Malaco Music Group Taps Industry Veteran Lionel Ridenour to Head Up New Urban Music Division
The Urban Division will bring a mix of established and new cutting edge talent from the worlds of Hip Hop and R&B to the legendary soul, blues and Gospel label. “We are excited about branching out into new territory with our Urban Music Division and Lionel Ridenour was our first choice to helm this project,” said Tommy Couch, President of Malaco. “He brings with him to Malaco, 20 years of working with the best that Hip Hop and R&B have to offer. We look forward to working with Lionel and the talented new artists that he will be escorting through our doors.”
Under his deal with Malaco, Ridenour will also focus on bringing the industry’s hottest new urban independent labels to the Music Division. “Our plan is to create a new home for established independent labels as well as provide guidance to new labels,” says Ridenour. “Our division is geared up and our team is ready to provide not only distribution but national urban marketing and promotion.”
Ridenour comes to Malaco with a long history in the industry. He stepped into the business as an entrepreneur in 1987, with the successful L.A.-based street promotion company, Mainframe Promotion, of which he was co-owner.
Understanding the value of grass roots level outreach, Capitol Records brought Ridenour in-house. Ridenour and his partner were the first in-house street team to ever be hired by a major label, starting a new trend in music marketing. At Capitol he worked with such talent as MC Hammer, MC Ren, Mello Man Ace and Mantronics.
In 1993, Ridenour was named Sr. National Director of Promotion at Arista Records in
When Sean “Diddy” Combs made the decision to bring his new Bad Boy Record label to Arista, it was Lionel Ridenour who sat down with him and Clive Davis to map out a plan for their now classic 4X platinum first release, “Ready to Die,” from rapper Notorious B.I.G. Chart topping hits from Craig Mack, Faith Evans, 112, Total and, then named, Puff Daddy followed. Ridenour was named Executive Vice President of the company in 2000.
Moving on to Virgin Records as Executive Vice President of Urban Music in 2003, Ridenour was instrumental in the careers of such talents as Janet Jackson, Outkast, Jermaine Dupri, Lenny Kravitz and Dem Franchize Boyz as well as the label venture, Purple Ribbon, from Outkast member Big Boi.
D. A. Johnson, Malaco executive states, “The Malaco Music Group houses the largest and oldest Gospel music catalog in the world with Savoy Records, Malaco Records, Muscle Shoals Sound Records and Atlanta International Records. We are also the home of many of the icons of Rhythm and Blues such as the late Johnnie Taylor, Little Milton, Tyrone Davis, and Bobby “Blue” Bland who is still working today. It was only a matter of time before we would utilize our 40+ years of record business experience to incorporate the Hip Hop & Rap genre. The addition of Lionel solidifies us as a major player in the Hip Hop and Rap game.”
Lionel Ridenour comes to Malaco from the New York-based MusicWerks Online, of which he was co-owner. Established in January of 2008, MusicWerks is a one-stop for music business services including distribution, online marketing, promotion and A&R, and is run by top veterans and tastemakers in the industry who are plugged in to all entertainment related new ideas and upcoming trends.
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