Veteran music industry executive and concert promoter Kevin Morrow today announced that he has stepped down from his post as SVP of Touring at Live Nation to focus his full attention on the formation of a new full service music entertainment company with Kevin Welk, President of Welk Music Group (Vanguard Records, Sugar Hill Records & Ranwood Records). Their new strategic partnership, Steel Wool Entertainment & Media, is a joint venture focused on creating strategic alliances with artists and content owners beginning with their partnership with hot emerging rapper/ hip hop artist George Watsky, whom Morrow also manages. It will be operated out of the Welk Music Group offices in Los Angeles.
“As someone who’s managed artists and promoted some of the biggest shows and tours in the world, I know the fans are still out there,” said Morrow. So when I started working with George Watsky and we were able to build upon his incredible talent as a live artist while establishing the viability of his huge socially driven fan base our next step was to find a strategic label guy like Kevin Welk. Welk’s one of the best and I’m thrilled that he understood we were looking for a cooperative venture, not one where George would “sign” a traditional label deal but one where we’d all sign together ““ as partners in a new model.”
“I couldn’t be more excited about the new venture and the space we’re bridging,” added Welk. “We’re focused on evolving the traditional model in ways that will enable us to monetize the digital realm to create new paths for artists, content owners and fans.”
Morrow, a two-time Pollstar “Talent Buyer of the Year” award winner began managing Watsky in early 2012. Together they’ve expanded both his live and digital brand, which now includes more than 500K Facebook and YouTube likes and fans, more than 100 million views, a sold-out national headlining tour, three sold-out London shows during the Olympic Games, a spot on the influential Rock the Bells summer tour and his own YouTube show, “Watsky’s Making An Album,” on the LOUD channel.
Morrow brings a wealth of experience to the new venture with nearly 30 years in the industry as an executive, talent manager, and concert promoter. Prior to being appointed President of Live Nation’s New York office in 2007, Morrow served as Senior Vice President of Tours & Talent for House of Blues Entertainment, Inc. where he was instrumental in building the HOB brand, overseeing numerous new club openings and tours, including the groundbreaking ‘Smokin’ Grooves’ tour.
As President of Welk Music Group, Welk oversees all aspects of their worldwide recorded music operations, including Vanguard Records, Sugar Hill Records, Ranwood Records and the WMG distributed label group. Under Welk’s tenure, both Vanguard and Sugar Hill Records have achieved many accolades and are considered among the strongest independent labels. The company has amassed more than 27 Billboard Top 200 charting albums since 2009 alone and in 2003 and 2005 Welk was named Entertainment Supplier of the Year by the National Association of Record Merchandisers. Since 2001, Vanguard has received 7 Radio & Records Label of the Year nominations, winning twice.
Under Welk’s leadership, he has worked with platinum selling artists Nickel Creek, Hootie & the Blowfish, Blues Traveler, Shawn Mullins, Edwin McCain, Live, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Sinead O’Connor, Robert Cray, Ray Charles, Linda Ronstadt, Dolly Parton, and George Jones. Many of these artists won Grammys while signed to WMG.
Steel Wool Entertainment & Media will officially opens its doors on Monday, October 22, 2012 at 11400 Olympic Blvd Suite 1450 Los Angeles, CA 90064 (310) 829-9355. More announcements to follow.