HITS Daily Double


Rainmakers 2020, our latest anthology narrating the stories of top industry players, will be landing on desks with a resounding thud very soon. Among the careers profiled will be those of Top Dawg, John Esposito, Jonathan Daniel and Bob McLynn.

The founder of Top Dawg Entertainment, Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith has exerted a huge influence on the culture and the marketplace thanks to artists like Kendrick Lamar, SZA, ScHoolboy Q and more. Beginning with a studio dubbed the House of Pain, Top and team built a hip-hop management/label powerhouse that conquered the world—scoring chart victories, Grammys and other laurels (not least of which was a Pulitzer for Kendrick) and a partnership with Marvel for the massive Black Panther ST. Their global might notwithstanding, Top and his L.A.-based crew remain community-focused; a COVID-era food drive in the hard-hit Watts neighborhood is but one of their philanthropic efforts.

Espo, as Warner Music Nashville boss Esposito is widely known, didn’t expect to end up running a country label. The Pennsylvania native played drums and guitar in bands before finding his way into retail and, eventually, distribution. But since arriving at WMN he has succeeded by streamlining operations and empowering the A&R process that has yielded such breakouts as Dan + Shay, Gabby Barrett and Ingrid Andress and seen continued triumphs from Blake Shelton and Kenny Chesney, among others. The man who spearheaded a greening initiative for his company has also helped cultivate industry opportunities for students at Nashville schools. Espo likes his single malt—it’s where some of his best ideas come from.

Shepherding a formidable roster led by several titans of Alternative and Rock, Crush Music has cultivated a bright, bold and boisterous brand—aligning with the sensibilities of its artists and keeping fans front and center. With a stable that includes Weezer, Fall Out Boy, Green Day, Panic! At The Disco, Sia, Lorde, Train and Alanis Morissette, among others, Jonathan “JD” Daniel, Bob McLynn and team have helped energize the rock space as few of their contemporaries have while staying abreast of a rapidly changing marketplace. They’ve also launched a foundation to support Global Citizen, Panic’s Highest Hopes Foundation and the T.J. Martell Foundation, among other worthy causes.