Music Industry Moves: Dillon Francis Inks Deal With UTA; Jhene Aiko Signs With Warner Chappell

DJ-songwriter Dillon Francis has signed with UTA, the company announced Friday (Oct. 22). According to the announcement, UTA will handle his film, television, and alternative media pursuits as well as his international touring business in Europe, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

Recently, Francis has been working on scripts for his animated series, “Gerald’s World,” currently in development with 20th Century/Wonderland, as well as developing a pitch/treatment for a show about his alter-ego, DJ Hanzel. He’s working on his Gerald clothing and merchandise line with Barney Cools, and launched several NFT projects with skater and digital artist, Chad Knight. He recently released his fifth album, “Happy Machine.” He continues to be represented by Canopy Media Partners and TMWRK.

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+ Long-running electronic artist Toro y Moi (a.k.a Chaz Bear) has inked with the Secretly Group label Dead Oceans and will drop a new album with the label next year. He joins a roster that includes Japanese Breakfast, Khruangbin, Phoebe Bridgers, Bright Eyes, Mitski, Slowdive and more.

“I’m excited to begin this next chapter with Secretly / Dead Oceans!,” Bear said. “Throughout the years they’ve continually maintained a conscious eye on the state of independent music and are pushing the boundaries of popular music. Thanks again to all my fans and supporters in making it this far with my music, your love and time is appreciated!”

Phil Waldorf, Dead Oceans co-founder says, “Toro y Moi’s music has been omnipresent in our lives for over a decade now. Chaz has so many fans at Dead Oceans, and we’ve daydreamed a lot about what it would be like to get to work together. Chaz has such creative ambitions for Toro y Moi, and we can’t believe we get to wake up every day not just as fans, but as partners in his next chapter.”

Thursday, Oct. 21

Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Jhené Aiko has signed an exclusive co-publishing deal with Warner Chappell Music publishing, the company announced today. Her six Grammy nods include a 2021 one for her most recent album, the platinum-selling “Chilombo”; over the years she has collaborated with Drake, Childish Gambino, John Legend, Summer Walker, Big Sean, Saweetie and others.

Aiko — pictured above with Warner Chappell president of A&R Ryan Press — said: “I’ve known Ryan Press for a long time now and have so much love and respect for the work they’re doing at Warner Chappell. They treat their songwriters like family, and it’s great to be on this new journey together.”

Press, said: “Jhené’s star power only continues to rise, and it’s been exciting to see her become one of the industry’s most influential acts. With each new release, she reveals a different side of her musical talent and captivates listeners with her artistry and lyrics. She’s established herself as the defining voice of her generation and of modern R&B, and we’re so proud to be working with Jhené, her manager Taz and the whole team at ArtClub.”

+ Former 2NE1 singer CL has signed with TaP Music, joining a management roster that also includes Dua Lipa, Lana Del Rey, Ellie Goulding, Dermot Kennedy, Noah Cyrus, Hailee Steinfeld, among others. Over ths past weeks CL (Lee Chae-rin) has dropped the singles “Spicy” and “Lover Like Me” ahead of her full-length debut, “Alpha,” which dropped Wednesday.

“Me and my team Very Cherry are thrilled to partner up with TaP,” CL said. “I am super excited to share ideas with Wendy Ong and look forward to pushing boundaries together.”

Wendy Ong, TaP Music Global Co-President said: “CL is one of the world’s most compelling superstars, with a diverse body of work that has kept us all wanting more and a fiercely independent spirit that’s well matched to our own. As a fellow Asian female leader in the music industry, I am proud and honored to welcome CL to TaP Music and look forward to helping her expand her global fanbase.”

Ed Millett, TaP Music Co-Founder and Co-CEO added: “CL is a true pioneer, not only a talented artist creating some of today’s most interesting music but she’s also a savvy businessperson. I’m excited about her next chapter here at TaP.”

+ The Recording Academy announced that Sean Smith will join the organization company in the newly created role of executive VP of communications and Andie Cox has been elevated to VP of communications, effective immediately; Smith starts on Oct. 25. Reporting to co-president Valeisha Butterfield Jones, Smith, with the support of Cox, will lead the overall communications strategy for the Academy, including media relations, corporate communications and reputation management. Prior to joining the Academy, Smith served as executive vice president of corporate counsel at public relations firm Porter Novelli, where he led the global corporate counsel practice and worked extensively with the Academy.

