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Billboard’s 2024 International Power Players Revealed



Way back in 2015 — when “Uptown Funk!” was the hottest hit of the year, Sam Smith was named best new artist at the Grammy Awards and Taylor Swift had the year’s top album with the original version of 1989 — the global music industry hit a significant milestone.

Its revenue grew — for the first time in 20 years. That was the beginning of a comeback, and the industry has sustained it since.

In March, when IFPI released its annual Global Music Report with worldwide results for the recorded-music business for 2023, it reported revenue had grown for a ninth consecutive year, reaching $28.6 billion worldwide.

Music streaming, of course, has driven that growth, and the IFPI report contained even more good news, stating that paid subscriptions to music streaming services hit a new high of more than 667 million users.

Among those who have contributed to the music business’ overall growth are Billboard’s 2024 International Power Players — executives nominated by their firms and peers and chosen by our editors from selected industry sectors. All have primary responsibility for markets outside the United States, which account for nearly 60% of the world’s recorded-music sales.

In fact, although the United States and Canada had a collective global recorded-music revenue increase of 7.4% in 2023, that was the lowest regional growth rate measured last year by IFPI. That figure was surpassed by Europe at 8.9%, Australasia at 10.4%, the Middle East and North Africa at 14.4%, Asia at 14.9%, Latin America at 19.4% and Sub-Saharan Africa at 24.7% (South Africa accounts for 77% of revenue in that region).

Each of those regions is represented among this year’s International Power Players.

In a statement accompanying the global results, IFPI CFO/interim joint head John Nolan said, “This growth results from record companies’ sustained investment in artists and their careers — more than $7.1 billion annually on A&R and marketing alone [as measured in 2022] — and the impact it has on music ecosystems all over the world.”

Yet the global music business faces no shortage of tests as it aims for a solid decade of growth.

“The sustained growth of the recorded-music market is encouraging,” IFPI chief legal officer/interim joint head Lauri Rechardt says, “but it’s also right for us to acknowledge the challenges the industry faces, including streaming fraud, digital piracy in all its forms and, of course, the threat from the abuse of generative artificial intelligence [AI] if it is not developed responsibly and with respect for artists’ and labels’ rights.

“Music fans greatly value authenticity, and our industry has a strong track record of licensing music and supporting the development of new services that create these experiences for fans,” Rechardt continues. “That said, we still need effective tools and the support of authorities to tackle unauthorized uses and to ensure the music ecosystem remains one that is sustainable for the long term.”

Players, International Power Players, The Hottest Hits Outside the U.S.

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Rebecca Berman
Senior vp of international, Concord Label Group
Fred Gillham
Managing director of U.K. and Europe, Concord Label Group
Jeff Van Driel
GM of international operations, Concord

Concord has invested in its global team with key hires and partnerships. “Adding A&R in the U.K., capacity in Latin America and Asia, and launching our European commercial team has allowed us to take further control of campaigns for our labels and artists,” says Berman, who notes the global success of Ghost and Thirty Seconds to Mars as proof that the strategy is working. Van Driel adds that Concord’s administrative teams in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and Australia have reorganized to accommodate local needs while centralizing shared functions at Concord’s Nashville headquarters. “We have introduced numerous tech solutions that integrate regional processes into our global system,” he says.

Thomas Coesfeld
Sebastian Hentzschel

Coesfeld, who took over BMG’s top role in July, wasted no time making major changes at the fourth-largest global music company, including bringing its streaming distribution in-house and partnering with Universal Music Group to handle distribution of BMG’s physical products. “Striking direct distribution agreements with Spotify and Apple unleashes a new level of service,” he says. “We now have direct access to data that can really move the dial for artists and songwriters and a unique position in the market.” Coesfeld adds that the changes give BMG “a laser focus on our core businesses of publishing and recordings.”

Adam Granite
CEO of Africa, Middle East and Asia, Universal Music Group
Dickon Stainer
President/CEO of global classics and jazz and Verve Label Group, Universal Music Group
Michelle Teh
Senior vp of global classics and jazz, Universal Music Group

Granite says that “over the past 12 months, UMG has continued to strengthen and expand our operations, repertoire and leadership teams around the world.” UMG invested in Mavin Records in Nigeria, Oriental Star Agencies in South Asia, Chabaka Music in the Middle East/North Africa and RS Group in Thailand. In addition, the company reached new deals with Chinese stars Jay Chou and Eason Chan. Granite says there are “huge opportunities for global music to find popularity through streaming and discovery.”

Donny Novakovic
Vp of international marketing, Disney Music Group

“I am proud of the achievements my team and I have had curating the soundtracks of the world, breathing life into the deep catalog and unearthing hidden gems in multiple languages,” Novakovic says. Disney continues to build “a bridge between cultures,” he adds, noting the impact of titles such as Frozen, Frozen II and Moana. “With their upcoming sequels, we’ll continue building on these cherished stories’ legacy,” Novakovic says. And Encanto has sold 8 million copies of its soundtrack, according to Disney, “proving the world is still talking about Bruno.”

Jiwon Park
YJ Shin
Sung Soo Han
Master professional, PLEDIS Entertainment
Yoo Jin Oh
GM, HYBE 360

HYBE’s diversification — including its acquisitions of Quality Control and Exile Music — helped it become the first South Korean entertainment company to surpass 2 trillion won ($1.5 billion) in revenue, based on its 2023 results. But many of the company’s highlights still came from its bread-and-butter K-pop artists. Jung Kook topped the Billboard Hot 100 with “Seven” (feat. Latto), and Jimin’s “Like Crazy” also hit No. 1 on the chart. Seventeen’s 10th EP, FML, became the best-selling K-pop album in history with global sales of 6.4 million, according to HYBE. Post-pandemic tours by BTS, TOMORROW X TOGETHER, LE SSERAFIM, ENHYPEN and others attracted 1.2 million concertgoers to 90 performances, according to HYBE.

Players, International Power Players, Seventeen, HYBE

Seventeen’s 10th EP, FML, has achieved global sales of more than 6 million, according to HYBE.

PLEDIS Entertainment

Melissa Thomas
Executive vp of international marketing for U.S. repertoire, Sony Music Entertainment
Talita Zuiderveld
Head of global promotions for U.S. international, Sony Music Entertainment
Chanel Auguste
Director of international marketing, Sony Music Entertainment
Kaitlin Reid
Associate director of digital and commercial strategy, Sony Music Entertainment
Katherine Griffith
Associate director of international marketing, Sony Music Entertainment

In an increasingly global music industry, “hits and stories can spark from anywhere around the world,” Thomas says. Viral popularity in Southeast Asia, among other markets, helped push SZA’s “Kill Bill” to No. 1 on the Billboard Global 200 and Meghan Trainor’s “Made You Look” to No. 11 on the Hot 100, while 22-year-old Tyla emerged from South Africa to reach No. 1 on Billboard’s Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart. Meanwhile, Miley Cyrus’ “Flowers” was IFPI’s top-selling global single in 2023. “We are highly focused,” Thomas says, “on building campaigns that captivate and engage fans from every corner of the globe.”

Players, International Power Players, Miley Cyrus, Sony Music Entertainment, IFPI

Miley Cyrus’ “Flowers,” promoted worldwide by Sony Music Entertainment, became the top-selling global single of 2023, as ranked by IFPI.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Pieter van Rijn
President of Downtown Music, Downtown Music Holdings
Ben Patterson
President of artist and label services, Downtown Music Holdings
Christiaan Kröner
President of FUGA, Downtown Music Holdings
Christine Barnum
Chief revenue officer, CD Baby/Downtown Music Holdings

Across its many divisions, Downtown flexed its “full strength” in 2023, van Rijn says. In the last year, Downtown purchased royalty processing company Curve Royalty Systems, combined Adrev and FUGA to help bolster monetization for user-generated content and established new partnerships with BandLab and Spirit Music Group. “Powering creativity for rights holders has been at the core of Downtown’s mission since its inception,” van Rijn says. “We are proud to have continued the expansion of our businesses globally across the group.”

Eric Wong
President/chief marketing officer of recorded music, Warner Music Group
Simon Robson
President of international recorded music, Warner Music Group
Jess Keeley-Carter
Executive vp of global marketing, Warner Music International

Among Warner Music’s international stars, an Udo Lindenberg track topped the German chart for 21 weeks, Bolaget ruled Sweden’s chart for 14 weeks and Gobs held down the No. 1 spot in Denmark for 10 weeks. Robson says the company is eager to use collaborations as a tool to cross international borders, and has helped pair Ninho with Central Cee, Ed Sheeran with 1.Cuz — and Warner Music Canada with Warner Music India on the joint venture 91 North Records. Another collaboration, Karol G and Aldo Ranks’ “WATATI,” peaked at No. 2 in Panama and No. 4 in Honduras on Monitor Latino thanks to Wong’s team, which was instrumental in pushing Barbie: The Album — on which “WATATI” appears alongside songs from Dua Lipa and ­Charli XCX — around the globe.

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Frank Briegmann
Chairman/CEO, Universal Music Central Europe and Deutsche Grammophon, Universal Music Group
Oliver Nusse
CEO, Universal France and Universal Music Africa, Universal Music Group
Frank Kacou
Managing director, Universal Music Africa, Universal Music Group

In September, Briegmann opened the Universal Inside showcase in Berlin, which he declared was “dedicated to hip-hop” in honor of the genre’s 50th anniversary, and unveiled Universal’s YOUniverse, an interactive platform developed by Universal Music Central Europe. Nusse says, “We are very proud to be pioneers in France” in UMG’s partnership with French digital music service Deezer in launching an artist-centric streaming model, which aims to reward artists and songs that are driving listener engagement. Ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations finals in January, Kacou oversaw the release of an EP showcasing several African artists including Yemi Alade, Magic System, Didi B, Roselyne, Layo, Serge Beynaud, Kerozen, CYsoul, Vegedream, Ayanne, Kaaris and Josey.

Fabian Drebes
Doreen Schimk

Co-presidents, Warner Music Central Europe
Mark Fry
President, Warner Music Nordics
Alfonso Perez-Soto
President, emerging markets, Warner Music Group
Alain Veille
President, Warner Music France
Niels Walboomers
President, recorded music and publishing, Benelux, Warner Music Group
Temi Adeniji
Managing director, Warner Music Africa

Warner Music Central Europe, under Drebes and Schimk, in partnership with Warner Chappell Music Germany, under vp Natascha Augustin, led WMG colleagues in celebrating the September opening of a creative hub in Berlin to bring together international artists, songwriters and producers while also serving its employees. The facility, built on the top floor of the historic Schicklerhaus in the central Berlin borough of Mitte, boasts an interior performance space, rooftop terraces and collaboration rooms featuring cutting-edge technology such as Dolby Atmos immersive sound. WMG CEO Robert Kyncl led a guest list of more than 700 attendees at the grand opening, including WMG artists and songwriters and figures from music, entertainment and politics.

Tony Harlow
CEO, Warner Music U.K.
Victor Aroldross
Senior vp of international marketing, Warner Music U.K.

“Before superstar status comes artist development, and, as always, it remains at the very heart of our function,” says Aroldross, who works with Warner Music U.K.’s roster, including Coldplay, Dua Lipa, Ed Sheeran, Fred again.. and PinkPantheress. Under Harlow, who oversees front-line British labels Atlantic, Parlophone, Rhino and Warner Records, as well as ADA U.K., the company achieved breakthroughs with Griff and Maisie Peters, while Sheeran celebrated multiple successes in 2023. His sixth and seventh albums, – (Subtract) and Autumn Variations, both topped the U.K. Official Albums chart and debuted in the top five of the Billboard 200.

