Chairman / VP : Sire Records / Warner Bros. Records
Seymour Stein is the cofounder and chairman of Sire Records, one of the music industry’s most influential record labels and home to some of the most iconic names in modern music. Through its focus on discovering and nurturing distinctive artists and groups, Sire has been a goldmine for cutting-edge music.
In 1966, Stein and record producer Richard Gottehrer founded Sire Productions, which led to the formation of Sire Records, the label under which he signed pioneer artists such as the Ramones and Talking Heads in 1975, the Pretenders in 1980 and Madonna in 1982. Other acts signed by Sire include The Replacements (band), Depeche Mode, The Smiths, The Cure, Ice-T, The Undertones and Echo & the Bunnymen.
Such was Stein’s influence in signing and promoting the new wave genre of music that he is sometimes credited with coming up with the name as an alternative to the term punk, which he found derogative. The term had previously been used to refer to the French New Wave film movement of the 1960s.
Stein remains the President of Sire Records and is also Vice President of Warner Bros. Records with which he has had a marketing and distribution deal from 1976 to 1994 and again since April 2003. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 14, 2005, under the lifetime-achievement category. On June 9, 2016, Stein has been honored with the Richmond Hitmaker Award at the Songwriters Hall of Fame.