Executive Turntable: 10K Projects Appoints New Head of Creative, Warner Chappell Taps China GM

Independent record label 10K Projects has promoted Theo Battaglia to executive vp/head of creative, a newly-created position.

Formerly head of marketing, Battaglia will oversee all creative services at 10K while continuing to lead the artist marketing team, including liaising with distributor Caroline on digital and commercial marketing

“Theo brings with him a wealth of marketing and storytelling experience in film and television which has proven to be a gamechanger for us at 10K,” said 10K founder and CEO Elliot Grainge in a statement. “He is an integral part of every move we make here and I’m so happy to have him on the team.”

Battaglia, who joined 10K Projects in 2019, was a key force in marketing Trippie Redd’s Billboard 200 No. 1 album A Love Letter To You 4 and has also helped develop iann dior, who is featured on 24Goldn’s Hot 100 No. 1 single “Mood” and also has three RIAA Gold-certified singles with “Gone Girl,” “Emotions” and “Prospect” (feat. Lil Baby).

Additionally, Battaglia has been instrumental in developing the pop duo Surfaces as well as emerging artists including Peach Tree Rascals and Salem Ilese.

Battalgia got his start in the film and TV business, launching his career at Warner Bros. Pictures, where he worked in creative development and worldwide production. He later worked in program marketing strategy at HBO and, most recently, on the series marketing team at Apple for the launch of Apple TV+.

June Gao has been named general manager, Warner Chappell Music China, a newly-created role.

In her new position, Gao will oversee all of Warner Chappell’s business in China and build a team to help both local and international Warner Chappell songwriters take advantage of the country’s growing digital music market. Based in Beijing, she will continue reporting to Monica Lee, president of Warner Chappell Music Asia Pacific.

“We’re in a new golden age of songwriting in China. The explosion of different music scenes over the last few years has been amazing, and now we’re also seeing the market truly appreciate and encourage the value of music,” said Gao in a statement. “We’re keen to act as strategic partners who can share our knowledge and experience to the benefit of both our writers and our clients to deliver creative and commercial alchemy.”

Gao has been with Warner Chappell Music China since 2013, when she was hired as a licensing executive. She was promoted to general manager, licensing & sync in 2019. Prior to joining the publisher, she worked at Jamewish Brand Consulting in Beijing.

During her time at Warner Chappell, Gao has developed the company’s relationships with local advertising agencies and China’s film industry. She has also ensured the placement of Warner Chappell repertoire in local TV music and variety shows such as I Am A Singer and The Voice of China.

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Capitol Records UK has promoted longtime marketing director Tom Paul to general manager of the label. Paul has worked on some of the label’s biggest artist campaigns of the last decade, including for Sam Smith, 5 Seconds of Summer and Liam Payne, among others.

Paul’s career in music began in 2008 at Sony’s Epic, where he was a marketing assistant before rising to senior product manager. He left in 2011 for the newly relaunched London Records before sidestepping over to fellow UMG imprint Capitol.

“We have worked with Tom for over 12 years and in that time he has proved himself to be an exemplary marketing executive,” said Jo Charrington, co-president of Capitol Records UK. “He has overseen some huge and innovative global campaigns for Capitol UK from 5SOS and Liam Payne to Sam Smith, and is well loved not only by us, but by our managers and artists too. He has proven himself to be more than ready for this GM role, and we are thrilled to work with him in what promises to be an exciting 2021 for Capitol and its expanding roster.”

Cox Media Group (CMG) executive vp, radio Bill Hendrich will retire at the end of December after three decades with the company. He will serve in an advisory capacity in 2021.

In his current role, Hendrich oversees programming, operations and sales for Cox’s radio stations as well as its radio revenue and radio digital teams. Prior to that, he led integrated radio and TV in multiple major media markets for the company and led its healthcare acceleration efforts, which helped Cox’s “markets and advertising sellers succeed in healthcare by developing proven marketing solutions that meet the needs of local healthcare practices, physician groups, and locally-owned and operated hospitals.”

Prior to that, Hendrich was vp and market manager of Cox’s six-station radio group in Jacksonville, Florida, where he oversaw all sales, programming, digital and business operations. He additionally served as vp and general manager of the Cox-owned AM580 WDBO and WWKA FM in Orlando for 10 years, as well as oversaw internet sales and operations for CMG Orlando.

“Although I’m retiring from CMG, I will remain an active and passionate supporter of this great company,” said Hendrich in a statement. “For the past 31 years, I have been able to work with the best and most talented team in the radio industry. With NewCity Communications, Cox Enterprises and Apollo, I have been a part of three outstanding companies–each bringing valuable and innovative ideas to keep radio viable in today’s media landscape. I look forward to continuing our work together in an advisory capacity to help the team at CMG serve their audiences, customers and communities with best-in-class services. I joined a great company in 1989 and I get to leave that same great company with pride 31 years later. I am a lucky man.”