Jason Iley
Chairman/CEO, Sony Music U.K. and Ireland

Sony Music-signed or -affiliated artists topped the U.K. Official Singles chart for a combined 28 weeks in 2023, including Miley Cyrus’ 10 weeks at No. 1 with “Flowers” — the top song in the United Kingdom last year with 198 million streams, according to the Official Charts Company. Hit records by SZA, Doja Cat, Libianca, Tyla, Tate McRae, Cassö and Calvin Harris (in collaboration with Ellie Goulding) rounded out a successful 12 months for Sony Music, which relaunched Epic Records U.K. as a front-line label last May. “After reorganizing our labels, we’re proud of our recent chart success,” says Iley, who celebrated 10 years at the helm in April.

David Joseph
Chairman/CEO, Universal Music U.K. & Ireland
Selina Webb
Executive vp, Universal Music U.K.

Joseph singles out “two truly global moments” as highlights of the past 18 months. The first was the release of Hackney Diamonds, The Rolling Stones’ first album of original material in 18 years, which topped the charts in 20 countries, according to UMG. The second was The Beatles’ final song, “Now and Then,” which reached No. 1 in the United Kingdom and No. 7 on the Hot 100. “I genuinely think both campaigns will be looked at for many years as best-in-class examples of U.K. creativity exporting to the world,” says Joseph, who oversees the EMI, Decca, Island, Polydor and 0207 Def Jam labels, as well as Abbey Road Studios.

Daniel Lieberberg
President of Sony Music Continental Europe and Africa, Sony Music Entertainment
Patrick Mushatsi-Kareba
CEO of Germany, Switzerland and Austria, Sony Music Entertainment
Marie-Anne Robert
President, Sony Music France

Belgian producer Lost Frequencies, Germany’s Purple Disco Machine and 2021 Eurovision winner Måneskin from Italy are among the acts that brought success last year for Sony Music Continental Europe under Lieberberg, who also guided the company’s growth in Africa. Mushatsi-Kareba has advocated for diversity and, in partnership with the nonprofit artist association Music Women* Germany, helped create the Female* Producer Prize to support and promote the careers of rising female-identifying producers across Germany. Robert participated in the March launch of IFPI’s 2024 Global Music Report and spoke of artists switching “from distribution to artist contracts” so labels could oversee their legal and marketing needs.

Alistair Norbury
President of U.K. repertoire and marketing, BMG

Kylie Minogue, Billboard’s 2024 Women in Music Icon honoree, drove fans to dancefloors around the world with the global success of “Padam Padam,” which was her biggest U.S. hit in 20 years and won the Grammy Award for best pop dance recording in February. The song propelled the album Tension to No. 21 on the Billboard 200, her best showing since 2010. “Together with the accolades from the Grammys and Billboard awards, plus the triumph of [her] Las Vegas [residency],” Norbury says, “Kylie’s success shows how BMG’s global focus can help artists deliver creatively, critically and commercially.”

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Alejandro Duque
President, Warner Music Latin America
Leila Oliveira
President, Warner Music Brazil
Tomas Rodríguez
President of Warner Music Mexico & Central America, Warner Music Mexico
Guillermo González Arévalo
President, Warner Music Iberia

Warner Music Latin America’s “domestic strategy in each market, partnered with our regional infrastructure and Warner Music’s global marketing teams,” led the company to continue growing its market share in 2023, Duque says. It achieved “record-breaking” results with its multigenre, multicountry roster, he adds. Hits included “Lala” by Puerto Rico’s Myke Towers and “La Bebe” by Mexico’s Yng Lvcas. The former topped the Billboard Global 200 Excl. U.S. chart and earned Towers a No. 1 on the Latin Airplay chart. Elsewhere, domestic hits included “Los del Espacio” by Lit Killah, Maria Becerra and Tiago PZK in Argentina; Blessd’s Si Sabe album release in Colombia; and Quevedo’s success in his native Spain and globally, which earned him his first top 10 on a Billboard albums chart.

Players, International Power Players, Myke Towers, Warner Music Latin America

“Lala” from Puerto Rico’s Myke Towers, released through Warner Music Latin America, topped the Billboard Global 200 Excl. U.S. chart in July.

Randy Holmes/Disney/Getty Images

Jesús López
Chairman/CEO, Universal Music Latin America/Iberian Peninsula
Narcís Rebollo Melció
President, Universal Music Iberian Peninsula
Alfredo Delgadillo
President/CEO, Universal Music Mexico
Luis Estrada
President, Universal Music Southern Cone
Paulo Lima
President, Universal Music Brazil
Manuel Peña
Managing director, Universal Music Andean Region & Central America

Universal’s ability to break local artists at an international level was on display again with the “remarkable international success of Feid,” López says. Feid ended the year as the sixth most-streamed artist globally on Spotify and debuted at No. 1 on the platform’s global chart with his albums Mor, No le Temas a la Oscuridad and Ferxxocalipsis. He was also a top five artist of the year on Vevo, in the top 10 of Billboard’s U.S. year-end Latin artists and sold out his 2023 Ferxxo Nitro Jam Underground U.S. tour in 30 minutes, according to the label. The Colombian star also played sold-out shows in Germany, Switzerland, Italy and France, underscoring his growing international appeal. And in December, according to Universal Music, Spain’s Aitana became the first Spanish artist to sell out Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu Stadium — and did so in a record-setting 72 hours.

Afo Verde
Chairman/CEO, Sony Music Latin-Iberia
Maria Fernandez
Executive vp/COO, Sony Music Latin-Iberia
Fernando Cabral
Executive vp of business development, Sony Music Latin-Iberia
Damian Amato
President, Sony Music Hispanic South America
Jose Maria Barbat
President, Sony Music Iberia
Paulo Junqueiro
President, Sony Music Brazil
Roberto López
President, Sony Music Mexico

Under Verde, Sony’s Latin-Iberia team coordinated the sensational global launch of Shakira’s Las Mujeres No Lloran. In Mexico, López highlights the international success of Natalia Lafourcade — signed 24 years ago — who hit a high with two Latin Grammys and one Grammy for her 2022 album, De Todas las Flores. In Brazil, DENNIS and Kevin o Chris’ “Tá Ok” was a No. 1 hit, while Luísa Sonza is poised for an international breakthrough. In Argentina, Amato applauds the success of pop band Miranda! throughout South America with its album Hotel Miranda. In Spain, Barbat says he remains focused on developing new talent like Ana Mena, while being “attentive to signing consolidated artists with high international and mainstream relevance” like Alejandro Sanz. Regionwide, Cabral highlighted the expansion of Sony’s partnership with European ticketing company CTS Eventim, which resulted in the launch of Eventim Brazil and the acquisition of Punto Ticket in Chile and Teleticket in Peru.

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Andrew Chan
CEO, Greater China, Sony Music Entertainment
Vanessa Picken
Chair/CEO, Sony Music Entertainment Australia and New Zealand
Shridhar Subramaniam
President, corporate strategy and market development, Asia and Middle East, Sony Music Entertainment
Vinit Thakkar
Managing director, India, Sony Music Entertainment

Chan oversees the Greater China region including Taiwan and Hong Kong and has signed emerging artists such as Jasmine Yen to RCA Records Greater China, a label he launched in 2022. Last year, artist Amy Shark, under Sony Music Australia’s Picken, became the first Australian artist to have an artist-led radio show on Apple Music, reaching 167 countries. Subramaniam, responsible for Sony’s strategy and market development in Asia and the Middle East, is focused on two of the world’s fastest-growing regions for music sales. Thakkar joined Sony in 2023 after previously serving as COO of Universal Music India.

Joseph Chang
Co-CEO, Kakao Entertainment; board member, SM Entertainment
Jang Cheol Hyuk
Tak Young Jun

Co-CEOs, SM Entertainment
Lee Sung Su
Chief A&R officer, SM Entertainment

As K-pop — and the companies behind it — expands globally, the 2023 North American merger of SM Entertainment (aespa, NCT, RIIZE) and Kakao Entertainment America (IVE) was “a milestone,” Chang says, “and a precedent for the next steps in building a multinational business system for all artists and labels under our care.” The joint venture quickly expanded across the Atlantic by partnering with British entertainment company Moon&Back to launch a British boy band through an upcoming reality TV show. In addition, IVE, a girl group on Kakao’s label Starship Entertainment, is on its first global tour, which included six U.S. arena dates in March.

Chris Gobalakrishna
Jonathan Serbin

Co-presidents, Warner Music Asia
Dan Rosen
President, Warner Music Australasia
Jay Mehta
Managing director, Warner Music South Asia and Warner Music India

Under Gobalakrishna and Serbin, Warner Music China last year signed Elva Hsiao, one of Greater China’s most successful artists. In October, they named Dinesh Ratnam managing director of Warner Music Malaysia; Ratnam previously played a pivotal role in the international expansion of iQiyi, a leading premium video on-demand streaming service in the market. In March, Rosen welcomed Behani, an artist with Persian and Italian roots from Melbourne, Australia, to Warner Music Australia and ADA. She broke through in 2023 with “Real Man” (featuring Ne-Yo), which reached No. 2 on Australia’s Shazam chart, according to Warner Music. Under Mehta, Warner Music South Asia will further promote repertoire from Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, the home to over 400 million people. Mehta remains in his role leading Warner Music India.

Warner Music Australia and ADA artist Behani, Players, International Power Players

Warner Music Australia and ADA artist Behani, a Melbourne native with Persian and Italian roots, broke through with “Real Man” featuring Ne-Yo.

Graham Denholm/Getty Images

Matt Gudinski
Chairman/CEO, Mushroom Group

With Gudinski at the helm, the Melbourne, Australia-based independent music giant celebrated its 50th anniversary with a yearlong slate of special events, releases, merchandise and an all-star concert at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena in November featuring scores of Mushroom acts performing originals and classic songs from across the company’s catalog. The business built by Gudinski’s late father, legendary entrepreneur Michael Gudinski, “saw success across our entire group,” Matt says. The standout: the second of Ed Sheeran’s record-setting performances at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, with 112,000 in attendance.

Katsumi Kuroiwa
CEO, Avex

The multifaceted Japanese music company Avex — through a partnership with AEG Presents branded as AEGX — hosted Ed Sheeran’s +-=÷x Tour in Japan in January, as well as Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour at the Tokyo Dome in February, a run that marked the first time a non-Japanese female artist performed at the venue for four consecutive days. Avex’s U.S. imprint, Avex USA, has grown its publishing roster with recent signings including producer Ambezza (Future and Drake’s “Life Is Good”) and a co-publishing deal with GENT! (Doja Cat’s “Agora Hills”) in collaboration with Brandon Silverstein’s S10 Entertainment.

Cussion Pang
Chairman, Tencent Music Entertainment Group
Ross Liang
CEO/board member, Tencent Music Entertainment Group

Tencent Music Entertainment, China’s largest music streaming company, is in a state of flux. Last year, revenue from social entertainment and other services declined 34% to $1.5 billion. Music streaming, however, is booming. Subscription revenue from apps QQ Music, Kugou Music and Kuwo Music rose 39.1% to $1.7 billion, and the number of paying customers rose 20.6% to 106.7 million. As the product improved — long-form audio, livestreaming and exclusive release windows — the free-to-paid conversion rate climbed from 18% in 2022 to 24% in 2023.

