Justin Timberlake Brings out the Big Guns in His New Music Video ‘Can’t Stop the Feeling’

Justin Timberlake is back with “Can’t Stop the Feeling” from the new DreamWorks animated film “Trolls.”

The video for the new song features cameos from performers who lent their voice talent to the film .  Notables include Gwen Stefani, James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Junal Nayyar, Icona Pop, and Ron Funches

Watch the video. You wont be able to not dance along.

A Must Watch – Kesha’s Emotional ‘Till It Happens To You’

Lady Gaga’s and Diane Warren’s “Till It Happens to You,”is a power ballad and an awakening about the sexual assault epidemic on college campuses. On Saturday night, Kesha performed the Oscar-nominated number at the Humane Society Gala in Los Angeles.

Prior to beginning the number, Kesha declared,“I want to dedicate this song to every man, woman, child and animal that has ever been abused.”

Unless you are living under a rock, you know the song is particularly poignant coming from Kesha. She had been embattled in a legal battle with Sony and producer Dr. Luke whom she accused of sexual assault and battery in 2014.


Watch to see the brave and emotional performance that is uniquely Kesha.

Rick Rubin: My Life in 21 Songs

From Rolling StoneRick Rubin; My life 21 songs
From LL Cool J to Kanye West, Slayer to Tom Petty, Johnny Cash to Dixie Chicks, producer reflects on more than three decades of challenging music’s status quo
Rick Rubin’s discography reads like a who’s who of popular music over the past three decades: Eminem, Metallica, Dixie Chicks. The producer has stood at the vanguards of hip-hop and thrash metal, co-founding Def Jam while still in his NYU dorm room and later his own American Recordings, and he would later use his inquisitive, “what if?” approach to inspiring country, rock and pop artists to create chart-topping recordings. He gave LL Cool J a beat, urged Run-DMC and Aerosmith to “Walk This Way,” convinced Johnny Cash to love “Hurt” and brought Adele a perfect “Lovesong.” He’s won eight Grammys and two CMAs along the way.


“I don’t really have any control over what’s going to happen with a recording,” Rubin tells Rolling Stone. “It’s more just experimentation and waiting for that moment when your breath gets taken away. It’s an exciting, exhilarating thing when it happens. But it’s not anything to master. You just have to recognize it when it happens and protect it evaporating. It takes luck, patience, a strong work ethic and being willing to do whatever it takes for it to be great. It’s a bit of a process we have to go through to get there.”

When the producer, now age 52, reflects on his career, he speaks with confidence and gentleness, perhaps a side effect of practicing transcendental meditation since he was a teenager. He grew up in Long Island, New York, and still sports the beard he started growing around the start of his career.

He will be honored tonight by the Recording Academy Producers and Engineers Wing in Los Angeles as part of Grammy Week. Past producers whom the Recording Academy has honored in this way include Quincy Jones, Ahmet Ertegun, Jimmy Iovine and Nile Rodgers, among others. When asked what the honor will mean to him, he says it’s difficult to put into words.

What’s easy for him talk about, though, is his history. Going back to the first record he produced, T La Rock and Jazzy Jay’s syncopated 1984 single, “It’s Yours,” through his minimalist approach on Kanye West’s 2013 LP, Yeezus, Rubin can deftly articulate how he worked with artists to help them make career-defining (and sometimes career-redefining) records.

“I don’t really think that much about how I got here,” he says. “I just show up and try to make music that excites me. Sometimes there will be an idea that’ll make a record great, sometimes it’ll just be patiently waiting for a magic occurrence to happen or setting the stage to allow it to happen.”

Here, he tells the stories behind 21 of his most remarkable recordings, as well as the story of how he left his New York dorm for California and how he realized that producing albums could actually be a career.

T La Rock and Jazzy Jay, “It’s Yours” (1984)

I used to go to a reggae club called Negril on Second Avenue in New York City, when I was still a student at NYU. On Tuesdays, they had a hip-hop night. It was one of the first times you could hear hip-hop music without going to the Bronx or Harlem. There weren’t really clubs or parties in lower Manhattan so much. Jazzy Jay was my favorite DJ of all the DJs, and he was one of the DJs who would play at Negril. I just loved, loved his DJ’ing ability, and his taste. I learned so much about music from just hanging out with him. At the club, I loved the music and recognized that the records that were coming out at this time — there were no albums in rap yet, just 12-inch singles ­— and the ones that were coming out didn’t sound like what the club felt like. So “It’s Yours” was almost a documentary-style attempt at what it felt like going to a hip-hop club and experiencing real hip-hop music. That’s what it is.

LL Cool J, “I Need a Beat” (1985)

It was a beat that I programmed at the dorm room on a DX drum machine. I think that was the first one that we ever recorded with LL. He came over with lots of lyrics, just pages and pages of lyrics, though not necessarily arranged into songs. I helped pick some of the lyrics and arranged them into a song.

Back then, I would say LL was kind of a nerdy 16-year-old kid. He was really smart, well read. He came to the dorm room and was very motivated. He’s one of the more hardworking artists I’ve worked with, even from then. And I felt like he really kept to himself. He was friendly with the other artists, but I felt like he was a little bit of a loner type guy. He was in his head a lot. It was different than so many artists that were much more outgoing.

We did the recording at Chung King, a studio whose real name was Secret Society — I decided to call it “Chung King” just because it was in Chinatown. The owner’s name was John King, and it was a really crummy studio and I wanted it to be recorded in this mystical place, so we made up this Chung King place. I can’t remember much about the actual making of the song. We had it all arranged before we went into the studio. The lyrics were all written, the beat was already there; then in the studio it was just plugging in and documenting what we had already figured out in the dorm room.

Beastie Boys, “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” (1986)

The title came from Adam Yauch. He had a punk-rock, alternative band beyond the Beastie Boys, and “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” was a title that he had in that band. I thought it was a really good title and suggested that we use that for a Beastie Boys song.

All four of us always wrote lyrics and then kind of pooled ideas, and we hung out a lot. We would go out to Danceteria pretty much every night and hang out and come up with lines to make each other laugh. Usually we’d only be working on one song at a time, so let’s say that song was the song of that month. So for that month, every time we’d go out, we write rhymes and collect them all. Then eventually, we’d put them all together and try to figure out the best order for it to happen in. I remember there were a lot of really funny lines in that one. It definitely entertained us at the time. Usually, the way it worked was I would make the tracks first, then the guys would come in and do vocals. So I played the guitar on it in the room by myself.

Kerry King from Slayer did the guitar solo. I don’t think he liked the song. I think he just thought it was bizarre. He’s a real, serious metalhead. He really loves metal, and I don’t think he listens to much music outside of metal. At least then he didn’t. I don’t think it spoke to his aesthetic. And honestly, in retrospect, I don’t think he really spoke to the Beasties’ aesthetic. They didn’t really like him either [laughs]. It was kind of mutual.

Slayer, “Angel of Death” (1986)

That was the first record I ever made in California. We recorded it at this little studio. It’s no longer there; it’s now a flower shop on Vine in Los Angeles.

The technical things about recording that song stand out to me now. They played so fast. If you listen to any of the really fast recordings before Slayer, they sounded like rock records. There are certain things you do to make a rock record. But because Slayer played so fast, those things that you would normally do didn’t work so well. If you listened to any other speed-metal, thrash-metal music that was being made at that time — and there wasn’t so much of it — it’s not clear. The reason is, technologically, people were recording it more like it was traditional rock music, which it really wasn’t. It was this new form. People didn’t look at it as its own thing that had to be handled differently. So that was my mission: How do you get across the clarity and articulation and speed and energy?

