of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Why He’s Powerful: Massenburg runs a division of Universal Music Group (UMG) and is responsible for signing an award-winning slate of “neo-classic soul” artists. The roster includes Brian McKnight, India.Arie, Damian Marley, and Erykah Badu, who were among the artists responsible for Motown’s 15 Grammy nominations. In recent years, Massenburg has also structured innovative deals such as a partnership with ClickRadio, a free Internet radio service, to launch a station solely dedicated to Motown artists.
Career Track: Massenburg gained a reputation as a master of the “set-up,” an industry term for generating heat among media, retailers, and fans for a new release. Through a joint venture with UMG, Massenburg founded Kedar Entertainment and helped establish the careers of urban music trailblazers such as Badu and D’Angelo. In 1999, he was tapped by UMG to run Motown, where he reorganized the label to reflect founder Berry Gordy’s original model — a small boutique label focused on long-term artist development.
Big Break: In the late ’80s, he was manager of Stetsasonic, one of hip-hop’s pioneering bands.
Title: Senior Vice President, Dreamworks Records
Why He’s Powerful: McClain is on the management team of Dreamworks Records, the music arm of the multimedia empire created by Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and David Geffen. Soon after joining Dreamworks in 2000, McClain took the Isley Brothers CD, Eternal, platinum. He is also responsible for signing Floetry, whose CD Floetic, recently debuted at No. 19 on the Billboard Top 200. McClain is currently working with rapper-producer Swizz Beatz on his new CD, Ghetto Stories. The CD, which will be released in 2003, features Ron Isley, Busta Rhymes, LL Cool J, Mary J. Blige, and Eve.
Career Track: At 16 McClain became the musical director for The Sylvers. He credits his early success to learning Berry Gordy’s formula for artist development from his high school classmate Jermaine Jackson.
Big Break: He took a job as a music executive for A&M records.
Title: Executive Vice President, Epic Records
Education: William Patterson University
Why He’s Powerful: McPherson manages marketing, publicity, promotion, and A&R for Epic, and oversees a roster of artists that includes Sade, Michael Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, and Jill Scott.
Career Track: A young visionary, McPherson ushered in the “boy band” phenomenon when he signed the Backstreet Boys in 1994. He was later recruited by Jive Records to help revitalize its A&R department. Appointed director of A&R, McPherson worked with R. Kelly, A Tribe Called Quest, and KRS-One among others.
Big Break: After interning at Mercury Records, McPherson obtained a permanent position working in the publicity and marketing department and later settled in the A&R department.
Title: CEO, Hidden Beach Recordings
Education: J.D., Harvard Law School
Why He’s Powerful: McKeever has made his mark in the music industry as one of its great innovators. He’s achieved this distinction not only because of his ability to find new talent and an exhilarating sound but also for developing groundbreaking, revenue-generating start-ups. His latest venture, Hidden Beach Recordings, which he envisions as “a creative utopia,” brings