Timothy Xu
Chairman/CEO, Universal Music Greater China
Calvin Wong
CEO, Universal Music Southeast Asia; senior vp of Asia, Universal Music Group
Devraj Sanyal
Chairman/CEO, Universal Music India and South Asia; senior vp of strategy, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, Universal Music Group
Patrick Boulos
CEO, Universal Music Middle East and North Africa
Naoshi Fujikura
President/CEO, Universal Music Japan
Sean Warner
President, Universal Music Australia and New Zealand

In September, Universal Music Group named Xu to oversee Greater China, which includes mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, and the veteran executive has since signed a global distribution deal with Jay Chou, the first artist from China to appear in the top 10 of IFPI’s global artist chart. In Southeast Asia, under Wong, UMG acquired a majority control of Thailand’s RS Group, a leading music distributor and artist management group. For Universal Music India, Sanyal’s brand partnership with Coca-Cola led to the hit “Khalasi” by Aditya Gadhvi and Achint. Released through Coke Studio Bharat, the song has 5 billion cumulative video views, according to UMG.

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Dan Chalmers
Director of Europe, the Middle East and Africa, YouTube Music
Sandra Jimenez
Head of music for Latin America and U.S. Latin, YouTube Music
Paul Smith
Managing director, Asia Pacific, YouTube Music
Nur Ozdamar
Lead of Europe, the Middle East and Africa artist and label development, YouTube Music

YouTube’s focus on fostering growth and innovation in areas such as short-form content and AI has resulted in success for the iconic brand. Both YouTube Premium and YouTube Music surpassed 100 million subscribers, while Shorts climbed to an average of over 70 billion daily views, with the number of channels uploading Shorts growing more than 50% year over year, according to the company. Additionally, YouTube’s Music AI Incubator — made in collaboration with a global slate of artists — and AI Principles proved to be formative steps in protecting artists and fostering creativity in a world where AI is increasingly prevalent.

Phil Choi
Managing director, Boomplay

Boomplay is committed to bringing African music to the global stage and, last year, African superstar Burna Boy made history by becoming the first artist to reach 1 billion streams on the app, according to Boomplay. The launch of Boomlive, an audio livestreaming feature of the app, has bridged the gap between artists and their fans by providing a direct channel of live communication and giving artists an additional tool for promotion and the monetization of their brand. “It has been a long road,” Choi says, “but the success of African music on the global stage and domestically has further strengthened our commitment to developing the African music industry to reach a wider audience.”

Players, International Power Players, Boomplay, Burna Boy

According to African music streaming company Boomplay, Nigeria’s Burna Boy was the first artist to reach 1 billion streams on the app.

Noor-u-Nisa Khan for WWD

Bruno Crolot
Head of international music, Spotify
Andy Sloan Vincent
Head of global music programs, Spotify
Annika Walsh
Head of international music strategy, Spotify

While Crolot says that 2023 was “jam-packed for Spotify on all fronts,” he’s especially proud of the continued focus on “championing artists and musical genres from every corner of the world.” In February 2023, the company debuted its personalized AI guide — called DJ — in beta in the United States and Canada. It expanded into the United Kingdom and Ireland, as well as select markets in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and New Zealand. “[Our] tools and programs can create magic,” Crolot says. “Somewhere, a fan will get to discover for the very first time an artist that will become a favorite and a lasting connection will be created, no matter the geographical and linguistic barriers.”

Paul Firth
Director of global music industry, Amazon Music
Claire Imoucha
Head of Amazon Music, Spain
Keisuke Oishi
GM/director, Amazon Music, Japan

Imoucha cites Amazon Music’s ­livestream of the 2023 Primavera Sound Festival in Spain as a significant international achievement for the company. “Being able to delight music fans around the world and bring this world-class festival, packed with artist performances, interviews and behind-the-scenes moments, to them at home was a real highlight,” she says. Millions tuned in digitally to watch performances from the Barcelona event by headliners such as Blur and Kendrick Lamar on Amazon Music’s Twitch channel.

Georges Fornay
Deputy CEO, Qobuz
Dan Mackta
Managing director, North America and Northern Europe, Qobuz

Qobuz is “consistently outpacing market benchmarks” as the streaming service has expanded its global reach into 26 countries, Mackta says. The high-resolution streaming service has spread into the Canadian market (both French- and English-speaking territories) and recently partnered with Festival Bach Montreal and Off-Bach, the annual three-week classical music festival in Montreal. The move happened after recent launches in Northern Europe, Australia and New Zealand in 2021 and Latin America in 2022, as well as the acquisition of Japanese music company e-Onkyo. Qobuz also partnered with the Jerry Garcia Family, the artist’s estate, to bring the late Grateful Dead member’s full catalog and exclusive playlists to the service.

Maria Garrido
Chief marketing officer, Deezer

In September, Deezer and Universal Music Group launched a plan to increase streaming royalty payments by roughly 10% for performers who meet a minimum number of monthly streams. The French streaming company, whose CEO Jeronimo Folgueira left in March, also rebranded itself with a new logo and a new identity as an “experiences platform” and has reached record-high subscription numbers, according to Garrido. “It was an exciting challenge to bring together the essence of the company’s DNA,” she says, “with a company purpose revolving around helping people belong through music.”

Emmy Lovell
Global head of music, SoundCloud
Ama Walton
Senior vp of music licensing/deputy general counsel, SoundCloud
Hazel Savage
Vp of music intelligence, SoundCloud

SoundCloud’s major achievement of 2023 was launching its artist development program, Ascending, which highlights emerging artists monthly. Ascending promoted talents like Kenya Grace, whose single “Strangers” has become a mainstay on users’ playlists since. “I feel like the industry is really taking note of the A&R gold mine that exists on SoundCloud to find and amplify new talent,” Lovell says, adding that the success of artists on SoundCloud motivates her to continue spotlighting emerging acts and connecting them to fans.

Players, International Power Players, SoundCloud, Kenya Grace, Ascending

SoundCloud’s artist development program, Ascending, raised the profile of Kenya Grace, whose single “Strangers” has become a mainstay of users on the platform.

Dave Benett/Getty Images

Charles Morgan
Chief marketing officer, The Beatport Group

This year, Beatport is celebrating 20 years of serving the DJ community and expanding its international presence. Morgan notes the company’s introduction to key new territories across Europe, the United Kingdom and South America as a highlight. “After listening to our audience around the world, we’ve also rebuilt Beatportal into a community-first storytelling hub that offers DJs and producers unfiltered access to their audience,” Morgan says, “further driving exceptional profitability in emerging markets and helping position our ecosystem as the top choice for DJs and producers worldwide.”

Ola Sars
Founder/CEO, Soundtrack Your Brand

Soundtrack Your Brand, the background streaming music service for businesses launched by Sars, has licensees in 74 countries with a music catalog of more than 100 million tracks. International clients using the service include Ikea, Lululemon, Uniqlo and Tag Heuer. “I’m proud to have spearheaded the close of Soundtrack Your Brand’s $15 million pre-growth round in 2023,” Sars says, “led by Matt Pincus’ MUSIC and followed by [investment from] Willard Ahdritz and Matt Spetzler.”

Jen Walsh
Senior director, Apple
Juan Paz
Global head of Latin music business, Apple Music

In March 2023, Apple proudly unveiled its Apple Music Classical app in Apple Music markets except Greater China, Japan and South Korea. Since then, Apple has expanded its availability to those areas as well, “bringing the world’s largest classical catalog and ultimate classical experience to more music fans around the globe,” Walsh says. “Classical music is foundational for music lovers everywhere, and we are working with some of the most prolific classical artists and institutions in the world to celebrate and showcase the experience in this new stand-alone app.”

Players, International Power Players, Labels and Distributors Header

Rebecca Allen
Jo Charrington

Co-presidents, EMI Records

Under the joint leadership of Allen and Charrington, EMI Records strengthened its position as one of the top U.K. imprints in 2023. Chart successes included No. 1 albums by Lewis Capaldi, Sam Smith, Take That, Metallica, Shania Twain and Taylor Swift, who had the year’s second- and third-biggest-selling albums in the United Kingdom with Midnights and 1989 (Taylor’s Version), respectively, according to the Official Charts Company. Caity Baser, Olivia Dean and Mae Stephens are among the recent breakthroughs for EMI, which integrated Capitol Records into the wider U.K. label group in 2022. Last year’s launch of EMI North, a new imprint based in Leeds, England, made EMI the first British major label to have a physical office outside of London.

Tricia Arnold
Executive vp of global artist/label services and sales, The Orchard
Prashant Bahadur
Executive vp/head of strategy, The Orchard
Erol Cichowski
Jason Pascal

Executive vps of global artist and label partnerships, The Orchard

The Orchard marked “another record year” in 2023, Bahadur says, adding that clients “continue to break records and boundaries and lead the way in bringing local music to global audiences.” The distribution and artist services company worked with Double P/Parjin Parlay Records to release Peso Pluma’s Génesis, which debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 in July; the Mexican singer also landed at No. 12 on Billboard’s year-end Top Artists chart. “Additional successful releases from Bizarrap, Yoasobi, Jorja Smith, IVE, Nas, Riar Saab, DPR IAN and more,” Bahadur says, “continue to grow The Orchard’s profile as a global industry leader.”

Stacey Bedford
CEO, Bandzoogle

Bandzoogle, the Ottawa, Ontario-based online platform that provides a one-stop shop for independent musicians to build professional websites, celebrated its 20th year in 2023. The site has expanded its options over the years, now offering musicians online press kits, direct marketing and merchandise sales, and expanded its global reach in the process. “One of our main goals is to help make it easier for musicians to make money from their music by selling directly to their fans,” Bedford says. “Seeing our members make over $16.4 million in sales through their websites last year, all commission-free, is truly rewarding for our whole team.”

Pascal Bittard
President, IDOL

French digital distributor IDOL has spent the past year “focused on developing its international divisions by making key signings and hires in the U.S., U.K. and Germany,” Bittard says. Among its moves to support that goal: bringing artists like Afro B and Erick the Architect to TOKiMONSTA’s Young Art Records. Meanwhile, IDOL has become more partner-friendly by dedicating an audience development manager to each client. IDOL also kept expanding its head office and international teams in 2024, with local operations spread across Paris, London, Berlin, New York, Los Angeles, Nashville and Johannesburg.

Louis Bloom
President, Island Records U.K.
Steven Rowen
Senior vp/head of international, Island Records

In December, when the finalists for the Rising Star Award at the 2024 BRIT Awards were announced, two of the three acts — The Last Dinner Party and Sekou — were signed to Island Records U.K. (EMI Records singer Caity Baser was the third), with the honor eventually going to The Last Dinner Party. In April 2023, three of Bloom’s signings — Marcus Mumford, Hozier and Dermot Kennedy — shared a Royal Albert Hall bill in London for a War Child benefit concert. In the United States, Rowen has guided the global rise of Sabrina Carpenter, including linking her with Filipino dance influencer Niana Guerrero in July to create a dance trend for Carpenter’s single “Feather.”

Alec Boateng
Alex Boateng

Co-presidents, 0207 Def Jam
Marisa Lauro-Norris
Former senior vp of international, Def Jam Recordings

In the United Kingdom, twin brothers Alec and Alex Boateng have built on the success of grime star Stormzy — most recently through a collaboration with Indo Canadian artist AP Dhillon on “Problems Over Peace.” In the United States, 18-year Def Jam Recordings veteran Lauro-Norris guided international campaigns in the past year for new 0207 Def Jam signing JayO as well as Def Jam U.S. acts like Grammy Award winner Coco Jones, Nigerian superstar Adekunle Gold and American rapper Armani White. (As of March, Lauro-Harris is no longer with Def Jam.)

Lilas Bourboulon
Tim Dellow
Toby L

Company directors/co-CEOs, Transgressive

Transgressive’s Toby L says the company’s past year was defined by creative and commercial growth in three core areas: the label (with releases from Flume, Arlo Parks, Alvvays, Julia Jacklin, Mykki Blanco and The WAEVE), publishing (extension of a catalog agreement with Foals; new deals with Black Country, New Road and HotWax; and a top three album on the U.K. Official Albums chart from Loyle Carner) and management (Wesley Joseph’s signing to Secretly Canadian and new albums from Marika Hackman and musician-actor Johnny Flynn). “Next year marks 20 years of the company,” Toby L says, “and with new staff hires and a North American office opening on the horizon, there’s a lot to look forward to.”

