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Tunji Balogun becomes new CEO of Def Jam Records



Tunji Balogun is new CEO of Def Jam Records

RCA’s executive vice president of A&R, Tunji Balogun, is headed to Def Jam Records as CEO, multiple sources tell Variety.

At RCA, which Balogun joined in 2015 following seven-and-a-half years at Interscope, the A&R exec was involved in signing Khalid, Brockhampton, Normani (via Syco) and Bryson Tiller. In 2018, Balogun co-founded the label Keep Cool, a joint venture with RCA, alongside Courtney Stewart, Jon Tanners and Jared Sherman. He was elevated to EVP that same year.

Def Jam had been run by interim Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Harleston, who also serves as general counsel and executive VP of business and legal affairs at Universal Music Group.

Founded 35 years ago, Def Jam is home to Justin Bieber, Jay-Z, Rihanna, Kanye West, Big Sean, YG, Alessia Cara and Logic, among other artists.


Balogun’s hiring comes on the heels of Def Jam naming promotion veteran Nicki Farag executive vice president and general manager. Also joining the Def Jam team is rapper Snoop Dogg, who serves as executive creative and strategic consultant, it was announced in June.

His exit from RCA also follows news, as first reported by Variety, of the appointments of Imran Majid and Justin Eshak as co-CEOs of UMG’s Island Records label, effective Jan. 1, 2022. Eshak and Majid arrived from another Sony Music label, Columbia Records, where they were previously co-heads of A&R.

Def Jam’s previous CEO was Paul Rosenberg, Eminem’s longtime manager, who joined the label in Jan. 2018 and left two years later. Rosenberg maintains his role as President of Shady Records, Eminem’s joint venture with UMG’s Interscope Geffen A&M.

An announcement from UMG is expected shortly.

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