Warner launches new frontline label group under Elektra brand

The world is awash with music. Subscription streaming services are now ingesting around 1,000 new tracks every hour – which works out to nearly 9 million fresh recordings a year.

Record labels obviously have a tough job on their hands to cut through all of this noise. But they also have the opportunity to discover and sign more exciting acts than ever before – and that’s precisely what’s happening.

Last month, Sony Music CEO Rob Stringer revealed that his organization is “increasing our release flow” in a bid to gain market share. And today, Warner Music Group has made a major announcement: the launch of a new frontline label group designed to ‘bring more game-changing talent into the WMG family’.

Elektra Music Group (EMG) will launch on October 1, headquartered in New York with a dedicated staff of 60 people.

It will be led by Co-Presidents, Mike Easterlin (pictured left) and Gregg Nadel (pictured right), who step up from their previous roles as toppers of Fueled By Ramen (FBR)/Roadrunner and Elektra respectively.

The launch follows other recent moves to expand Warner’s A&R capacity under its global recorded music CEO Max Lousada – including the relaunch of Sire Records, the $100m+ purchase of Spinnin’ Records and the creation of Warner Music Middle East.

Elektra Music Group will bring together existing Atlantic sub-labels such as FBR, Elektra, Roadrunner, Low Country Sound, and Black Cement Records which will be ‘nurtured as unique, independent label brands’.

The group will operate as a standalone, fully-staffed unit, with a dedicated team handling key record company functions such as  A&R, Artist Development, Business & Legal Affairs, International, Marketing, Promotion, Publicity, Sales & Streaming, and Video.

These departments will be led and staffed by current members of the Atlantic, Elektra, FBR, and Roadrunner teams, as well as new hires.

Although EMG will operate autonomously, Easterlin and Nadel will continue to report into Atlantic Records Group Chairman & CEO, Craig Kallman, and Chairman & COO, Julie Greenwald.

“Elektra Music Group will embody the same independent spirit that is at the root of each of our core labels.”

Mike Easterlin & Gregg Nadel

“Elektra Music Group will be 100% dedicated to developing the careers of authentic artists and helping them realize their visions,” said Easterlin and Nadel.

“The company will embody the same independent spirit that is at the root of each of our core labels. Elektra, Fueled By Ramen, Roadrunner, Low Country Sound, and Black Cement were all founded by entrepreneurs who did it for the love of the music and a belief in their artists, and that philosophy will remain the driving force behind everything we do.

“We’re going to have an extraordinary roster, backed by the most ambitious, innovative team in the business.

“To have the opportunity to run our own standalone company is a dream come true, and we want to thank Julie and Craig for having such great faith in us. We can’t wait to get started.”

At launch, Elektra Music Group’s roster will include artists such as twenty one pilots, Zac Brown Band, Sturgill Simpson, Brandi Carlile, Fitz and the Tantrums, Paramore, Slipknot, Panic! At The Disco, Coheed and Cambria, Kaleo, Gojira, and others.

Greenwald and Kallman commented: “The birth of Elektra Music Group is all about creating opportunity for artists. It opens up a new door to bring more game-changing talent into the WMG family, while giving them the personal attention that is our hallmark.

“Just as importantly, it will allow some of the most outstanding members of our team to run their own shop and their own departments, taking their careers to new places.

“Mike and Gregg have evolved into amazing leaders and masters of long-term artist development – they understand it, they live it and they excel at it.

“It feels great to be bringing back the iconic Elektra brand as a major, standalone company for the first time in 15 years.”

Max Lousada, Warner Music Group

“With decades of A&R and marketing experience under their collective belts, and joined by an outstanding new staff, they will make great partners in building Elektra Music Group into a major industry force.”

Max Lousada, CEO, Recorded Music, Warner Music Group, said: “Our whole approach is to create environments that give artists and entrepreneurs the freedom and support to pioneer the future of music. From the outset, Elektra Music Group will be a dynamic community of credible artists and distinctive label cultures.

“Gregg and Mike are a dream leadership team, able to combine adventurous A&R, bespoke artist development, and full-force global marketing. It feels great to be bringing back the iconic Elektra brand as a major, stand-alone company for the first time in 15 years.”

Mike Easterlin has been President of FBR and Roadrunner Records since January, 2016. He had previously served as General Manager of both labels since 2012.

Under his leadership, FBR has broken Grammy winners twenty one pilots, Paramore, and fun., as well as artists such as Panic! At The Disco, Young the Giant, and others.

Roadrunner’s modern roster includes the likes of Slipknot, Theory of a Deadman, Trivium, Coheed and Cambria, and Gojira.

Easterlin originally joined Lava/Atlantic as SVP of Promotion in 2005, having previously held posts at Virgin Records and Island Def Jam.

“The birth of Elektra Music Group opens up a new door to bring more game-changing talent into the WMG family.”

Julie Greenwald & Craig Kallman, Atlantic

Gregg Nadel has been President of Elektra Records since January of 2017, having served as the label’s General Manager since 2015. A 21-year veteran of the Atlantic family, he joined the company straight out of college in 1997.

He went on to sign Grammy winners, Zac Brown Band and Sturgill Simpson, acclaimed Icelandic band, Kaleo, and others.

As Atlantic’s SVP of A&R & Marketing, Nadel spearheaded all three US album campaigns for global superstar, Ed Sheeran.

In addition, he forged the partnership between Elektra and Grammy-winning producer Dave Cobb’s Low Country Sound label, whose artist roster includes Brandi Carlile, Anderson East, Brent Cobb, and others.Music Business Worldwide

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