Founder & Chief Executive Officer
Lawrence Mestel, Founder & CEO of Primary Wave Music, has been working in the music and entertainment industry for over 20 years. In 2006, Mestel took his extensive experience working at multiple record labels and founded Primary Wave Music, one of the largest independent music publishing, marketing and talent management companies in the United States. Primary Wave has controlled over 10,000 songs from the catalogs of legendary artists such as Kurt Cobain, Steven Tyler, John Lennon, Def Leppard, Hall and Oates, Chicago, Maurice White, Steve Earle, Graham Parker, Holy Knight, Steven Curtis Chapman, Lamont Dozier, Blue October, The Airborne Toxic Event, Anberlin, Shwayze, New Boyz, Taddy Porter and many others. Originally founded on music publishing, Mestel has strategically and successfully built the company into a full service music and entertainment powerhouse offering in-house branding, digital marketing, publicity, TV & Film development and a talent management company and manages artists including CeeLo Green, Cypress Hill, Audien, Melissa Etheridge, Eric Benet, Fantasia, Erik Morillo and others.
Recently, Larry Mestel landed on Billboard Magazine’s 2012 “Urban Power List”, being recognized for his leadership in the music industry and has also been featured in top press outlets such as New York Times, The Hollywood Reporter, Fast Company, New York Post, Forbes, Billboard Magazine, and HITS Magazine.
Prior to founding Primary Wave Music, Larry Mestel was Chief Operating Officer and General Manager of Virgin Records, where he was responsible for all marketing, sales and business-related aspects of the company. During his tenure, he worked with iconic artists including The Rolling Stones, Janet Jackson, Jermaine Dupri and Lenny Kravitz. From 2000 – 2004, Mestel was Executive Vice President and General Manager at Arista Records, managing sales, international and strategic marketing, A&R and marketing administration, finance and business affairs. While at Arista, he developed artists such as Avril Lavigne, Outkast, Usher, Pink, Carlos Santana, Dido among many others. Mestel also held the position of Chief Operating Officer for Island Entertainment Group, which included Island Records, Island Music Publishing and Island Pictures.
Jeff Gaspin is a leader and innovator in broadcast, cable and digital media. Over the past 30 years, his blue chip resume and accomplishments include serving as Chairman of NBC Universal Television, where he was responsible for all business, creative and distribution for the company’s entertainment television portfolio, which generated more than $10 billion in revenue and nearly $3 billion in operating profits. He was responsible for two broadcast networks- NBC Entertainment and Telemundo, and the most profitable group of cable networks including USA Network, SyFy, Bravo and Oxygen. At NBC, his successes also included acquiring The Voice, shepherding Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and developing Grimm. He spearheaded the company’s aggressive move into online video, leading early deals with Netflix. He also played a key role in the formation of Hulu. Throughout his career, Gaspin defined the art of niche programming on cable, launching breakout hits “Behind the Music” and “Pop-Up Video” on VH1 and transforming Bravo with cultural phenomena like “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” and “Project Runway.” As head of alternative programming at NBC, Gaspin developed the hit shows “The Apprentice,” “The Biggest Loser” and “Deal or No Deal.” In addition to being nominated for two Emmy Awards, Gaspin was honored with the industry’s Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award and Anti-Defamation League’s Distinguished Entertainment Industry Award. In 2012, he formed Gaspin Media, the production and consulting company whose clients include AETN Networks, Clear Channel Communications, Discovery Networks, ITV Studios, Pilgrim Studios and multiple private equity firms. In 2014, he launched TAPP,an over-the-top subscription platform connecting niche personalities with their super fans. Gaspin serves as Chairman of TAPP. He is on the advisory boards of TowerBrook Captial and Taboola. He holds an M.B.A. in strategic planning from the New York University Graduate School of Business Administration and a B.A. from the State University of New York at Binghamton. He resides in Los Angeles with his wife Karen, and has three children, Max, Samantha and Ben.
Veteran film producer Mark Burg is the Vice Chairman of Management and Production Company Primary Wave Entertainment. Burg has compiled an impressive track record of hits; including the powerhouse horror franchise SAW, the Emmy Award-nominated CBS series “Two and a Half Men”, and top-rated cable sitcom “Anger Management”. From being President of Island Pictures, Owner of Evolution Entertainment, and now Vice Chairman of Primary Wave Entertainment, Burg has amassed a reputation as a top film and TV producer. Other notable projects include JOHN Q., starring Academy Award® winners Denzel Washington and Robert Duvall, TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 3D which opened #1 at the box office, the faith based award winning GRACE UNPLUGGED, and Sundance dramatic competitor AIN’T THEM BODIES SAINTS.
