|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 Promotions. 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.
In 2005 The Los Angeles Times reported that Walk had previously tolerated Payola methods of marketing, however the Attorney General of New York did not levy charges against Walk. Between 2005 and 2008 the label's market share fell, though he 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 publicity 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."
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.
- "Charlie Walk Named EVP of Republic Records". The Hollywood Reporter. January 28, 2013. Retrieved July 26, 2013.
- MONIQUE P. YAZIGI (August 16, 1998). "A NIGHT OUT WITH: The Young Guns; Working The Martini Shift". New York Times. Retrieved September 3, 2013.
- Roger Friedman (October 12, 2004). "Jacko Abandons Ailing 'Surrogate' Father". FoxNews.com. Retrieved September 19, 2013.
- Billy Gray (September 12, 2012). "What’s On My Desk: Jwalks’s Charlie Walk". Haute Living. Retrieved September 4, 2013.
- "'SHORE'-INSPIRED". New York Post. May 12, 2010. Retrieved September 19, 2013.
- "CHARLIE WALK JOINS REPUBLIC RECORDS AS EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT". Universal Music Group. January 18, 2013. Retrieved September 19, 2013.
- Phil Gallo (June 14, 2004). "Col takes Walk to exec VP". Variety. Retrieved September 3, 2013.
- Pullout Section; Brides; Celeb celebrations; Wedding day, Boston Herald, October 7, 1998
- "Angry Young Men - Page 6". Esquire Magazine. September 13, 2007. Retrieved September 3, 2013.
- "Jessica Simpson Shifts To Epic". Billboard Magazine. Retrieved September 3, 2013.
- "Charlie Walk, 40". Details. March 2007. Retrieved September 3, 2013.
- Stephen M. Silverman (March 27, 2006). "Jessica Switches Homes – for Her Music". People Magazine. Retrieved September 3, 2013.
- "Charlie Walk: The Innovation Interview". Brulteco. January 14, 2013. Retrieved September 3, 2013.
- Aida Alami (August 15, 2013). "Hollyworld: Meet Morocco's starmaker". Global Post.
- Mark Aspan (June 12, 2006). "For Shakira, First Came the Album, Then Came the Single". New York Times. Retrieved September 19, 2013.
- "Charlie Walk’s in Endemol pact". Variety. February 3, 2009. Retrieved September 3, 2013.
- Charles Duhigg (July 27, 2005). "Hitmakers Implicated in 'Pay for Play' Plans". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
- Callie Cunningham (11 December 2008). "Charlie Walk's Time Runs Out at Epic Records". American Songwriter. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
- "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.
- 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.
|Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Epic Records