Who is the biggest noise in the music industry?

Market Leaders Pick Their Market Leader

Paul Conroy

President,

Virgin Records, UK

IF I had to pick out one individual who works for the entire industry, it would have to be John Deacon, the director-general of the BPI. He's always working for the overall good of every company. He's not in the most glamorous end of the business, but does his job with style and grace.

John has achieved an enormous amount over the years, in particular his work with the Government. But the record industry has many talented people. I really admire the Artist & Repertoire people who discover and make records and am extremely lucky to have two such individuals within the Virgin organisation in Ashley Newton and David Boyd.

Richard Griffiths

Chairman

BMG Entertainment International, UK and Ireland

The music industry is becoming increasingly more competitive as a business. These days to be an outstanding leader in music, you not only have to have the ability to spot talent, and develop and manage the artists you sign, but you also need to be a savvy business person. EMI's Ken Berry is someone I admire for his ability to combine a charismatic and personal touch with his artists with a keenly astute business sense.

He's a `babyfaced killer' negotiator, and someone who is willing to put his neck on the line for something he believes in. Two of his best moves in the last few years were to sign Janet Jackson and the Rolling Stories. This business is about taking risks and being decisive about what you believe in.

As a manager, Ken trusts his people and is very good about letting them get on with their jobs. Additionally, I admire the fact that his wine cellar is even better than mine.

Paul Birch

Managing Director,

Revolver Music

A MAN in the industry I very much admire is Tony Wadsworth of EMI. He is a very moderate chap and a negotiator with a light touch. There are some difficult issues which crop up in music which can bring companies into confrontation so, obviously, his light touch is a good thing.

Paul Burger should be mentioned purely because he brought Celine Dion to the world. And also because he's an extraordinary man. One day he's bound to become the boss of Sony Worldwide. He's not at all showy and has a conservative manner. I think he'll prove to be a long-distance runner.

Finally, I'd like to mention Rob Dickens who has progressed from the bottom to the top. He was a firm hand at Warners when it needed it and is now chairman of BPI. About two weeks ago set up his own label - Instant Karma.

He handles the difficult issues with judgement and reason. It may seem like the entertainment business is all fun, but there are constantly knives at our backs. He manages to work through the chaos with dignity and humour. The one quality these three all have in common is vision. That's the most difficult commodity to both find and retain.

Sean O'Brien

Chairman,

Telstar

The man in the industry who particularly stands out for me is Nick Phillips of Warner Music. In music industry terms, at 35 years old he's very young to be such a high-profile executive, but I think that he's heading up a new school of record executives. His open style of management is vastly different from that of the old school which tended to be far more autocratic. His lack of ego is refreshing in our particular arena and also, I think, endears him both to his colleagues and competitors. He is a very clear thinker who rarely shoots from the hip and is a considered operator which is important in this fast-moving business. You'd expect anyone successful in the music business to have an astute musical brain which, indeed, Nick has but what marks him out particularly, as I said, is his laid back style. For me, he heralds a whole new era of executives.

Jeremy Pearce

Chief Executive

V2 Music Group

The apparently freewheeling music business is actually dominated by the five major record companies - big businesses answerable to shareholders and therefore employing corporate administrators as chief executives. Fortunately this leaves a niche for independent companies like V2 which can make up in creativity what they lack in financial by more creative people. Although he recently tried to pinch one of V2's key people, I still believe the best music executive in the major sphere is my old boss, Jorgen Larsen, who has the biggest job in the music business, chairman of Universal Music International. Universal is the world's largest music company since its takeover of PolyGram last year. To satisfactorily combine the two companies' cultures and rosters of artists is probably an impossible task, but Jorgen is the best person to have a crack at it, being not only a superb polyglot business administrator with international perspective, but also someone who understands music and has respect for his subordinates.

The most accomplished leader in the UK independent sphere has to be Martin Mills of Beggars Banquet, who has experience of the entire music business and would grace any major record company, but has always chosen to remain independent. He has recently been instrumental in establishing the indies' representative body, AIM. The greatest ever record company boss is Berry Gordy Junior, who started his career as songwriter for Jackie Wilson but went on to establish the finest independent record company of them all, Tamla Motown, at one time the world's largest black-owned corporation, the like of which won't be seen again.

Alan McGee

Chairman,

Creation Records

Were I to have to chose the people I admire most in the music industry, I would chose the ones who possessed a relentless vision of music and the sub-culture from which it grows and is nurtured. But I'd rather not spare any thoughts for the music industry really. It depresses me. However, there is one character who impresses me immensely: Lincoln Elias from Sony's S2. He's a black guy and has done incredibly well considering the music business tends to be both sexist and racist. It's incredibly hard for anyone to make their mark as at times it seems to be run by public schoolboys. However, Lincoln has because ultimately you're judged by who you sign and whether you sell records. It's a business in which it's hard to be consistent and yet Lincoln is. Lincoln's genius lies in his complete love of music.

John Kennedy

Chairman and Chief Executive

Universal Music UK Ltd

One man I particularly admire in the business is Rob Dickens who has been chairman of Warner and is now chairman of Instant Karma, which has only been in existence for a couple of weeks. He has ended up as a highly regarded senior player in the record industry which I would say is an ageist one. He's shown you can stay young and that age isn't relevant and that such a broad ranging experience can only be a plus. The best use he's put his experience to is as chairman of BPI where he's shown a level of professionalism to be proud of. Certainly I am happy that there will be a slight respite from his direction while he builds up his new company.

Alan McGee of Creation is a well respected player in the independent sector of the industry. He's got intense entrepreneurial skills which have enabled him to build up his company from zero with tens of pounds rather than millions to what is now a company with an impressive empathy with its artists. And delivering to us in Oasis one of the most significant Brit bands for a long time, just when we needed a shake-up.

Tony Wadsworth

President and Chief Executive

EMI Records Group UK

To paraphrase the Clash, a lot of what we do is "turning rebellion into money". From a business point of view, I admire executives who can build up a business and manage the commercial aspects of the job, while protecting, preserving and promoting the vision and integrity of the artist - like Chris Blackwell with Island Records and Bob Marley, or Ahmet Ertegun with Atlantic Records.

There are also people who managed to do that successfully within the context of a larger organisation, such as John Hammond at Columbia Records and George Martin at Parlophone. As the business gravitates to a few multinationals, we can all learn a lot from their example. I think Ken Berry of EMI Recorded Music manages to cultivate that creative freedom within a large organisation.

At its worst, the business can seem to be a collection of opposing interests - record company, artists, manager, lawyer, retailer, etc... but it works best when there is a shared purpose, teamwork and respect. The artists manager or representative can be crucial in helping this happen, so I have huge respect for Roger Davies who manages to do this across a host of major artists like Tina Turner, Janet Jackson, Joe Cocker, M People and many others.

Interviews By

Sally Chatterton

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Prince Harry is clearing enjoying the Commonwealth Games judging by this photo
people(a real one this time)
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Your picture is everything in the shallow world of online dating
i100
Life and Style
Attractive women on the Internet: not a myth
techOkCupid boasts about Facebook-style experiments on users
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
football
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

PA / Team Secretary - Wimbledon

£28000 - £32000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: PA / Team Secretary - Mat...

HR Business Partner (Maternity Cover 12 Months)

£30000 - £34000 Per Annum 25 days holiday, Private healthcare: Clearwater Peop...

Business Analyst - London - Banking - £400-£450

£400 - £450 per day: Orgtel: Business Analyst - Credit Risk - Banking - London...

Project Manager,Conduct Risk,London,£5-600pd

£500 - £600 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on