Atlantic Records has announced the signing of singer-songwriter Nolan Taylor, who got a shout-out from “Rich Men North of Richmond” singer Oliver Anthony on this week’s episode of Joe Rogan’s controversial podcast. The Ohio native makes his Atlantic Records debut with his new single, “Wicked Ways,” along with a live performance video.
“’Double Life’ is actually about someone I used to play music with,” says Taylor. “He and a married lady were in a bit of a relationship, and she would come around to watch us play. I could tell how much he really loved her but obviously that was a messy situation and it dissolved after a little while, but I thought it was a pretty love song. It’s a fun one for me to play and I absolutely love to sing it. I think my piano version is my favorite one yet.”
More from Variety
Atlantic senior VP of A&R Ian Cripps says, “Nolan Taylor is an incredible songwriter with a powerful voice. His unique ability to tell stories through his music immediately drew us in. We are extremely excited to welcome him to the Atlantic family.”
Jenn Yacoubian and Stacy Vee have been named executive vice presidents of Goldenvoice, the California concert promoter and founder of Coachella, which is a subsidiary of AEG Presents. Vee and Yacoubian will oversee the booking department at Goldenvoice, as well as continue to act as talent buyers for their respective festivals and venues, reporting to Goldenvoice president Paul Tollett.
Vee started with Goldenvoice in 2002 and is currently responsible for producing and booking the Stagecoach and Just Like Heaven festivals, as well as consulting on booking strategy across many of the festivals in AEG Presents’ global portfolio. Yacoubian joined Goldenvoice in 2009 and is currently a national touring talent buyer and the primary talent buyer for the Greek Theatre Los Angeles and Splash House festival. She is also one of the core members of the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival booking team and the producer and booker for the Los Angeles festival Cruel World.
Tollett said, “Stacy and Jenn play a large part in the culture of Goldenvoice. They have built extraordinary careers here and I couldn’t be happier to elevate them both to executive vice president.”
+Atlanta hip-hop duo EarthGang — consisting of Olu and WowGr8 — have partnered with alternative distribution service UnitedMasters, which will leverage its artist services, brand, and sync teams to amplify the group, according to the announcement. “United Masters is the future. Their approach to success and achievement in both art and business is empowering. I’m proud to partner with a company that follows such a sustainable philosophy for working in this industry,” says WowGr8. Olu adds, “It’s another perfect partnership for artists like us. We feed our Fanbase directly, we receive our fair share of profits. The power is back in the hands of the creatives.”
+Range Media Partners has hired Nashville industry vets William Lowery and Shawn McSpadden. Lowery will focus on business development ventures and content opportunities for Range, while McSpadden will be charged with growing the division’s music division, talent roster and shared services department as the newest managing partner. Both will remain based in Nashville.
Lowery brings with him a roster of clients via his venture advisory firm Brigade Media Capital, which has interests in a portfolio of media companies across production, sports, music and consumer products. Last year, Brigade financed three feature films, helped launch a Dolly Parton NFT and brokered her first South by Southwest performance and activation. Prior to forming Brigade, Lowery was a senior executive at Endeavor Content. Most recently, McSpadden was a founding manager at Red Light Management Nashville, where for 17 years he oversaw music publishing, outside business ventures, and managed artists across multiple genres.
+Lauren Daigle will continued her partnership with KultureCity to create and renovate “sensory rooms” at venue stops on her forthcoming “Kaleidoscope” tour, including fifteen new rooms. Specially designed by medical professionals, the renovated or refurbished spaces provide dedicated environments for individuals in need of a quieter and more secure environment from which to enjoy concert and sporting events. Each sensory room will be outfitted with bean bags from Yogibo, visual light panels by Nanoleaf, activity panels, Sparkle Interactive Light by NunoErin, bubble walls, and a custom tactile artwork created by an autistic artist. In addition, sensory bags will be available at all tour stops for those who might need them.
