Veteran music business executive Tim Devine, who oversaw Bonnie Raitt’s 15 million selling Capitol run (including the #1 Grammy Album of the Year, Nick of Time), discovered 5-time Grammy winner Brandi Carlile, helped launch the multi-platinum career of Katy Perry and discovered multi-platinum artists Blind Melon, Train and others, has joined Sunset Blvd. Records as Head of A&R.
Devine has already signed several bands to the label including Portland-based alternative mainstays Everclear, Austin-based rock ‘n’ roll band Fastball, (originally signed to Hollywood Records) and legendary San Antonio-born Butthole Surfers.
“These are exactly the kinds of groups we are looking to sign,” commented Devine. “Acts who remain active with fan and touring bases and are still writing and recording vital new material as they continue to expand their audiences.”
On making the announcement, SBR label head Len Fico said, “Tim has been and continues to be one of the most successful, respected and creative A&R executives in the business today. His relationships and track record are second to none. We are fortunate to have him joining our efforts to expand the reach and roster of Sunset Blvd Records.”
Fico originally established the label by acquiring catalogs, including unreleased recordings and reissues from a diverse roster that includes James Brown, Dr. John, Aaron Neville, Chuck Berry, Willie Nelson, Allen Toussaint (his Sea-Saint holdings), Dickey Betts, Elmore James, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup, Freddie King, Ernie K. Doe, Django Reinhardt, Stephane Grappelli, Roky Erickson and more.
Contemporary artists such as Carla Olson (with the Byrds’ Gene Clark and former Rolling Stone Mick Taylor) and Peter Case are also on the roster as are Fico’s management clients the Smithereens, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Orleans and Firefall.
“I see a huge niche in the marketplace for career bands like these given the current musical landscape,” explained Devine about his recent return to the record business. “After years of doing this, I know how the entire picture goes, from signing an act, to the all-important marketing and promotion to publicity, touring, video, digital, social media and everything in between.”
Aside from his long and successful music business career – selling over 100 million albums worldwide between Warner Bros., Capitol and Columbia Records, Devine has been a tech entrepreneur (founding Webcastr.com, a 24-hour online digital network, a board member of Nexo, a Silicon Valley-based encryption email service, head of A&R for Vezt, a fractional share copyright service, and also currently serves as the investment manager of ClearSkies, a company reinventing the renewable energy grid for the U.S. aviation space).
From his early beginnings as a music journalist for Phonograph Record and Rolling Stone, among others, Devine became the music director at his college station KALX while attending the University of California at Berkeley. After being the first person to play “Frampton Comes Alive” on the radio, he was hired by A&M Records as a college promotion rep. Upon graduation, he was hired by Stan Cornyn to learn how a record label works - from signing to execution - while enrolled in the first and only executive training program at Warner Bros. Records in Burbank, where he later segued into product management for U2, Prince, Bob Marley, Steve Winwood, Roxy Music, Thin Lizzy, Black Sabbath, Little Feat, the Band, Tom Verlaine, DEVO, Gang of Four, Laurie Anderson, Marianne Faithfull, Pat Metheny, Jaco Pastorius and others.
From Warners, he moved to MCA Records as manager of artist development (MCA) and eventually VP of A&R at Capitol (where his signings included Raitt, Blind Melon, Mazzy Star, Concrete Blonde, John Hiatt, Lloyd Cole and A&R’ing best-selling albums by the Beastie Boys, Paul McCartney, Heart, the Beach Boys and Cocteau Twins, as well as supervising a dozen award-winning soundtracks including Rainman, Clueless, John Lennon: Imagine and others.).
He then rose to General Manager of Columbia Records’ West Coast operations, orchestrating deals for Aware Records (John Mayer, Five for Fighting) and Rick Rubin’s American Recordings (System of a Down, Black Crowes, Johnny Cash), signing platinum acts Train, Brandi Carlile, CAKE, Switchfoot, One Republic and Sinead O’Connor; A&Ring albums by Soul Asylum, Pete Yorn and the Offspring, as well as launching Katy Perry’s solo career upon meeting her through producer Glen Ballard after the two met working with Aerosmith.
Devine’s plan at SBR is to solidify the base, building on the label’s foundation of catalog while growing a roster of proven, veteran bands, (with Tim keeping a long checklist of dream projects the results of which will be announced shortly) before beginning the “third phase” of the label’s development by signing brand new artists the world has yet to discover.
“I’m having so much fun and I am totally into it,” says Devine. “Everyone is taking my calls,” he laughs, “and this position fits my skill set like a glove. I’ve always kept my nose in the music business and the foundation here gives me a platform on which to build the next chapter of SBR’s success.”
“My goal is to turn this into a $100 million enterprise within three to five years. I want to take what Len has built, with his foundation in catalogs and with a great backroom structure in place and help bring it to the next level. This is what I’ve always been good at... consistently making and selling great records. And with streaming now going global, these artists can suddenly develop a following anywhere in the world.”