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Jeffrey Kent Ayeroff (born 1947) is an American record executive who has worked for A&M, Warner Records, Virgin U.S., Work Group, Apple, and Shangri-La Music. He founded Rock the Vote in 1990 in response to a censorship campaign against artists’ use of explicit language.[1][2]

Jeffrey Kent Ayeroff
Born (1947-01-20) January 20, 1947 (age 72)
Alma materUSC Gould School of Law (JD)
OccupationMusic executive

BiographyEdit

Jeff Ayeroff graduated from USC Gould School of Law in 1971,[citation needed] and worked as an Entertainment Attorney before joining the ranks at A&M Records as an assistant to then-President of the label, Gil Friesen, in 1974. He became A&M's Director of Product Management & Creative Services in 1977 followed by Vice President of Marketing and Creative Services in 1978.[3] At A&M, Ayeroff developed visual campaigns for The Police,[4] Peter Frampton, The Carpenters, and Supertramp, to name a few. Beginning in 1983, his duties as senior vice president of Warner Bros. Records , included overseeing marketing, advertising, creative direction and music videos for artists such as: Madonna,[2] Steve Winwood, ZZ Top, Don Henley, Prince, and Dire Straits. Ayeroff earned two Grammy Award nominations in the category of Grammy Award for Best Recording Package in 1985 and 1986 for his work with A-ha and Talking Heads.[5] His creative direction on the Stop Making Sense album cover was also included in the Museum of Modern Art exhibition, "Making Modern Music: Design For Ear and Eye."[6]

Ayeroff left Warner Records in 1987 and, along with partner Jordan Harris, opened the U.S. label offices for Virgin Records after an invitation from company owner Richard Branson. Ayeroff and Harris signed and marketed an artist roster at Virgin U.S. which included Paula Abdul,[7] Janet Jackson, Lenny Kravitz, The Smashing Pumpkins and others.[8]

During his time at Virgin Records, Ayeroff also founded the progressive-aligned political organization Rock the Vote to help increase voter turnout among voters ages 18 to 24. Through alliances with other Entertainment companies, such as MTV, Ayeroff created commercial and print campaigns with contemporary music artists to appeal to a young voter demographic.[9] The organization supported the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, commonly referred to as the "motor voter" bill, which expanded access to voter registration. It was signed into law by President Bill Clinton. The law requires state governments to offer voter registration opportunities to any eligible person who applies for or renews a driver's license or public assistance. Rock The Vote also protested against the Parents Music Resource Center who, at the time, began advocating for warning labels to be added on covers of music releases that contained profane lyrics. It was reported in 2016 that Rock The Vote had registered more than 6 million voters online.[10]

In August 1993, both Ayeroff & Harris resigned from Virgin Records after the company was sold to Thorn EMI. Industry sources said the resignations were because of a management logjam at the company and the subsequent erosion of their duties.[11] [12]

Ayeroff and Harris went on to co-found Work Group in 1995, a West Coast-based subsidiary of Sony Music,[13][14][15] where they developed the careers of Jennifer Lopez, Jamiroquai, Fiona Apple,[16] Len, Sponge, Imperial Drag, and Esthero. In July 1999, both Ayeroff and Harris departed the label six months prior to their contract expiration. Sources cited that both were unhappy with Sony after consolidation of promotion duties for all Epic Records labels under one department, in addition to Sony not allowing Ayeroff and Harris to buy a piece of the company they helped build.[17][18]

Ayeroff was hired by Apple Records in 2000, as a key consultant to oversee the marketing of 1, a career-spanning retrospective of The Beatles which has sold over 30 million copies worldwide to date.[19]

Returning to the Warner Records in 2001 as the label's chief creative director and vice chairman,[16] he oversaw the visual campaigns for Josh Groban, My Chemical Romance, Green Day, and more.[20] Ayeroff left Warner Bros. in 2004 at the conclusion of his contract.

In 2008, Ayeroff became co-CEO (along with Jon Rubin) of the boutique label imprint Shangri-La Music[21]. Ayeroff and Rubin also began ArtistsFirst, a creative and marketing consulting agency, which has launched international humanitarian activism with its music.