Dave Lombardo is this incredible, unbelievably great drummer. One thing that we did was make the drums louder. The nature of distorted electric guitars is that they sound loud regardless of how loud they are. Whereas drums, because it’s a natural instrument, depending on how loud they are in the mix really changes that feeling of how hard they’re being hit. If you’re in a room with the drums and somebody’s hitting them hard, they’re much louder. So, psychologically, by making the drums louder, it made everything seem louder.

I also did away with reverb. With their super-fast articulation in a big room, the whole thing just turns into a blur. So you don’t get that crystal clarity. So much of what Slayer was about was this precision machinery.

This was clearly a controversial song. Slayer were kind of the first death-metal or thrash band. I don’t know what the right title is. Metallica and they were going on at the same time, but Metallica were so different lyrically than them. Slayer were more blood and guts and Satan. Anyway, this was a song where the record company refused to put out the record. So we had to find a new distributor. It was the first record I did with Geffen Records instead of Columbia Records.

Run-DMC and Aerosmith, “Walk This Way” (1986)

The rest of the Run-DMC album [Raising Hell] had already been finished. I just had a feeling that there was something more that we could do that would help it. It was a funny time in rap music in that the majority of people didn’t understand what it was at all. People didn’t think it was music. And I thought that if there was a reference point that could both feel honest as hip-hop and be familiar outside of hip-hop, it would help bridge that gap of explaining that this was actual music.

I was just listening through my record collection, and the fact that the breakbeat of “Walk This Way” was already a familiar staple in the live hip-hop world just added to that message. We could take something that was familiar and not change it so much, just through the rappers’ delivery, reframe the song. And unbelievably, it happened. It’s amazing.

Getting Steven Tyler and Joe Perry to participate was easy. It was a funny time for them. They had just reformed, and they put out their reunion record [Done With Mirrors], and it was a flop. So they were kind of at a low point, and it just worked out. Also, they have always have loved urban music. So they were really excited to participate in real, urban street music.

I remember when we discussed the idea of having Aerosmith come in with the Run-DMC guys, and they were really against it. They didn’t want to say words that they didn’t write. They thought they were kind of like, country. It didn’t relate to their mentality. And I remember Russell [Simmons] called them and said, “Just do what Rick says.”

Danzig, “Mother” (1988)

James Hetfield and Cliff Burton from Metallica were the ones who told me about Glenn Danzig’s previous band, Samhain. I’d seen the Misfits earlier in the punk days, but they said, “You’ve got to check out Samhain. They’re the coolest band now.”

I loved Glenn Danzig’s songwriting. I sat in on a rehearsal with Samhain, and I realized the guys couldn’t really play. It felt like it would be hard to record them and make it all it could be. So I asked Glenn who his two favorite drummers were, and he said Phil [Taylor] from Motörhead and Chuck Biscuits. So we called both, and Chuck wanted to do it. So we got Glenn’s favorite drummer, but when he played with the other members of Samhain, it became more apparent that we needed more than a new drummer. So we held auditions and ended up finding John Christ, the guitar player. This became Danzig.

Glenn wrote all the songs, including the majority of the parts, other than maybe the guitar solos. Although sometimes he even wrote those. He had a very clear picture of the songwriting. I remember Glenn being really excited about the song “Mother” and telling me that, content-wise, it’s one that he’d been wanting to do for years and just never really found the way to do it. For him, it was a breakthrough in writing. I remember when we were recording, Glenn had laser-beam focus on all the parts. It was so much fun hearing him sing it. It was a trip. That song has got such a great vibe, and he’s such a great singer.

LL Cool J, “Going Back to Cali” (1989)

LL sometimes likes to say, “Give me concepts,” because he can write about anything. “Going Back to Cali” was more of a personal story for me, because I had been spending time in California and going back and forth. I think that was the last record we made together. He’s still super solid and has a super work ethic.

I like that song because it was a different kind of funk. There’s a slower beat and a faster beat working together to create a counter beat. It created a new feel. I played kalimba on it, too.

I don’t know what the inspiration for the horns was, but that was the first time we used them. Maybe it’s because we would scratch in horn stabs often and thought it would be interesting to do them ourselves. That part was all improvised. I would just say what to play and the musicians would play them. We had a horn solo in it, too, which is an odd choice because it’s typically not something I like. But for some reason we did it.

I can’t think of the song without thinking about the video. It’s was such a quintessential moment in time in our lives. And it was directed by a man named Ric Menello, who was the guy who ran the front desk at the dorm. He was a film-buff friend of ours. The video is one of his great pieces of art.

Andrew Dice Clay, “Hour Back … Get It?” (1990)

That album, The Day the Laughter Died, was at a time when he was the most popular comedian in the United States, selling out Madison Square Garden, and his fans were rabid. But when he was writing and rehearsing material, I would see him do these shows where he would get up at 2 o’clock in the morning, and there would be six people in an audience. It might be tourists who would come from out of town, thinking they were gonna see comedy and getting Dice and being horrified. For us — we worked with a guy named Hothead Johnny — we laughed the hardest at the shows where the audience didn’t like Dice. It was just so funny and combative, like performance art. He’d say these horrible, hateful things. And if you say something horrible and hateful and everybody laughs, it’s a joke. But if you say something horrible and hateful and nobody laughs, it’s kind of scary. It’s really a weird feeling.

So at the height of his popularity, we had the idea we’d put him in front of a small audience that just didn’t like him. It was really counter to what we did, so “anti” his real career. It was very bold of him to do it.

“Hour Back … Get It?” means nothing. It’s a routine he personally found very funny and nobody else found it funny. He had a friend named Auerbach, and it was sort of a play on his friend’s name. So maybe the whole joke might have just been to make one person laugh who wasn’t there. It couldn’t have been more of an inside joke. It wasn’t even a joke.

What you hear is a guy saying things that are sometimes funny, sometimes not. But his commitment to how funny he thinks it is, and how hard he’s selling it to nothing, to no response, is what’s so funny. It’s, like, he’s so convinced that this is funny. In a way, it’s got this existential quality. Of all the Dice albums, it’s my favorite.

Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Breaking the Girl” (1991)

I was living in California at the time, and it was really fun for me to work with the Chili Peppers, because I was new to Los Angeles, and the Chili Peppers were so ensconced in Los Angeles culture. It’s like after the Beach Boys, the next California band was the Chili Peppers. They really were theLos Angeles band. That was like my “Welcome to Los Angeles.” I loved just going out with them. I got to really experience Los Angeles in a local way being with them, and it was really a beautiful experience.

We recorded in this house that was amazing. It was just a beautiful place and a beautiful vibe. “Breaking the Girl” was the first record we made together, and it had a really beautiful John Frusciante guitar part.

Anthony [Kiedis] sang it in one of the bedrooms on the second floor of the house by himself. He didn’t ever want to have anybody see him when he was singing, so he was always kind of in a remote place. We were listening in the control room and speaking to him, and that idea for the rhythm breakdown — I can’t remember if it was Flea’s or John’s idea — but it came up, so everyone played together. So everybody picked their pots or pans or loud metallic instruments for this percussive jam session, and it worked out really cool. It just gave it an interesting flavor on the record and it really stood out.

