Lucian Grainge

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Lucian Grainge
Birth name Lucian Charles Grainge
Born (1960-02-29) February 29, 1960 (age 54)
London, England
Occupations Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Universal Music Group
Years active 1982-present
Labels Universal Music Group

Lucian Charles Grainge, CBE, (born February 29, 1960)[1] is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Universal Music Group. Over the course of his career, he has been instrumental in the careers of artists such as Amy Winehouse, ABBA, Eurythmics, Mika, Duffy, Take That, Psychedelic Furs, Sting, Jamie Cullum and Andrea Bocelli. Grainge has worked in the music business for his entire career.[2] In 2013, Grainge was ranked first in Billboard's Hot 100 in Music list. In an interview with Grainge, Billboard wrote: "If “power” means moving markets or greenlighting massive spends, Universal Music Group chairman Lucian Grainge demonstrated a staggering penchant for it when UMG completed its $1.9 billion acquisition of EMI’s recorded-music assets in September 2012. Grainge is a fierce and tireless advocate for the recorded-music business." In 2013, CNET wrote that “Grainge is positioning Universal to lead the pack” of major labels in their embracing of new digital opportunities.[3]

Early Life & Career[edit]

Lucian Grainge grew up in northern London. Grainge worked his way up in the London music scene after leaving Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School for Boys at the age of 18, when he began working as a runner at a talent scout company called MPC.[2] After calling several record label heads from the Music Week directory, he got through to Maurice Oberstein, the chairman of CBS Records, who hired him for publishing company April Music’s A&R department. His first signing was the Psychedelic Furs. In 1982 he became the director of RCA Music Publishing. Two years later he became an A&R director for MCA Records. He set up PolyGram Music Publishing in 1986 and joined Polydor as GM of A&R and business affairs in 1993. He was promoted to managing director of Polydor in 1997, and had success with acts including Boyzone and the Lighthouse Family.[4] Since becoming Chairman and Chief Executive of Universal Music in 2011, Grainge has overseen a strategy to increase Universal's digital distribution, international expansion and market leadership in both recorded music and publishing. Best-selling artists signed to Universal Music in recent years have included Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Jessie J, Amy Winehouse, Carly Rae Jepsen and Maroon 5.

Universal Music Group[edit]

Grainge became the chairman of the UK division of the Universal Music Group and later became chairman of Universal Music Group International in 2005. He served in this position until 2010. On January 1, 2011 he became CEO of the Universal Music Group and later became chairman on March 9, 2011. He succeeded Doug Morris who served as Chairman and CEO since 1995.[5]

Grainge has been influential in Universal Music Group's international digital expansion by pioneering distribution models with a wide range of technology partners, including Apple, Spotify, BSkyB, Rdio, Virgin Media, Vodafone and 19 Entertainment.[6][7][8][9][10][11][12]

He recently established the licensed music service, One-Stop China, with Baidu, as well as a deal with B’IN to break Taiwanese acts on the mainland.[13] There is also an agreement in place with Reliance to start India’s first mobile music service.[14]

Grainge also helped arrange the partnership between Bravado, Universal Music’s entertainment merchandising division, and Tommy Hilfiger[15] and oversaw expansion for flagship classical labels Deutsche Grammophon and Decca Classics. He also put together the global strategic partnership with entertainment company Live Nation.[16]

Within his first year as Chairman & CEO of Universal, he led the company in acquiring EMI's Recorded Music operations.[17] He made the revitalization of former EMI labels such as Capitol Records and Virgin Records a key part of his strategy.[18]

As a result of the EMI deal, UMG acquired the Beatles catalog. UMG’s merchandising division, Bravado, subsequently secured North American merchandising for the band.[19] UMG is now creating a "unified marketing strategy for the music and associated products of the most influential and beloved band in the history of music."[20]

In 2013, Grainge partnered with Russell Simmons, Brian Robbins and Steve Rifkind to create All Def Music, the first major label-affiliated music company created specifically to sign, develop and promote artists on YouTube.1) [21] Russell Simmons called Grainge “the most innovative of music executives.”[22]

