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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Craig Kallman
Craig Kallman Atlantic Records 2.jpg
Born1965 (age 54–55)
Alma materBrown University
OccupationFounder of Big Beat Records
Chairman and CEO of Atlantic Records
Years active1986 - Present
EmployerAtlantic Records 1991-present
Current (Chairman & CEO)

Craig Kallman is an American businessman and former DJ. He is currently the Chairman and CEO of the Atlantic Records Group.[1] His career in music began in the 1980s as a DJ in Manhattan.[2] He is the founder of the independent label Big Beat Records, which was established in 1987.[3] Later, the label was purchased by Atlantic Records, where he has worked since 1991. After the acquisition, Kallman subsequently become its CEO in 2005.[2]

Kallman is considered one of the world's leading investors in rare records. He has a collection of approximately 750,000 records, 150,000 items of music memorabilia and 100,000 compact discs.[4][5]

Early life and education

Kallman was born in Manhattan, New York in 1965. His father had an eclectic record collection that exposed him to a wide variety of music.[6] Kallman began collecting records at an early age, traveling from record store to record store in New York City; something that became a weekend job, even until today.[6] He attended Trinity High School before moving on to Brown University.[7] He pursued a liberal arts degree and graduated magna cum laude in 1987.[2] Kallman had plans to enroll in Harvard Business School but decided to pursue a career in the music industry.[2]


Kallman and some of the records from his extensive collection
Kallman and some of the records from his extensive collection

1980s, DJ career and Big Beat Records

Kallman's music career began while he was still in high school.[2][7] He worked in the dance department at Columbia Records, while DJing at nightclubs in New York City. He struck a deal with his father to DJ on weeknights as long as he maintained honors in school.[2] From the early to mid-1980s, he held several DJ residencies including at Danceteria, Area, and The Palladium.[6] During his time at Brown, he was a representative for CBS Records, and programmed urban and rock specialty shows for WBRU-FM. He began working for Factory Records after graduation.[8] He also spent time at Billboard Magazine working in its charts department, while performing as a resident DJ at such clubs as The Tunnel and Mars spinning records from his extensive record collection.[2][9]

In 1987, Kallman formed his own independent record label, Big Beat Records out of his bedroom with the label's first artist, Taravhonty.[10][11] He distributed this first single, "Join Hands" out of a supermarket shopping cart personally selling over 5,000 copies to independent local record stores.[3] For the second release, "The Party" by Kraze, Kallman sold the records out of the trunk of his father's car driving throughout the Northeast and distributed the single throughout the rest of the U.S. by shipping records to all the independent Mom and Pop record stores. Soon after Kallman was traveling throughout Europe licensing the single to independent companies in each country and “The Party” became an international hit, selling over 250,000 copies.[2][9]

Big Beat Records was purchased by Atlantic Records in 1991, with artists being absorbed into the label in 1998.[3] Big Beat's artists included Lil' Kim (under the Big Beat label with The Notorious B.I.G. called Undeas), Changing Faces, Robin S., Junior Mafia, Artifacts, Jomanda, Double X Posse, Inner Circle, The Bucketheads, Jay Williams, and Quad City DJs.[12][13][14]

1991-present (Atlantic Records)

Kallman first began working at Atlantic Records in 1991, when the label acquired Big Beat as a dance and rap imprint.[15] Upon joining Atlantic, Kallman established his A&R credentials by signing and developing a number of major artists, including P.O.D, Aaliyah, Brandy, and Timbaland.[9][16]

Kallman became co-President of Atlantic Records in 2002. While holding this position, one of his accomplishments was establishing an alliance with VP Records, an independent dancehall and reggae record label.[17] The first collaboration between labels was Sean Paul's album Dutty Rock, which sold six million copies and won a Grammy.[18] He was also responsible for bringing Shinedown and T.I. onto the Atlantic Records label.[19]

Kallman was named Chairman and CEO of Atlantic Records Group in 2005.[6] This was after the sale of Atlantic's parent company, Warner Music Group, to Time Warner.[20] During his time as CEO, Kallman has been responsible for signing notable artists that have included Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran, Death Cab For Cutie, Trey Songz, Flo Rida, Zac Brown Band, Gnarls Barkley, B.o.B, Janelle Monáe, Wiz Khalifa, Gucci Mane, Cardi B, Nipsey Hussle, Lizzo Halestorm, Hunter Hayes, Fitz and The Tantrums, Charlie Puth, Sturgill Simpson, and The War on Drugs.[6] He also revived Atlantic Nashville, the country imprint of the record group.[21][22]

Kallman was responsible for extending Atlantic Records reach into the film soundtrack industry.[6] During his time, some of the most notable soundtracks include Space Jam,[23] the Twilight series and the Furious 7 soundtrack. Furious 7 contained the No. 1 single See You Again by Wiz Khalifa, which broke the record for most streams (4 million) on Spotify within a 24 hour period.[24] Kallman is also credited with co-writing and producing the 2008 Grammy award winning song Daydreamin' by Lupe Fiasco. He is also the producer of the 2015 documentary, 808, which showcases the use of the Roland TR-808 drum machine.[25]

In 2010, Craig re-launched his Big Beat label, signing artists such as Skrillex, Icona Pop, Chromeo, and Martin Solveig.[26] That same year, he signed the soundtrack for the musical Hamilton[27] to Atlantic Records, which debuted No. 12 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, the highest entrance for a cast recording since 1963.[28] It also debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Cast Albums chart and No. 3 on Billboard's Top Rap Albums chart, marking the first time that a cast album had ever appeared on the Rap charts.[29]

