Captains of the Creative Industries talk talent

Cote D’Azure, France - Captains of the Creative Industries

l. to r. Distinguished Atlanta-based entertainment lawyer, major dealmaker & strategic visionary Joel Katz; Chairman & CEO of Sony Music Entertainment Doug Morris; Mobilium Global CEO Ralph Simon & Chairman & CEO of Epic Records & discoverer of great artists & talent, LA Reid - he found Rihanna, Kanye West, Toni Braxton, Usher & many more. Seen at the special gathering to honour Doug Morris at the Billboard Midem Breakfast on June 7th. Doug has had a scintillating 50-year career as the consummate industry-leading music executive & entertainment business luminary.

Mobilium meets one of the world's top artist managers & talent finders - Johnny Wright

NEWS from Billboard Magazine
By Karen Bliss, Toronto | May 11, 2015 5:21 PM EDT

Johnny Wright

Johnny Wright, president/CEO of the Wright Entertainment Group (WEG) and No. 83 on The 2015 Billboard Power 100, spoke about a new chapter in his music career he's calling PopNation during Canadian Music Week in Toronto on Sat., May 9, where he was the day's celebrity interview. PopNation is envisioned by Wright as a sort of music factory set to include artist development, management, label and distribution deals, tours and web TV.

Wright's current WEG management roster includes Justin Timberlake, Lance Bass, Akon, Incubus and a host of up-and-comers that are in development at “the compound,” a 16,000 square foot facility Wright has secured in Orlando, Florida.

Sitting down with Ralph Simon -- founder and CEO of Mobilium Global Ltd. and who has managed New Kids on the Block, the Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, the Jonas Brothers, Britney Spears and Janet Jackson, among others -- Wright spoke at length about what goes on inside the compound. “It’s almost like a school,” he said about the regimented classes from vocal and dance training to nighttime studio sessions.

“It’s not a new idea; it’s actually an old idea that I want to bring forth. Back in the day of Motown, Berry [Gordy] had a vision. He had Hitsville -- a location kind of what I have, where artists could go and train and be artists. They recorded, they wrote, they rehearsed; and what they used to do is they all used to pile up on a bus together and they had this thing called the Motown Revue, and The Supremes, Four Tops, Temptations, and everybody would go out on the road together. What they didn’t have was social networking."

“So PopNation is creating that same idea, where it’s one location, at the compound. They might be signed strictly under management; some will be signed to a record deal, because we’re doing independent distribution through Caroline and Universal. But when I sign an act into the record label, it’s not like I’m signing you and you now work for me -- we’re joining together in a joint venture, so you are the partner with me and we’re the label together. From that, we’re going to have other PopNation verticals," which will include radio, TV and tours, Wright continued.

Just this past December, Wright did a trial run of a PopNation Tour. Billed as “Johnny Wright presents PopNation On My Way Tour,” it featured performances by many of the acts signed under PopNation. "We did have a local radio station that was involved, but most of the fanbase that came to this was all through the social networking by the fans of the artists that were on tour. For me, it was kind of like a test to see how what kinks I might need to work out as we move to tour across the country and across the world and I’m glad to say it was a super success.”

The video arm of the ambitious project, PopNationTV, will create web series, specialty shows, and air music videos and other online content. Wright envisions it as “kind of what MTV used to be, where not only the artists that we have signed to PopNation but anybody that we feel are up-and-coming and relevant we’ll put their videos on PopNation.”

There will be PopNation tours -- “they’ll be three of them that will go out this year, and, like the Motown days, we’ll put all our acts together and we’ll take them on the road” -- and fans will also be connected through their socials and encouraged to participate in the artists’ development.

Wright outlined a plan for a web venture to gauge artists' popularity through online opinion casting. “They will perform it live at the compound and you can go on our web site and give us feedback on what you think of the song, what you think of the performance. This is one of the tools that we’re going to do for these talented artists to get themselves ready before they actually go on the road and put it in front of people that are paying money to see it.”

Of the acts on PopNation, the band Restless Road, put together by Simon Cowell on X Factor; is “about to sign” to a major country label. Round2Crew, which on their own attracted 2.5 million views of a video in six weeks and had a No. 11 single on iTunes, he said, now have a deal with Atlantic. Dylan Hyde is signed to Motown. 12-year-old Carson Lueders has 1.6 million followers online (“there’s a passion in this kid that I haven’t seen since Justin”); and Katelyn Jae -- who won a management deal with Wright after entering an online talent and songwriting competition -- is releasing her album, Finally, in September.