Under Grainge’s leadership, UMG has broken a string of records, becoming the first company in the U.S. to have nine of the top 10 songs on the digital charts, according to SoundScan,[23] and weeks later, becoming the first company to hold all 10 of the top 10 spots on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.[24]

Personal life[edit]

In January 1993, Grainge married his first wife, attorney Samantha Berg. That November, she experienced complications while giving birth to their son Elliot, and slipped into a coma from which she would never recover.[25] She passed away in England in 2007.[26]

In 2002, Grainge married his second wife, Caroline. Their daughter Alice was born in 2001. In November 2012, Grainge and his wife reportedly paid 13 million USD for a house in Pacific Palisades. They previously leased a Brentwood home from the owner of Rhino Entertainment.[27]

Industry Honors and Other Achievements[edit]

In 2008, Grainge was honored with the prestigious Music Industry Trusts’ Award, which recognizes the world’s most influential and successful executives in music. Members of U2 presented him with the award, and other acts he was associated with, like Take That, performed.

Grainge serves on the Vivendi Management Board, and is a member of the Board of Directors of Activision Blizzard. In Britain’s New Year Honours for 2010, Grainge was awarded a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) in recognition of his services to the creative industries.[28]

Grainge is a Trustee of The American Friends of The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

In 2013, he received the Humanitarian Award from The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding. That same year, UMG was honored with a SAG-AFTRA American Scene Award, recognizing the company’s commitment to diversity as exemplified by its “entire catalog and roster of artists.”[29]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b "New Boss for Universal Music, Lady Gaga Record Label - TIME". Time. March 3, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Crank it up: Russell Simmons, Universal Music launch label -- on YouTube". CNET. 
  4. ^ The Rise of Lucian Grainge |
  5. ^ Vivendi: Lucian Grainge Promoted To Chief Executive Officer Universal Music Group | Universal Music
  6. ^ Apple Signs Deal With Universal Music Group for iCloud, Major Publishers Also on Board |
  7. ^ Universal Music Group Launching Spotify Playlist Service for U.S. Fans |
  8. ^ BSkyB Corporate | Sky to Partner with Universal Music for Innovative New Digital Music Service
  9. ^ Universal Music Group Expands Digster.Fm With Rdio, Putting Music Discovery At The Forefront | Universal Music
  10. ^ Virgin Media And Universal Music To Launch World'S First Unlimited Music Download Subscription Service | Universal Music
  11. ^ Vodafone and Universal Music Group International sign strategic partnership - Vodafone
  12. ^ UMG Signs 'Idol' Deal With 19 Entertainment |
  13. ^ Baidu | Press Releases
  14. ^ "India's Reliance, Universal tie up for 3G music services". The Independent (London). August 5, 2010. 
  15. ^ UMG's Bravado, Tommy Hilfiger Sign Global Branding Deal |
  16. ^ Live Nation Entertainment And Universal Music Group Announce Strategic Partnership | Universal Music
  17. ^ EMI Publishing Goes to Sony, Label to Universal |
  18. ^ "Universal Music CEO Lucian Grainge Says He'll 'Double A&R Investment' at Capitol, Virgin". Billboard. 
  19. ^ Atkinson, Claire. "The Fabric Four". New York Post. 
  20. ^ "The Beatles and Bravado Come Together". Universal Music Group. 
  21. ^ "Crank it up: Russell Simmons, Universal Music launch label -- on YouTube". CNET. 
  22. ^ Williams, Brennan (July 24, 2013). "All Def Music: Russell Simmons, Steve Rifkind, & Brian Robbins Partner To Launch New Label". Huffington Post. 
  23. ^ "UMG Sets Record With Nine Of Top 10 Digital Singles". FMQB. 
  24. ^ Atkinson, Claire. "Universal a perfect 10 on Billboard 100". New York Post. 
  25. ^ "Take That in concert.... for 13-year-old's birthday party". Daily Mail (London). December 2, 2006. 
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^ Lucian Grainge - Vivendi
  29. ^ "SAG-AFTRA Announces American Scene Award Recipients". SAG-AFTRA One Union. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Doug Morris
Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Universal Music Group
January 1, 2011 to Present
Succeeded by