HITS Daily Double


Tunji Balogun will be exiting RCA to take over as CEO of Def Jam, effective 1/1/2022. He'll be based in L.A. and will report to UMG topper Sir Lucian Grainge.

Def Jam announced the appointment after multiple reports leaked the news.

Balogun, currently EVP of A&R, has been at RCA since 2015, where he inked such artists as Khalid and Bryson Tiller and developed the Keep Cool JV with Nipper, with Normani as a flagship act. His Def Jam leadership will mark a return to UMG as he served at Interscope from 2007 to 2015.

UMG General Counsel/EVP Biz & Legal Jeff Harleston has been multitasking as interim chief of Def Jam. He recently brought hip-hop icon Snoop Dogg aboard as Executive Creative and Strategic Consultant and upped promo chief Nicki Farag to GM. Harleston will continue in his current post until Balogun assumes the CEO spot in January.

"Tunji is part of a new wave of dynamic executives who view today’s artists and music through a unique creative lens," said Grainge. "Not only does he bring a deep understanding and respect for the cultural significance of what Def Jam has created over the past four decades, but he also sees the boundless potential of what Def Jam can be to a new generation of artists and fans."

"I grew up on Def Jam’s music—collecting, listening to and studying its albums and singles—and those early moments as a young fan have had a lasting influence on who I am today," reads a quote from Balogun. "Def Jam remains one of music’s most iconic brands and has always represented forward-thinking artists and partners who continue to shift ideas and impact culture around the world. I’m honored to lead Def Jam into its next chapter and thank Lucian and Jeff for their support and this incredible opportunity."

Added Harleston, "It has been an honor and a pleasure to lead and grow Def Jam over these past two years. Having had the privilege of working with Tunji for more than a decade, I couldn’t be happier to hand the reins over to him. Tunji has all the tools to take the Def Jam brand and artists to new levels of success. He has the vision. He has a track record of signing the best and brightest new talent who ‘move culture’ around the world and has always been an incredible advocate for artists."

Photo credit: Rolexx