In what’s become a new Grammy tradition, Billboard’s Power 100 party served as an unofficial kick-off to the music industry’s busiest week of the year.
Held at power eatery Cecconi’s on Thursday, Feb. 9, and sponsored by American Airlines, Citi, Hilton and Nielsen, the event honored the year’s most important and influential executives, awarding the top spot to Spotify founder and CEO Daniel Ek. Immediately behind, Universal Music Group chairman Lucian Grainge and Live Nation chief Michael Rapino landed the No. 2 and No. 3 positions, respectively, with Apple’s Eddy Cue, Jimmy Iovine and Robert Kondrk sharing spot No. 4 and Columbia Records chairman and incoming Sony Music CEO Rob Stringer shooting up to No. 5.
The intimate, invite-only function featured a slew of artists on hand to support those who’ve helped build scores of careers. Among them: The Weeknd, Zayn Malik, Noah Cyrus, Jason Derulo, G-Eazy, Kelsea Ballerini, Dua Lipa, Skylar Grey and DJ Khaled.
The partying paused for several moments as key honorees were recognized. The Clive Davis Visionary Award, given out the past three years, went to Epic Records chairman Antonio “L.A.” Reid, who accepted the honor by cracking about his position on the list — No. 39 — but nevertheless expressing his gratitude to Sony Music chief creative officer Davis. “I don’t make the rules, I just break them,” Reid said from the stage.
Also offering remarks on the state of the industry — and Billboard’s place in supporting and covering the business — were John Amato, president of Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter, and Mike Bruno, editorial director of Billboard along with Recording Academy president Neil Portnow.
“For the first time since Napster, the recording industry is showing signs of growth,” said Amato.
Added Portnow: “The best and brightest are here tonight — that’s a fact, not an alternative fact.”
This year, Billboard also recognized a group of “power artists,” each of whom not only scored No. 1s on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, but made an indelible impact on pop music in 2016. They were: The Weeknd, Blink-182, DJ Khaled, Zayn Malik and Desiigner?.
Inside, it was a veritable who’s who of the music business: Universal Music Group chairman Lucian Grainge; UMG evp Michele Anthony; mega manager Irving Azoff; CAA head of music Rob Light; Columbia Records evp Joel Klaiman; Spotify’s Troy Carter and Stefan Blom, who accepted the No. 1 power player honor on behalf of their boss Ek; attorney Doug Davis; MAC Presents’ Marcie Allen; ASCAP’s Paul Williams and Beth Matthews; power attorney Kenny Meiselas; Def Jam chief Steve Bartels; Glassnote Records founder Daniel Glass; Apple’s Robert Kondrk, Bozoma Saint John and Larry Jackson; Capitol Music Group’s Steve Barnett and Michelle Jubelirer; Universal Music Publishing Group chairman Jody Gerson; Island Records president/CEO David Massey;The Howard Stern Show‘s Gary Dell’Abate; RCA Records CEO and COO Peter Edge and Tom Corson.
Also in attendance were Republic Records CEO and COO Monte and Avery Lipman, the former of which told Billboard: “We’re very fortunate to have had another historic year with Drake, the Weeknd, Ariana Grande…” adding, that it “starts with amazing talent, extraordinary music.”
Martin Mills, founder of Beggars Group, was also optimistic about music’s current state. “Streaming was up to 51 percent of music consumption this year,” he said. “We’re ahead of that curve and it’s getting bigger and bigger for us.”
As for Billboard‘s No. 1 pick, Glassnote’s Glass had this to offer: “It’s very appropriate and perfect timing. [Spotify] will be making a lot of profit. We’re all making a lot of money. It’s a great investment.”
See photos from the Power 100 bash here.
With reporting by Gail Mitchell and Andy Gensler.