“The amazing thing about playing live is that feeling I get when I’m looking out from the stage seeing people connect to the music – and to each other,” Daigle says. “These sensory rooms we’re creating with KultureCity, are all about giving everyone that experience. For me, that’s what touring is all about.” The tour kicks off on September 6 in Memphis.
+Universal Music Group Nashville has promoted Vipin Reddy to VP of streaming. Reddy, who has been part of the label group’s streaming team since 2018, now leads the department and oversees all streaming-service relationships as well as audio and video streaming strategy for all UMGN artists globally.
“From the day he joined the company, Vipin has been an integral part of the streaming team,” says UMGN EVP & COO Mike Harris. “His deep knowledge of the streaming business has been vital to UMG Nashville’s success. We are excited for Vipin step into this leadership role and look forward to the team’s continued success.”
+On the other side of the globe, UMG also announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire UAE-based music company, Chabaka, part of the CHBK Group. Chabaka provides digital distribution, marketing, publishing, and label and artist services in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
Founded in 2013 by brothers Ala’a and Tarek Makki, Chabaka, boasts a regional catalogue of songs and recordings. With offices across the entire MENA region, Chabaka has signed agreements with more than 150 independent artists and local labels across the area.
Following the acquisition, Chabaka will become part of UMG’s Virgin Music Group, working closely with the local Virgin and UMG teams in MENA. Key members of the Chabaka team, including CEO Ala’a Makki will remain in their positions; Tarek Makki will remain as an advisor while also continuing to lead the other companies within CHBK group.
“As we continue to expand our footprint in emerging territories all over the world, Chabaka represents an important creative hub in one of the world’s most promising music markets,” said JT Myers, Co-CEO of Virgin Music Group. “Ala’a Makki and his team bring a level of expertise and knowledge that will enable them to create opportunities for our artists and labels in the expanding MENA region, and in turn, we will be able to grow the global audience for Chabaka’s amazing roster of artists and labels.”
Tuesday, Aug. 29
Warner Chappell Music (WCM) has signed a worldwide administration deal with “Area Codes” rapper Kaliii, an Atlantic Records signee.
Since its release, Kaliii’s viral “Area Codes” has collected over 130 million streams and recently hit No. 1 on Mediabase’s Rhythmic Airplay chart, also scoring a No. 5 peak on Billboard’s Hot Rap Songs and hitting No. 10 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. That success has also led Kaliii to nab a nomination for best new artist at the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards.
Kaliii’s most recent release is the Jersey club-inspired “K Toven,” which reinterprets Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Für Elise.” She was also featured on “Barbie Dreams,” by Fifty Fifty, as part of “Barbie: The Album.” Since dropping her debut album in 2021, Kaliii’s catalog has amassed over 350 million streams across platforms, and she currently has over 12 million monthly listeners on Spotify alone.
Chanté Knox, Kaliii’s manager commented: “Warner Chappell is a proven leader in the industry, and we’re excited to partner with a company that aligns with Kaliii’s vision and goals. We can’t wait to see what the future holds.”
“There’s a new generation of talented lyricists making waves in the industry right now, and Kaliii is a clear standout above the rest,” added Ryan Press, president of North American operations for WCM. “She’s an incredibly talented songwriter who knows what she wants in her career, and the whole Warner Chappell team is grateful to be joining her on this journey.”
Xavier Champagne, senior director of urban A&R for WCM, said: “It’s amazing to see the ascension of Kaliii. Her creativity transcends music, serving as a vehicle of self-expression for both herself and her fans. We’re beyond excited to welcome her to the Warner Chappell family.”
Pictured above (L-R): Xavier Champagne (WCM), Kaliii, Chanté Knox (Kaliii’s Manager), Ryan Press (WCM), John Rose (Kaliii’s Lawyer)
+ gamma. has announced an expansion into Africa and the Middle East with the addition of two to the region’s executive team: Nigerian songwriter and recording artist Larry Gaaga joins as VP/general manager of Africa, as Arab artist and DJ, Dany Neville takes the role of VP of A&R for the Middle East. Gaaga will be based in Lagos and Neville in Dubai.
