WME, Arista, Paladin, Big Machine – Billboard


Skye Landgraf is the first director of partnerships and programs at We Are Moving the Needle, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering and supporting women and non-binary pros in the recording industry. The D.C.-based Landgraf will work to expand WAMTN’s core programs in higher education and oversee the org’s annual Fix the Mix report. (This year’s FtM found that women and non-binary people are drastically underrepresented in audio producing and engineering roles.) Landgraf is also tasked with growing WAMTN’s institutional partnerships to help drive meaningful change in the industry. Prior to joining WAMTN, Landgraf served as the director of institutional advancement at the American Association of University Women (AAUM), as well as the associate director of foundation relations at George Washington University.

“In just two short years, WAMTN has already made a difference in the careers of women and non-binary individuals pursuing careers behind the boards, but we still have much work to do,” We Are Moving the Needle founder Emily Lazar. “Bringing in Skye, whose decade of experience in the nonprofit world, deep knowledge of music, and commitment to gender inclusivity and equity, will allow us to make an even bigger impact on our industry.”

Josh Javor departed X-ray Touring and is now a partner at WME and co-head of the talent agency’s music department in London. Javor spent 17 years at X-ray, scoring a spot on last year’s Billboard International Power Players list for his handling of Coldplay’s massive world tour, and for a major partnership between X-ray and Artist Group International. Over the years, he has had a hand in guiding the UK live careers of such artists as Eminem, Phoebe Bridgers, Bright Eyes, Belle & Sebastian and many more. “Josh has not only built a roster of artists that shape music, he’s also been an integral part of building the international touring industry as we know it today,” said Lucy Dickins, WME’s global head of contemporary music and touring, who Javor will be reporting to. “With Josh coming on board, our London office is doubling down on being the leading team in the region and on the international stage.”

Arista Records vp of promotion Mark Neiter announced his departure from the label, effective Aug. 23. The radio promo veteran joined the Sony Music imprint in September 2021 and points to successful campaigns for Maneskin, Lola Brooke and Beach Weather among his top accomplishments. Prior to joining Arista, Neiter put in the work (21 years worth) at Interscope, where as vp of national top 40 promotion he collaborated with — and built airplay dominance for — artists ranging from Maroon 5, Lady Gaga, Imagine Dragons and Eminem. According to RAMP, Neither will continue to consult for Arista. “I want to thank Davi Massey, Nick Petropoulos and the whole Arista team for a great run here,” he said. “I am excited to learn about what future opportunities lay out there.” He can be reached at

RIP Two All-Timers: Clarence Avant and Jerry Moss

Craig Newman joined the loving embrace of Paladin Artists, where he’ll focus on expanding the agency’s performing arts, family, special attractions and comedy divisions. The veteran agent won’t stop rocking, however, and is bringing along his diverse roster of clients that includes Bachman-Turner Overdrive, WAR and former Monkee Micky Dolenz, among others. Based in Los Angeles, this is a reunion of sorts for Newman, who used to work with Paladin co-founders Steve Martin and Andy Somers, as well as Bruce Solar, during his time as head of performing arts at APA. Newman’s diverse client list also includes chef Robert Irvine, illusionist Rick Thomas, American Girl Live! In Concert and Mini Pop Kids. “Craig Newman — aka Craigie Fresh! Master of time, the Ukulele and Arts Centers,” said Martin. “Paladin is happy to welcome Craig and his indomitable spirit, taste in artists, perspective and work ethic.”

Big Machine Label Group advanced Brooke Nixon to director of streaming, while the label’s The Valory Music Co. imprint has named Chris Waters to succeed Nixon in her previous role as southeast director of promotion & marketing. Nixon joined Big Machine Label Group in 2015, serving as the Dot Records promotion coordinator, before to moving to The Valory Music Co. imprint. Waters most recently served as director of promotion at Pearl Records with Garth Brooks. His career has also included radio and record promotion roles with Show Dog Nashville, Warner Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and Cumulus Nashville WSM Radio. –Jessica Nicholson

Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, a non-profit providing support services to school districts and musical instruments to underfunded music programs, named Tricia Williams as its next president and CEO in anticipation of the departure of Felice Mancini, who guided MHOF for a quarter century. Williams has been program director at the org since 1999 and is credited with creating a novel consulting service that districts use to more efficiently secure music and arts funding. Replacing Williams as program director is Todd Shipley, the former Director of Arts Education for the Tennessee Department of Education. Over Mancini’s tenure, MHOF has invested more than $34 million in musical instruments distributed to thousands of school music programs nationwide. “Felice has been instrumental in molding MHOF into the most admired music education foundation nationwide,” said Scott Holtzman, chairman of the board. “Our entire Board joins me in saying that we feel that Tricia has proven she is exceptionally qualified to lead MHOF at a critical time in the evolution of music and the arts in our public schools.”

