Why relaunching Arista Records is the best thing Sony Music has done

In July 2018 Sony Music CEO Rob Stringer announced Sony were reviving Arista Records as a frontline label and along with Columbia, Epic and RCA would become Sony’s 4th flagship label.

Arista was originally founded in 1974 by Clive Davis. It was the home to some of the most iconic names in the industry including Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin and Dionne Warwick

The task of reviving the legendary label was given to former Island Records CEO and president David Massey.

Prior to moving to Sony and reviving Arista, David had worked at Universal as president of Mercury Records before moving to Island Records. So he knows how to run a label.

Early on in his career David also worked as an artist manager and had his own music publishing company, Big World Records.

“When I was a manager back in the day, I was always involved in the A&R of my bands. My management company was A&R-driven in terms of our involvement, which is probably why I ended up doing A&R.”

David Massey talking to HITS Daily Double

He was offered an A&R job in the early ’90s as Vice President of A&R for Sony‘s Epic Records. He took it. It proved to a pinnacle moment in his career, much like becoming CEO of Arista. His time at Epic saw him work with bands like Oasis when they were just starting out. Over his career, he’s overseen the careers of some the biggest artists in music including Shawn Mendes, Nick Jonas, Bon Jovi and Demi Lovato.

So Rob Stringer asking him to run Arista as part of a joint venture with Sony, that encompasses David’s own artist management and music production companies such as Work of Art Publishing was a no brainer. as he understands the business but truly champions the artists he works with and believes fully in the talent they and lets them express themselves creatively. This an ethos that is very present in all that Arista does as a label.

From artists like Upsahl, Sophia Messa, Armaan Malik Kenzie, Stephen Puth, Audrey, Kenny Hoopla, Ant K Saunders, Greyson Chance and Julian Lamadrid to newer signings Sarah Barrios( whose latest track ‘Help’ is one we are currently obsessed with) and Rosie, they invest fully in each individual artists career. They are more than just a number to Arista which is extremely refreshing to see in a label.

The additions of Louis Tomlinson and JP Saxe to there roster perhaps Arista‘s biggest success stories since David began his tenure as CEO.

Louis released his debut album Walls at the beginning of 2020 under a deal with his own company 78 Productions, Arista and his primary label (at the time of release), the now-defunct Syco Music. It scored Arista it’s first top 10 and the Billboard 200 chart since it’s relaunch.

JP Saxe has had an absolutely phenomenal career since he signed with Arista and had a huge hit with his track If The World Was Ending, which features Julia Michaels. His career has just gone from strength to strength. He has recently released a new single A Little Bit Yours.

In the two years, David has been at the helm of Arista it has grown phenomenally as a label. As CEO he understands the music industry has changed and also the way that people listen is constantly changing. He also understands the power an artists fan base have and the label tries to give them as many chances as they can to interact with their artists, be it via live stream or hosting events where they can meet them in person.

Arista is a label that invests in promoting their artists on social media. Its roster is constantly growing and is a wonderfully diverse mix of creative individuals who all have their own unique creative skills and talents. The artists signed to the label cross every genre and have wide appeal. And we cannot wait to see what they all do next!

Who is your favourite artist that Arista has signed? Let us know on Twitter or Insta!

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