Leaving Radio 1, the man who makes or breaks the top bands

By Ciar Byrne,Media Correspondent
Saturday 13 July 2013 06:22
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Alex Jones-Donnelly, one of the most powerful men in the music industry, is leaving his influential post as head of music and live music at Radio 1 to oversee the label's A&R (artists and repertoire). He was responsible for putting together Radio 1's weekly playlist, the records that make up most of the station's output, influencing the musical tastes of its listeners.

It is unusual for a radio executive to switch to a record label, but EMI said it had hired Mr Jones-Donnelly for his extensive knowledge of the music scene and his wide network of contacts.

Guy Moot, the managing director of EMI Music Publishing UK, said: "Alex has done a fantastic job at Radio 1 picking the right bands and moving music policy forward. He has all the attributes of being a fantastic A&R executive. His extensive knowledge of music, his contacts and eye for spotting emerging talent is all proven. I like to look outside the other record companies and publishers to bring in new ideas and perspective on our business."

Mr Jones-Donnelly joined Radio 1 in 1997 as a music scheduler and was promoted to head of music three years later. He had worked for the commercial dance music station Kiss FM in a variety of roles.

His early career included a two-year stint running a nightclub, selling dance music in a record store and working as a discographer writing about dance music.

Mr Jones-Donnelly, who will take up his new post of senior vice-president, A&R, in August, said he had "mixed emotions" about leaving, but the EMI job was "just too irresistible to turn down".

He said: "If I had to pick out some of my highlights at Radio 1, they would be helping to develop Radio 1's live music output and giving a helping hand to the careers of the likes of Coldplay, the Streets, Eminem, Franz Ferdinand, Alicia Keys, the Killers, Dizzee Rascal and Joss Stone."

At Radio 1, Mr Jones-Donnelly held weekly meetings at which a team of producers decides the 55 tracks on the station's playlist. These are then divided into the A-list, which get about 30 plays a week, the B-list, with 15 airings and the C-list, heard five times.

The Radio 1 controller, Andy Parfitt, described Mr Jones-Donnelly as "very gifted". He added: "The fact that one of our top guys has been offered this kind of job is a big vote of confidence for our musical direction and impact."

EMI is the world's biggest music publishing company, representing stars including Eminem, Snoop Dogg and Sting, and up and coming acts such as James Blunt, Turin Brakes and Idlewild.

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