What did you wake up thinking about this morning? Very much family stuff. When I am not traveling, I take care of our three kids in the morning. It's a routine to take them to school. After that, I met our CFO for coffee at a cafe and we thought about what our next moves might be, and we plotted for the integration of Sanctuary. It's the perfect catalog for us to expand our master rights activity.

Describe a lesson you learned from a failure. I can't identify one failure; there were many failures. But if you don't fail, you can't eventually succeed. If there is a failure recently I can name, we didn't get to buy EMI Music Publishing. We thought it was in reach, but we couldn't get it because of the price. We didn't get the deal wrong, but maybe our expectations were wrong. But you have to accept failures; it is part of an entrepreneur's attitude. I am relaxed about failures with our employees. But the failure shouldn't be too big and you shouldn't deal with the same failure from the same person four or five times in a row. There has to be some learning involved.

What will define your career in the coming year? Meeting the expectations we generate with our clients, shareholders and employees. We got a lot of trust from them and we have to show they were right. Our ownership structure [a joint venture between Bertelsmann and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts] will change at some point. [Bertelsmann chairman/CEO Thomas Rabe] said publicly a few weeks ago that he wants to take 100% control of BMG Rights Management. So there are discussions going on. We have to show we can cover masters and publishing in a consistent way. We have bought a lot of assets and signed a lot of songwriters--now it is important for us to justify that trust with our shareholders. If that goes wrong, I am pretty sure I will be on a long vacation.

Who is your most important mentor, and what did you learn? Richard Griffiths, who I first met in 1982. Here is a guy who several times has started from scratch. He has been very successful as a publisher, as a president of Epic, then running BMG in Europe and now as a manager. He inspires me a lot. If you are very successful in different mutations during your career and can still keep a good reputation with artists, that is an accomplishment. He is an entrepreneurial person and he is a role model, but I wouldn't say he is my mentor. The problem with that is he is one year younger than me.

Name a project that you're not affiliated with that has most impressed you in the past 10 years. We have a [soccer] team called Borussia Dortmund and they [won] the German championship twice from nowhere. The team has amazing management, with a fantastic leader that has impressed me.

Name a desert island disc. It could be the Beatles' "Revolver," Pink Floyd's "Meddle" or MGMT's "Oracular Spectacular," which is absolutely mindblowing.