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Power Players

No. 53
Steve Bartels

President/COO
Island Def Jam Music Group
Twitter: @IslandRecords

Taking Care of Business...

When Antonio "L.A." Reid (see No. 37) was chairman of Island Def Jam Music Group, Steve Bartels oversaw business operations while Reid headed A&R. While the departure of a hitmaker like Reid would leave a creative void at any label, he left behind a strong A&R staff that has been bolstered by the addition of Jive Records executive Peter Thea, who was appointed executive VP of Universal Republic and Island Def Jam in November. Bartels has brought strong financial discipline to the company, and oversees a label that, behind stars like Rihanna, Kanye West, Justin Bieber and others, had a 4.9% market share of album and track-equivalent album sales in 2011, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Bartels joined Universal in 2004 when he was named president of Island Records. He moved to the label with Reid from Arista Records, where he was executive VP of promotion and VP of special markets, developing a strong background in radio and retail. While few may have Reid's creative chops, those who have worked with Bartels say he maintains a good rapport with artists. "He gets the minutia, as well as understands how to build strategies," a Universal Music Group executive says. "Bartels knows how to lead the charge."

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