Executive Turntable

Sony Music France Names Marie-Anne Robert Managing Director; First Woman to Lead Label

Annette Koroll

Rob Stringer, Chairman, Sony Music Group; Marie-Anne Robert, Managing Director of Sony Music France; and Daniel Lieberberg, President of Continental Europe and Africa, Sony Music.

She worked at Believe for more than half her career, most recently as GM of marketing and artists services.

Sony Music named Marie-Anne Robert managing director of the label’s French operation on Thursday (Sept. 23), making her the first woman to fill the role.

Robert will oversee operations, signings and acquisitions for Sony France, and work to accelerate the company’s digital transformation in the world’s fifth-largest music market, Sony says in a press release. She will assume the MD position on Oct. 4.

Sony recruited Robert late last year from Paris-based Believe, the music distributor and artist services company where she worked for more than half her career, most recently as general manager of marketing and artist services. She had to wait out an 11-month non-compete period with Believe before joining Sony, according to one person familiar with the matter.

Believe went public in June on the Euronext Paris stock exchange.

Robert succeeds Stéphane Le Tavernier, who stepped down suddenly in January of 2020 under amicable terms, Sony said, after a decade at the French imprint. Daniel Lieberberg, Sony Music Entertainment’s president of Continental Europe and Africa, has been running the French operation in the interim.

In a statement, Lieberberg cited Robert’s international experience -- she has worked for both indies and major labels across multiple genres -- as key to her hiring. “Marie-Anne’s unique expertise combines a digital and data-driven approach with creativity and strong artist relationships, all of which is a perfect fit with Sony Music’s culture,” he said.

Robert has over two decades of experience in the industry. Prior to Believe, she was based in New York as vp international at TuneCore, Believe’s digital music distributor subsidiary. There she led the company’s international expansion and launched the service in France, Germany, Italy, the U.K. and Australia.

She also previously headed video operations at Believe Digital Studios for France, the Middle East and Africa, and before that she served as Believe’s marketing director.

Robert has deep roots in hip-hop, having begun her career in 1998 as the voluntary head of Industry Relations and Artists' interviews for Lehiphop.com, the French-speaking hip-hop website. After a series of internships at labels, she landed at Virgin Music France in 2005 in the image department, organizing photo shoots and overseeing music videos and artwork for artists the included Mano Negra, Moby and Alpha Blondy.

Robert arrives at a time when France’s music industry has been confronting #Metoo allegations. Since late 2020, several music producers -- including one at Sony imprint Columbia France -- and at least one music executive have been investigated by labels or French authorities, and at least one French executive has been dismissed. (The producers and executives have denied the allegations.)

France’s music revenues fell 1.2% in 2020 to $1.0 billion, mainly due to a decline in physical and performance-rights revenues, according to IFPI’s Global Music Report. Streaming subscription revenue grew 23%, meanwhile, outpacing the global growth rate of 18.5%. That made 2020 the first year ever that France's recorded music market drew more than half of its total revenues from streaming formats.

Robert also worked for three years at EMI as a senior project manager in the marketing department, where she worked with artists such as Alain Souchon, Renaud, Camille, David Guetta and Yann Tiersen, before joining Believe in 2009.

Apart from her work at the labels, Robert mentors female entrepreneurs in the music industry as an active member of MEWEM (Mentoring program for Women Entrepreneurs in Music industry).