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Kathy Rivkin Daum

From buying her first 45 vinyl record at Harmony House to roller-skating at Bonaventure and skiing at Pine Knob, many of Kathy Rivkin Daum’s best childhood memories while growing up in Southfield, Bloomfield Hills and Birmingham involved music. This musical backdrop proved to be formative in her future career in Los Angeles as an award-winning documentary film producer combining her love of music and film.

“Detroit is an incredible music city – it always has been. Just like LA, Detroit is also a car town where you spend a lot of time in your car. My earliest memories as a music consumer were of driving around listening to music.” explains Rivkin Daum. “I had a great childhood.”

The Cranbrook Kingswood high school graduate relished the art and music scene in the Detroit area and credits “mind-expanding exhibitions at Cranbrook and the DIA for showing me a broader world.” She also acknowledges that her parents were a formative creative influence in her life. “My mom always had her hand on the pulse of new things.”

Rivkin Daum earned a BA in cultural anthropology at the University of Michigan and took the advice of her older brother, Billy Rivkin, and worked for WCBN-FM, the university’s radio station.

“Working at WCBN as a DJ and program director was the best training for what I’ve gone on to do as a career. It’s a freeform radio station, so I learned about all types of music as a student.”

Later, Rivkin Daum earned her MBA in marketing at Pepperdine Graziadio Business School in California.

During her Michigan college years, Rivkin Daum spent a summer in LA living with her older sister and working at the former landmark record store, Aaron’s Records. After finishing her undergraduate degree, she returned to California, and again worked for Aaron’s, but this time as the store’s indie music buyer. She credits her Midwest work ethic and integrity with helping her secure this job. “The entertainment industry is a relationship business. The story of my life is opportunity and hard work.”

In the late 1990s, Rivkin Daum became friends with an influential customer and mentor, Cameron Crowe, who hired her to read scripts and rehired her later to help create a print anthology of his rock’n’roll journalism career as a companion to his 2000 autobiographical film, “Almost Famous”.

A second important mentor to Rivkin Daum was John Beug, longtime Warner Brothers Records executive and pioneer in the music documentary and video industries, who recently died. “John was from Chicago, and we connected as Midwesterners. For over 20 years, he meant a lot to me and my career.”

Rivkin Daum has achieved remarkable success combining her love of music and film.

From 2016-2022, she worked for BMG – The New Music Company, most recently as Vice President of Films. She worked on many original music-based film and TV projects including “David Crosby: Remember My Name,” “Bad Reputation” (Joan Jett), and most recently “Moonage Daydream” – a documentary about icon David Bowie. The film had its world premiere at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival, was nominated for a BAFTA Award and became the highest grossing documentary of 2022.

Recently, Rivkin Daum capitalized on “25 years of building relationships and working on great projects,” by launching her own company, Now Unlimited, as an independent producer.

The former Michigander lives in the Hancock Park neighborhood of LA with her husband and son Billy, but still regularly visits her home state. In fact, her son (who is named after her late brother) will be attending camp in Michigan this summer.

“I’m proud to be from Michigan and the Detroit area. Being from the Midwest has been an advantage for me in LA – I’m from Detroit, I know how to get stuff done and figure things out.”

Story: Tracy Donohue


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