Above, David Joseph (Chairman & CEO, UMG UK) and Lucian Grainge (Chairman & CEO, Universal Music Group)
The enormity of Universal Music Group, with EMI now completely folded into its operation, was on full display Saturday at a midday showcase of 10 of the label's acts. It was spelled out, literally, on giant screens lining the Lure nightclub just south of Amoeba Records on Ivar Avenue; the 10 acts record for eight different labels, and another four sub-imprints to boot.
It was seen in the audience of about 250 people as well. Nearly every label head was on hand -- Republic's Monte Lipman, UMG East Coast Label Group's Barry Weiss, UM Nashville's Mike Dungan, Capitol's Steve Barnett, Seven Four's Tom Whalley, Island's David Massey, Cash Money's Slim Williams, Blue Note's Don Was, Verve's Ron Goldstein, Lava's Jason Flom, Big Machine's Scott Borchetta -- plus UMGD's Jim Urie and UMG UK's David Joseph.
Florence Welch and Ellie Goulding (Jordan Strauss/Invision for Billboard Magazine/AP Images)
The list of attendees from outside the Universal family was quite short. A group of music supervisors -- Alex Patsavas, PJ Bloom, Alicen Schneider and Julia Michels among them -- filled one table, and Katy Perry, who arrived just in time to catch Emeli Sandé, was seated with managers Bradford Cobb and Martin Kirkup of Direct Management. Irving Azoff was on hand to support his new client, Cassadee Pope.
UMG Chairman Lucian Grainge -- who topped Billboard recent Power 100 list -- welcomed the crowd with a short speech. "Today is all totally, completely about one thing, music," Grainge said from his table near the stage, a subtle move that some attendees saw as a reinforcement of that idea. The opportunity, Grange said, was to showcase Universal's relationship with the musicians and "the relationship they want with you."
L-R: Lucian Grainge (Chairman & CEO, Universal Music Group), manager Irving Azoff, Steve Barnett (Chairman & CEO, Capitol Music Group) (Jordan Strauss/Invision for Billboard Magazine/AP Images)
Each act performed two songs, and most thanked the executives in the room. "It's all about the music -- that's why we're here," noted Imagine Dragons lead singer Dan Reynolds.
"The Voice" winner/Republic Nashville artist Cassadee Pope offered a new song, "Who Are You"; Sandé explained how "My Kind of Love" sprang from her work in hospitals while she was studying to become a doctor; and Motown's Chrisette Michele played a new song, accompanying herself on acoustic bass guitar, a first for her.
Cassadee Pope performs (Jordan Strauss/Invision for Billboard Magazine/AP Images)
Little Big Town provided one of the showcase's highlights, a heartfelt rendition of "On Your Side of the Bed." Rapper Trinidad James offered his new single "Females Welcome" while Florence and the Machine and OneRepublic stuck with their already popular material. Ellie Goulding and Churchill also performed.