Phil Quartararo

A Great Colleague

Phil Quartararo, or Phil “Q” as many called him, passed away on November 22, 2023. For anyone that knew Phil or had the pleasure of working with him, it was a gift. He paved the way for many artists, brokered legendary deals within the music industry and created new opportunities for partners with ease. Phil was Les’ friend and colleague. They shared a special bond like Phil did with the Executive Director of the Les Paul Foundation, Michael Braunstein.

Never did you hear anything but positive thoughts when his name came up. He was an integral part of the Foundation, steering the team to innovative new projects and also speaking with knowledge and great emotion when someone asked him about Les. His voice was indelible, a unique and confident sound that allowed us all to listen and learn whenever we were together.

His absence and death left a huge void and he will never be forgotten. His admiration for Les Paul, diligence in helping the Les Paul Foundation, and graciousness in passing on his knowledge will always be one of the highlights of our work together. Rest in Peace friend, we will forever miss you.

A Music Business Legend

Philip Michael Quartararo, a towering figure in the music industry, passed away on November 22, 2023, at the age of 67. Born on January 7, 1956, in Brooklyn, New York, Quartararo’s career in the music industry spanned five decades, during which he made significant contributions to the success of numerous artists and record labels.

Quartararo began his career in the record industry as a local radio promotion manager for A&M Records from 1977 to 1981. He then moved on to become a regional promotion manager for RCA Records from 1981 to 1983[5][7]. His executive breakthrough came when he was hired as Senior VP of Promotion and Marketing for Island Records from 1982 to 1986, where he was instrumental in breaking U2 in America.

In 1986, Quartararo was recruited by Richard Branson as part of the team to launch Virgin Records America. He became President and CEO of Virgin Records America in 1992, where he was influential in the recording careers of Smashing Pumpkins, Lenny Kravitz, Paula Abdul, Rolling Stones, Janet Jackson, and Ben Harper. He is credited with the marketing blitz that launched the Spice Girls in the U.S.

In 1997, Quartararo was recruited as President of Warner Bros. Records, which at the time was ranked #1 out of the world’s largest record companies. At Warner, he worked with artists including Linkin Park, Josh Groban, Madonna, Stevie Nicks, Cher, Wilco, Eric Clapton, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Faith Hill, Goo Goo Dolls, and Green Day.

In 2002, Quartararo was hired to become Executive Vice President of EMI Music and President of EMI Marketing. He reorganized EMI, shifting its focus from sales and distribution to marketing. At EMI, Quartararo launched the recordings of some of today’s biggest stars, including Coldplay and Blake Shelton, while also marketing the catalogs of Frank Sinatra and The Beatles.

Quartararo was named Music Executive of the Year by Billboard in 2001 and received the NARAS Governors Award. He was also recognized for his philanthropy, receiving the prestigious City of Hope’s “Spirit of Life” award.

In his later career, Quartararo consulted for Shazam, was president of Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation Records, and served on the boards of several organizations[6]. He was also the President and Chairman at The Hello Group at the time of his death.

Quartararo was known as a defender of artist rights and was regarded as one of the most promotion-minded executives in the music business. He was also known for his warm personality and firm handshake, and he was remembered as the “Mayor of Goodwill” in the music industry.

Philip Michael Quartararo’s legacy in the music industry is marked by his passion for music, his commitment to artists, and his innovative approach to marketing and promotion. His contributions to the music industry will continue to resonate for generations to come.