Jorge Brea
Founder/CEO, Symphonic Distribution
Janette Berrios
Vp of corporate marketing, Symphonic Distribution

Brea says his company has been expanding its global footprint across continents, from the Americas to Africa and Europe, while also making technological advancements through its in-house tech team. “Our proprietary platform, featuring enhancements like SplitShare, Recoupments and TransferTrack, compares to those of major labels,” he says. “Our financial performance reflects our team’s dedication and effective leadership, demonstrated by a 50% annual growth rate, $100 million in revenue and over $40 million in support from private equity firms.”

Kristen Burke
President, Warner Music Canada

The only female head of a major label in Canada, Burke initiated Warner Music’s move from the Toronto suburbs to its downtown headquarters at The Well, where she has continued her forward-thinking strategy. Warner Music Canada partnered with Warner Music India to create 91 North Records, focused on artists of South Asian heritage. “This venture leverages the market potential of uniting two distinct fan bases, [building] a bridge between the East and West,” she says.,” she says. To further that mission, Warner Music Canada directly signed Karan Aujla, a Canadian artist born in India, who was nominated for two Juno Awards in March, and won the Tik Tok Fan Choice Award.

Players, International Power Players, Karan Aujla, Juno Awards

Canada’s Karan Aujla was nominated for two Juno Awards in March and won the Tik Tok Fan Choice Award.

Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Caitlin Cadden
Director of global marketing, Warner Music Nashville

One highlight of WMN’s global success has been singer-songwriter Bailey Zimmerman, whose Religiously. The Album. reached No. 7 on the Billboard 200, No. 3 on Top Country Albums and No. 8 on Canadian Albums — and also No. 3 on the Australian Recording Industry Association’s country albums chart. Zimmerman topped Australia’s Ridin’ Hearts festival in the fall and will headline a U.K. tour in May. “International growth is one of our top priorities,” Cadden says. “We are strategically investing in our artists; going international is no longer a wait-and-see game.”

Domingo Chávez

Chávez highlights Edwin Luna y la Trakalosa and Jessi Uribe’s collaboration, “Te la Debo,” released in March, as well as live performances by talent including Leandro Ríos and Pablo Montero as REMEX’s latest achievements. He also celebrates the growth of the label’s YouTube channel (with over 7.2 million subscribers) and REMEX’s growth beyond Mexico and the United States. “More than five years ago, we opened new markets in countries such as Guatemala, El Salvador and Colombia,” Chávez says, “and soon [we will also be in] Chile, Peru, Bolivia and Argentina.”

Rob Cowling
GM, Gallo Music

Two years shy of its centennial, Gallo Music — South Africa’s largest and oldest independent label — could easily rest on its laurels as a market leader. But last year, Gallo won South African Music Awards for Afropop star Nathi Mankayi and adult contemporary singer Louise Carver. It also rolled out new albums from Grammy Award-winning act Ladysmith Black Mambazo and singer-songwriter Vusi Mahlasela, who is known as “The Voice of South Africa.” “The continent of Africa,” Cowling says, “is still showing off its unstoppable talent and signs of growth.”

Brianne Deslippe
Senior vp of global marketing and strategy, Big Loud Records

“The past year has been a landmark one for our company,” Deslippe says of Nashville-based Big Loud Records, which expanded its business with offices and label managers in London and Brisbane, Australia, while bolstering its already established office in Toronto. The label also supported 17 of its artists on international festivals and tour dates. In particular, Morgan Wallen made strong strides internationally with his sold-out U.K. debut at O2 Arena in London, sellouts in Australia and New Zealand, the release of his Abbey Road Sessions and a No. 1 all-genre album debut (One Thing at a Time) in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Denzyl Feigelson
Founder/CEO, Platoon

Platoon’s success was validated this year when it became a player at the Grammy Awards for the first time with six nominations for its artists, including Ayra Starr, who was up for best African music performance. The nomination for the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel’s Fandango in the best engineered album, classical category followed a strong investment in the classical market by the artist services company. “For me, it always comes down to the artists, their careers, passion and creativity,” Feigelson says. “Our job at Platoon is to help them realize their dreams.”

Platoon, Ayra Starr, Players, International Power Players

Platoon artist Ayra Starr, from Nigeria, earned a Grammy Award nomination for best African music performance.

Per Ole Hagen/Redferns

Kenny Gates
Co-founder/CEO, [PIAS]
Michel Lambot
Co-founder, [PIAS]

Gates says [PIAS] hit its high note in March, “partnering with Nick Cave, one of our all-time musical heroes, and his management team to license his incredible new album, Wild God.” The 10-track set by Cave and his band The Bad Seeds will arrive Aug. 30 through Cave’s own Bad Seed label through an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement with the [PIAS] imprint Play It Again Sam. “In my opinion, [it’s] his best ever, and we will go over the barricades to deliver the global success it deserves,” Gates told Billboard when the deal was announced.

Archie Gormley
Head of international, Big Machine Label Group

Last year, Big Machine Label Group released Dolly Parton’s Rockstar, which debuted in the top 20 on Billboard’s Canadian Albums chart and the top five on the Official U.K. Albums chart. The set, with tracks that featured Steven Tyler, Sting, Ann Wilson, Stevie Nicks and more, also reached No. 1 on the Official Americana Albums chart and No. 3 on the Australian Recording Industry Association’s Top 40 Country Albums chart. “Our whole team felt immensely privileged to play a part in working the Dolly Parton album last year,” Gormley says, and was “proud to deliver her career-best week-one album chart positions internationally outside North America.”

Jurgen Grebner
Executive vp of international marketing, Interscope Capitol Labels Group

“As we continue to work with our artists to build global brands, the past 12 months have seen a number of important successes,” says Grebner, who cites Olivia Rodrigo’s second album, GUTS, a No. 1 debut in 13 countries, and Reneé Rapp’s Snow Angel, a top 10 debut on the U.K. Official Albums chart. Other high points include Karol G, who charted nine of the 10 songs on Mañana Será Bonito (Bichota Season), and Billie Eilish, who hit No. 1 in Australia, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Switzerland — and won her second Academy Award — with “What Was I Made For?” In March, Universal Music Group unveiled its newly restructured West Coast label operation under the banner Interscope Capitol Labels Group.

Donna Gryn
Chief marketing officer, Republic Records
Stephanie Perez
Senior vp of marketing strategy, Republic Records

“We’ve been simultaneously strategic and aggressive with our international strategy over the last year,” says Gryn, who, along with Perez, was promoted to a new post earlier this year. That approach “really made an impact worldwide,” Gryn adds, citing Noah Kahan’s major breakout in the United Kingdom with “Stick Season” (seven weeks at No. 1) and Ireland (14 weeks at No. 1). Meanwhile, the single’s namesake album also clinched No. 1 for multiple weeks in Canada, Ireland and The Netherlands. Ariana Grande’s long-awaited Eternal Sunshine claimed No. 1 in over 10 markets, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and The Netherlands. Republic is collaborating with Anitta to globalize Brazilian funk with the singer’s new album, Funk Generation.

Tor Hansen
Co-founder, Redeye Worldwide
Michael Petkov
Head of international, Redeye Worldwide

“2023 has been Redeye’s biggest year internationally,” Petkov says of the music services company, which was acquired by Exceleration Music in September. The deal gives Redeye access to the independent music company’s resources and expertise. “What has been an ongoing story of growth and progress took another big step forward last year across all markets,” Petkov says. “I am incredibly proud of the team and the company as a whole for achieving this milestone.”

Drew Hill
Deputy CEO, Utopia Music

Hill oversees Utopia Music’s U.K.-based physical distribution businesses, Utopia Distribution Services and Proper Music Group. In August, he relocated UDS to a new warehouse northwest of London, in Bicester, where it serves clients including Universal and Sony. “The site’s output quickly grew to shipping more than 750,000 units a week and exceeded 3 million for the month of November,” Hill says. Distributing an estimated 70% of the United Kingdom’s physical music “will ensure the industry has a fit-for-purpose supply chain for many years to come,” he says. In February 2023, Proper Music Group received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for increasing exports by 85% in three years.

Paul Hitchman
Ben Akinbola
Head of growth, AWAL

Artists Laufey and Djo are AWAL’s biggest successes to date. Over the past year, Laufey, from Iceland, won best traditional pop vocal album at the Grammy Awards for Bewitched, which also topped Billboard’s Jazz Albums and Traditional Jazz Albums charts. Meanwhile, since AWAL signed Djo (the moniker of actor Joe Keery from Netflix’s Stranger Things) in 2019, he has achieved global stardom, particularly with his breakout viral hit, “End of Beginning,” which earned him his first entry on the Hot 100 and landed at No. 2 on Spotify’s global chart. AWAL also expanded, launching in six new markets including Mexico, Brazil and India. “More than ever,” Hitchman says, AWAL “is uniquely positioned to champion entrepreneurial artists on both a local and global level.”

Players, International Power Players, AWAL, Laufey

AWAL artist Laufey, from Iceland, won the Grammy Award for best traditional pop vocal album for Bewitched, which also topped Billboard’s Jazz Albums and Traditional Jazz Albums charts.

Rob Kim/Getty Images

Manu Kaushish
President of India, Create Music Group

Create Music Group, which provides artists and labels with distribution, rights management and creative services, continued to grow stateside and internationally last year. “On YouTube, India has surged to become our second-largest market by viewership, right behind the U.S.,” Kaushish says. “Our new partnerships such as the TikTok Commercial Music Library have led to Canadian artist success stories, with Flight School and Amanda Frances accumulating over 500 million views of their sounds with hundreds of thousands of video creations.” Create has also added to its roster of international artists with the goal of continuing to “bring chart-topping music and international collaborations to our global audiences in 2024.”

Ben Larsen
Senior vp of global marketing, Warner Records
Jericho Adams
Vp of global marketing, Warner Recorded Music
Geneva Gamblin
Director of global marketing, Warner Recorded Music

Two of the past year’s biggest breakouts, singer-songwriters Benson Boone and Teddy Swims, started their rise outside the United States. Warner Records launched Boone, whose “Beautiful Things” has spent eight weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Global Excl. U.S. chart, with a “global-first, fan-first, culture-first approach,” Larsen says. Similarly, Warner Records has worked with Swims for four years “to build real fan bases all over the world” for “Lose Control,” which hit No. 4 on the Billboard Global 200, Larsen says. Adams, meanwhile, played a key role in the global success of Gunna’s hit single “fukumean,” and Gamblin helped drive the international success of Fall Out Boy’s album So Much (for) Stardust.

Thomas Lorain
Nick Roden

Co-presidents, Virgin Music Group Europe
Victor Gonzalez
President, Virgin Music Group Latin America and Iberian Peninsula
Nathan McLay
Managing director, Virgin Music Group Australia and New Zealand
Michael Roe
Managing director, Virgin Music Group Africa, Middle East and Asia

“Over the past year, we have been focused on integrating the Virgin Music, Ingrooves and mtheory teams and strengthening our footprint around the world,” Lorain says. With teams in 32 countries, the company is “aggressively growing in fast-growth markets, giving our artist and label partners the very best available expertise and solutions to create opportunities for their artists no matter where they are,” he adds. Virgin Music Group’s global wins range from Chicago’s David Kushner and Miami’s Gonzy to Nigeria’s Rema, France’s Zaho de Sagazan and Australia’s G Flip.

