Music Industry Moves: RCA Records Ups Carolyn Williams to Executive VP

RCA Records has announced the appointment of Carolyn Williams to the newly created role of executive vice president. According to the announcement, she will work with RCA’s executive team to oversee the company’s artist and label brand-management and marketing operations. RCA’s marketing, brand partnerships and touring and events departments now will report to Williams and she also will co-lead the newly created creative and content development team. Additionally, Williams will continue to lead RCA’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives where she will drive larger activities at the label and within the broader music industry.

Most recently, Williams served as RCA’s EVP of marketing, where she served as the marketing lead for Jazmine Sullivan, H.E.R., Chris Brown, SZA, Alicia Keys, D’Angelo, Brockhampton and Childish Gambino, among others. Prior to RCA, she was with J Records (which merged with RCA in 2011).

Williams is an active member on the Executive Committee for the She Is The Music organization and is Co-Chair of the NY Chapter. She is also a co-founder of The Spark, an RCA Records quarterly thought leadership program created to generate ideas and conversation on a variety of topics with a mission to keep the company continuously connected and learning together. In 2020, she played a key role in developing Sony Music’s Your Voice, Your Power, Your Vote initiative. Williams is also the Executive Sponsor for RCA’s Black Music Action Committee.

+ Oak View Group, a venue-development, advisory and investment company for the sports and live entertainment industries founded by Tim Lieweke and Irving Azoff, has announced a merger with Spectra, a leading venue management and hospitality provider. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Leiweke, CEO of OVG, commented, “This merger brings together two dynamic leaders in the live events industry with complementary capabilities that will deliver a broad array of services to our clients. OVG’s core competencies in arena development and corporate sponsorships, coupled with Spectra’s leadership in food and beverage services will create a full-service live events company that will deliver a compelling and highly competitive set of offerings that meet our clients’ evolving needs.”

Dave Scott, CEO of Spectra, said, “This is an exciting development for Spectra and an important step in our journey to provide unparalleled services to our clients along with exciting growth opportunities for our team members as part of a larger, more diverse organization. This merger accelerates our existing strategy and will lead to significant opportunities to cross-sell food, beverage and sponsorship services across our combined client base.”

The merger is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of this year, subject to regulatory approvals and other closing conditions. OVG will remain headquartered in Los Angeles, with the headquarters for Spectra remaining in Philadelphia. UBS Investment Bank acted as financial advisor and Kirkland & Ellis LLP acted as legal advisor to Oak View Group. Moelis & Company LLC acted as exclusive financial advisor and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP acted as legal advisor to Spectra.

+ Universal Music Publishing Nashville has promoted Missy Roberts to vice president of A&R. She will continue reporting to Troy Tomlinson, chairman/CEO of the company’s Nashville division. An 18-year industry veteran, Roberts represents UMPG songwriters including Ingrid Andress, Justin Ebach, Paul DiGiovanni, Brandi Carlile, Derrick Southerland, Cole Taylor and others. She joined the company in 2012.

In making the announcement, Tomlinson said: “I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Missy and watching her grow as a leader over a number of years. Her thoughtful approach when signing songwriters and setting up collaborations make her an absolutely excellent example of what A&R should look like.” Prior to joining UMPG, Roberts held A&R roles at Sony Music Nashville, Disney Music Publishing Nashville, Stage Three Music and EMI Music Publishing.

+ Warner Chappell Music today announced that Natalie Madaj will be stepping in to lead the digital team as the company’s new senior VP of global digital. Eric Mackay, the company’s EVP of global digital strategy, will be leaving the company to start a new venture but will stay on during the interim to assist with the transition; Madaj will officially start in her new role in early 2022.

Madaj joined Warner Chappell in 2018 as VP of digital licensing for North America and helped forge new relationships with companies including Equinox, Peloton, Snap and TikTok.

Warner Chappell Music Co-Chair and CEO Guy Moot, and Co-Chair and COO, Carianne Marshall, said, “Natalie has an incredible eye for identifying trends and has spent the last few years finding creative ways to integrate our writers’ songs into exciting new technologies. A strong leader and savvy dealmaker, her expertise will continue to be critical to our success.”

They added, “Digital has been a huge area of growth, and we can’t thank Eric enough for his leadership and contributions. Since joining us in 2015, he’s built a talented and forward-looking team that’s prioritized strengthening our relationships with DSPs around the world, landing and negotiating the best possible deals for our songwriters. We know he’ll continue to be successful in his future ventures.”

+ Domino Records has named Erin Thompson director of narrative and creative communications, based in Los Angeles. She had been director of publicity at ATO Records for two years and was previously with Grandstand Media for six years.

+ Kobalt has hired Cee Barrett as director of creative, based in Los Angeles. He will be responsible for discovering and signing songwriters as well as creating opportunities for the existing global Kobalt creative roster. Barrett joins Kobalt from BMI, where some of his key signings included Bryson Tiller, SZA, Ella Mai and Megan Thee Stallion.

Kobalt has a strong track record of helping artists and songwriters grow early in their career and Cee’s experience and strong talent discovery ability make him a perfect complement to the team as we strive to continuously enhance the support we give our clients,” said Kobalt Chief Creative Officer Sas Metcalfe.

+ Big Loud Records has named Duane Hobson director of promotion for the Southeast region. He will report to the company’s SVP of promotion, Stacy Blythe. He had previously worked in A&R roles at RCA Records, Sony/BMG, and Sony Music Nashville and in music industry programs at the University of Georgia and Kennesaw State University.

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