Billboard Names Secretly Publishing A&R Melanie McClain to Inaugural List of Change Agents

This week, Secretly Publishing celebrates the recognition of Melanie McClain, A&R, as one of Billboard’s Change Agents: Leaders Stepping Up In a Year of Turmoil. When McClain joined Secretly Publishing in 2019, she became Secretly Group‘s first A&R manager solely dedicated to music publishing. Through her mission to diversify Secretly Publishing’s roster with left-of-center voices from across the Black diaspora, she contributed to a historic 60% revenue growth and 50% repertoire increase that the company just experienced in 2020, signing new deals with visionary artists and writers like Corbin Canvas, Darryl Rahn, Heno., Kenneth Whalum, mwami, NNAMDÏ and more. 

Melanie McClain brings a breadth of curation, marketing and music discovery experience to Secretly Publishing, which she cultivated as YouTube Music’s lead US hip-hop and African music programmer and previous positions held at Pitchfork, Budweiser, Solange’s Saint Heron and more. Alongside her trailblazing work at Secretly Publishing, Melanie McClain spent 2020 leading an online community called Blurred Lines. Created by McClain via the social networking platform Clubhouse, Blurred Lines offers an outlet for independent and genre-blurring Black musicians to meet and learn about publishing, distribution, digital marketing, brand partnerships and blockchain from industry experts around the world. 

On her inclusion in Billboard’s Change Agents list and her plans for continued progress in 2021, Melanie McClain says: 

“Thank you Billboard for honoring me as an agent of change. I am grateful to be recognized alongside my peers for the work I’m doing within the publishing world at Secretly and beyond the indie music company. It is really important that everyone makes it our lifestyle to execute actions that break social norms, amplify existing platforms, and invest in the Black community internationally and throughout the African diaspora.”

Over the past year, Secretly Publishing has also signed new deals with Beirut, Brad Cook, Dehd, Esther Rose, Grizzly Bear, Jay Som, Molchat Doma and The War on Drugs, among many others. Their sync team secured placements in advertising campaigns for brands including Dos Equis, Procter & Gamble, Sephora, Visa and Volvo, plus syncs for several film trailers, including Netflix’s Rebecca and The White Tiger. Music by Secretly artists appeared in dozens of films and television shows, such as Netflix’s Malcolm & Marie, HBO’s EuphoriaInsecure and Lovecraft CountryNCIS: Los Angeles and Hulu’s High Fidelity. Recent music supervision work includes the Netflix film All The Bright Places, FX series A Teacher, USA series Dare Me, feature film The Last Shift, and the Sundance award-winning documentary feature Feels Good Man.

About Melanie McClain

From leading the hip-hop and African music programming at YouTube Music, to signing world-building and genre-pushing musicians from around the diaspora at Secretly Publishing, Melanie McClain’s work has focused on analyzing trends, developing marketing strategies and discovering the next cultural vanguards. With experience in content creation and curation, brand partnerships and marketing campaigns, she excels at connecting authentically with millennial and Gen Z gatekeepers, and discovering artists that have become Billboard Hot 100 fixtures, multi-platinum hitmakers and Grammy nominees. Prior to her current role as Publishing A&R, she managed talent, programmed over 100 playlists at YouTube Music, published content for Pitchfork, Saint Heron, Complex, and Consequence of Sound, and was an early champion for then unsigned artists like Megan Thee Stallion, DaBaby, G-Eazy, Lizzo, Juice WRLD, Brockhampton, Gunna, Lil Tecca, GoldLink, Petite Noir and Yella Beezy.

About Secretly Publishing

Secretly Publishing prioritizes transparency and remains tireless in their work to cultivate the careers of burgeoning songwriters, canonize catalogs that merit a permanent place in history, and maximize the value of music creators through fair and dynamic dealmaking. Secretly Publishing represents over 20,000 musical works, ranging from songs by contemporary independent artists such as Kishi Bashi, Ric Wilson, Frankie Cosmos, Bayonne, Durand Jones and the Indications, Jason Molina, Lonnie Holley, Whitney, Japanese Breakfast and Beach Fossils, to a catalog of long undiscovered soul and funk hits of the 1960s and 1970s, many of which have found new life through sampling in Top 40 hits of today. Secretly Publishing represents writer shares on songs performed by Kanye West, Common, Pusha T, Lizzo, Maggie Rogers, Snoop Dogg, Jay Z, Phantogram and more.


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