Music Industry Moves: Swizz Beatz Switches to ASCAP; Apollo Theater Signs With UTA

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Jem Aswad
·5 min read
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Thursday, Feb. 11

Swizz Beatz (pictured), the Grammy-winning songwriter and producer, has joined performing rights organization ASCAP. Known for his work on songs like DMX’s “Ruff Ryders Anthem,” T.I.’s “Bring Em Out,” Lil Wayne’s “Uproar,” Mýa’s “The Best of Me” and more, Swizz Beatz, whose real name is Kasseem Dean, is also the co-creator of Verzuz (along with Timbaland), the popular livestreaming music battle series that launched in early 2020.

Tuesday, Feb. 9

+ The Beggars Group of Labels (4AD, Matador Records, Rough Trade Records, Young Turks and XL Recordings) has hired Pam Garvano-Coolbaugh and Asmarina Zerabruk to its product management department. Garvano-Coolbaugh arrives from Captured Tracks, where she was label manager; Zerabruk joins from The Orchard, where she was a senior product manager, artist services. Both are based in New York and report to Claire Taylor, U.S. head of product management.

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+ Crush Music has promoted Garrett Capone to GM Rock Music. A nine-year veteran of the company that’s home to Panic! At The Disco, Green Day, Weezer, Lorde, Fall Out Boy and more, he was previously VP of Rock Formats.

+ Loud Records founder Steve Rifkind and Full Stop Management’s Damien Smith will participate in a live speaker series hosted by City of Hope’s Music, Film and Entertainment Industry’s Future Hope committee. Billed as a “virtual fireside chat,” the event is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 23 from 5 to 6:30 p.m PST. Rifkind, who’s worked with Wu-Tang Clan, Mobb Deep, Akon and Three 6 Mafia, and Smith (Anderson .Paak, 070 Share, Rem Ami) will discuss the dynamics of the music industry and how to further empower artists as entrepreneurs. Access to the series is free and open to the public, but there is a suggested $25 donation, which would benefit City of Hope’s mission to eliminate cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening diseases. Register at the City of Hope site.

+ Grammy in the Schools Fest, a four-day virtual event celebrating music and music education, will take place March 8 to 11, ahead of the March 14 Grammy Awards. Guest artists participating in the live digital conference include Derek “MixedByAli” Ali, Haim, H.E.R., Hunter Hayes, Michael League of Snarky Puppy, Manny Marroquin, PJ Morton, and Charlie Puth. Virtual attendance is free with registration.

Monday, Feb. 8

Talent and entertainment company UTA has signed one of the most iconic music venues in the world, Harlem’s Apollo Theater, in all areas. According to the announcement, UTA will help expand the 87-year-old theater’s cultural influence, representation, and programming across TV, film, podcasts, publishing and events through its IP. The Apollo’s legendary stage has hosted generations of great performers, from Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday to D’Angelo and H.E.R.

Most recently, the Apollo’s executive producer, Kamilah Forbes, directed and executive produced an HBO special based on Ta-Nehisi Coates’ memoir, “Between the World and Me,” for which Forbes conceived and directed the stage adaptation for the Apollo Theater in 2018 and 2019. Coates was announced as the Theater’s inaugural Master Artist-in-Residence in 2019.

“The Apollo Theater has long been a vibrant platform for artistic innovation as well as a place for audiences to come together to celebrate Black culture and the arts of the African Diaspora,” said Apollo Theater President and CEO Jonelle Procope. “I look forward to working with UTA to amplify the Apollo’s influence and the artists we champion, while introducing the non-profit theater’s mission and programming to an even broader audience.”

The Apollo recently announced its spring 2021 season, featuring a range of free and ticketed virtual events, including the Apollo Film series celebration of “House Party” and “House Party 2” featuring performances by Kid ‘N Play among others; the return of bi-annual WOW (Women of the World) Festival featuring more than 80 scholars and artists, career panels, and more.

+ In other UTA news, veteran agent Brett Saliba, formerly of CAA, has joined the company’s music department. He will be based in UTA’s Nashville office.

“I’m thrilled to be joining the team at UTA and I look forward to helping my new colleagues grow the Nashville office,” said Saliba. “There is great momentum already in place and I can’t wait to help build upon all the great work the team has already accomplished.”

“Brett is an industry veteran with an outstanding track record of finding new opportunities for artists at all stages of their careers,” said UTA’s CO-Head of Global Music David Zedeck. “ He is well-respected within the Nashville community and we are excited to welcome him to UTA.”

+ BMG has announced a streamlined restructuring of its US repertoire operation as part of a US growth plan, designed to allow the company to accelerate out of the pandemic. The plan will see LA-based Thomas Scherer promoted to President, Repertoire & Marketing, Los Angeles and New York, responsible for both West Coast and East Coast repertoire organizations, while Nashville-based John Loba is confirmed as President, Recorded Music, Nashville, both reporting directly to BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch…

Heading Scherer’s team in Los Angeles are two newly promoted EVPs, Monti Olson responsible for US publishing and Dan Gill responsible for recorded music in Los Angeles. Meanwhile Jason Hradil – currently SVP, Global Repertoire– will become EVP, Recorded Music, New York; taking on the responsibilities of John Loeffler who will enter into a newly expanded role focused on VIP client relations, US-wide business development and strategic partnerships.

BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch said, “The US continues to be BMG’s richest repertoire source and largest revenue generator. After a very strong 2020, we are determined to be in a position to accelerate out of this pandemic rather than resting on our laurels. This new streamlined structure will allow us to raise the bar of excellence when it comes to servicing our artists. I would like to thank Thomas, Jon, Monti, Dan, and Jason for all their contributions to the company and wish them continued success in their new roles.”

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