Julie Swidler
Julie Swidler

Executive VP of Business Affairs/General Counsel, Sony Music Entertainment

Creative Deal Making
As Sony Music executive VP of business affairs/general counsel, Julie Swidler is tight-lipped by trade. "I'm always embarrassed when I'm asked about my year -- because of what I do, I can't really talk about it," says Swidler, a multiple Women in Music honoree. Get her on the phone to talk specifics and she'll start to float one of her accomplishments, only to back off after thinking better of it. "I'm sorry, I can't talk about that either," she'll say.

My Mentor: Not one, but three. "Ed Eckstine [former co-president of Mercury Records, during Swidler's tenure there]. "He's an amazing man. He taught me how to listen to music. I know that sounds a little strange, but when you're listening to a record that you know an artist is going to ask you about later, there's a certain way to do it. That helped a lot. Clive Davis [COO, Sony Music]. I worked for him for 10 years. He's amazing in every way, as is Charles Goldstuck, his number two. Doug Morris [CEO, Sony Music]. I learn something new from him every single day. He's really unbelievable."

What she can say is that as a key member of Doug Morris' global management team, she spent the bulk of 2012 continuing "to execute Doug Morris' vision of a more creative-centric company." As for what that means? "We did a number of hybrid deals with creatives across all of our labels and across all genres to make us more competitive in the creative sphere and bring more creative into the company." Her nomination for this list submitted by Sony Music refers to one of those deals: the creation of Kemosabe Records with Dr. Luke. The goal of such deals? "To incentivize people at the highest levels to make sure that we bring in new ideas," she says. Swidler oversees the business and legal aspects of Sony Music's operations on a global basis and advises the company on major corporate transactions, key label signings and renegotiations, strategic alliances in the digital space and new business opportunities in TV and branding. "We've done a lot to engage everyone on our team on how the business is changing and the importance of digital radio, both in supporting its growth and in protecting our assets," says Swidler, who also plays an important role in the RIAA and ILC Legal committees and oversees the company's global government relations activities. "Regardless of the changes in our business," she adds, "I have not lost my passion for the business of music."