Slush 2014 in Helsinki, Finland

Mobilium CEO Ralph Simon at Slush 2014 in Helsinki, Finland.
Helsinki hello:
Seen in Helsinki, Finland during the recent major innovation and tech gathering known as SLUSH are:  Mr Ken Hertz, senior partner and president of HLY Media Law and Membrain - Ken was a keynote speaker at SLUSH 2014; Ambassador Bruce Oreck, US Ambassador to Finland and a major protagonist for innovation and tech development for US companies, creators and the Nordics, Finland, Scandinavia and The Baltics; Mobilium Global chairman, Ralph Simon - after a special breakfast gathering at the US Embassy in Helsinki.  SLUSH brings the world?s top innovators and new start-ups to Finland for a high impact gathering and conference that sees the unveiling some great new ideas, companies and commercial enterprises
Chief Bird Brain - Meeting of the minds as the founder and chairman of Rovio Entertainment Limited, the extraordinary Finnish mobile games company and originator / developer of the hugely  successful Angry Birds game, educational platform, product franchise and associated businesses, Kaj Hed seen here with Mobilium Global chairman, Ralph Simon in Helsinki.  The He?d family created Rovio as a mobile games company and it is said that they developed and launched 40 different mobile games of moderate success, until they then created and launched Angry Birds.  Within a few weeks it became evident that Angry Birds was a world-wide smash hit, enthralling mobile game players, men and women all over the world.  Today, Rovio continues to grow and build Rovio to also include a special Angry Birds Educational platform that has developed special educational programs using Angry Birds? characters, and making learning fun across a range of subjects and junior and high school subjects.  Kaj Hed has overseen the growth and global spread of Rovio Entertainment since its inception.

Unicef's 'Imagine' Event in New York

 l. to r.  Mobilium Global; chairman Ralph Simon and head of Unicef, Executive Director Anthony Lake - photographed in the General Assembly of the United Nations.  Mobilium Global were the Executive producers of the huge global event and initiative produced by Unicef to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the singing of the UN?s Convention of the Child.  Some of the world?s greatest artists combined with Unicef and Yoko Ono, Hugh Jackman and Unicef offices in over 150 countries to create one of the most significant online, mobile and global campaigns in Unicef?s history.  Mobilium Global played a key role in making this event impact and happen.
General Assembly of the United Nations, New York
l. to r.  The great and distinguished Swedish composer and former member of the great musical group ABBA, Bjorn Ulvaeus seen here with Mobilium Global chairman ralph Simon during the recent Unicef special event that took place in the General Assembly of the United Nations in new York.  For Bjorn, bios appearance had an extra special significance, as 35 years ago, Bjorn and ABBA were the very first musical artists to get to play and perform in the General Assembly, when they recorded the great song, “Chiquitita” for a world-wide TV special that took place at the UN.  Bjorn returned this November 2014,  to join the galaxy of superstars and distinguished people who came together at the UN HQ to salute the 25th anniversary of the UN’s Convention on the Child, and create a whole new campaign built around the iconic John Lennon song, “Imagine”.
Seen here in the General Assembly of the Un is Mobilium Global chairman, Ralph Simon  and Nigerian superstar composer, recording artist, tech pioneer and investor, Don Jazzy.  Simon had arranged for Don Jazzy to come to New York to be one of the specially featured global stars in the Unicef special event that took place in the General Assembly of the United Nations to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the signing of the UN’s Convention of the Child.  With a distinguished cast that included Yoko Ono, major movie actor Hugh Jackman, Katy Perry, will i am, and leading artists and personalities from around the world, Don Jazzy made a particular impact at the event, which also has been getting significant audiences and a following online, on mobile and around the world as the Unicef teams in 190 countries spread the word of the “Imagine” Unicef event.
On the podium of the General Assembly of the United Nations, New York
Seen in the General Assembly preparing for the huge Unicef gathering that took place in November 2014 in the UN headquarters are l. to r.  Alexander Shulgin, the distinguished entrepreneur, composer, artist and innovation guru from Moscow, who was responsible for bringing the Russian teen sensation, Kristian Kostov from Russia to the United Nations to participate in the Unicef event, and Mobilium Global chairman, Ralph Simon, who was the Executive Producer of the global event for Unicef.    Many of the world’s greatest leaders have spoken from this podium, and so Alexander and Ralph were standing in the footsteps of the great, the good, the bad and the ugly - all of whom have addressed the General Assembly of the Un from this spot.