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Music Industry Moves: Benny Blanco to Be Honored With President’s Award at 2024 BMI Pop Awards

As a songwriter, record producer and artist, Blanco has crafted hits like “Diamonds” by Rihanna, “Circus” by Britney Spears and “Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5 to name just a few. He’s collaborated with globally-lauded artists including Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, SZA, Katy Perry, Ed Sheeran and the Weeknd, among others.

In 2018, Blanco released his platinum-certified debut album, “Friends Keep Secrets,” which included standout single “Eastside,” featuring Halsey and Khalid. He went on to release his follow-up album, “Friends Keep Secrets 2,” in 2021 featuring the single “Lonely” with Bieber.

The BMI Pop Awards will also reveal winners for Pop Song of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, Publisher of the Year and BMI’s 50 most-performed pop songs in the U.S. of the previous year. The private event, hosted by BMI President and CEO Mike O’Neill and VP of Worldwide Creative Barbara Cane, will be held on June 4 at Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills, CA.

“Benny’s numerous contributions to the art of music and songwriting across all genres are unparalleled,” said Cane. “His artistry and dedication to his craft have profoundly inspired and influenced many in our creative communities and we are thrilled to be honoring him with the BMI President’s Award. We’re also looking forward to a fabulous night that will celebrate the top songwriters and publishers we are privileged to represent.”

Peter Shapiro is set to manage and program the next era of the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock, NY. Shapiro’s Dayglo Presents will oversee the revived theater with the Bearsville Theater team including a new General Manager Frank Bango and Talent Buyer Mike Campbell.

Built by Albert Grossman, manager of such legends as Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul and Mary, The Band, and Janis Joplin, and restored by owner Lizzie Vann, the Bearsville Theater was built in 1989 to compliment the Bearsville recording studios.

Bearsville’s reopening features a full slate of leading performers including Don Was, Guster, Dawes, Guided By Voices, Drive-By Truckers, Mdou Moctar, The Beths, Andy Frasco & The U.N., Dresden Dolls, The Zombies, The Jayhawks and more to be announced.


Reba McEntire will host the 59th Academy of Country Music Awards on May 16 at 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. CDT/5 p.m. PDT, streaming live on Prime Video from Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas. She returns as host for the 17th time, the most of any artist.

“I am tickled to pieces to get to host the ACM Awards for the 17th time!” McEntire said. “What an honor to have been part of the past, present and now the future of the Academy of Country Music with Amazon Prime Video. I can’t wait to get to Texas and see everybody May 16th!”

April 23, Tuesday

Hip-hop producer BNYX (Yeat, Drake, Travis Scott, Lil Uzi Vert, Nicki Minaj) has signed a new deal with Zack Bia’s Field Trip Recordings and Capitol Records. Yeat’s Lyfestyle Corporation will also work with BNYX as part of the deal.

“BNYX is an exceptional musician, a true artist with a specific vision but above all an incredible human,” said Bia. “Yeat brought him into our lives and he’s turned into family. It is only right we would all partner to bring his music to the world as the first official signee to Lyfestyle Corporation / Field Trip / Capitol Records. We couldn’t be more honored and excited.”

The Philadelphia-bred artist is said to release his debut project in the coming months under this deal and off the success of a blockbuster 2023 when he spent seven weeks topping Billboard’s Top Rap Producers chart. He’s set to perform live for the first time at Jack Harlow’s Gazebo Festival in May and will be joining Yeat for a slate of shows later this summer.

“As a producer BNYX has had a profound impact on both music and culture,” said Tom March, chairman and CEO for Capitol Records. “We’re thrilled to partner with he, his manager Ness, the brilliant Zack Bia and Field Trip Recordings on the launch of BNYX’s solo career. It’s a privilege to enter this new era together continuing our longtime relationship with Zack and the Field Trip team.”

On the partnership, BNYX said: “I’d like to thank God, my manager, and Rick Owens.”

Samantha Sklar has been promoted to VP of A&R at Position Music.

Sklar’s most recent notable success is marked with the signing of breakout songwriter Jack LaFrantz, who co-wrote Benson Boone’s hit Hot 100-topping single “Beautiful Things.” Sklar joined Position Music in August 2022 and has been integral in helping to build out the frontline pop publishing roster including the additions of Joe Kearns, Zach Skelton, John “Feldy” Feldmann, Alex “Abomb” Fernandez, amongst others yet to be announced. Prior to joining Position, Sklar was an A&R at Warner Chappell Music Publishing, where she signed Stephen Kirk, who co-wrote BTS’ “Butter.”

