Best known as once the label home of Joss Stone, KT Tunstall, Jay Sean and Cage The Elephant, it was announced today that UK label Relentless Records has Read more…
All posts tagged Nick Gatfield
A number of high-level executive moves at the changing Sony Music structure have shaken out this week, the first on the job for new CEO Doug Morris. We tipped the hotly pursued deal with hit producer/songwriter Dr. Luke for an expanded label mimicking Interscope last week, while this week began with the official naming of Antonio L.A. Reid as CEO and chairman of Epic Records, news that was widely reported in the previous weeks. Assigning of current acts on the Sony roster to Reid’s new domain has already begun, along with new signings underway – it’s also expected that contestants from the X-Factor series will be developed by Epic – Reid is serving as a judge on the American version of the show. On the international front, which is said to be a major focus for Morris, came the revelation yesterday that Nick Gatfield will be taking over Sony’s U.K. operations, replacing outgoing CEO Ged Doherty. Gatfield previously served as head of Universal‘s Island Records U.K. from 2001 to 2008 and held an international A&R executive title at EMI until leaving last year. The move to replace Doherty is being deemed as sudden by some, however it seems more likely that Morris was pulling strings well before officially taking his new title. After departing EMI in 2010 toward the end of the troublesome Guy Hands era, Gatfield was believed to likely end up back in the Universal Music fold, under the incoming CEO Lucian Grainge, whom he worked closely with at Island, however it never came to pass. He was also said to have been in talks with Sony late last summer, but a deal was never reached. Then back in February of this year, Gatfield was hired on at Sony U.K. with the somewhat vague title of President/New Music, reporting to Doherty, who he has now replaced. Richard Sanders, the head of Sony Music Interational based in New York, is also out… According to reports, one of the main functions for Gatfield in his new role, will be to maintain relationships with Simon Cowell and his operations under Syco, which Sony owns a 50% stake in… An abutting storyline to the current UMG and Sony rivalry that has some observers intrigued, is the lawsuit filed this week involving a dispute between American Idol‘s Simon Fuller and Simon Cowell over the new U.S. X-Factor series – the shows are aligned with Universal Music and Sony Music respectively… And the latest rumor according to a story in Page Six this morning, is that departed Universal Motown prexy Sylvia Rhone will be relaunching the Portrait Records label at Sony. According to the report, the label will work closely with L.A. Reid’s Epic, and Cyndi Lauper, who was on Portrait in the 80′s, will be the first artist signed to the revived imprint… Stay tuned.
1. All eyes are on Guy Hands’ upcoming courtroom face off with Citigroup; will the two sides reach an 11th-hour agreement, possibly with the US Bank getting a stake in EMI in exchange for writing down debts?
2. Does executive shuffling by Roger Faxon inside EMI’s recording and publishing divisions signal a return to longtime speculation of a whole or partial break up of the company’s more valuable assets?
3. Where will recently departed Nick Gatfield land? Word on the street is that after talks with Sony Music dried up, the likely play at Universal Music Group is also out of the picture because of a strained relationship with new UMG boss Lucian Grainge.
4. Will more artists being leaving EMI? Rumors of more big name artists with little time remaining on deals eyeing the door are circling.
5. What will Rob Stevenson‘s role be in the newly dubbed Capitol & Virgin Label Group? After exiting his senior A&R post at Island Def Jam, Stevenson was brought in by the now unseated Gatfield in 2008 to take the Presidency at Virgin Records.
News from Warner Bros. Records made industry waves yesterday as it was announced that Tom Whalley is exiting his post as Chairman and current Chief Creative Officer Rob Cavallo will be taking the reins, while Todd Moscowitz and Liva Tortella, will assume the roles of Co-President/CEO and Co-President/COO, respectively. A long time coming in the eyes of many industry insiders, it leaves to question the future of the current A&R staff at the bunny. Will the label’s headquarters be now based in New York, considering that’s the current home base for Moscowitz and Tortella? And it falls in line with Lyor Cohen’s M.O. to keep company headquarters under one roof in the same city. What then becomes of the fabled WB offices (aka the ski lodge) in Burbank, which has been considered a buzz-kill environment compared to the heyday of the Mo and Lenny years. We can probably expect more staff consolidation within the Warner labels so that the music group can share back-office functions, which seems to make sense to do so.
Meanwhile more questions surround the recent decree from new EMI Group head Roger Faxon that included exits by Ronn Werre, Nick Gatfield and Billy Mann. Lots of industry chatter with the exit of Werre due to the handsome salary compensation he was receiving. Insiders share that when Terra Firma’s Guy Hands took over the music group, he handed (no pun) Werre a substantial 7-figure per year salary in order for him to stay at EMI when Sony Music was courting him vigorously with a deal that was reportedly completed. Will Faxon tap any of his key publishing executives to oversee A&R functions on the record side? And with Gatfield’s departure, what will current Virgin Records Prexy Rob Stevenson’s role be at the music group? We heard that Gatfield has been meeting with other labels, including Sony Music, but insiders share that Sony is no longer a play. Does that leave the obvious move for Gatfield to rejoin former boss Lucian Grainge at Universal? Moreover, the significant changes announced at two of the four major music groups within the last few weeks now leaves eyes turned toward Universal Music Group and Sony, where similar executive changeovers are expected to happen. Stay tuned…
With today’s announcement from Vivendi on the appointment of Lucian Grainge as Chief Executive Officer of Universal Music Group, expect the rumor mill to pump up the volume on what changes we can expect to happen within the UMG labels in the coming months. But before we delve into conjecture on the UMG side, it’s significant to point out the number of British executives running US major labels. Outside of Warner Music Group, the remaining three major label groups are run by Brits. The UK presence is quite prominent at the Rob Stringer-run Sony Music, particularly with the addition of Amanda Ghost at Epic, the recent addition of Ashley Newton at the Steve Barnett-helmed Columbia Records. And the Terra Firma-owned EMI Music Group maintains its US operations under Nick Gatfield, who served under Grainge during his stint as President of Island Records UK prior to his EMI post. Aside from Ghost, the aforementioned execs have solid working experience in US music companies. Barnett has been in the Sony US system for years, Newton’s previous post at RCA and his tenure co-running Virgin Records US makes him a very well-respected US exec, while Gatfield ran Polydor Records in the states during the ‘90s.
Back to UMG, Grainge will assume his new post on Jan. 1, 2011, succeeding current UMG CEO Doug Morris. Rumors of Grainge assuming Morris’ position have been swirling for months. Grainge is scheduled to relocate to NY in July as part of the transition. Industry insiders share that Universal Republic head Monte Lipman and brother Avery will have an expanded role at the music group, as well as Mercury Records head David Massey. It leaves to question the future roles of Island Def Jam ruler LA Reid and Universal Motown head Sylvia Rhone, who was a longtime Doug Morris protégé. And it’s fair to expect no major changes to happen at Jimmy Iovine’s Interscope label. Stay tuned…