Queen, “We Will Rock You (Ruined by Rick Rubin)” (1991)

Queen had got their masters back from the record company. They weren’t available for a little while, so they wanted to re-release them, and they wanted to do remixes to go on each of the albums. They reached out to different people that they thought could do something interesting.

I remember thinking, “Wow.” “We Will Rock You” is, like, this is a perfect record. I always had a weird feeling about remixes. We put so much time and effort into making the record that a remix seemed to be tainting what was good about the record. That was my thought then.

I loved Queen, so when they asked me, I thought, “Well, there’s no way I could make it better than theirs. It’s perfect as it is.” So the idea was to go the other way, and not try to make it great, but try to make it ridiculous and try to ruin it. On the real record, it breaks into a jam at the end and it seems so surreal. So because they’d sent all the multi-tracks, at the end of the remix, I played the solo from “Tie Your Mother Down” backwards.

The credit that I took on it was “Ruined by Rick Rubin,” for that reason. I was thinking, “What are the more surreal, bizarre choices I could make to play up the point that we’re not supposed to be remixing classic songs?” The message of it was, “Don’t do this.”

Tom Petty, “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” (1994)

Tom gave me a demo tape of new songs he was writing. It had, like, five songs on it from the early stages of jamming. It wasn’t like, “These are the great new songs”; it was more like, “Listen to these, see if you hear anything.” None of the songs were particularly memorable, but the guitar riff for “Last Dance With Mary Jane” was between two of the songs, like, after someone tuned up, just the first chords they played. So I call Tom, and was like, “Hey, this whole phrase is really good. You may want to write this song.” And he did [laughs]. I don’t know how he felt about it. I couldn’t read him. Sometimes he would say things very clearly, and sometimes he would not, and feel strongly about something and I would never know [laughs].

System of a Down, “Chop Suey” (2001)

When I first saw System of a Down, I loved them so much, it just made me laugh. There was no point of reference. It was so unusual. It’s hard music, but a lot of hard music sounds very similar. This is hard, but it’s playful, and it’s really danceable and funky. And the emotion of the performances, it really reaches me. I love it.

This song was originally going to be called “Self-Righteous Suicide,” and the record company rebelled. It was Columbia again, like with Slayer. I remember wanting to go to the mat and keep the title, and the band decided, “Let’s call it ‘Chop Suey!'” which I thought was kind of funny.

It’s an unusual song because the verse is so frantic. The style is so broken up and unusual. It’s both difficult to sing and arguably difficult to listen to, but then the chorus is this big, soaring, emotional, surging, beautiful thing. And then it’s got this incredible bridge, “Father, father, father, do you commend my spirit?/Father, why have you forsaken me?” It’s just real heavy, biblical and grand. It’s so unusual that it goes between these crazy rhythmic explosive verses into this emotional, anthemic ending.

It’s just a very unusual song, and the fact that it became a hit is really unusual, because it’s such bizarre music. I was shocked when Serj [Tankian] first sang the verse to me. It’s like, “You really want this to be the verse?” And he’s like, “Yeah.” He loved it. And it holds up. You have no perspective on something like this the first time you hear it. But the thing that’s so exciting about that band is how they take these unusual ideas and execute them on a high level. They can take something that seems really awkward and convey it in a way where you can see it as beautiful. It forces you to open your mind.

Johnny Cash, “Hurt” (2003)

Johnny and I would make collections of songs as possible covers for him to sing, and we’d send them to each other. “Hurt” was one that I sent. There were maybe 20 songs including that one on the mix I made, and it wasn’t one that he responded to. But I had a strong feeling about it, so on the next compilation, I included that one again. Because of the way the Nine Inch Nails song sounds, I think it was hard for him to hear it. So I sent him the lyrics, and I said, “Just read the lyrics. If you like the lyrics, then we’ll find a way to do it that will suit you.”

He listened to it with the lyrics sheet and said, “If you feel strongly about this, we can try it.” We recorded at my house in Los Angeles. We built all of it from scratch. It’s an acoustic song, so it was recorded as a smaller acoustic song than it ended up becoming, and through overdubs, we built all the drama that’s in the song to support the power of the words and the way Johnny was delivering them.

He was at a time where his health was failing, and I tried to pick songs that made sense lyrically for the way his voice was sounding. There were times when his voice sounded broken. He tried to turn that into a positive in the selection of the music. He was awfully troubled by the way his voice was sounding. A lot of times during the process, he would be down on himself. He could always rely on his voice, and at this stage he couldn’t. It was a real struggle for him. But then, when we put everything together and it was done, he would love it.

This is another song where I can’t think of the song without seeing the video. The first time I saw it, I just cried. It really upset me. It’s a really beautiful piece of art and I’m proud of him for letting people see it. When his management first saw they were like, “Nobody can ever see this.” And it was really Rosanne [Cash], his daughter, that made the case to Johnny that, “You’re an artist — this is what you do, and you have to show this.” He was like, “You’re right.” He agreed. And the video came out. She was the one.

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Jeff Buckley Covers the Smiths’ “I Know It’s Over”

Jeff Buckley’s collection of unreleased studio recordings and covers, You and I, is coming out on March 11. Buckley’s cover of the Smiths’ “I Know It’s Over” appears on the album. Directed by Amanda Demme and executive produced by Amy Redford, the video details the relationship between a mother and her anxious young son.

Redford told Rolling Stone, “When I first heard Jeff, he gave me permission to feel fully and with contradiction. He inspired me to fight for authenticity, and to feel confidence in simplicity. To collaborate on these songs coming to life, and to see the community of people who Jeff touched, has been a privilege.”

You and I also includes Buckley’s versions of songs by Bob Dylan (“Just Like a Woman”), Sly & the Family Stone (“Everyday People”) Led Zeppelin (“Night Flight”) alongsie a pair of originals: “Grace” (presented here as the track’s first solo performance) and “Dream of You and I.” “I Know It’s Over” is one of two Smiths covers from The Queen Is Dead that will appear on You and I along with “The Boy With the Thorn in His Side.”


RIP David Bowie

British singer David Bowie died Sunday at the age of 69 after an 18-month battle with cancer. The news was posted on the artist’s official social media accounts.


Bowie, who was born David Robert Jones in Brixton, south London, scored his first hit in 1969 with the song “Space Oddity.” Since then he secured an enduring fanbase with his early albums “The Man Who Sold the World” and “Hunky Dory.”The singer’s breakthrough didn’t happen until 1972, when he unveiled his alter ego, Ziggy Stardust, which catapulted him from “cult figure to rock icon.” Bowie made his last appearance as his alter ego at a London show on July 3 of that year. At one point during the 18-song set, he told the audience, “Of all the shows on the tour, this particular show will remain with us the longest, because not only is it the last show of the tour, it’s the last show we’ll ever do.”

In 1975, he achieved his first No. 1 hit in the U.S. with the song “Fame,” co-written by John Lennon.

Bowie also had a notable career on the silver screen, appearing in films such as “The Man Who Fell To Earth,” “Basquiat,” “The Prestige” and the cult-classic “Labyrinth,” in which he starred as Jareth the Goblin King.

