ANTONIO “L.A.” REID, 60
Chairman/CEO, Epic Records
President, Epic Records
Last Year’s Rank: 54
“We pride ourselves on thinking of things that people haven’t already done,” says Epic boss Reid, who, along with Rhone, helmed a year during which the label reaped Billboard 200 No. 1 albums from Future, Travis Scott, DJ Khaled and A Tribe Called Quest and top five sophomore sets from Meghan Trainor and Fifth Harmony. Epic also scored with a savvy chart hack: Epic AF, a compilation of popular one-off tracks, including Khaled’s “I Got the Keys” and Jidenna‘s “Long Live the Chief,” packaged as a streaming-only playlist. By bundling the songs as an ad-hoc album, Epic AF was able to climb the Billboard 200, where it spent four weeks in the top 10. It also helped boost the label’s overall streaming revenue 140 percent from 2015 to 2016. Reid capped the year by leaving New York and moving Epic into new Culver City headquarters in Los Angeles.
Business Leader She Admires: Rhone: “Xerox chairman Ursula Burns. She has knocked down walls as the first African-American female leader of a Fortune 500 company.”
“After L.A. told me I didn’t have a first single for my second album, Thank You, I met Ricky Reed and J Kash and we wrote ‘No.’ The very next night, Ricky and I met L.A. at his hotel, drank a shot of tequila to calm the nerves and played him the song while pretending to be super confident. He fell in love with it in the first 15 seconds and played it 29 times in a row. I counted.” — Meghan Trainor on L.A. Reid