MBW hears that one of the most iconic record label brands in US history is getting a new lease of life at Warner Music Group.
Since Asylum Records was founded back in 1971 by David Geffen and Elliot Roberts, it’s been through a number of guises.
Most recently, it’s been a big hit in the UK, where under now-Atlantic Records UK chief Ben Cook, it introduced Ed Sheeran to the world back in 2011. (You know, the guy currently laying waste to Spotify’s all-time records.)
But over in its homeland, Asylum has seemed somewhat unloved for a while.
Its last outing saw it headed by Todd Moscowitz as a hip-hop-focused imprint at Warner in the mid-noughties, connected to both Atlantic and Warner Bros.
Although it made some noise by releasing records from the likes of Gucci Mane, once Moscowitz became EVP of Warner Bros in 2009, Asylum (US) was put back on ice.
Now, though, it’s making a comeback.
WMG is starting to use the Asylum imprint again in the US, say MBW sources, to “sign non-traditional artist deals”.
The operation, we’re told, falls under indie services arm ADA.
Former VP of A&R at ADA Dante Ross (pictured inset) has been given the task of leading Asylum’s new creative direction as the label’s SVP of A&R.
A bit of research tells us this isn’t empty chatter: Asylum is already enjoying a hit with Ugly God’s Water (video pictured) – which is currently Top 100 on Spotify and in the platform’s popular Rap Caviar playlist.
Despite Ugly God’s success, we’re told, Asylum – unlike the Moscowitz era – won’t be primarily focused on any genre of music, but will look to ‘incubate’ emerging talent.
A Warner spokesperson declined to comment when contacted by MBW.
ADA is run by Eliah Seton out of New York, who became the division’s President in April, 2015.
Seton (pictured inset) joined WMG’s Strategic & Business Development team in 2009, and played a key role in the sale of the company to Access Industries.
In 2013, he was promoted to SVP, International Strategy & Operations, working with Stu Bergen, where he helped accelerate the development of WMG’s international operations, identifying and executing strategic priorities, special projects, and local investments.
Seton helped execute WMG’s deal to acquire Parlophone Label Group (PLG) in 2013, as well as the planning for PLG’s integration with the WMG family. Notably he was instrumental in WMG’s acquisition of Polskie Nagrania in Poland, and Gold Typhoon, making WMG #1 in China.
ADA became the exclusive global distributor for BMG’s recorded music catalogue last year, and a global partner for BMG’s frontline releases.Music Business Worldwide