“gamma.’s mission is to both nurture talent local to Africa and the Middle East into global superstars, as well as to open the continent for Western artists to reach new fans and opportunities,” said Sipho Dlamini, president of Africa and Middle East for gamma. “Both Larry and Dany have the historical background and cultural fluency critical to establishing the relationships and resources necessary for us to succeed.”
Gaaga was previously VP of Def Jam Africa, where he led the label’s A&R division. In his new role, Gaaga will oversee gamma.’s operations across the entire African continent, providing strategic direction, driving revenue growth, and expanding market reach across the region. He will additionally spearhead initiatives to develop local talent.
Neville enters his new post after having launched the first urban radio show in the Middle East during 2000. He’s since collaborated with iconic artists like Snoop Dogg, T Pain, Kymani Marley, Kid Ink and DJ Snake among others.
“Larry and Dany’s extensive experience, deep understanding of the local music landscapes, and relentless passion for nurturing talent are welcome additions to the gamma. family,” said gamma. Co-founder and CEO Larry Jackson. “Together, they will strengthen our market presence and drive significant growth across Africa and the Middle East.”
+ Luciana Pegorer and Arturo Soler have joined Revelator to drive growth in the indie Latin American music industry.
Following its recent office opening in Japan, Revealtor now expand into Latin America with Pegorer, who previously held responsibility at Warner Music Brazil and was a Merlin board member. Soler joins the team with experience in strategic insights and regional expertise. They will each provide both client support and business development in their respective regions. Pegorer is located in Brazil and will be leading Revelator’s local Brazilian office while Arturo will lead the company’s LATAM office out of Mexico.
“Revelator has always operated globally but we saw that to serve the fast-changing Latin American market, we needed highly qualified, creative professionals with deep relationships, who were natives to the local market,” notes Revelator founder and CEO Bruno Guez. “We found them in Luciana and Arturo, and we’re eager to provide our groundbreaking music asset management, business insights, and royalty administration for independent music companies across the region.”
Monday, Aug. 28
Phish has raised over $3.5 million dollars for flood recovery efforts in Vermont and Upstate New York during their pair of benefit concerts at the Broadview Stage at SPAC in Saratoga Springs on Aug. 25 and 26.
Both shows featured special pre-show acoustic sets with Phish’s Page McConnell and Trey Anastasio, while the Aug. 26 show saw Phish joined on stage by guitarist Derek Trucks.
“We are so grateful to everyone who donated their time and resources to make these benefits possible, and those that attended the shows or watched online,” said McConnell. “The joy in the room at these concerts was undeniable. But for the people affected by the flooding, it is an ongoing struggle. That’s why we are continuing to accept donations, raise awareness and distribute the funds.”
The concerts were webcast for free at LivePhish.com and on Phish’s YouTube channel, where fans were encouraged to donate directly to the WaterWheel Foundation’s 2023 Flood Recovery Fund. The money raised from both events is derived from 100% of the net proceeds from all ticket revenues and merchandise sales, as well as individual donations. The funds will be used to help communities throughout Vermont and Upstate New York that have been affected by historic levels of rain and major flooding.
The website to donate to WaterWheel is still live here, and an array of Benefit merchandise is available now at the Phish Dry Goods store.
+ Sean “Diddy” Combs donated $1 million to Jackson State Football during the team’s Cricket MEAC-SWAC Challenge Kickoff in Atlanta on Aug. 26. This is the second huge investment the entrepreneur and music mogul has made in the last week, following the $1 million check he assigned to Earn Your Leisure, a media platform that helps propel “emerging and established content creators from the world of business, finance, and entrepreneurship whose perspective, expertise and in-depth insight has been undervalued and overlooked,” according to their website.
Combs pledged $1 million from the Sean Combs Foundation to JSU Football during his Lifetime Achievement Award acceptance speech at the 2022 BET Awards, with details finalized over the past year. Combs will continue to invest in JSU football in installments over the next several years.
