Julie Greenwald joined Atlantic Records as President in 2004 and was named Chairman/COO in 2009. The New York native began her music career in 1992 at Def Jam Records, and just a decade later, she was named President of Island Records, becoming one of the rare women to hold that title at a major label. When Greenwald moved to Atlantic, it marked the second time in her career that she was charged with helping rebuild an iconic brand.
Not bad for someone who originally wasn’t even seeking a job in the music industry. After graduating from Tulane University in 1992 with a double major in Political Science and English, Julie became involved with the “Teach for America” program, educating underprivileged third graders in the New Orleans area. Heading back north during the school’s summer break, Greenwald began searching for a temporary job. Thanks to her sister and a cousin, both of whom were working for famed hip-hop concern Rush Management, she became executive assistant to Def Jam’s Lyor Cohen.
After just three months on the job, Greenwald was named the label’s Promotion Coordinator, working with the likes of LL Cool J and Public Enemy. Julie hit the ground running, coordinating everything from tour itineraries to the multi-act “Phat Jam” concert at the Gavin Convention and the seminal “Slam Censorship” event in Washington, D.C. The latter, designed in part to show Congressional skeptics that hip-hop was not simply about preaching violence and negativity, but was an important part of urban culture, proved a massive success.
Greenwald’s subsequent rise through the ranks at Def Jam was impressive. Promoted to General Manager of Promotion, she held that position for two years until the company severed its ties with Sony, whereupon she became Head of Marketing and helped shape the company into an urban music powerhouse, developing campaigns for the likes of Redman, DMX, Ja Rule, and Jay-Z.
In 1998, when PolyGram was purchased by Seagram and merged with the latter’s Universal Music Group, Greenwald was charged with overseeing the entire marketing department of the newly formed Island Def Jam Music Group. “That was really my first entry into rock,” she notes, “but I felt confident, because of all my experiences with our hip-hop artists… We knew that Limp Bizkit and Korn were in the same CD players as Jay-Z and DMX.” Throughout the ’90s, Julie helped the label land dozens of platinum and gold records.
When Greenwald was officially named President of Island Records/EVP of the Island Def Jam Music Group in January 2002, she became one of only three women holding that title at a major record label. Applying her business chops to a fresh roster of talent, she oversaw the rejuvenation of Bon Jovi, as well as breaking the likes of Sum 41, The Killers, Saliva, and Hoobastank. Additionally Julie was responsible for the overall strategy and the creative big picture – overseeing what she calls the “touch, tone, and taste” of the company.
When her mentor Lyor Cohen moved to Warner Music Group, he presented Greenwald with a fresh challenge – to play a central role in the reinvention of one of the industry’s most venerable labels. With her arrival at Atlantic Records in early 2004, Julie brought hands-on experience, creative spirit, and motivating energy to her new home – beginning a new phase of an already exceptional career. Joining her new partner Craig Kallman, she quickly became the driving force behind the company’s newly aggressive marketing and digital strategies.
Greenwald has become one of the industry’s most admired executives, widely recognized not only for her business and creative acumen, but for her down-to-earth, super-motivating approach to her staff and her artists alike. She has been ranked five times in the No. 1 position on Billboard's “Women in Music/Power Players” list as well as being featured as one of The Hollywood Reporter's “Power 100 Women in Entertainment”, Forbes’ “Power Women to Watch” and on Newsweek's “Women In Leadership” roster. Additionally, Greenwald was profiled in the New York Times’ esteemed “Corner Office” feature and Elle Magazine’s “Women in Music issue– achievements driven by Julie’s passion for the music and her vision of a new model for a new generation.
Greenwald’s artist-focused marketing and culture-building savvy has driven Atlantic to its greatest success in more than two decades. Greenwald, along with partner, Craig Kallman has re architected the company from the ground up, reaching industry-leading status through the reinvention of the label as a game-changing, music-driven company with a passionate devotion to long-term artist development. In a challenging time for the music industry, Atlantic has ranked as the #1 label in the U.S. and grown its market share, while continuing to break and develop artists across the musical spectrum. An innovator in the digital music sphere, Atlantic was the first label to earn more than half of its total music sales from digital releases.
Greenwald has helped advance the careers of an eclectic and hugely successful roster of top-selling artists, including Bruno Mars, Rob Thomas, Cee Lo Green, B.o.B, Matchbox Twenty, T.I., James Blunt, Ed Sheeran, Kid Rock, Jason Mraz, Death Cab for Cutie, Fun., Zac Brown Band, Christina Perri, Missy Elliott, Lupe Fiasco, Paramore, Janelle Monae, Trey Songz, Shinedown, Flo Rida and Wiz Khalifah among many others.
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