor, Steve Aoki, and Miranda Lambert, among others.

The partnership was led by Frasure’s longtime collaborator Ben Vaughn, president and CEO of WCM Nashville, alongside Lylette Pizarro, founder and co-managing partner at Influence Media.

+ Ally Brooke has signed a new deal with SNAFU Records and will be releasing a new track “Gone To Bed” on Sept. 29.

Brooke’s partnership with SNAFU Records finds her reuniting with Joey Arbagey, president of A&R for SNAFU Records. The duo first worked together during Brooke’s time in the girl group Fifth Harmony, which sold over 33 million records worldwide and accumulated over 5 billion global streams before disbanding in 2018. Arbagey was responsible for the group’s massive hits “Work From Home,” “Worth It,” “That’s My Girl,” and more.

“One of the greatest highlights of my career was working with Fifth Harmony during my years at Epic Records. It is an honor and a privilege to have come full circle and to work with Ally Brooke at SNAFU Records. Her absolute dedication, talent, and humbleness make it that much better,” Arbagey said. “I am so very excited about the music we have coming and appreciate the major support that CEO Ankit Desai, Head of Label Sabine Feirabend, and the entire SNAFU team have given me and this project. It’s going to be a phenomenal ride – we are just getting started!”

Brooke shared, “Thrilled about this partnership with SNAFU and reuniting with Joey Arbagey, with whom I’ve shared incredible moments in the past. It marks the dawn of a new era!”

+ Granderson Des Rochers LLP (“GDR”) has added Lynn Gonzalez as a partner in the Firm’s Music Practice Group.

Gonzalez most recently served as the executive VP and head of business affairs and business development at Def Jam Recordings overseeing legal matters for a roster of A-list artists including Kanye West, Rihanna, Big Sean, and Justin Bieber. Prior to her decade-long tenure with Def Jam, Lynn served as in-house counsel to Atlantic Records and Razor & Tie Entertainment.

In joining GDR’s Music Practice, Lynn is now part of a collective of legal practitioners providing counsel on matters related to dealmaking, music publishing, production, content strategy, entrepreneurship, talent brand development, licensing, and intellectual property to recording artists, songwriters, and record labels in the music business.

“Innovation is at the heart of what we do, and Lynn brings fresh perspectives and forward-thinking strategies to our team, leveraging her major label and personal life experiences,” noted Damien Granderson, a founding partner of GDR and Chair of the Firm’s Music Practice. “Her arrival at GDR is reflective of our dedication to staying at the forefront of entertainment law and being thought leaders within the entertainment industry.”

+ FUGA, a division of Downtown Music, has hired Berlin-based Desiree Vach as its general manager of GSA (Germany, Switzerland, Austria). The company has additionally announced an in-platform integration with the marketing platform and downtown-owned company,

Reporting directly to Liz Northeast, senior VP of EMEA, joins FUGA following a 9-year tenure as country manager of GSA for Ingrooves Music Group where she oversaw all of the distributor’s activities and partnerships in the region.

Vach is the former chair of VUT (Association of Independent Music Companies Germany), co-founder of the VUT Diversity network, which supports women and non-binary persons working in the German music industry, and an advisory board member of the Society for Music Economics and Music Culture Research in Germany.

In her new role, Vach will lead FUGA’s business development, service offering and brand presence in the region, as well as oversee the Berlin office and its team.

+ MusicBird has acquired the song catalog of Greek-Swedish songwriter and producer, Alexander “Alex P” Papaconstantinou. MusicBird has acquired Alex’s writer’s share and his share of publishing across an undisclosed collection of songs.

Adopting the producer pseudonym name Alex P in 2011, when he joined the world-renowned RedOne production and 2101 Songs writing team, Alex went on to produce and co-write several hit songs including “I Like How It Feels” and co-wrote and produced the Khaled album “C’est La Vie”.

Alex has also written and produced multiple hits for superstar names both in Latin music and global pop including Paulina Rubio (“Boys Will Be Boys”), Jennifer Lopez (“Live it Up” feat. Pitbull) and Nicki Minaj (“Whip It”) and has also written several songs for the Eurovision Song Contest including “Fuego” by Eleni Foureira.

Monday, Sept. 18

Warner Chappell Music has announced the appointment of Rachel Jacobson to the newly created role of senior vice president of creative sync. Reporting to department EVP Rich Robinson, Jacobson will oversee a new team that’s solely focused on sourcing and developing songwriters for creative opportunities in sync, according to announcement. She will be based in Los Angeles; as part of the move, the team’s Talia Rubino and Margo Dorfman will report directly to Jacobson.

Robinson said, “We’re reimagining our approach to the creative side of sync at Warner Chappell to better align with the rapidly evolving media and streaming landscape. Rachel is deeply engrained in the TV, film, and advertising worlds, with strong ties to the songwriting community, making her the ideal leader to help us recalibrate our creative offerings and double down on writer development for sync. I’m thrilled to have her join us for this new chapter.”