Bowie was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 and given the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006

Bowie released his 25th album, “Blackstar,” on Jan. 8. Additionally, the musical “Lazarus,” which he co-wrote with playwright Enda Walsh and features old and new Bowie songs, opened in December to positive reviews. It earned bragging rights as the fastest-selling Off Broadway show ever, according to The New York Times.

Bowie is survived by his model wife, Iman, their daughter Alexandria Zahra Jones, and his filmmaker son Duncan Jones, from his first marriage to Mary Angela Bowie (née Barnett).

BuzzFeed’s 39 Songs You Need In Your Life This January

Atlantic Records

1. Folk-pop singer Birdy goes pop on the grand, glittery “Keeping Your Head Up.”

2. Dreezy’s syrupy self-esteem boost, “Serena (ft. DeJ Loaf)

3. The New Year’s resolution-ready optimism of Ra Ra Riot’s “Absolutely.”

4. Panic! At The Disco’s “Rock Lobster”-sampling party anthem, “Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time.”

5. Kanye West’s “Jumpman” remix/Nike diss track, “Facts

6. Cam’s warm hug of a country song, “Village.”

7. Harlem-based rapper Skizzy Mars’ shoe-gazing not-quite-love song, “Crash (ft. Pell).”

8. Japanese pop duo FEMM’s super-saturated “PoW!.”


9. Coldplay’s wispy “Birds.”

10. Travi$ Scott goes full T-Pain on the pitch-shifted “Wonderful (ft. The Weeknd).”

11. Electro duo GRRL PAL’s sugary “Submarine.”

12. U.K.-based pop singer Foxes’ synth-pop celebration, “Amazing.”

13. Sia’s party-ready Rihanna reject, “Cheap Thrills.”

14. R&B starlet Kenzie May’s gorgeous, gooey “Honey.”

15. Radiohead’s moody, rejected Bond theme, “Spectre.”

16. The practiced cool of The 1975’s glammy “UGH!.”

39 Songs You Need In Your Life This January


17. Comeback kid JoJo’s soaring, house-inflected “Right On Time.”

18. Kehlani’s murky kiss-off, “Did I.”

19. Kid Ink and Fetty Wap get romantic on the bouncy “Promise.”

20. Toronto-based rapper Ramriddlz’s woozy “Bodmon.”

21. jj’s calm, cool, collected “Paranoid.”

22. Monica and Timbaland’s brassy, he said-she said breakup song, “All Men Lie.”

23. Passenger’s delicate, folksy “Everything

24. The lo-fi cheerleader appeal of Hinds’ “San Diego.”


25. 5 Seconds Of Summer’s punchy “Jet Black Heart.”

26. Plane Jaymes’ swampy “Water Wet.”

27. D.R.A.M.’s triumphant, reflective “1 Year.”

28. “Sit Still, Look Pretty,” Daya’s sass-filled follow-up to her viral hit “Hide Away.”

29. Hudson Mohawke’s electric reimagining of John Carpenter’s Escape From New York theme, “Escape.”

30. Mabel’s velvety “My Boy My Town.”

31. The no-frills appeal of Rachel Platten’s piano ballad “Better Place.”

32. Drake protégé Majid Jordan’s silky, synth-heavy “Something About You.”

39 Songs You Need In Your Life This January


33. Jack and Jack’s chill AF “How We Livin.”

34. Martin Garrix’s tense, satisfying “Bouncybob (ft. Justin Mylo & Mesto).”

35. Country newcomer Maren Morris’ husky, over-it anthem “Drunk Girls Don’t Cry.”

36. Elliphant’s reggae-inspired “Step Down.”

37. Brooke Eden’s ode to working class living, “Daddy’s Money.”

38. Cole Swindle’s sad country song, “You Should Be Here.”

39. Producer swell. repurposes a Vine sample on the hypnotizing “I’m sorry (ft. shiloh).”

Follow our Songs You Need In Your Life This Month playlist on Spotify!

Women In Music 2015: The 50 Most Powerful Executives in the Industry

From Billboard.com


“The trailblazing women executives who are celebrated in these pages aren’t just leading the music industry — they’re transforming it,” writes Hillary Clinton in her introduction to Billboard’s annual Women In Music issue. The people below are leaders across every facet of the industry; consider Marcie Allen’s transformative brand work, Jody Gerson’s historic appointment to the top of Universal Music Publishing’s C-suite, Michelle Jubelirer’s indispensable ears and eyes at the Capitol Tower. Taken together they form the bedrock of the business. Congratulations — and thanks.



Co-head of international touring/co-head of CAA Music London, Creative Artists Agency

Agent, Creative Artists Agency

Co-head of international touring, Creative Artists Agency

Banks and Tsuchii, based in London and Los Angeles, ­respectively, co-­manage international touring for CAA, an increasingly important part of the agency’s business. Banks worked on Katy Perry’s Prismatic World Tour and guided up-and-comer Hozier to major festival spots, while Tsuchii is plotting Justin Bieber’s 2016 global itinerary, after working in 2015 for such Billboard Boxscore leaders as Foo Fighters and Ariana Grande. Meanwhile, Kinzel helped her client Lana Del Rey set ­multiple venue records on her summer tour of amphitheaters.
wim-exec-agencies-yoh-simon-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250SARA NEWKIRK SIMON, 38
Partner/co-head of music department, William Morris Endeavor

Partner, William Morris Endeavor

New York-based Kirby Yoh (left) and Los Angeles-based Newkirk Simon scout opportunities for their diverse clientele on both coasts. Kirby Yoh, who manages WME’s New York music team, cites the recent launch of the M2M fashion channel on Apple TV by WME and its affiliated IMG agency as a new ­exposure opportunity for clients Florence & The Machine, Grimes, FKA Twigs and Alicia Keys. Division co-head Newkirk Simon guides Lady Gaga, Pharrell Williams and Selena Gomez with an eye on new career options; client Miguel has just joined the cast of the upcoming crime film Live by Night, starring Ben Affleck.

wim-exec-agencies-nastaskin-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250NATALIA NASTASKIN
Head of U.S. music operations, United Talent Agency

The former CEO of the Agency Group USA spent the ­summer ­negotiating the acquisition of her 2,200-client firm by United Talent Agency. “It’s a major game-changer,” says the New York-based Nastaskin, who opened a Miami office and created a college and casino booking division for her agency.



wim-exec-agencies-vlasic-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250MARSHA VLASIC
President, Artist Group International

A veteran agent with a loyal client list of superstars and critically acclaimed acts (Neil Young, Elvis Costello, Muse, Regina Spektor, The Strokes, Band of Horses), Vlasic still seeks out additions to her roster. “There’s always room for one more, especially when you’re a Jewish mother,” says the Brooklyn native. Highlights of her year included Young’s tour backed by Promise of the Real (the band led by Willie Nelson’s son Lukas) and Costello’s Detour Tour.

wim-exec-agencies-yim-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250CAROLINE YIM, 37
Concerts agent, ICM Partners

Under Yim’s guidance, Kehlani Parrish — the 20-year-old former America’s Got Talent contestant — embarked on her first solo tour. The Los Angeles native also has orchestrated road runs for Kendrick Lamar (13 intimate shows), The Internet (40 cities domestically), Earl Sweatshirt (62 cities) and duo Rae Sremmurd (with 155 dates booked). “This is my music,” says the UCLA alumna. “I’ve been a hip-hopper from day one.”


wim-exec-brands-allen-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250MARCIE ALLEN, 42
President, MAC Presents

