Music Industry Moves: Downtown Music Completes Integration, Names Pieter van Rijn CEO

Downtown Music Holdings (DMH) has completed the integration of CD Baby’s operations. As a part of that merger, Downtown Music has named Pieter van Rijn its new CEO.

Van Rijn will report to Andrew Bergman, DMH CEO. Based in Amsterdam and New York, van Rijn previously served as the group president of Downtown Music and as CEO of FUGA, which was acquired by DMH in 2020. He was appointed to the DMH board in 2023.

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Bergman added, “The integration of all of our products and services under the Downtown Music umbrella alongside Pieter’s stewardship is a truly energizing moment in our journey. We bring together all the critical services that creators and businesses need to navigate the modern music industry. I’m proud of the organization we’ve scaled and look forward to capitalizing on the exciting opportunities before us.”

“This is an extraordinary time for Downtown Music as we enter this next phase as a fully unified operating company,” said Van Rijn. “The thousands of businesses that we support at Downtown Music and the millions of trusted creators at CD Baby will now benefit from our industry-leading suite of tools and services within a single organization. I look forward to continuing to work closely with Andrew and the DMH Board in delivering this enhanced offering to all our customers.”

+ ASCAP has tapped Charli XCX as the recipient of its Global Impact Award in honor of her influence on pop music. Charli joins a select group of acclaimed musical hitmakers who have previously received the award, including Lana Del Rey and Hillary Lindsey.

“For me writing songs is not about structure or formula or doing what has previously ‘worked.’ In my opinion, there is no special code or rule book that must be followed to obtain an amazing song. The best songs for me, are good because they can make you feel like the lead character in your own movie or because they have some kind of indescribable quality about them that makes them addictive. I’m honoured to receive this award from ASCAP; it’s cool to see them advocate for authenticity and nice to be recognised by an organization dedicated to supporting songwriters and fostering an environment where we can craft music we love,” said Charli.

“Charli is an unstoppable creative force. Her avant-garde style is daring, authentic and infectious as she expertly infuses the best of the underground and mainstream worlds into her music. She’s not just shaping pop music – she’s redefining it,” said ASCAP Chairman of the Board and President Paul Williams. “We are absolutely thrilled to present her with the ASCAP Global Impact Award.”

The ASCAP Global Impact Award presentation will take place during the ASCAP Pop Music Awards 2024 on May 8 in Los Angeles.

+ YG has signed a new multi-album global recordings partnership, under his 4Hunnid Records label, with BMG to release his upcoming seventh solo studio album.

YG said, “BMG is making big waves in the industry right now. This partnership will take my music to new heights. The BMG team understands the vision for my music and business. Excited for what’s to kome and the future of my brand.”

“Our partnership with YG isn’t just about music; it’s about expressing his voice, embracing his vision, supporting his entrepreneurship, and helping amplify his next movement,” said Tim Reid, BMG’s senior VP of repertoire and marketing.

+ SoundCloud has appointed Marni Greenberg as senior VP and head of communications, effective immediately. The announcement was made by Eliah Seton, CEO of SoundCloud, to whom Greenberg will report.

Greenberg will be responsible for all of SoundCloud’s global communications including external media relations, internal communications, brand marketing, social media and executive communications for Seton and the SoundCloud management team.

“The future of music is happening now and SoundCloud is perfectly positioned to drive what is next. It has never been more important for SoundCloud to tell our story and Marni has the depth of PR experience required across music, technology and brand to bring our communications to life. I am looking forward to working closely with her as we continue to tell our story and navigate the enormous opportunity in front of us,” said Seton.

Greenberg most recently served as VP of communications at Sofar Sounds where she worked to elevate the company’s public profile. Prior to Sofar Sounds, she was head of music communications at YouTube and head of product and partnership communications at Spotify.

+ Scott Cutler and Josh Abraham, co-CEOs of Pulse Music Group and Ashley Calhoun, President of Pulse Music Group, have appointed Kara Foley as senior VP/head of creative sync licensing for Pulse Music Group.

Foley has over 15 years of experience, procuring sync opportunities in creative licensing for Pulse Music Group’s roster (Bhad Bhabie, Kehlani, Turnstile, Brent Faiyaz). She specializes in securing sync licensing placements in film, television, ads, and video games as well as marketing campaigns, on-camera appearances, soundtrack opportunities and creation of original songs for film and TV. Foley initially joined Pulse in 2014 as manager of creative licensing. Foley was promoted to VP of film and TV in 2020.

+ Reservoir Media, Inc. has announced a new deal through its joint venture with One Riot to publish Americana, indie rock singer-songwriter Katie Pruitt. The deal includes music from her upcoming album, “Mantras,” plus future works.

Based in Nashville, Pruitt earned recognition from the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2017 and was awarded the Holly Prize, which “recognizes and supports an exceptionally talented and inspired young musician/singer/songwriter.”