Earlier in his career, Smith served as the assistant secretary for public affairs at the United States Department of Homeland Security; he also held roles in various political campaigns, including three presidential campaigns. Cox, who joined the Academy in 2014, has led several major communications campaigns, including the Academy’s first-ever Black Music Collective and MusiCares $24 million Covid-19 Relief Fund in support of music industry professionals impacted by the pandemic (for which she received the PR Week Purpose Award).

“The Academy continues to expand the talent and breadth of experience within its leadership team with the appointments of Sean and Andie to their new roles in the communications department,” said Harvey Mason jr., CEO of the Recording Academy. “Together with their extensive knowledge and innovation in the field, they will play a pivotal role in enhancing our communications efforts as we head into a global sphere.”

+ The Weeknd has joined the board of directors of Tom Brady’s Autograph, a brand working in NFTs and other forms of digital collecting. The company’s advisory board includes Tiger Woods, Usain Bolt, Simone Biles, Naomi Osaka, Derek Jeter, Wayne Gretzky, Tony Hawk, and more to come.

“As an artist, I am always compelled to push the boundaries of how to deliver art within culture and have been intrigued with NFTs for some years,” the Weeknd says. “When approached by Richard and the Autograph team to enter this emerging technology, I was eager to join them in launching a new vertical in the music space that explores what the Metaverse could be.”

“As Autograph continues to expand its reach into new areas and opportunities, we also wanted to grow our Board of Directors and advisors to include the best in their respective fields,” said Autograph founder/chairman Richard Rosenblatt. “The NFT industry is in its infancy and we want to ensure that we have a breadth of opinions and experience to tap into as we build the leading digital collectible platform.”

+ Leading PR firm Shore Fire Media has promoted Jaclyn D. Carter to vice president. Carter, who is based in Nashville and heads Shore Fire’s office there, first joined the company in 2013 and has led campaigns for artists Brittney Spencer, Justin Moore, Willie Jones, Natalie Hemby, Brooklyn Bowl and more.

“Jaclyn is a determined and dedicated professional who always strives for excellence. Over her eight years at Shore Fire, she has led countless successful media campaigns, developed a strong leadership position within the company and led us into new areas of growth. We are delighted to announce her promotion to Vice President,” said Shore Fire senior VP Mark Satlof.

+ Publishing veteran Randy Sabiston has been appointed VP of label & publishing services at Downwrite, a collaborative songwriting endeavor. Alongside the hiring announcement, Downwrite announced that its artists will receive no less than 80% of front-end commissions, and 75% on all back-end royalties and sync fees, from both the recording and the publishing. Artists are also co-owners of their creations. This new focus will be spearheaded by Sabiston, a veteran of EMI, PolyGram, Warner/Chappell and Epic Records.

CEO Jake Morris said, “Downwrite not only wants to reinvent how music is made, but how artists are paid — and how their biggest fans can also be a part of their success. While these new splits are the most generous in the industry, they are just the beginning. Our vision is to offer Downwrite artists new streams of revenue and financial backing, and for commissioners to feel involved beyond the original song that they inspire. And we’re delighted that Randy has joined us. His passion and experience make him the perfect person to drive this approach.”

+ Former Live Nation director of production Max MacClennen has been named senior VP of operations for Brooklyn Made Presents. MacClennen is tasked with overseeing all production and operations rollout for the company’s growing portfolio, which includes Brooklyn Made, its flagship 500-capacity music venue in Bushwick, which opened on September 30th. MacClennen began his career as a project manager for NYC entities like Brooklyn Flea, Smorgasburg, and the Bryant Park Winter Village before becoming production manager at SummerStage in Central Park; he also co-designed and managed the Rooftop at Pier 17, an open-air venue in Manhattan’s Seaport District, which was named 2018’s “Best New Music Venue” by Pollstar.

“[Brooklyn Made founder Anthony Makes] and I met at Live Nation and have always worked really well together,” commented MacClennen. “We’ve always agreed that in order to sustainably grow the economy of our industry, the focus has to be on the artists, the fans, and the live music – and not on the organizations that back those entities. That’s the concept that Anthony brought over and that we’re trying to build with Brooklyn Made Presents.”

