Warner Music Group has announced the hiring of Michael Drexler and Allan Coye to its business development team, marking WMG's chief digital officer & evp, business development Ole Obermann's first hires since he joined the company late last year.
Drexler has been named vp, digital strategy & corporate development, and Coye has been named vp, digital strategy & business development. They will both report directly to Obermann.
"We are building out an industry-leading business development team with a strong balance of expertise across strategic vision and thoughtful execution," said Obermann in a statement. "That's why I'm pleased to welcome Michael and Allan, who bring distinct skill sets, along with proven track records in delivering real commercial change."
Obermann noted Drexler's diverse experience in digital business working in recorded music and music publishing as well as Coye's wide-ranging experience across technology and media with a focus on digital video. He added that both are "valuable additions as we expand our partnerships with existing players and seek out unchartered opportunities for our artists and their music."
Drexler joins the company from BMI, where he served as executive director since 2010, leading sales, operations and client relationships for the performance rights organization's digital rights licensing business. He previously held various roles at Sony Music, including senior director of corporate & business development.
His new role will focus on strategic investments and corporate development while managing existing relationships.
Coye joins WMG from Viacom Music & Entertainment Group, where he was previously vp, strategy & business development with responsibilities sourcing, negotiating and implementing revenue-driving partnerships while contributing to the company's long-term channel strategy. He was previously director of business development at SpinMedia and before that held investment analysis and deal execution roles at Goldman Sachs, Investcorp International, Lehman Brothers and Credit Suisse.
In his new position he will target the development of WMG's digital strategy, as well as management of key partner relationships. His responsibilities will include negotiating and executing deals with global partners, including video and streaming services.
Drexler and Coye have plenty to get started on as they join WMG at a pivotal time for the music conglomerate. WMG will likely angle for a similar deal to the one Universal Music Group last week negotiated with Spotify allowing its artists to keep music off the freemium tier. Furthermore, Youtube's low royalty payouts loom as another issue needing resolution. And as royalty rate negotiations heat up on Capitol Hill with the Department of Justice's appeal of last year's BMI consent decree decision, Drexler's experience at the PRO certainly will be an asset.
On top of all this, WMG's digital department is having an exceptional week. In a true show of strength, five of the top six songs on the Billboard streaming chart were released on its Atlantic Records label.