All posts tagged Jimmy Iovine

Dueling plot lines continue at Sony & Universal Music; Interscope headed to a crossroads?

Big changes ahead?

The action at Sony Music under new leader Doug Morris has been closely followed and well-publicized, after less than two months under his belt at the top spot, with the recent somewhat brackish news consisting of new appointments and promotions as well as layoffs at the label group. Last week saw reporting that two more senior Jive executives who were thought to be heading to the new Epic label group under L.A. Reid, are instead leaving the building. Now it seems time for the dueling plot lines at Universal Music Group under Lucian Grainge to take the spotlight for a moment, with the CEO giving his first “major” interview to the New York Post (whose music biz coverage has continued to ramp up), appearing over the weekend. Grainge’s comments focused almost entirely on his A&R philosophy and conflict-based management style, saying “I’ve always liked to work in a state of creative conflict. It doesn’t mean you fall out with people in your company or an artist; it’s about discussing a song or direction.” Also emphasizing a “completely global approach,” which coincides with the naming yesterday of Andrew Kronfeld to a newly created position of President, Global Marketing. More new appointments include Karen Kwak to Executve Vice President, Head of A&R at the newly forming Island Def Jam Music Group, a promotion from previous senior A&R positions at the label, while Roc Nation producer No I.D. has been handed EVP A&R stripes at Def Jam Records. However, other comments from Grainge might be a different kind of omen, with word of layoffs in the A&R department at Interscope Records coming at the close of last week. Some insiders are indicating that label chief Jimmy Iovine, whose name could be considered synonymous with the Interscope brand, is losing interest in running the label and becoming more and more interested in outside ventures. Observers are curious what Grainge’s move would be if his resident hit-maker were to depart of his own accord, and who might be in line for his seat? Stay tuned…

The Brits Are Taking Over

With today’s announcement from Vivendi on the appointment of Lucian Grainge as Chief Executive Officer of Universal Music Group, expect the rumor mill to pump up the volume on what changes we can expect to happen within the UMG labels in the coming months. But before we delve into conjecture on the UMG side, it’s significant to point out the number of British executives running US major labels. Outside of Warner Music Group, the remaining three major label groups are run by Brits. The UK presence is quite prominent at the Rob Stringer-run Sony Music, particularly with the addition of Amanda Ghost at Epic, the recent addition of Ashley Newton at the Steve Barnett-helmed Columbia Records. And the Terra Firma-owned EMI Music Group maintains its US operations under Nick Gatfield, who served under Grainge during his stint as President of Island Records UK prior to his EMI post. Aside from Ghost, the aforementioned execs have solid working experience in US music companies. Barnett has been in the Sony US system for years, Newton’s previous post at RCA and his tenure co-running Virgin Records US makes him a very well-respected US exec, while Gatfield ran Polydor Records in the states during the ‘90s.

Back to UMG, Grainge will assume his new post on Jan. 1, 2011, succeeding current UMG CEO Doug Morris. Rumors of Grainge assuming Morris’ position have been swirling for months. Grainge is scheduled to relocate to NY in July as part of the transition. Industry insiders share that Universal Republic head Monte Lipman and brother Avery will have an expanded role at the music group, as well as Mercury Records head David Massey. It leaves to question the future roles of Island Def Jam ruler LA Reid and Universal Motown head Sylvia Rhone, who was a longtime Doug Morris protégé. And it’s fair to expect no major changes to happen at Jimmy Iovine’s Interscope label. Stay tuned…