Music Industry Moves: Warner Music Launches Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Institute

Warner Music Group has announced the launch of its Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Institute, following the unveiling of their DEI commitments as part of the company’s first Environmental Social Governance (ESG) report earlier this month.

 WMG’s first global head of DEI, Dr. Maurice A. Stinnett and the global DEI team are working across the company to build local implementation DEI plans, tailored to regional needs and challenges, as well as to foster links to social impact initiatives that benefit marginalized communities, according to the announcement. The institute is the first of its kind in the music industry.

Stinnett said, “Warner Music Group is taking a bold step toward inclusion, equity and lasting change by institutionalizing this hub of training and innovation. I am thrilled to partner with some of the most brilliant minds in our industry and culture to further develop our leaders and offer educational opportunities for everyone at WMG. This isn’t a moment we are responding to; this is a commitment that will be baked into the fabric of our company and industry for generations to come.” 

The Institute will be home to several educational initiatives and will host the Inclusive Leadership Series for executives at the company. Its 2022 programming includes offerings from experts and leaders such as authors Roxane Gay and Dr. Mark Anthony Neal (Duke University) and in partnership with organizations including OutRight Action International, Congressional Hispanic Caucus, National Disability Institute, Global Indigenous Council, and the Global Fund for Women. 

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+ Epic Records has named Justin Duran vice president of marketing, it was announced by EVP Dave Bell. Duran, who is based in Epic Records’ Los Angeles office, was most recently senior marketing director at Def Jam Records, where he garnered a Clio Award in Music Marketing for his work with rapper Logic. He previously held posts at Complex Networks and Vfiles.

Bell said, “Justin has a unique ability to connect with and understand an artist’s DNA to articulate not only where they stand in the marketplace place today but also where they can go tomorrow and beyond. And how to get them there. Justin’s track record across fashion, lifestyle and music speaks for itself and it’s a pleasure to reunite with him for this next step in his career.”

+ The estate of singer Bobby Darin has enlisted Brian Schwartz and Amy Abrams of Denver’s 7S Management for representation, his son Dodd Darin has announced. The company has a diverse roster including Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Dawes, Dinosaur Jr. and Mary Chapin Carpenter as well as the estates of John Denver and Etta James.

Dodd Darin says, “I feel Amy and Brian and 7S are a perfect fit to represent my dad’s legacy going forward. They bring a very unique blend of experience and innovation from their representation of both legacy artists and current-day talent. They understand quite well the workings of the current day music industry and I think this will result in my dad’s music and image finding its way to younger audiences around the world.”

+ Sony Music U.S. Latin has appointed Txema Rosique vice president of A&R, it was announced by company president Alex Gallardo.
Most recently, he served as VP A&R for Warner Music Latina — where he signed artists including Rauw Alejandro, Nio Garcia, and Duki — and previously was artistic director of WEA Spain.

Gallardo said, “Txema is a distinguished A&R executive with a long history and impeccable track record, yet he maintains the same hunger of a young tastemaker executive. To his credit, he has led some of the most important signings in the Latin market. We are confident that his experience and high energy will help our company reach new levels of success.”

+ UJA-Federation of New York’s Music Visionary of the Year Award Luncheon honoring Scott Greenstein, president and chief content officer of SiriusXM, will take place on May 18, 2022, following the postponement due to Covid-19, of the 2020 event naming him Music Visionary of the Year. Past honorees include Doug Davis, Michele Anthony, Rob Stringer, Avery and Monte Lipman, Bob Pittman, Daniel Ek, Tom Corson, and Julie Greenwald, among others.

Funds raised at the luncheon will help UJA get New Yorkers who have experienced hardship and trauma due to the Covid-19 pandemic get back on their feet, and help support UJA’s Music for Youth, which provides music education programs for underprivileged children and children with special needs throughout the New York community.

“We’re thrilled to move forward with honoring Scott in May,” said Daniel Glass, president & founder of Glassnote Records and co-chair of UJA’s Entertainment, Tech & Lifestyle Division. “Scott is especially deserving of this award for demonstrating resilient leadership and guiding the music and entertainment industry through two years of upheaval.”

+ Swiss fintech company Utopia Music has named Ulf Zick chief marketing officer, based in Zug, Switzerland and effective April 1. He will be responsible for the overall strategic vision and direction of Utopia’s marketing, positioning, communications, content strategy, and execution of the brand direction and will report directly to CEO Markku Mäkeläinen.

Zick, who was most recently managing director of international at Universal Music Germany and previously was director of artist relations at Spotify and held posts at Apogee Electronics and Gibson.
“We are very proud to have Ulf join Utopia to spearhead the strategic marketing of our business,” said Mäkeläinen. “The breadth and depth of Ulf’s expertise is rare. Having worked on all sides of the business, and at the intersection of music and technology for many years, Ulf brings a unique perspective of the Music Industry that will be valuable to Utopia as we continue on our mission to secure ‘Fair pay For Every Play.’”

+ SoundExchange announced two additions to its 18-seat board of directors in January. New members Jon Glass of Warner Music Group and Alasdair McMullan of Universal Music Group will lend business development expertise and legal acumen to the nonprofit, according to the announcement.

“Jon Glass and Alasdair McMullan are world-class business and legal affairs experts and proven industry change-makers,” says SoundExchange CEO and president Michael Huppe. “Each will be a key counselor and collaborator as we continue to enhance SoundExchange’s role as a champion for fair pay and a music-tech leader in today’s digitally-driven creator economy.”

Glass, senior vice president and head of digital legal affairs at Warner Music, joined the company in 2010 and previously was with Sony Music Entertainment and held positions at several law firms, including Morrison & Foerster. McMullan is executive vice president of business and legal affairs at Universal Music Group and previously was an EVP at EMI Music North America and an attorney at the law firm of Cowan Liebowitz & Latman in New York.

Jeffrey Harleston of UMG and Paul Robinson of WMG stepped down from the SoundExchange Board of Directors in December after 13 and 19 years with the organization, respectively. “Jeff Harleston and Paul Robinson each made an indelible impact on our organization,” says Huppe. “We’ve achieved so much during their tenure, and I appreciate the support and guidance they provided along the way. Each has been instrumental in helping SoundExchange achieve the position that it now occupies.”

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