The more the business of Universal Music Group shifts to digital sales, the greater the impact that Marks leaves on the music business. She employs a data-driven approach to help streaming services grow and make the best of declining downloads.
Marks' job has two parts. The first is to grow the size of the pie. "In the last year we shifted to being more digital than physical revenue globally," she says. "That was a very significant transition." Digital represented 57 percent of UMG's global sales in the first half of the year.
Data helps the pie grow. Marks says UMG has "billions and billions of lines of data" that can be used to help streaming services innovate and improve." For example, she says UMG used data analysis to encourage Spotify and Deezer to improve their editorial content to offer users a better listening experience. "You need to make a concerted effort to focus on the data," she says. The second part of Marks' job is to grow UMG's slice of the overall market. Again, data is key. "We're very aware of our end-consumers' behavior," she says.
Marks earns praise from her peers. "She's been able to be very strong-willed and be respected for it," says Interscope Records sales head Gary Kelly. At Spotify, head of label relations Steve Savocca calls Marks "one of the smartest people in the music industry."