Sony Corp. is putting both Sony Music Entertainment and Sony/ATV Music Publishing under the new umbrella of Sony Music Group, which Sony Music’s CEO Rob Stringer will helm as chairman.
The move is effective Aug. 1, according to an internal Sony memo obtained by Billboard, and represents a significant structural change for the Tokyo-based conglomerate. For years, Sony/ATV has been separate from Sony Music Entertainment, with their respective leaders until now reporting into corporate management separately. This new structure puts Sony more in line with the way the other two major labels, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group, are constructed.
Under this new structure, Jon Platt, Chairman and CEO of Sony/ATV Music Publishing, will report to Stringer. Platt will retain the authority and responsibility he currently has with respect to the operation of the music publishing business, according to the memo from Sony Corp. president and CEO Kenichiro Yoshida. Until November of last year, Sony/ATV had been owned as a joint venture with other financials equity stake holders, but Sony Corp. acquired the 70% it didn’t own in a deal valued at $4.75 billion.
In addition to taking on the chairman role, Stringer remains CEO of Sony Music Entertainment, now the recorded-music arm of the new Sony Music Group.
Meanwhile, Platt just joined the company as chairman/CEO of Sony Music Publishing on April 1, moving over from Warner Chappell Music, where he held the same title. He replaced Martin Bandier, who had been in charge of Sony/ATV since 2007.
“The purpose of this new Group is to further strengthen and solidify Sony’s position as a leader in the music industry and create new value for the company,” the memo states. “This unification will help us foster a higher level of collaboration between our recorded music and music publishing businesses, while respecting and maintaining the independence and unique culture of each organization.”
Meanwhile, Sony Music Entertainment Japan will remain a separate entity reporting to Yoshida, who said he expects the two companies “to continue and further strengthen their collaboration in the spirit of One Sony.”
Furthermore, Yoshida said to Sony Music Group staffers, “I have the utmost respect and trust in Rob and Jon who are outstanding leaders with enormous industry expertise and have the strong support of their employees, artists and songwriters. Working together, and with your help, I am confident they will lead Sony Music Group to a new level of success, remaining the world’s most artist- and songwriter-friendly music company, and further strengthening and securing our legacy for the future.
The memo says that the rise of streaming and other changes in the markets was behind the move to create the new structure. “We felt it was particularly important at this juncture for Sony to take proactive steps to sustain its leadership position in the music industry by accelerating the collaboration and value creation between our world-class recorded music and music publishing businesses to strengthen our value to artists, songwriters and business partners,” the memo states.
“It’s been 51 years since Sony entered the music business through a joint venture of CBS Sony Records in 1968,” Yoshida noted. “And, with the acquisition of EMI Music Publishing in 2018, Sony has become an even stronger music company.”