At least two attorneys with Alabama ties have been included in Billboard’s roster of the, a list of people who’ve helped the industry navigate the unprecedented turmoil created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
For Mobilian Gabe Fleet, the recognition was especially fast: It comes just four months after music industry giant iHeartMedia picked him for a top position. Also included in the list is Robert Windom, a graduate of St. Paul’s Episcopal School in Mobile who is Apple’s chief counsel for content and services.
“Over the past tumultuous year, the leading music attorneys chosen for the— nominated by their firms and peers and chosen by our editors — have played an essential role,” said Billboard. Fast-paced developments included huge deals for the rights to top artists’ back catalogs; the challenge of navigating COVID-related relief programs; and the need to respond to calls for racial and social justice.
iHeartMediathat Fleet would become its new executive vice president of business affairs and chief music licensing counsel. He started the job in January. Billboard singled him out for his work in the fast-developing world of streaming.
“Fleet, 40, helped iHeartRadio transition from in-person events, such as its annual music festival, to virtual programming and TV/streaming specials like ‘SeeHer, Hear Her’ for International Women’s Day and ‘Living Black!’ for Black History Month,” said Billboard. “He also guided iHeartMedia’s investment in podcasts and expects streaming events to survive past 2020,” it said.
“The most successful artists and companies,” Fleet told Billboard, “will be the ones who understand that things will never be the same as they were before.”
He went on to say 2020 restrictions proved that cross-country flights for business meetings aren’t as necessary as people thought. But they year’s difficulties also highlighted the value of learning “a little more about each other as people,” he said.
Billboard didn’t quote Windom, saying that “Apple has chosen not to participate in Billboard executive list features.”) It did, however, portray him as part of a proactive team at the highly influential company.
“Label and publishing colleagues contacted by Billboard endorsed the work in the past year of Windom, [Adam] Blankenheimer, [Elizabeth] Miles and the London-based [Brahim] Ait Ben Larbi,” Billboard wrote. “As the pandemic set in last spring, Windom reported that he and his team worked across divisions at Apple to create a $50 million advance royalty fund to help independent labels weather the COVID-19 crisis.”
The full Billboard list, including other executives’ outlook on the legacy of the pandemic, can be found at.