Ted May
Managing director U.K./head of international for music, MNRK Music Group

May takes pride in the balance that his indie company struck across music genres over the past year, from rock legend Ace Frehley’s late-career overseas success, to Gregory Alan Isakov’s accolades in the folk world, to GEE LEE’s dance streaming hit “Fake ID (Coke & Rum Remix)” and other tracks reaching over 100 million streams in a year, according to MNRK. “There has been no other indie nurturing acts across so many genres in so many markets globally this year,” May says, while also teasing an upcoming “huge international rap crossover record” from MNRK.

Ben Mortimer
President, Polydor Records U.K.

Polydor scored numerous victories in the United Kingdom in 2023, including No. 1 albums from Olivia Rodrigo, Cian Ducrot, boygenius, Ellie Goulding and The Rolling Stones, as well as two catalog titles in the Official Charts Company’s year-end top 10: Eminem’s Curtain Call: The Hits and ABBA’s Gold. There were also breakthroughs for rapper Clavish and Irish dance artist Jazzy, whose hit single “Giving Me” was the first release on Polydor’s new electronic music imprint, Chaos. Lana Del Rey notched her sixth U.K. No. 1 album with Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd. “She’s a true artist in every sense of the word,” Mortimer says, “and there’s so much more to come.”

Roshi Motman
CEO, Amuse

After rising in prominence following the success of Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” in 2019, global digital distribution service Amuse remains a top player in the music industry, especially for independent artists. In 2023, Amuse enjoyed success in Sweden, where it had five of the 10 most-streamed songs on Spotify, while one of its licensed acts, Yot Club, reached 1 billion streams with “YKWIM?” “There’s a monumental shift happening in the industry,” Motman says, “and we’re excited to support the new generation of independent stars.”

Suhel Nafar
Managing director, West Asia and North Africa, EMPIRE
Ezegozie Eze Jr.
Vp of strategy and market development of Africa and Diaspora, EMPIRE
Mobolaji Kareem
Regional head of West Africa, EMPIRE

After leading the music industry to rethink how it approached distribution of rap albums and singles starting in 2010, the EMPIRE team shifted its attention to Africa. Since 2019, the distributor turned label and content powerhouse has been a major force on the continent, “with the success of Fireboy DML, Asake, Kizz Daniel, Black Sherif, and the unprecedented collaborative project between Bnxn fka Buju and Ruger,” says Eze. And the company has already established a presence in South Africa, North Africa and West Asia in a bid to become one of the fastest-growing music companies in those regions.

Jamie Oborne
Founder/owner, Dirty Hit/All on Red

While indie label Dirty Hit has grown under Oborne’s stewardship to boast such hit-makers as Bleachers and beabadoobee on its roster, its flagship act remains The 1975, which Oborne has managed for over a decade. The act, which staged its Still… At Their Very Best tour in North America and European arenas in late 2023 and early 2024, has sold nearly 2 million concert tickets, according to Oborne. The group also joined TikTok, with videos using its hashtag boasting over 4 billion combined views. “The campaign has been incredibly personally rewarding,” Oborne says.

Alejandra Olea
Managing director of Americas, Believe
Andreea Gleeson
CEO, TuneCore
Romain Vivien
Global head of music/president of Europe, Believe

The past year has been “incredibly exciting” for the Paris-based digital distribution company “thanks to our team’s unrivaled digital expertise, passion and commitment to empowering local music scenes all around the world,” Vivien says. Believe has grown both at home and abroad. The company says it had a 29% market share in France for the top albums and top singles locally, including the highest-selling French album of the year, Carré, by newcomer Werenoi. Another notable feat: Iñigo Quintero’s viral song “Si No Estás,” which peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Global Excl. U.S. chart in November. A consortium led by Believe founder Denis Ladegaillerie plans to take the company private in the coming year after Warner Music ended acquisition talks.

Maykel Piron
CEO, Armada Music

Armada Music crossed the 20-year mark in 2023 and remains a force in EDM. With a “strong history in creativity and innovation,” Piron says, Armada launched the first dance music investment company with BEAT Music Fund. Shortly afterward, Armada bolstered its catalog globally by adding legacy acts including Dutch duo Chocolate Puma, New York-based independent dance label King Street Sounds, U.K.-based Sola Records and Viva Music. “It has been and remains a privilege to work with the kinds of people that sparked my passion for dance music in the first place,” he says, “and that passion is still very much alive to this day.”

Martin Price
Senior vp of global business development, ONErpm
Ahu Ozisik
Country manager of Turkey, ONErpm

ONErpm, which provides digital distribution and artist services, has had year-over-year growth of 40%, Price says, “combined with the rollout of our broader new offerings of Offstep and Enterprise Solutions and continued successful expansion into Scandinavia and the Middle East.” Offstep is a digital distribution service designed for DIY artists, while Enterprise Solutions offers financial and accounting services. In Turkey, ONErpm “has seen over 150% growth from 2022 to 2023,” Ozisik says, with success stories such as the Azer Bülbül Tribute project — which honors the late Turkish singer-actor — reaching over 178 million streams, according to the company.

Paul Redding
CEO, Beggars Group
Alex Keague-Davies
GM, Matador Records

“Our global structure continued to deliver success for our artists and labels,” says Redding of Beggars Group, which is home to labels Matador, 4AD, Rough Trade, XL Recordings and Young. He cites Queens of the Stone Age and The National as two rock bands under its umbrella that released albums in 2023 and went on tours that delivered “unspeakably great live shows” to fans. “There were so many other successes from our artists in so many different countries,” he says. “I could not be more excited about the artists on all our labels and look forward to 2024 being even better.”

Jeffrey Remedios
Chairman/CEO, Universal Music Canada
Julie Adam
Executive vp/GM, Universal Music Canada
JP Boucher
Senior vp of marketing, Universal Music Canada

Under Remedios’ leadership, Universal Music Canada has been the driving force behind award-winning, record-breaking artist projects, initiatives and campaigns over the past 12 months. “The results speak for themselves,” he says. “In Canada in 2023, eight of the top 10 albums overall were by Universal Music artists, and Universal had the No. 1 album 33 of 52 weeks of the year. Canadian artists Josh Ross, Jamie Fine and Preston Pablo continued to break records in Canada and chart internationally, and we’re expanding our epic roster by signing new deals with powerhouse artists.”

Ruben Santos
Vp of A&R for Cinq Music Latin America, Cinq Music

In 2023, Santos played a pivotal role in driving Cinq Music’s mission to promote Latin artists worldwide. He notes that singles from Haze and Jhayco, Calle 24 and Chino Pacas, and Fuerza Regida, as well as the release of Tito Torbellino Jr’s album Torbellino and other Cinq projects, helped “fuel the Latin landscape to unprecedented heights,” amassing approximately 500 million streams in total last year, according to the company. “With strategic vision, an innovative approach to artist collaboration and a curated roster of mega hit-makers across genres from reggaetón to regional Mexican,” he says, “I feel proud that my contributions have set the stage for continued cultural richness and the global appeal of Latin American music.”

Adriana Sein
Head of global artist and market development, ADA Worldwide
Howard Corner
Managing director, ADA U.K.
Alassane Konate
Managing director, ADA France
Ben Ralph
Senior vp, ADA Australasia
Cesar Lores
Director, ADA Iberia

ADA has logged multiple successes over the last year, including Spanish artist Quevedo’s debut album, Donde Quiero Estar, which generated over 3 billion streams and debuted at No. 12 on Top Latin Albums. Sonny Fodera’s gold-certified “Asking” was the first single in a decade from an artist-owned dance label to enter the U.K. top 10. Other notable ADA achievements: Kerser scored the highest-selling first-week numbers for an Australian artist with A Gift & A Kers, and Hamza’s Sincèrement reached No. 1 in France. Sein was instrumental in securing a global distribution deal for U.S.-based Rostrum Records, founded by CEO Benjy Grinberg. One of the world’s leading independent labels, Rostrum launched the careers of Wiz Khalifa and the late Mac Miller.

Players, International Power Players, Quevedo, ADA

Quevedo’s debut album, Donde Quiero Estar, has generated over 3 billion streams worldwide, according to ADA.

Kike Rincon/Europa Press/Getty Images

Wassim “SAL” Slaiby
Founder/CEO, SALXCO/XO, Universal Music Arabic

Slaiby knows a star when he sees one. The Weeknd’s longtime manager, through his company SALXCO, has been involved in the careers of multiple chart-topping musicians — from Brandy to Bryson Tiller to French Montana. He has been helping to push Middle Eastern music to the forefront in the United States with artists like Mohamed Ramadan and Elyanna. “Witnessing Elyanna’s historic performance at Coachella [in 2023], where she became the first artist to captivate the audience with a set in Arabic, and subsequently selling out her North American tour at such a young age has been so special,” he says.

Marcelo Soares
President, Som Livre

Soares is beyond proud of what Brazilian record company Som Livre achieved last year. “It commanded the top positions of the Brazilian charts in 2023 with five of the top seven songs in the country, and ‘Leão’ by the late Marília Mendonça leading the way,” he says. At last year’s Latin Grammy Awards, held in Seville, Spain, the label’s talent received four of the nine nominations in the Portuguese-language categories including best Portuguese language rock or alternative album, best Portuguese language urban performance, best Portuguese language song and best sertanejo music album.

Kieran Thurgood
Senior vp of global marketing, Capitol Music Group

Thurgood points to Doechii and her breakout hit, “What It Is” (featuring Kodak Black), as a global success story for Capitol. The song “sparked out of Nigeria and the Philippines, which in turn created a hit in the U.S., with the song recently topping U.S. charts,” he says. The single reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Rhythmic Airplay chart in June. And while he adds that Ice Spice “has been a key global focus” for the label, he promises an “even bigger 2024” for the fast-rising superstar. “It’s a hugely exciting time for Capitol,” he says. “The building is just buzzing.”

Chloé van Bergen
Vp of operations for U.K. and Europe, Secretly Group
Chris Cannon
Head of international strategy, Secretly Distribution
Tom Davies
Director of global marketing and campaigns, Secretly Distribution

With new offices in Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam and Sydney, the Secretly Group of labels and Secretly Distribution enjoyed international growth in 2023. Notably, Secretly Group celebrated the viral success of Mitski’s “My Love Mine All Mine,” which entered the top 30 of the Hot 100 and ruled the TikTok Billboard Top 50 for six weeks. Secretly Distribution added new label clients (including Chrysalis Records and Moshi Moshi Records), with van Bergen citing “hugely successful campaigns it oversaw, such as Sufjan Stevens’ acclaimed Javelin [Asthmatic Kitty], El Michels Affair & Black Thought [Big Crown], Say She She [Colemine Records] and label services client campaigns such as A24, Reverend Kristin Michael Hayter, Beirut and many more.”

Dan Waite
CEO, Better Noise Music

In a year where he moved from president to CEO of hard rock-focused label Better Noise Music, Waite has also been involved in discussions about royalty changes with Spotify and Apple Music in his role as chair of the indie-supporting IMPALA Digital Committee, “representing concerns and questions from the IMPALA members across Europe.” With Better Noise, he has enjoyed another successful year for acts like longtime rock hit-makers Five Finger Death Punch, including a tour supporting Metallica and a No. 1 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Airplay chart with “Welcome to the Circus” — the band’s record-extending 10th consecutive No. 1 on the chart.

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Manuel Abud
CEO, Latin Recording Academy

Global expansion and diversification have been the core goals of the Latin Recording Academy over the past year. For the first time, not only were the Latin Grammy Awards held abroad, in Seville, Spain, but also featured 100% female representation in the four main categories — and Laura Pausini was honored as the 2023 person of the year. As part of its international expansion plan, the academy also pursued opportunities in Mexico, Brazil and Spain outside of awards season. “I am very proud to continue leading my team with the support of our board of trustees,” Abud says, “and look forward to continue building on this momentum of our evolution in the year ahead.”

