Rob Stringer Says Sony Music Boosted Its Roster By 30% In Triumphant Year-End Memo

Rob Stringer
Josh Cheuse

Rob Stringer

Stringer also highlighted the company's expansion into merchandising, new "artist-friendly" recording contracts and more.

Sony Music Group chairman Rob Stringer reflected on the company's year in a memo to staff today (Dec. 18), highlighting the music group's global footprint, its expansion into merchandising and its efforts to create more "artist-friendly" deals.

In an email obtained by Billboard, Stringer, also chairman and CEO of Sony Music Entertainment, begins by shouting out superstar SME artists including Lil Nas X, Camila Cabello, Harry Styles and Rosalía, as well as Sony/ATV Music Publishing songwriter Ed Sheeran. Another virtual fist bump went to Jon Platt, who joined Sony/ATV as chairman and CEO this year and "strengthened our wider company." 

"We are also thrilled," Stringer wrote, to see Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You" reach No. 1 on the Hot 100 this week, for the first time ever.

In terms of new signees, he noted that "the incomparable" Rihanna joined the Sony/ATV family, and that Sony Music labels signed long-term recording deals with Ozuna and Nicky Jam. Overall, SME achieved its goal to expand its recorded music roster by 30 percent, to "meet the demands of the increasing distribution of music globally through streaming platforms," Stringer wrote. "Every market in the world can now find their own local content and, as a truly global player, we need to reflect this whilst continuing to find true worldwide artists and songs."

Stringer added that SME continued to increase its international presence in 2019, opening a Beijing headquarters earlier this year -- and will remain focused on global expansion in 2020. 

He also said Sony has been "determined" to expand into merchandising: The company's The Thread Shop merchandise arm now represents the rights of Led Zepellin, P!nk and more, and recently signed the North American rights to The Beatles along with Jimi Hendrix's global merchandise rights. 

Finally, he touted Sony's new "artist-friendly" recording agreement templates and efforts to increase efficiency and transpartency for artists, as well as an ongoing push to diversify its workforce. 

"We must continue to strive to be not only bigger but, more importantly, better in all aspects of our business strategy so we are primed for sustainable success over the next decade and beyond," he concluded. "With your collective talent and hard work we are building a creative entertainment company of the future and giving our artists, songwriters and creators the partnerships to thrive in this evolving industry."