Warner Music Group today announced the appointment of Cameron Strang as CEO of Warner/Chappell Music, one of the world’s largest music publishers with a catalog of more than one million copyrights. David Johnson will continue on as Warner/Chappell’s chairman until July 1, 2011 when Strang will assume the additional role of chairman.
As part of the appointment, the Warner Music Group has acquired Southside Independent Music Publishing, a company founded by Strang. The company publishes a number of contemporary hit songs including B.o.B.’s “Nothin’ on You,” Cee-Lo Green’s “F*** You” and Bruno Mars “Grenade” as well as the Kings of Leon’s back catalog.
“Cameron’s impressive track record of identifying and signing some of the industry’s most successful emerging songwriters and catalogs, and his proven success as an entrepreneur make him the ideal executive to lead Warner/Chappell.” WMG chairman/CEO Edgar Bronfman said in a statement. “He has that rare combination of business smarts, operational experience and creative instincts, and I’m confident he’ll be a great fit for the progressive and entrepreneurial culture that exists within WMG.”
As for the outgoing Johnson, Bronfman added, “During his tenure, Dave has delivered excellent results at Warner/Chappell, including dramatic growth in both synch and digital revenue, and assembled an industry-leading music production business through the acquisition of the Non-Stop, V, Carlin, GrooveAddicts and 615 Music libraries. Dave has proven to be a versatile and highly capable executive who can succeed in a variety of roles, and I can’t thank him enough for his significant contributions to Warner/Chappell and WMG.”
Strang, who graduated from the University of British Columbia Law School in 1992, launched New West Records in 1995 with the signing of singer/songwriter Billy Joe Shaver. In 1998, he moved the label’s home to Los Angeles, and in 2000, merged New West with Austin-based Doolittle Records. Recently New West acquired the Texas Music Group including the Antone’s label and the Watermelon Label, according to the announcement. Strang willl be based in Los Angeles.
This move also likely means that Strang’s New West Records, currently distributed by RED, will eventually come under the Warner Music Group umbrella, either through an acquisition or distribution deal, at some point in time. The label, which Strang co-owns with New West CEO George Fontaine, recently renewed its distribution agreement with Sony Music-owned RED, sources say.
With Strang’s appointment at Warner/Chappell, he is relinquishing his duties as New West president. Michael Ruthig, who has been promoted to GM of the label, will take over daily operations responsibilities immediately. In another move, Katelyn Craig will also take on an expanded role, overseeing the New West Independent Music Publishing.
The 15-year old label has issued records by Dwight Yoakam, Steve Earle, Rickie Lee Jones, Kris Kristofferson Delbert McClinton, Drive-By Truckers, and Vic Chesnut. In addition, the roster includes Ben Lee, Buddy & Julie Miller, Corb Lund, Ian Hunter, John Hiatt, Jordan Zevon, Mark Olson & Gary Louris, Old 97’s, Randall Bramblett, Ray Davies, Stephen Bruton, The Drams, The Flatlanders and Tim Easton.