Allen flies weekly between her home in Nashville and office in New York, which helps explain why she saw the potential in an airline-artist partnership. Among the deals her team brokered this year were a Southwest Airlines tour ­sponsorship for Imagine Dragons, including an in-flight ­concert. Thanks to diversification with clients like Microsoft Windows, revenue is up 20 percent over 2014 to a record eight ­figures, and Allen will begin 2016 by rolling out a Sundance Film Festival programming ­partnership in January with the venue Park City Live. She also promises a “breakthrough summer ­festival ­strategy” with a major beer brand.

wim-exec-brands-breithaupt-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250JENNIFER BREITHAUPT, 43
Global head of entertainment, Citi

Selling millions of tickets to its credit-card holders, Citi has partnered with more than 1,400 artists and bands and 11,000 events in 21 ­countries in 2015, including a majority of the year’s top tours, says Breithaupt. The brand, which one informed source estimates is working with a $100 ­million budget — Citi doesn’t disclose this ­information — and has seen double-digit year-to-year growth in ticket sales and U.S. ticket revenue, also is focused on creating opportunities for fans “who may never leave the house,” like Yahoo’s concert-a-day series, explains Breithaupt. For 2016, she and Citi are ­working on ­technology to identify card holders in venues and give them ­”special access to artists” as the ­ultimate door prize.

wim-exec-brands-curtis-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250DEBORAH CURTIS
Vp global sponsorships and experiential marketing, American Express

In 2015, Curtis delivered presale access for American Express card holders to tours by The Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, Kenny Chesney, Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift. With Swift’s team, she created the Emmy-winning Amex Unstaged Taylor Swift Experience app, which included an interactive video of “Blank Space.” (One industry insider put the deal at $3 million to $5 million.) Newer acts have received a boost from Amex Unstaged Artists in Residence, which has showcased Børns, Rae Sremmurd and Pia Mia.


wim-exec-digital-clemens-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250SARA CLEMENS, 44
Chief strategy officer, Pandora

Clemens and her team have spent the last year positioning Pandora to better compete in the digital marketplace. In November, the company acquired some of the assets of Rdio for $75 million with the intention of entering the on-demand subscription marketplace with Spotify, Apple and YouTube. In October, it spent $450 million on Ticketfly, which will allow artists to sell concert tickets directly to Pandora listeners. “There was a crew of probably more than 100 people that leaned in to get this done,” the New Zealand native says of the deal.



Director/head of Americas music ­partnerships, Google Play/YouTube

Director/global head of artist ­relations, YouTube/Google Play

Director/head of label partnerships (Americas), YouTube

Through complementary roles at Google, these three women are driving the tech giant’s digital music strategy for YouTube and Google Play. Hrivnak focuses on partnerships with hardware manufacturers, telecommunication firms and retailers, as well as labels and music ­publishers. Lewit prepped the November launches of subscription service YouTube Red and the YouTube Music app. Moosnick, a veteran of digital roles at MTV and Warner Music, secured the label licenses for YouTube Red.

wim-exec-digital-schlosser-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250KATIE SCHLOSSER
Senior director of label relations for North America, Spotify

As Spotify has grown from 15 million to 60 million listeners during the past five years, Schlosser, an alumna of the Berklee College of Music, has worked “to generate meaningful artist success stories.” This year, for instance, EDM group Major Lazer racked up 38 million streams of its single “Lean On” — landing it at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 — after Spotify orchestrated “a concerted marketing push,” she says.


wim-exec-filmtv-escobedo-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250MONICA ESCOBEDO, 38
Entertainment producer, ABC News/Good Morning America

Escobedo did her part in the perpetual ratings battle for network morning-show supremacy by amping up GMA’s summer concert series lineup. Jason Derulo’s June 12 gig scored particularly big, attracting 5.1 million viewers — the highest Nielsen numbers of the series — and translated to the kind of exposure that’s increasingly difficult for an artist to get from a single appearance: Sales of his album Everything Is 4 jumped 20 percent afterward. Escobedo also orchestrated special coverage of One Direction in conjunction with the release of its new album, Made in the A.M. Says the UCLA graduate: “It’s all about creating those television moments.”

wim-exec-filmtv-gurovitsch-shookus-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250JULIE GUROVITSCH, 33
Talent executive for music, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Producer, Saturday Night Live

When it comes to music, SNL and The Tonight Show are the most influential shows in late night, and Gurovitsch (left) and Shookus are their gatekeepers. Shortly after Gurovitsch booked blues rockers Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats’ national TV debut on Aug. 5 at Fallon’s request, streaming of the band’s single, “S.O.B.,” jumped 279 percent to 173,000 plays, according to Nielsen Music. And when Shookus, who leads a team of three other bookers, landed Miley Cyrus for SNL’s fall premiere on Oct. 3, the show saw a 14-percent ratings boost over the 2014 season debut. They make it look easy, but Shookus, who has been an SNL producer since 2010, says, “You get one chance to make the right impression. And people have long memories when you make the wrong one.”


Chairman/CEO, BET Networks

Lee acknowledges it has been a tough year, characterized by layoffs and ­restructuring that rocked BET parent company Viacom. “But it hasn’t slowed us down,” she says. Despite a 1.4 million dip in viewers in 2015, music tentpole the BET Awards still ranks as cable’s No. 1 awards telecast. The third annual BET Experience festival was another success: Attendance was up 36 percent (150,000-plus), and the event has been renewed through 2018.

wim-exec-filmtv-moll-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250SARAH MOLL, 39
Director of media events, NFL

In February, Super Bowl XLIX made history, and not for anything having to do with football. The glory belonged to the 12-and-a-half-minute halftime show put together by Moll’s NFL team, which featured Katy Perry, Lenny Kravitz and a resurgent Missy Elliott. A record 118.5 million viewers tuned in at halftime — the largest in Super Bowl history. Although Moll, who resides in Playa del Rey, Calif., isn’t ­commenting, she reportedly has drafted one of her favorite artists, Bruno Mars, whose 2014 halftime appearance ranks second to Perry’s, to curate the music for Super Bowl 50.

wim-exec-filmtv-schreiber-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250BRITTANY SCHREIBER, 28
Music booking producer; NBC News, Today

Although Today’s intense rivalry with Good Morning America means Schreiber must land ratings-getters, she thrives on booking an emerging act and “watching it become a success.” When Wiz Khalifa wasn’t available to join up-and-comer Charlie Puth for an August ­appearance, she booked Puth solo — and will bring him back in January for his album release. Seasoned acts also benefit: After Duran Duran played Today, the band notched its highest Billboard 200 chart debut in 22 years with Paper Gods (No. 10).

wim-exec-filmtv-soler-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250DAWN SOLER, 55
Senior vp music, ABC

Now that ABC’s Nashville has spun off 11 soundtracks and sold more than 900,000 units and 4 million song downloads, Soler plans to build ancillary music markets around other ABC series, including How to Get Away With Murder, Wicked City and Marvel Studios’ Luke Cage superhero series, which is being developed for Netflix. “I’d love to create a musical experience for at least half our shows and have a few more like Nashville,” says the Los Angeles native, who admits to having a special affinity for bass solos.

wim-exec-filmtv-vollack-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250LIA VOLLACK, 51
President of worldwide music/executive vp theatrical, Sony Pictures Entertainment

Pressure is finding a memorable song for the 24th movie in the $7 ­billion James Bond franchise, but Vollack rose to the occasion when she secured Sam Smith’s “Writing’s on the Wall” for Spectre. On 007’s home turf, the song became the first Bond theme to hit No. 1 on the Official U.K. Singles Chart. The Colorado native, who calls both Los Angeles and New York home, says the key to her success is choosing her battles. “The trick to this business is knowing when to give up.” Her next challenge: the perfect theme for the summer 2016 Ghostbusters reboot.


wim-exec-finance-badgett-henderson-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250LORI BADGETT, 41
Senior vp/team leader, City National Bank

Executive vp/head of entertainment ­division, City National Bank

Badgett (left) and Henderson, based in Nashville and Los Angeles, respectively, exemplify City National’s deep ties to the entertainment industry, a long-established market strength that led Royal Bank of Canada to acquire the financial institution in 2015. Day to day, says Badgett, “you can be setting up a $5,000 credit card for a touring artist or a $25 million publishing syndicate.” The Royal Bank deal, says Henderson, “gives us a lot more to offer our clients. It’s expanding what we do today.”


