NIVA Shares 2023 Conference Details; Wixen Publishing Taps Jon Pikus

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The National Independent Venue Association will be hosting its second annual conference on July 10 – 12 in Washington, D.C.

Keynote panels will feature prominent industry leaders, members of the media, recording artists, and NIVA members discussing topics ranging from industry diversity, mental health, the economic impact of live entertainment, booking, artist development, ticketing and more.

The 2023 edition of the conference also promises to give members the opportunity to engage with NIVA’s federal and national partners on Capitol Hill, in the Administration, and throughout the Capitol region. There will also be a slate of live performances, a pre-party, and an awards gala, all set to take place in venues across D.C.

“In welcoming the NIVA conference to the District, we look forward to showcasing the independent venues and creatives who keep D.C. the capital of creativity,” said Washington, D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser in a statement. “And we have a lot to be proud of – from our vibrant Go Go scene, to the venues that have hosted and built generations of music fans, to the festivals that bring Washingtonians together year after year. D.C. residents love going to festivals and shows and supporting artists, and we know the important role our creative community will continue to play in D.C.’s comeback. We look forward to bringing NIVA members and industry experts together in D.C., and we’ll see you in July.”

Programming details will be announced at a later date. Registration information can be found here.

+ Jon Pikus has been named VP A&R/business development at Wixen Music Publishing. In his new position, the Los Angeles-based Pikus is tasked with signing new artists, songwriters, producers and catalogs to Wixen’s client roster. He’ll also serve in an A&R capacity setting up collaborations and co-write sessions for the existing roster.

Wixen’s publishing roster include music by Tom Petty, Weezer, the Black Keys, George Clinton, Rage Against The Machine, the Doors, Missy Elliott, Rick James, Jefferson Airplane and Rancid.

Pikus has previously held A&R positions at Columbia Records, Interscope Records, MySpace Records, Lava Records and Imagem Music Publishing. He started out as a drummer and producer of rock bands, working with the likes of Weezer, Crazy Town, the Ataris, Anna Nalick, Pennywise, Christina Milian and Hollywood Undead.

He’ll report to Wixen President/CEO Randall Wixen, CFO/COO Andrew Wixen and CTO/EVP Jason Rys.

“I want to thank Randall, Andrew and Jason for this great opportunity to help them selectively grow their roster,” said Pikus. “I look forward to reconnecting with all of my longtime friends in the music industry.”

Added Andrew Wixen: “Jon is that rare breed of creative who has been on multiple sides of the proverbial fence, so he can authentically relate in any situation, to artists, writers and producers, and to managers, attorneys and executives. We are excited to work with the new clients he will bring in.”

Jon Pikus, Wixen Music Publishing
Courtesy Jon Pikus

+ Steve Cooper, former CEO of Warner Music Group and MGM, has joined the board of directors of Web3 company OneOf. The four-year-old company operates in the blockchain and Web3 technology space with clients that include WMG, Brave and Uber. It also boasts a consumer-facing Web3 marketplace,, which trades in digital collectibles from the likes of Doja Cat, the Notorious B.I.G., Whitney Houston, Muhammad Ali and Wayne Gretsky, as well as brands like Sports Illustrated, American Express, Anheuser-Busch, JBL, Harman Kardon, Gatorade and Snapple.

Cooper served as WMG’s chief executive from 2011 to earlier this year. He previously held the CEO title at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc., Hawaiian Telcom, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and Enron Corporation.

“I am excited about how technology can reshape the future of music, entertainment and business models for many industries,” said Cooper. “OneOf has a stellar team and deep expertise in providing next generation Web3 technology to enterprises and brands.”

Added OneOf founder/CEO Lin Dai: “We are thrilled to welcome Steve to join our board and leadership team. Web3 will revolutionize how brands connect with the consumers of the future. Steve’s expertise across music, entertainment, and consumer brands is the perfect addition to OneOf’s leadership team. With his guidance, we look forward to advancing our mission to lower the barriers to entry into Web3 for enterprises and consumers alike.”

+ Arista Records has signed BUNT. to a new deal in partnership with Columbia Records UK and Epic Records Germany.

The German-bred artist’s latest single, “Clouds,” has reached the top 15 of Billboard’s Hot Dance/Electronic songs chart all thanks to his organic marketing strategy spurred by a viral TikTok post. The budding DJ/multi-instrumentalist is repped by Nick Groff for management and lawyer Lisa Lester.

