Holly Lane, a multi-faceted music executive and entrepreneur who served in high-level positions at several different independent record labels, died suddenly in New York City on June 26, her sister Jeanine Owen has confirmed to Billboard. She was 59.
Over the course of a career that spanned more than three decades, Lane worked at companies including Joan Jett’s Blackheart Records/Carianne Music, where she served as senior vp and GM for nearly five years. Her other notable roles included founding partner, vp and GM of the MCA-distributed Mechanic Records — which released albums by metal bands including Dream Theater, Trixter and Voivod — as well as GM at Next Plateau Entertainment, label home to Salt-N-Pepa, 4PM and Kool DJ Red Alert, among others.
Born on Dec. 26, 1960, Lane launched her music business career at age 15, when she designed a T-shirt line that led to work designing concert tickets, posters, wall murals and merchandise for local artists and promoters in her hometown of Washington, D.C. and, later, Orlando, Florida.
After moving to New York City in the early 1980s, Lane secured a job as New York label manager at the independent music distributor Greenworld Distribution, where she worked with bands including Stryper, Great White and Poison. This led to a job with the Netherlands-based label Roadrunner Records, which tasked her with launching Roadrunner’s U.S. operations. During her tenure, she signed a distribution deal with Important Records and launched three separate imprints: the metal-focused Roadracer, alternative music-focused Emergo and hardcore-focused Hawker.
Lane’s early success with Roadrunner led her to co-found Mechanic Records, which left its label home at MCA in 1992 and was subsequently distributed by RCA/BMG and, later, Warner Bros./Reprise. In January 1994, she departed Mechanic to serve as president at Italian dance music distributor Flying Records, a job she held for nearly four years. She later founded the music consultancy firm Fast Lane Management, served as agent and in-house producer at video production and new media company Aesthetcom and developed the Latin imprint Andale at Tuff City Records, where she worked as GM.
In the last decade of her career, Lane worked as a consultant for a variety of different entertainment companies and musical acts and served as a production executive on a long list of film and TV projects.
Lane is remembered for her dexterity in moving between different musical genres, her networking skills, her advocacy for artists’ rights and her sense of humor. The latter of these was highlighted by her satirical music interview series, “Why…?”, which ran in the U.K. music magazine Dazed and Confused in the mid 1990s.
Lane was preceded in death by her parents and her sister Lorraine. She is survived by her sister Jeanine Owen, a brother, nieces, grand-nieces, her beloved cats Porter and Esme and many devoted friends.
Memorial services will be announced at a later date.