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CH-CH-CHANGES

Tom Corson’s first seven months at Warner Bros. have found him wrapping his arms around the company in an attempt to build a modern marketing team to support Aaron Bay-Schuck’s A&R squad—which should be arriving in the next 90 days. The impending exit of Peter Gray, one of the top promo execs of the last decade, is seen as a major move by Corson to get both hands on the steering wheel of the new model; it’s just one more big transition in a year that has seen more changes at the top of the label hierarchy than at any time in modern memory.

You can expect more such developments before 2018 is out. To wit: There’s lots of chatter about further changes to come at the top of one major East Coast label that’s been morphing all year long. And there’s renewed talk surrounding another major as one of its top execs comes up for a deal renewal.

Today’s top marketing/promo execs need to have the total package; they’ve got to know how to operate at Spotify, Apple and Amazon and know where the bodies are buried at radio and TV. But there’s a new crop of young, aggressive radio teams taking the field, and the leaders of two of these—Capitol’s Greg Marella and Republic’s Gary Spangler—appear to have made their bones and could reach the next level, if they play their cards right. Meanwhile, veterans like Brenda Romano, Joe Riccitelli, Steve Bartels, Rick Sackheim, Lee Leipsner and Andrea Ganis keep watch over all the moves on the chessboard and all that matters. John Boulos, another veteran with real gravitas, leaves Atlantic after 12 years.

Then there are the newbies who’ve earned a shot at the bigtime after serving faithfully in the trenches and are clearly ones to watch: Def Jam’s Nicki Farag and Big Machine's Jon Borris (formerly at Columbia). Names that keep popping up include Mike Chester, who spent time at Bartels’ Def Jam and has been honing his craft at Scooter Braun’s shop for the last few years (both of which are Ivy League-level learning institutions), and Columbia's Ayelet Schiffman, a 24-year veteran of the highly competitive Sony system.

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