Music Industry Moves: Gary Gersh Stepping Down as AEG’s President of Global Touring

Gary Gersh has officially withdrawn from AEG Presents after eight years as its president of global touring, as was announced by chairman Jay Marciano in a staff letter on Wednesday. Rich Schaefer, who is currently the company’s senior VP of global touring, will fill Gersh’s former role.

In his own letter addressed to staff, Gersh addressed his departure: “I have made the very difficult choice to step away from my position here at AEG Presents. This was not a decision I came to lightly, as working alongside everyone at this company these past eight years has been a career highlight for me, but I’m excited about the prospects ahead and look forward to us crossing paths again in the future… I couldn’t be more proud to place the global touring division in the very capable hands of my longtime friend and partner in business Rich Schaefer.”

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Marciano said, “Gary played a vital role in the development and growth of Global Touring; his energy, passion and initiative helped nurture an embryonic idea into a powerhouse team that has made a substantial impact on both our business specifically and the industry as a whole.”

Gersh joined AEG Presents in 2015, but he has a long and fulfilling career, having signed Nirvana, Sonic Youth and Robbie Robertson to Geffen Records. He also previously led the management team at the Artist Organization, which at the time represented artists such as John Legend and Lenny Kravitz. He was also CEO of Capitol Records throughout the 90s.

+ Independent music distribution company DistroKid has acquired Bandzoogle, whose tools enable artists to create websites to sell their music.

Founded in 2003, Bandzoogle powers more than 60,000 websites and online stores for artists all over the world for a monthly fee. With the Bandzoogle acquisition, artists will now be able to power digital, physical and on-demand merch and music sales within the DistroKid ecosystem.

“At DistroKid, we’re always working on innovative ways to help artists,” said Philip Kaplan, founder and CEO of DistroKid. “Bandzoogle has built incredible tools that make it super easy for every artist to set up an impactful public website & e-commerce store.”

Bandzoogle CEO Stacey Bedford, a 15+ year veteran of the company, commented: “After 20 years of helping artists build effective websites and sell over $100M in commission-free music, merch, and tickets, this is an exciting new chapter for Bandzoogle. DistroKid has always put artists first, just like we have, so we’re thrilled to join forces to continue to empower artists.”

Bandzoogle has generated more than $100 million in commission-free, direct-to-fan sales on behalf of independent artists since the company’s inception, according to a press release.

+ Universal Music Publishing Group has signed Latin singer-songwriter Ivan Cornejo to an exclusive global publishing agreement. The news comes just as he was signed to Interscope Records.

The self-taught musician and songwriter from California is known for his unique blend of alternative rock with música Mexicana. Cornejo’s hit songs include “Esta Dañada,” “La Curiosidad,” “Hasta la Muerte” and “J,” among others.

“I’m incredibly grateful about my signing with Universal Music Publishing. I’m working alongside some of the most talented musicians and artists. There’s an incredibly powerful team of strong women and men making changes in the entertainment business and I’m glad to be partnered with this team,” said Cornejo.

Ana Rosa Santiago, UMPG’s senior VP of Latin Music, said, “It’s a joy and privilege to work with singer-songwriters like Ivan who have the ability to convey deep and complex emotions through their music that inspires and connects with so many people. The UMPG team is happy to welcome Ivan to our family.”

+ Reservoir Media, Inc. has acquired the publishing rights to the catalog of country songwriter, producer, and singer Kerry Kurt Phillips.

His catalog includes Joe Diffie’s “Pickup Man” and Tim McGraw’s “Down on the Farm.” Other major hits include “Do You Want Fries With That” and “Maybe We Should Just Sleep On It” off McGraw’s albums “Live Like You Were Dying” (2004) and “All I Want” (1995). Phillips has also collaborated with other country singers like George Jones, Billy Ray Cyrus, Tracy Byrd, Craig Morgan, and many others.

Phillips’ catalog has also been featured in countless synch placements. To date, his co-writes have appeared across the Atlanta Olympics opening ceremony, Super Bowl commercials, and campaigns for major brands such as Pepsi and Ford, along with numerous motion pictures and television series.

On the deal, Phillips said, “These songs are some of my most faithful and favorite ‘ole dawgs, and it was important to find the right home for them. Reservoir worked hard to make this deal happen, and I know they will work just as hard to take care of them and help them continue to be loved all over again.”

Reservoir Executive Vice President of Creative John Ozier also commented, “Kerry Kurt has been one of Nashville’s top writers since the 90s, and I have personally been a fan of his for a long time. We are proud to be integrating Kerry Kurt’s hit catalog into our country catalog and look forward to continuing showcasing his legacy.”

+ Warner Chappell Music (WCM) U.S. and WCM Colombia are extending their publishing deal with the Latin producer, Casta, in partnership with Edgar Barrera’s BorderKid Publishing.

Casta co-produced the 23x multi-platinum hit, Karol G and Becky G’s “MAMIII,” as well as Manuel Turizo’s “La Bachata,” which has garnered over one billion streams.

“I’m thrilled to continue working alongside Warner Chappell, and to now also add BorderKid to the equation,” said Casta. “Edgar has been a huge support and inspiration to me. With this team backing me, I will keep on working to reinvent my music and collaborate with rising talent.”

Gustavo Menéndez, President, U.S. Latin & Latin America, WCM, said: “CASTA is the epitome of musicianship and true talent. He’s a creative powerhouse that has captivated millions with his signature sound and legendary hits. We’re honored that he’s continuing to trust us as his publishing home and excited to work with Edgar and his BorderKid Publishing team.”

Edgar Barrera, Founder, BorderKid Publishing added: “Adding CASTA to my BorderKid Publishing and management team has been a great achievement. He has all the qualities we’re looking for; he’s creative, talented, and has a great work ethic and an amazing energy. We’re very honored that he has chosen us.”

