Universal Music's Lucian Grainge Gets Cannes Lions Honor: Read His Speech in Full

Sir Lucian Grainge was honored as the Cannes Lion Media Person of the Year 2017 during a ceremony held at the Le Petit Maison De Nicole, Cannes
Courtesy Universal Music Group

Sir Lucian Grainge was honored as the Cannes Lion Media Person of the Year 2017 during a ceremony held at the Le Petit Maison De Nicole, Cannes

If Lions is roaring, it’s about the music biz, with much of the buzz at this festival talking about the stepped-up music presence in Cannes.

On that note, Universal Group CEO Sir Lucian Grainge was the first music industry exec to receive the event's coveted honor since it was introduced in 1999.

Grainge, who brought the business back from the brink by focusing on talent and big events, dedicated his award to older brother and Ensign Records founder Nigel Grainge, who passed away 10 days ago.

“I hope you don’t mind, this is a big award for me,” said Grainge when dedicating the trophy to his late sibling.

The award was presented by Philip Thomas, CEO of Lions festival organizer Ascential Events, who said Grainge’s first-ever honor “says much about the convergence of entertainment with marketing and advertising.”

He continued: "[Grainge] has been a champion of new business models and fresh approaches. He is widely credited for laying the foundation that has led to the music industry’s recent return to growth after nearly a decade of decline."

Grainge said it was particularly significant for him to be chosen as the first music industry exec to be honored in the event's 18-year history,

“That means a great deal to me, and all of us,” he said. The exec went on to thank his staff, as well as often-controversial Vivendi chair Vincent Bollore. “[He] supported the endeavors of me and the entire team, and has enabled us to achieve the kind of success we are trying to achieve in this business,” said Grainge.

He also acknowledged how this new world of streaming songs has changed his outlook. Grainge started out as a talent scout, and while the same principles apply, he has only expanded his vision.

“Today I hunt for brands, digital platforms and new thoughts in technology as well as the great thinking to collectively pull that altogether for us,” said Grainge. “We are engaging a completely new generation of music lovers around the world on a scale like you’ve never seen.”

Some notable attendees at the function included Lang Lang, Jamie N Commons and Ron Howard as well as UMG’s Michele Anthony, Andrew Kronfeld, Olivier Robert-Murphy, Olivier Nusse, Mike Tunnicliffe and Daniel Glass along with Jeffrey Katzenberg, Michael Kassan, Casey Wasserman, Peter Rice and Bob Pittman.

Read Grainge's speech in full:

"Thank you very much for that, and thank you Philip, I am deeply honored for this award and also that I am the first member of the music industry to be here. That means a great deal to me and all of us.
 
No talent scout, no artist, no band, no label, no CEO, no creative executive ever succeeds on their own, and today I'd like to humbly thank those who made it possible for me to stand before you, including obviously, all of our recording artists and our songwriters. 
 
My incredible team at Universal Music including all our label heads, our A&R team, our CEO's and our broader Vivendi family, in particular Vincent Bolloré, whose support and belief for me and us and the entire team has enabled us to achieve the kind of success and what we are trying to achieve in the transformation of this business.
 
As a kid who started out as a talent scout, my job has since changed in many ways. While our labels seek out great new talent, today I scout for brands and digital platforms and new forms of technology as well as great people to collectively work on behalf of our artists.
 
Bearing that in mind I am very proud to report that at Universal we're engaging a completely new generation of music lovers around the world on a scale that we've never seen.
 
Our business, our connectivity, all that we do has to be about the music, and the quality of the music and the creativity is what connects all of us. That is our key focus.
 
At Lions, I have been incredibly inspired by what I've seen and the people I've met, by the diverse talents, even the presentations and the awards that have been given so far this evening...fabulous.
 
Everyone's innovation and enthusiasm...that excites me and I'm sure it excites all of us in terms of all the things we can do together, so I thank you for that.
 
On one last note, I hope you don't mind. I lost someone in my family last week and this is a big award for me, my older brother Nigel, who was a great music executive, so I'd like to dedicate this award on my behalf to my brother."

This article originally appeared in THR.com.

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