Charlie Lexton
COO, Merlin

Merlin, which represents 15% of the global recorded-music market, has spent the past year developing what Lexton calls a “data warehouse” to analyze its trove of streaming, video and social media metrics. “This sophisticated platform facilitates comprehensive analysis to deliver deep insights,” says Lexton (who was promoted to COO in 2020), at a time when Merlin had spent the previous 12 years distributing some $4 billion to its more than 500 members. Lexton’s team has also hired data, analytics, finance and software employees who are “focused on furnishing the organization’s members with unique, exclusive and actionable insights.”

John Nolan
CFO/interim joint head, IFPI
Lauri Rechardt
Chief legal officer/interim joint head, IFPI

Following last year’s retirement of longtime CEO Frances Moore, two members of IFPI’s executive team, Nolan and Rechardt, were appointed by its global board to co-manage the organization as it searched for its next leader. (Victoria Oakley will assume the CEO role on June 1.) As CFO, Nolan is responsible for IFPI’s global revenue data for the recorded-music industry, global charts and management of the organization’s operational and financial support functions. Rechardt’s experience includes previous roles as deputy general counsel and director of licensing and litigation at IFPI, partner and head of intellectual property at a leading Finnish law firm and head of the IFPI Finnish national group.

John Phelan
Director general, International Confederation of Music Publishers

Phelan’s team helped “bag serious wins in incoming AI laws for the music industry and our songwriter and composer partners,” he says, citing the European Union AI Act, which European Parliament passed March 13 after negotiations throughout 2023. According to the ICMP, the act forces AI companies to “observe EU copyright law,” stop “illegally taking the world’s music to train AI models” and “retain detailed documentation on what content was used to train the model.” The law, Phelan adds, “will be a force multiplier for copyright protection in AI around the world, [which] matters for every last music company and creator.”

aPlayers, International Power Players, Publishing Header

Annette Barrett
Managing director/global strategic liaison, Reservoir; president, International Music Publishers Forum
Jeremy Lascelles
Co-founder/CEO, Blue Raincoat Music; CEO, Chrysalis Records
Hussain “Spek” Yoosuf
Executive vp of international and emerging markets, Reservoir; founder/CEO, PopArabia

In the past year, Reservoir’s global offices have executed strategic deals through its venture with PopArabia, such as signing “Queen of Pop” Nancy Ajram and continuing to develop PopArabia’s rights organization, ESMAA. The first-of-its-kind music rights management entity looks to protect artists and music creators throughout the United Arab Emirates and the Persian Gulf. One of its major accomplishments includes creating the first licensing platform for music publishers and performing rights organizations in the Middle East and North Africa. “It is an honor,” Yoosuf says, “to be recognized alongside my colleagues Jeremy Lascelles and Annette Barrett out of the U.K.”

Ben Budde
CEO, Budde Group

Budde is the third-generation CEO of the Berlin-based, family-owned music publisher, which ranks fifth in Germany by market share behind the majors and BMG. Over the past decade, he has expanded the company into talent management, concert promotion and a co-owned agency business that represents film/TV clients, as well as musicians. One big 2023 highlight: a Grammy nomination for the joint-venture tribute album I Am a Pilgrim: Doc Watson at 100, which featured contributions from Dolly Parton, Rosanne Cash and others. Budde Talent Agency is becoming a major player in Europe, and Budde has global ambitions. “I want international success stories for our writers,” he says. “Global hits.”

Catrin Drabble
CFO, Kobalt
Rob Christensen
Executive vp/head of global synch, Kobalt
Jon Trumbull
Global head of client services and administration, Kobalt
Leslie Ahrens
Senior vp of creative for Latin America, Kobalt
Kenny McGoff
Head of creative U.K., Kobalt

“Collectively, the Kobalt team has been behind some of the most important artists of the last 12 months,” McGoff says. He hails Billboard Women in Music 2024 Woman of the Year Karol G, “who continues to break new ground.” Her 2023 album, Mañana Será Bonito, became the first all-Spanish-language album by a female artist to top the Billboard 200 and earned the Latin pop star her first Grammy Award in February. He also cites “top-­liner Mocha” (Imani Lewis), who co-wrote Tyla’s global smash and Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart No. 1, “Water,” and The Last Dinner Party, “one of the most exciting new bands in the world.”

Players, International Power Players, Kobalt, Tyla

Kobalt has a publishing interest in Tyla’s “Water,” a No. 1 hit on Billboard’s Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart.

John Argueta/ABC/Getty Images

Kim Frankiewicz
Executive vp of worldwide A&R, Concord Music Publishing
Tina Funk
Managing director, Concord Music Publishing Germany, Switzerland and Austria
Jaime Gough
Managing director, Concord Australia and New Zealand

Concord’s recent successes include such newly minted Grammy winners as South African star Tyla, whose “Water” won best African music performance, and U.K. grime MC-producer Flowdan, whose “Rumble,” a collaboration with Skrillex and Fred again.., won best dance/electronic recording. Concord has also achieved success with Berlin-based songwriter Kristine Bogan, who co-wrote K-pop girl group NewJeans’ hit “Super Shy,” a track from the act’s Billboard 200-topping EP, Get Up. “Our songwriters from across the roster and around the globe had an incredible year with breakthrough hits,” Frankiewicz says. “All this success comes from our creative team and the global network we’ve built.”

Shani Gonzales
Managing director, Warner Chappell Music U.K.; head of international A&R, Warner Chappell Music
Natascha Augustin
Managing director, Warner Chappell Music Germany
Lars Karlsson
Managing director, Warner Chappell Music Scandinavia
Gustavo Menéndez
President, U.S. Latin and Latin America, Warner Chappell Music
Santiago Menéndez-Pidal
President, Warner Chappell Music Southern Europe
Matthieu Tessier
Managing director, Warner Chappell Music France

In the United Kingdom, Gonzales oversaw Warner Chappell Music writer Dave teaming up with Central Cee for the 2023 single “Sprinter,” which became the longest-reigning U.K. rap single in U.K. chart history. According to the Official Charts Company, Warner Chappell Music Germany achieved a 27.8% market share in 2023, in part thanks to Augustin’s embrace of German-language hip-hop. Under Karlsson, Warner Chappell writer Loreen won Sweden’s Melodifestivalen contest with “Tattoo,” which she then took to the Eurovision Song Contest. At the Latin Grammy Awards, held in Spain last year, Menéndez celebrated the person of the year honor going to Italian-born Warner Chappell writer-performer Laura Pausini, the first artist born outside of Latin America or Spain to receive the recognition.

David Gray
Executive vp/head of U.S. A&R/head of global creative group, Universal Music Publishing Group
Alexandra Lioutikoff
President of Latin America and U.S. Latin, Universal Music Publishing Group
Yadira Moreno
Managing director of Mexico and Central America, Universal Music Publishing Group
Ana Rosa Santiago
Senior vp of Latin America and U.S. Latin, Universal Music Publishing Group

More than ever, the team at UMPG is leveraging its network of offices around the world to provide its writers with new opportunities. “[We] think globally, act locally,” Lioutikoff says. “UMPG first looks at UMPG artists and writers in their original market and then ideates how to leverage the writing talents available from other various territories to create worldwide opportunities.” These international opportunities for writers are often spearheaded by UMPG’s Global Creative Group, a worldwide team of A&R executives and creatives. Its successes this year included forming the unlikely pairing of Mexican artist-writer Carín León and its Nashville writers and encouraging the collaboration between Brazil’s Luísa Sonza and Demi Lovato on “Penhasco 2,” a No. 4 hit on the Billboard Brazil Hot 100.

Alexandra Lioutikoff is Billboard‘s inaugural International Power Players’ Choice Award recipient. To read the full story, click here.

Josh Gruss
CEO, Round Hill Music

The sale of the London Stock Exchange-listed Round Hill Music Royalty Fund portfolio to Concord was a “standout transaction,” Gruss says, as it featured 10 years’ worth of a carefully curated collection of rights. It also demonstrated the value of “timeless, well-managed music and ensured a second successful exit event for our investors, following the 2020 [initial public offering] of the portfolio that we originally launched back in 2012,” he says.

Guy Henderson
President of international, Sony Music Publishing
David Ventura
President/co-managing director of U.K./senior vp of international, Sony Music Publishing
Tim Major
Co-managing director of U.K., Sony Music Publishing
Nicolas Galibert
Managing director of France, Sony Music Publishing
Jorge Mejia
President/CEO of Latin America and U.S. Latin, Sony Music Publishing

The publisher scored a global smash with Rema and Selena Gomez’s No. 3 Billboard Global 200 hit, “Calm Down,” produced by Michael “London” Hunter; landed numerous Latin chart-­toppers, including Shakira and Karol G’s “TQG,” co-written by Keityn; and paired Dan Smith of Bastille with composer Hans Zimmer on the score to the BBC’s Planet Earth III. “We are very intentional about nurturing meaningful connections with our songwriters so that we can help them to realize their creative ambitions,” Major says. Ventura notes working with Sony’s Social Justice Fund and SMP’s Songwriters Forward initiative, which “continues to make an impact on the next generation of talent.”

David Loiterton
President of Indo and Asia Pacific, Primary Wave Music

Loiterton highlights last year’s investment in Indian label/music publisher Times Music — part of the Times of India media conglomerate — as part of Primary Wave’s effort to invest in emerging markets, which he notes “will be the growth engine for the business over the next decade.” The deal marked the company’s “first strategic partnership in emerging markets,” he adds, and “recognizes the growth of non-­English-language music in markets like the U.S.”

Merck Mercuriadis
Founder/chairman, Hipgnosis Song Management

Mercuriadis and the Hipgnosis team have had an indelible impact on the catalog market since the company’s inception. Now Mercuriadis, who recently stepped down as Hipgnosis’ CEO but remains its chairman, has $3 billion in assets under management, including parts of catalogs from Justin Bieber, Shakira, David Foster, Tobias Jesso Jr., Erika Ender and TMS in the last few years. Since 2023, Hipgnosis has handled $400 million in acquisitions that includes more than 50 No. 1 hits from Taylor Swift, Mariah Carey and Beyoncé, according to the company. Hipgnosis Songs Management is the investment adviser to Hipgnosis Songs Fund, whose board in April received competing takeover bids from Concord and Blackstone.

Mary Megan Peer
CEO, peermusic
Spencer Lee
President of Asia Pacific, peermusic

In October, peermusic opened its 39th office, making it one of the most international independent publishers in the world. As part of the new deal, peermusic also acquired Arctic Rights Management’s catalog of over 5,000 recordings and compositions, including publishing interest in hits like “Don’t Start Now” and “New Rules” by Dua Lipa. It has become a top choice for rights holders, including Hipgnosis and Concord, that need robust international administration services. Plus, its 2016 acquisition of MusicCube has made peermusic a major player in K-pop. “South Korea is the third-largest country in peermusic’s global network on an income basis,” Peer says, citing hits recorded by acts such as NewJeans, G(I)-DLE and Le Sserafim that have contributed most to the company’s 17% compound annual growth rate in the Asia Pacific region.

Players, International Power Players, Arctic Rights Management, Dua Lipa

In October, peermusic acquired the catalog of Arctic Rights Management, including the publishing interests in hits like “Don’t Start Now” and “New Rules” by Dua Lipa.

