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Patrick ‘Smiley’ Cleary Steps Down As CEO Of Neon Records

20 November 2023 | 6:08 pm | Ellie Robinson

The Universal imprint’s team remain keen to “expand and enhance the Neon legacy” as it enters its 26th year.

Neon Records

Neon Records (Supplied)

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Today is a big one for Australian EDM fans, as Neon Records’ co-founder and CEO, Patrick ‘Smiley’ Cleary, has confirmed he’s stepping down from his post.

With Carl West at his side, Cleary launched the Universal Music Group imprint in 2008. Over the following 25 years, the label dropped releases from such international megastars as Skrillex, Rudimental, Timmy Trumpet, Sgt Slick and Milky Chance.

As reported earlier today by The Music Network, news of Smiley’s exit broke in a memo shared to staff by Sean Warner, UMG’s president and CEO for the Australian and New Zealand market. It comes as Smiley shifts his focus to Peppermint Blue Publishing – another UMG subsidiary that he fronts operations for – with Warner saying UMG’s “long standing partnership with Smiley has been significant and fruitful” (as per TMN).

The memo reportedly adds: “[Smiley’s] contributions to our business, our artists and the team have been welcomed and applauded by all who have had the pleasure of working with him. I would personally like to thank him for his support, commitment, and friendship over many years.”

Smiley’s exit from Neon Records certainly won’t spell its end, though, as Warner was clear in noting that it’s “become an iconic label in ANZ thanks to [Smiley’s] vision, creativity, and passion”. From here, he says, the remaining Neon team “will take great pride in continuing to expand and enhance the Neon legacy, that we have all built together”. At the time of writing, it’s unknown who will take over Smiley’s role at the label.

In his own statement to Neon staff, Smiley wrote that over the past 12 years under UMG’s lead, he’s “been fortunate to have signed or worked with an incredibly talented list of artists. He also made sure to mention he’s “particularly proud of Neon’s domestic artist success and leave the company thrilled by what the label has achieved over this time”.

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Neon’s roster currently boasts the likes of Chloe Wilson, Duke Dumont, Hauskey, James Hype, Jordan Burns, Mashd N Kutcher, Nia Archives and Young Franco.