Widely respected British exec Tony Harlow has been appointed Chairman & CEO of Warner Music UK (WMUK). He starts in February 2020.
Harlow succeeds Max Lousada, Warner Music Group’s (WMG) CEO of Recorded Music, in the role.
Lousada, who was named Chairman & CEO of WMUK in 2013, has concurrently held both UK and global positions for the past two years. Harlow will report to Lousada in his new role.
Harlow joined WMG in 2010 as Managing Director for Australasia, where he grew a reputation for breaking talent early, including artists such as Ed Sheeran and Dua Lipa.
Most recently, he’s been President of WEA, the global artist and label services arm of WMG, where he’s helped transform operations and expand streaming-focused marketing, as well as oversee the addition of direct-to-consumer expertise from Songkick, EMP, and UPROXX.
Warner Music UK has already held the No. 1 spot on the UK singles chart for over half of 2019 (30 weeks), including the longest-running single of the year with Tones & I’s Dance Monkey.
The company is currently enjoying chart success with Coldplay’s UK No. 1 album, Everyday Life, plus hits from Ed Sheeran, Stormzy, Dua Lipa, Rod Stewart and Alison Balsam.
WMUK is home to Atlantic Records, Parlophone Records, Warner Records, Rhino Records, Warner Classics, and ADA, whose rosters also include artists such as Anne-Marie, Charli XCX, Foals, Jess Glynne, Kano, Liam Gallagher, Muse, Paul Weller, Royal Blood, and Stereophonics as well as legends such as David Bowie, Kate Bush, Pink Floyd and The Smiths.
Max Lousada said: “Tony has a depth and diversity of experience that few can match. Ever since his days behind the counter at a Beggars Banquet record shop, he’s been a true artist champion with a total passion for music. And as an entrepreneurial leader, he has a progressive and ambitious vision for where the business needs to go next.
“He’ll be a great mentor to the next generation of creatives and executives, building an environment where original talent is nurtured and challenged. This is obviously a job that’s very close to my heart, and I couldn’t be leaving it in better hands.”
Tony Harlow noted: “The UK is a vital source for many of the world’s most influential artists, cultural trends, and creative innovations. At the same time, it’s been leading the way in erasing the barriers of genre and geography for international talent.
“I’m very happy to be coming home to work with the extraordinary, record-breaking artists and team at WMUK. I’m so pleased I’ll get to continue working with my amazing colleagues at WEA in this new role, and I want to thank Max for giving me this wonderful opportunity.”
Harlow began his music industry career at EMI in the UK, rising quickly through the company’s international marketing ranks before moving to Australia to become Managing Director, EMI Music Australia in 1997.
Returning to the UK in 2002, he became CEO of Richard Branson’s V2 label, and also oversaw the purchase of the celebrated Fania Music catalogue in the U.S.
Following V2’s acquisition by Universal Music Group (UMG) in 2007, Harlow held various roles at UMG, including heading the International Marketing team.
During his tenure at V2, Harlow led partnerships with a variety of independent labels, including London-based Wichita (Bloc Party, The Cribs, Yeah Yeah Yeahs).
Recalling the label’s experience with V2, Wichita co-founder Mark Bowen told the [PIAS] blog in 2016: “Tony saved us. And to my mind, he’s still the smartest brain we’ve worked with in music.
“I think he’s a genius – he understands the businesses stuff as much as the music stuff.”Music Business Worldwide