Christopher Polk for Billboard

Emily Stephenson
President, Downtown Music Publishing
Thando Makhunga
Managing director, Sheer Publishing Africa

Scoring new deals with artists like Peso Pluma and Colbie Caillat, Downtown Music Publishing had “unprecedented growth” throughout 2023, Stephenson says. Downtown also represented 11 global songwriters who took home Grammy Awards in 2024, including best traditional pop vocal album and best tropical Latin album. The company helped place Bruce Hornsby’s “The Show Goes On” in the season premiere of FX’s Emmy Award-winning TV series The Bear and secured a new administrative services deal with publisher Spirit Music Group. Stephenson attributes Downtown’s blockbuster year to its “unwavering commitment to serving emerging, independent artists around the world.”

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Dion Brant
CEO, Frontier Touring
Susan Heymann
COO, Frontier Touring

Frontier Touring set about smashing records in 2023 with over 600 shows across Australia; more than 40 of those were in stadiums, including Ed Sheeran’s +-=÷x Tour. Equally impressive, Brant says, are the more than 20 new acts broken in that time as touring headliners. “Our approach is different from other promoters,” he says. “Our priorities are the artist, the fans and the show, ahead of the net profit or the quarterly market update.” That success continued in early 2024 with Taylor Swift’s sold-out, seven-date Australian stadium run for her The Eras Tour, produced by Frontier.

Carolina Daza
Head of live entertainment, Cárdenas Marketing Network

Luis Miguel’s world tour kicked off in August with a run of 20 arena shows between Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Santiago, Chile. According to Billboard Boxscore, the concerts in Buenos Aires brought in $13.9 million from 105,000 tickets, while the other 10 in Santiago raked in $14.3 million from 122,000 tickets. Following a robust stint in South America, Luis Miguel filled arenas in the United States and finished the year in Mexico. Overall, the sold-out tour, produced by CMN in partnership with Fenix Entertainment, made 66 stops, and the Mexican crooner is set to continue his trek this year with over 100 shows scheduled.

Denis Desmond
Chairman, Live Nation U.K. and Ireland
John Reid
President, Live Nation Europe, the Middle East and Africa
Marek Lieberberg
CEO/managing director, Live Nation Germany, Austria and Switzerland
Andre Lieberberg
President/managing director, Live Nation Germany, Austria and Switzerland
Mark Kneebone
Vp of talent, Live Nation Australasia; managing director, Live Nation New Zealand
Wenona Lok
Promoter, Live Nation Australasia

Under Desmond, Live Nation U.K. and Ireland had a record year in 2023 with 16 million tickets sold, including stadium shows by Beyoncé, Blur, Harry Styles, The Weeknd and AEW Wrestling, according to the company. Father and son Marek and Andre Lieberberg led Live Nation’s acquisition of Goodhive, which presents 10 festivals across Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Live Nation promoted 71 arena dates in the region by German schlager singer Helene Fischer, one of the biggest arena concerts in Germany’s history in the number of shows, according to Live Nation. Kneebone, with help from Lok, oversaw TWICE becoming the first female group to headline a stadium in Australia and the first K-pop act to play such a venue with its two shows in November at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne.

Pascual Egea
Head of Europe, WK Entertainment
César Figueiredo
Artist manager, WK Entertainment/Central Sonora

“Central Sonora has proven to be a powerhouse among Brazil’s exclusive artist management companies,” Figueiredo says. “Its partnership with WK Entertainment has been instrumental in making strides to foster creativity and diversity in the global music landscape.” The artist manager’s top acts include Brazilian superstar Ludmilla, who was named Billboard’s Latin Artist on the Rise in February 2023. Her accolades include winning best Latin collaboration at the LOS40 Music Awards in 2023 and, more recently, “accumulating more than 5 million streams in less than 24 hours” with album Numanice #3, Figueiredo adds. The Rio de Janeiro native performed at this year’s Coachella festival.

Kaori Hayashi
CEO, Hayashi International Promotions

Hayashi says that “without a doubt” her company’s greatest achievement over the past year was promoting seven sold-out Bruno Mars stadium shows at the Tokyo Dome, which she says broke all records for Japanese box-office receipts and confirmed “that Bruno is the No. 1 international artist in Japan.” Hayashi runs the company founded by her father, Hiromichi “Massy” Hayashi, and was recognized last fall in Billboard Japan’s Women in Music interview series. “There aren’t many female concert promoters out there,” she says, “so I’d be happy if people notice me for being the next generation of the business and for being a rare woman in it who can really help shake up the industry.”

Alex Hill
President/CEO, AEG Europe
Adam Wilkes
Chairman/CEO, AEG Asia Pacific; chairman of the board, Frontier Touring
Steve Homer
CEO, AEG Presents U.K.
Jim King
CEO of European festivals, AEG Presents
John Langford
COO, AEG Europe
Simon Jones
Senior vp of international touring, AEG Presents

For AEG Europe, Hill oversees venues, tours and festivals including BST Hyde Park in London, which in 2023 welcomed P!nk, Blackpink, Guns N’ Roses, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, Take That, Lana Del Rey and Billy Joel. Wilkes expanded his role in Asia to take on the position of chairman of the board of AEG partner Frontier Touring. In the United Kingdom, Homer led the multimillion-­dollar renovation of The Halls Wolverhampton, reviving the historic music venue. Langford is responsible for all arena operations across the United Kingdom and Germany, including O2 Arena in London, the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin and Barclays Arena in Hamburg, Germany. Jones guides AEG tours outside North America, including Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour.

Joe Howard
Global festival promoter, C3 Presents
Huston Powell
Promoter, C3 Presents

Global impact is a C3 Presents hallmark, as Lollapalooza consistently showcases robust lineups of local and regional talent along with major global touring acts. Howard has observed an uptick in international artists playing higher positions on festival bills, “from Stray Kids headlining Lolla Paris last summer to the significant slots for Karol G, Tomorrow X Together and NewJeans performing at Lolla Chicago, and The Rose playing five different Lollapalooza festivals in the last year between South America, Chicago, Berlin in 2023 and, most recently, in Mumbai [India] this past January.” Colombian artist Feid’s headlining turns at Lolla Chile and Argentina in March provided another highlight.

Blaine Legere
President of international, AXS

The AEG-owned ticketing platform launched AXS New Zealand and AXS Australia with a mix of venue, sports and music clients. Two subsequent high points for the company included the Foo Fighters’ Christchurch gig at Orangetheory Stadium and Paramore’s record-breaking performance at The Domain in Sydney. In Japan, AXS tripled the size of its tech and support teams in running the Valorant Riot Games Championship in Tokyo and supporting World Baseball Classic events in Tokyo and Osaka. “Our presence in [Asia Pacific],” Legere says, “was a key component of AXS winning” the ticketing services deal for the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

Peter Loxton
COO of commercial, ASM Global

ASM Global’s presence in the Middle East has grown with the addition of new venues within Expo City Dubai, which hosted COP28 alongside the Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Loxton is also excited about partnerships in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, as well as ventures in East Asia. “This year, the finishing touches are being made to the massive Pearl of the Orient, Kai Tak Sports Park, in Hong Kong,” he says, “and we continue to collaborate on Brisbane Live Arena, which will enhance the entertainment legacy of the city, both for the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the future.”

Klaus-Peter Schulenberg
CEO, CTS Eventim

Europe’s largest ticketing company, CTS Events, enjoyed a second record-breaking year in revenue and profitability with an international expansion that includes the acquisitions, in partnership with Sony Music Latin-Iberia, of Punto Ticket in Chile and Teleticket in Peru. Besides successfully handling the sales for highly anticipated tours such as Taylor Swift, AC/DC and Rammstein, the company was appointed as one of two ticketers for the LA28 Olympic and Paralympic Games alongside AEG’s AXS. “These key endeavors underscore our dedication to worldwide growth,” Schulenberg says, “and strengthen CTS Eventim’s position in global live entertainment.”

Players, International Power Players, CTS Eventim, Rammstein

Ticketing company CTS Eventim sold seats for tours by top artists including veteran German band Rammstein.

Malte Krudewig/picture alliance/Getty Images

Alejandro Soberón Kuri
Founder/CEO, OCESA
Octavio Padilla
Director, OCESA Seitrack
Leizer Guss Guss
Festivals director, OCESA

In 2023, Soberón Kuri says, OCESA “connected the best artists and bands on the planet with an amazing audience, based on creativity, experience and ­knowledge.” Majority-owned by Live Nation since 2021, the Mexico City-based concert promoter brought fans international superstars like Taylor Swift, Paul McCartney, Lana Del Rey, The Weeknd, Billie Eilish, Post Malone, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rauw Alejandro, Imagine Dragons, Mötley Crüe/Def Leppard and Peso Pluma. “Jointly with Live Nation,” Soberón Kuri says, “we will continue to be one of the most prominent cities in the artistic circuit in the world for artists, promoters and music producers to showcase their talent and connect with the best audiences.”

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Sia Aghaiepour
Founder/CEO, Heavy Rotation

The booking agency Heavy Rotation “has been making waves in the Middle East,” Aghaiepour says, “orchestrating over 70 blockbuster shows featuring superstars like Chris Brown, Davido, Rema, Asake and many more.” Strategic partnerships with Live Nation Middle East and Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, have “propelled us to new heights,” Aghaiepour says, crediting his “squad for their resilience and ingenuity in shaping the future of global entertainment.”

Emma Banks
Mike Greek

Co-heads of international touring/co-heads of London office, CAA
Chris Dalston
Marlene Tsuchii

Co-heads of international touring, CAA
Andy Cook
Music agent, CAA

CAA clients including Harry Styles, Beyoncé, The Weeknd, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Muse and Westlife sold out stadium tours throughout Europe, Asia, South America and Australia, while Lana Del Rey, blink-182, Hozier and Noah Kahan embarked on sold-out global outdoor and arena runs, with “even bigger shows ahead in 2024,” Cook says. He also cites the “staggering success” of AC/DC’s forthcoming Power Up tour, the band’s first European tour in eight years, which Cook says sold 1.5 million tickets internationally the day it went on sale.

Matt Bates
CEO/agent, Primary Talent International
Rick Levy
Partner/board member, Primary Talent International

After announcing a surprise split with CAA in March 2023 — less than a year after CAA acquired Primary Talent through its purchase of Primary’s parent company, ICM Presents — the U.K. booking agency has continued to grow as a “reestablished independent,” Bates says. Since the decoupling, according to the agency, it has booked over 6,000 shows internationally — and sold 400,000 headline tickets for The 1975 in the United Kingdom alone. Last April, the company also welcomed former ICM agent Pete Nash as a partner, gaining his clients including Kings of Leon, Pet Shop Boys, Regina Spektor, Steve Winwood and Travis.

Jeff Craib
CEO, The Feldman Agency
Rob Segal
President of TFA brands and partnerships, The Feldman Agency

“Over the past year at TFA, my biggest achievement has been shepherding the new business in owned and operated properties,” Segal says, “like Montreal Grand Prix, now expanding to Miami; launching the first season of The Bowl, Toronto’s new outdoor concert venue; and spearheading licensing and branding opportunities for our roster of talented artists.” The agency, which has a long-term strategy that includes verticals besides representing its touring artists, boasts a roster that features Shania Twain, Avril Lavigne, Sum 41, Simple Plan, Barenaked Ladies, Alvvays, Feist, Alessia Cara and Nelly Furtado.

Lucy Dickins
Partner/global head of contemporary music and touring, WME
Josh Javor
Partner/co-head of London music department, WME
James Rubin
Partner/co-head of hip-hop/R&B, WME
Brett Murrihy
Partner/head of music Asia Pacific, WME
Shannon Saunders
Agent, WME

Teams in Latin America, Europe and the Asia Pacific region have made WME “the only major music booking agency with multiple regional servicing groups,” Dickins says. This reach made it possible to book “a wide range of truly global tours this year” with runs including a 214-show Backstreet Boys outing that visited six continents and, Dickins says, sold over 2 million tickets. Usher held a residency in Paris; Luis Miguel launched a 121-show tour in North, South and Central America; Bruno Mars played seven sold-out shows at Japan’s Tokyo Dome; Zach Bryan played his first European headlining shows; and J Balvin played his first headline dates in Australia. Adele’s upcoming residency in Munich will also mark the first time an artist has had a stadium purposely built for a show.

