In late 2017, Warner/Chappell ended Sony/ATV's five-year reign as the No. 1 music publisher when it finished the third quarter with a winning 23 percent share of the top 100 radio songs. And it begins 2018 claiming the top three most-nominated songwriter-artists in the 60th annual Grammy Awards derby: JAY-Z, Kendrick Lamar and Bruno Mars, with Julia Michaels up for best new artist. Since becoming Warner/Chappell's global CEO two years ago, Platt, a former DJ, also has focused on restructuring and building a keen-eared global executive team including A&R co-heads Katie Vinten and Ryan Press, Warner/Chappell Nashville president Ben Vaughn and U.K. managing director Mike Smith.
What was the biggest reason for Warner/Chappell's banner year?
Our core strength: serving songwriters first. We don't focus on being No. 1. If galvanizing around our writers aligns with us being No. 1 at times, so be it.
Where does streaming fit in the equation of the company's success?
I don't see streaming as the biggest story, because songwriters aren't being compensated fairly yet. At the same time, I have to acknowledge that streaming has been a huge benefit for our industry overall. It also brought to the forefront something that some of us have known for a while: Black music still matters — and it has gone global. But it's not just R&B/hip-hop. It's indie bands; country music being one of the biggest genres on Amazon Prime. As the business becomes global, streaming is breaking down barriers that the industry had created. It's real data telling us that listeners don't care about drawing genre lines.
What other pluses has hip-hop's popularity reaped?
Hip-hop songwriters being respected. JAY-Z's induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame is going to open the door for so many others to come behind him.
How has your experience as a DJ aided your career in music publishing?
The fact that I lived the hip-hop culture didn't mean I wasn't a fan of other music. I grew up in Denver, where I was exposed to music from all genres. I still respect so many other cultures and genres. That's how I'm able to relate so well with songwriters and executives from around the world. Just because others pigeonholed me, I never bought into it.
What excites you most about music now?
I'm hearing music that artists are making from the heart, drawing off real-life experiences. Artists that won't compromise and aren't being compromised.