“As someone who went to Howard University and understands the invaluable experience of attending historically Black colleges and universities, it’s important that we all do our part to protect and preserve their legacy,” said Combs. “This contribution to Jackson State isn’t just about making a financial donation, it’s about giving back to a part of our culture that has changed countless lives and assuring HBCU’s receive the support they deserve.”
“Although this donation does not directly impact other schools, this pledge uplifts the entire HBCU community by bringing awareness to the ongoing commitment to professional development, career advancement, and increased support for HBCU athletics and institutions,” the press release reads.
+ Music ticketing platform Dice has raised $65 million in funding led by “Music,” an investment company focused exclusively on music and music-adjacent businesses.
The funding will help accelerate Dice’s launch in new cities, as it continues its expansion across the U.S. and globally. New partnerships will be announced in the coming weeks though Dice has already unveiled plans to implement their ticketing technology in Austin, with more details to follow. This investment also follows landmark deals in Europe.
Phil Hutcheon, CEO and founder of Dice, said: “The live music industry is adopting Dice faster than ever and proves our thesis that if you treat fans well, they buy more tickets, and go out more often. We’re investing heavily in building even more technology and this year alone we released over 60 new features for fans, venues and artists. I’m excited that Matt [Pincus, CEO of “Music”] has joined the Board [of Directors] and we’re more focused than ever on our mission to get fans out more.”
Other investors include Structural Capital and Ahdritz Holding LLC, the investment vehicle for Willard Ahdritz, founder and chairman of Kobalt Music; with investments from Exor Ventures and Mirabaud Lifestyle Fund.
This new funding will also support Dice’s ongoing product investments aimed at creating the best possible experience for fans and removing barriers preventing people from going out more. Dice simultaneously announced the appointment of Ali Byrd as its new chief financial officer. Ali joins Dice with more than a decade’s experience with start-up companies, most recently at Olive, a disruptive AI healthcare technology company based in the U.S. He also previously held senior positions at Microsoft, CoverWallet and Limewire.
+ BMG has announced its long-time senior business and legal affairs executive Anthony (Tony) Abner has been appointed to global general counsel, and executive VP of business and legal affairs.
Serving as the most senior attorney counseling BMG senior management and managing BMG’s global legal teams, Abner will report directly to BMG CEO Thomas Coesfeld. Abner will work out of BMG’s Los Angeles offices, and his appointment comes one year after his relocation to BMG’s head office in Berlin to coordinate BMG’s global legal matters.
Abner joined BMG in 2018 as the VP of business and legal affairs, responsible for the BMG recorded legal team in North America. In 2020 he was promoted to senior VP of business and legal affairs. Prior to joining BMG, Abner held senior executive posts at PMP Records (which functioned as Def Jam’s first West Coast office bringing Warren G, Domino, and Montel Jordan into Def Jam) and Loud Records (home to Wu-Tang Clan, Mobb Deep, 36Mafia, Big Pun, and Funkmaster Flex) as well senior attorney positions at music law firms Lenard & Gonzalez and Davis Shapiro Lewit Montone & Hayes.
+ Naïka has signed a global publishing deal with Sony Music Publishing on the heels of her recently announced “Transitions” U.S. tour, which comes in celebration of her eponymously-titled 2022 EP.
With the deal, Naïka will expand her partnership with Haitian DJ and record producer, Michael Brun, who will help further advance her creative development through writing and studio collaborations. The two artists have previously collaborated on Naïka’s “M&M’s for Breakfast,” as well as the singer’s hit single “African Sun (Michael Brun Remix).”
“I am so excited and grateful to be joining the SMP family, especially under the guidance and mentorship of Michael,” says Naïka. “He has become like a big brother to me, and one of the first artists to ever believe in me even before I had any real music out. This feels like a new chapter in my life, and I am excited for what is to come. Our goals are very much aligned, we work to show the world the greatness of Haiti, while bringing communities together, bridging cultures and promoting global unification through music.”
Added Nick Bral, VP of creative for SMP: “We are excited to welcome Naïka into the SMP family and expand our business with Michael. The future is very bright for both of them and we couldn’t be happier to be going on this journey with them.”
Best of Variety