Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

A Belated McCain Victory: A Promotion for the Maverick’s Daughter

This won’t erase the sting of this month’s election, but at this point, every win must feel nice: John McCain’s eldest daughter Sid just got a promotion at EMI Music Group, the big label where she’s worked for many years. She’s now VP of Label Services, which, best as I can tell, means she’ll work with the indie bands that work with EMI’s Caroline arm.

But you don’t care about that. You’d like to know about the relationship between the former presidential candidate and his 42-year-old daughter from his first marriage, who works in rock and roll. OK. We can oblige. Neither EMI nor the McCain campaign spent much time talking about the link during the campaign, for what I imagine are sensible reasons. But it wasn’t a secret, either.

A quick Google search, for instance, will get you write-ups in the New Yorker (circa 2000) and the New York Times (2007):

New Yorker:

In recent weeks, while John McCain has been defending himself against accusations of ill temper, Sid, who is a senior publicity director at Capitol Records, has been overseeing the winter press campaign for the rock band Megadeth. ‘If I ever have to have Secret Service,’ she said the other day, they’d better be ready for a lot of late nights.’… ‘We’ve all experienced his “quick” temper,’ she continued. ‘He’ll snap at you, but it never lasts more than a minute. And he’s much better than he used to be. Now he softens it with humor. When I was a kid, it would be “Damn it, if I have to tell you to sweep that driveway one more time!”’… John McCain recently got a taste of his daughter’s professional life when she escorted him to the MTV Video Music Awards…. The Senator returned for an interview at the music network the other day. He avoided the boxers-or-briefs issue, but he did say he would consider inviting Nine Inch Nails to his inaugural.”


His relationship with Sidney…is perhaps the most politically interesting. Sidney, a registered Democrat until recently, has worked in the music business for years, and was the child who challenged Mr. McCain’s authority the most. She continues to debate him on a wide variety of issues.

‘Sidney is a character,’ [former McCain staffer Grants Woods] said. ‘I think she stretched him a lot. When I was hanging around John, his favorite movie was “Gigi.” Sidney has been very involved in the entertainment industry and taken him to the award shows even though her interests have been quite divergent from his. He is very close to her as well.’

By many accounts, Mr. McCain’s daughters were the most resistant to his authority. ‘I was the boundary pusher,’ Sidney said. ‘In high school I was very rebellious. I needed to look at all sides. At least he would hear me out.'”

Here’s the promotion email from EMI, which doesn’t happen to mention Sid’s father:

Sid McCain has been appointed as Vice President, Label Services, North America, EMI Music, part of EMI’s Music Services unit. In this role, Sid will report to Dominic Pandiscia, GM, Label Services. She will draw upon her significant music industry experience and relationships to work with the labels within Caroline and a growing roster of EMI’s distributed independent labels. She will also drive our effort to offer EMI’s unique one-stop global capabilities for distribution, marketing, promotion and digital resources to new independent label partners and artists who want to reach a worldwide marketplace.

Most recently, Sid was a marketing consultant at EMI Music Canada, where she oversaw campaigns for EMI’s distributed labels in that territory, which included Curb, Labworks SideOne Dummy, Stereo Dynamite and Century Media. She also liaised with EMI’s territories on behalf of EMI Music Canada artists including Pride Tiger, Skye Sweetnam, Alpha Galates and Jesse Cook.

Prior to EMI, Sid held a number of senior posts at V2 Records, including as General Manager of V2 Records in Canada from 2003-2007 and as Head of Media for V2 Records in America from 1999-2003. While there, she worked closely with artists including The White Stripes, Raconteurs, Moby, Stereophonics, Ray Davies and Paul Weller. She also worked in media positions at EMI’s Capitol Records, Arista and Columbia Records.”

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