James McKnight has been named Head of Entertainment Research & Development for Stockholm-based entertainment company Pophouse.
McKnight’s appointment follows the firm’s recent acquisition of the master recordings and publishing catalogs of electronic music stars Swedish House Mafia.
McKnight, who originally hails from Scotland, will continue to be based in London, where he is set to open a Pophouse office.
Pophouse was co-founded by ABBA’s Björn Ulvaeus in 2014, principally as a way to create unique live events that encapsulate and promote the ABBA brand.
In his new position within the Pophouse executive management team, McKnight is charged with developing new and large-scale entertainment projects for global artist brands the company has invested in.
Current projects being undertaken by Pophouse include ABBA The Museum, Mamma Mia The Party and The Avicii Experience, as well as the ABBA Voyage show in London, of which Pophouse is lead investor and co-developer of the production and 3,000-seat bespoke arena.
McKnight will be looking to grow and expand this list with brands such as Swedish House Mafia as well the company’s future investments in IP.
He will collaborate closely with Pophouse principal and ABBA founder Björn Ulvaeus, who is actively engaged in the company’s creative development processes.
McKnight joins the company after seven years at The Blair Partnership: The literary, entertainment and franchise management agency that represents J.K. Rowling and her work.
Throughout the last five years as that agency’s Chief Creative Officer and Partner, McKnight and his team were responsible for managing the Harry Potter, Fantastic Beasts and the encompassing Wizarding World franchises through its multitude of partner and business relationships that included Warner Media.
“As everyone who has met James can attest, he is a creative force and an incredibly inspiring person with an immense passion for storytelling and entertainment.”
Per Sundin, Pophouse
According to Pophouse CEO Per Sundin: “As everyone who has met James can attest, he is a creative force and an incredibly inspiring person with an immense passion for storytelling and entertainment.
“His strong track-record of developing global IP rights and leading creative teams makes him a great fit for us, matching the ambition and scale with which we’re building Pophouse.”
“What drew me to Pophouse were the people, the culture and the vision.”
McKnight added: “What drew me to Pophouse were the people, the culture and the vision.
“We’ll be amplifying brands and taking them into broader entertainment spaces, focusing on storytelling across different formats and introducing new audiences as we do so. This is exactly what Björn and his peers have done so successfully with the ABBA catalogue. Pophouse describes its mission as “Making ideas pop”, and I love that.
“Finding the right projects and prioritising them will be the key to our success, backed by a strong culture of partnership and collaboration around the brands we protect and develop. I am looking forward to finding the right team and collaborators to help us do that.”Music Business Worldwide