Most recently, Jacobson has a five-year stint as Head of Sync and Artist Relations for the Paris-based Because Music Group, with highlights including placements for a remix of Justice’s “Genesis” for a final scene in “John Wick 4”; music and choreography from Christine and the Queens’ “Tilted” in FX’s “Better Things”; Amadou & Mariam’s “Sabali” in a worldwide Coca-Cola spot; Fine Young Cannibals’ “She Drives Me Crazy” in a T-Mobile Superbowl campaign; and a rework of Justice’s “Heavy Metal” by SebastiAn for Bungie’s Marathon video game reveal. Prior to her work with Because, Jacobson was part of the creative licensing team at Songs Music Publishing and Atlantic Records.

+ Concord Music Publishing has signed rising country music artist Clayton Mullen to a worldwide publishing agreement, effective immediately. The deal includes Mullen’s full catalog and all future works.

Mullen’s debut album, “Where The Time Goes,” has amassed millions of streams since its April release earlier this year. His latest single, “Stirring Memories” (a Sept. 15 drop), was co-written by Mullen, together with Jack Hummel, Carson Wallace and Caleb Lathrop. Mullen also launched a tour last week with upcoming shows in Texas, Utah and more.

“Within minutes of meeting Clayton, I knew he was a star and that I had to work with him. He has a natural gift and the ‘it’ factor that can’t be taught,” says Courtney Allen, senior director of A&R at Concord Music Publishing in Nashville. “Clayton has a deep appreciation for the songwriting community, and he’s grown so much as both a writer and an artist in a short amount of time. I am looking forward to the town getting to know him, and become fans of Clayton, like we all are at Concord.”

+ Missing Piece Records has signed a marketing and distribution agreement with the Portland, OR-based label Fluff and Gravy Records. Fluff and Gravy have developed artists including Margo Cilker, Anna Tivel and Jeffrey Martin, as well as worked with established artists such as Richmond Fontaine, David Dondero, Freakwater, Sean Rowe, and Jim White.

“Over the last dozen years, Fluff and Gravy Records has built an enviable roster of artists, and a reputation for being a label that artists trust unreservedly,” said Missing Piece Founder/CEO Michael Krumper. “John Shepski’s [Fluff and Gravy Co-Founder/President] devotion to the musicians that he works with is combined with unerring taste for brilliant acts. I’m thrilled to partner with John to help those artists expand their reach via our marketing team and partnership with our distribution colleagues at The Orchard. With new releases by Margo Cilker, Jeffrey Martin and Anna Tivel, Fluff and Gravy Records is poised to have its most successful year ever.”

Added Shepski, “We’re excited to be partnering with Missing Piece Records for distribution and label services as we take the next step in our development. It was important for us to find a partner that was passionate, had an ‘artist-first’ philosophy, and a track record of success. Missing Piece fits that bill perfectly, and we look forward to continuing to grow together.”

+ Marc Anthony’s Magnus Talent Agency and Industria Works have announced a new partnership deal that sees Industria Works Booking and Management as a part of the Magnus Talent Agency.

The Spain-based Industria Works staff and global roster will join the market-leading Miami-based team at Magnus, expanding the company’s live music offerings and providing a strategic presence in the European market. As part of this acquisition, Industria Works Founder Tomas Cookman will continue to play a leadership role within the new partnership.

Industria Works’ current head of Spain, Agustin Lopez, will lead the Madrid-based office and overall Spain team. Industria Works Spain-based team, including Ulía Moreno, Patricia Zavala and Alicia Toboso, have also joined MTA and will continue to work out of Madrid and Barcelona.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to join forces with the Industria Works team,” said Michel Vega, CEO of Magnus. “I’ve known and admired Tomas for over twenty years and we share the same passion for excellence in talent representation. This new partnership is an important step in our international expansion and will provide a crucial local presence and expertise in the European market and beyond, all in the name of continuing to provide top of class service to the careers of iconic and soon-to-be iconic artists.”

+ HeadCount has tapped election official and voting rights advocate Lucille Wenegieme as the organization’s next executive director. Her predecessor, HeadCount founder Andy Bernstein, will step back from the day-to-day operations at the end of this year but will maintain responsibilities as a senior advisor.

Before joining HeadCount, Wenegieme, a first-generation Nigerian-American, served on the executive team at Denver’s Clerk and Recorder Office, which oversees all elections in the city. Her accomplishments include spearheading a citizen-led campaign finance system and pioneering a groundbreaking marijuana-themed get-out-the-vote initiative. Wenegieme will now lead an organization that has toured America with notable artists such as Harry Styles, Jay-Z, Billie Eilish, Dead & Company, and Dave Matthews Band, while registering more than 1.2 million voters over the last two decades.

“The world is changing and the next election won’t be decided by the traditional political apparatus,” said Wenegieme in a statement. “Millennials and Gen Z now make up nearly half of eligible voters, and we can’t be reached through traditional media buys and direct mail. We respond to authentic messages from trusted messengers, and that’s where HeadCount has always been a leader.”

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Click here to read the full article.