Craig Kallman carries on the entrepreneurial tradition that has driven Atlantic Records since its founding by Ahmet Ertegun nearly seven decades ago. Craig joined the company in 1991, when the company acquired his independent Big Beat Records label. Advancing through the executive ranks, he began to oversee Atlantic’s entire A&R operation. In 2005, the New York native was named Chairman/CEO of the Atlantic Records Group. As one of the rare major label chief executives today with hands-on record-producing experience, Craig is Atlantic’s musical director and creative collaborator with the label’s rich diversity of high-profile artists.
A passionate music fan, obsessive record collector (with an archive now numbering 750,000 vinyl albums and counting), and avid audiophile, Craig began his music industry career while still in high school. He started out by DJ-ing at the Cat Club in New York, while working in Columbia Records' dance department. At Brown University, he was the CBS Records college representative, programmed urban and rock specialty shows on WBRU-FM, and ran a legendary series of campus dance parties. After graduating in 1987, Craig worked for Factory Records and Billboard magazine, while DJ-ing at such legendary nightspots as Danceteria, Area, The Palladium, and The Tunnel – spinning boundary-crossing sets drawn from his vast collection. Fresh out of college, he started the Big Beat label in his bedroom, selling dance records on the street from a shopping cart. Just four years later, Craig's success drew the attention of Atlantic Records and he became part of the WMG family.