Music Industry Moves: 300 Entertainment Launches Sparta Distribution; Hitmaker Sean Garrett Signs With Warner Chappell

300 Entertainment has launched Sparta Distribution, a “music-led independent distribution company” based in New York. According to the announcement, it is powered by AudioSalad’s industry leading platform and “has a focus on unmatched delivery speed and flexibility.” The company soft-launched late last year. 300 has appointed selected Head of Research A&R Az Cohen and Label Manager Steve Magee to run point on Sparta.

300 Partner Rob Stevenson commented, “As the music business evolves, artists have more choices. We are growing our capabilities to serve a wider range of artists’ needs, at an earlier stage in their development.  Sparta Distribution gives artists the most crucial asset for success in the music business, the asset of time. Time to get to know themselves, their fans, their goals, and our team.”

+ Four-time Grammy nominee and hit singer-songwriter Sean Garrett has signed with Warner Chappell music publishing, the company announced Thursday. Garrett’s hits include Usher’s “Yeah!,” Ciara’s “Goodies,” Destiny Child’s “Soldier” and co-produced Beyonce’s  “Ring the Alarm,” “Get Me Bodied,” and “Video Phone,” among many others.

Warner Chappell Music Co-Chair and CEO, Guy Moot said: “Sean is one-of-a-kind, with a remarkable dedication to his craft and ability to tell a story through his music. His passion for songwriting is evident with every release, and it’s been incredible to witness his rise.”

Garrett said: “I am extremely excited and thankful for this opportunity to work with the amazing Warner Chappell publishing family. To work with greats like Ryan Press, Guy Moot, and the entire Warner family is a true blessing. My career has been unbelievable, and now working with this amazing team I know that this will be bigger than the last!”

+ The 22nd annual Latin Grammy Awards will return to the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. The three-hour telecast will air live on Univision beginning at 8 p.m. ET/PT (7 p.m. Central), preceded by a one-hour pre-show starting at 7 p.m. ET/PT. Nominees will be announced on Sept. 28.

The previously announced gala tribute for the 2021 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year honoring Rubén Blades will take place Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021, at the Michelob Ultra Arena at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

+ Sony Music Publishing has appointed Francisco Granados as Vice President, Creative, U.S. Latin. Francisco is based in the company’s Miami office and reports to Jorge Mejia, President and CEO, Latin America and U.S. Latin. His responsibilities include strategic direction for U.S. Latin A&R efforts, signing and discovering new talent, and working closely with Sony Music Publishing’s songwriters.

Sony Music Publishing President and CEO, Latin America and U.S. Latin, Jorge Mejia, said, “Francisco is an A&R executive who possesses that rare mix of talent for discovering and nurturing artists and songwriters, matched with an impeccable business acumen.”

Granados said, “I’m thrilled and honored to join Jorge Mejia and the fantastic U.S. Latin team. Sony Music Publishing gave me my first opportunity to be part of the ever-evolving music industry, and I’m grateful to reunite with a family that shares my passion for music.”

Previously, Granados was A&R Director at Warner Music Mexico, Colombia, Peru and the Andean Region, a position he held since 2019. Prior to joining Warner, he spent four years as A&R Director at Sony Music Publishing Mexico and worked as a journalist and radio host.

+ WEA, the label and artist services division of Warner Music Group, today announced former NBA and Spotify exec Danielle Lee has joined the company in the newly created role of President, Warner Music Artist and Fan Experiences. Based in New York, she will report directly to WEA’s president Maria Weaver.

According to the announcement, in this new role, Lee will lead WEA’s existing artist services division, covering everything from ticketing, marketing, account management, and data research & analysis. Additionally, she will have a special focus on broadening the company’s overall global fan engagement strategy through the planning and execution of creative cross-channel campaigns for artists.

In making the announcement Maria Weaver said: “Danielle is a fan and marketing guru who brings deep expertise and knowledge to this role from both inside and outside the music industry. She’ll be a key change agent, helping us build upon WEA’s already impressive track record of success in traditional artist services, while also turbo-charging our global fan engagement strategy by finding new and inventive ways to bring fans closer to their favorite artists.”

Lee added: “Fans crave connection with their favorite artists through their shared interests and through memorable experiences, whether that be on social, gaming, audio, video, or in real life. I look forward to working with this talented team to provide world-class service to our artists while creating impactful experiences that put the fans at the center of everything we do.”

Most recently, Lee served as Chief Fan Officer for the National Basketball Association (NBA), overseeing brand, creative, and multi-platform fan marketing globally. She was charged with elevating brand perception, cultural connection, and fan engagement during the NBA Restart and the 2020-21 season. Prior to that, Lee spent four years at Spotify as Global Vice President of Partner Solutions where she was responsible for developing go-to-market strategies and growing global revenue across music, podcasts, and high-impact digital experiences. Under her leadership, Spotify was named Media Brand of the Year at the 2018 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. She also has held roles at Vevo, AT&T, Showtime, and AOL.

