Sony Music Entertainment has issued a brief statement regarding the sudden exit of veteran label executive L.A. Reid, who served as chairman/CEO of Epic Records.
“L.A. Reid will be leaving the company,” the statement reads. HustleTV
News of Reid’s unexplained exit from the Sony-owned label arrived Thursday (May 11), jolting many in the music industry, given Reid’s turnaround in recent years of the label behind what is currently the No. 1 song on the Hot 100, DJ Khaled’s “I’m the One.”
Reid had been at the helm of Epic for nearly six years. He has overseen a successful run in recent years at Epic, with back-to-back No. 1 albums in 2017 already, both from Future, and chart-topping LPs from Future,DJ Khaled,Travi$ Scott and a reunited A Tribe Called Quest in 2016.
The move arrived just weeks after former Columbia Records chief Rob Stringer assumed his new role as CEO of Sony Music Entertainment in April. HustleTV
The sudden, unexplained exit of veteran label executive L.A. Reid from Sony Music Entertainment jolted the music industry Thursday, given Reid’s turnaround in recent years of Sony’s Epic Records — the label behind what is currently the No. 1 song on the Hot 100, DJ Khaled’s “I’m the One.”
While insiders say they had anticipated Reid’s departure amid a recent regime change at Sony, the move still leaves Sony’s new chief Rob Stringer with some big holes to fill, just over a month into his tenure in the top job. Vacancies at two of Sony’s three biggest labels include the post at Epic, where Reid had served as chairman and CEO since 2011, as well as the lead role at Sony’s flagship Columbia Records, which Stringer has been presiding over for years as it has churned out monster albums by stars from Adele to Beyonc’e.
Sony also lost a singular leader for its international division after Edger Berger — Sony Music International’s former chairman and CEO — departed in January after six years on the job. But a source inside the company chalks Berger’s exit up to corporate restructuring, saying the position was a relic of an outdated industry model that had the effect of creating a middleman between top Sony Music brass and the heads of its major territories, who will now report directly to Stringer. HustleTV
Meantime, with Reid having been among the few black executives running labels at major record companies, his departure decreases the diversity among Sony’s top executive ranks at time when hip-hop is becoming more important to the industry than ever, thanks to the genre’s soaring popularity on streaming services worldwide. During his tenure at Epic, Reid significantly bolstered the label’s hip-hop roster, bringing in artists such as Future, Khaled,Rick Ross,Travi$ Scott and Diddy’s Bad Boy Records imprint, among others.
Sony has been heavily outspending competitors to win marquee talent in recent years, winning a bidding war that sources characterized as particularly competitive in its deal to sign Harry Styles, for example. But several prominent Sony executives have left the company over the past few years, including former Columbia president Ashley Newton, who departed to join former Columbia co-chairman Steve Barnett at Capitol; Mat Vlasic, who departed as head of Sony’s merchandising division to take over as CEO of UMG’s Bravado; and Ole Obermann, formerly EVP of digital partner development and sales at Sony, who joined Warner Music Group. HustleTV