Record collection

Kallman is considered an avid record collector, having more than 750,000 vinyl records in his collection.[4] His collection also includes 150,000 vintage music posters, flyers, badges and various memorabilia; 100,000 compact discs; and 1,000 vintage rock and soul T-shirts.[4][6]

Kallman named 15 of his favorite records while interviewed by Guy Oseary for his 2004 book On the Record:[30]

Awards and recognition

Kallman has received numerous awards throughout his career. In 1998 he was named to Crain's New York list of 40 Under 40.[31] At the time, he was 32 years old and the Executive Vice President of Atlantic Records.[31] From 2012 to 2015, he was named to Billboard's Power 100 which is a list of the most prominent record executives.[32] Additionally, 2010 he was recognized by the UJA-Federation as the Music Visionary of the Year.[33] Rolling Stone magazine also named him one of the 50 Most Important People in EDM.[10]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Aswad, Jem (22 June 2015). "Atlantic Records CEO Co-Chairman Craig Kallman on EDM's Evolution, Cee Lo's Next Move and His Own massive Record Collection". Billboard. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  3. ^ a b c "This Week In Music: Atlantic's Craig Kallman Talks Starting Big Beat Records, Signing On At A Major". Billboard. 3 August 2012. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  4. ^ a b c Shah, Neil (23 July 2013). "Rock Aficionados Try to Spin Old Vinyl Into Gold in New Investing Track". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  5. ^ Gold, Jeff (2 August 2013). "Craig Kallman - Record and Memorabili Collector Extraordinaire". Record Mecca. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Kawashima, Dale. "Special Interview with Craig Kallman, Chairman and CEO of Atlantic Records". Songwriter Universe. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  7. ^ a b Grantham, Victoria (15 June 2009). "Craig Kallman". New York Post. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  8. ^ "Craig Kallman of Atlantic Records: Listen Closely Page 2". Stereophile. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  9. ^ a b c Handelman, David. "Mix Master". New York Mag. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  10. ^ a b "50 Most Important People in EDM". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  11. ^ Tannenbaum, Rob (28 August 1992). "Major music mix-ups the latest rage". Santa Cruz Senitinel. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  12. ^ Mason, Kerri (5 February 2013). "RISE Digital Music Festival Lineup: Knife Party, R3HAB to Headline". Billboard. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  13. ^ "DX News Bits: Game, Lil Twist, Big Beat Records". Hip Hop DX. 24 March 2010. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  14. ^ Owen, Frank (March 1990). "singles". Spin Magazine. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  15. ^ Reilly, Patrick M. (6 April 1997). "Rap Artists Have Less Assurance That The Show Will Go On". Santa Cruz Sentinel. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  16. ^ Farber, Jim (18 September 1998). "Latin rap's time has come, as it begins selling in big numbers". The Capital. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  17. ^ Jackson, Kevin (29 September 2014). "Atlantic Records severs ties with Sean Paul". Jamaica Observer. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  18. ^ Meschino, Patricia (29 November 2015). "NYC Dancehall Star Kranium Signs Multiple Album Deal with Atlantic Records". Billboard. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  19. ^ "Songwriting and Second Changes with Brent Smith of Shinedown". Atlantic Records. 9 May 2014. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  20. ^ Gallindoss, Alan (4 February 2014). "Lyor Cohen's new Company "300 Entertainment" Forms Partnership with Twitter to Find New Music Talent". Jewish Business News. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  21. ^ Morris, Christopher (1 September 2009). "Warner Music eyes Nashville nugget". Variety. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  22. ^ "Warner Bros promotes Indiana native". Indiana Gazette. 11 October 2009. Archived from the original on 24 December 2015. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  23. ^ "TBT Interview: Atlantic Records' Craig Kallman Talks About Space Jam Soundtrack". ClizBeats. 31 July 2015. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  24. ^ Mokoena, Tshepo (16 April 2015). "Wiz Khalifa breaks record for most Spotify streams in 24 hours". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  25. ^ Barker, Andrew (13 March 2015). "SXSW Film Review: '808'". Variety. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  26. ^ "Atlantic's Craig Kallman talks on Big Beat, electronic dance music". Los Angeles Times. 6 June 2012. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  27. ^ Atkinson, Claire (18 October 2015). "Hamilton soundtrack is actually rivaling rap albums". The New York Post. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  28. ^ Goldstein, Jessica. "Man, The Man Is Non-Stop: How Hamilton Made Billboard History" Archived 2015-10-10 at the Wayback Machine, ThinkProgress, October 8, 2015
  29. ^ Estevez, Marjua (18 November 2015). "Hamilton Broadway Album Tops Billboard Rap Chart". Vibe. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  30. ^ Oseary, Guy (2004). On the Record: Over 150 of the Most Talented People in Music Share the Secrets of Their Success. Penguin Books. p. 353. ISBN 978-0142003046.
  31. ^ a b "40 Under 40, Craig Kallman, 32". Crain's New York. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  32. ^ Christman, Ed (27 January 2012). "Billboard Power 100: Julie Greenwald & Craig Kallman". Billboard. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
  33. ^ "UJA-Federation Honors Ulie Greenwald & Craig Kallman of Atlantic Records Group as Music Visionaries of the Year". UJA Federation official website. Archived from the original on 24 December 2015. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
This page was last edited on 23 October 2020, at 22:04
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