Music Industry Moves: Moon Projects Launches Joint Venture With Warner Chappell; Rick Krim to Lead Rock Hall’s Performer Nominating Committee

Moon Projects, the record label and creative agency founded by former TikTok executive Mary Rahmani, has announced the launch of its publishing division in partnership with Warner Chappell Music.

The deal marks Moon Projects’ second joint venture with a major music company. Moon Projects also has a record label imprint through Republic Records and singer-songwriter Em Beihold, whose debut single for the label was recently certified platinum in the U.S. Moon Projects is represented by Heidy Vaquerano, Partner at Fox Rothschild LLP.

More from Variety

“I’m so thrilled to be launching the publishing division of Moon Projects,” says Rahmani. “Warner Chappell is one of the most trusted names in music publishing, and I am a huge admirer of their work. I could not be prouder to be working with them on this exciting joint venture, which will allow Moon Projects to further its goal of supporting the artists and songwriters we love in an equitable and transparent way that encourages career longevity.”

Warner Chappell Music SVP of A&R and Venture Partners, Rich Christina, added: “Mary is bringing a new and fresh approach to the industry with Moon Projects and this joint venture will expand those efforts even more. We’re proud to be working together to ensure more songwriters and digital creators have a publishing partner that protects their best interests.”

+ The Secretly music company has hired three new members of its A&R teams. Secretly Publishing has announced the hiring of Trinity Hood as A&R associate and Tony Messina-Doerning as A&R in its Los Angeles office. Both will report to senior director of A&R Eddie Sikazwe. Hood arrives from the music touring team at United Talent Agency, while Messina-Doerning worked as an A&R at hitmaker Ricky Reed’s Nice Life Recording Company for the last four years.

On the label side, Secretly Group recently hired Laura “Lau” Frías as the newest Brooklyn-based A&R Director for Dead Oceans, Jagjaguwar, Saddest Factory Records and Secretly Canadian. She joins after six years at Kobalt Music Group, and will Lau Frías report to Jon Coombs, Secretly Group’s VP of A&R.

Thursday, Nov. 3

Rick Krim has been tapped to lead the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame‘s performers nominating committee, taking over from Jon Landau. The news arrives ahead of this weekend’s ceremony in Los Angeles and was revealed by Rock Hall Foundation chairman John Sykes in an interview with Hits. “I’ve had the privilege of knowing Rick from our very early days together at MTV and VH1, and I’ve watched him firsthand grow into a gifted talent executive,” said Sykes. “Rick has a rare combination of knowledge and passion that has made him a valuable member of our nominating committee for 15 years. What makes Rick the perfect person for this position is that, like Jon, he can manage a diverse group of committee members without leading with his own opinion.”

Wednesday, Nov. 2

+ Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) has entered an exclusive global publishing agreement to represent the song catalog of songwriter and composer Irving Berlin. The deal builds upon the music publisher’s existing relationship with Berlin’s estate, as the company has served as his catalog administrator (excluding the U.S.) since 2012.

Berlin composed more than 1,500 songs over his 60-year career, in addition to 9 Broadway shows and 18 Hollywood films. Under the expanded agreement, UMPG will represent Berlin’s catalog including celebrated classics such as “White Christmas,” “Blue Skies,” “Puttin’ On The Ritz,” and “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” and more. Additionally, UMPG will act as representatives for the Berlin estate’s brand and social marketing efforts.

The music publisher has also launched new online and social channels including a TikTok account and a new website that looks to connect potential clients with Berlin-penned songs for commercial audiovisual projects through curated playlists.

+ Merlin has hired finance exec Adam Wright as their new chief financial officer. He joins the company after three years as director of finance for Creative Artists Agency (CAA), where he oversaw its brand licensing business in Europe, Middle East, and Africa.

Wright has also held executive positions at Sony Music Group, where he was responsible for operations across Australia, New Zealand and Singapore; and Cooperative Music, UMG’s former international licensing and distribution network, where he served in the independent music sector.

Based in the UK, Wright will work closely with the executive management team and will be responsible for all of the organization’s financial, treasury, and tax functions on a global basis.

“I’m delighted to take on the role of CFO at Merlin,” Wright commented. “It’s such a dynamic time for the Merlin organisation and the industry as a whole—I’m very excited to have this opportunity and to come back to the independent sector where my music industry career first began is especially satisfying.” He continued, “Independents’ passion for music is only matched by their level of innovation and entrepreneurship. It’s a privilege to join Merlin as they continue to deliver on that ethos on behalf of their members and digital partners around the world.”

