The decade closed with the music business experiencing its biggest resurgence in years due to streaming becoming the dominant driving force behind consumer consumption. Independents and emerging talent have utilized revolutionary marketing tools and social media to build cultic fanbases and followings. These digital assets triggered more informed decisions by not only artists, but executives, labels, booking agents, managers, etc.
Throughout the year, we will select a group of executives that are primed for maximum impact. Their fingerprints can be found on the biggest artists, brands, and events currently in the marketplace. These individuals have exhibited their passion for art and creativity, business and culture while steering the companies and careers they manage and oversee towards the future.
1CAM MOLINA, HEAD OF MUSIC AND ARTIST RELATIONS (TRILLER VIDS)
Having 25 million+ subscribers and growing, Triller has raised more than $30 million in funding to expand its platform. Cam is driving their music and artist relations programs. They are currently partnering with artists including The Weeknd, Snoop Dogg and Kendrick Lamar.
2CAROLINE “BAROLINE” DIAZ, SENIOR DIRECTOR, A&R (INTERSCOPE RECORDS)
Formerly with Columbia Records, where she was instrumental in the signings of Polo G, upon her move to Interscope last year, Caroline planted her flag with the signing of one of 2019’s biggest breakout artists, DaBaby. Watch as she heads into 2020 with new signings and more hit records.
3DAN MACKTA, US MANAGING DIRECTOR (QOBUZ)
Qobuz is a new hi-res streaming platform to launch here in the States. Dan oversees U.S. operations based in New York. The team at Qobuz is hard at work rolling out the platform and providing users with next level audio, all while expanding on its already large music catalog.
4DAN MODY, HEAD OF URBAN AND A&R (CREATE MUSIC GROUP)
35 billion streams and climbing isn’t bad for the new publishing arm of Create, which launched its division with the signing of 6ixNine. Having also collected more than $60 million in unclaimed revenue, Dan diligently guide clients through today’s digital marketplace.
5BRANDON GOODMAN + DANNY RUKASIN, ARTIST MANAGEMENT (DARKROOM)
Good old school artist development is at the core of Darkroom’s philosophy. The partnership duo set the world on fire with their lead client, Billie Eilish, shattering streaming records and amassing a following of supporters across the world. We’re locked in waiting for what’s next for the Darkroom team in 2020!
6DARCUS BEESE, PRESIDENT (ISLAND RECORDS)
With the success of Jessie Reyez and Shawn Mendes, Darcus has been hard at work reshaping Island Records over the last year. Expanding its executive team and diversifying the label’s roster, expect 2020 to be an exciting time at Island.
7DOMINIC “DJ” MORMILE, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT (DEF JAM)
Heading his Fakework MGMT company, which represents the likes of Mike Will Made It and S1, DJ was recently appointed EVP and Head of West Coast for Def Jam, under CEO Paul Rosenburg. With plans of once again making Def Jam the No. 1 Rap label in the world, DJ will play a major role in reclaiming that title.
8EDGAR “EDD GRAND” MACHUCA, DIRECTOR, A&R (APG/ATLANTIC)
It’s been a whirlwind of success these past 18 months for Edgar Machuca. Helping to secure groundbreaking smashes for Cardi B (“I Like It” and “Press”) and Halsey (“Without Me”), Edgar has proven to have the pulse of the people…definitely making him someone to keep an eye on in 2020.
9ELLIOT GRAINGE, FOUNDER/CEO (10K PROJECTS)
Carving out his own lane is an understatement when it comes to Elliot. His 10k Projects was a springboard for talent like Trippie Redd and Tekashi 6ix9ine, both landing top albums for the young label. Relying heavily on technology and social data, we’re amped to see what comes next for 10K.
10FADIA KADER, MUSIC PARTNERSHIPS (INSTAGRAM)
Fadia is one of music’s most prominent cultural influencers, whether at one of her famous house parties or her curated series, “Put You On,” a platform for emerging artists. You may also find Fadia simply doing her day job by managing music partnerships at Instagram, where she’s always pushing the bounds of creativity.
11HEATHER LOWERY, PRESIDENT/CEO (FEMME IT FORWARD/LIVE NATION URBAN)
Over the past 12 months, Heather has produced countless shows, festivals, panels and live experiences that have captivated audiences, educated and inspired up and coming creatives and future female leaders. She recently entered into a joint venture with Live Nation to expand her Femme It Forward brand even further in 2020.