QC Media Holdings — parent company to Quality Control Music, QC Sports and Quality Control Music Publishing – has named Christopher Hicks as its chief innovation officer.

Under the equity-based deal, Hicks will be tasked with identifying, developing, and launching new partnerships and services across QC’s film, TV, digital, music master, music publishing and technology verticals. A particular emphasis for Hicks will be building QC’s music publishing ventures while increasing the company’s standing in the development and acquisitions arenas.

Over the last two decades, Hicks has co-founded the publishing company Noontime Music, managed songwriters Bryan-Michael Cox and Johnta Austin and worked as a creative consultant to artists such as Usher, Mary J. Blige and Aaliyah. As an executive, he previously served as senior vp at Warner Chappell, where he signed and developed T.I., Lil Wayne and The-Dream, and later worked as executive vp at Island Def Jam, where he played a key role in launching the career of Justin Bieber and signing Jennifer Lopez.  Most recently, he was director of the City of Atlanta’s Mayor’s Office of Film and Entertainment.

Sony/ATV has promoted Sarah Lockheart to head of A&R for the publisher’s U.K. division.

In her elevated role, Lockheart will oversee Sony/ATV U.K.’s revamped A&R department, overseeing its roster while leading efforts to discover and develop new talent and create new opportunities for its songwriters across the globe. Based in London, she will report to president and co-managing director David Ventura.

During her year-long tenure at Sony/ATV, Lockheart has signed songwriters including Aitch, Young T & Bugsey, D-Block Europe and Shaybo. She began her career in the U.K.’s underground music scene in the 1990s, working in record stores and vinyl distribution before moving on to EMI Music Publishing, where she worked as A&R manager (she also founded the dubstep and grime club FWD>> around the same time). In 2005, she began working for the London radio station Rinse FM, which she helped build from the ground up, including campaigning for its radio license.

Data science expert, statistician, and author Dr. Kobi Abayomi has been hired at Warner Music Group (WMG) as senior vp, data science and analytics. In the role, Abayomi will lead analytics globally across WMG, offering insights that will allow the company to measure and maximize success for its artists and songwriters.

“Kobi is a brilliant author, scholar, and executive whose extensive resume speaks for itself,” said WMG executive vp, business development and chief digital officer Oana Ruxandra, to whom Abayomi will report. “Working closely with our partners in Recorded Music, Corporate, and Music Publishing, he’ll play a critical role in helping us use data to forecast trends and aid our artists, songwriters, and ultimately music fans. There’s no one better suited to take on this post as we continue to emphasize the importance and value of making strategic, data-backed business decisions.”

Abayomi comes to WMG from WarnerMedia, where he directed monetization for the company’s broadcast media inventory. He previously served in roles at Barnes & Noble Education and Dun & Bradstreet and also as a professor at Georgia Tech, Binghamton University and the University of Cuenca. His career work has focused on audience behavior, activation and segmentation.

In his applied work, Abayomi created the methodology for the Columbia University Earth Institute’s Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI), the World Bank Hotspots Report, the Duke/Ford Foundation’s National Asset Scorecard, the United Nations Millennium Development Goals 2015 predictions and the New York City Department of Education College Undermatching Report. He is also an oft-cited author and holds appointments on the faculty and data science council at Seton Hall University.

Charles Phillips has been elected chairman of the board at The Apollo Theater, where he has served on the board of directors since 2015.

As part of the announcement, Phillips, who was most recently vice chairman, made a $1 million gift to the Apollo Theater’s Emergency Fund, created to ensure the iconic venue’s financial viability during COVID-19.

Phillips was previously CEO and chairman of the business software company Infor, president of Oracle and managing director at Morgan Stanley. A former Captain in the Marine Corps, he currently serves on the boards of ViacomCBS and the Council of Foreign Relations and was previously on President Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board. He is currently managing partner and co-founder of the technology operating and investment firm Recognize.

Phillips succeeds longtime chair Richard “Dick” Parsons, who has led the Apollo board since 2001 and has raised nearly $100 million for the theater during that time. During his tenure, Parsons was instrumental in recruiting the Apollo’s longtime president and CEO Jonelle Procope and expanded the board of trustees while also helping the Apollo grow its artistic programs, reach new audiences and expand to include two new theaters at the Victoria Theater in Harlem.

Parsons has been elected chairman emeritus and will remain on the executive committee while serving as a senior advisor to the theater.

“From his work on the Board’s Executive Committee to his generous $1 million gift to the Theater at this critical time, Charles’ commitment to the Apollo has been immense,” said Procope. “His support, coupled with additional donations from many donors, has enabled us to meet the Emergency Fund’s $4 million goal, allowing us to create dynamic, free events and education programs on the Apollo Digital Stage and ensuring that we continue to serve our community even though our physical doors remain closed.”