+ New Zealand singer-songwriter Kimbra has launched a new podcast called “Playing With Fire” in partnership with Talkhouse. The new series will see Kimbra interviewing fellow creatives; the first three episodes feature conversations with Mitski, Bethany Joy Lenz, and Jedidiah Jenkins.

Produced by Kimbra herself, “Playing With Fire” is a podcast that explores the topic of “transcendence and how it manifests in people’s lives,” according to the news release. Kimbra will ask a musician, an author, an actress, a priest and a best friend what transcendence means to them and how it has changed the way they live and work. The podcast launch comes on the heels of Kimbra’s upcoming album announcement, “A Reckoning,” set for release in 2023. “

+ Sony Music Masterworks has announced a new majority investment in MAC Global, the pan-regional concert promotion, talent management, events and production company based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Founded in 2014 by Rob McIntosh and Daniel Goldberg, MAC Global is known for bringing big-name international touring acts to the Middle East such as Ed Sheeran, Michael Bublé, Drake and Sia, among others. With clients including Dubai Opera, Saudi Aramco, Al Dana Amphitheatre and Coca-Cola Arena, MAC Global produces concerts in the venues across the UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, India and Saudi Arabia.

Day-to-day operations of the company will continue to be led by McIntosh and Goldberg, who in turn will work closely with Mark Cavell, president of Sony Music Masterworks, Josh Lerman, Masterworks senior VP of business development and Ollie Rosenblatt, managing director of Senbla.

With this agreement, MAC Global will also expand to include comedy, sports, virtual events, orchestral events, and immersive movie experiences. Recent highlights include two sold-out shows by George Ezra and EDM legend Tiesto, and Lewis Capaldi is set to perform in both Dubai and Bahrain in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, Nov. 1

+ WME has signed Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Yusuf/Cat Stevens for representation in all areas. The British singer-songwriter is currently working on a new album, along with various other projects including an autobiography and an upcoming 2023 global tour.

Within the last couple of years, Yusuf has reworked and re-issued several of his previous projects in honor of their 50th anniversary. He’s entirely re-recorded “Tea for the Tillerman as Tea for the Tillerman2,” and released a box set in celebration of the original 1970 album’s debut. Additionally, the 50th-anniversary boxsets for “Mona Bone Jakon” and “Teaser and the Firecat” will be followed-up with a newly remastered anniversary edition of his 1972 album, “Catch Bull at Four,” slated for release in December.

Last year, his children’s book “Yusuf’s Peace Train,” became a New York Times best-seller, and he was featured in the Apple TV+ documentary, “1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything,” studying the connection between music and significant social and cultural reform.

+ Following the opening of Concord’s global headquarters in Nashville, the U.S.-based rights company has rebranded with a new logo.

Concord’s new headquarters were constructed in 2020 and 2021 and opened officially earlier this year. The new space features an 8,300 sq. ft. expansion of its 2nd-floor offices in Peabody Plaza. The LEED Silver certified, 50,000 sq ft space in the Rolling Mill Hill neighborhood, is almost triple the size of Concord’s former offices at 1201 Demonbreun St.

“Concord has grown significantly in the last seven years, necessitating new offices in LA, NYC, Berlin and Nashville,” said Bob Valentine, Concord president. “Marrying not only copyrights, plays, musicals, recordings and other narrative content, but more importantly merging the cultures of the many companies is what makes us the Concord of today.”

According to a release, the move falls in line with Concord’s expansion plan to represent Concord’s artists, playwrights and composers “as none of them sought the easy path to get to where they are; instead, they aggressively challenged what could be. The new Concord logo and identity is rooted in all these things, with artists as the pillar.”

Courtesy of Concord
Courtesy of Concord

+ Warner Records has promoted Ron Stewart to senior VP of urban promotion for the label and hired Cory Sparks as VP of urban promotion.

Based in New York, Stewart will expand his current duties to lead promotion strategy and campaigns for all urban artists. He will report to Mike Chester, executive VP of promotion and commerce. Sparks, who joins Warner after a decade with Epic Records, will be based in Atlanta, GA., and reports to Stewart.

Said Chester: “Ron is one of the most respected and admired promotion executives in the business and all of our artists benefit from his musical insight and unmatched expertise. And Cory has a proven track record and has been instrumental in breaking some of today’s biggest superstars. I’m looking forward to working with both of them and the overall team in expanding the reach of our multi-faceted Promotion department.”

