Executive Turntable: Driift Hires New COO

Since launch, Driift has been behind ticketed online shows for artists such as Nick Cave, Niall Horan, Andrea Bocelli, Laura Marling, Dermot Kennedy, Kylie Minogue, Courtney Barnett and Biffy Clyro.

“Since formally launching Driift in August 2020, Claire has played an absolutely pivotal role in our successes – combining creative zeal, commercial acumen and an innate understanding of the digital landscape,” said Salmon in a statement. “She’s an absolute linchpin of our team, and we’re over the moon to appoint her formally as COO as we enter what’s going to be another hugely exciting year filled with incredible shows.”

“It’s really inspiring to be at the heart of creating a critical new format in the industry,” added Mas. “My background in digital means I love creating new opportunities in an ever-changing environment, and it’s been really enjoyable exploring the unknown. We believe passionately that this is a unique format of the future, capable of tapping into the global dynamics of streaming while delivering all the value and excitement associated with live performance.”


Dan Posner has been promoted to head of streaming at Atlantic Records, taking over the role from Jack McMorrow, who has moved into the newly-created role of executive vp of special projects at the label.

Posner has been with Atlantic for 15 years, first in radio promotion and later streaming. He will work closely with vps of sales and streaming Angelique Jones and Matt Engelman.

In his new role, McMorrow, a 35-year veteran of the label, will work alongside Atlantic chairman and COO Julie Greenwald and general manager Paul Sinclair to “be tackling a number of areas that need to be addressed” at the company while helping make it “more efficient and effective,” according to an email Greenwald sent to staff. McMorrow previously ran Atlantic’s urban sales department.

Both Posner and McMorrow report directly to Sinclair.


Lyrics and music knowledge website Genius has hired Miki Toliver King as its new president, beginning in the second quarter of 2021. She replaces Genius co-founder Ilan Zechory in the role.

King will be responsible for driving the company’s revenue, content and audience operations and overseeing its B2B/B2C marketing functions, working closely with Genius co-founder and CEO Tom Lehman.

Zechory will remain on the Genius board of directors and continue being involved in the company’s strategic plans.

King joins Genius from the Washington Post, where she currently serves as chief marketing officer. Since joining the publisher in early 2016, she has helped drive the newspaper’s massive digital subscription growth.

Prior to that, King was executive vp, operations at Politico, where she launched the outlet’s first paid subscription product, Politico Pro, and created its sales training and talent acquisition teams. She started her career leading business development and marketing teams at The Advisory Board Company in Washington, D.C. before going on to serve as director of business development at the law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips.

King additionally serves on the board of the International Women in Media Foundation and the corporate advisory board of the nonprofit organization So Others Might Eat.


Veteran music and entertainment attorneys Uwonda Carter Scott and Donald M. Woodard have jointly formed the entertainment law firm Carter + Woodard out of Atlanta.

Both Carter and Woodard bring more than 20 years of experience in the business and entertainment law space to the new firm. Attorney John E. Seay, also based in Atlanta, joins at launch as partner.

“Carter + Woodard provides an option of an African American-owned full service entertainment law firm, at a time when a nationwide call for social justice reform and increased corporate social responsibility continue to impact the industry,” reads a press release. “Leaders across the country are calling for support of Black-owned businesses and professionals, to offer more diverse options for representation. Naturally, since the firm is based in Atlanta, Georgia, widely considered the center of African American culture, Carter + Woodard will play an integral role in that conversation.”

Clients at launch include Metro Boomin, Lil Yachty and Summer Walker.


Steve Kline, COO of indie record label Better Noise Music, is expanding his role to include leadership duties at the label’s parent company, Better Noise Entertainment.

Retaining his COO title, Kline will lead global streaming, radio and digital marketing teams across offices while also helping oversee the larger company’s music, film, podcasts and other entertainment content initiatives. He will continue to report to Better Noise founder and CEO, Allen Kovac.

“As DSP’s and social platforms operate globally, so does Better Noise,” said Kline in a statement. “Music is universal and shouldn’t be localized or regionalized. I am thrilled to assume this expanded role and to lead our artist development initiatives within global streaming, digital and radio to new heights of success.”

“As we continue our global expansion, there is no one better to oversee all of our radio and streaming teams in North America, UK, Europe and ANZA,” added Better Noise Music president Dan Waite, whose hire was announced two weeks ago.

Prior to joining Better Noise, Kline held senior promotions positions at major labels including Geffen, RCA and Columbia.

Billboard recently named Better Noise Music the top mainstream rock label of the year for 2020.


Sony Music Publishing has promoted Maree Hamblion to senior vp, international A&R. She was previously joint head of A&R.

Based out of the company’s Australia office, Hamblion will lead efforts to sign and develop songwriters worldwide.

During her tenure at the company, Hamblion has signed Australian and New Zealand songwriters including Alex Hope, Sarah Aarons, Jarryd James, Stan Walker and Alex Wildwood.

Hamblion will report to managing director, Scandinavia and senior vp A&R, Europe Johnny Tennander and managing director, Australia Damian Trotter.

During over two decades at EMI Music Publishing’s Sydney office, which she joined in 1995, Hamblion signed and worked with songwriters and artists including Divinyls, Jimmy Barnes, Joel Little, Lindsay Rimes and Ladyhawke.

After EMI merged with Sony/ATV (now Sony Music Publishing) in 2012, Hamblion joined the latter company as a senior A&R manager. She was promoted to joint head of A&R in 2015.


Warner Chappell has promoted Micki Stern to senior vp, clearance and sync licensing.

