No. 2: Lucian Grainge | Power 100



Chairman/CEO, Universal Music Group

Last Year's Rank: 1

As chairman/CEO of Universal Music Group, Lucian Grainge sits atop an empire that controls more of the recorded-music business than any company in the modern era. In 2016, its labels -- ­including Capitol Music Group, Def Jam Recordings and Republic Records -- accounted for more than 35 ­percent of the market, four of the 10 best-selling albums and two of the most popular streaming ­artists, Drake and Rihanna. So when Grainge talks, the industry listens.

Case in point: Until late last summer, ­exclusive releases were a key strategy for Apple Music, an important source of ­revenue for superstars like Drake and a subject of industry debate about whether they helped or hindered the growth of streaming ­overall. But in August, shortly after Frank Ocean dropped both a contract-fulfilling release for Def Jam and the independent ­project Blonde as Apple exclusives, Grainge (who lives in Pacific Palisades with his wife, Caroline, and their daughter) sent a memo to his top ­executives pushing the pause button on such deals. There hasn't been a major Apple ­exclusive -- from any label -- since, and during the past year, Grainge has signed deals that will let Pandora, ­iHeartMedia and Amazon get into the on-demand streaming ­business, in an attempt to prevent one ­company from ­dominating it.

"The ­industry is in a fragile ­recovery," says Grainge of his business strategy. "I'm doing ­everything I can to improve it for the artist, for my ­company, for the industry."

For the first nine months of 2016, Universal Music Group took in $4.1 billion -- a 4.8 ­percent increase over the same period in 2015 on a constant currency basis -- and ­revenue from ­streaming grew 64.3 percent. And though the label group's U.S. market share is down from 2015, Grainge, a Brit who was knighted in 2016 for his ­accomplishments in the music business, would say Universal is not a record ­company but rather a music-focused ­entertainment company, with the second-biggest song-­publishing business, a merch division (Bravado, which ­created pop-up stores for Kanye West and Justin Bieber) and ambitions to leverage its content in Hollywood (a ­documentary on INXS singer Michael Hutchence is slated for later in 2017).

There's more to come -- new products to investigate and potential growth to exploit. "Nothing we do is ever over, " says Grainge. "And I'm never satisfied."

Greg Coulton
Justin Bieber

“Lucian has always been an honest, straight-up guy, and that’s something I really respect about him. He cares about his artists beyond the music and has built that kind of relationship with Scooter [Braun] and myself. I look forward to working with him in the years to come.” -- Justin Bieber on Lucian Grainge

2017 Power 100