Universal Music Publishing Group chairman/CEO David Renzer oversees a company with revenue nearing the $1 billion mark and a global presence that spans 53 offices and 56 countries.
Since Renzer joined the company in 1996 when it was known as MCA Music Publishing, UMPG has grown dramatically through direct signings and catalog acquisitions, including those of BMG Music Publishing, PolyGram, Rondor and Zomba, where he began his music publishing career and rose to become senior VP/GM in his 10 years there.
Under Renzer's leadership, the company has grown into a powerhouse in production music and launched its Latin music division, which won ASCAP's music publisher of the year award four times, and saw its songwriters win, among many other accolades, 27 Grammy Awards and 22 Latin Grammy Awards, including Latin record, song and album of the year awards.
UMPG has had a busy 2009 on the deal front, becoming the worldwide administrator for the Warner Bros. Entertainment music catalog; buying the publishing assets of the French production music company Kapagama S.A..; securing the exclusive administration rights to the Jimi Hendrix catalog outside of the United States; and signing worldwide publishing agreements with Eminem, country star Keith Urban, Academy Award-winning composer A.R. Rahman and Grammy-winning composer/Oingo Boingo co-founder Danny Elfman, among others.
In an interview with Billboard, Renzer talks about his company's recent performance, developments in synch licensing and why publishers should collect a performance right in downloads.
How is UMPG faring in the market?
It's definitely a challenging marketplace. If we look at the various segments of our business, mechanical income continues to decline for the entire industry. We are seeing for the first time some challenges even in the performance income area, which traditionally has shown reliable annual growth. Because radio has taken a significant hit in advertising revenues due to the recession, we are starting to see what might be a flat year for performance income.
Likewise, we are seeing some challenges in traditional synchronization areas [due to] the impact the economy has had on industries like automotive. However, we are doing reasonably well in television and film synch licensing and we are still seeing significant growth in videogames. We are pushing the envelope here all the time in new, nontraditional synch-that is everything from the videogame area to lyric merchandise. Some of that is spilling over into digital areas. Also, we have an incredibly strong release schedule from important artists and songwriters. We have an incredibly strong global production music library business. Our classical publishing and Christian publishing businesses are holding up quite well.
Click here to read Renzer has to say about new digital revenue, the legislative agendas he wants to see pursued and the outlook for 2010.