“Levi [BUNT.] has truly impressed me with the depth of great records he has coming. BUNT. has the capacity to be a true global artist,” commented Arista Records president and C.E.O. David Massey in a press release.

+ Outback Presents has hired Jason Miller as the live entertainment promoter’s general manager of the North East division. Miller will service artists and help grow the foundational structure of the business.

With more than 30 years of music industry experience under his belt, Miller fulfills his new role after a stint with Live Nation Entertainment as the company’s senior VP, president and executive VP. Miller has produced events across the U.S. in venues including Madison Square Garden, Barclays Center, Prudential Center, Radio City Music Hall and Citi Field, to name a few.

“This is a tremendous moment for me personally and professionally,” Miller says. “The new position allows me to return to my creative roots and independent spirit. I’m proud to be able to continue working with world-class artists and events.”

Miller is the latest addition to a rapidly growing Outback team whose recent hires include Everett Ramsey and Hardy McBee formerly of Beaver Productions and Fallon Nell returning to Outback after runs in both artist management and Belmont University.

+ Zync (Round Hill Music) has advanced four of its executives to new posts, as announced today by Chief Creative Officer, Marisa Baldi.

Madison Norris has moved to the role of executive VP of creative operations; Kelly Ross moves to VP head of creative licensing and publishing; Becca Luce to senior director of film and television/creative publishing; and Steve Nalbert fills the role of VP of sync licensing and digital.

Adds Baldi, “[Madison’s] wealth of experience, leadership skills and rich network of relationships have led not only to countless advertising placements for Zync/Round Hill Music but also contributed significantly to our signing and development of new artists and writers. Kelly is a dynamic deal-maker and problem-solver, with impeccable business instincts, communication skills, and attention to detail. I could not be more delighted to see her continue to thrive here at Zync/Round Hill and take on even more leadership of the team.”

She continues, “Becca has made great strides in identifying, securing, and developing talent, as well as adding value to our amazing catalog during her time at Zync/RHM…Steve has been instrumental in maintaining an incredibly high level of well-informed service to the licensing community throughout our growth.”

+ Madisenxoxo has signed to Pack Records and is exclusively managed by Roadcase Management, a new company formed late last year by Heart’s Nancy Wilson along with her husband, music industry vet Geoff Bywater.

“After so many years of being an artist in this business, I would love to use my experience to help elevate other talented and deserving musicians,” said Wilson in a statement explaining her desire to cultivate new talent. “I was introduced to Madisenxoxo’s music and fell in love. We had been talking for quite some time about forming a management company and this seemed like the perfect time to launch Road Case Management with Madisenxoxo as our first artist!”

Tuesday, Feb. 14

+ Evan Bogart’s Seeker Music has acquired Christopher Cross’ full masters and publishing catalog.

“I’ve been a Christopher Cross fan going back to when I was a kid – I grew up around, and listening to, so many of his contemporaries,” Bogart commented. “He’s an absolute legend!! I’m so proud to have the opportunity to carry his legacy forward and of what we’ve already been able to do with his catalog, and will continue to do this year to keep introducing music fans to Chris’s incredible songs, and timeless songwriting.”

To celebrate, Seeker is plotting a yearlong campaign to commemorate Cross’ musical legacy, which started last week with a special reissue of Cross’ sophomore album “Another Page” for its 40th anniversary in spatial audio. They are additionally planning national events that will take place this spring and summer, along with remastered releases and a yearlong remix campaign.

“Seeker only invests in catalogs and songs that Bogart and his team are incredibly passionate about, genuine personal fans of, and for which they see intrinsic creative and strategic opportunities,” concluded the press release.

Christopher Cross

+ Influence Media has acquired a majority of the music publishing rights of Harry Styles collaborator Tyler Johnson.

The investment spans titles created by Johnson between 2012 and 2020, which includes much of the songs he either co-wrote or co-produced from Styles’ early solo discography as well as songs recorded by Sam Smith, Diplo, Keith Urban, Miley Cyrus and John Legend. Notably, Johnson’s work on Styles’ “Harry’s House,” is not included in this partnership.

“It has been a pleasure working with the trusted team at Influence Media on my song catalog,” said Johnson in a statement. “These songs are very important to me and I feel our deal reflects the value of this catalog that I have built over the last 10 years.”

The music rights platform, which is partnered with BlackRock and Warner Music Group, says the collaboration came as part of its investment strategy built on “modern evergreens,” meaning songs or musicians with “strong potential for long-term impact on pop culture.”

