Yet another exec with a successful track record at Google/Alphabet is on their way to Warner Music Group: the music company today (October 10) confirmed that Carletta Higginson is joining WMG as Executive Vice President, Chief Digital Officer, effective October 16.
Described by WMG as an “accomplished media executive and music rights expert”, Higginson joins WMG after a decade at Google, where she worked in business development and legal roles, across both music publishing and recorded music, most recently as Global Head of Music Publishing at YouTube and Google Play.
She previously worked as a litigator advocating for record labels, music publishers, artists, and songwriters.
Based in New York, Higginson will report to WMG CEO Robert Kyncl. In her new post, according to WMG, she will oversee “the full spectrum of WMG’s global digital partnerships, from deal-making through account management, while she and her team will explore commercial innovation and forge new digital partnerships”.
This appointment follows last week’s news of the departure of Oana Ruxandra (WMG’s Chief Digital Officer & EVP of Business Development). Her last day in the WMG offices will be this Friday (October 13).
As Global Head of Music Publishing at YouTube, Higginson spearheaded the platform’s licensing strategy, building and maintaining relationships with publishers, collection societies, and PROs.
Her role included negotiating digital licensing and partnership agreements, managing existing partnerships, launching new relationships, and driving new business opportunities.
In addition, she oversaw the development of various initiatives to help creatively support artists, songwriters, and producers on the platform.
Prior to joining Google in 2013, Higginson spent a decade in the legal arena, beginning her career as a securities litigator before transitioning to specialize in the content, media, and entertainment space.
In 2011, she became a partner at Jenner & Block LLP, where she focused her practice on litigating copyright, contractual, and other disputes in the recorded music and music publishing industries.
WMG says that her work resulted in “precedent-setting decisions in copyright law, and the successful defense of copyright owners in a variety of copyright infringement actions”.
Higginson was recognized in 2018 and 2020 by Billboard as one of the most powerful Women in Music and named one of Variety’s New York Women of Impact in 2022. She is a member of the Whitman Circle of the Brooklyn Public Library and is on the Advisory Board for Sound Thinking NYC. She was a 2012 Fellow of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity and is a 2015 Leadership Music alumna.
“It’s rare to find someone of Carletta’s multifaceted expertise – who understands the full scope of the music publishing and recorded music businesses as well as the dynamics of streaming, social media, and AI.”
Kyncl commented: “It’s rare to find someone of Carletta’s multifaceted expertise – who understands the full scope of the music
publishing and recorded music businesses as well as the dynamics of streaming, social media, and AI.
“She has great commercial instincts, a sharp legal mind, and a collaborative approach to building well-aligned partnerships. As we pioneer the future of music with our artists and songwriters, she’ll be an invaluable addition to our senior management team.”
Commenting further on Oana Ruxandra‘s departure from the company, Kyncl added: “Oana’s played a key role in the evolution of WMG and the music business, across a wide range of revenue streams and different types of innovation. On behalf of everyone at the company, I’d like to thank her for many achievements and wish her all the best in her future entrepreneurial endeavors.”
“I’ve worked closely with the outstanding team at WMG for many years, and I’m very happy to be joining Robert and everyone at WMG to help chart the future together.”
Higginson said: “This is a very exciting time to be in music with many new avenues opening up. I’ve worked closely with the outstanding team at WMG for many years, and I’m very happy to be joining Robert and everyone at WMG to help chart the future together. Above all, I’m a huge fan of the company’s incredible roster of songwriters and artists.”
Back in February, Warner Music Group appointed Ariel Bardin to the newly-created post of President of Technology.
WMG said that Bardin will serve as “a key member” of the company’s Executive Leadership Team, overseeing technology and data teams as well as the development of systems, processes, and products. Based in New York, he reports to WMG’s CEO Robert Kyncl.
Bardin was Kyncl’s second ex-YouTube/Google hire since the latter exec became Warner Music Group CEO in January 2023.
In January, Kyncl appointed Tim Matusch – formerly Managing Director, Strategy & Business Operations at YouTube – as WMG’s EVP of Strategy & Operations
Kyncl is ex-Google/Alphabet himself, of course, having spent over a decade in senior positions at YouTube, most recently as Chief Business Officer, before joining WMG.
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