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Charles Koppelman

Business | 2016

Brooklyn-born Charles Koppelman serves as chairman and chief executive officer of C.A.K. Entertainment Inc., a leading brand development and advisory firm. He served for six years as the executive chairman and principal executive officer of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and seven years as a director of the company, but Koppelman’s previous business experience was largely in the music industry, dating back to the early 1960s. He has held key management roles at CBS Records, Columbia Records, EMI Music Publishing, and EMI Music Group North America, and he has established and led a series of independent music publishing and record production companies with various business partners. In 1975, Koppelman formed The Entertainment Company with Martin Bandier and Samuel LeFrak and cultivated musicians such as Barbra Streisand, Dolly Parton, Diana Ross, the Four Tops, and Cher. In 1984, Koppelman and Bandier purchased the Combine Music catalog of 25,000 country songs and continued to pursue new artists, including Tracy Chapman. Koppelman and Bandier took on a new partner in 1986—financier and carpet and furniture magnate, Stephen C. Swid – as part of a plan to purchase the interests of CBS Songs, Inc. The new partnership, named SBK Entertainment World, Inc., bought the 250,000 titles owned by CBS Songs for $125 million, the highest price ever paid for a music publishing catalog. SBK developed into the largest independent music publisher in the world and played a major role in the success of artists such as Michael Bolton, Robbie Robertson, New Kids on the Block, Ice House, Al B. Sure!, and Eric B. & Rakim. In 1990, Koppelman received the Abe Olman Publishers Award through the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

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