Back in early 2016, Marty Bandier was a CEO without a contract, steering a company over which equal stakeholders Sony Corp and the Michael Jackson estate were vying for control. But with a contract extension and the ownership question resolved, the lifelong New Yorker again oversees the industry's largest portfolio of music publishing assets at Sony/ATV, which serves as an administrator for the Sony-co-owned EMI Music Publishing (combined revenue: about $1.2 billion). He also is at the forefront of every publishing effort to get better digital rates for songwriters.
In 2016, Sony bought out the Jackson estate to gain 100 percent ownership of Sony/ATV, paying about $750 million in a deal that valued the company at an estimated $2.2 billion to $2.4 billion. "For the first time, we are free to operate under the simplified structure with one owner," says Bandier, who received what sources say was a three-year extension. "It also sent the message that Sony has terrific confidence in Sony/ATV."
The flourishing streaming model and advances within Sony/ATV, like a forthcoming royalty portal with "transparency for our writers," have Bandier excited, as do peers with a healthy sense of competition: Jody Gerson (No. 17) and Jon Platt (No. 28), who respectively head Universal Music Publishing Group and Warner/Chappell Music. Both previously worked for him. "I am proud of them," says Bandier, "and I enjoy competing against them." While Sony doesn't break out Sony/ATV revenue, Sony Corp.'s music publishing operations produced about $290 million in the first half of its 2016 fiscal year.
"It's the first time in a decade that we have been in a growth business," says Bandier, "and the first year where our digital income from streaming services passed revenue from physical and digital downloads." While some executives his age might consider retirement, Bandier says he's sticking around. "I am a song junkie and, at the end of the day, I am in the right business."
How Trump Will Affect the Industry: "The number of acts that turned down playing the inauguration concerned me. With Trump -- who I feel is a great music fan -- we might be losing an opportunity to befriend someone who would help in our push for legislation. You can be sure the tech companies are putting the politics to the side."
“I have been working with Marty since the beginning of my career, and he is a beloved member of my music family. He surrounds himself with wonderful people who empower me to be myself in an industry where that can prove challenging. They have spent the last 10 years helping me pursue my most authentic dream as an artist — and he always buys my steak at dinner.” -- Sara Bareilles on Martin Bandier