From Hits Daily Double:
Since becoming the sole ruler of Universal Music Group at the beginning of 2011, Lucian Grainge has been diligently remaking the company according to a clearly defined set of priorities, starting with the building of a strong and aggressive A&R force dedicated to attracting and developing top talent. When EMI’s recorded-music assets became available earlier this year, Grainge saw an opportunity to exponentially increase UMG’s talent cache while also substantially enriching its catalog holdings, and though he wound up having to give up more than he would have liked, the respected English veteran scored a historic, landscape-shifting victory when the EU formally approved the $1.9 billion deal on Sept. 28.
During his first in-depth post-merger interview, an elated and affable Grainge laid out his vision for the combined UMG-EMI, point by point. What he didn’t (and couldn’t) reveal was that he’d been engaged in secret talks with Columbia Co-Chairman/COO Steve Barnett about the latter becoming the head of the new EMI—talks that were about to come to fruition. Every other topic was on the table.
Do Virgin and Parlophone have separate A&R teams in the U.K.?
Yes, but we will also build on what Virgin Records has accomplished and, at the same time, create a Capitol Records in the U.K., complete with its own creative team.
So Capitol will replace Parlophone as the other EMI U.K. label?
That’s right. You heard it here first. EMI has a different meaning depending on which continent you are speaking about. I’m learning this and trying to better understand it as we go along. The United States is about Capitol, and the U.K. and Europe are about EMI and Virgin. It is my ambition that we take advantage of the strengths that these identities have globally and geographically to where it can make the most difference. And I also see a great opportunity for us to really create an arc between Capitol Records in the United States and in the U.K. And that will be done with new artists, and we may even add resources that we have internally into Capitol to give it a leg up and to get it started. Capitol Records, West Coast music, that’s an important brand. It’s also a big part of West Coast American culture, and is a focus of my strategy and my investment choices.
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