Warner Music CEO Stephen Cooper Touts Market Share Gains, Praises Craig Kallman in Year-End Message to Staff

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"People can often 'expect the unexpected' from WMG," he wrote.

In a year-end message to the Warner Music Group staff, CEO Stephen Cooper celebrated the company's successes of growing its market share more than any other major label, bringing in its highest revenue since 2008 and earning its largest profit in a decade. 

"People can often 'expect the unexpected' from WMG," Cooper wrote. "That's true of the music we bring to world, from the Album of The Year Grammy nomination for Sturgill Simpson's masterpiece, A Sailor's Guide to Earth, to the genre-defying songwriting on Beyoncé's bombshell, Lemonade. That's true, too, of how we do business. Five years since Spotify launched in the U.S., WMG became the first major to announce that streaming was its biggest source of revenue. We got in early because we believed in the future, and we came out ahead."

Cooper went on to specifically thank about 150 of WMG's team members who have been with then company for more than 25 years -- which he noted is about 3 percent of the global staff -- naming label and territory leaders for their commitment to the organization. 

"It's unusual for creative execs to have their kind of sustained success, especially at one company," he said. 

In particular, Craig Kallman, CEO of Atlantic Records, received high praise for his 25th anniversary with the label, while Cooper encouraged the rest of his staffers to pursue long careers with WMG. With that, he emphasized artistic and commercial forward thinking, as well as an alertness to "the threats to our industry's nascent recovery." 

"And then, as individuals and as a team, let's make the changes we want to see happen," he wrote.