midem logo

Power Players

Clive Davis

Chief Creative Officer, Sony Music;
Chief Adviser to the Department, Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at New York University
Twitter: @clivedavis
The Chairman...

There's no argument that Clive Davis is on the Mount Rushmore of the music business. The man who signed and broke everyone from Janis and Whitney to Aerosmith and Jennifer Hudson is a legend with more fans than many of the artists he still works to break. And indeed, that's what puts Davis in a place of distinct honor in this issue. Not only is he an icon in stature and accomplishment, but the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is still the ultimate gatekeeper to a lot of what you, dear reader, long for. His stately office in the Sony building isn't a relic--recent visitors to the Sony chief creative officer's quarters include Spotify founder Daniel Ek (see No. 29) and Vevo chief Rio Caraeff (No. 26). Antonio "L.A." Reid (No. 37) has asked him to help produce and develop last season's "X Factor" winner Melanie Amaro. He's also signed on for new albums from Hudson and Leona Lewis. And lest anyone forget, Davis is still the man with the plan for the ultimate power play: an invite to the Recording Academy Gala. Still known as "the Clive Party," there's no more coveted place to be on the Saturday night before the Grammy Awards. Stepping into this room is like Alice falling into a wonderland of power, talent and fame; Paul McCartney says hello on the way to the men's room, and there's a line at the bar because MC Hammer and Slash are debating the finer points of merchandising. Artists including Alicia Keys and Kings of Leon have seen their careers receive substantial bumps from playing this hallowed stage. And whether any executive admits it or not, receiving Davis' invitation in the mail is arguably the only validation one needs. It means you're still A-game, if only for another year.

Order the special edition Billboard Power 100 issue
, printed on glossy stock with lavish original photography (available now).

What do you think of the 2012 Billboard Power 100? Sound off in the comments area of the Letter From the Editor page, where the criteria is explained.