WarnerMedia has opened up a new music strategy division to collaborate closely with in-house music group WaterTower Music, third-party labels and publishing groups to identify music-focused opportunities for Cartoon Network and Adult Swim. Michael Akiko (pictured left) will run the unit as executive director, music for WarnerMedia Kids, Young Adults and Classics.
Akiko is responsible for creating and supporting music initiatives, as well as recruiting and retaining musical talent. He previously served as head of artists and repetoire for Universal Music Africa and held several positions with Google. Akiko will report to Brian Robillard (right), who was promoted to assistant general manager and VP of business operations for Kids & Family and Adult Swim in June.
Robillard joined Cartoon Network in 2014, and most recently served as VP of business operations for Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network Studios. He reports to Amy Friedman (head of Kids & Family programming) and Michael Ouweleen (president of Adult Swim).
WarnerMedia’s newest unit is launching at a good time, as the kids industry seems to be increasingly focused on music-driven projects. Disney recently promoted Peter DiCecco to serve as its first-ever EVP of music business affairs at Disney General Entertainment; LA-based Exile Content Studio expanded its bilingual educational series Club Mundo Kids with the brand’s first music album; and Moonbug Entertainment tapped Universal Music Group to manage worldwide distribution, publishing and licensing for songs and content from CoComelon, Little Baby Bum and Blippi.