Capitol Music Group
POWER MOVE: Helping steer Columbia to the No. 1 market-share spot for the third consecutive year.
THE RUNDOWN: Steve Barnett landed the most coveted job in the industry last year when he was named head of Capitol Music Group, a position that had practically every unemployed label president coming out of the woodwork hoping for a shot.
But Barnett did more in 2012 than score a new gig. He also helped guide Columbia Records to the No. 1 U.S. label market share in sales of albums plus track-equivalents for the third consecutive year. When the opportunity came along to head up Capitol, Barnett jumped at the chance to, in his words, “help bring the tower back to its former glory.” What music-loving executive wouldn’t want to revive the label that gave U.S. fans the Beatles, the Beach Boys and the Beastie Boys? (And that’s just the B’s.)
Universal Music Group insiders describe Barnett as aggressive and organized, and feel he came in with a great direction for Capitol. For his part, Barnett says the road map for the label’s resurgence was drawn up by UMG chairman/CEO Lucian Grainge (No. 1 ) and other senior management. The team he’s assembling to make it happen includes many EMI execs and staffers he calls “very talented,” but who have lacked the tools and resources to succeed -- until now.
Up next is the tough part, but also the part that’s most fun: putting out the right artists and music. Capitol Music Group includes Blue Note, Christian Music Group and Caroline, which will be reintroduced as an independent distributor. While the team already in place works on projects now in the pipeline such as Swedish House Mafia and soulful Scottish sensation Emeli Sandé, the company will be making some announcements in the coming months about the label’s roster and release schedule.
Steve Barnett photo by Ben Clark