Co-owner/vp/business manager, Flood Bumstead McCready & McCarthy

President/co-founder/­business ­manager, Flood Bumstead McCready & McCarthy

The duo helps run one of the ­industry’s top financial management firms, which counts Keith Urban and Blake Shelton among its clientele. McCready’s investments also extend to Nashville itself — she’s a fierce civic booster and co-creator of the Music City Music Council — while Boos, who rose from an entry-level gig to co-owner in 20 years, says she enjoys ­mentoring the firm’s up-and-coming business managers.


wim-exec-labels-anthony-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250MICHELE ANTHONY, 59
Executive vp U.S. recorded music, Universal Music Group

At press time, the label group’s artists held the Billboard 200’s No. 1 album spot for 31 of 46 weeks in 2015 and accounted for seven of the 10 best-selling albums. How does Anthony, who oversees the big picture for UMG (and led the 2014 Women in Music list), improve upon those statistics? By growing revenue, she says, “in areas of expertise that we either didn’t have or that needed to be ­reimagined.” To that end, the ­company added branding and ­sponsorship vp Mike Tunnicliffe and a ­playlist strategy team led by Jay Frank, and also took a larger role in developing UMG’s catalogs into film, TV and ­theater projects like the Amy Winehouse ­documentary, Amy.

wim-exec-labels-berry-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250CANDACE BERRY
Executive vp/GM of sales, Universal Music Group

Following Jim Urie’s retirement at the end of 2014, Berry, his ­longtime second-in-command, ascended to the top spot of UMG’s revamped ­distribution unit, which keeps the company pipeline flowing with product from hitmakers Taylor Swift, Drake, Shawn Mendes, The Weeknd and Nick Jonas. The Indiana native, who says she’s “proud of still having the slight Southern accent” she picked up while attending high school in Atlanta, also manages UMG’s digital distribution — where streaming ­royalties accounted for 51 percent of digital ­revenue in the third quarter.


wim-exec-labels-fernandez-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250MARIA FERNANDEZ, 42
CFO/senior vp operations, Sony Latin Iberia Region

The Venezuela-born Fernandez oversees finances, operations and systems at the regional label, which has the largest share of its market. Signings of Enrique Iglesias and Il Volo, and the launch of marketing agency Arcade Latin are among the ­investments that have grown the division’s revenue 15 percent during the last four years. Fernandez, the mother of a 5-year-old son, credits Sony Latin chairman/CEO Afo Verde with another growth sign: Nearly half of her ­division’s employees are women, up from a handful when she started in 2007.

wim-exec-labels-goldstein-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250WENDY GOLDSTEIN
Executive vp/head of urban A&R, Republic Records

“Once you have an artist’s ­confidence, leading him in a new ­direction becomes a lot easier,” says the A&R veteran, who did just that with The Weeknd when she connected him with songwriter Max Martin. The result: The artist’s Beauty Behind the Madness album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, propelled by the No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 single “Can’t Feel My Face,” which Martin co-wrote. An interior-design aficionado, Goldstein is readying a new home in Beverly Hills in ­addition to 2016 albums by Ariana Grande, Hailee Steinfeld and Joe Jonas’ DNCE.

wim-exec-labels-greenwald-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250JULIE GREENWALD
Chairman/COO, Atlantic Records

Greenwald hates to choose among her label’s successes — “I’m a mother, they’re all my babies,” she says — but she’s in the position of having many ­children to brag about in 2015. Her 11-year stint at the label — which she runs with CEO Craig Kallman — has maintained a ­remarkably steady market share, ­hovering between 5 percent and 7.3 percent since 2005. With hit albums from Ed Sheeran, Twenty One Pilots, Meek Mill, Jill Scott, Wiz Khalifa and David Guetta in 2015 and new or ­forthcoming releases from Coldplay, Missy Elliott, Ty Dolla Sign, Sturgill Simpson, The War on Drugs and Charlie Puth, Atlantic’s hot streak doesn’t show any sign of abating.

wim-exec-labels-habtemariam-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250ETHIOPIA HABTEMARIAM, 36
President, Motown Records; president of urban music/co-head of creative, Universal Music Publishing Group

Habtemariam, whose first gig was a LaFace Records internship at 14, ­re-upped global publishing deals with J. Cole, Big Sean, Childish Gambino and Nicki Minaj — and watched signees R. City (“Locked Away”) and Sebastian Kole (Alessia Cara’s “Here”) enjoy chart breakthroughs. Following Ne-Yo’s No. 1 album, Non-Fiction, in 2015, Motown is ramping up newcomer BJ the Chicago Kid’s hotly anticipated LP for 2016.

wim-exec-labels-jones-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250ALLISON JONES, 46
Senior vp A&R, Big Machine Label Group

Ever since her first visit to the Grand Ole Opry at the age of 12, Jones has been obsessed with country, and, today, her artist roster includes some of the biggest names in the genre, ­including Tim McGraw and Florida Georgia Line. Jones, who lives in Nashville with her 10-year-old son Dylan, prides herself on matching artists with future hits. This year, for instance, she brought the Meghan Trainor-co-written “I Like the Sound of That” to the attention of Rascal Flatts. The single is No. 29 on the Hot Country Songs chart.

wim-exec-labels-jubelirer-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250MICHELLE JUBELIRER, 41
COO, Capitol Music Group

It has been a good year for Jubelirer. She was promoted from executive vp to COO in May, and CMG artists racked up 49 Grammy nominations and 12 wins. “We’re an artist-development company; that’s at the heart of every decision we make,” says the attorney-turned-label executive, who points to the successes of Sam Smith, 5 Seconds of Summer and Bastille as proof. Jubelirer, who lives with her 17-month-old son Stone and fiance, Buckcherry guitarist Keith Nelson, in Encino, Calif., credits colleagues Jody Gerson and Michele Anthony with teaching her that “it’s possible to be a strong leader by ­taking charge and ­taking care at the same time.”

wim-exec-labels-mabe-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250CINDY MABE, 42
President, Universal Music Group Nashville

