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NARIP’s 2009 Best in the Biz Winners

The winners are in!

Chop Shop’s Alexandra Patsavas, Live Nation’s Creighton Burke and Universal Music & Video Distribution’s Jim Urie won by a landslide in NARIP’s 2009 Best of the Biz List, which recognizes excellence and high professional standards in our business. NARIP congratulates them along with all other winners and nominees. To be selected by one’s peers is high praise, and our list identifies top-level executive talent and know-how in major areas of the record and music industries.

Once again, we are delighted at how much attention (and how many votes) this poll generated – nearly five times as many as last year.

We hoped to cull down each category to 4 or 5 nominees each, but this turned out to be impossible (for example, the Top Music Supervisor category has 9). The winning percentages should therefore be considered in this context.

Cherry Lane Music Publishing executives were in an odd position this year: three of the company’s execs are were nominated in the same category (Peter Primont, Phil Ciadella and Richard Stumpf). Collectively, they garnered 36.9% of the vote which would have been enough to win against Big Jon Platt of EMI’s  winning 28%. We included executives from the same company in a category when their reputations warranted it. To evaluate professional reputations against one another accurately and pound for pound is a challenge and we considered many factors. These included the number of nominations each person received, from whom they were received, track record of success of each individual and informal polling among professional colleagues. When someone has done well professionally, he should not be eliminated from the running just because another of his colleagues is also exceptional. If anything, we hope this will promote greater excellence.

Minor umbrage arose because CD Baby and Taxi’s Road Rally did not make the nominee list, in the Best Digital Distributor and Best Industry Conference categories, respectively. It should be noted that NARIP merely took the temperature and reports results. However, both companies do such good work, a word here is in order.

Why CD Baby received insufficient nominations when both the company and its founder – Derek Sivers – rated so highly last year is a mystery. Our guess is that since the company lost its figurehead when Derek sold CD Baby to Discmakers last year, it may no longer be top-of-mind to those who know and love the company. Also, there is likely a change in perception that occurred as a result of the company losing such a dynamic and respected leader. Without question, Discmakers acquired a valuable asset and we look forward to its future with CD Baby now in the fold.

Taxi’s Road Rally garners rave reviews from artists and songwriters consistently, and with good reason. NARIP’s sister organization – the Los Angeles Music Network – routinely partners with Taxi on our artist-based initiatives. It’s likely that Taxi’s Road Rally did not receive more nominations because NARIP’s subscriber base is industry-centric (as opposed to artist-centric).

The greatest mystery of all is how on earth not a single A&R executive was nominated this year. It’s a disturbing reminder of how tough a time record companies have to sign and secure new talent that develops beyond the first record.

On the other hand, several individuals stand out because they won by such wide margins in their respective categories and deserve additional applause for this:

Also noteworthy is that, just like last year, the Best Digital Distribution Executive is perfectly synchronized with the Best Digital Distribution Company winner, i.e., Jim Urie of Universal Music & Video Distribution.

A few alert readers asked a question so obvious we overlooked it: why is there no category for best record company? Answer: we blew it, this will be on the ballot next time.

You are all to be congratulated, and the next time you’re in town (or if you’re in town now), NARIP will buy you a drink or hand-deliver a delicately stirred martini or spritzer or other beverage of your choice to your office and toast you heartily.

We congratulate you once again, a toast to the winners and to excellence!

And the awards go to:

Top Artist Manager (6 nominees)

  1. Ian Montone with 34.6% of the vote
  2. Irving Azoff
  3. Jim Guerinot

Best Source for Music Business News (6 nominees)

  1. Billboard with 50.6% of the vote
  2. Digital Music News

Best Concert Promotion Company (6 nominees)

  1. Live Nation with 49% of the vote
  2. Goldenvoice
  3. AEG

Best Concert Promoter Executive (7 nominees)

  1. Creighton Burke of Live Nation with 30.7% of the vote
  2. Bill Silva, Bill Silva Presents
  3. Paul Tollett, Goldenvoice

Top Consultant / Strategist (5 nominees)

  1. Ann Jones, Music Today with 40.5% of the vote
  2. Eugene Foley, Foley Entertainment
  3. Thomas A. White

Best Digital Distribution Company (6 nominees)

  1. iTunes with 51.2% of the vote
  2. IRIS Distribution
  3. Independent Distribution Collective

Best Traditional Distribution Executive (6 nominees)

  1. Jim Urie, Universal Music & Video Distribution with 37.3% of the vote
  2. Bob Frank, KOCH Distribution
  3. Steffen Franz, Independent Distribution Collective

Best Traditional Distribution Company (5 nominees)

