Lucian Grainge, chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group and one of the most powerful members of the music industry, today sent employees a holiday memo laying out his plans for the following year. It seems like Grainge has every intention of using his company’s considerable leverage to increase even further its tight grip on the business. Below is Grainge’s memo in full.
It’s hard to believe that 2014 has flown by already and here I am writing to you once again to wish you all a happy holiday season.
And with the year drawing to a close, I want to share with you my view of what UMG accomplished in 2014 and where we’ll be headed in the new year.
In 2014, our industry leadership–both as a creative force and a commercial one — reached a new level. Not only were we the only music company to break new global stars, we even did it four times — with Iggy Azalea, 5 Seconds of Summer, Ariana Grande and Sam Smith. And in the top music markets in the world, including the US, the UK, Germany and France, UMG had more new local artist successes than any other company. And on top of that, UMG artists received more Grammy nominations and won more American Music Awards, ARIA Awards (Australia), Brit Awards (UK), Country Music Awards (US), ECHO Klassik Awards (Germany), Gramophone Awards (UK), MuchMusic Awards (Canada), Latin Grammys, MTV Europe Awards and VNZMAs (New Zealand) than any other company in the business, to name just a few.
How’d we do it? By combining the best and most creative team around the world with the industry’s largest investment in discovering and developing new artists. That unfailing commitment to artist development on a global basis has always been what sets us apart — not merely from other major labels and publishers, but from every other player in the music world. No matter what else may change, that never will.
Now, as we look to the year ahead, one fundamental truth will continue to guide us in everything we do: we can never be successful unless our artists are. Our commitment to our artists must always be foremost in our mind. Everything flows from that.
So, 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.
I know “transform” is a lofty goal. But the rapid pace of change in new business models, new platforms and new technologies, and the ever-shifting array of challenges and opportunities they present, demands nothing less. The transformation I envision will be significant because it will require us to do three big things: broaden the definition of what it means to be a music company; devote all the necessary resources and new skill sets needed to help our artists succeed in all aspects of their careers; and, finally, to be a formative player in shaping and developing the music platforms of tomorrow.
In 2015, in step with our artists, we’ll be working with all of our partners — traditional and non-traditional — to design and, where necessary, re-design business models that will become the foundation for a strong and sustainable future for all of us.
If all that sounds bold, it is. And I’m counting on each of you to contribute to this vital effort. As the year unfolds, the steps we’ll be taking in each of these three areas will become clear, but the ultimate goal of every step we take will always be the same: to provide our artists with the widest possible audience for their music, the greatest level of compensation for their work, and the highest level of creative and commercial resources to achieve those ends.
I’m excited that we’ll be working together to make 2015 another year of stellar achievement for UMG.
But right now, to all of you around the world, I wish each of you and your loved ones a very happy and peaceful holidays. You certainly deserve it.