President, Primary Wave Music Publishing
Justin Shukat is a founding partner and President at Primary Wave Music Publishing. He is responsible for new writer signings, content acquisitions and works closely with the current writer roster to facilitate recordings within the industry. Additionally he oversees all areas of Primary Wave’s synch exploitation and is General Manager of the Primary Wave stable of companies, working with all our partner companies to insure that all our businesses are focussed and delivering. His music career began at The Montreux Jazz Festival and was followed by various positions at Walter Yetnikoff’s Velvel Records. Justin then moved on to senior marketing positions at both Arista and Epic Records. Justin recently landed on Billboard Magazine’s “40 under 40” list.
CMO & G.M. Primary Wave Talent Management
Adam brings 17 years of music industry experience to Primary Wave. He is responsible for all marketing related activities within the organization. Most recently, Mr. Lowenberg was Sr. VP of Marketing for Island Def Jam. He also served as Sr. VP of Marketing at Virgin Records and VP of Marketing at Arista Records. Adam’s career has been punctuated by the multi-platinum success of such global superstars as Avril Lavigne, Dido, Sarah McLachlan, Pink, Rihanna and Bon Jovi.
Partner, COO and CFO
Ramon Villa wears many hats in managing the financial and operational functions for Primary Wave. His 20 years of experience within entertainment, including the first half of his career working closely with Island records founder, Chris Blackwell, has immersed him across many platforms including records, publishing, video, film, distribution, talent management, branding and marketing. He has been involved since the early days of Primary Wave building the publishing catalog and the various marketing and management arms surrounding it. As COO and CFO and “chief aesthetic officer” he sees that the numbers and the vibe all stay in check….
President, Primary Wave IP Investment Management
CEO, Welle Entertainment & Head of Primary Wave Films
Cathy Schulman is a Best Picture Academy Award® winning producer and veteran film executive. Schulman was most recently the Head of Production for STX Entertainment. Having joined the company as one of its initial senior executives, Schulman managed an annual twelve picture slate. Recent films under Schulman’s purview include the Summer 2016 hit Bad Moms, written and directed by The Hangover’s Jon Lucas and Scott Moore and starring Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Christina Applegate; and the critical darling The Edge of Seventeen, written and directed by Kelly Freemon Craig, who is nominated for a 2017 DGA Award, and starring Woody Harrelson and Hailee Steinfeld, for whom it garnered a Golden Globe nomination. Her upcoming releases include The Space Between Us (February 3), directed by Peter Chelsom and starring Gary Oldman and Asa Butterfield; and The Foreigner, directed by Martin Campbell and starring Pierce Brosnan and Jackie Chan. Under her own Bull’s Eye Entertainment banner, Schulman produced Crash, directed by Paul Haggis and starring Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon and Terrence Howard. In addition to Schulman receiving the film’s Best Picture Oscar in 2006, Crash received Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay and Best Editing. Among many of the notable films Schulman has produced are Horns, Voices, Bernie, Soul Surfer, Thumbsucker, and The Illusionist. She also developed and arranged the financing for Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York.
Schulman has been the President of Women In Film, the industry’s leading advocacy organization for women in media, since 2011. Schulman is also a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, a USC Stark Program producer’s mentor and has taught graduate level film producing at UCLA and the Dodge College of Film Media and Arts at Chapman University, where she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate. She has also served as a judge for the prestigious Samuel Goldwyn Writing Awards. She is a notable industry spokesperson and public speaker and most recently gave the 2016 media address for International Woman’s Day at the United Nations. Schulman is a graduate of Yale University, with a double major in Theater Studies and History of Art. She is the mother of one daughter and resides in Los Angeles, California.
Partner & President, Digital Strategy & Marketing
Rob began his music career in marketing and rose to General Manager at Ruffhouse Records, a pioneering Sony Music record label which has sold over 100 million albums worldwide with artists Lauryn Hill, The Fugees, Cypress Hill, Wyclef Jean, Kris Kross and others. He has extensive history working in the music industry from marketing and promotion to publishing, management and merchandising.
Rob served at Warner Music Group’s distribution arm, W.E.A. Corp. in 2003, developing retail and account based marketing initiatives for WMG artists including T.I., Linkin Park, Metallica, Missy Elliot, Sean Paul and others.
