Following the announcement of Darcus Beese’s move to the US, Louis Bloom has been appointed as president of Island Records UK.
The head of A&R, who’s spent 16 years at the label, is stepping up with immediate effect to lead a restructured team at Island.
Announcing the promotion, Universal Music UK chairman and CEO David Joseph said: “Louis grew up surrounded by music and his passion for everything Island stands for runs deep. He has already been a huge part of Island’s recent success and understands the legacy and responsibility of what he is taking on. He is an exceptional executive who I know has the team and determination to write an exciting new chapter for the label.”
While Beese – who spent 29 years at Island in the UK – will be a hard act to follow, Bloom has a strong track record as well as a newly restructured team to lead a new era at the label.
During his career at Island, including eight years as head of A&R, Bloom has signed globally successful artists including Mumford & Sons, Ben Howard and Hozier. He’s also had success with The Feeling, Goyte and Johh Newman, while recent signings include Catfish And The Bottlemen (via Communion) and JP Cooper.
“To have contributed to this legacy over the past 16 years has been a genuine honour and to now be given the opportunity to lead this amazing label and help shape our future in what are hugely exciting times, is an enormous privilege and a fantastic challenge that myself and the team are relishing,” said Bloom. “In terms of the team, I can honestly say that we have never been in better shape, the blend of experience and incredibly bright and motivated younger people, all of whom share the same passion for music and love for this label, makes me feel that the future is bright and nothing can stop us. I want Island to be the number one label and home for culture and creativity.”
I want Island to be the number one label and home for culture and creativity
He added: “I’d like to thank David for this fantastic opportunity. I’ve known David for longer than I’ve been at Island Records and he’s always been an inspirational figure in my life. It gives me great confidence to know that I will continue to have his support and the benefit of his vast knowledge and experience as we take the label forward. And finally it goes without saying that in Darcus, I will not only miss an incredible boss, a true music man who always encouraged me to trust my instincts, but also a friend who has been an absolute joy to work alongside for the past 16 years.”
The label’s market share has been bolstered by key international artists including Post Malone and Drake. Island is doubling down on its UK and international urban strategy with the promotion of Alex Boateng to the role of president of urban.
Boateng, who is promoted from his current role as head of urban with immediate effect, recently made senior hires to the division and is aiming to build on success in 2017 with new and current releases from Big Shaq, Giggs, The Weeknd, Sean Paul and Drake. Boateng joined Island in 2009 as marketing consultant.
Within the refreshed structure at Island, Boateng and new co-MDs Natasha Mann and Olivia Nunn will report to Bloom. Mann and Nunn are stepping up 18 months after being promoted to marketing directors.
Mann has overseen chart-topping album campaigns for Mumford & Sons, Catfish & The Bottlemen, Disclosure, John Newman, PJ Harvey and Hozier since joining Island in 2009 from Toast Press.
Nunn began her career at Island in 2006 working in TV promotions before rising through the marketing ranks. She has driven campaigns for Sigrid and Sean Paul, as well as managing UK campaigns for Drake, The Weeknd and Ariana Grande, and working closely with artists on brand partnerships.
Steve Pitron has been promoted to SVP, Island Records & Promotions and will also report to Bloom. The wider role for Pitron follows successful campaigns in his 22 years at the label for artists including Amy Winehouse, Sigrid, Hozier, JP Cooper and Florence + the Machine. Pitron’s relationship with US label partner Republic Records has helped drive huge UK sales for Drake, The Weeknd, Nicki Minaj and Ariana Grande.
The appointments follow the recent promotion of Annie Christensen to the role of A&R director and the recruitment of Claire Mas as head of digital. Island has also moved into the movie business with a British crime thriller starring Ghetts.
While Beese and Bloom's fellow Island veteran Jon Turner would have been in the frame for the top job, Island confirmed he will remain at the label where he’s worked for almost 20 years. The MD is set for a new role at Island to be announced shortly.
PHOTO: (L-R) Annie Christensen, Natasha Mann, Alex Boateng, Louis Bloom, Olivia Nunn and Steve Pitron