Craig Kallman

Chairman & CEO, Atlantic Records

Craig Kallman is a New York-based A&R specialist, and is the Chairman and the Chief Executive Officer of Atlantic Records.

Kallman began his music career in the 1980s as a DJ in Manhattan. He then founded Big Beat Records, an independent label, in 1987.

Big Beat was eventually purchased by Atlantic, where A&R specialist Kallman has worked since 1991.


Craig Kallman: Atlantic Records career to date

After joining Atlantic Records in 1991, Craig Kallman, established his A&R credentials by signing and developing several major artists, including Aaliyah, P.O.D, Brandy, and Timbaland.

While serving as co-president of Atlantic Records 11 years later in 2002, Kallman established an alliance between Atlantic and VP Records, a famous independent dancehall and reggae record label. Their first collaboration was Sean Paul’s album, Dutty Rock, which sold over six million copies and even won a Grammy.

In 2005, the year Warner Music Group floated on the New York Stock Exchange, Kallman was named Chairman and CEO of Atlantic Records Group.

During his time as CEO of Atlantic, Kallman has signed several successful artists, including Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars, Trey Songz, Flo Rida, Wiz Khalifa, and many others.

Additionally, Kallman was the brains behind Atlantic Records’ extension into the film soundtrack industry.

Atlantic Records has developed and released notable soundtracks including the OST for Furious 7 – which contained See You Again the No. 1 single by Wiz Khalifa – and the Twilight series.

Craig Kallman is credited with co-writing and producing Daydreaming by Lupe Fiasco, which won a trophy at the 2008 Grammy awards.


Craig Kallman: Vinyl collection

Craig Kallman is known for his investment in rare vinyl, with a collection exceeding 1.5 million records.

Discussing his vinyl collection with the Atlantic blog, Kallman said: “I started collecting vinyl when it was still the dominant music format, and I’ve continued to be drawn to it for its superior sound quality.

“The enjoyment I get from vinyl or hi-res recordings led naturally to my pursuit of striving for sonic excellence in all our artists’ recordings.”

Craig Kallman, Atlantic Records

“Listening to something on vinyl or hi-res can be a real revelation, because you’re hearing everything that’s actually on the original recording and everything that the artist and producer really intended.

“The enjoyment I get from vinyl or hi-res recordings led naturally to my pursuit of striving for sonic excellence in all our artists’ recordings.”


Craig Kallman: Professional philosophy

In 2016, the year of his 25th anniversary with Atlantic Records, Craig Kallman gave an interview to Music Business Worldwide in which he discussed his approach to working with artists.

He said: “Today’s artists are smart about the industry – they know it’s usually executive musical chairs all over the place.

“Artists sign to people who believe in them, and they want to know you’re going to be there to fulfil the dreams you’re promising them. You can’t do that if you’re jumping around to the next company for a bigger payday.”

“Artists sign to people who believe in them, and they want to know you’re going to be there to fulfil the dreams you’re promising them.”

Craig Kallman, Atlantic Records

Added Kallman: “We run the A&R department here differently to any other A&R department; it’s all for one, one for all.

“A&R is usually cutthroat and very individual-driven – if you think about Geffen, where Gersh, Kalodner and Zutaut were all trying to kill each other. We’re kind of the opposite. Everyone helps and contributes to each other’s records.Music Business Worldwide

Craig Kallman In The News

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