Johnson’s work on Styles’ latest 2022 record “Harry’s House” earned the pair a 2023 Grammy award for album of the year alongside collaborator Kid Harpoon. Both Johnson and Harpoon were honored as songwriters of the year for Variety‘s 2023 Hitmakers issue.

+ Timbaland and music manager Gary Marella‘s Beatclub Inc. has entered a new partnership with Hipgnosis Song Management that will allow Beatclub’s roster of producers and artists (Justin Timberlake, Tainy, J. Cole, Mike Dean and Mike WiLL Made-It, to name a few) the ability to sample songs from the Hipgnosis catalog. The deal also includes an investment from Hipgnosis, as part of Beatclub’s series A-2 funding round.

“Merck is a disruptor who has turned the music business upside down on its head,” said Timbaland in a press release. “His vision of the future of the music creator economy aligns closely with Beatclub’s and I couldn’t be happier that we can now call him a partner.”

Beatclub will also aid Hipgnosis in securing additional sync opportunities for placement in film, television, advertising, and gaming.

Added Merck Mercuriadis, founder and CEO of Hipgnosis: “I love what [Timbaland], Gary and the Beatclub team are building and at a time when interpolation and sampling has never been a more important part of creation and success I want the greatest creators in the world to have access to our incomparable songs to make them the hits not only of the past but the future as well!”

+ Jamaica-born and Miami-based songwriter Masicka has signed to Def Jam Recordings. The announcement came Tuesday alongside a new track and video for “Pieces” feat. Jahshii.

“​​‘Pieces’ is a song of triumph. It’s a celebration of what you have worked hard for and motivates the listeners to keep going. You will be victorious” says Masicka. “The song touches on overcoming challenges and obstacles you face along the way, as we navigate through this thing called life. The challenges you’re faced with make you stronger. They mold you into a warrior. The warrior which is needed to be successful.”

“Def Jam has always been the home for great artists across the wide spectrum of Black music, and Masicka is very much emblematic of that vision,” said Tunji Balogun, chairman and CEO of Def Jam Recordings. “Representing the new wave of Jamaican dancehall and reggae, Masicka’s versatility and unique sonic perspective has the potential to impact markets all over the world. It feels like the beginning of something very special. We’re excited to welcome him to our Def Jam family.”

+ Disney Music Group (DMG) and Andscape have struck a global deal with Good Company Records, a new record label created by Oscar and Grammy-winning producer and songwriter D’Mile (Janet Jackson, Silk Sonic, Mary J. Blige), music exec Natalie Prospere and Grammy-winning audio engineer, John Kercy (Lucky Daye, Lil Wayne, Normani). The deal was announced Tuesday by Mio Vukovic, DMG’s head of creative and President Ken Bunt, along with Raina Kelley, Andscape’s VP and editor-in-chief.

In addition to signing and developing artists, Good Company will be involved in a myriad of projects with other Andscape units. The first is the upcoming Andscape documentary, “Shyne,” a film about the life and transformation of the hip-hop artist who started as a member of Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs’ Bad Boy record label to a statesman in the Belize House of Representatives.

Adds Kelley, “D’Mile, Natalie and John are special individuals – each true to Andscape’s vision; deep and dimensional multi-hyphenate storytellers – we’re thrilled to welcome them to the Andscape family. This incredible partnership vaults forward Andscape’s evolution as a content creator across The Walt Disney Company.

+ Artist and brand development company Iconoclast has acquired the catalog of Mad Decent Publishing, which was co-founded by DJ-producer Diplo and Kevin Kusastsu. The catalog includes such songs as Baauer’s viral smash “Harlem Shake” and Major Lazer’s “Lean On,” which was at one time Spotify’s most streamed song of all time, as well as that group’s songs “Cold Water (ft. Justin Bieber and MØ)” and “Know No Better” (ft. Travis Scott, Camila Cabello, and Quavo) and stakes in Panic! at the Disco’s hit “Hey Look Ma, I Made It”, Mark Ronson’s “Nothing Breaks Like A Heart” (ft. Miley Cyrus)” and Sia’s “Elastic Heart” and “Thunderclouds.”

“I first became aware of Mad Decent when Kevin Kusatsu and Diplo were working on the first Major Lazer album,” says Olivier Chastan, founder & CEO of Iconoclast. “Our acquisition of the Mad Decent Publishing catalog illustrates our commitment to preserving and growing culturally significant art of any era including with artists that are shaping contemporary music.”

