Blog 76: Who Are The Movers And Shakers In The Music Industry?

The Invisible Major Players

First of all a big shout to our brothers and sisters protesting in america for a good cause, we feel your pain. Let’s look deeper into the protesters for a second, hypothetically the US is has about 300 million in population. Let’s say 1 million of 300 million come out to protest in force against any cause, the media zoom in on the 1 million protesters and amplify to give the impression that the whole US is against the cause. Perhaps, just perhaps we failed to notice the louder force of the silent majority

Let’s now apply that concept to the entertainment industry and use music as an example. The popular music industry of today is nowhere near what it used to be and if your name is not in the lines of a Beyoncé, Drake, Adele, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Rihanna or David Guetta you are not really paid in a major way.

For some these big names like Jay Z run the industry, to be quite honest most don’t really care as long as they party to good music but there’s a reason it is called the music business. Those two words in the same context mean two different things, there’s the music part and there’s the business part of the industry, the people who run the business part own most (if not all) of the ones on the music side, the ones we see all the time on videos and social media including most of the big names you hear.

So who are these ‘invisible bullies’? who are these major players that can at anytime ruin the career of your favorite artistes should they feel like it? I will give you arguably the top 5 most powerful men in music and this is beyond Jay Z status.

#5- Lyor Cohen (The Servant)

This position is a tie which includes Irvan Azoff (the most powerful man in entertainment 2012) and Clive Davis (The man who started Bad Boy records with P.Diddy and ‘birthed’ the late great Whitney Houston) but Lyor Cohen took this position not because of his muscle in the industry but the work he put in since circa 1982.

Started off as an intern for Rick and Russell’s Def Jam as pretty much a delivery boy then climbed to be the road manager for RUN DMC, from there he worked his way up to become so powerful that he gave Jay Z his first and only Job to date working for someone else, The President of Def Jam. 

Some of the big stars he introduced to the world includes Will Smith, Jazzy Jeff, EPMD, De La Soul, DMX, Tribe Called Quest, Eric B & Rakim to name a few.

A die hard Hip Hop aficionado, Lyor don’t like been called a boss, he would rather you refer to his as a ‘servant’. After he left Def Jam, he moved on to Warner  Music Group and took the major label to a whole new level of success like overseeing a deal where Youtube is allowed to show videos of WMG artistes for a share of Youtube’s advertising revenue.

He left WMG and started 300 entertainment in 2012. Artistes currently signed to 300 include Fetty Wap, Dae Dae, Young Thug, Migos and Australian singer Conrad Sidwell.

#4- Gregory Maffei

This 56 year old is the president of Liberty Media Corporation and oversees its $6 billion revenue with 19,600 full and part time staff. LMC owns Live Nation Entertainment which is a merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation. 

Live nation signs and fund big name artistes as their concert promoters. Most notable artistes signed are Madonna, U2 (promo only) and funded Jay z’s Roc Nation to the alleged sum of $150m, the biggest 360 deal ever recorded.

His partner and chairman is billionaire John C Malone, estimated net worth= $7.2 billion.

#3- Lucian Grainge

Born in London, England this 56 year old is the chairman of Universal Music Group and oversees it’s $2 billion revenue. This man with his leadership owns or has a very large share of the following record labels:

  • Republic Records- Home to Drake, Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, Amy Winehouse, Ariana Grade
  • Capitol Music Group- How to Motown and Virgin Records
  • Interscope Geffen A&M Records- Home to Dr Dre, Eminem, Timbaland, Will I Am and Wiz Khalifah
  • Tuff Gong Records- Home to Bob Marley
  • Roc Nation (distribution deal)- Home to Jay Z
  • Def Jam- Home to Kanye West, Iggy Azalea and Leona Lewis

#2- Stephen Cooper

At the young age of 69, he is the chief of Warner Music Group and oversees its $3 billion revenue plus 4,000 employee. WMG owns the following label and many more:

  • Rhino Entertainment- Home to Frank Sinatra
  • OVO Sound- Drake’s record label.
  • Beluga Heights- Home to JR Rotem
  • Atlantic Records- Home to Ed Sheeran, Janelle Monae, Bruno Mars, Missy, David Guetta & Cold Play
  • Elektra Records- Home to Yolanda Adams, Tracy Chapman, Eagles, Fabolous, Weezer, Queen & Ziggy Marley

#1- Doug Morris

Now this is someone you want to be in his good books. Someone you don’t cross in this business.

Head of SONY Music Entertainment and oversees the division’s $5.5 billion revenue, the parent company SONY Corporation has an estimated net worth of $35 billion.

The following record labels are owned by or in association with Sony music :

  • Epic Records- Home to Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez, Ozzy Osborne & Sade
  • Bad Boy Records- Home to Puff Daddy
  • Columbia Records- Home to Celine Dion, Adele, Beyonce, Calvin Harris, Bruce Springsteen, Pink Floyd, Barbra Streisand, Pharrell Williams & Robbie Williams.

Please leave a comment to let us know what you think. 

Author: FR76

Exciting blog, great mixed music content!