Universal Music Group Taps Apple Music’s JJ Corsini & Chris Hovsepian for New Artist Development Initiative

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The duo helped conceive and program the streaming service’s Up Next global artist program.

Universal Music Group (UMG) has hired JJ Corsini and Chris Hovsepian as senior vp artist development, the company announced Thursday (April 25). The duo join the company from Apple Music and will spearhead a new artist development initiative starting May 1. They will be based in Santa Monica and report to Andrew Kronfeld, executive vp marketing.

At Apple Music, Corsini and Hovsepian served as key members of the streaming service's global artist relations team and helped conceive and program its Up Next global artist program, which has supported artists including 6LACK, Juice WRLD, H.E.R. and many others early in their careers. They also programed Beats 1 shows including its flagship show with Zane Lowe and Best of The Week, along with select playlists. 

In their new roles, Corsini and Hovsepian will work alongside UMG's repertoire sources in more than 60 countries to develop and coordinate long-term development strategies for the label group's artists at all stages of their careers. 

"To maximize the global success of our artists at every stage of their careers and capitalize on the worldwide growth in music consumption, we are committed to building the most progressive and innovative global artist development team the industry has ever seen," Lucian Grainge, UMG's chairman and CEO, said in a statement. "I'm pleased to welcome JJ and Chris, who bring with them a strong track record for developing impactful narratives around artists that particularly resonate in streaming and social context."

Added Kronfeld: "I have admired the success that JJ and Chris have had at developing innovative strategies for artists on Apple Music and I'm thrilled to have them join our global team. At UMG, we have consistently demonstrated that a global hit can be in any language and come from anywhere in the world. JJ and Chris will further our efforts and leverage the strength of our global organization behind the best roster of artists in the world."

Corsini and Hovsepian stressed the importance of taking a long-term approach to artists' careers discussing their new initiative.  

"Artist development is the most critical, yet overlooked and underserved process, in the music industry," Corsini said in a statement. "Investing time and resources into artist development requires commitment and an understanding that patience and a common goal are the most core elements of growth. Chris and I have been on the same page with Sir Lucian about that since day 1. We are both very excited for this incredible opportunity."

Added Hovsepian, "UMG shares our vision of embracing quality over quantity and our commitment to enhancing and executing the artist's vision. Quick wins may be more frequent than ever, but the artists who take time to build a foundation are the ones who will have long careers."