Motown Records has tapped a 20-year music industry veteran known for brokering big consumer brand deals to lead the storied company's advertising arm. Brian Nolan assumes the dual role of executive VP of the Motown label and executive VP of marketing, giving him oversight of developing brand campaigns with Motown’s artists.
Nolan previously held executive roles at Universal Music Group-owned Capitol Music Group, which includes Motown in its vast library of brands. As the newest member of Motown’s executive leadership team, Nolan will report to the Detroit-founded, Los Angeles-based record label’s head, Ethiopia Habtemariam.
A label long known for its representation of Black musicians, Motown currently works with a range of top-selling artists including Lil Yachty, Offset, Vince Staples and Migos, and in the more than 60 years since its founding has helped make the notable careers of The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and others.
“I’ve always been a fan of Motown Records and I’ve known Ethiopia, the chairwoman and CEO, for some time. I’ve always been a fan of hers,” says Nolan, adding that he’s previously been able to work closely with her in his earlier roles at Capitol Music Group. “When she came to me with this opportunity, it was an instant yes,” he says.
His appointment is effective immediately, and while saying that his first priority upon joining the Motown team will be “to build upon what we have established already,” Nolan has a resume that indicates he’ll be capable of handling any duty that arises in his new dual-executive position.
“I started in a mailroom at BMG in 2002 straight out of college, that was my entry point,” says Nolan, detailing a subsequent career that includes everything from radio promotion to sports marketing to sync licensing, which involves licensing songs to play alongside visual images in everything from TV commercials to video games.
Previously at music powerhouses including Sony Music Entertainment and its subsidiary Columbia Records, he first joined Universal Music Group-owned Capitol in 2017 as a senior VP. He quickly came to lead Seventeenfifty, CMG’s in-house sync licensing and brand partnerships division.