Universal Music Group Extends CEO Lucian Grainge's Contract 'At Least' Through 2020

Lana Del Rey, Lucian Grainge and Kanye West photographed on Feb. 2, 2015 at Milk Studios in Los Angeles.

Joe Pugliese

Universal Music Group's parent company made it clear in a release this morning that its faith in UMG head Lucian Grainge hasn't waned, extending the veteran's contract "until at least 2020," according to the company's statement. "This plan will enable the company to maintain its profitable growth and continue to play a leading role in the transformation of the music industry." Vivendi's statement goes on to say that the company plans to continue investments in Africa, China and India and digital listening.

Grainge was named to lead UMG in 2011, leading the company through its acquisition of EMI's labels, which made UMG the largest major label in the world.

Grainge holds sway over roughly half of parent company Vivendi's revenue and earnings. Last year, UMG accounted for 45.2 percent of Vivendi's revenue, a decline from 47.7 percent a year earlier. Canal+ accounted for 54.1 percent of Vivendi's revenue last year. UMG had a better share of operating income with 54.7 percent to Canal+'s 55.8 percent. (The segment's combined shares exceed 100 percent due to a loss at Vivendi Village and accounting for corporate expenses.) UMG's 2014 operating income included a net €179-million gain from the sale of it stake in Beats Electronics to Apple.

He's also responsible for nearly a third of global recorded music revenue. UMG's 2014 recorded music revenue of €3.69 billion translates to 29.8 percent of the global recorded music market, based on the IFPI's global market value of $15.0 billion.

Grainge has been No. 3 or higher in every edition of Billboard's annual Power 100 ranking of global music executives.

Writing to employees at the close of 2014, Grainge told them that "in 2015, we'll continue to lead the industry. But it's no longer simply enough to outperform our competitors. We must work harder than ever to transform the business itself... for our artists' benefit, as well as for our own."