+ Nashville-based label Triple Tigers has tapped Kevin Herring and Annie Ortmeier as Co-Presidents. Both will report to George Couri, Triple Tigers Co-Founder and Triple 8 Management Founder.

Herring was upped from senior VP of radio promotion, a post he held since 2017, while Ortmeier joins the company following her tenure as senior VP of streaming marketing at UMG Nashville.

“The new structure will strengthen the company’s efforts as it doubles down the dual focus of radio and digital/streaming/social for the future,” wrote the company in its official announcement. “Concurrently, industry leader, label partner and former president Norbert Nix is set to launch VISCYRL, a soon-to-be-announced new venture with The Orchard.”

“Triple Tigers 2.0 is here,” shared Couri. “I look forward to stepping into a more active role, as well as having Kevin and Annie form a dual attack in the worlds of both radio and streaming & digital. Kevin’s radio singles batting average here is unmatched in the industry, and Annie comes from leading streaming and digital strategies at the biggest label in the business. With our company intentionally focused on maintaining a very small group of artists who benefit from dedicated attention, there will be a tremendous impact on our roster.”

The Triple Tigers roster currently includes Scotty McCreery, Russell Dickerson and Jordan Fletcher. Triple Tigers’ longtime distribution partner is The Orchard, a global leader and member of Sony Music Entertainment.

+ AWAL has appointed Chris Foitel as its new senior VP of A&R, based out of AWAL’s Los Angeles office. Foitel will round out the company’s A&R team, reporting to President Pete Giberga, where he’ll continue to foster AWAL’s burgeoning and diverse roster.

“I have known Chris since the start of his A&R career, and what he has accomplished is pretty remarkable. He has proven to be able to consistently sign artists that are commercially competitive while not compromising their credibility—a very tough balance to manage. I couldn’t be happier that he is here at AWAL and I look forward to continuing to grow our A&R brand with him,” said Giberga.

Foitel comes to AWAL from Epitaph Records where he served as VP and head of A&R. From 2011-2016 Foitel was the head of A&R, and later appointed president, at Fearless Records where he signed, developed and spearheaded the careers of acts such as Pierce the Veil.

+ Mom+Pop Music has promoted Sydney Hard to head of creative/creative director. Since joining Mom+Pop a half-decade ago, Hard has managed the creative campaigns of artists such as Ashe, Del Water Gap, Beach Bunny, Madeon, Tycho, Orion Sun, FKJ, Maya Hawke, and many more.

Hard’s expanded role will have her overseeing visual campaigns through mediums including music videos, album artwork, photoshoots, and websites. She will continue to work alongside Mom+Pop’s marketing team to ensure each project’s brand identity is cohesive and integrated for consistency across all verticals.

Monday, Sept. 11

Jennifer Lopez has signed a new recording and publishing deal with BMG to release her ninth studio album, “This Is Me…Now.

Lopez announced the project nearly a year ago and said it would be released in 2023, although a release date has yet to be confirmed. It will be the singer’s first full-length effort in nine years and is a nod to her third studio album, “This Is Me… Then.” Similarly, the tracklist includes present-day versions of her songs like “Dear Ben.”

The 13-song set is produced by J.Lo, Rogét Chahayed, Angel Lopez, and Jeff “Gitty” Gitelman, and was recorded between 2022 and 2023. Additionally credited songwriter-producers include Tay Keith, Hitboy, Carter Lang, Ink, Kim “Kaydence” Krysiuk and Yeti Beats. BMG’s Brandon Riester is credited as the album’s A&R.

Thomas Scherer, BMG’s president of repertoire and marketing in both Los Angeles and New York, told Billboard: “We are both excited and proud to partner with Jennifer Lopez on this long-awaited sequel to ‘This is Me… Then.’ Clearly written with love and through experience, ‘This Is Me..Now’ is uplifting and inspiring. ‘Jenny From The Block’ is back at a point in her career when her message is bigger than ever.”

+ Songwriter-producers Stephen Kirk and Jenna Andrews — both known for penning massive hits for K-pop giants BTS — have partnered and signed Morgan Johnston and Tyler Jordan as a joint venture partnership with Warner Chappell.

Kirk discovered Jordan in Nashville through a close friend and found Johnston at a writer’s round in Nashville. Jordan has gone on to open for Tanya Tucker, and performed at several NRA conventions and CMT fests while participating in writer workshops and rounds with the likes of Laney Wilson, Luke Combs and Drake White.

Johnston moved to Nashville in 2016 from her hometown of Sandwich, Massachusetts. She quickly integrated into the songwriting community and built a strong network of collaborators to hone her craft and later was invited to be a part of ASCAP’s GPS Program, Class of 2020. She’s also opened for Laney Wilson, Dustin Lynch, Sawyer Brown, Madison Beer, and more.

+ Country singer-songwriter Colby T. Helms has signed with New York-based indie Photo Finish Records and simultaneously announced the release of his incoming debut single “Higher Ground,” slated for arrival on Sept. 12.

The Roanoke, Virginia native has an eventful month ahead of him and will be touring around the U.S. through September, with dates at the AmericanaFest Day-Party in Nashville and a stop at the Dave Trible Shendig Festival in Virginia. See his “Tales of Misfortune” trailer here.

+ In concert news, Milwaukee Bucks have hired Kate Dordick as senior vice president of booking for Fiserv Forum. She will book and oversee concerts and all non-NBA ticketed events at the venue and Deer District, and manage all public event sales and booking for the arena.

Dordick joins after four years at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, where she spent was VP of programming. She also worked five seasons as director of arena booking for the Charlotte Hornets and Spectrum Center.

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