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Music Industry Moves: Former TikTok Exec Mary Rahmani Joins Songfluencer as Strategic Advisor

Mary Rahmani, founder of Moon Projects and former director of music content/artist partnerships at TikTok, has joined Songfluencer and Genni & Co. as a strategic advisor.

Songfluencer, a social media marketing agency, has led digital marketing campaigns for Grammy-award winners Samara Joy and Wet Leg. Its parent company Genni & Co. also boasts marketing technology service Genni, social media competition platform Preffy, and short-form content agencies Genni Agency and YO SUZY!

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Rahmani will leverage her background in music and technology to guide both Songfluencer and Genni & Co. as their business continues to expand. “If you have been at the intersection of creators and music over the last few years, it would be difficult to not bring up Mary Rahmani,” emphasized Songfluencer CEO and founder Johnny Cloherty.

Adds Rahmani, “Johnny has been behind some of the most exciting trends in music and short-form video, and I’m looking forward to collaborating with him and adding my own perspective to his business.”

+ Working on Dying (WOD) and Advance Alternative Media. Inc (AAM) will jointly launch a new venture focusing on talent/content management and music publishing.

The partnership will build on WOD’s existing roster of producers – many of whom have produced hits for Drake, Lil Uzi Vert, Playboi Carti and Yeat – with significant expansion plans for new clients and resources. In the coming months, WOD Holdings will also establish a new hub in Philadelphia while leveraging AAM’s existing bi-coastal presence in New York and Los Angeles and international relationships from London.

WOD was initially built as a collective of producers from Philadelphia but has since grown into a production house and management company with a roster that includes BNYX, F1lthy, Brandon Finessin, Oogie Mane and FAXONLY. AAM, founded by Andy Kipnes and Mark Beaven, is a worldwide management firm for songwriters, producers and mixers.

“Combining our (WOD’s) creativity, understanding of the issues facing creatives today and unique approach to talent management with AAM’s vast experience, relationships and resources will inevitably make this partnership a success,” said WOD’s CEO Terrell “Finesse” Greenlee.

Added Kipnes, “Ness, Jason and the talented group of producers they work with have the same unique perspective we have at AAM. Their foresight, determination to succeed and combination of creative and business strengths are the same foundation that drove AAM and our client’s long-term, groundbreaking achievements… Mark and I believe it will be a long-term partnership with significant results.”

+ Joanna Noyes has been promoted to senior VP of global marketing and brand strategy at The Orchard. She will continue to be responsible for over 45 markets worldwide at the distribution company where she previously held the role of VP of marketing.

The expanded role will see Noyes contributing to the execution of brand initiatives across digital and brand marketing and communications, advertising, video services, creative design, college/lifestyle marketing and CRM efforts.

Thursday, May 11

Interscope Records has signed Grammy, Tony and Emmy Award-winning singer and actor Ben Platt to a new deal that will see the label managing Platt’s recordings and aid in the launch of his own imprint with Interscope.

“I’m thrilled for Ben’s future recorded music to be coming out on Interscope, a label known for its roster of culture moving iconic artists,” said Platt’s manager, Adam Mersel. “We’re looking forward to working alongside John, Steve Berman and the entire IGA team on the next phase of Ben’s career.”

Platt has released two full-length solo efforts — 2019’s “Sing To Me,” and 2021’s “Reverie” — and toured the country, most recently on his “Reverie” tour which enlisted Aly & AJ as openers. He’s said to be releasing new music with the label in the near future.

“Ben is an extraordinary artist in every way,” said John Janick, chairman and CEO of Interscope Geffen A&M, in a statement. “He’s as comfortable on a Broadway stage as he is headlining Madison Square Garden. We’re so excited to have him on the label and are looking forward to working with him and his team on his future releases.”

+ Elektra Entertainment has announced three promotions, all effective immediately. Chris Brown, previously head of marketing, promotes to executive VP of Elektra Entertainment and co-head of Roadrunner Records. Meanwhile, Katie Robinson — formerly senior VP of marketing — has been named head of marketing and Johnny Minardi — formerly vp of A&R — has been promoted to head of Fueled by Ramen and co-head of Roadrunner Records.

Minardi has also been elevated to senior VP of A&R and will oversee Fueled by Ramen’s roster of alternative artists from Fall Out Boy, Panic! At the Disco, and twenty one pilots, and, alongside Brown, Roadrunner’s hard rock acts such as Turnstile, Gojira, and Slipknot. Robinson and Minardi will remain based in Los Angeles and Brown in New York, all reporting to Elektra Entertainment President Gregg Nadel.