  1. Universal Music & Video Distribution with 48.3% of the vote
  2. KOCH Distribution
  3. Fontana Distribution

Top Marketing Professional, Online or Traditional (8 nominees)

  1. Liz Heller, Buzztone with 16.8% of the vote
  2. Jackie Wilgar, Live Nation
  3. Allison McGregor, CAA

Top Music Business Attorney (6 nominees)

  1. Don Passman with 28.4% of the vote
  2. Dina LaPolt
  3. Jeffrey T. Light

Top Music Business Writer / Journalist (7 nominees)

  1. Carrie Borzillo-Vrenna, / Suicide Girls with 20.8% of the vote
  2. Jon Pareles, New York Times
  3. Susan Butler, Billboard

Top Music Producer (6 nominees)

  1. Rick Rubin with 39.7% of the vote
  2. Mark Ronson
  3. Timbaland

Top Music Publishing Company (6 nominees)

  1. EMI Music Publishing with 29.4% of the vote
  2. Cherry Lane Music Publishing
  3. Bug Music

Top Music Publishing Executive (7 nominees)

  1. Big John Platt, EMI Music Publishing 28% of the vote
  2. Martin Bandier, Sony/ATV
  3. Richard Stumpf, Cherry Lane

Top Music Supervisor (9 nominees)

  1. Alexandra Pastavas with 30.4% of the vote
  2. P.J. Bloom
  3. Gary Calamar

Top New Media Executive (5 nominees)

  1. Tie between Bryn Boughton, IRIS Distribution/BlinkerActive and Heather Luttrell, IndieClick, both with 28.8% of the vote
  2. Ethan Kaplan, Warner Bros. Records
  3. Richard Conlon, BMI

Top Publicist (7 nominees)

  1. Christopher Buttner, with 21.7% of the vote
  2. Alexandra Greenberg, Mitch Schneider Organization
  3. Angelica Cob-Baehler, Virgin Records

Top Radio Promotion Executive (6 nominees)

  1. Howard Rosen, Howard Rosen Promotion with 33.2% of the vote
  2. Chris Lopes, Interscope Records
  3. Bill Burrs, RCA Records

Top Record Company President or CEO (7 nominees)

  1. Jimmy Iovine, Interscope Records with 33.5% of the vote
  2. Doug Morris, Universal Music Group
  3. Ken Cmar, Wonderdrug Records

Top Retailer (7 nominees)

  1. ITunes with 44% of the vote
  2. Amazon
  3. Amoeba

Top Sales Executive (6 nominees)

  1. Amy Zaret, Warner Bros. Records with 25.9% of the vote
  2. Ron Spaulding, Fontana
  3. Dave Stein

Top Auditor / CPA (6 nominees)

  1. Fred Wolinsky with 22.6% of the vote
  2. Matt Jones
  3. Matt Hurewitz

Top Royalty Tracker / Collector (5 nominees)

  1. Jon R. Hichborn, Records On The Wall with 38.8% of the vote
  2. Eric Palmquist, Walt Disney Music Company
  3. Julia Burzan, AMRA

Best music business conference or event (9 nominees)

  1. SXSW with 41.3% of the vote
  2. MIDEM
  3. Tie between CMJ and Billboard Film & TV

Best music or record industry association(s) (3 nominees)

  1. Association of Independent Music Publishers with 49.6% of the vote
  2. California Copyright Conference
  3. Recording Academy

Top Music-Brand Executive (7 nominees)

  1. Steffan Franz & Greg Gordon, with 21.7% of the vote
  2. Del Bryant, BMI
  3. Bryn Boughton, BlinkerActive

Top Brand-Music Executive (6 nominees)

  1. Chad Vogelsong, JVC with 24.7% of the vote
  2. Dante Piacenta, Elias Arts
  3. Ember Harker, Creative Metaphor Design

Top Music-Ad Agency Executive (5 nominees)

  1. Josh Rabinowitz, Grey with 34.1% of the vote
  2. Ryan Fitch, Saatchi & Saatchi
  3. Paul Greco, Young & Rubicam

Top Music-Friendly Brand (6 nominees)

  1. Apple with 66.8% of the vote (wow!)
  2. Volkswagen
  3. Target

Top Music-Brand Firm (8 nominees)

  1. Cornerstone with 30% of the vote
  2. Rock River Music
  3. ACME

Once again, NARIP congratulates the winners and nominees!


  1. Carrie Borzillo-Vrenna writes for (not Rolling Stone)
  2. Jamie Perlman, nominated in the Top Consultant / Strategist Category, is with Perlman Consulting (not Slideshare, although he consults Slideshare)
  3. Bryn Boughton is with IRIS Distribution and BlinkerActive (not Blink Interactive).

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