|Birth name||Lucian Charles Grainge|
29 February 1960 |
|Occupation(s)||Chairman & chief executive officer, Universal Music Group|
|Labels||Universal Music Group|
Lucian Charles Grainge, CBE, (born 29 February 1960) 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, Rihanna, Sam Smith, Take That, Psychedelic Furs, The Rolling Stones, Sting, U2, Jamie Cullum and Andrea Bocelli. Grainge has worked in the music business for his entire career. In 2013 and 2015, he topped Billboard Magazine’s “Power 100” list as the most powerful person in the music business, the only person to twice hold that distinction.
Irving Azoff called him "'the great hope for the music business'" and Jimmy Iovine commented that Grainge "is working to restore [a] spirit of risk-taking and innovation" by being "'willing and open to entrepreneurship and that kind of thing the record industry has gotten depleted of.'"
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. A 2014 front-page LA Times profile of Grainge said that "if anyone can save the music business, it might be Grainge." In 2015, Billboard wrote, “in the age of Spotify, YouTube and Shazam, Grainge is positioned to tackle his business' overriding priority: win fair compensation for artists, and take full ownership of content that other parties have been profiting from.”
Early life and career
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. 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. 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
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 1 January 2011 he became CEO of the Universal Music Group and later became chairman on 9 March 2011. He succeeded Doug Morris who served as chairman and CEO since 1995.
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.
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. There is also an agreement in place with Reliance to start India's first mobile music service.
Grainge also helped arrange the partnership between Bravado, Universal Music's entertainment merchandising division, and Tommy Hilfiger 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.
Within his first year as chairman & CEO of Universal, he led the company in acquiring EMI's Recorded Music operations. In doing so he argued that selling to Universal was the only way to make EMI better and thus lift the entire industry. He made the revitalisation of former EMI labels such as Capitol Records and Virgin Records a key part of his strategy. As a result of the EMI acquisition, "Grainge will go down as the master architect of what is likely to be the last big deal in the music business."
In the EMI deal, UMG acquired the Beatles catalogue. UMG's merchandising division, Bravado, subsequently secured North American merchandising for the band. 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." The wisdom of the acquisition was further illustrated by the quick success of the revitalized Capitol Music Group. In 2015, Capitol earned all the major Grammy Awards for the year, with Sam Smith receiving Best New Artist, Record of the Year and Song of the Year awards and Beck winning Album of the Year.
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. Russell Simmons called Grainge "the most innovative of music executives."
UMG partnered with Samsung in the spring of 2013 to launch a music service in Africa called the Kleek, featuring the company's international catalogue, as well as local artists.
Under Grainge's leadership, UMG has broken a string of records, becoming the first company in the US to have nine of the top 10 songs on the digital charts, according to SoundScan, and weeks later, becoming the first company to hold all 10 of the top 10 spots on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. According to an industry insider, UMG's "enterprise value in 10 years stands to be closing in on $40 billion."
In January 1993, Grainge married his first wife, attorney Samantha Berg. That November, she experienced complications while giving birth to their son Elliot, and fell into a coma from which she never recovered. She died in England in 2007.
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 had previously leased a Brentwood home from the owner of Rhino Entertainment.
Industry Honors and Other Achievements
In 2008, Grainge was honoured with the prestigious Music Industry Trusts’ Award, which recognises 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.
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. In 2012, UK Prime Minister David Cameron appointed him as a British Business Ambassador.
Grainge is a Trustee of The American Friends of The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. http://www.royalfoundation.com/contact-us/
In 2013, he received the Humanitarian Award from The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding. That same year, UMG was honoured with a SAG-AFTRA American Scene Award, recognising the company's commitment to diversity as exemplified by its "entire catalog and roster of artists." In 2014, he was awarded the President's Merit Award ("Icon Award") by the Recording Academy in recognition of his significant contributions to the music industry. In 2015, he will receive the Spirit of Life Award from the City of Hope, recognizing his outstanding achievements in business and his dedication to philanthropic causes.
- "Pre-GRAMMY Gala To Honor Lucian Grainge". Grammy.com.
- "Lucian Grainge: The 2015 Billboard Power 100". Billboard.
- "Lucian Grainge Tops Billboard's 2015 Power 100 List". FMQB.
- "New Boss for Universal Music, Lady Gaga Record Label – TIME". Time. 3 March 2010.
- "Billboard Reveals the 2013 Power 100". Billboard.
- "Can this man save the music business?". Los Angeles Times.
- "Billboard Power 100: Lucian Grainge Q&A". Billboard.
- "Crank it up: Russell Simmons, Universal Music launch label – on YouTube". CNET.
- The Rise of Lucian Grainge | Billboard.biz
- Vivendi: Lucian Grainge Promoted To Chief Executive Officer Universal Music Group | Universal Music
- Apple Signs Deal With Universal Music Group for iCloud, Major Publishers Also on Board | Billboard.biz
- Universal Music Group Launching Spotify Playlist Service for U.S. Fans | Billboard.biz
- BSkyB Corporate | Sky to Partner with Universal Music for Innovative New Digital Music Service
- Universal Music Group Expands Digster.Fm With Rdio, Putting Music Discovery At The Forefront | Universal Music
- Virgin Media And Universal Music To Launch World'S First Unlimited Music Download Subscription Service | Universal Music
- Vodafone and Universal Music Group International sign strategic partnership – Vodafone
- UMG Signs 'Idol' Deal With 19 Entertainment | Billboard.biz
- Baidu | Press Releases
- "India's Reliance, Universal tie up for 3G music services". The Independent (London). 5 August 2010.
- UMG's Bravado, Tommy Hilfiger Sign Global Branding Deal | Billboard.biz
- Live Nation Entertainment And Universal Music Group Announce Strategic Partnership | Universal Music
- EMI Publishing Goes to Sony, Label to Universal | Billboard.biz
- "How Universal Music CEO Lucian Grainge Became The Most Powerful Man in Music". Buzzfeed.
- "Universal Music CEO Lucian Grainge Says He'll 'Double A&R Investment' at Capitol, Virgin". Billboard.
- Atkinson, Claire. "The Fabric Four". New York Post.
- "The Beatles and Bravado Come Together". Universal Music Group.
- "A revitalized Capitol Records forges a new path forward". Los Angeles Times.
- "Grammy Awards bring gold to revitalized Capitol Records". Los Angeles Times.
- Williams, Brennan (24 July 2013). "All Def Music: Russell Simmons, Steve Rifkind, & Brian Robbins Partner To Launch New Label". Huffington Post.
- "UMG Sets Record With Nine of Top 10 Digital Singles". FMQB.
- Atkinson, Claire. "Universal a perfect 10 on Billboard 100". New York Post.
- "Take That in concert.... for 13-year-old's birthday party". Daily Mail (London). 2 December 2006.
- Lucian Grainge – Vivendi
- "2015 CREATIVE FUSION AWARD RECIPIENT". BritWeek.
- "SAG-AFTRA Announces American Scene Award Recipients". SAG-AFTRA One Union.
- "Pre-GRAMMY Gala To Honor Lucian Grainge". GRAMMY.com.
- "Lucian Grainge Receives Icon Award at Clive Davis' Pre-Grammy Gala As Music Industry Looks On". Billboard.
- "Lucian Grainge to Receive City of Hope Spirit of Life Award". Billboard.
- "DreamWorks Animation to Add Lucian Grainge, Jason Kilar to Board of Directors". The Hollywood Reporter.
- "Members of the Corporation 2013–2014". Northeastern University.
|Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Universal Music Group
1 January 2011 to Present