ICYMI: Oak View Group (OVG) appointed Ade Patton as CFO … Elektra Entertainment promoted Jacob Fain to executive vp and head of A&R .. and the music team at TikTok was hit with layoffs. The cuts affected seven staff members, including senior product strategy & ops lead Kelly Chen and U.S. music partnerships and operations lead Marisa Jeffries.

Kobalt promoted Alaine Fulton to vice president of creative and clearance synch, putting her in charge of the London-based team that tackles strategy across how synchs are used, their clearance, and licensing administration. Fulton was previously director of UK creative and clearance synch and in the past year has negotiated and closed deals with the new Barbie movie, Samsung and Lexus, among others.

Various Artists Management hired Emily Thorpe-Jones as the London-based agency’s new head of brands and corporate. In her new role, which is effective immediately, Thorpe-Jones will work on all brand partnerships, commercial opportunities and corporate live bookings, and report jointly to Group CEO David Bianchi and Various Artists Management USA CEO Matt Luxon. She splits her time between Los Angeles and London. Prior to joining VAM, whose roster includes Melanie C, La Roux, The Libertines and Supergrass, among others, Thorpe-Jones worked extensively in radio PR before moving into the publishing sector, where she agency director at Hearst.

Too Lost, a music distribution and technology company, just added seven new employees — and a pair of promotions — within its office in Los Angeles. Up first at director of communications is Damien Ritter, formerly COO of BeatStars. Next up is Meghan Lyttle, who takes on the role of product manager following her time at Spotify and Peloton. Then its Jennifer Ferrer, a former senior manager at ADA Worldwide, who is Too Lost’s new senior product manager. Jake Selvey, previously with 300 Entertainment, steps into the role of A&R manager. Jheanelle Henry joined Too Lost’s Label Services department from MySeat. Ariana Slater and Carly Golisch round things out as new product and operations coordinators. And finally, Aldo Davalos was promoted to general manager and head of business development, while Buster Ross got bumped up to associate director of A&R. Too Lost offers distribution and publishing services that deliver, monetize and protect the songs of over 200,000 indie artists and labels.

Apple veteran Peter Stern joined Ford as president of the automaker’s new Ford Integrated Services unit. Up until January, Stern was vice president of services at Apple, where he was the driving force in launching non-music pillars including Apple TV+, iCloud and Apple Arcade. As part of his job, he headed up all marketing for Apple Music and Apple Podcasts.

UK-based marketing and digital consultancy agency Blackstar hired Dan Alani as head of creative. He’ll oversee Blackstar’s creative studio and work in tandem with the agency’s social and marketing teams on client campaigns. Alani was previously a senior producer at Able Media, working on campaigns for Harry Styles, Beyonce and others. Blackstar was launched in 2018 by former Universal Music Group marketing exec Olivia Hobbs, who is “beyond excited to be welcoming Dan… who brings with him 10 years of experience delivering creative campaigns for some of the world’s biggest icons.”

Dr. Moiya McTier joined the Human Artistry Campaign, a coalition of music and entertainment organizations that support ethical standards around AI, as an advisor and public communicator. The org describes Dr. McTier’s role as essentially “Explainer-in-Chief,” advising and educating policymakers and fellow creatives about the promise and the risks of AI. Since being announced at this year’s SXSW, the HAC’s efforts have been co-signed by music firms including Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA), American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), SoundExchange, ASCAP and BMI, among others.

Nashville Notes: Courtney Gregg launched Blue Sky Artist Management, with an artist roster that already includes Gaelic Storm, David Cook and John Baumann, among others. The former Carnival Music president (with previous stops at Billboard and ASCAP) is joined at Blue Sky with Kelsey Fitzgerald (Artist Management as Management Coordinator) and Corey Piper (Social Media and Tour Promotions Coordinator). Reach her at … Bobby Bones renewed his affiliation with iHeartMedia. He will continue as an iHeart vp/creative director … Canada’s Corus Entertainment promoted Ronnie Stanton to vp of audio from vp of programming … Bad Blocks Music hired senior director of A&R Autumn Ledgin and creative coordinator Elizabeth Cook. Ledgin arrives from Good Company Entertainment. Cook joins following internships at Creative Nation and King Pen Music … Sarah Bennett joined The GreenRoom PR as senior publicist following a run in the same role at IVPR.

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