Music Industry News Network [11-01-2017]
Asylum Records Relaunched In U.S.
Warner Music Group (WMG) has relaunched its iconic Asylum Records label in the U.S. The label's new incarnation is headed by long-time WMG executive Kenny Weagly, who has been named President. In addition, Grammy-winning producer Dante Ross has been named Senior Vice President, A&R.
"Asylum was founded with artistic freedom as its guiding principle," said Weagly, "and the new Asylum expands on that ideal by believing in and supporting our artists' visions for their music, as well as when and how they want to release it. Our mantra is nimbleness and flexibility – the ability to tailor-make deals, from singles projects to multi-album careers – for original artists across a spectrum of genres."
Asylum Records is currently a well-known label in the UK, where it was relaunched in 2008 by Ben Cook (now President of Atlantic Records UK), Ed Howard is now A&R Director of the UK unit. Asylum Records UK and the new Asylum Records U.S. will remain two separate entities. The U.S. label operates independently with Weagly reporting to Eliah Seton, Worldwide President of ADA, which is part of WMG's services division, led by Stu Bergen, CEO of International and Global Commercial Services, WMG.
Eliah Seton commented: "Kenny will be a strong leader for Asylum because he has a true independent's approach to artist development, combined with deep experience within the WMG family. He knows how to marshal the best support network to help create breakthrough moments in music. Dante is a gifted champion of talent, whose A&R instincts and experience have led him to sign game-changing artists and deliver platinum hits. Together, Kenny and Dante will be a magnet for unique, compelling talent."
Warner Music Group CEO, Recorded Music, Max Lousada, said: "We're committed to encouraging entrepreneurship and nurturing diverse musical cultures within the WMG family. Asylum is one of the most revered brands in the music industry, and by relaunching it in the U.S. as a label that's all about musical independence and flexibility, we are opening another avenue for fresh, innovative artistry to thrive."
Asylum Records U.S. has already scored an RIAA certified platinum hit with "Water," the massive viral track from the label's first signing, rapper Ugly God. After being selected for XXL's Freshman Class cover - a spot that has previously been awarded to hip-hop heavyweights like Kendrick Lamar and Macklemore - Ugly God was featured on Spotify billboards and ads throughout New York City, Los Angeles, and Atlanta around the anticipated release of his debut project, The Booty Tape.
Expanding Asylum's roster into the dance world, Crankdat has released his original solo debut "Dollars". Since breaking onto the scene in 2015 with his viral remix of Fetty Wap's "Trap Queen", which has accrued more than 200 million streams, he has received immense support from artists like The Chainsmokers, Marshmello, DJ Snake, and many others.
The label has also inked deals with Mike Dean - the Grammy Award-winning producer behind artists like Kanye West, Travis Scott, Jay-Z and Desiigner - for his next protégé Dice Soho; The Queen of Bounce, New Orleans artist Big Freedia, whose vibrant twist on hip-hop has sparked collaborations with Beyoncé ("Formation") and Sia ("Eye of the Needle"), as well as her hit reality TV series Big Freedia Bounces Back (Fuse); Baltimore rap duo, Peso Da Mafia, whose breakout track "Money Man" was featured on Complex's "Bout to Blow" list; and Staten Island emcee, Shoneyin – whose debut single "Mozzy" was recently described as "addictive" by Pigeons & Planes.
Kenny Weagly most recently served as President, A&R and Label Services for ADA Worldwide, where he secured deals with a variety of artists, labels, managers, and publishing companies, including Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Metallica, Q Prime Management, Flatbush Zombies, Dim Mak, PRMD Music, and Mute, among others, while overseeing the division's marketing and promotion efforts around the world. Weagly joined WMG in 2004 from Island Def Jam, where he worked with artists such as Bon Jovi, JAY-Z, and Mariah Carey. As GM of WMG's Independent Label Group (ILG), he ran major campaigns for artists such as Dropkick Murphys and CAKE.
Dante Ross has been serving as VP of A&R at ADA since 2012, bringing in successful deals such as The CMSN, which yielded RIAA platinum singles from both Lil Dicky and MadeinTYO. Beginning his career at Rush Management, Ross went on to hit-making stints at Tommy Boy and Elektra Records, working with artists such as De La Soul, Queen Latifah, Digital Underground, Brand Nubian, Busta Rhymes, Ol' Dirty Bastard, and Everlast. He subsequently served as Director of A&R at Warner Bros. Records. Ross was named one of the 25 Best A&Rs in Hip-Hop History by Complex magazine, and earned a Grammy Award for his work on Santana's Supernatural.
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