Steve Barnett (music executive)
Life and career
Barnett began his music career as an agent in London in 1970, working for the Bron Agency (Gerry Bron) and dealing with legendary bands such as Colosseum and Uriah Heep. He became an agent for NEMS Enterprises, the company originally formed by legendary Beatles manager Brian Epstein. While there from 1972 to 1974, Barnett represented artists such as Elton John, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. He would briefly manage Rough Diamond in 1977, a short lived British band that featured David Byron (ex Uriah Heep), Dave Clempson (ex Colosseum) and Geoff Britton (ex Wings). In 1980 he became a manager and partner in the UK artist management firm Part Rock, where his clients included AC/DC, Cyndi Lauper, Foreigner, and Gary Moore, among other artists. In 1988 he established Part Rock's U.S. company, Hard to Handle Management, where he served as President.
Barnett joined Epic Records in 1996 as Senior Vice President International, was named Senior Vice President Worldwide Marketing for the label in 1997, then Executive Vice President/ General Manager in 2001. He was named President of Epic in 2004. At Epic Barnett took a key role in marketing artists including Pearl Jam, Audioslave, Shakira, Jennifer Lopez, Franz Ferdinand, Modest Mouse, Good Charlotte and Natasha Bedingfield.
In December 2005 he was named Chairman of Columbia Records, with responsibility for overall management of the label. During his tenure, Columbia's marketshare rose consistently, resulting in a 50% increase in current marketshare between 2009 and 2012 and attaining the #1 slot among all labels in 2011 and 2012.
Barnett has presided over successful campaigns for Adele, Beyoncé, John Mayer, Jack White, The Shins, One Direction, Maxwell, Foster the People, J. Cole, AC/DC, Susan Boyle, soprano prodigy Jackie Evancho and the marketing and release of the Glee soundtracks. He has also overseen critically acclaimed and commercially successful albums by artists including Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, Celine Dion and Harry Connick Jr.
U.S. sales for Adele's 21 are approaching 10 million, which will mark the first time that an album has reached the RIAA Diamond plateau RIAA Diamond since Usher's Confessions, which was released in 2004 and Diamond certified in July, 2012.
Barnett was instrumental in bringing AC/DC to Sony Music, where the band achieved the label's biggest first-week sales figure in its history when it sold more than 784,000 copies of Black Ice in 2008. The band has since sold over 38 million albums worldwide.
This period also saw Bob Dylan score back-to-back #1 albums with Modern Times and Together Through Life, as well as Neil Diamond receiving the first #1 album in his career with the release of Home Before Dark. During this time, Barbra Streisand set the record as the only artist to achieve a #1 album in ever decade from the 1960s through the 2000s with her album, Love Is the Answer.
Capitol Music Group
In November 2012 Barnett became Chairman & CEO of the Capitol Music Group. On April 18 in the Hollywood Reporter, one of Capitol's top artists, Katy Perry, said of Barnett, “It's nice to have a head in there who knows what the f---k they’re doing....He’s an incredible boss.” 
In October, 2013, Capitol Music Group was named by Billboard Magazine as the 5th biggest label in terms of overall marketshare, with the label building on new releases from Arcade Fire, Bastille, Capital Cities, its development of the UK's Emeli Sande' and, as Billboard wrote, "[Capitol's] future belongs to new acts like Tori Kelly and Naughty Boy, gospel breakouts Mandisa and Chris Tomlin, and still-building new albums from career acts Elton John and Rod Stewart.
Barnett broadened the company's portfolio of labels in 2013, inking high-profile deals with greatly-admired creative figures such as T Bone Burnett (Electromagnetic Recordings), RedOne (2101 Records) and Troy Carter (Atom Factory), as well as a partnership with Arcade Fire for that band's Reflektor album.
- Steve Barnett to lead Capitol Music Group
- "Steve Barnett Named Chairman, Columbia Records". FMQB. Dec 2, 2005. Retrieved Oct 23, 2012.
- "Columbia COO Steve Barnett in Line to Head Up Universal's New Capitol Label Group: Source". Billboard Magazine. Oct 5, 2012. Retrieved Oct 23, 2012.
- "Albums Can Top 10 Million In Sales, Eventually". USA Today. July 18, 2012. Retrieved Oct 23, 2012.
- "Sony's Barnett Gets His Due". New York Post. December 2, 2009. Retrieved Oct 23, 2012.
- Katy Perry on Her 'Schizophrenic' New Album, Humble Start: 'It Was Stripping or The Matrix'
|Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Capitol Music Group