Players, International Power Players, Bruno Mars, Hayashi International Promotions

WME client Bruno Mars played seven sold-out shows in 2023 at the Toyko Dome, presented by Hayashi International Promotions.

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Ulises Gasparini
General director of GTS Brazil, Global Talent Services
Gaby Gómez
Director of GTS Live Mexico, Global Talent Services
Mari Cruz Laguna Santos
GTS Live director/corporate representative, Global Talent Services

In the past year, Global Talent Services, a division of Universal Music Group, has positioned itself as a top-level agency for management in Spain with 24 acts on its roster, in addition to its live-events division selling out over 500 shows in 2023. In Mexico, GTS sold 175 shows among 25 artists and, in Brazil, serves as the booking agency and managing partner for acts such as Maneva, Leo Santana, Atitude 67, Felipe Araújo and Paula Fernandes. One of the company’s notable highlights, according to Cruz Laguna Santos, is “the positioning of Colombian band Morat as the No. 1 Spanish-speaking pop-rock act of the moment.” The band sold out 1 million tickets across 125 concerts in 15 countries for its Si Ayer Fuera Hoy tour, according to GTS.

Players, International Power Players, Morat, Global Talent Services

Colombian band Morat sold out 1 million tickets across 125 concerts in 15 countries with its Si Ayer Fuera Hoy tour, according to Global Talent Services.

Daniel Knighton/Getty Images

Hady Hajjar
Co-founder/managing director, HuManagement

Representing clients and celebrities from the Middle East and North Africa, HuManagement has had significant growth in the last year through its talent representation business and celebrity marketing work. “Our strategic partnership with Warner Music further solidifies our world position, enabling us to amplify local talent, global superstars and world-class events to the region including F1, Joy Awards and the Red Sea International Film Festival,” Hajjar says. “With the entertainment market expected to grow in the region 9.41% by 2029, we’re excited to be a part of shaping the future of film, music, sports and cultural events.”

Keith Naisbitt
Executive vp of global touring, Independent Artist Group
Peter Pappalardo
Executive vp/head of global touring, Independent Artist Group

Pappalardo calls 50 Cent’s Final Lap European tour a highlight last year for the company, which was created from the merger of the Agency for the Performing Arts and Artist Group International in June. He says the 50 Cent run boasted a “near 100% sellout rate,” including more than 30,000 tickets sold in Paris and the “fastest sellout” in the history of Riga, Latvia. The tour, which was originally scheduled for 25 shows, garnered such “overwhelming demand,” he adds, that the number of dates swelled to 38 across the continent.

Jon Ollier
CEO, One Fiinix Live

The British booking agency, management firm and digital marketing agency One Fiinix Live experienced “impressive growth” in 2023, according to Ollier, who adds, “We have developed a brand we are incredibly proud of, and we now have agents in both the U.S. and international markets.” Besides bringing tour shows to clubs, theaters, arenas and stadiums, the company has helped post record-breaking runs in Australia and Asia with Ed Sheeran. “It is my belief,” Ollier says, “that we are positioned to become the leading independent agency.”

Brent Smith
Executive vp/managing executive, Wasserman Music
Tom Schroeder
Executive vp/managing executive, Wasserman Music (U.K.)
Jesse Fayne
Vp of international festivals, Wasserman Music
Anna Bewers
Ryan Penty
Agents, Wasserman Music (U.K.)

The agency continued representing major stars including SZA, Nothing but Thieves and Fred again.. along with “many of the most promising new artists around the world,” Schroeder says. He says the essential element driving Wasserman Music’s international growth has been “fostering innovation and integration across all the services we provide globally,” from talent booking, brand partnerships and artist marketing to “cross-pollinating all aspects of entertainment, sports and culture.” But, he says, it’s the company’s “core characteristics — passion, creativity, authenticity, industriousness — that have set us apart and always will.”

Neil Warnock
Co-head of UTA U.K./head of global touring, UTA
Obi Asika
Co-head of UTA U.K., UTA
Anna Gregorek
Senior director of music brand partnerships and strategic marketing, UTA
Carlos Abreu
Agent, music, UTA
James Gartshore Boulter
Agent, endorsements and voiceover, UTA

Abreu cites “a record-breaking year, which wouldn’t have become a reality without the hard work of every single skilled agent and colleague across our offices globally.” Highlights include Rosalía performing for 160,000 people at Mexico City’s Zocalo, Karol G’s sold-out Latin American stadium tour and upcoming sold-out European tour, Bring Me the Horizon’s headlining European festival run, Paramore’s sold-out Latin American tour, Post Malone’s headlining set at the inaugural edition of São Paulo’s The Town festival and Burna Boy and Wizkid’s debut London stadium shows. “Our international team,” Abreu says, “impacted global culture in an incredible way.”

Players, International Power Players, Post Malone, UTA

Post Malone, booked by UTA, headlined the inaugural edition of São Paulo’s The Town festival.

Rob Carr/Getty Images

Players, International Power Players, Rights Groups Header

Honorees in this sector were chosen solely by Billboard’s editorial team and not through industry nominations.

Casper Bjørner

The Swedish collective management organization (CMO) celebrated its 100th anniversary last year and collected a record 2.7 billion krona ($267.3 million) in 2022, a 25.6% increase over 2021. According to STIM, it will set another record with its 2023 results, partly thanks to processing and licensing hub ICE, which it runs as a joint venture with PRS for Music and GEMA. “Sweden is once again punching above its weight as one of only three net music exporters in the world,” Bjørner says, referring to nations whose repertoire sells outside of its borders. “Laser focused on transparent and fast payments to our members, we are all set for another century of great music-making.”

Tobias Holzmüller

Last June, Holzmüller was named CEO of GEMA, the German CMO, where he previously ran the legal department. He officially took on his new role on Oct. 1. In early April, GEMA announced that in 2023, it took in 1.3 billion euros ($1.4 billion), an 8.4% increase over 2022, and that for the second year in a row, it distributed over 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) to its members. GEMA is part of the joint venture ICE, and Holzmüller says “we will strengthen our international position and network to become a leading voice for the rights of authors and songwriters in the global music market.” To that end, GEMA worked with SACEM to commission a study on music and AI that, Holzmüller says, “outlines for the first time the great need for action to ensure that authors still benefit appropriately from the success of technologies based on their creative works.

Peter Leathem

According to PPL, the U.K. performance society that collects neighboring rights royalties for artists and labels, total revenue grew yet again in 2023, while payouts in 2022 increased by 14.3% to 279.6 million pounds ($350.6 million) from 244.7 million pounds ($306.9 million) in 2022. PPL continues “to grow the value of the global neighboring rights market through supporting the development of the rights landscape outside of Europe,” Leathem says, “including landing a new deal for performers in India and engaging with policymakers in China and Japan to further open up public performance licensing.”

Andrea Czapary Martin
CEO, PRS for Music

In 2022, U.K. rights collection organization PRS for Music collected a record high 964 million pounds ($1.2 billion), a 22.9% increase over 2021, and cut its cost ratio to a new low of 9.3% — a major focus for Martin. PRS also accomplished “the migration of our distribution systems to the Oracle cloud, the first CMO to do so,” Martin says. That “has accelerated our ability to process even more data so we can pay out more royalties, more accurately and more quickly.”

Gadi Oron
Director general, CISAC

CISAC is the Paris-based trade organization of CMOs worldwide, and a flood of new content and the advent of AI are making it more important than ever. One of Oron’s big 2023 wins was continuing to modernize and increase the adoption of the International Standard Musical Work Code system, which identifies compositions to help royalties flow smoothly. “In our technology work, we support increasing demands for speed and accuracy in data exchanges,” Oron says. CISAC also plays a leading role in shaping AI regulation worldwide, including lobbying for the European Union AI Act that passed in March. “We see ourselves,” Oron says, “as the guardian of human creators and human creativity.”

Cristina Perpiñá-Robert

Perpiñá-Robert took the top job at SGAE in April 2023 in time for the organization’s 125th anniversary this year. She is in the process of restoring SGAE’s reputation after some troubled years, and the organization collected 349 million euros ($367 million) in 2022, an increase of 35% over the previous year. In May, the organization will announce that its distributions will rise almost 12%. Perpiñá-Robert is also making SGAE more of a hub for Latin music, representing 16 societies for Pan-European online collection. “We added Argentina in late 2023 and Chile a few months before,” she says. “And our biggest composers make really young, urban music.” She also helped organize an important AI conference in March, with an event on collective management to follow in June.

Cécile Rap-Veber

In 2022, the French CMO collected 1.4 billion euros ($1.5 billion) and distributed 1.1 billion euros ($1.2 billion), and Rap-Veber says 2023, for which results are forthcoming, “was once again a record-breaking year.” Last year, she says, SACEM expanded its blockchain-based Musicstart service, ran a study with Deezer on its pioneering “artist-centric streaming” royalty model and, on the AI front, exercised “the right to opt out of generative AI training databases to ensure fair remuneration for our members” and published a study with GEMA on its impact in music. “I remain convinced that AI needs to be made more virtuous and more transparent,” Rap-Veber says. “That’s why we [were] in dialogue with policymakers” about the European Union AI Act.

Contributors: Trevor Anderson, Rania Aniftos, Nefertiti Austin, Katie Bain, Karen Bliss, Lars Brandle, Dave Brooks, Anna Chan, Ed Christman, Leila Cobo, Janine Coveney, Stephen Daw, Kyle Denis, Thom Duffy, Chris Eggertsen, Griselda Flores, Eric Frankenberg, Adrienne Gaffney, Paul Grein, Raquelle “Rocki” Harris, Lyndsey Havens, Rylee Johnston, Gil Kaufman, Steve Knopper, Carl Lamarre, Elias Leight, Robert Levine, Jason Lipshutz, Joe Lynch, Heran Mamo, Taylor Mims, Gail Mitchell, Melinda Newman, Jessica Nicholson, Paula Parisi, Glenn Peoples, Sigal Ratner-Arias, Isabela Raygoza, Kristin Robinson, Jessica Roiz, Craig Rosen, Crystal Shepeard, Richard Smirke, Andrew Unterberger

Methodology: Billboard’s International Power Players recognizes executives whose primary responsibilities are outside the United States, solely within the industry sectors shown. Nominations for all of Billboard’s industry-sourced executive lists open no less than 150 days in advance of publication, and a submission link is sent by request before the nomination period. (Please email for inclusion on the email list for nomination links and for how to obtain an editorial calendar.) Honorees on International Power Players among rights organizations were chosen solely by Billboard’s editorial team and not through industry nominations. Honorees were chosen by editors based on factors including their industry impact, as measured by Billboard charts; sales and streaming performance; market share; revenue or, where not available, Billboard revenue estimates, which may be aided by company guidance; social media impressions; and radio audiences reached, using data available as of April 1. Where required, U.S. record-label market share was consulted using Luminate’s current market share for albums, plus track-equivalent and streaming-equivalent album consumption and Billboard’s quarterly top 10 publisher rankings. Unless otherwise noted, Billboard Boxscore and Luminate are the sources for tour grosses and sales/streaming data, respectively. Luminate is also the source for radio audience metrics. The source for radio metrics is monitored station airplay from Mediabase provided by Luminate.

This story originally appeared in the April 27, 2024, issue of Billboard.

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