|Alma mater||Boston University's School of Management|
|Occupation||Record executive and television producer|
|Known for||Former President of Epic Records|
|Title||Executive Vice President|
Charlie Walk is an American music executive and entrepreneur. Currently, he is the Executive Vice President of Republic Records, a division of Universal Music Group. He previously served as President of Epic Records, a division of Sony Music from 2005 until 2008.
Walk started out as a college marketing representative for Sony Music while he was attending Boston University's School of Management. In 1990, Walk took on a full-time position at Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music, as a Marketing and Promotion Manager. During his time there he became vice president for promotion at the label, and was profiled by the New York Times as one of the industry's top music executives in 1998. At Columbia he worked with Destiny's Child and Beyoncé Knowles, whom he is credited for introducing to the music public, as well as working directly with Will Smith, Maxwell, John Legend, Mariah Carey, The Fugees, Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean, John Mayer and the later careers of Bruce Springsteen and Aerosmith.
He was promoted to Executive Vice President, Promotion in 2000 from the position of Senior Vice President of Pop Promotion. In 2004 he was promoted to Executive Vice President of Creative Marketing and Promotion at Columbia. This put Walk in charge of developing strategies in non-traditional marketing areas, along with licensing and partnering deals. He was also the supervisor for all video and radio advertising the company implemented. He stated that, "The music business will always be based on hit songs and artists ... But you have to make different types of deals to make consumers aware of them."
In December 2005 Walk was appointed President of Epic Records, another division of Sony Music. Walk is known as the innovator of ringtones and social networking sites as forms of monetizing and creating attention around music projects. He was also an advocate of wireless subscriptions for music consumption. His move from Columbia to Epic resulted in some artists from his roster following him to the new label, including Jessica Simpson. He also worked with the label’s established artists, including Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, Ozzy Osbourne, Duran Duran, RedOne, Tori Amos, Good Charlotte, Michael Jackson, and George Michael.
When discussing the launch of one of Shakira's new album, he stated that, "In marketing music, you have to have multiple platforms to let people hear the artists and make a decision." These kinds of initiatives included the first "personalized pop song", created for Jessica Simpson, and the first user-generated video, for Shakira's Hips Don't Lie. He also created a partnership with ABC to integrate Epic artists into ABC programming, and enabling viewers to purchase songs they heard on their television shows.
While between 2005 and 2008 the Epic's market share fell, Walk signed and broke new artists including The Script, Sean Kingston, The Fray, Sara Bareilles, and Natasha Bedingfield. This was partially due to a transition of the company from a traditional record-sales based model to one focused on a broader range of revenue bases, such as integrated television campaigns exhibiting artists on network TV shows. He left the position in 2009, upon which time Roger Friedman wrote that Walk was "an industry favorite" and that "Walk is the kind of brash music exec that made the industry what it was. In its current corporate state, there’s not much room for that."
In 2009 he co-founded RJW Collective which is now the marketing firm JWALK. According to an interview with Brulte, "As Chairman of JWalk, Charlie oversees all strategy and creative development for the brands in the JWalk portfolio as well as cultivates opportunities for new business ... Charlie brings to JWalk his extensive music management and marketing experience as well as his proven ability to identify trends and build companies through non-traditional, first to market strategies ... Some examples include, Equinox, DeLeon Tequila, VitaCoCo, Moonshine and SoulCycle." The company's clients include the retailer Lacoste and television broadcaster ABC. Walk also partnered with Endemol USA to produce TV, music and online content, with Walk executive producing the television content developed by the company. Walk is no longer involved with the day-to-day activities of the firm, though he retains an ownership stake.
In 2013, Walk joined Republic Records as its Executive Vice President. His position involves overseeing the marketing, PR, and promotion teams for the label. Of his work with artists, specifically his work with Lorde, he has said, "I always say mystery makes history ... But a funny thing happens when you don't promote: nothing." When Walk was hired by Republic founder Monte Lipman, he stated that, "In the 25 years I’ve known him, it’s hard to imagine anyone more competitive, colorful and fearless than Charlie Walk. With parallel trajectories early in our careers, I’ve always found myself competing against Charlie for nearly two decades as we both pursued common goals. More than the success he’s had as a record executive, I’m even more impressed with his entrepreneurial spirit and ability to launch a thriving business of his own, in the unforgiving world of advertising and marketing." Walk has discussed that modern music requires vocalists to be able to replicate their studio sound on stage during performances in order to meet audience expectations.
At Republic, Walk has worked in partnership with other labels in a marketing capacity, including strategy for the use of live concerts and radio play to drive record sales. He has also helped set up new independent labels with Republic, such as John Varvatos's label John Varvatos Records. On July 2, 2014, Walk produced a one-off revival episode of Total Request Live on MTV entitled Total Ariana Live, featuring artist Ariana Grande. In July 2014 Walk was honored at the VH1 Save the Music foundation gala for his work in returning music programs to American public schools. At the event Walk stated that music education is not just an arts class, but also a complement and enhancer of other more traditional studies a student takes while in school. In 2014 he worked with Enrique Iglesias on the cross-over campaign in the Latin and Pop markets, specifically the song Bailando, which features a blend of English and Spanish lyrics. Working with Ariana Grande, Walk has developed campaigns that involve the artist pushing their new albums through live television performances, music videos, and appearances in television commercials for major retailers and companies--in the case of Grande, the companies were Beats and Target.
- "Charlie Walk Named EVP of Republic Records". The Hollywood Reporter. January 28, 2013. Retrieved July 26, 2013.
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- "Charlie Walk to Start Work as EVP of Republic Records as Soon as Monday: Sources". Billboard Magazine. January 23, 2012. Retrieved September 3, 2013.
- Roger Friedman (December 10, 2008). "Sony Music Fights For Life". FoxNews.com. Retrieved September 19, 2013.
- Andrew Adam Newman (August 23, 2011). "Lacoste Recasts Itself in Its Own Prestige". New York Times. Retrieved September 3, 2013.
- Noreen O'Leary (March 6, 2014). "This Agency Develops New Brand Categories JWalk also helps bolster the profiles of brands like DeLeon Tequila". Adweek. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
- Megan Buerger (July 26, 2013). "Lorde on the Rise". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
- "Charlie is their darling". Hits Daily Double. January 28, 2013. Retrieved February 5, 2014.
- Andy Greene (May 22, 2014). "How Ariana Grande and Max Martin Made 'Problem' the Song of the Summer". Rolling Stone Magazine. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
- Andrew Hampp (December 19, 2013). "Austin Mahone Named Digital & Brand Strategist For Aquafina’s FlavorSplash: Inside the 17-Year-Old's First Strategy Meeting (Exclusive)". Billboard Magazine. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
- Kory Grow (February 18, 2014). "Style Guru John Varvatos Launches Music Label to 'Nurture' New Artists". Rolling Stone Magazine. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
- Emily Blake (June 25, 2014). "Get Ready: Ariana Grande Is Bringing ‘TRL’ Back". MTV. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
- R. COURI HAY. "Charlie Walk's Secret to Finding the Next Music Star". Hamptons Magazine. Retrieved July 21, 2014.
- "Ingrid Michaelson, Poker Boost Education: Hamptons Scene - Bloomberg". Mobile.bloomberg.com. 2014-07-30. Retrieved 2014-08-10.
- "Ask Billboard: How Has Enrique Iglesias' 'Bailando' Become Such A Big Hit?". Billboard. 1958-08-04. Retrieved 2014-08-10.
|Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Epic Records