His Verve group boasts four albums on the Billboard 200, and is fresh off Herbie
Hancock's Grammy win. It's not been a bad run for Bruce Resnikoff. Last month, Herbie Hancock's "The Joni Letters," released in fall 2007 on Verve, won the Grammy Award for album of the year. But lest you think Resnikoff only works catalog fogies and such artists as Hancock 40 years into their career, check out the Billboard 200 (page 70) to see four charting acts from Verve Music Group: jazz legend Hancock, neo-soul singer (and best new artist Grammy nom) Ledisi and up-and-comers soul singer Lizz Wright and blues-jazz singer Melody Gardot. The group has another two records in the top 10 of the jazz chart.

Meanwhile, the industry may know Resnikoff best for his work with catalog, not front-line titles. UMe runs the catalog of such megastars as Guns N' Roses, Def Leppard, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Bob Marley, the Police, the Who, 2Pac and countless others. Among UMe's successes are the "Now" series, the 20th Century Master Series and the Johnny Cash album "Legend," which was one of the music industry's biggest-selling albums in 2005-06.

"What that says to me is we're doing something right," Resnikoff says of this week's chart success. "The reality is, we set this company up in a unique way. Verve is sort of a small company within a larger company. We have a core group of people-A&R and marketing and creative staff-that is effectively exclusive to Verve. That smaller group effectively allows us to work within more esoteric markets . . . Then we have a larger [UMe] support group, which involves our overall sales group, publicity that supplements the Verve publicity group, a production group, a full-support business affairs, a film and TV licensing group, etc. that works together. So effectively we have the best of both worlds."

A good place to start might be with the Grammys. I was actually kind of curious watching the win, I'm sure your first thought is probably, "That's fantastic," and then your next thought is probably, "Shit!"

I think "shit" was part of it . . . I was with some Verve people, it was clearly a tribute to the work they did as well as the great album Herbie delivered. I think it gave everyone here a sense of responsibility-not just a sense of gratitude and enjoyment-that we have a tremendous album and we need to find more opportunities to sell it because it's unfair to Herbie and the public not to have much broader appeal and much broader success in the marketplace.

Is there an impact for the industry?

It sends a message that you can't totally pigeonhole music and that genre-oriented music doesn't necessarily have to be limited to a genre. As difficult as it was to convince retail before the Grammy nomination and the win that this was a great album that deserved to be featured with great albums as opposed to great jazz albums? It opened a door for us. If you limit your marketing opportunities to a particular genre, you're reducing the scope of the audience you could reach.

Were you able to keep Hancock in stores? Were there shortages of that week?

No, we were actually pretty good. I had a staff that beefed up in light of the nominations and his TV performance. I actually had a couple of people who were loyal and smart enough to exit the Grammys festivities earlier in the evening than they otherwise would have to get overnight manufacturing done.

Click here to read the full Q&A, including Resnikoff's thoughts on why the day of live albums is going to be resurrected, a brilliant marketing strategy that helped bolster Verve's Ledisi, a trend coming in to industry and more.