LA Times: Can Lucian Grainge 'Save The Music Business?'
March 10, 2014 at 10:09 AM (PT)
Is UMG Chairman/CEO LUCIAN GRAINGE the man who can "save the music business?" Yes, writes DAWN C. CHMIELEWSKI in the LOS ANGELES TIMES.
"Skeptics question whether anyone can reverse the decline of an industry that has seen global sales plummet from $28 billion in 1999 to $16.5 billion in 2012. But if anyone can save the music business, it might be GRAINGE," notes the article. "As chairman of UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP, the biggest of the three remaining major record companies, few rival his influence in determining how people will listen to music, and how they will pay for it."
"He's the great hope for the music business," IRVING AZOFF told the paper. "He started as a song plugger and a publishing guy. He understands the entire worldwide record business. And he gets technology. He understands that's the future of the business."
The article notes, "many have counted out the business as a casualty of the digital age. GRAINGE, 54, contends that the music industry has turned a corner. Globally, annual sales rose 0.2% in 2012 -- a modest number, but the first growth since 1999. UNIVERSAL itself booked a profit of $706 million last year. The nascent recovery can be traced to the growing popularity of digital music services. PANDORA, SPOTIFY and other streaming enterprises are now the fastest-growing source of revenue for the industry, aided by the spread of smartphones. This has helped create new markets and allowed UNIVERSAL and other companies to collect monthly fees that provide a steady source of revenue. Satellite radio is starting to generate serious cash as well. Seven out of 10 new cars sold in the U.S. come equipped with satellite radios, and 25.6 million people pay to tune in. Royalties paid by SIRIUSXM are the largest chunk of the $590 million that labels and artists pocketed last year, according to SOUNDEXCHANGE, which collects and distributes music royalties."