'Big' Jon Platt Exiting EMI Music Publishing After 17 Years

 Jessica Chou

The impending EMI-Sony/ATV merger may have seen its first casualty of sorts. “Big” Jon Platt, president of EMI Music Publishing, is leaving the company after 17 years, a source close to the situation tells The Hollywood Reporter.

According to Billboard.biz, Platt made the announcement to his staff on Tuesday afternoon. His last day will be Friday, when EMI Publishing will be handed the ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Award for Publisher of the Year for the 18th year in a row.

Over the years, Platt has signed Kanye West, Jay-Z, Diddy, Beyonce, Drake, Usher, Ludacris and many others to the company. He is described by those who work under him as “beloved” and “adored” -- two traits that were evident during Platt’s annual (for the most part) confab of EMI’s songwriters at Beverly Hills’ SLS Hotel in April.

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Out of the same conference a few years earlier emerged the hit collaboration “Empire State of Mind” by Jay-Z (a longtime pal of Platt’s) and Alicia Keys, written by EMI’s Angela Hunte and J’net Sewell. This year’s event, combining urban, pop and country writers, drew over 200 participants from EMI’s roster, as well as every major label and several high-profile imprints, including Rostrum Records (home to Wiz Khalifa and Mac Miller) and Syco (Simon Cowell's label for artists disovered via TV properties like X Factor and Got Talent).

Speaking to THR on April 16, Platt said, "Great things can happen when you put that many creative people together in a room. They talk a language we don't talk." Addressing his own staff that day, he reminded the dozen EMI Publishing executives assembled that, "At one point, every superstar artist was a new artist that A&R was trying to get people to believe in."

The news comes after months of speculation as to whether Platt would join his former boss Martin Bandier at Sony/ATV when the publishing giant, along with a consortium of investors (including the estate of Michael Jackson and industry veteran David Geffen), merges with EMI (pending regulatory approval; EMI's recorded units will be split off and sold to Universal), but one source hints that Platt has already been there, done that.

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Others say he may land a dual label/publisher role at Warner Music Group, much like Ethiopia Habtemariam did when she was appointed vp/head of urban music for Universal Music Publishing Group and senior vp of the Motown Records label (worth noting: current EMI CEO Roger Faxon, who recently told a senate subcomittee probing anti-trust claims regarding the proposed merger that he'll be out of a job once the deal goes through, is also rumored to be headed for Warners).    

Platt is expected to announce his next move in the coming weeks, adds the insider. An EMI rep would not comment. 

Twitter: @shirleyhalperin

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