Respected A&R specialist Blair McDonald is leaving Nettwerk Music Group little over 12 years after joining the independent company, MBW has discovered.
McDonald, most recently credited as MD of Nettwerk in the UK and Europe, was hired by the business in late 2004 to establish and develop its publishing company – then named Nettwerk One Music.
Nettwerk’s publishing operation was dramatically altered earlier this year when the firm sold off the bulk of its catalogue – over 18,000 songs – to a fund managed by Kobalt Music Group.
Although Nettwerk continues to sign emerging writers, the deal ultimately saw it take a step back from being a force in independent publishing – with CEO Terry McBride re-investing the proceeds in the business’s artist management and label operations.
McDonald, who is understood to be staying with Nettwerk until the end of April, told MBW: “I’ve had 12 great years with Nettwerk.
“From very humble beginnings we developed a vibrant, diverse and creative publishing business, working alongside the label and management divisions – with an eclectic roster ranging from Olafur Arnalds to Chromeo, Shaznay Lewis to Super Furry Animals and Chelcee Grimes to Black Stone Cherry. I’ll always be very proud of that.”
He added: “With the recent catalogue sale and strategic re-focusing of the Nettwerk business it feels like the right time for me to strike out on a new adventure of my own.”
McDonald’s career in the music business began in 1986 in the mail room at Virgin Records in London before he became a talent scout at the label – and then moved to Virgin Music Publishing as Creative Manager.
“With the recent catalogue sale and strategic re-focusing of the Nettwerk business it feels like the right time for me to strike out on a new adventure of my own.”
During that time he signed the publishing rights for Tasmin Archer, The Verve , Curve and The Future Sound Of London, amongst others.
After the sale of Virgin Music, McDonald jumped ship to Sony Music Publishing as Director of A&R and later Managing Director.
From 1992 to 1999 he oversaw all creative aspects of the company from the signing of Noel Gallagher (Oasis) and Fran Healy (Travis), The Pet Shop Boys and Snow Patrol, to the incorporation of the ATV catalogue including the Northern Songs Catalogue (Lennon & McCartney).
From 2000 – 2003 McDonald was MD of Columbia Records UK working with international and domestic artists including Destiny’s Child, Bob Dylan and Leftfield.
From there he established his own publishing company and record label Main Spring Music until the end of 2004 when he joined forces with the Nettwerk Music Group to form Nettwerk One Music Ltd – named after the postcode of the firm’s London office in Camden, NW1.
“I look forward to watching Nettwerk’s continued progress and success. I’ll always be a fan of the label and the people there,” added McDonald.
“Looking ahead, I think the ongoing evolution of this business throws up as many opportunities as it does challenges – in every area.
“It’s a very exciting time to start with a blank page and re-imagine what makes the best creative and supportive partner to meet the needs of a developing artist or songwriter.”Music Business Worldwide