[PIAS], the Europe-based independent music company, and Universal Music Group announced a strategic global alliance on Wednesday (June 9). According to the announcement, under the new initiative, UMG will have access to [PIAS]’ international distribution network and expertise in providing services to the independent music community through its recently rebranded, long-standing services division [Integral]. In return [PIAS] will be able to tap into resources and funding provided by UMG to further grow its global offering and strengthen its position as a leading independent services provider.

The announcement stresses that “[PIAS] remains fully independent and its founders Kenny Gates and Michel Lambot will retain full control of the company.” The new partnership with UMG will not affect the arrangements [PIAS] has in place with any of its existing partners. The company currently has offices in all major territories around the world and over 250 employees.

Gates said, “Almost 40 years since Michel Lambot and I launched [PIAS] we are as eager and driven as we ever were and remain wholly committed to providing independent labels and artists with a platform to reach a global audience. This new, somewhat unconventional, strategic agreement with UMG will help both companies maximize the many opportunities we know are available, while not compromising our independence whatsoever.”

UMG chairman/CEO Lucian Grainge said, “At UMG, we understand that a vibrant independent sector is essential to a thriving music ecosystem.  After all, we are a company built by — and for — entrepreneurs and today serve as an accelerator for so many independent creative voices, which is why we are delighted to provide [PIAS] the support and resources to bolster their company as a fiercely independent force in music.  I have known Kenny and Michel for more than 30 years and have deep respect for their passion for music as well their openness and authenticity.”

+ Kevin Holiday has been promoted to executive VP of Black music promotion at Atlantic Records. In his new post, Holiday will oversee the company’s Black music radio promotion strategy and campaigns as well as head up the label’s national and regional Black music promo team. Holiday, who joined Atlantic in 2004, was most recently SVP of Urban Promotion. Based at the company’s New York headquarters, he reports to Mike Kyser, Atlantic’s president of Black music.

Holiday has spent his entire career with the Warner Music Group family, starting at Elektra Records in 2000 and then moving to Atlantic when the two labels merged in 2004.

“Kevin literally grew up at this company,” said Atlantic Chairman & COO Julie Greenwald. “From day one, he’s been a passionate advocate for our artists, who love him and his relentless devotion to their music and their long-term careers. Kevin’s played a pivotal role in taking our prominence in Black Music to new heights, and I’m thrilled to be able to announce this richly deserved promotion for one of our own.”

+ Madison Beer has signed a global publishing deal with Kobalt that includes a full range of creative, synch, and administration services for catalog and future works, according to the announcement. Via her management First Access, the singer has racked up four RIAA gold-certified singles and recently released her debut album, “Life Support.”

Sas Metcalfe, chief creative officer at Kobalt said, “We are thrilled to have Madison join us at Kobalt. She is an exceptional talent and we are extremely excited to work with her and the First Access team.”

Beer said, “I’m so happy to partner with Dominique [Keegan, VP creative], Sas and the Kobalt family. The whole team is so passionate and aligned with my vision as an artist and my creative process. I am very excited for this relationship to grow with this new part of my team in place.”

Tuesday, June 8

+ Nick Petropoulos, who joined Arista Records early last year after an 11-year run at Glassnote Records, has been upped by Arista to oversee the label’s promotion department. He takes on the new role of senior VP and head of promotion, overseeing promotion strategy across all radio formats as well as working with digital partners and streaming services.

Said CEO-president David Massey, to whom the New York-based Petropoulos will report, “Nick has made an immediate impact since joining Arista, and his vision has been a crucial element in developing and executing our promotion strategy. We have great confidence that he will continue to find unique and engaging ways to help elevate our roster globally.”

“I am thrilled to be stepping into this new role,” Petropoulos said in a statement, “and look forward to leading an incredible team as we create strategic moments and exciting opportunities for our artists to break through around the world.”

Since joining the Arista promo team in early 2021, Petropoulos worked on promotion strategy for artists including Carolesdaughter, KennyHoopla, Sigala, Tai Verdes and Tom Grennan. In his previous gig as head of promotion at Glassnote, he developed strategy for such acts as Mumford & Sons, Childish Gambino, Phoenix, CHVRCHES, the Strumbellas and Two Door Cinema Club.

+ Rising country star Jimmie Allen has signed the first songwriter to join his new publishing company, Bettie James Music Publishing, in partnership with Sony Music Publishing Nashville. The debut signing is Tate Howell, who’s been one of Allen’s key collaborators, as his bass player as well as a frequent co-writer. Recent Allen-Howell collaborations include “Why Things Happen,” which had Allen sharing vocals with Charley Pride and Darius Rucker.

Said Allen in a statement, “From the first time I met Tate, he showed me he was motivated and willing to work. Not only is he one of my best friends, but he is also one of the hardest working and kindest people I know. I feel like when a person comes along as talented as Tate, it’s easy to want to build a business around him. I’m honored to have him as the first signing to Bettie James Music Publishing, and I look forward to watching his career grow as a songwriter.”

“It’s truly surreal to get to work with such a distinct and historic company like Sony Music Publishing,” added Howell. “I am so grateful for Anna Weisband and my team over at Sony, my road boss Mr. Jimmie Allen, and my manager Melissa Spillman for working so hard to help me make music and live out my dreams.”

Said Weisband, VP of creative at Sony Publishing, “I have been impressed by Tate’s songwriting from the very first song Jimmie ever played for me. His work ethic, talent, and drive are unstoppable and inspiring.” (Weisband is pictured above with [l-r] Allen, Howell and Rusty Gaston, CEO of Sony/ATV Music Publishing.)

Allen, whose latest single is “Freedom Was a Highway,” a duet with Brad Paisley, named Bettie James Music Publishing after his late grandmother, Bettie Snead, and his late father, James Allen. The singer also named the recent EP on which he worked with Howell “Bettie James.”


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