Variety Staffs Up for Music Industry Coverage

PMC publication poaches Billboard duo of Shirley Halperin and Jem Aswad

There has been a flurry of staff changes in the past few weeks at Variety. Senior film writer James Rainey announced he was moving on to a position in with NBC News Digital in Los Angeles starting March 27. Joe Bel Bruno was tipped as incoming managing editor, beginning April 10. And now comes word of a double-barreled shot fired by Variety across the bow of Billboard/THR.

In a bid to expand the PMC publication’s coverage of the music business, Shirley Halperin (pictured) and Jem Aswad have been recruited. Halperin, who grew up in New Jersey, will hold the title of executive editor, music. From today’s  announcement:

Halperin, who served as news director at Billboard and music editor at THR, will be joined by her associate Jem Aswad, who is being named senior music editor. The two have worked hand-in-hand at Billboard for the past three years. Halperin will work out of Variety’s Los Angeles offices, while Aswad will continue to be based in New York. Aswad will report directly to Halperin.

“As music has become more ubiquitous than ever, and is continually opening up new opportunities for business and partnerships, a sector ripe for reporting has emerged. We look forward to tackling the music industry from every angle at Variety,” said Halperin, who will report to Variety co-editor-in-chief Claudia Eller.

At press time, the Variety Music vertical sits under “Other” on the main navigation bar. And quite frankly, many readers are probably unaware that the section exists. Halperin and Aswad will both officially join Variety April 17.