DMW: High-Level Departures Leave Labels Looking for Stars

7/18/2006, from DIGITAL MUSIC WIRE

A string of high-level executive departures have left major labels searching for new media superstars, according to one well-placed source. The insider pointed to a “new strategy” within the majors, one that is putting a premium on savvy, well-connected, superstar-level digital media executives. That is quite a shift from several years ago, when “new media” was largely regarded as an afterthought within big labels. “They are chasing stars in the new media constellation,” the source waxed, while noting that there is essentially “no one to hire” that fits the mold.

Indeed, vacancies persist at both EMI and Interscope, and high-flying stars appear few and-far between. The exodus began with digital topper Ted Cohen, who departed EMI in late May and has since sparked his own consultancy, TAG Strategic. That was quickly followed by the exit of Executive Vice President of Strategy and Business Development Adam Klein. And most recently, Interscope Geffen A&M digital executive Courtney Holt grabbed the reigns at MTV, another high-level departure. According to the source, labels could begin “poaching” for talent that will “make them appear as if they are injecting fresh approaches.” Meanwhile, labels already have access to a large pool of talented digital executives within their ranks, though internal dynamics may be inhibiting the development of high-profile, easily recognizable superstars.

Posted by Ted • Tuesday, July 18, 2006 .