Rich Castillo, the widely respected A&R Director at Atlantic Records UK, is exiting his role at the frontline Warner Music Group label.
MBW has confirmed that Castillo will be taking on a new senior A&R role in London at EMI Records, Universal Music UK’s biggest label by market share.
News of Castillo’s move to EMI follows a recent shake-up at the label: Universal Music UK announced in March that its EMI and Capitol labels were uniting under the joint leadership of Rebecca Allen and Jo Charrington.
MBW understands that Castillo will be starting his new position at EMI at the beginning of 2023.
Rich Castillo joined Atlantic Records UK as A&R Director in May 2020, reporting into label Co-Presidents, Briony Turner and Ed Howard.
At Atlantic, he signed the likes of UK rapper Tion Wayne, who currently has over 11.5 million monthly listeners on Spotify, following hit singles such as Body (with Russ Millions) and IFTK. The latter track peaked at No.6 on the Official UK Singles Chart and is currently at No.8.
Castillo joined Atlantic from Sony/ATV Music Publishing, where he held the position of Senior Director of A&R.
During his time there, he signed the likes of Neave Applebaum, Pa Salieu, TMS, and Wayne Hector.
In an interview with Castillo published by MBW earlier this year (conducted by Adrian Sykes) the A&R executive shared stories about his experiences, ambitions, passions and gripes within the UK music industry.
Commenting on what he looks for when he signs an act, Castillo said: “Obviously talent is key. But I’m looking for ambition. I’m looking for a point of difference, and I’m also looking out for where the pain is gonna come from. What will be the problem? It’s about work ethic and ambition.
He added: “The talent has to be there, but talent without the work ethic is just pointless; we’ve all been there. I’ve been super excited, and then the artist just wouldn’t want to see it through, because they haven’t got the work ethic.”
“The talent has to be there, but talent without the work ethic is just pointless.”
Rich Castillo, speaking to MBW earlier this year
Castillo started his career at the management company Shalit Global, where he helped launch and develop the multi-platinum, award-winning group N-Dubz.
In 2012, he joined UMTV and All Around the World in an A&R role, signing N-Dubz stars Dappy and Tulisa to solo deals – yielding No.1 records with Dappy’s No Regrets and Tulisa’s Young.
He also signed HRVY and Young Adz, when the latter was just 14 years old, and enjoyed a top 10 single with Charlie Brown’s On My Way.
Castillo then moved to Universal Music Canada in 2014, where he served as an A&R Director for two years, landing a Juno Award for Best Dance Song with Bit Funk’s Off the Ground.
In 2016, he returned to the UK to join Polydor Records and take on the role of Senior A&R Manager. While there, he signed Stefflon Don and had a number of hits, including the global smash Hurtin’ Me.
He also signed Big Heath, Blanco, and Mic Lowry, and A&R’d the latest album from Wretch 32.Music Business Worldwide