Joanne Denise Hunter and Renata Muniz, who both served as the VPs of media and brand strategy at Def Jam Recordings, have launched a new media and brand strategy agency called Out of Office. Based in Los Angeles, Out of Office currently boasts KenTheMan, Shanae and Genia on its roster.


Hunter is also the co-founder of Live Help Live, an independent label representing breakout acts like Jordan Ward. Meanwhile, Muniz has over 12 years of experience in talent branding and media relations. She has managed publicity campaigns for artists including Coco Jones, Alessia Cara, SZA, and the Prince Estate, among others.

Bella Figura Music, the independent music publisher and record label founded by Alexi Cory-Smith and Neelesh Prabhu in 2022, has announced the acquisition of RAK Publishing (RAK).

RAK oversees 1500 copyrights, including classic hits such as “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” recorded by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, “Kids in America” recorded by Kim Wilde, “Music” recorded by John Miles, and many others.

RAK was founded in 1969 by record producer Mickie Most and his wife Christina and now represents over a hundred writers including the Ivor Novello Winner Errol Brown and BASCA Gold Badge recipients Steve Harley and Suzi Quatro.

Reservoir Media, Inc. and Big Life Management, a Reservoir company, have announced a slate of key promotions at Big Life. Kat KennedyColin Roberts, and Claire Kilcourse have been promoted to partners, with Kennedy also taking on a new role as managing director.

In her 18 years at Big Life, Kennedy rose from a junior role to her previous title of general manager, which she held for 12 years. Roberts began at Big Life in 2007 as an A&R scout, bringing in artists including La Roux and the Sound of Arrows, with the latter becoming the first of many of his own management clients.

Kilcourse returned to Big Life as an artist manager in January 2017 following an earlier role as a management assistant between 2010 and 2012. On her return to the company, she brought Orla Gartland and Look Mum No Computer to the roster.

+ Portland-based indie record label Really Rad Records has launched an online fundraiser to help the company get back on its feet after its headquarters were burned down last month. Really Rad provides artists with PR, booking and advertising services as well as producing and distributing physical formats like vinyl, CDs, and cassettes.

Donations will go towards restocking merchandise, starting with the most recent arrivals and working backwards, in addition to any refunds that customers may place for the destroyed merchandise.

“The investigation is still ongoing, but it’s believed that an electrical fire sparked from an outlet in our living room and caught on some cardboard shipping supplies,” said the company on their GoFundMe page. “Between that and the thousands of vinyl records stocked on our shelves, it took less than 90 seconds for the fire to grow so hot that our home was filled with black smoke, windows were cracking and the staircase outside our apartment leading to our upstairs neighbor was completely engulfed in flames.”

This news comes as Mississippi Records, another indie record store and label in Portland, was also burned down last fall by suspected arson.


+ Lucas Keller, president and founding partner of Milk & Honey Music + Sports + Ventures, has announced the acquisition of VMG Sports, built by NFLPA certified agents Adam Heller, Michael Simon, Greg Diulus and Sammy Spina who will now join the Milk & Honey executive staff.

Through this new deal, Travis Kelce, Paris Johnson and 15 total NFL players will join the Milk & Honey family joining the existing roster of clients including Courtland Sutton (Denver Broncos) and Kamren Curl (Los Angeles Rams) to name a few. The company now represents 83 athletes in total across football and baseball.

Milk & Honey was founded in a decade ago by Keller and general manager/business partner Nic Warner, and entered the sports world three years ago with a focus on expanding beyond just a music shop. Milk & Honey’s music department represent songwriters and record producers alongside nearly 30 DJs in their artist department.

+ Media, marketing and management firm Jensen Communications, Inc. has appointed Leo Lavoro as senior VP of publicity and media strategy. In his new role, Lavoro will provide strategic direction for the company’s roster of clients in the areas of PR, marketing and brand building.

He will report to Michael Jensen, president and founder of Jensen Communications, Inc. (JCI).

“I am incredibly thrilled and honored to announce Leo Lavoro as Senior Vice President of Jensen Communications,” Jensen said. “His strong work ethic is truly admirable. He is and will be more than an important part of the company’s growth now and in the future. We already value his early contributions to the company. His dedication and commitment to his work will inspire us all.”

Prior to joining JCI, Lavoro served as VP of publicity at BMG in New York City, where he orchestrated press and marketing campaigns for international artists including Lenny Kravitz, Kylie Minogue, Diane Warren, Rufus Wainwright and Corey Taylor, to name a few. Over the past 25 years, Lavoro has worked at such companies as Zero Hour Records, Webster Hall Records, Escapi Music, Big Machine Media and The End Records.

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