On the new deal, Pruitt said, “I’m so excited to be signing with One Riot/Reservoir. What sets them apart from other publishers for me was their passion to put artistry first. In an industry that typically capitalizes on artists having to shrink their creativity to fit the mold of a catchy jingle, they are outliers that encourage artists to dig deep and mine for meaningful songs that will stand the test of time.”

+ Warner Chappell Music (WCM) has launched its “Straight To The Heart” project to enhance distribution and revenue opportunities for songwriters, as well as how demos are released.

Ben Vaughn, president and CEO of WCM Nashville, shared: “‘Straight to the Heart’ celebrates the creative journey behind each song but also opens up new opportunities for songwriters, publishers, and fans to enjoy the original demo versions of their favorite songs. We’ve collaborated with songwriters and partners to make these original versions available for the world to enjoy.”

Wednesday, April 3

Tinashe has signed an exclusive worldwide publishing deal with Position Music which is set to administer the publishing rights to her latest record “BB/ANG3L” along with future releases.

A multi-platinum singer-songwriter and producer, Tinashe is best known for her fusion of R&B and pop, with her most notable collaborators being heavy-hitting acts from Britney Spears to Travis Scott. Tinashe recently wrapped up the East Coast leg of her headlining tour and is slated to perform at Coachella on April 12 and 19.

“I’m so excited to announce my partnership with Position Music,” said Tinashe in a statement. “Mark Chipello, Tyler Bacon, Delmar Powell, and the whole Position Music team have been so supportive already, and they really understand and want to champion my vision for my music. Being an indie artist, it’s so important to me to have a team that wants to be just as much a part of the process as I am. I can’t wait for my fans to hear what I’ve been working on!”

Tinashe is signed to Ricky Reed’s indie powerhouse, the Nice Life Recording Company, and is managed by Simonne Solitro of Roc Nation. She joins a Position music publishing roster that also includes Cannons, Jack LaFrantz, ¿Téo? and Austin Powerz, among others

Solitro added, “I’m very excited for our new partnership between Tinashe and Position Music. Their team’s hands-on and artist-tailored approach was the most alluring feature of their company’s ethos. Tinashe has continually been an incredible CEO and collaborative partner in all facets of her business, especially when it comes to her music. I’m truly looking forward to our collaboration with the strong team behind Position Music and being able to find more ways to amplify Tinashe’s music.”

Pictured above (L-R): Mark Chipello (Partner, Head of A&R), Delmar Powell (VP of A&R), Tinashe, Simonne Solitro (Manager at Roc Nation), and Tyler Bacon (President & CEO of Position Music)

+ Radical22, a newly launched music management company currently representing Dua Lipa and launched by her and her manager, Dukagjin (Dugi) Lipa, has signed a global administration deal with Warner Chappell Music.

The one-of-a-kind, bespoke agreement was arranged between Warner Chappell Music CEO Guy Moot and Dugi Lipa of Radical22 Publishing and follows the previously announced news of Dua regaining her publishing rights from TaP Music.

Dua noted, “It’s been a long road, but I am very happy to finally own my publishing thanks in large part to the dedication of my manager, Dugi’s work over the past two years.” She added, “My music is my life’s work, and it’s important for me to be the person who decides what happens with it. The creation of Radical22 marked an exciting time for me personally and professionally, and I am looking forward to the work my team and I will do and to having a home base for my creative endeavors.”

Dugi Lipa, CEO of Radical22 added, “In the realm of management, we don’t settle for the ordinary; we thrive in the extraordinary. Our leadership ethos is rooted in empowerment, where each member of our team is a torchbearer of creativity and collaboration. We don’t just lead, we inspire, cultivating an ecosystem where ideas flow freely, and potential is nurtured ceaselessly.”

In addition to Radical22 Publishing, the recently minted company has added Radical22 Productions under the Radical22 umbrella along with Service95, all of which are fully owned by Dua.

Amongst the first of Radical22’s production projects include the recently announced Disney+ upcoming documentary series “Camden.”

+ Turkish-Italian DJ, producer and multi-instrumentalist Carlita (real name Carla Frayman) has signed with Ninja Tune via imprint label Counter Records. Along with the signing announcement, Carlita has also shared a new single called “Time.”

On joining the label – where she follows a lineage of peers like Odesza, Tsha, LP Giobbi and Maribou State – Carlita says, “Ninja Tune is such an iconic label for me. I grew up listening to Coldcut, Amon Tobin and Bonobo. I love the diversity of sounds, the crossover and futuristic approach and I feel so honoured to be part of such an amazing artist roster”.

Carlita is set to perform at Coachella, CRSSD, EDC and Parklife Festival, along with a run of shows at Circoloco in Ibiza and additional global tour dates.

+ Country artist Timmy McKeever has signed with Droptine Recordings and is set to release his debut single on the label, “Bullet Proof,” on April 5.

“I am beyond excited to be working with Jim Catino and his team at Droptine. The opportunity to work with a Nashville legend like Jim is an irreplaceable opportunity for me. I can’t wait to see what the future will hold,” shared McKeever.

