Oana Ruxandra to Lead Business Development at WMG; Ron Wilcox Departing

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Warner Music Group (WMG) has announced changes in its business development team. Oana Ruxandra has been given the added responsibility of overseeing business development, along with her current role as Executive Vice President, New Business Channels & Chief Acquisition Officer at Warner Music Group. She was appointed as the Chief Acquisition Officer in December of last year. Jonathan Monina will be joining Ruxandra in Business Development.

The changes were announced to WMG by CEO Steve Cooper in a note sent out to staff. Cooper praised Ruxandra’s strategic thinking and ability to get deals done swiftly and effectively. Apart from her current role, Ruxandra will now be the primary contact for recorded music negotiations. Both established and emerging tech companies will require her approval for any negotiations.

Ron Wilcox, WMG’s Executive Counsel for Business Affairs, Strategic, and Digital Initiatives, will be departing before the end of the year. However, it looks like Wilcox will play a role in the forthcoming digital negotiations. Eric Mackay leads Digital Strategy for Warner Chappell Music, while Wilcox will continue overseeing Digital Legal Affairs.

The shuffling comes as Universal, Sony, and Warner are due to re-negotiate their global licensing agreements with streaming services like Spotify, YouTube, and Apple. Those are regularly re-upped, though each round is fraught with wrangling and complex negotiations.

The upcoming re-negotiations will likely be a sticking point between labels and tech companies. Cooper voiced his disappointment with elements of pricing from WMG’s streaming partners. The industry has been grappling with the issue of fair compensation for artists and songwriters, and the upcoming negotiations are expected to be challenging.

Wilcox’s departure did not come as a surprise to senior management at WMG. Cooper stated that Ron Wilcox confirmed that his most recent contract signing might be his last. Despite his departure, Cooper confirmed that he was confident that WMG is in an excellent place for the upcoming negotiations.

Ruxandra’s appointment to oversee business development is seen as a positive move by the company. She brings a wealth of experience to the role and has a keen sense of how to get deals done swiftly and effectively. With the upcoming negotiations, Ruxandra and her team will play a crucial role in shaping WMG’s future and ensuring that the company remains competitive in the fast-paced music industry.

In conclusion, the changes in WMG’s business development team come at a crucial time for the company. With the upcoming negotiations, WMG needs a strong and effective team that can navigate the complex world of the music industry. Ruxandra’s appointment, along with Monina’s, is seen as a positive move that will help the company achieve its goals. Despite Wilcox’s departure, WMG remains confident in its ability to negotiate fair licensing agreements with streaming services and ensure that artists and songwriters are compensated fairly.

In the wake of a high-profile pushback by Spotify, Amazon, Google, and Pandora against publishing royalty hikes, there’s plenty of bad blood in the water.

“We’re going to continue to push back against the devaluation of our artists’ and songwriters’ music from freemium models, mismanaged family plans and other customer acquisition strategies employed by streaming platforms at the expense of creators and content producers.”