Stewart came to Warner Records in 2019 and has scored chart-topping singles from Saweetie, NLE Choppa, DVSN, Freddie Gibbs and more. He joined the label from Atlantic Records, where he was the Northeast/Midwest regional promotion manager. Sparks was VP of promotion at Epic Records, where he worked with Future, Travis Scott, DJ Khaled, and Giveon.

+ Jessica Curtis has joined Irving and Jeffrey Azoff’s Full Stop Management, where she will work closely with manager Andy Mendelsohn on his longtime client Kings of Leon.

In her prior role as a consultant with Mendelsohn, the New York-based Curtis helped launch a line of whiskey for Kings of Leon and the “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” cast and was instrumental in the latter’s debut into live tapings for its “Always Sunny” podcast.

Previously, Curtis spent more than seven years working under her father (Kelly Curtis) as part of the Pearl Jam management team, for which she served as director of marketing and branding. She went on to oversee new business and partnerships for the creative agency Night After Night, including its subsidiary Spirits of the Night, which pairs celebrated artists with world-class spirits.

+ Milk & Honey Music + Sports has announced the launch of a U.S. Scholarship initiative that will kick off in Feb. of 2023. Successful candidates will be female writers and producers who will live, work and create in Los Angeles for two months with guaranteed access to the Milk & Honey roster and in-studio sessions.

The first pairing will be Australian recipient Chelsea Warner with producer/songwriter Oak Felder (Demi Lovato, Lizzo, Kehlani, Alicia Keys, John Legend) and Jenna Andrews (BTS, Noah Cyrus, David Guetta).

The scholarship was created by Lucas Keller, Mike & Honey president and founder, Milly Petriella, managing director of Milk & Honey Australasia, and Peter Coquillard, head of international.

In addition to Felder and Andrews, the eight-year-old Milk & Honey Music + Sports represents David Hodges, Sir Nolan, J. White Did It, Noah Goldstein Jamie Hartman, Andrés Torres and Mauricio Rengifo and has offices in Los Angeles, London, New York, Nashville and Dallas.

+ The Chamber Group has hired Edwin Tetteh as public relations manager; and promoted Shannon Atran to associate director of public relations.

Tetteh will work with internal and external partners on exposure strategies for a wide range of clients including Hulu’s “Iron Mike” series, Jon Batiste, Mariah Carey, National Black Theatre and more. He will aim to “maximize visibility for his clients at local, national and global media platforms across theatre, music, film, fashion, and lifestyle industries,” according to the official announcement. Tetteh, who is based in New York, will report directly to Chris Chambers, principal/founder at The Chamber Group.

Atran will serve as the exclusive independent public relations executive. She will be responsible for developing, executing, and overseeing press campaigns, in addition to securing exposure for artists (Big Sean, T.I., Zara Larsson, Dave East, Sevyn Streeter and others) across a broad scope of media platforms. She will also drive the day-to-day implementation of client communications including crisis response strategies and the drafting of client statements. Based in New York, Atran will also report directly to Chambers.

+ Shore Fire Media has promoted Chris Taillie, who previously served as a publicity director, to vice president.

Taillie joined Shore Fire’s Brooklyn office in 2007 and has since been described as an “integral part” of Shore Fire’s growth by mentoring young staffers and driving the company’s publicity campaigns. His music clients include Angélique Kidjo, Cyndi Lauper, Esperanza Spalding, Floating Points, Jacob Collier, and Rhiannon Giddens among others. He has also played a key role in establishing Shore Fire’s music technology roster, working with the live event e-commerce platform Lyte and OneOf, a leading Web3 platform for music and lifestyle brands.

“Chris is a leader, tastemaker and trusted advisor at Shore Fire who has helped to expand and define our roster in crucial ways,” says Matt Hanks, senior VP. “With clear vision and a steady hand he guides his clients to awards and acclaim, and his teams to professional growth. We’re so fortunate to call him our colleague and we celebrate his elevation to Vice President.”

+ Kayla J. Williams has launched her own public relations venture: kj pr. After spending over a decade at two both BECK Media and Giant Noise, the seasoned publicist will continue to work with clients in the entertainment and music sectors.

According to Williams, the company name stems from “a family nickname and what folks from childhood still call me. When deciding what type of company I wanted this to be, I wanted to give tribute to that weirdo kiddo that was playful and creative. That is the core of kj pr.”

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Click here to read the full article.