Wednesday, June 16

Former Island Records chief Darcus Beese will be joining Warner Music U.K. in a newly created dual role as executive VP and president of a new joint venture record label, effective July 1. Beese spent nearly three decades at Island, working closely with such artists as Amy Winehouse, Dizzee Rascal, Jessie J and Florence and the Machine, and will now serve as a member of WMUK’s senior leadership team, reporting directly to CEO Tony Harlow.

According to the announcement, Beese will work closely with Harlow and the WMUK label presidents on the company’s A&R approach and will be instrumental in helping guide the continued cultural and strategic change of the UK business. More details on his new joint venture record label will be shared over the coming months.

Harlow said: “For the entire time I’ve been in the music business I’ve heard about Darcus as a truly great music man – a person who heard great music in every and any genre, and could care and nurture artists to bring the best out of them. Darcus was a talent who could actually add to the legacy of a label as great as Island Records and who understood that labels need to build a culture both musically and of success. Darcus would sign smashes and then balance them with important records that needed to be made and voices that needed to be heard. He’s going to help me shape the future of Warner Music and help us by bringing compelling, urgent music to us through his label.”

Beese said: “Working at Island for as long as I did, I was never going to be comfortable working for another label. Talking to Max and Tony crystallised that the natural next step for me was to head up my own label while still being part of a broader record company leadership team. I’ve known Max, Tony, and the team for a long time, and their commitment to building a community that inspires and supports its artists is very much in line with my own philosophy, so I couldn’t be more pleased to be taking this next step with Warner Music.”

Beese began his music industry career in 1989 as an intern in the Island Records promotion department before making his move into A&R and ultimately rose to president of the U.K. division in 2013. He moved to the U.S. to become global president and CEO role before leaving the label and returning to the UK earlier this year.

Tuesday, June 15

Fast-rising singer-songwriter Clairo has signed with Universal Music Publishing Group, in advance of her forthcoming second full-length album, “Sling,” which was co-produced by Jack Antonoff and marks her major-label debut (on the Fader label via UMG’s Republic Records). 

Now 22, Clairo’s (Claire Cottrill) success story began in 2017 when her song “Pretty Girl” went viral and made her a titan in the indie-sphere; it’s clocked more than 74 million YouTube views. Her debut EP “Diary 001” was followed by an album, “Immunity,” in 2019. If features the song “Sofia,” which became a TikTok hit.

Jody Gerson, Chairman and CEO of UMPG, said: “I remember the first time I heard Carole King’s ‘Tapestry.’ I also remember the first time I heard Carly Simon’s ‘No Secrets’ and Joni Mitchell’s ‘Blue.’ I get the same feeling today when I listen to Clairo’s music. I am so personally proud to represent her and to give her all the support she needs from our global UMPG family.”

Clairo said: “Thank you so much to Jody for believing in me, but also believing in this record. I’m so grateful for her honesty, care, and ability to make everyone feel comfortable while they develop as artists. Her attention to detail and to her craft is what makes her an unstoppable force – and someone that I know will be there for me for years to come.”

+ MUSEXPO, the annual A&R-focused music confab, will return to  Burbank, CA in 2022, holding its Creative Summit from March 20 to 23, 2022 at the Castaway in Burbank. The conference aligns with a week-long series of California Entertainment Week events, which includes the Global Synch Summit and International Songwriting Summit

Lisa Worden (pictured), iHeartRadio brand manager for rock and alternative and program director at Los Angeles’ ALT 98.7 will be honored as “MUSEXPO International Music Person of the Year” during a gala Luncheon on Tuesday, March 22.

Previous  honorees have included Republic Records co-founders Monte Lipman and Avery Lipman; Grammy-winning songwriter Diane Warren; EA Games music head Steve Schnur; Glassnote Entertainment founder Daniel Glass; Netflix’s Alexandra Patsavas; and Worden’s former boss Kevin Weatherly, now head of North American programming at Spotify.

+ RCA Records has promoted Jessie Maldonado to senior vice president, promotion and operations, and Pam Kaye to vp, Hot AC promotion. Maldonado oversees the Pop promotion department and Kaye is adding oversight of strategy and rollout at the Hot AC format. RCA artists include Doja Cat, H.E.R., Khalid, P!NK, Justin Timberlake, Elle King and Tate McRae, among others.

Monday, June 14

+ LaPolt Law, P.C., the Los Angeles-based law firm founded by Dina LaPolt, is expanding its practice, adding Sarah Scott as managing partner. Scott, who joined the firm in 2017, previously served as senior vp of business and legal affairs for Universal Music Group Canada. Since her time at LaPolt Law, she’s helped double the number of practicing attorneys and lead multi-million dollar music asset sales.

“Sarah is a great attorney and an amazing businesswoman,” LaPolt said. “It is so gratifying to have Sarah with us in this new role. Together, we will continue breaking every possible glass ceiling while inspiring other women to do the same.”

Added Scott: “This role was Dina’s vision and I thank her for that. It is so rewarding to now be her partner, and an entrepreneur, helping her continue to build global, dynamic, successful businesses for the firm’s clients.”

LaPolt Law counts Cardi B, Offset, deadmau5, 21 Savage, Steven Tyler, Mick Fleetwood,  jxdn (Jaden Hossler) and iann dior on its client roster. 

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