Growing up in North Carolina, Mabe says she owned every Alabama album and made her brother and sister join her in dressing up like members of the ’80s country hit machine. “I was always [frontman] Randy Owen,” says Mabe, who now leads a new generation of country stars who have helped UMGN dominate the genre in 2015 with a 40 percent market share. Sam Hunt’s debut album Montevallo is, to date, the 10th-best-selling digital album of any genre in 2015; Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush” spent 13 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart; and Chris Stapleton’s surprise sweep at the Country Music Association Awards resulted in his debut LP, Traveller, becoming the first in history to re-enter the Billboard 200 at No. 1.

wim-exec-labels-rhone-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250SYLVIA RHONE, 63
President, Epic Records

Rhone shepherded a flock of top 10 Billboard 200 debuts from Epic ­artists Future, Fifth Harmony, Travis Scott, Sara Bareilles and, most ­notably, Meghan Trainor, whose freshman album Title bowed at No. 1. Scott’s Rodeo was innovatively ­marketed with a $150 action figure that also appeared on the album cover. Says Rhone: “No one in hip-hop has ever had a debut album released along with creative, ­interactive merchandise.” The year also yielded a joint venture with Janelle Monae’s Wondaland imprint — which scored a hit out of the box with “Classic Man” by Nigerian-American artist Jidenna, whom Rhone calls a “cultural guru.”

wim-exec-labels-romano-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250BRENDA ROMANO
President of promotion, Interscope Geffen A&M

Romano, the executive behind the consistent radio success of Interscope Records (and its Geffen and A&M imprints), is a 20-year veteran of the label who is well-known within the industry for her unabashed ­competitive drive. This year’s ­successes on the Hot 100 include four top 10 hits: Selena Gomez’s “Good for You” (featuring ASAP Rocky), Maroon 5’s “Sugar” and “Animals,” and Ellie Goulding’s “Love Me Like You Do.”


wim-exec-labels-saturn-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250JACQUELINE SATURN
GM, Harvest Records

Saturn continued to revitalize the storied label that featured Pink Floyd in the 1970s and Duran Duran in the 1980s with successful releases by upstart artists Banks, who, says Saturn, has “amassed 200 million streams”; Glass Animals, which had a No. 1 Spotify track with “Gooey”; and the New Basement Tapes project, producer T Bone Burnett’s all-star-band take on Bob Dylan and The Band’s classic 1975 album. The Los Angeles-based mother of two is an avid runner. And as she says, “The music game is a ­marathon, not a sprint.”

wim-exec-labels-swidler-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250JULIE SWIDLER
Executive vp business affairs/general ­counsel, Sony Music Entertainment

Swidler’s planned two-week stay in Nashville lasted three months as she essentially ran Sony’s Nashville ­division — working with ­superstars Kenny Chesney and Carrie Underwood and releasing albums by Tyler Farr and Old Dominion — while ­conducting an ­arduous search for a new CEO ­(ultimately hiring Randy Goodman). “I got to exercise muscles I hadn’t used in a while,” says Swidler, who came away from the trip with a new pair of cowboy boots. She also supervised Sony deals with Apple Music, Tidal and YouTube.


wim-exec-live-dufine-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250DANA DUFINE, 50
Head of entertainment bookings, MSG Entertainment

Dufine oversees live ­entertainment for MSG Entertainment’s coast-to-coast portfolio of top-grossing venues, including Madison Square Garden in New York and The Forum in Los Angeles. Since joining MSGE in 2014, the Los Angeles native has created the company’s cross-venue touring division, which leverages the booking power of MSGE’s buildings in major cities. On a more personal level, says DuFine, “You get to go on these ­journeys,” which means that the teen who snuck out of the house to see her first concert — U2 in Los Angeles in the ’80s — got to oversee the 13 shows that the band played this year in New York and Los Angeles. “That,” she adds, “was an amazing journey.”


wim-exec-live-ford-howe-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250MAUREEN FORD, 51
President of national and festival sales, Live Nation Entertainment

COO, Ticketmaster North America

Live Nation’s 2015 festival business has “exploded, ­particularly in ­country,” says Ford (left), whose team increased overall festival sponsorship and media by 50 percent. The Boston-based executive secured new multiyear partnerships with Toyota, Hilton and State Farm, while expanding media relationships with Yahoo, Snapchat and Vice. At Ticketmaster, a division of Live Nation Entertainment, Howe works directly with president Jared Smith on strategy and executive talent, where there has been a lot of ­movement: More than 50 percent of the company’s senior team was hired within the past year. Through key acquisitions and new mobile ticketing technology, Howe says Ticketmaster aims to “transform the end-to-end live event experience” for fans.

wim-exec-live-harnell-leon-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250ALI HARNELL, 47
Senior vp, AEG Live

Senior vp Latin talent, AEG Live/Goldenvoice; manager (Juanes, J Balvin)

Harnell, as head of AEG’s Southeast territory, produced some 180 shows in 2015, grossing $36 million — ­including a run of dates by Little Big Town that generated $3.5 million — a $10 million year-to-year increase. The mother of a 15-year-old son, Harnell also plays a role in the Country 2 Country ­festival, which expanded from the United Kingdom to Scandinavia. For AEG’s Latin ­business, Leon reports a 12 percent rise in ­revenue and guided the ­successful Enrique Iglesias/Pitbull/J Balvin tour. As ­manager, she added Balvin to her roster and got Juanes on the Grammy Awards ­telecast. “Our big goal,” says Leon, “is to ­penetrate the mainstream.”

wim-exec-live-rathwell-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250DEBRA RATHWELL, 60
Senior vp, AEG Live

Rathwell has built AEG Live’s New York office into a ­powerhouse that promotes some 1,000 events annually throughout the Northeast. Her proudest achievements during the past year include John Mellencamp’s 80-date theater tour and 65 arena dates with Shania Twain. Next up: Justin Bieber’s spring/summer tour of North America.



wim-exec-live-willard-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250KATHY WILLARD, 49
CFO, Live Nation Entertainment

Willard has watched Live Nation’s numbers tick upward this year as the world’s largest event company took majority stakes in C3 Presents (Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits Music Festival) and the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn., and partnered with top German promoter Marek Lieberberg. “The festival deals were huge for the ­business, not only for our overall North American festival base, but also for sponsorships and ­ticketing,” says the resident of Los Angeles’ Westwood neighborhood. Willard notes Asia and South America are likely areas of future expansion for Live Nation.


wim-exec-management-callahan-longo-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250LEE ANNE CALLAHAN-LONGO, 47
GM, Parkwood Entertainment

After co-producing Beyoncé and Jay Z’s 2014 On the Run Tour, which grossed more than $100 million, Callahan-Longo this year focused on growing Parkwood’s management, production, music and philanthropy divisions. “I’m especially proud of the merger of Chime for Change [of which Beyoncé is a co-founder] with nonprofit Global Citizen, focusing on initiatives for women and girls around the world,” says the one-time Boston College ­communications major. “At Parkwood, we are crazy perfectionists who are never fully satisfied.”

wim-exec-management-kaye-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250ALLISON KAYE, 34
President, SB Projects

Returning to work after maternity leave, Kaye this year worked on another comeback — Justin Bieber’s third album Purpose, which yielded the No. 1 single “What Do You Mean?” Of Bieber, she says, “He worked really hard on himself [and showed] the world … that he went through a phase and came out the other side.” She also has guided the careers of Tori Kelly, Ariana Grande and Martin Garrix while preparing for Rixton’s return in 2016.



wim-exec-management-stennett-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250SARAH STENNETT
CEO, First Access Entertainment

Stennett invested in the future in a major way in October when she inked a joint venture with Access Industries, owned by billionaire Len Blavatnik (also owner of Warner Music Group). The deal turned her ­management firm Turn First Artists — which counts Zayn Malik, Iggy Azalea and Ellie Goulding as ­clients — into First Access Entertainment, a music, film, TV and fashion concern. “We’re living in a very different, fast-moving, culturally diverse space,” she says, “and you have to have resources for artists to explore those interests.”

wim-exec-management-stiklorius-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250TY STIKLORIUS, 40
Founder/CEO, Friends at Work

Stiklorius declared her independence in October when she departed Troy Carter’s Atom Factory, where she was co-president, to launch her own management firm and brought John Legend and Lindsey Stirling with her. The mother of two credits her career to a break she got during her college years. An English major at the University of Pennsylvania, Stiklorius took charge of the school’s jazz and blues a ­cappella group, which included a young, unknown Legend. His ­performance of Joan Osborne’s “One of Us” at New York’s Carnegie Hall in the national finals “made me want to work with musicians like him,” she says.

