Charles Koppelman, Former Music Exec and Martha Stewart Living Chairman, Dies at 82

Charles Koppelman, Former Music Exec and Martha Stewart Living Chairman, Dies at 82

Charles Koppelman, a former music executive chairman and Martha Stewart chief, has died. He was 82. At the time, no cause of death was given.

Brian Koppelman (showrunner), announced his father’s death on social media. He said, “I’ll write more About My Dad, Charles Koppelman” when he can. The only thing that matters is my love for him. He taught me so much about everything that is important.”

The Billions cocreator said, “He lived the life he wanted. He spent his final days surrounded by the people he loved most. Pop, we are so grateful.”

Koppelman began his career in entertainment as a member of musical trio The Ivy Three, which had a Top 10 hit in 1960 called “Yogi.” Shortly after, the singer and his bandmate, Don Rubin, joined Aldon Music’s songwriting staff alongside Carole King, Neil Sedaka, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil.

Koppelman and Rubin Associates was formed by the two business partners. The entertainment company signed The Lovin Spoonful in the same year it opened. When Commonwealth United purchased the company in 1968, the two business partners stayed on to run it, before Koppelman moved on to CBS Records where he held multiple positions. Koppelman signed artists like Journey, Janis Ian and Billy Joel while at Commonwealth United.

In 1975, he was ready for another change, creating The Entertainment Company with Martin Bandier and Bandier’s father-in-law, New York real estate developer Samuel LeFrak. They managed and promoted song catalogues and produced icons like Cher, Dolly Parton and Diana Ross. His son Brian, who was a student at the time, met Tracy Chapman in college. He introduced her to her father, who gave her a record contract.

Koppelman, Bandier and Stephen C. Swid took things to the next level in 1986 when they formed SBK Entertainment World, Inc., and bought 250,000 songs owned by CBS for $125 million. The company became one of the largest independent music publishers and played a major part in the careers of Robbie Robertson, Michael Bolton, Grayson Hugh and Icehouse.

In 1989, Koppelman and Bandier create a partnership with EMI Music Worldwide and begin their own label, SBK Records. They were able to land their first platinum album with Technotronic’s Pump up the Jam a year later. They signed talent like Wilson Phillips, Vanilla Ice, Jesus Jones, and Wilson Phillips.

Koppelman remained in music for a while before becoming chairman of Steve Madden leading the company’s founder, who was in prison for securities fraud. In 2005, Koppelman was appointed chairman of Marth Stewart Living Omnimedia.

His son Brian, Jenny Koppelman Hutt, and Gerri Kyhill Koppelman, are his survivors.

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