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Warner Music Group names producer Rob Cavallo chief creative officer

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October 08, 2009|Todd Martens

Warner Music Group, in a sign that the struggling recorded music company is seeking to bolster its ranks of artists, has tapped producer Rob Cavallo for the newly created position of chief creative officer.

In that role he will help develop acts across all of the Warner music labels including Atlantic, Asylum, Electra and Warner Bros. Cavallo, a multiple Grammy winner, has a strong track record with credits that include Green Day's "American Idiot," Kid Rock's "Rock N Roll Jesus" and most recently the top-10 release "Brand New Eyes" from the rock band Paramore.

"Rob is one of the most successful producers of our time and is not only a natural fit for our company but will also serve as a terrific resource for our artists and labels," Warner Music Chief Executive Lyor Cohen said in a statement. Cavallo will report to Cohen.

Cavallo has already signed Southern California rock act Switchfoot to a multi-platform "360" deal with Atlantic Records, and is credited with bringing the Dave Matthews Band to Warner Music this year for distribution outside of North America.

As part of his deal, Warner Music said, Cavallo will also be able to work on outside projects with other artists and labels. Cavallo has been working on "American Idol" runner-up Adam Lambert's debut for RCA.

Cavallo has worked for Warner Music in the past, joining Warner Bros. Records as an executive in 1987. He signed such acts as Goo Goo Dolls and Green Day to the label.

In 2004, Cavallo co-founded music marketing firm Level 7 with Broadcom Corp. co-founder Henry T. Nicholas III, a company that "didn't get to fruition," Cavallo said, alluding to Nicholas' legal troubles.

Aram Sinnreich, a New York University adjunct professor and industry analyst with media firm OMD Worldwide, said hiring a creative executive such as Cavallo was as much about cachet as business.

"Oftentimes it's more a prestige play than something that makes sense from a bottom-line perspective," Sinnreich said.

"Warner Music Group is a public company, and they need -- after some very difficult years -- the investors to have confidence in their ability to stay out front and remain solvent."

In the quarter that ended June 30, Warner Music reported a loss of $39 million on revenue of $769 million, down 9% from a year earlier. Warner ranks third among the four major labels with a 20.7% market share, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

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todd.martens@latimes.com

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