Performing Rights

wim-exec-live-matthews-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250ELIZABETH MATTHEWS, 47

In January, after two years as executive vp/general counsel, Matthews became CEO of ASCAP at a crucial moment in the performing rights organization’s history. With the U.S. Department of Justice reviewing how PROs license music in the digital age, Matthews will play a key role in the thorny debate. She also is rebuilding ASCAP’s leadership team, the start of a six-year plan to strengthen its efficiency and effectiveness.



wim-exec-live-sweeney-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250ANN SWEENEY, 56
Senior vp global policy, BMI

Sweeney sets BMI’s agenda in Washington, D.C., and oversees its relationships and revenue with counterpart PROs in international markets. Seeking to “unlock more value” for BMI writers, she cites the PRO’s support this year for the reintroduction of the Songwriter Equity Act in March, which seeks better royalty rates for songwriters.



wim-exec-live-turner-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250KELLI TURNER, 45
CFO/executive vp operations and corporate development, SESAC

Turner has a key role at the PRO, which is currently on a roll. SESAC’s September acquisition of mechanical rights organization The Harry Fox Agency — and new deals inked during the last 16 months with Mariah Carey, Green Day, Zac Brown and Kurt Cobain’s estate — will boost the music license fees and royalties that SESAC administers by more than 50 percent.


wim-exec-publishing-gerson-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250JODY GERSON
CEO, Universal Music Publishing Group

As the first woman to run a major label’s music publishing ­concern, Gerson admits she’s “very conscious of being a woman in power. I grew up in a business that was a boys’ club. Now I feel a responsibility to be in a sisterhood.” At UMPG, she’s in good company. Gerson sees friends Universal Music Group executive vp Michele Anthony and Capitol Music Group COO Michelle Jubelirer regularly for lunch at her office or dinner at her Beverly Hills home. “We talk one another off the ledge,” she says. (Gerson is Billboard’s Executive of the Year — read our full profile here.)

wim-exec-publishing-knoepfle-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250JENNIFER KNOEPFLE, 39
Senior vp A&R, Sony/ATV Music Publishing

When Jody Gerson departed Sony/ATV to head Universal Music Publishing Group, Knoepfle deftly juggled her A&R duties while running the Los Angeles office with interim co-head Jonas Kant prior to the arrival of newly appointed U.S. co-president Rick Krim. She also helped Bleachers frontman and Fun. guitarist Jack Antonoff form a joint venture with Sony/ATV to sign and collaborate with up-and-coming talent. “He wanted to expand who he was working with, including developing writers and artists,” she says.

wim-exec-publishing-marshall-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250CARIANNE MARSHALL
Partner, SONGS Music Publishing

Marshall drives a lot of business for SONGS, thanks to the efforts of her synchronization team, ­which places its artists’ music in films, TV shows, advertisements and other media. In 2015, her group generated a 110 percent increase in ­revenue over the previous year. Placements from the SONGS catalog include Diplo’s “Revolution” in a Hyundai ­commercial and The Weeknd’s “High for This” in a Hugo Boss ad. Marshall prizes the indie scale of SONGS. “I know all of our writers,” she says, “which, at bigger companies, is ­impossible. Practically all of our ­writers make money from synchronization.”


wim-exec-publishing-metcalfe-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250SAS METCALFE, 54
President of global creative, Kobalt Music Group

In 2001, Metcalfe was the first employee hired by Kobalt Music Group founder Willard Ahdritz, and today she guides signings, acquisitions and ­administration ­partnerships with emerging publishers. The Welsh executive, who says she lives by the motto “You’re only as good as your last hit,” has lured Lionel Richie, TV on the Radio and Deadmau5′ label Mau5trap to Kobalt in recent months and helped push the indie publisher to an impressive third-place 12.7 percent market share of the top 100 radio songs in the third quarter.

wim-exec-publishing-katie-vinten-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250KATIE VINTEN, 32
Co-head of A&R, Warner/Chappell Music

Vinten started the year as a ­director and rose to co-head of A&R on the strength of ­identifying hit-making teams of ­songwriters. She signed Julia Michaels and her writing partner Justin Tranter, and the two have collaborated on four top 40 tracks: Justin Bieber’s “Sorry,” Gwen Stefani’s “Used to Love You,” Selena Gomez’s “Good for You” and Hailee Steinfeld’s “Love Myself.” (Both also have penned Hot 100 hits individually.) Vinten’s philosophy: “Put the writers and music first. When I focus on that, results occur.”


wim-exec-radio-besack-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250JESS BESACK, 33
Director of programming; The Spectrum, SiriusXM

Besack programs The Spectrum, one of the most influential ­destinations at SiriusXM, which reports 29 ­million ­subscribers. (It does not break out ­listenership by channel.) Proof: During the week that Adele’s new album 25 arrived and smashed sales records, the pop phenomenon made her first U.S. radio appearance at a Town Hall Q&A session carried on The Spectrum, and a week earlier, gave a rare interview to channel DJ Jenny Eliscu. Besack also championed new act Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, who had a 500 percent sales jump after The Spectrum was first to play its track “S.O.B.”

wim-exec-radio-dastur-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250SHARON DASTUR, 45
Senior vp programming and integration, iHeartMedia

Dastur, a former programmer at New York’s powerful top 40 WHTZ (Z100), celebrated her first year in a national role by bringing in $50 million-plus from advertisers seeking more than just another commercial. “We’re always looking for creative partnerships with brands,” says Dastur, a one-time member of the ­marching band at the University of Texas at Austin. Recent iHeartMedia deals have included Coca-Cola’s First Taste Fridays podcast and Bacardi’s Ultimate House Party Tour.

wim-exec-radio-grundmann-bb37-2015-billboard-250x250ANYA GRUNDMANN
Executive director, NPR Music; interim vp programming, NPR

Through podcasts like First Listen — a prerelease album stream that now includes radio ­interviews and live ­performances — and All Songs Considered — iTunes’ No. 1 podcast — NPR connects artists with an audience of 20 million-plus, guided by Grundmann, who grew up in Baltimore in “a house filled with music.” The 2014 Tiny Desk Concert Contest, devoted to unknown and unsigned acts, had more than 30,000 participants. “Our winner, Fantastic Negrito,” she says proudly, “went from busking in Oakland to ­playing big stages, touring and recording.”