Scott McDowell and Peter Paterno of King, Holmes, Paterno & Soriano, LLP represented Iconoclast, and Jordan Bromley, Eric Custer and Alex Spring of Manatt, Phelps, & Phillips, LLP represented Mad Decent Publishing in the transaction.

+ What’s in a name? Plenty, at least to Sean a.k.a. Puff Daddy a.k.a. P. Diddy a.k.a. Diddy a.k.a. Love Combs, who has officially rebranded his company from Combs Enterprises to Combs Global.

At its founding in 2013, Combs Global started with Bad Boy Entertainment, Combs Spirits (Cîroc Vodka, DeLeón Tequila), AQUAhydrate, Revolt Media, Sean John, Capital Preparatory Charter Schools, and the Sean Combs Foundation. Since then, it has expanded to include new business units and ventures such as Empower Global formally Shop Circulate, Our Fair Share, Love Records, and into Cannabis.

“Combs Global represents the next chapter in my journey as a business leader and a bigger vision to build the largest portfolio of leading Black-owned brands in the world,” said Combs. “I’ve enlisted world-class teams of top executives, specialists and strategic partners to bring this new dream to life and put us in the best position to keep making history while leading another 30 years of dominance across industries.”

The rebrand also includes a redesign for the website, social channels, and brand communications, including a new logo that was unveiled during the Uber One Super Bowl commercial.

+ Brandon Silverstein Publishing and Ryan Tedder’s Patriot Publishing announced a publishing deal with Grammy-nominated producer, songwriter, vocal producer and mix engineer Marty Rod, aka Marty MARO, whose credits include work with Selena Gomez, DJ Snake, John Legend, Anitta and Bastille, among others.

“I’ve been lucky enough to watch Marty work in the studio and I’ve seen how he’s able to help artists create their best work,’ said Silverstein, whose roster includes Justin Bieber collaborator HARV, Jamaica’s Shenseea, the Kid LAROI collaborator Cxdy and producer Declan Hoy, among others.

Added Tedder: “Marty’s a beast with an insatiable work ethic. He is an extremely gifted producer and topliner, and I hope to have him part of the family for years to come.”

“I am extremely excited to be joining forces with Ryan and Brandon in this new chapter of my career,” said Marty MARO. “They are both two forces of nature in the business and their belief in my vision and musical ability, along with their experience and global reach feels like the perfect combination for me. Together we’ve already achieved some major accomplishments, and I believe the future of my career is in great hands.”

Brandon Silverstein, MARO and Ryan Tedder

+ Sony Music Publishing has extended its global publishing administration partnership with Bread founder, singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist David Gates and his publishing vehicle, Kipahulu Music Co. The deal covers such iconic hits as “If,” “Everything I Own,” “It Don’t Matter To Me,” “Baby I’m-A Want You” and “Make It With You,” among others.

Gates penned multiple chart-topping songs beginning in the 1960s. His credits include music recorded by the Monkees, Elvis Presley, Bobby Darin and Merle Haggard.

“We’re excited for this next chapter with Sony,” said Lorilee Gates. “Dad’s signature melodies consistently make their way into homes and ears year after year, be it via big streamers, film and TV or good old-fashioned radio. Without fail, Bread continues to pop up somewhere in everyday life. It’s Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton talking about Bread on ‘The Voice’ or Ricky Gervais tweeting about listening to Bread whilst penning jokes for his final Golden Globes hosting appearance. Bread is part of the cultural fabric – it’s passed on by generation, and it’s absolutely wonderful.”

Added Audrey Ashby, Sony Music Publishing SVP of business affairs and catalog: “I’m really happy we are strengthening SMP’s relationship with Mr. Gates, a legendary artist and musician. Mr. Gates’s heartwarming songs will enrich lives for generations to come and we look forward to supporting his songwriting legacy.”

Monday, Feb. 13

+ Philippines-born, Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter-producer Eyedress has signed with RCA Records and dropped a new, Valentine’s Day-themed single, “Flowers & Chocolate,” the label announced today (Feb. 13).

The song’s accompanying music video, directed by Eddie Huang (author of “Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir” and director/writer of the upcoming film “Tuna Melt,” starring SZA and Chloe Cherry), finds Eyedress cruising around Los Angeles in a red convertible filled with flowers as he rushes home to impress his partner.

Eyedress has moved between a multitude of musical styles since his 2019 breakthrough single “Jealous,” which has been certified platinum by the RIAA. Last year, he made his Coachella debut and released his “Full Time Lover” album, which featured the Neptunes’ Chad Hugo and got a remix from Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine on the song “House of Cards.”

