Utopia CEO exits company in management shake-up; Roberto Neri named CEO of Music Services division

The CEO of tech and artist services company Utopia Music, Markku Mäkeläinen, is leaving the business, the company confirmed today (January 31).

Mäkeläinen has been the Chief Executive of Utopia since 2020, according to his LinkedIn profile.

As Mäkeläinen exits, Switzerland-headquartered Utopia – which says it strives to achieve “fair pay for every play” for songwriters and artists – is undergoing a management restructure.

As part of that shake-up, the founder of the company, Mattias Hjelmstedt, is “taking on additional operational responsibilities to support the organization and the leadership team”, according to a media release, and will “assume overall leadership of Utopia until a new CEO has been appointed”.

Following a round of redundancies towards the end of 2022, Utopia has been split into two distinct divisions: ‘Music Services’ (including acquired businesses such as the UK-based trio of Sentric Music Group, Absolute Label Services, and Proper), plus ‘Royalty Platform’, under which sits Utopia’s in-house tech platform.

With that tech platform, which Utopia says monitors streams and airplay of music around the world, Utopia says it aims to be the “definitive partner for royalty processing and payments in the music industry”.

Former Downtown executive, Roberto Neri, who is based in the UK and joined Utopia as its COO in 2021, has been confirmed as the CEO of Utopia’s ‘Music Services’ division.

Elsewhere, Utopia says that the following “new leaders” at the company will manage the firm’s ‘Royalty Platform’ division.

  • Tuva Palm has been appointed as Executive Board Director at Utopia, from her current role as VP of M&A, to “support Mattias and the leadership team in product and tech matters while overseeing Utopia’s Communications and Public Relations strategy”. Palm joined Utopia in 2020 and has previously been CPO, CTO, and Product Executive at companies such as Klarna, Nordnet Bank and Oracle.
  • Utopia’s Chief Architect Max Flach will lead the company’s Tech organization moving forward, including Engineering, Data and IT. He was one of the original architects of Utopia Platform.
  • Tommy Fransson will lead Utopia’s Commercial department, including Sales, Product, Royalty Processing and Financial Services.
  • Greger Hagelin will lead Business Development at Utopia. He founded the international fashion brand WESC, expanding it into 35 countries. Hagelin was Utopia’s 3rd employee and has always done utmost for the company. He will be enabled to excel even further in this new organizational setup.
  • Tonio Bahner is Utopia’s new Head of Corporate Services, responsible for HR, Legal and Compliance.

Mattias Hjelmstedt, Executive Chairman and Founder of Utopia Music, said: “The changes to our leadership team mark an exciting next step in Utopia’s journey. This group of highly talented people bring unparalleled experience building and scaling companies – many of them have worked alongside me and Thomas for years, helping to realize Utopia’s mission of Fair Pay for Every Play.”

“With continued strong support from our shareholders, Utopia is now optimizing for the future. We have a solid team. We are faster, leaner and hyper-focused on delivering value to our customers and partners. We owe it to the music industry to get this right.”

“I, together with Utopia’s Board, want to express our thanks and appreciation to Markku for the commitment, passion, and dedication he’s shown during his time at Utopia.”Music Business Worldwide