Multiple Artists Split From Sony Music, Pat Handlin Plots Next Move With Kyle Sandilands? (EXCLUSIVE)
Multiple chart-busting acts have vanished from Sony Music Australia’s roster as one of its former executives, Pat Handlin, readies to make a comeback after leaving the label, TMN can reveal.
Among the high-profile names that will no longer release new recordings with the major are hitmakers Samantha Jade, The Veronicas, Illy and LDRU, according to multiple sources. TMN understands that Illy and LDRU, who both enjoyed a string of hits during their respective stints at Sony Music, have already signed to a rival label ahead of new music releases this year.
The latest roster shake-up follows the defection of Dami Im to ABC Music in August 2020, and Jessica Mauboy to Warner Music four months later. The latter ended a 14-year association that began after the singer appeared on Season 4 of Australian Idol. When announcing her new deal with Warner Music, Mauboy said she will be “forever grateful” for her time with Sony Music.
There is also industry speculation that Jade could be among the first signings of a new pact between Sony Music’s former vice president of A&R, Pat Handlin, and radio shock jock, Kyle Sandilands. Sandilands’ reps told TMN that an announcement will be made soon.
Multiple sources also told TMN that Handlin is eagerly courting global chart-topper The Kid Laroi (pictured, above) in a bid to become the wunderkind’s fourth manager. Laroi made headlines this month when it was revealed that he had cut ties with Adam Leber, his third manager since becoming hot property. The pair worked together for less than a year.
He is currently in Australia for his first national headline tour which begins in Sydney on Thursday.
Laroi signed a development deal with Sony Music, aged 12, and worked closely with Handlin and the label’s former vice president of cultural marketing & artist development, Petrina Convey. The First Nations rapper went on to sign a global deal with Columbia Records, and in February last year became the youngest Australian solo artist to hit No. 1 on the ARIA Albums Chart.
Handlin’s exit from Sony Music was confirmed by reps from the record company last August. It followed the departure of Handlin’s father, Denis, from the same company in June 2021 after a very public investigation into Sony Music Australia’s workplace culture.
TMN is not suggesting any wrongdoing by either Pat Handlin or Denis Handlin, and the results of Sony’s investigation have not been made public.
Pictured (L-R): KIIS FM host Kyle Sandilands and Denis Handlin
Sandilands was among a very small cohort of media personalities to openly downplay some of the claims that were included in an explosive Four Corners exposé that aired on ABC TV about the ex-Sony Music Australia boss, the company’s culture, and some of its former executives.
Denis, and other ousted executives, have denied the accusations levied against them.
The program delved into the rise and fall of Denis, as well as the toxic culture within the major record label under his leadership. It included claims of bullying, harassment, intimidation and abuse, as well a story about a sexual assault survivor leaving the organisation with an $80,000 payout while the alleged perpetrator continued with the company for years.
“Oh, so the guy [Denis] was a bit of a grog monster and yelled in the ’80s… Big deal,” Sandilands said on his breakfast show after the ABC TV program aired. “[People said he was horrible], and I was like ‘Okay, what’s he done? I’m waiting? Where is it?’…. He would belittle people. So what? Big deal. Like some angry boss screamed and belittled people. Get over it.”
Sony Music is yet to hire a new CEO to lead its Australian operations.