+ New York-based PR firm the Chamber Group has promoted Lydia Kanuga to VP of media relations, principal/founder Chris Chambers announced today.

In her new role Kanuga will be responsible for creating and executing publicity and public relations strategies for her client roster, which currently includes Usher, the Estate of Michael Jackson, Mass Appeal, King Combs, Jozzy, Toni Braxton, and others. She is based in New York and will report directly to Chambers.

Kanuga first joined Chamber Group last February after two years as head of PR and corporate communications at Doug Morris’ 12Tone Music, where she worked closely with Anderson .Paak, 88rising, Lauren Daigle, Illenium and others. Previously she spent four years at Def Jam Recordings, Columbia Records and indie PR firms.

“I’m excited to have a seasoned executive such as Lydia working alongside me at TCG overseeing the entertainment division.  Lydia is passionate and honest in her work style and it’s what makes her a talented publicist and leader. I look forward to this journey we are about to embark on,” said Chambers.

+ Ultra International Music Publishing has announced an expansion of its Afrobeat operations and a new creative hub in Nigeria. To celebrate, the company hosted a writing camp in the country’s capital, Lagos, in partnership with Estlon Music.

The three-day camp saw over 20 young producers collaborating, including Burna Boy producers Chopstiix and Leriq, alongside writers and artists such as Bloody Civilian (Def Jam), Amexin, Shorae Moore, and songwriters such as  Naya Akanji (Aristokat) and guitarist Effeh Jazz, among others. The music written at the camp will contribute to a showcase mixtape under the title “Sonic Rares.” The company’s efforts in the region have been overseen by head of North American A&R Andreas Rizek and includes such signings as Tejiri Akpoghene, who last week won a Grammy for Best Melodic Rap Performance for his work on Future’s “Wait For U,” Maesu and Amexin. Ultra has appointed its London based A&R manager Harold Serero to oversee the development of its African operations.

Patrick Moxey, Founder and CEO of Ultra Music Publishing said, “We have been involved in the signing and development of African songwriters and producers for some time and this new announcement of a creative hub in Lagos where we can help nurture the incredible talent coming out of West Africa will be a key focus for our creative team moving forward.”

+ Irving Azoff, Garth Brooks, executive chairman and CEO of Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp. James Dolan and former Assistant Attorney General for the United States Department of Justice Antitrust Division Makan Delrahim will keynote a panel on ticketing at next week’s Pollstar Live! Conference. Scheduled for Feb. 22 a 9:45 a.m., the discussion — titled “Ticketing Real Talk: Reforms, Resolutions and Risks” — promises to go deep on issues concerning ticketing, transparency, an out-of-control secondary market, and accessibility, and affordability for fans.

For more info, and a full schedule of sessions, head to the Pollstar Live! site.

+ Lou Al-Chamaa has been named SVP, head of A&R publishing at Avex USA. Al-Chamaa recently signed hitmaker Jasper Harris to Avex USA’s growing publishing division, which includes such writers as J. Que (Joji’s “Die For You”) and, through a joint venture with Brandon Silverstein Publishing, Justin Bieber collaborator HARV, Jamaica’s Shenseea, the Kid LAROI collaborator Cxdy and producer Declan Hoy, among others.

Al-Chamaa previously served as VP of A&R at Sony Music Publishing where he signed and worked with such writers and artists as Mike Posner, Lucky Daye, Daniel Caesar, Khalid, Louis Bell and Tori Kelly, among others, and was the A&R for Noah Cyrus for her “July” / “End Of Everything” EP. He also worked as an executive catalog consultant, sourcing and advising on the acquisitions of publishing catalogs by Calvin Harris, Sean Douglas, Ricky Reed (Lizzo/Maroon 5), Geoff Warburton and more.

“I am very excited at joining the Avex USA team who are positioned to make a huge impact in the global music scene,” said Al-Chamaa. “Avex is an extremely artist and song-writer focused, forward-thinking publishing and music company. I’m looking forward to bringing my experience to help support Avex’s vision and be part of our partners’ and clients’ continued growth and success.”

Added Naoki Osada, CEO of Avex USA: “We’re very excited for Lou to join our growing publishing team. He has extensive publishing experience and his incredible energy and passion for working with creatives make him the perfect fit for our Avex USA family.”

Lou Al-Chamaa and Naoki Osada