Blake Shelton Sells Catalog to Influence Media Partners

Influence Media Partners has acquired Blake Shelton’s catalog of master recordings, which comprises all of his commercial releases from 2001 to 2019.

In the announcement, the company described the joint venture as a “groundbreaking deal” put in place “to amplify his works and entitling Blake to participate in a share of the profit generated.” Warner Music Group will continue to oversee distribution for the country singer’s catalog; further terms were not disclosed.

Shelton said, “I can’t believe it’s been 20 years since my first album and single. Sometimes I still feel like the kid from Oklahoma I was back then! While a lot has changed during that time, my passion for music hasn’t. I’m excited to be working with Lylette, Rene and the team at Influence Media on so much of my catalog and to introduce my songs to the next generation of country fans.”

“Blake is one of the most exciting luminaries to emerge in both country music and television in the past two decades,” said Lylette Pizarro, Influence Media founder and co-managing partner. “We’re particularly proud of the fact that Blake will continue to be an active participant in his catalog moving forward, and to have a tailored joint venture in place that will ensure he remains an active profit participant.”

+ TikTok has promoted William Gruger to its new Global Music Programs team. In the new role, Gruger will work with a new team of TikTok employees to build “strategies designed to elevate and amplify key music trends and campaigns across all regional territories, as well as across the wider family of ByteDance products,” he wrote on LinkedIn.

Prior to joining TikTok as music editorial lead in 2019, where he led North American music editorial and programming, Gruger worked for Tidal as director of programming, and the Twitter-owned video platform Vine as a music content strategist. He began his career at Billboard in 2012 as a charts manager for social media and streaming.

+ Second Estate Records, a new label founded by A&R and entrepreneur Mel Carter, has entered a worldwide joint venture with Warner Records, who will be providing marketing and distribution services for the rising label’s artists and recordings.

Meanwhile, Carter will also serve as a consultant to the A&R team for Warner Records’ artist roster. She will work alongside Steve Carless, president of A&R, and Karen Kwak executive VP and head of A&R.

“Mel is one of the top A&R minds in the business,” said Aaron Bay-Schuck, CEO and co-chairman of Warner Records. “He’s already proven to be an invaluable resource for our team and 2rare is just the very beginning of what’s to come from Second Estate. Tom [Corson] and I are excited about this new partnership and to be aligned with such a forward-thinking, dynamic force like Mel.”

“Throughout my career, I’ve been laser-focused on discovering and championing young talent. Now with Second Estate, I can continue to do that on an even bigger scale,” commented Carter.

+ Sony Music Nashville has promoted Nicole Marinake to VP of partnership marketing and new ventures. In this elevated role, Marinake will work closely with SMN’s regional promotion and artist development team to expand the “branding space specifically on a regional level,” as stated in the company’s press release. She will report to senior VP of marketing Jennifer Way. Before joining Sony in 2017, Marinake worked for the Madison Square Garden Company.

“Nicole’s passion and dedication for our artists is her superpower,” said Way. “Her expertise, innovative mindset and winning personality are key reasons Sony Music Nashville has developed invaluable relationships with key partners and subsequently brought to life smart and compelling collaborations, perfectly suited for our artists and their music.”

+ Capitol Music Group has signed boy band Travis Japan, from the Japanese talent agency Johnny and Associates. The band will make its international debut on Oct. 28 with a worldwide release on Capitol Records.

Travis Japan was originally formed in 2017 by Travis Payne, Michael Jackson’s choreographer and Johnny and Associates, who reached out to Payne in hopes of forming a global group. Named after Payne, Travis Japan has been active since 2017 with its current seven-member group. The band appeared on both “World of Dance” and season 17 of “America’s Got Talent” this year.

“Having worked together to achieve enormous success in Japan in recent years, we are pleased to expand our working relationship with Julie and the great team at Johnny & Associates, and to welcome Travis Japan to the Capitol Music Group & UMG family,” said Lucian Grainge, chairman and CEO of UMG.

+ Secretly Group has hired Mark Czarra as their new managing director of radio. In his new role, Czarra will be responsible for running the North American radio department from the company’s Los Angeles office and overseeing campaigns across the rosters of Secretly Group’s four record labels (Dead Oceans, Jagjaguwar, Saddest Factory Records and Secretly Canadian).

He joins Secretly from Downtown Records, where his previous position was senior VP. Prior to Downtown, Czarra also served as Universal Records’ VP of alternative promotion for five years, where he was responsible for all radio promotion and marketing for alternative and rock.

+ Anthony Volodkin, the founder of Hype Machine and Future Tape, has joined Zora — a platform that allows anyone in the world to build NFTs.

Volodkin will work with the team at Zora to build out Future Tape, the first mobile music NFT app (and website) that allows people to search, listen and explore music across Web3 platforms. In this new role, Volodkin will focus on advancing music in web3.

+ Japanese girl group SG5 has signed to WME for global representation, where the quintet will be represented by agents Ben Totis and David Bradley.

Co-managed by Japanese entertainment company LDH Japan Inc. and global management company Three Six Zero (Calvin Harris, Willow), SG5 recently announced their upcoming album will be executive produced by Grammy Award-winning songwriter and producer BloodPop (Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber), who will also serve as co-creative director.

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