In her new role, Stern will seek out new opportunities for Warner Chappell’s songwriters to help drive the company’s licensing strategy. She will continue reporting to executive vp and global synchronization leader Rich Robinson and work closely with senior vp of licensing Pat Woods.

Stern joined Warner Chappell in 2019 as vp of clearance and sync licensing after running her own music clearance company, Micki Stern Music Services, for over a decade. In the latter role, she worked with music supervisors, studios and independent companies to clear tracks for over 1,000 TV episodes and 50 movies, including Insecure, Pretty Little Liars, Vampire Diaries, This Is Us and 13 Reasons Why.

Before that, Stern worked in roles at Universal Music, Soundtrack Music Associates and PolyGram Music Publishing. She won Best Music Supervision – Documentary at the 2016 Guild of Music Supervisors Awards.


Byron Wright is returning to BMI as executive director, creative, Atlanta in the R&B/hip-hop department, effective immediately. Wright previously spent a decade at the company.

In the role, Wright will identify, sign and develop new talent while maintaining relationships with existing affiliates, publishers and administrators. He will be based out of Atlanta and report to vp of creative, Atlanta, Catherine Brewton.

Wright most recently served as senior director of A&R at Epic Records, where he oversaw the development of artists including Kodie Shane and ADÉ. Before that, he was director of A&R at Warner Chappell, where he signed DJ Durel, rapper Shy Glizzy and songwriter/producer K-Major.

In his previous tenure at BMI, which he first joined in 2006 as associate director, Wright was instrumental in producing some of the company’s signature events, including its “How I Wrote That Song” panels, the BMI R&B/Hip-Hop Awards and the Beat Summit Showcases. His notable signings included Future, Metro Boomin, Young Thug, Lil Yachty and Sonny Digital. In 2011, he was named to Billboard’s 30 Under 30 list of music executives.


Entertainment attorney Kim Youngberg has joined The Davis Firm as partner, marking a reunion with founder Doug Davis, who she worked for as the first associate at Davis Shapiro.

After leaving Davis Shapiro, Youngberg joined indie record label Windup Entertainment as senior vp business and legal affairs. She later became general counsel for cinema advertising company Screenvision Media.

In addition to her new position at The Davis Group, Youngberg has also joined full-service music production company DJDTP as chief legal officer, where she will oversee the company’s rights management.


Veteran music managers Graham Martin, Diony Sepulveda and Kimberly Schon have launched the new firm Grandview Music. Martin will serve as CEO, Sepulveda will serve as president and Schon will serve as executive vp.

At launch, Grandview’s roster includes Rise Against, The Story So Far, Pepper, Quicksand, Bad Child, Militarie Gun, Asking Alexandria, Motionless In White, Lowlives and The Messenger Birds.

The core focus of the firm will be artist management, with additional services opening up in the future.

Martin started his career at Rolling Stone before jumping to Interscope Geffen A&M Records, where he worked alongside the A&R department. He pivoted to management in 2004 when he was hired at David “Beno” Benveniste’s Velvet Hammer Music Management, where he worked with Deftones, Alice In Chains and Pepper while overseeing the touring and merch business for the company’s roster. In 2014, he and his clients moved to Pat Magnarella Management. That company later re-launched as the full-service partnership GRNDVW, which serves as the building block for the new venture.

Sepulveda’s music business trajectory began with his work at the Vans Warped Tour. He later transitioned into management for punk band Pennywise. In 2007, he worked alongside Larry Jacobson at World Audience, handling day-to-day business for Avenged Sevenfold. After teaming with Cory Brennan at 5B Artist Management, he ran Slipknot’s touring business and signed the acts Asking Alexandria, As I Lay Dying and Hollywood Undead. In 2016, he ran an arena tour for Avenged Sevenfold while simultaneously managing Asking Alexandria.

Schon dipped her toe in the music business via college internships at Virgin Records and Sony BMG, which led to her work managing The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. She joined 5B Artist Management in 2010 and quickly began managing day-to-day business for Slipknot and Stone Sour while signing acts including Motionless In White and The Messenger Birds. She was also a key force in launching the hard rock and heavy metal festival Knotfest. In 2019, she launched an independent management company, where she added Lowlives to her roster.


Tom Foley has been promoted to senior vp, worldwide portfolio management and analysis at Sony Music Publishing out of the company’s Nashville office. He was previously vp, North American Royalty Administration in Nashville.

Foley will be tasked with providing analysis on the performance of the company’s investments and working with regional and local management teams to maximize returns. He reports to Sony Music Publishing Global Chief Financial Officer Tom Kelly.

In his previous role, Foley and his team implemented new technologies including Real-Time Foreign accounting and Cash Out. He joined Sony from EMI Music Publishing, where he was hired in 1998, as vp of financial planning and analysis in 2013 following Sony’s acquisition of the company.


Nashville-based music company and publisher Creative Nation has hired Emily Furman as senior director, creative.

Furman joins the company from Carnival Music, where she spent more than 11 years in publishing and artist development. In her new role, she will help lead the publishing team, sign new talent and develop the existing roster.


Nashville-based publicity firm 2911 Media has promoted Scott Sexton to director of publicity and Logan DeLoye to publicity manager. They were previously publicity manager and media coordinator, respectively.

Scott started his career as a freelance country music journalist writing for outlets including CountryMusicReport.com and CountryStarsCentral.com. For seven years, he worked with Grand Ole Opry star Jack Greene. In June 2013, he created “Country for a Cause,” which raises money for the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt every year.

Logan graduated from Middle Tennessee State University in December 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and communications. She has written artist biographies, freelance articles and press releases for musicians and venues, handled social accounts for Nashville media outlets and filmed, edited and starred in broadcast news stories in Tennessee.

Source: News | Billboard

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