Selected CreditsEdit

Year Album Artist Credit
1983 Cuts Like a Knife Bryan Adams Art direction
1983 Synchronicity The Police Art direction, design
1984 Camouflage Rod Stewart Art direction
1984 Kiss the Sky Jimi Hendrix Art direction
1984 Like a Virgin Madonna Art direction
1984 Stop Making Sense Talking Heads Liner notes, writer, design, package design
1985 Done with Mirrors Aerosmith Cover art concept
1985 Hunting High and Low A-Ha Art direction
1986 Back in the High Life Steve Winwood Art direction
1986 Graceland Paul Simon Art direction
1986 Parade Prince & The Revolution Art direction
1986 True Blue Madonna Art direction
1989 Let Love Rule Lenny Kravitz Liner notes, art direction
1989 Mystery Girl Roy Orbison Art direction
2003 Closer Josh Groban Art direction
2007 Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur Various artists Executive producer
2007 Last Man Standing Jerry Lee Lewis Executive producer
2012 Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan Various artists Executive producer, art direction

[22][23]

AwardsEdit

In 2005, Ayeroff received the Kratz Award for Creative Excellence from The Music Video Producer's Association, an award which recognizes exceptional accomplishments in music video production.[24]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Jod Kaftan (June 7, 2009). "Music to My Eyes". Los Angeles Times Magazine. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Tom Waldman (2003). We All Want to Change the World: Rock and Politics from Elvis to Eminem. Taylor Trade Publishing. p. 250. ISBN 978-1-4616-2579-7.
  3. ^ Unknown (July 15, 1978). "Meyer, Ayeroff Named at A&M" (PDF). Cash Box. p. 10. Retrieved May 17, 2019.
  4. ^ Patrick Goldstein (April 8, 1979). "A&M Plots The Police Breakout". Los Angeles Times. p. N80. Jeff Ayeroff, A&M;'s vice president of creative services, let the graphics stand, but he toned down the logo and colors. 'We cleaned up the band's image,' he admitted. 'We made them look more pop and more immediate so that the record could have more of an impact without compromising their image.'
  5. ^ https://www.grammy.com/grammys/artists/jeffrey-kent-ayeroff Retrieved May 26, 2019.
  6. ^ "Making Music Modern: Design for Ear and Eye" (PDF). MOMA. November 15, 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 22, 2015. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  7. ^ Carla Hall (March 25, 1990). "Paula Abdul, Soaring Straight Up". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  8. ^ Robert Hillburn (February 10, 1987). "More Artists Venture Into Virgin Territory". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  9. ^ Jordan Runtagh (July 12, 2016). "10 Major Moments in Rock The Vote History". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  10. ^ Christine Birkner (July 31, 2016). "After 26 Years, Rock the Vote Is Still Driving Young People to the Polls". AdWeek. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  11. ^ Bruce Haring (August 10, 1993). "Two exex ankle Virgin". Variety. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  12. ^ Chuck Phillips (August 10, 1993). "Founders of Virgin Records' U.S. Unit Quit : Music: Co-Chairmen Jeff Ayeroff and Jordan Harris deny they were pressured to resign amid rumored tension with President Phil Quartararo, who is replacing them". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  13. ^ Neil Strauss (January 2, 1995). "Winds of Change Hit Music's Top Tier". The New York Times.
  14. ^ Robert Hilburn (February 4, 1987). "More Artists Venture Into Virgin Territory". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  15. ^ Chris Morris (November 16, 1994). "Ayeroff, Harris Talk About L.A. Sony Label". Billboard. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  16. ^ a b Justin Oppelaar (August 21, 2001). "Ayeroff Rewinds at WB". Variety. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  17. ^ Melinda Newman (July 3, 1999). "Work Regroups After Key Exits". Billboard. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  18. ^ Adam Sandler (June 21, 1999). "Work team may ankle Sony Music". Variety. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  19. ^ Rob Brunner (December 29, 2001). "Why the Beatles greatest hits album is topping the charts". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December 29, 2001.
  20. ^ Melinda Newman (December 18, 2004). "Ayeroff Exits". Billboard. p. 13. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  21. ^ Robert Levine (August 29, 2009). "The Billboard Q&A With Jeff Ayeroff". Billboard. p. 21. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  22. ^ "Jeff Ayeroff at All Music Guide". AllMusic. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
  23. ^ "Jeffrey Kent Ayeroff at All Music Guide". AllMusic. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
  24. ^ Steven Gottlieb (May 12, 2005). "News: MVPA Awards Tonight". VideoStatic. Retrieved May 12, 2005.

External linksEdit