In 2005, Dippold became Partner & General Manager of Trustkill Records, an independent industry-leading entertainment company partnered with Sony and Universal Publishing. Trustkill was instrumental in launching and breaking influential bands in the metal and hardcore rock scene including Bullet For My Valentine, Eighteen Visions, Poison The Well amongst others. Under the Trustkill brand, Rob was actively involved in the digital & mobile technology space including developing and launching “MobileThreat” the first ever mobile content destination platform dedicated to the metal & punk music genres, as well as other lifestyle branded websites and virtual reality communities.
In 2010, he became a Partner & President of Digital Strategy & Marketing at Primary Wave Entertainment where he is charged with developing creative digital marketing campaigns, strategic partnerships, as well as building e-commerce, and direct to fan initiatives. In addition, Dippold also actively seeks, signs, and develops talent and new business opportunities. Most recently Rob’s work on Def Leppard’s 30th Anniversary of Hysteria album was named “Best Music Marketing Campaigns of 2017” by Music Ally’s Sandbox.
Dippold attended The Pennsylvania State University, and received a Bachelor of Science degree from the School of Business in Marketing and Management.
Head, Film & TV Management
Jeff Morrone moved to Los Angeles at only 18 years old where he started as an agent for the Fontaine Modeling and Talent Agency. After making a quick name for himself at only 22 years old, he moved to Innovative Artists Talent and Literary Agency, where he became a partner. During Morrone’s partnership, he created the Innovative’s Young Talent Department in Los Angeles and New York. While at Innovative, Morrone guided the careers of the hottest young stars in the industry, including Ashton Kutcher, Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel and Gabrielle Union. He was featured on 20/20, Frontline and 60 Minutes as one of the most influential representatives for young actors in the entertainment business. Having a desire to move into management, Morrone partnered with industry veteran and longtime friend Beverly Strong to form Strong/Morrone Entertainment, and eventually merged their company with Anonymous Content. Morrone joined Intellectual in 2011 and is currently a senior partner and Co-Head of PWE Film & TV Management.
Branding & Founder, Brand Synergy Group
Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Brand Synergy Group. Jeff Straughn has over twenty years of core marketing experience that includes working for global advertising firms, such as Saatchi & Saatchi and Interpublic Group’s Bozell, and ten years within sports marketing at global powerhouse Octagon. Jeff worked for Jay-Z and Mr. Antonio “LA” Reid while building a new strategic marketing department for Universal Music Group at Island Def Jam Recordings, and he has become a leader and trendsetter in how brands and artists work together. Now at Brand Synergy Group, with relationships that are direct and limitless, Jeff’s experience in brand development for Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Fall Out Boy and many others is now used to help corporate America leverage key assets to market their own brands.
Sr. V.P. of Creative / Head of Sync
Marty heads the licensing team at Primary Wave, overseeing synchronization for the company’s published songwriters and its artist management clients, as well as focusing on the identification and development of new talent. Along with team members based in both Los Angeles and New York, he has driven sync activity in all media with major placements in film, TV and advertising campaigns for artists such as Hall & Oates, Kurt Cobain, Steven Tyler, Def Leppard and Chicago. Before joining Primary Wave, Marty was the head of licensing and creative affairs at independent publisher North Star Media. Marty began his music career in Canada at the Queen’s University Department of Psychology, conducting research on the psychology of popular music. He has been an instructor at his alma mater, Berklee College of Music, teaching “Current Issues in the Music Industry” and regularly speaks at music industry panels and events.
VP, Business Development & Legal Affairs
Sam joins Primary Wave with a mission to utilize her many contacts from the past 15 years working as an attorney in the music industry to create business opportunities for the company. Sam also provides legal support to the executive team for acquisitions and other high level matters.
Prior to joining Primary Wave, Sam was Senior Counsel at Ritholz Levy LLP where her clients were primarily musicians, songwriters, producers, independent record labels and start-up businesses. She is experienced in structuring, negotiating and drafting a wide variety of agreements, including recording, publishing, management, branding, appearance and live performance. She was previously a Director of Business & Legal Affairs for Atlantic Records and was also a Staff Attorney at the Legal Aid Society where she represented low-income tenants in housing matters in Harlem. Educated at Fordham University School of Law, J.D. Notes Editor, Urban Law Journal. Bucknell University, B.A., cum laude.