NEW YORK, USA // Joel Klaiman is an American music industry executive. The executive vice president and general manager of Columbia Records, Klaiman served previously in senior positions at Epic Records and Universal Republic Records.
Over the course of his career, he has worked with Adele, David Bowie, Beyoncé, John Legend, One Direction, Bruce Springsteen, Taylor Swift and Amy Winehouse, among others.
Klaiman is noted for his role in the design of promotional campaigns which resulted in the crossover success of singles by artists including Daft Punk ("Get Lucky"), Gotye ("Somebody That I Used to Know"), Legend ("All of Me"), Hozier ("Take Me to Church"), Pharrell ("Happy"), Psy ("Gangnam Style") and Swift's first crossover hit, "Love Story."
Klaiman was born in Sharon, Massachusetts. He attended Lawrence Academy and Syracuse University.
Following graduation, Klaiman moved to New York City, where he worked for Frank DiLeo Managment. His focus shifted from management to radio promotion, and in 1994 he was hired as senior director of national alternative promotion for Elektra Entertainment Group. In that position, Klaiman had considerable success with records by Bjork, The Cure, Moby, Metallica, Tracy Chapman and Ween, among others.
Transitioning from a largely alternative to a more mainstream roster, Klaiman joined Epic Records as senior vice president of promotion in 1999.
With #1 records from artists inlcuding Jennifer Lopez, Celine Dion and Shakira, among others, he was nominated as senior promotion executive of the year by industry trade Radio & Records and promoted to executive vice president of promotion in 2004. In 2005, in the aftermath of Eliot Spitzer's pay-for-play investigation, Klaiman was removed from his position. Regarded as a scapegoat, it was reported that he had "taken the fall" for the label.
Klaiman's role expanded from promotion to include artist development in 2006, when he was appointed senior vice president of promotion and artist development for Republic Records, a division of Universal Music Group.
He was promoted to executive vice president in 2009. At Republic, Klaiman worked with breakthrough artists such as Amy Winehouse, Colbie Caillat, Nicki Minaj, Florence + the Machine, Gotye, and Drake.
In 2008, Klaiman helped to forge the radio and strategic promotion partnership between Big Machine Records and Universal Republic, which resulted in Taylor Swift's crossover single “Love Story," her first "pop smash." It "lived a double life: The original version targeted a country audience with acoustic instrumentation, while the mix for mainstream pop listeners accentuated electric guitars."
As the head of artist development at the label, Klaiman assisted in establishing Swift as a mainstream artist, and was involved in the promotion of Speak Now and Red, both of which achieved sales in excess of five million. When Klaiman left Republic in late 2012, the label topped the overall Mediabase label chart share with 13.5%, scoring #1 at Top 40 and Triple A formats and #2 at Rhythm and Alternative radio.
In December 2012, Klaiman was named executive vice president and general manager of Columbia Records, overseeing the label's marketing, PR, promotion, digital, video, content production, licensing and branding .
Columbia was the #1 overall label in 2014, based in part on the success Hozier's "Take Me to Church" and the two top selling singles of the year: John Legend's "All of Me" and Pharrell's "Happy."
In October 2015, in association with XL Recordings, Columbia released Adele's 25. The lead track from the album, "Hello," was the first ever single to sell more than a million digital copies in 7 days. The album set sales records with 3.3 million units sold during its initial release week.
Klaiman was included on the Billboard list of the 100 most powerful executives in the music industry in 2015 and 2016.
He is a member of the Clio Music Jury, and is on the board of directors for the T.J. Martell Foundation, a charitable organization which funds medical research focused on finding cures for leukemia, cancer and AIDS.