“Timmy possesses such unique talent and boundless potential,” added Jim Catin, founder of Droptine Records. “It’s impressive to see his ability to write, record, and play live at such a young age. I’m particularly excited about the identity of his music and the energy he brings as an artist. I believe the sky’s the limit for Tim and his artistry.”

Tuesday, April 2

Universal Music Publishing Scandinavia has announced an exclusive, global publishing agreement with the new publishing division of Steve Angello’s label Size Music.

Established by the veteran DJ-producer and Swedish House Mafia member in 2003, Size Music made its debut with Angello’s track “Dirty Pleasure” and over the years has released Avicii’s early material and such hits by Angello as “Knas,” “Tivoli,” “Valodja” and his recent single “Me.” In April, he will return to the desert for a solo headlining set at Coachella.

Size recently celebrated its 20th anniversary with a sold-out show in its homebase of Stockholm, with performances by AN21, Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano, Kryder, and Corey James.

Angello said, “Having worked with Jonas Wikström at UMPG Scandinavia for over 20 years, he’s always been a part of my wider music journey. As we focus on building out our SIZE family, collaborating with Universal Music Publishing felt like the natural next step. This partnership is not just about growth; it’s about enriching and expanding the opportunities for our roster at SIZE. It’s a move towards a vibrant and dynamic future, and I’m excited about the possibilities and new directions it will open up for us.”

Wikström, UMPG Scandinavia’s managing director, added, “Few people I’ve met over the years have been so much about music as Steve Angello. Steve is more creative than ever – constantly pushing boundaries, challenging himself and his collaborators. In addition, Steve is and has always been an incredible entrepreneur with extraordinary drive and mentorship. I’m very excited that we, over twenty years into our relationship, are joining forces. I look forward to seeing our respective teams create opportunities for the great music represented by Size.”

(Pictured above, L-R: Rosanna Munter (UMPG), Waldemar Nordström (Size), Anton Ericson (UMPG), Antoine Josefsson (Size), Steve Angello (Size), Jonas Wikström (UMPG), Jessica Brandt (UMPG), Nadja Chatti (UMPG), Josefin Hafen (UMPG))

Monday, April 1

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has upped Michele Ballantyne to President. She will also continue to serve as chief operating officer, running daily operations and managing the 56-employee team. Ballantyne serves on the executive leadership team alongside Chairman and CEO Mitch Glazier.

During her time with the company, Ballantyne has mobilized the RIAA and its companies to support police reform bills by guiding the implementation of social change commitments. Her efforts have fueled corporate engagement in civil rights. She’s also managing the most diverse RIAA Board of Directors in its history.

Ballantyne serves on the Anti-Defamation League’s Washington, D.C. Region Advisory Board in addition to her longstanding work on the advisory board of the Ron Brown Scholars — a program that supports low-income African-American high school seniors through scholarships, mentoring, leadership and service opportunities.

“As a music fan whose also had a front row seat to the Washington policymaking, I’m grateful to spend my days connecting these communities – helping them understand and work with each other,” said Ballantyne. “This expanded role leading RIAA alongside Mitch will allow us to continue fighting for a diverse industry that innovates, creates and thrives. Music has always had the power to shift perspectives and drive culture forward. I look forward to what our label partners and talented artists dream up next – and we will be here to champion it!”

Glazier shared, “Michele and I have had the privilege of guiding RIAA and supporting our member companies through amazing celebrations and challenges in the industry. I am grateful for her remarkable leadership and genuine care for people. Our playlists may not always be in sync, but our determination for a thriving and equitable community for music creators is.”

+ Orville Peck has signed a new deal with Warner Records. The country star has also announced a new collaboration with Willie Nelson, set to be his first release under the label.

Nelson and Peck will duet on a cover of “Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly Fond of Each Other,” a song by Latin country artist Ned Sublette. Both artists have performed the song previously, with Peck having performed his rendition for SiriusXM in 2019.

+ Records — the joint venture co-founded by Barry Weiss and acquired by Sony Music Entertainment — has promoted two executives working for its Nashville labels: David Enriquez, who has been upped to executive VP, and Andrew Saltman, who moves to VP of marketing and digital strategies.

Enriquez, who was previously senior VP at Records, will continue his marketing responsibilities overseeing the entire roster for both labels in New York and Nashville. Enriquez has been with Barry Weiss’ indie label since its inception in 2015, marketing and developing label artists across various genres, including pop artists 24kGoldn and Noah Cyrus.

Saltman’s new position as VP of marketing and digital strategies will have him leading the marketing and digital efforts across both Records and Records Nashville. Saltman joined Records in 2017, most recently serving as senior director of marketing and digital and running the day-to-day marketing and digital operations for the full roster. Saltman helped spearhead the label’s breakout country artist George Birge’s debut single “Mind on You” hitting No. 1 on U.S. country radio. Saltman is also leading the marketing efforts for Birge’s next single “Cowboy Songs,” and its accompanying EP. He is also set to oversee highly anticipated upcoming releases from Lennon Stella and Noah Cyrus.

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