Tom Corson

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Tom Corson
Tom Corson 2018.jpg
Thomas Charles Corson

Nationality American
Alma mater University of California, Los Angeles
Occupation(s)Record executive, co-chairman and COO of Warner Records
Years active1985-present
Board member ofInaugural chair, UCLA School of Music Business, board of advisors
TJ Martell Foundation
City of Hope Music and Entertainment Industry Executive Board

Tom Corson is an American record executive. He is the co-chairman and chief operating officer of Warner Records, a position he has held since January 2018. [1] He was previously the president and chief operating officer of RCA Records. [2] [3] [4]


Early life and education

Corson was born and grew up in Seattle, Washington. He moved to Los Angeles in 1978 to attend UCLA. He interned at IRS Records during his junior and senior year, and graduated from UCLA in 1982 with a BA in business/economics. [5]


1985-1990: IRS Records, A&M Records

Following his graduation, IRS hired Corson as director of West Coast sales; in 1985, he was named director of West Coast promotion. [6] At IRS—a "giant of the post-punk era"—he worked with artists including the Go Go's, R.E.M., the English Beat and General Public. [7] [8] In 1985, Corson moved to A&M Records to become the executive assistant to the label's president, Gil Friesen. As Friesen's executive assistant, Corson performed roles in special projects, product management, international marketing, marketing, and A&R at the label. He was named vice president of marketing in 1989. At A&M, Corson was recognized for his role in the success of artists including Soundgarden, Simple Minds, and UB40. [9] [10]

1990-1999: Capitol Records, Columbia Records

Corson was hired by Capitol Records as vice president of international in 1990, and was promoted to senior vice president of domestic marketing in 1993. He oversaw the global campaigns for MC Hammer's two Capitol releases, Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em and Too Legit to Quit , which together sold more than 17 million copies worldwide. He also worked closely with Radiohead, who released their major label debut, Pablo Honey , in 1993. [11] and orchestrated the marketing campaigns for Mazzy Star and the Frank Sinatra Duets album, among others.

In January 1996, Corson was named senior vice president of marketing for Columbia Records and moved from Los Angeles to Columbia's headquarters in New York City. [12] During Corson's tenure, Columbia's market share increased, [13] with hit records in multiple genres including pop (Train), rock (System of A Down) and Latin music (Ricky Martin) in addition to soundtrack releases such as Armageddon and Men in Black . Corson left Columbia in December 1999 to accept a position as senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Arista Records. [14]

1999-2007: J Records, Arista, RCA Music Group

After an industry outcry when parent company BMG ousted Arista founder and CEO Clive Davis from the label in 2000, BMG invested $150 million to launch J Records, a joint venture with Davis. [15] An "instant major," Davis hired Corson as executive vice president of worldwide marketing. [16] [17] J was a success from the start, with the label's inaugural release, Alicia Keys' Songs in A Minor , selling over 12,000,000 records worldwide. [18] [19] That same year, O-Town's self-titled debut achieved multi-platinum sales; Inside Magazine called its marketing plan "one of the most elaborate star-making campaigns of the modern media age." [20] J Records dominated the charts during its three-year existence as a standalone label, releasing hit records by artists including Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, Pearl Jam, and the winners from the American Idol franchise. Rod Stewart's Great American Songbook releases became the biggest-selling ongoing series of new music recordings in history, [21] and Luther Vandross had the first #1 record of his career, Dance With My Father . [22]

In 2002, BMG bought a majority stake in J and folded it into the RCA Music Group—which also included Arista—and appointed Davis president and CEO. Corson was named executive vice president and GM of Arista/J in 2004; there, he oversaw releases from Dido, Whitney Houston and Santana, among others. [23] In 2007, Corson was appointed executive vice president and GM of RCA Records. He held a central role in restructuring the company in the wake of a series of mergers. [24] [25]

2007-2017: RCA Records

In 2007, Corson was appointed executive vice president and GM of RCA Records. He held a central role in restructuring the company in the wake of a series of mergers. [24] [25]

In 2011, he was promoted to president and COO of RCA Records by Doug Morris, the CEO of parent company Sony Music Entertainment. [26] [27] He was noted for his role [28] in the success of artists including A$AP Rocky, Kelly Clarkson, Miley Cyrus, Foo Fighters, Jennifer Hudson, Dave Matthews Band, Kesha, Kings of Leon, Miguel, P!nk, and Justin Timberlake. [29] [30]

2017-present: Warner Records

Corson was named co-chairman and COO of Warner Records in December 2017, and led the transition from Warner Bros. Records to Warner Records with Aaron Bay-Schuck, Warner's CEO. [31] He has worked closely with Andra Day—he executive produced the Academy and Golden Globe-nominated soundtrack for The United States Vs. Billie Holiday —and oversaw the release of albums and singles by Dua Lipa, Saweetie, Bebe Rexha, Josh Groban, The Black Keys and Michael Bublé, among others. [32] [33] [34]

Corson was an executive producer of the 2021 documentary Tom Petty, Somewhere You Feel Free: The Making of Wildflowers. The film won a Producers Guild Award in 2022. [35]

Philanthropy and recognition

From 2012 through 2023, Corson appeared on the Billboard "Power 100". [36] [37] [38] [39] [40] [41] [42] [43] [44] [45]

In May 2023, the TJ Martell Foundation announced that Corson would receive the Lifetime Music Industry Award at its New York Gala on June 13. [46]

In 2020, he was named inaugural chair of the board of advisors for the UCLA School of Music Business, the first music school within the University of California system. [47]

In June 2016, Corson and Peter Edge, the CEO and chairman of RCA, received the UJA Music Visionary of the Year award. [48] [49] He was the keynote speaker at the Harvard Business School's Entertainment and Media Conference in 2015.

He is a member of the executive committee of the board of directors for the TJ Martell Foundation and a member of the Music and Entertainment Industry Board for City of Hope.

Selected discography/videography

2021Tom Petty, Somewhere You Feel Free (documentary) Tom Petty Executive producer [50]
2021 The United States Vs. Billie Holiday , Music from the Motion PictureAndra DayExecutive producer
2018Not So Silent Night (TV special)PentatonixProducer
2016A Grammy Salute to Whitney HoustonVarious artistsProducer
A Pentatonix Christmas Special (TV special)PentatonixProducer [51]
2014De Corazon (HBO Documentary)SantanaExecutive producer
2013"Ke$ha: My Crazy Beautiful Life (TV series)Ke$haExecutive producer
2012We Will Always Love You: A Grammy Salute to Whitney HoustonWhitney HoustonProducer
Kid Star USA (Television show)Various artistsExecutive producer [52]
2011Majors and Minors (TV series)Various artistsExecutive producer
2010Santana - Making of Guitar Heaven: The Greatest Guitar Classics of All TimeSantanaProducer
2004One Night Only! Rod Stewart Live at Royal Albert Hall (DVD)Rod StewartExecutive producer
2003 It Had to Be You: The Great American Songbook (DVD)Rod StewartExecutive producer
2001O-Town: Live From New YorkO-TownExecutive producer


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