One Direction, 5SOS Managers Richard Griffiths & Harry Magee to Receive 2019 Music Industry Trusts Award

Richard Griffiths and Harry Magee
Courtesy of Modest! Management

Richard Griffiths and Harry Magee

Former One Direction managers Richard Griffiths and Harry Magee, whose current roster includes Niall Horan, Little Mix, 5 Seconds of Summer and Spice Girls (in partnership with Simon Fuller's XIX Entertainment), are to receive the prestigious 2019 Music Industry Trusts Award.

Griffiths and Magee formed London-based Modest management company in 2003 and rose to global prominence with One Direction, who they represented since their formation on British TV singing contest The X Factor in 2010. Despite finishing third in the competition, the group went on to sell more than 75 million albums and broke countless chart and touring records around the world.

Although most of the band switched to different managers after embarking on an indefinite hiatus in 2016, Griffiths and Magee continue to represent Horan, who said their recognition at this year's Music Industry Trusts Award (MITS) was thoroughly deserved.

"If it wasn't for them I don't know if we all would have had half of the success we did," said Horan. "We've been all over the world together, laughed together mostly, cried together at times but most importantly had many great nights on the wine together," he went on to say, adding, "I'd do anything for these men and I can comfortably say that they would do the same for me."

Alison Moyet, who Modest also manage, paid tribute to Griffiths and Magee's unquestionable loyalty to their artists. "It is not running high days with hot acts that flags a manager as outstanding," said the singer. "It is the ability to find the heart beat when there is no discernible sign of commercial life and to platform it successfully. Modest! have given me the space and respect to be the creative I needed to be. I'm so grateful for that."

Other acts signed to Modest include Olly Murs, MNEK, classical singer Katherine Jenkins, Hey Violet, Scouting For Girls and Jamie N Commons.

Prior to forming Modest, Griffiths and Magee both enjoyed successful careers in multiple areas of the music industry. In 1974, Griffiths founded Headline Artists, becoming the first international agent for AC/DC. He subsequently worked in A&R for Island Records, signing the Buggles, whose "Video Killed The Radio Star" was the first No. 1 single in the label's history.

During the 1980s, Griffiths managed Ultravox, ran Virgin Music Publishing (where he signed Tears for Fears, Culture Club and Pet Shop Boys) and founded the U.S. division of Virgin Music. He later became president of Epic Records in New York, working with Oasis, Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine and Korn, before returning to the U.K. and joining BMG. While there, he brokered the deal with Simon Cowell which created Syco Music and Television. Leaving BMG in 2001, Griffiths set up the British arm of U.S. management company The Firm, working with Enrique Iglesias and Linkin Park.

Magee, who worked alongside Griffiths at The Firm, has also held a wide variety of senior executive roles across publishing, record labels, concert promotion and artist management. 

After forming independent label Wire Records, he joined BMG as Arista Records' head of marketing in 1989, where he oversaw the chart topping launch of Lisa Stansfield and U.K. campaigns for Arista's international roster, including Whitney Houston. Magee later became managing director of Big Life Records (working with Yazz, The Orb and Naughty By Nature, among others) and then general manager of A&M Records, where he helped steer the careers of Sting, Bryan Adams, Sheryl Crow and Soundgarden. 

Returning to BMG in 1998, Magee was appointed managing director of RCA Records, looking after a roster that included Westlife, Five, Natalie Imbruglia, Foo Fighters and Eurythmics. 

"Richard and Harry have been at the forefront of the British music industry for over forty years," said MITS Award committee chairman David Munns. "Individually and as the founders of Modest they have continually set the benchmark in management and have led countless artists to huge success." 

Griffiths and Magee, who become the first two artist managers to receive a MITS award, called it a "great honour." The award will be presented on Nov. 4 at a ceremony in London in aid of the BRIT Trust and music therapy charity Nordoff Robbins.

Previous recipients include Rob Stringer, Sir Lucian Grainge, Ahmet Ertegun, Michael Eavis, Roger Daltrey and last year's winner Emma Banks.


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