“Elektra’s fierce commitment to artist development is only equaled by our dedication to executive development, and it’s been a privilege to watch Chris, Katie, and Johnny grow into their own as leaders. Elektra wouldn’t be what it is today without them. They’ve all individually made such a strong, tangible impact and delivered exceptional results that have elevated our artists on the global stage,” said Nadel. “In addition to bringing passion and creativity to everything they do, they have inspired and empowered their teams to do the same. These much-deserved, new posts will give them the opportunity to continue to lead, nurturing and promoting our remarkable talent, while helping shape the future sound and direction of Elektra.”

+ Exceleration Music has named former Spotify exec David Ecker as its new label development manager. Rachel Cunningham, previously of Gimme Radio, also joins the team in an effort to elevate its fan engagement and commerce department.

Ecker will play a key role in managing day-to-day relationships with Exceleration’s family of label and artist partners. At Spotify, Ecker served as artist and label partnerships manager for U.S. independents and led creative campaigns for the likes of Phoebe Bridgers, Bon Iver, Mitski, Flying Lotus and Porter Robinson.

Cunningham will lead the development of audience growth and e-commerce strategy to drive the organization’s direct-to-fan business. Her role will include the development of online stores, as well as the building and implementation of Exceleration’s marketing technology stack.

Commented Darin Soler, head of global marketing and commercial partnerships: “One of the things that excites me at Exceleration is bringing the best in tech to labels in the independent community. There’s no reason that smaller labels shouldn’t have the same opportunities and expertise that exist at majors across all platforms, and hiring experts like David and Rachel is what makes that happen. We’ve worked with David during his time at Spotify and observed firsthand his commitment to supporting indie labels and artists. We look forward to seeing him bring that same energy and enthusiasm to working with the labels and artists at Exceleration.”

+ Latin Grammy-nominated artist Maria Becerra has signed a deal with Warner Music Latina in partnership with WMG’s labelmate 300 Entertainment.

After becoming the first Latin artist to sign to 300 Entertainment in 2020, Becerra released her debut album “Animal” with the label. Months later, she also landed her first top 10 on Billboard’s Tropical Airplay chart with her collaboration with Prince Royce, “Te Espero.”

“I am thrilled to be a part of the Warner Music Latina family. I know that together we will achieve incredible things and that this union will allow me to go even further in my career and solidify my global expansion,” said Becerra. “I’m honored to be part of their roster and look forward to working with such a skilled and talented team.”

Jose Levy, Becerra’s manager, adds: “We are very happy and deeply grateful to 300 Entertainment, Kevin Liles, and his entire team, for the support they have provided Maria since the beginning, because due to their dedication, efforts and teamwork, Maria has been able to achieve the success she celebrates today, which leads us to this important next step with Warner Music Latina, spearheaded by Alejandro Duque, to continue growing with the next albums.”

Becerra joins the Warner Music Latin team, led by Alejandro Duque, whose current roster consists of música Mexicana star DannyLux, Argentina’s breakout trap star Tiago PZK and Colombia’s budding reggaeton act Blessd, among many others.

+ Mono Stereo Groove is hosting its second annual writing camp for AAPI songwriters in Los Angeles at Warner Music Group’s Campus from May 15-19, coinciding with AAPI Heritage Month. The camp aims to amplify the community through round tables, networking, and panels curated for Asian hitmakers in the music industry.

M.S.G has partnered with APIECE, Warner Music Group’s ERG Division, Sony Music Publishing, Recording Academy Los Angeles Chapter, LIONS SHARE, and SURF Music for the week-long event. Panelists include Karen Kwak (EVP/Head of A&R, Warner Records), Jon Chen (Sr. Director of A&R, Warner Chappell), Dinah Jane (artist/songwriter and former Fifth Harmony member) and moderated by Jamie Dominguez (Sound Royalties Regional Director of Business and Artist Relations and Governor of The Recording Academy’s NY Chapter).

“The main objective of this camp, ultimately, is to actually release music,” commented Rose Tan, founder of the M.S.G. writing camp. “We want people to realize that AAPI creators are already creating across the music industry, and not just during the month of May.”

Tuesday, May 9

SoundCloud has launched a new product called “Fans” that provides artists with access to deep user data and makes it easy for them to connect with their most loyal listeners.

Now available on SoundCloud for Artists, the tool allows artists to view the platform’s data and sort their most engaged listeners based on factors like comments, listening behavior, sharing habits and location — and even directly message individual fans and share previews of upcoming music, info, sell tickets and merch and more. (There’s also an opt-out for those who don’t want Beyonce cluttering up their DMs.)

