NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Patricia J. Baird, a well-known music business executive, media relations professional and journalist, died after a long fight with cancer on August 22 in New York. At the time of her death, she was assistant vice president, Corporate Relations for Broadcast Music Inc (BMI). She was 59.
In a career spanning more than 35 years, Baird had become one of the music industry’s well-known and respected journalists and editors, befriended by dozens of noted authors, artists, music producers and executives.
She began her career as a publicist for noted music producer Jimmy Ienner, helping to launch the careers of emerging talent such as Isaac Hayes, Donny Hathaway, Three Dog Night, Blood, Sweat & Tears and Grand Funk Railroad. In 1974 she joined industry trade publication Record World as assistant editor, where she authored an influential column devoted to music publishing and developed a broad network of contacts among executives in the publishing industry. In 1981 she became East Coast Professional manager Arista/Interworld Music Publishing Group, with responsibility for signing writers and managing the company’s New York office. Later, as head of her own media relations consultancy, she represented artists and projects associated with Atlantic Records, Elektra Records and MTV Networks. In 1984 she was hired by RCA Records where she was director of National Publicity, working with Lou Reed, Eurythmics, Diana Ross, Starship, John Denver and Hall & Oates.
She joined BMI in 1987, heading up their Media Relations department, and was promoted to assistant vice president in 1993. She built a national media relations team for BMI with staff in New York, Nashville and Los Angeles. She also served as senior editor of BMI’s MusicWorld magazine, the largest circulation magazine for music professionals in the United States. As a writer, reviewer and journalist, she made frequent contributions to music publications and was a sought-after music industry collaborator for television producers and authors, contributing to biographies of Johnny Ace, Tim and Jeff Buckley and Brian Wilson, among others. She was the awards coordinator for the Ralph J. Gleason Music Book Awards and a frequent consultant for the BBC.
Over the years, she served as media chair on the committees for major music industry charitable organizations including the Rhythm & Blues Foundation, The City of Hope, The TJ Martell Foundation, and the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation. She served as a governor of the New York chapter of the Recording Academy and was a member of the Country Music Association, Gospel Music Association, Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Television Academy.
She is survived by cousins Patricia Casey of Marlton, New Jersey, Richard Casey of Darien, Connecticut and Joanmarie McMahon of Princeton, New Jersey; a niece, Shannon Winkler of Voorhees, New Jersey, and a nephew, Blake Fadem, of Richardson, Texas. The family plans a private interment ceremony and has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations in her honor be made to the TJ Martell Foundation for Leukemia, Cancer and Aids.
A celebration in her memory for her many friends and colleagues in the industry is being planned for early fall in Manhattan. –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen