Motown Revs Up With Brands

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Name: Kojo Bentil

Age: 37

Who he is: Senior VP-Operations & Business Development at Motown Records Group, a division of Universal Music Group

Where he's from: Bentil was a part of Motown CEO Kedar Massenburg's inner circle as VP-general manager at Kedar Entertainment, the record label given much of the credit for marketing "neo-classic soul." Prior to joining Kedar, Bentil practiced law in New York and delved into myriad areas including advertising and entertainment.

What he's done: Bentil points to the partnership with Levi's for Erykah Badu in 1997 as the "eureka" moment when the labels' braintrust realized the "opportunities outside traditional marketing avenues." More recently, Bentil generated a comprehensive, integrated marketing program for Target's Christmas campaign last year, which included leveraging India.Arie and Stevie Wonder in a TV spot. Additional tracks tied into the commercial ended up on Arie's new record and were made available only at Target outlets.

%%PULLQUOTE_RIGHT%% What's next: "Ultimately, I'd like to see our business start matching the way brands are planned in corporate America. We're never going to be in lockstep with corporate America in terms of [their planning horizons], but I'd like to be in a position where we can anticipate when we will be releasing records from our core artists [further in advance]. Right now, the business, as it's done today, is a lot of chasing. And that's very, very tough in terms of getting the big, impactful deals done."

Stock in trade: "What sets us apart is the quality and depth of our artist roster, not just in terms of Universal Motown but in terms of Universal Music Group."