Alvaro Galbete-Velilla joins in the newly created role of Senior Vice President, New Business focused on Web3 and Metaverse

Kristen Bender elevated to Senior Vice President, Digital Innovation Strategy & Business Development, to expand engagement with accelerators, startups and early-stage companies

 Universal Music Group (UMG), the world leader in music-based entertainment, today announced the company’s Digital Strategy team has created new roles to further promote innovative new partnerships and initiatives in the Web3 and metaverse space, as well as with accelerators, startups and early stage companies.

Alvaro Galbete-Velilla, an entertainment executive with two decades of experience at the intersection of music and technology, has been appointed effective immediately to Senior Vice President, New Business, where he will work closely with UMG departments and key collaborators to develop important opportunities in Web3 and Metaverse sectors, as well as other emerging areas of digital business development.

Kristen Bender, who plays a key role in implementing digital business partnerships with UMG operating units and directing the UMG’s engagement with entrepreneurs globally, has been elevated to Senior Vice President of Digital Innovation Strategy & Business Development. Both Galbete-Velilla and Bender are based in Santa Monica and report to Michael Nash, Executive Vice President, Chief Digital Officer.

In making the announcement, Nash said, “We believe our leadership in innovation is a key factor placing us at the forefront of the music industry’s transformation, so we’re excited to have Alvaro and Kristen fulfill these key roles. Here at UMG, we are building a team more focused than ever on harnessing digital disruption to deliver new opportunities for our artists and labels, while influencing the formation of the next generation of music services.”

Galbete-Velilla said, “Thanks to the acceleration of technology development, a new generation of artists and fans are creating and discovering music in ways where the spatial and social dimensions play a much more critical role than before. These new platforms, immersive experiences, models, and creator economies represent the next frontier for music and I’m incredibly excited to join one of the industry’s most talented teams to build on Universal Music Group’s mission in artistry and innovation.”

Bender said, “Most of the music industry’s biggest partners today started out as an idea propelled by a lot of passion. I’m thrilled to take on this new role to help guide the next generation of entrepreneurs and startups at the intersection of music and technology, and I look forward to nurturing the development of groundbreaking creative and commercial opportunities of the future for our artists, labels and music fans around the world.”

Galbete-Velilla has occupied leadership positions in the music and tech space for more than 20 years and joins UMG from Soundcloud, where he served as Director of Business Development, overseeing numerous partner relationships, deals and product integrations. Earlier, Galbete-Velilla co-founded Pulselocker, a pioneering DJ-oriented streaming platform, and as CEO and CPO signed groundbreaking licensing deals with major and independent labels. His broad background also includes roles at Om Entertainment Group and Pacha Group. And earlier in his career, Galbete-Velilla founded several independent record labels.

Bender has been working in music and technology focusing on creative and commercial digital initiatives since 2003. She joined UMG’s Digital Strategy team in 2019 as Senior Vice President of Business Development & Strategy, where she has been responsible for maximizing partnership opportunities in the social media space and leading digital business implementation with UMG’s label groups. Prior to that role, Bender served as the head of Digital Marketing for UMe, UMG’s global catalog division. Before joining UMG, she held a leadership position at Sonos, Inc. as the Senior Product Manager of Music, overseeing strategic product partnerships with music and content services spanning the globe. She began her career at Warner Music Group with the digital sales team and was tapped to establish the global digital sales and marketing team at Alternative Distribution Alliance in 2004.

About Universal Music Group
At Universal Music Group, we exist to shape culture through the power of artistry. UMG is the world leader in music-based entertainment, with a broad array of businesses engaged in recorded music, music publishing, merchandising and audiovisual content. Featuring the most comprehensive catalogue of recordings and songs across every musical genre, UMG identifies and develops artists and produces and distributes the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful music in the world. Committed to artistry, innovation and entrepreneurship, UMG fosters the development of services, platforms and business models in order to broaden artistic and commercial opportunities for our artists and create new experiences for fans.