The program had been in beta for around six weeks but is now ramping up to 60,000 artists who are members of its premium Next Pro tier. The company considered it the next logical step in their fan-powered royalties system, under which the company pays out each listener’s subscriber revenue entirely to the rights-holders or the artists they’ve actually listened to, rather than the all-in model used by most streaming services.

+ Pulse Music Group has signed production duo Stargate — aka Mikkel Eriksen and Tor E. Hermanson (Torr) — to a creative joint venture. The team has worked closely with several award-winning artists including Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, Rihanna, Selena Gomez, Celine Dion, Janet Jackson, Shakira, Katy Perry, Coldplay, Pink, Sia, Whitney Houston and Nas, among others.

The new deal includes the expansion of the Los Angeles Academy for Artists and Music Production (LAAMP), a music program for songwriters, recording artists and music producers. Based in Santa Monica, LAAMP Music will be led by creative executive Andy Steinway and be fueled by program mentors Emily Warren, Ne-Yo, Benny Blanco, Justin Trantor, Cirkut, Jozzy Dopebyaccident and Diplo. The first four signings to LAAMP Music are Natalię Sawicki, Kyla McMillian, Hunter Nay, and Lucas Goncalves.

“Investing in the future has long been a winning recipe in music. LAAMP was created to help young creators take their music to the next level, which is exactly what PULSE Music Group has been doing for their songwriters for years. Andy, Mikkel and I are excited to partner with Scott, Josh, Ashley and the whole PULSE Music Group team to create opportunities for a whole new wave of talent,” said Hermansen.

+ BMG/BBR Music Group has named Peter Strickland as its new general manager, effective immediately. Strickland has been with the label for almost two years in a consultancy role.

Previously, Strickland served in several roles at Warner Music Nashville, including GM and chief marketing officer. He also created two comedy imprints for the company and executive produced Jimmy Fallon’s Grammy Award-winning comedy album, “Blow Your Pants Off,” before opening his management company, Marathon Talent, in 2018.

“Peter and I worked together early in our career, where I had the chance to see his creativity, passion and energy up close,” says BMG Nashville president Jon Loba. “Working with him again over the last year as a consultant, it is evident those same qualities burn hotter than ever. Beyond that, he is the consummate team player and was the obvious choice to step into the GM role upon Rick Shedd’s retirement.  We couldn’t be more excited to officially bring him into the BMG family!”

+ Dualtone Music Group has promoted Whitaker Elledge to general manager/SVP of artist development, effective immediately. Elledge, who joined the company in 2018, is based in Nashville and will continue to report to Dualtone President Paul Roper.

Roper says, “Whitaker has played an invaluable role for Dualtone over the past five years. Our online businesses have exploded under his watch while our operations have become more efficient and focused. He has a drive for excellence, integrity and compassion which serves our artists, their teams and our entire staff well.”

+ AWAL has named Cami Operé VP and head of publicity, the company announced. Operé will round out the company’s marketing and creative team, led by GM and head of creative Bianca Bhagat and VPs of marketing Justin Macchio and Katie Baloian. Among other previous roles, she was VP of publicity at Sacks & Co.

AWAL’s roster includes Little Simz, Jvke, Tom Misch, Deadmau5, Disclosure, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, and many others.

+ Universal Music Latino has made two new promotions in its publicity department with the addition of Albert Piedrahita as its new director of national publicity and Sebasti Daneilas as manager of publicity. Based in Miami, Piedrahita will report to Salomon Palacios III, senior VP of marketing and artist strategy, while Daneilas will report directly to Piedrahita.

Piedrahita joined UML in 2018 and has worked with Karol G, Jhayco, Feid and many others. Sebasti joined the company in 2021 and has worked with the above artists as well as Sebastián Yatra, Juanes and Alvaro Díaz.

+ Universal Music Publishing Group has signed Scottish production duo LF System to an exclusive worldwide publishing agreement. LF System is comprised of Conor Larkman and Sean Finnigan, the composers behind the track “Afraid to Feel” which was nominated for song of the year at the 2023 BRIT Awards.

“We’re so excited to work with the legends at UMPG,” the duo shared in a joint statement. “The synergy we had with Dougie and Pete from the get-go was so strong and their level of belief & ambition towards us – and where we want to take this project – was unmatched. We can’t wait to get going!”

Dougie Bruce, senior A&R director, said: “Right from the start of our relationship, we had a real connection together and the ambition of LF System and Fergus was clear to see. “Afraid to Feel” was such a monumental hit but the boys were very clear that one song was not going to define them, but the forthcoming years of releases will. We are so delighted they decided to join UMPG and we look forward to a long and lasting friendship.”

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