Tony Harlow is moving on up in the world.
The former chief of EMI and Warner Music’s activities in Australasia, Harlow is named chairman and CEO of Warner Music U.K. with effect from February 2020.
Based in London, Harlow succeeds Max Lousada, who has held the post since 2013 and retained the role when he was promoted to CEO of recorded music two years ago.
It’s a homecoming for Harlow, who began his music industry career at EMI in the U.K., before relocating to Australia in 1997 to become Managing Director, EMI Music Australia, where he oversaw the development of Kasey Chambers, Madison Avenue, Alex Lloyd, Paul Kelly, the Living End, Silverchair and more.
In 2002, he returned to the U.K. where he served as CEO of Richard Branson’s V2 label and established the independent labels marketing platform Co-Op Music. During his stint with V2, the exec worked with such acts as Moby, the White Stripes, Paul Weller, Stereophonics and Mercury Rev, and briefly brought Powderfinger into its roster for the release of Vulture Street.
He also oversaw the purchase of the Fania Music catalogue in the United States and was one of the chief architects behind the sale of V2 to Universal Music Group’s in 2007.
Later, Harlow briefly headed UMG’s international marketing team, before joining UMG’s merch arm Bravado as managing director, a role he exited in April 2010.
He returned to Australia in 2010, this time as Managing Director for Warner Music Group’s affiliate in these parts, based in Sydney.
“Tony has a depth and diversity of experience that few can match. Ever since his days behind the counter at a Beggars Banquet record shop, he’s been a true artist champion with a total passion for music,” comments Lousada, WMG CEO of Recorded Music, in a statement issued overnight.
“And as an entrepreneurial leader, he has a progressive and ambitious vision for where the business needs to go next. He’ll be a great mentor to the next generation of creatives and executives, building an environment where original talent is nurtured and challenged. This is obviously a job that’s very close to my heart, and I couldn’t be leaving it in better hands.”
In his new gig, Harlow says he’s keen to lead the way in “erasing the barriers of genre and geography for international talent.”
Warner Music U.K., which is home to Atlantic Records, Parlophone Records, Warner Records, Rhino Records, Warner Classics, and ADA, is enjoying a purple patch.
The label has owned top spot on the Official U.K. Singles Chart for over half of 2019, including the longest-running single of the year with Tones And I’s ‘Dance Monkey,’ which is on track for an 11th consecutive week at No. 1.
Its roster includes Coldplay, Ed Sheeran, Stormzy, Dua Lipa, Rod Stewart, Liam Gallagher, Muse, Paul Weller and many others.