Steve Barnett (music executive)
Barnett began his music career as an agent in London in 1970, working for the Bron Agency (Gerry Bron) and dealing with bands such as Colosseum and Uriah Heep. He became an agent for NEMS Enterprises, the company originally formed by Beatles manager Brian Epstein. While there from 1972 to 1974, Barnett represented artists such as Elton John, Black Sabbath, and Deep Purple. He briefly managed 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. 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, and 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 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 oversaw critically acclaimed and commercially successful albums by artists including Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, Celine Dion, and Harry Connick Jr.
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 every decade from the 1960s through the 2000s with her album Love Is the Answer.
Capitol Music Group
In November 2012 Barnett became Chairman and CEO of the Capitol Music Group. Barnett broadened the company's portfolio of labels in 2013, inking high-profile deals with T Bone Burnett (Electromagnetic Recordings) and Troy Carter (Atom Factory), as well as a partnership with Arcade Fire for that band's Reflektor album.
In October 2013, it was announced that Beck signed to Capitol Records. On January 21, 2014, Barnett announced the signing of Neil Diamond to a long-term recording agreement with Capitol Records. The contract united Diamond's Columbia, UNI/MCA, and Bang catalogues of recorded music for the first time, encompassing the artist's entire body of recorded work.
On July 24, 2014, Capitol's Sam Smith made U.S. pop music history when his debut album In the Lonely Hour sold more copies in its first week of release – 166,000 – than any other debut album by a UK male artist in the 23-year history of Soundscan. The album entered the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart at #2.
Capitol Recording artists 5 Seconds Of Summer became the first Australian artists to enter the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart at #1 with its first full-length album on July 30, 2014. The band's self-titled debut album sold 259,000 copies in its first week of release, achieving the third largest weekly sales tally of the year, to date.
On December 5, 2014, Capitol Music Group artists and recordings received 44 Grammy nominations for 2015, including multiple nominations for Sam Smith (6 nominations including Album Of The Year for In the Lonely Hour and Record Of The Year and Song Of The Year for "Stay with Me"), Beck (4 nominations, including Album Of The Year and Best Rock Album for Morning Phase), Ryan Adams (3 nominations, including Best Rock Album for 2014's Ryan Adams), Rosanne Cash (3 nominations, including Best Americana Album for The River & the Thread), Robert Glasper Experiment (2 nominations including Best R&B Album for Black Radio 2) and Katy Perry (2 nominations, including Best Pop Vocal Album for Prism).
On January 9, 2015, Billboard Magazine announced that Capitol Music Group ranked #2 in Industry Market Share plus TEA for the 2014 calendar (7.91%), as tracked by Nielsen SoundScan. It marked the company's highest such ranking in decades, and highlighted CMG's successful turnaround over the previous 24 months since the company was purchased by Universal Music Group in 2012 as part of its acquisition of EMI. In 2012, Nielsen Soundscan ranked CMG at #5 with 6.61%, and the company's leap to #2 quantified a growth in market share of 20%.
On February 8, 2015, Capitol Music Group artists won 12 Grammy Awards, marking the first time in Grammy history that one label swept the big four categories: Album Of The Year (for Beck's Morning Phase) and Record Of The Year (Sam Smith's "Stay With Me"), Song Of The Year ("Stay With Me") and Best New Artist (Sam Smith). Beck also received a Grammy for Best Rock Album (Morning Phase), while Sam Smith won his fourth Grammy in the category of Best Pop Vocal Album (In The Lonely Hour). Blue Note recording artist Rosanne Cash won Best Americana Album for The River & the Thread, plus Best American Roots Performance and Best American Roots Song for "A Feather's Not A Bird." Additional CMG artists to win Grammys included Robert Glasper, who was awarded a statue for Best Traditional R&B Performance for "Jesus Children" from his Black Radio 2 album, and Smokie Norful, who won Best Gospel Performance for "No Greater Love." The 57th Annual Grammy Awards telecast featured performances by numerous CMG artists, including Beck, Annie Lennox, Katy Perry and Sam Smith.
On August 16, 2016, Barnett announced that Paul McCartney had signed a worldwide recording agreement with Capitol Records and that the deal encompassed the artist's entire body of post-Beatles work, as well as new recordings. McCartney is currently working on a new studio album, and working with Capitol on a comprehensive plan for his back catalogue.
In December, 2013, Barnett completed a year-long renovation of the Capitol Records Tower in Hollywood, California.
On November 1, 2016, Barnett announced a slate of activities related to Capitol Records' 75th Anniversary celebration beginning on November 15 and continuing through 2017. Events include a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the proclamation of November 15 as Capitol Records Day in the city of Los Angeles, and release of a 75-album vinyl collection of historic recordings.
- 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. Archived from the original on October 21, 2012. Retrieved Oct 23, 2012.
- Staff, Billboard (January 20, 2014). "Neil Diamond Signs With Capitol Records (Exclusive)". Billboardbiz.
- Forman, Olivia (June 25, 2014). "Sam Smith Sings His Way To U.S. Sales Record". Spin.
- Grein, Paul (July 30, 2014). "Chart Watch: 10 Facts About 5 Seconds Of Summer". Yahoo News.
- "57th Annual GRAMMY Awards Nominees". Grammy.com. December 5, 2014.
- Christman, Ed (January 9, 2015). "Music In 2014". Billboard Magazine.
- Lewis, Randy (February 3, 2015). "A Revitalized Capitol Records Forges A New Path Forward". Los Angeles Times.
- Lewis, Randy (August 17, 2016). "Paul McCartney signs new contract returning his solo career to Capitol". Los Angeles Times.
- Halperin, Shirley. "Inside Capitol Records' Newly Redesigned Digs (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
- "Tower 75: Cue Fanfare)". Hits Magazine.
- "Capitol Records Readies Year-Long 75th Anniversary Celebration)". Music Business Worldwide.
|Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Capitol Music Group