12IMRAN MAJID, CO-HEAD, A&R (COLUMBIA)
Imran has molded himself into a force within the industry—from tough negotiations to knowing a hit record when he hears it. Last year Imran, visited his boss’ office with what would go on to become the biggest record of the year, “Old Town Road.” His A&R instincts keep him ahead of the curve and he isn’t afraid to take a chance on artists.
13JASON KPANA, SVP, ARTIST RELATIONS (TIDAL)
Jason oversees the Artist Relations team and is directly responsible for developing and maintaining Tidal’s relationships with artists and managers from all over the world. He plays a direct role in TidalX, along with heading Tidal’s new artist initiative, Tidal Unplugged, which is a grant program for emerging talent.
14JEFFERY VAUGHN, PRESIDENT (CAPITOL RECORDS)
Jeff’s been on our radar for the past few years for his work on NBA Young Boy, NLE Chopper and Kehlani, while during his tenure at Artist Partners. He starts 2020 leading Capitol Records into the decade as its newly-appointed President. We are excited to see how Jeff makes his presence felt at the iconic label this year!
15JOSHUA “J1” RAIFORD, HEAD OF HIP HOP (PANDORA)
The power of Pandora has been expanding over the past five years and J1 is the man responsible for guiding the streaming radio company’s Hip-Hop directives. He oversees key urban playlisting and artist relations that keep the company abuzz among artists and consumers alike.
16JULIE SWIDLER, EVP/GLOBAL HEAD OF BUSINESS AFFAIRS/GENERAL COUNSEL (SONY MUSIC)
Julie makes our list because last year she reworked Sony Music’s entire royalty payout system, along with ensuring contracts and terms match the industry protocols creatives are facing today. We’re betting that these changes will affect who wants to do business with Sony in the future, as they’ve invested in making royalties and contracts more transparent.
17KAYODE WELLINGTON, MANAGER (ELECTRIC FEEL MANAGEMENT)
Kayode made a name for himself in the publishing world at Pulse Music Group. During his time there he signed Rich The Kid. He’s since transitioned into management at Electric Feel, where he also oversees Kevin George and 24kGoldn. Stay alert, Kayode also manages Rich The Kid, 24kGoldn, Kaash Paige and London Richards, and not done making moves or a name for himself.
18KRISTIN GRAZIANI, VICE PRESIDENT, TALENT RELATIONS (STEM INTERMEDIA)
Stem has revolutionized the way data and money are made available to creators and their teams. Stem has been busy building a war chest of over $12 million to invest in how it sees fit within their client base. Many clients are currently utilizing the new Stem Direct program.
19KRYSTIAN SANTINI, PRESIDENT (EQUITY DISTRIBUTION)
Krystian caught our attention while A&Ring Jay Z’s classic 4:44. He’s since moved into a new role at the Roc Nation empire, as President for the new independent distribution company, Equity. In one of his first acts, Krystian oversaw the re-release of Jay Z’s debut opus Reasonable Doubt via the new company.
20NICK JARJOUR, MANAGER/PARTNER (MAVERICK)
Having managed one of the biggest songwriters in the world (Starrah) prior to partnering with management consortium, Maverick, Nick has grown his client roster to include producers Cirkut and Alex Da Kid, both certified hitmakers in their own right. We’re looking forward to what records Nick and his team of creatives bring to the world in 2020.
21SEAN FAMOSO MCNICHOL, HEAD OF MARKETING AND BRAND PARTNERSHIPS (LVRN)
Atlanta-based LVRN has enjoyed tremendous success the past two years, breaking Summer Walker and 6lack with out-of-the-box thinking and promotion. Sean spearheads marketing and brand partnerships for LVRN, with the company recently expanding its base of operations to Los Angeles.
22SHARI BRYANT + OMAR GRANT, CO-PRESIDENTS (ROC NATION RECORDS)
Omar and Shari are heading Roc Nation’s Record division into 2020. The dynamic pair took the helm in mid-2019 and have been shaking things up ever since. Look out for upcoming releases from Rihanna, BuJu Banton and other recent RN signees. Expect another breakout year!
23TIARA HARGRAVE, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT/GENERAL MANAGER (ALAMO RECORDS)
Tiara has moved over from Columbia to run day to day operations for Alamo. She’s played a key role in breaking the careers of Lil Nas X and Lil Tjay. She has diverse experience with brand partnerships and knows how to perfectly align the artist and company together for maximum effect.
24WARREN GESIN, SVP, ARTIST DEVELOPMENT (WARNER RECORDS)
With a new label identity, a new executive team and a reshaped roster, Warren has been charged with developing Warner’s roster and assisting them with cutting through the noise and generating long lasting artist brands into and beyond 2020.