+ Live Nation has announced the official opening date and initial concert lineup coming to the all-new Dallas venue, the Echo Lounge & Music Hall. Developed in partnership with Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks, the 1,000-capacity club will open its doors on Nov. 1 with a concert by Mayer Hawthorne and over the following weeks will stage shows by and debut with concerts by Madison Beer, 100 gecs, Pink Sweat$, the Glitch Mob, Cheat Codes, Tate McRae, Ashe and more.

“The Echo Lounge & Music Hall is going to be a great new venue for artists to play in Dallas,” said Michael Rapino, CEO of Live Nation Entertainment. “There’s lots of opportunity to bring more concerts to the city, and we really value having the hometown partnership with Mark Cuban and the Mavericks in creating this space.”

“I’m super excited for the opening of the Echo Lounge & Music Hall,” said Mark Cuban. “This takes the Design District to the next level in its move towards being an entertainment destination. And, with the tunnel between the American Airlines Center side and Design District side of the highway being finished, it will be an exciting post game place to have fun and see live shows!”

Tuesday, Oct. 19

Pandora has hired Audrey Cleo Yap (pictured) as its first-ever culture and trends expert; Yap also serves as a broadcast personality who will represent the SiriusXM-owned platform on TV, radio and online. She reports to Jason Roth, communications director at Pandora.

Said Yap: “I’m incredibly excited to dive into my passion for music and tech with Pandora. As a journalist, I know some of the best stories come from the intersection of data and human-driven narratives. I can’t wait to share all of the great music, features and experiences on Pandora, as well as dive into the wealth of stories to be told.”

A music and pop culture enthusiast, Yap previously served as an on-air personality for Variety (for which she was recognized with two Los Angeles Press Club awards) in addition to on-camera roles at E! News and Access Hollywood. She is represented by Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Shepard LLP.

+ KayeJaye Entertainment, the company founded by music veterans Ken Levitan and James Diener, who helped develop Kings Of Leon and Maroon 5, respectively, has teamed with Universal Music Israel to launch a talent search country-wide for a male teen pop group. The search will be documented and filmed by Kastina Communications (“Fauda,” “The Chef”), a leading production companies in the region.

Monday, Oct. 18

+ BMG has promoted U.S. frontline recorded-music execs Angela Barkan and Cyndi Lynott to senior vice presidents, the company announced on Monday.

On the East Coast, Barkan, who is currently overseeing new releases from Duran Duran, Bryan Adams and Kelis, has been promoted to SVP of marketing and will report to EVP Jason Hradil. She joined BMG in 2018 from S-Curve Records, where as VP of marketing she worked closely with artists including AJR, Leslie Odom Jr., the O’Jays, Andy Grammer and others. Prior to S-Curve, she held a number of roles at Sony Music, finishing as VP at Sony Music Masterworks, a role she held for five years.

On the West Coast, Lynott, who is overseeing new releases from 5 Seconds of Summer, Monsta X, Slash ft. Myles Kennedy and others, has also been promoted to SVP of marketing and will continue to report to EVP Dan Gill. She also joined BMG in 2018 and has worked closely with Avril Lavigne, Evanescence, Lindsey Stirling and others.

+ Reservoir Media has inked a new publishing deal with Scottish singer-songwriter Emeli Sandé. The deal includes her upcoming album, plus future works. The singer’s debut album, “Our Version of Events,” spent ten weeks at No. 1 on the UK album charts and became the best-selling UK album of 2012; her subsequent album reached No. 2 and her most recent, 2019’s “Real Life,” went Top 10. She has won four Brit Awards (the UK equivalent of a Grammy). The singer, signed with Chrysalis Records earlier this year, has collaborated with David Guetta, Rudimental, Giggs, Labrinth and others over the years, and in 2012 performed at both the Opening and Closing ceremonies of the London Olympics.

On the new deal with Reservoir, Sandé said, “I’m very excited to have signed with Reservoir! It feels great to join their impressive roster. I’m looking forward to all the music ahead and working with their fantastic team.”

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