Procope added, “Dick’s contributions to the Apollo are immeasurable and his ongoing support invaluable. He anchored the turnaround of the Apollo Theater and set the institution on the path to success, and I am tremendously grateful to him for his leadership and dedication to the Apollo for over 20 years.”

Marcus Grant has been promoted to senior vp, digital commerce at Def Jam Recordings. He was previously vp, digital commerce, a role he assumed in 2016.

In his new role, Grant will continue focusing on the label’s streaming strategy, consumption growth and marketing opportunities in the streaming arena. Based in Los Angeles, he will report to Def Jam senior vp, commerce and digital marketing Theda Sandiford.

Grant arrived at Def Jam after serving for three years as founder and owner of TwentyThreeTwelve Management, where he represented clients including Toni Braxton and Big Boi. Before that, he served as a manager at The Collective for five years, where he repped Braxton, Big Boi, Kelly Rowland and Chamillionaire. He kicked off his career in 2001 as a manager at The Firm, where he worked with 112, Maxwell, Dru Hill and Sisqo.

Cameron Schaefer, co-founder of record of the month club Vinyl Me, Please, has assumed the role of CEO at the company. He will take over from founding CEO Matt Fiedler, who will transition to the role of chairman.

Since co-founding Vinyl Me, Please, Schaefer has served in multiple roles at the company, including head of marketing and label relations, head of music and head of music and brand. During that time, he has negotiated over $50 million in album licensing and manufacturing deals, including reissue projects with Herbie Hancock, Whitney Houston and the Grateful Dead as well as brand partnerships with HBO, Sonos, Ace Hotel, Mastercard and BMW.

Merlin – the digital music licensing company for independent labels, distributors and other rights holders – has announced the hire of several new team members across departments that have occurred over the past year.

“The core tenet behind every decision made at Merlin is that our members’ success is our success,” said Merlin CEO Jeremy Sirota in a statement. “As the music industry has become even more reliant on revenue from digital music services in this unprecedented year, Merlin has thoughtfully and strategically grown its team to expand our ability to support our members—both now and in the years to come.”

On the member relations team, the new additions are Joseph Dahner (previously of Help Musicians UK), Daniele Yandel (previously of Sister Polygon Records) and Kwi Soo Shin (previously of Live Nation Japan). All three will start as member relations/member operations coordinators.

On the business & legal affairs team, Shrina Patel (previously of Universal Music Group) has been hired as director and Katie Eckett (previously of Kobalt) has boarded as manager.

Selina Ali (previously of AWAL) has been brought on as reporting manager and Thomas Curtis has been hired as reporting assistant.

Pavan Vasdev (who previously ran a non-profit) has been hired to lead strategic initiatives and Alex Mason has been brought on as analytics coordinator.

Vincent Moyo (formerly of Gemserv) was hired to lead the finance department while Annie England and Banita Matharoo both joined as finance assistants.

Finally, Luke Aitkins and Apostolos Koutranos were added to the technology and development team to help evolve Merlin’s platforms.

Score a Score (SAS), the music supervision company that specializes in sonic branding for advertisers, has added three new members to its team as it expands into new markets: Detroit-based Julian Wettlin, San Francisco-based Jessica Makhlin and Los Angeles-based Michaela Frank.

Wettlin is a former music producer at Doner, Makhlin is a former music coordinator at Transit and Frank is a former sales representative at Bueno.

“We’re thrilled to expand our footprint into cities like Detroit and San Francisco, which are emerging markets for SAS,” said Score a Score CEO Jordan Passman. “Additionally, Julian, Jessica and Michaela each bring unique experience and fresh perspectives to the team. This added capacity, insight and expertise positions us for a record-breaking 2021.”

Score a Score has landed placements in ad campaigns for Apple, Microsoft, Taco Bell, Subaru, Rocket Mortgage, LinkedIn as well as trailer campaigns for Marvel’s Black Widow and Netflix’s The Midnight Sky.

2020 Billboard Country Power Player Rakiyah Marshall has launched the independent music publishing and artist development company Back Blocks Music, which will be based in Nashville. The company is expected to announce its roster in the coming weeks.

Marshall was previously with BMG, where she worked for over three years as creative director. She has also served in roles at Republic Records in New York and Cornman Music in Nashville.

“Throughout my time in Nashville, I have been continuously inspired by independent entrepreneurs, especially in the independent music publishing and artist development space,” said Marshall. “Having the time that 2020 has afforded us all to be home has allowed me to realize that now is the time to chase my dream of owning my own business. I am so thankful for my time at BMG and all of the relationships I have developed through the experience. I will miss my writers immensely and know they all have bright futures ahead.”

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