No. 1

Lucian Grainge

Universal Music Group

POWER MOVE: UMG’s $1.9 billion acquisition of EMI Recorded Music gave Grainge a market-share boost, and another label group to drive content, innovation and profits.

THE RUNDOWN: If “power” means moving markets or greenlighting massive spends, Universal Music Group chairman Lucian Grainge demonstrated a staggering penchant for it when UMG completed its $1.9 billion acquisition of EMI’s recorded-music assets in September 2012 (a deal that was sweetened just hours after this issue of Billboard was printed, when UMG offloaded EMI’s Parlophone Label Group to Warner Music for $762 million). Grainge is a fierce and tireless advocate for the recorded-music business.

“If you look at the profitability pool for all of music,” he says, taking time to speak with Billboard from his suite at the Four Seasons on a recent visit to New York, “I’d think recorded music would be responsible for 60%-70% of it.”

Grainge has structured Capitol Records Group, which came as part of the deal, as its own major label, plucking former Columbia COO Steve Barnett (No. 32) as chairman/CEO of CRG. “You should go in there and see whether I delivered in a matter of 12 or 14 weeks everything I said I was going to deliver,” Grainge says. “I’ve taken EMI back to where it was 10 or 15 years ago, back to when [former president] Ken [Berry] and [wife/EMI executive] Nancy were there . . . when the label was alive.”

Today, UMG’s album market share is up to 40.6%, and as you’ll see below, Grainge believes there’s a lot of opportunity ahead.

Lucian Grainge Q&A

 NEXT: Coran Capshaw »