No. 5: Rob Stringer | Power 100

5

ROB STRINGER

CEO, Sony Music Entertainment

PAID $750 MILLION TO ARTISTS: “We’re much more of a threat to my competition than we were two years ago,” says Rob Stringer, 56, who is 21 months into his job atop the world’s No. 2 record company. Still in building mode, the Brit acknowledges that leadership shake-ups at Sony’s top three labels, as well as executive flux overseas, led to a 3.5 percent slip in Sony’s current market share, to 21.13 percent, in 2018. Still, he notes, “we haven’t lost profit -- it was the most successful year since 2000,” even with Columbia chairman/CEO Ron Perry just a year into his job as Stringer’s replacement, Peter Edge leading a restructured RCA on his own following Tom Corson’s jump to Warner Bros. and Sylvia Rhone managing Epic Records in the wake of longtime Epic leader Antonio “L.A.” Reid’s swift exit following a sexual harassment claim against him. Stringer prefers to lead with minimal fanfare. But he set a precedent last summer when he paid out $750 million in Spotify stock profits to Sony’s artists and the indie labels it distributes, whether or not they had recouped on their record deals, and he plans to continue sharing the earnings as Sony sells its remaining shares -- despite no obligation to do so. Stringer has also invested heavily in expanding and diversifying Sony’s 5,000-member workforce, a “daily” project he says requires “patience to get it right.” Much like his decision to expand SME’s repertoire by relaunching Arista Records as a standalone label with David Massey as its president/CEO. “My intention is to do the right thing again and again,” says Stringer. “I want to have that reputation."

Billboard Power 100 2019


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