Mike Caren’s APG makes string of promotions, including Eli Piccarreta to SVP, A&R

Photos courtesy of APG
(L-R) Eli Piccarreta, Corey Calder, Jessica Kelm, Ashlee Merritt.

Artist Partner Group (APG), a Los Angeles-based record company established by Mike Caren, has made strategic executive promotions across its A&R and marketing teams.

The company promoted Eli Piccarreta to Senior Vice President of A&R, Corey Calder to SVP of Marketing & Creative Services, Jessica Kelm to VP of Marketing & Digital Operations, and Ashlee Merritt to Senior Marketing Director.

In his new role as SVP of A&R, Piccarreta will continue to lead the A&R team and oversee signing initiatives for the record label.

Piccarreta’s achievements include guiding NBA YoungBoy, discovered in 2016, through the release of four projects that all secured positions on the Billboard Hot 100, with one topping the Rap Albums chart. In 2023, NBA YoungBoy claimed the #1 spot on YouTube by video streams for the fifth consecutive year.

Piccarreta has played a role in the label’s success over his eight-year tenure, APG said in a press release announcing the promotion.

Calder assumes the role of SVP of Marketing & Creative Services, supporting APG’s focus on artist branding, content, and creative strategy across various genres.

Previously involved in digital, content, and marketing strategy for top NBA teams and A-list clients at Wasserman, Calder will continue to lead APG’s marketing efforts, contributing to the development of a roster of emerging talent over the past four years.

Jessica Kelm transitions to Vice President of Marketing & Digital Operations, contributing her six-years of experience at APG to streamline marketing systems and processes.  She previously handled digital marketing for artists including Charlie Puth, Ava Max, Alec Benjamin, and Bazzi.

Kelm’s responsibilities in her new role include enhancing the effectiveness of overall marketing initiatives and collaborating with the Digital team to boost social engagement across platforms. Her past contributions include launching APG’s independent distribution platform, Release Global, and driving digital marketing for Sleep Soul, the label’s sleep music series in partnership with Jhené Aiko.

Ashlee Merritt assumes an elevated role as Senior Marketing Director, spearheading the marketing visibility for APG’s Hip Hop and R&B acts. She will drive the marketing of APG’s Hip Hop and R&B roster of acts, including Philly’s internet newcomer, Lay Bankz, and will lead marketing for Sleep Soul in partnership with Jhené Aiko.

Meritt’s background spans nearly a decade in the Universal Music Group system, including a recent role at Def Jam Recordings in New York City.

APG says it has signed and broken more than 20 artists with gold or platinum selling status and achieved more than 300 RIAA certifications. Its noteworthy signees include Odetari, 6arelyhuman, Lay Bankz, The Sweepers, NLE Choppa, and more. It landed at #7 on Billboard’s Hot 100 Publishing Corporations for 2020 with hits from writers such as Taz Taylor, Don Toliver, Tempoe, Ava Max, Charlie Puth, and YoungBoy.

Founded in 2004, the company offers in-house services encompassing A&R, Sync, Admin, Legal, Finance, Branding, International, Artist Development, and Marketing. APG previously operated as a joint venture between Warner Music Group and Atlantic Records. In 2020, it went fully independent after Caren struck a deal with WMG that saw APG’s existing recordings catalog and artist roster move into Atlantic Records.

Music Business Worldwide

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