“Our focus is on making great records that we can have global success with. We’re shaping our team, we’re focused on building our A&R resources, and Steve’s a big part of that, obviously.”
——CRG Chairman Will Botwin


Moves Indicate an Increased Emphasis on A&R

As expected, Will Botwin has been named Columbia Records Group Chairman. The announcement was made Tuesday (2/8) by Don Ienner, President/CEO of Sony Music Label Group, U.S., to whom he’ll continues to report. In his new role, Botwin will be responsible for determining the overall strategic direction of CRG, along with overseeing all aspects of Columbia Records.

The Botwin announcement will be followed in short order by the naming of S-Curve head Steve Greenberg as President of Columbia Records (he won’t be bringing his label with him, however).

Commented Ienner: “It’s a genuine pleasure to announce this well-deserved promotion. From making important contributions to the continued career growth of such Columbia superstars as Destiny’s Child and System of a Down to playing a key role in breaking new artists such as Switchfoot and John Mayer, as well as emerging artist John Legend, Will has done a phenomenal job of leading Columbia. It’s been great working closely with him as we've continued to intensify the label’s focus on the music and the artists. This newly expanded role will make even greater use of Will's many talents and his proven abilities as a leader, and I look forward to continuing to work with him as we write the next chapter in the label's long and successful history."

Added SMLG U.S. CEO Michele Anthony: “Will's varied and extensive experience, deep understanding of the marketplace and unwavering commitment to his artists combine to make him an invaluable leader, as well as one of the most effective executives in the business.”

In an exclusive interview with HITS, Botwin seemed more excited about Greenberg’s arrival than his own promotion.

“I’m looking forward to Steve being part of our team,” Botwin enthused. “He’s a very talented, creative record executive, and I think he’s going to be a real asset to me and what we’re doing at Columbia with our artist roster and our record making. I’m excited to have a guy who’s run a small company in S-Curve and built it into a successful independent operation bringing that set of talents to what we’re doing here.

“Our focus is on making great records that we can have global success with,” Botwin explains. “We’re shaping our team, we’re focused on building our A&R resources and Steve’s a big part of that, obviously, with his appointment.”

Botwin and Greenberg share similar backgrounds. Both are experienced at A&R, and before joining Columbia in 1996, Botwin grew his Side One Management into a powerhouse. “I thought about that as we were going through the process,” Botwin acknowledges, “because clearly there’s an entrepreneurial side to what you do when you have your own company, and it’s interesting to transfer out of that mindset and that adventurous, risk-taking spirit into a major record label like Columbia. You’ve gotta figure out how to apply that properly, but Steve’s a guy, with his background, intelligence and ears, who’s going o have an ability to step up and help make us even more successful. He’s coming in to really focus on the A&R side and bring in his broad experience within the music business to he Columbia family. I’m looking forward to working very closely with him on a day-to-day basis.”

Since 2002, Botwin has served as CRG President, playing a central role in introducing such artists as Coheed & Cambria and Lost Prophets. From 1998 to 2002 he was EVP/GM, working closely with such established acts as Jessica Simpson, Train and Marc Anthony and emerging artists like Pete Yorn and Five for Fighting, as well as overseeing domestic and international A&R.