Executive Turntable: Royalty Network Names Black Empowerment Advisory Council, Grand Hustle Founder Launches Music Incubator
A rundown of new hires and promotions across the music business, including at The Royalty Exchange, Heavy Sounds Labs and Position Music.
Indie publisher The Royalty Network has launched Black Empowerment Thru Music, a new program designed to connect emerging black musicians, producers, songwriters and entrepreneurs with music industry leaders.
As part of the initiative, the company is now inviting professional and established musicians, artists, attorneys, songwriters and others to get involved in the effort in a multitude of ways – whether by providing free studio time, financially supporting designated organizations, donating instruments to schools, matching grants or mentoring, among other activities.
A number of established industry players have signed up to serve on the Black Empowerment Thru Music advisory council, including artists stic & M-1 of hip-hop duo dead prez, producer Darien Bankhead, entrepreneur and executive Laze Elliott, entertainment attorney Kendall Minter and Harmony Program founder and executive director Anne Fitzgibbon.
In unveiling the initiative, The Royalty Network has also made a number of pledges. They include: supporting organizations that provide black students with cost-free music education; donating musical instruments to schools and music programs in underprivileged communities; providing webinars and one-on-one mentorship to aspiring music professionals; offering free access to The Royalty Exchange’s Burbank recording studio for black student artists each month; designating a quarterly period where the company will offer a dollar-to-dollar match on the overall contributions of its clients and donate it to a designated program in need; prioritize black students for paid internships; and actively recruiting qualified black candidates for full-time positions at the company. It will also continue its support of programs including After School Rocks, Harmony Program and others via donations, scholarships and the volunteering of time.
Groups designated to benefit from The Royalty Network initiative include Black Lives Matter, the Mass Defense Fund of the National Lawyers Guild and the NAACP Empowerment Program.
More information on the program, including volunteer opportunities, can be found here.
Heavy Sound Labs, a new music incubator for emerging artists, has officially launched with Grand Hustle Records co-founder Jason Geter as founder and CEO.
The company – which is part of Los Angeles-based venture fund Science Inc. – will put the weight of its resources behind artists at the developmental stage to increase their traction with audiences and get them signed to a major label within 24 months. The application process is open, meaning any artist will have the opportunity to apply.
Based in Atlanta, Heavy Sound notes it is already working with a number of artists, including AllStarrDaGreat, 47 Gino and Ralph Weah.
The venture will also provide a community for music fans and creatives called the Heavy Crew, designed to empower individuals with interest in music careers by offering opportunities to scout, develop and amplify talent. The platform will provide access to leading music and entertainment executives to facilitate this, and dole out “points” to Heavy Crew members who promote artists that can then be redeemed for free merchandise and other products. Heavy Sound will also provide a Slack channel and “industry chats” to facilitate networking opportunities for the Heavy Crew community.
Geter has ample experience building artists. At Grand Hustle, the entrepreneur signed both T.I. and Travis Scott, both of whom went on to carve out major careers.
“With Heavy Sound Labs, I want to get rid of the gatekeeping model in music so that anyone with passion, talent and a dedicated work ethic can enter the industry and thrive,” said Geter in a statement. “Through our open artist application process and Heavy Crew community and network, we’re building a social utility that lets anyone break into the industry, get and give mentorship and succeed in music and entertainment.”
Industrial Media has promoted Elissa Felman to vp of music.
Felman works across Industrial Media’s music productions, including on shows like American Idol, which is produced by Industrial Media subsidiary 19 Entertainment. Among other things, she was instrumental in transitioning the music competition series to a quarantine-based production model during the pandemic.
Felman also runs 19 Recordings, where she works to find the right label partner for each artist on a roster that includes recent Billboard Country Streaming chart-topper Gabby Barrett, Lauren Alaina, Laci Kaye Booth, Scarypoolparty, Dillon James and recent American Idol winners Laine Hardy and Samantha Diaz.
Felman, who previously served as director of music at Industrial, worked in artist management earlier in her career, serving clients including Starley, Ryan Riback, Julia Michaels, Becky G and LP, as well as songwriters and producers such as MoZella, Jason Evigan and Lindy Robbins.
Frank Handy has been appointed vp and head of administration at Los Angeles-based label, publisher and management company Position Music. He will report to Position president and CEO Tyler Bacon.
In the role, Handy will oversee copyright, royalties, licensing and A&R administration teams, find new revenue streams and nurture the company’s overseas interests. He hails from SONGS Music Publishing, where he served as vp of licensing and copyright. Prior to that, he worked as head of creator & publisher relations at AllTrack Performing Rights and senior copyright administrator at Bug Music. He previously served as a national board member for the association of independent publishers.
“I am thrilled to have Frank join our executive team and oversee the administration department,” said Bacon in a statement. “His tremendous experience and true love of music is a perfect fit with how we are evolving as a company. Position Music has always been known to have a strong synch presence, but as we continue to expand, we are focusing on making the administration department not just a support team, but also an income-generating department.”
Julia Trainor has been promoted to head of sync A&R at the music and sound effects licensing company ALIBI Music. Trainor, who joined the company last year, will retain her duties as music supervisor in the new role.
Since joining ALIBI a year ago, Trainor has brought on and synced unsigned hip-hop artist L. Rucus, as well as DJ Spryte and DJ Saber. She also worked on the company’s Intense Rises SFX album.
“Being a passive music library is not a successful option in this competitive marketplace; you have to actively make every song and piece of music matter,” said Trainor in a release. “ALIBI wanted to expand this effort by having my role establish a more dynamic production flow that will ultimately impact our success. I’m proud to be a part of this team and look forward to giving ALIBI a definitive edge in the marketplace by working closely with our artists to maximize their creativity as it relates to sync usability.”
Ingrooves has promoted Gabriella Ianni to the newly-created position of vp, commercial strategy. In her new role, Ianni will oversee the teams that interface with streaming services including Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon and TIDAL.
Based out of Ingrooves’ New York City office, Ianni most recently served as account director, a role that had her overseeing the company’s relationships with streamers and radio companies. She joined Ingrooves in 2015 from Megaforce Records, where she served as head of promotion. Prior to that, she held programming positions at Music Choice and Entercom Boston and worked as an on-air personality at the Monterey, CA radio station KMBY-FM.