Universal Music Group (UMG), the world leader in music-based entertainment, today announced that, to capitalize on the worldwide growth in the consumption of classical and jazz repertoire, the company will focus its global artist development and marketing strategy for those genres under a unified management structure. Dickon Stainer, President and CEO of Universal Classics and Jazz, will assume direct responsibility for the New York-based Verve Label Group, and will be tasked with providing the label group with a new global focus. This new role will be in addition to his existing responsibilities overseeing the division including Deutsche Grammophon and the Decca Label Group. Stainer will divide his time between New York and London. Graham Parker, President, Universal Music Classics U.S., will report directly to Stainer.
Danny Bennett, President & CEO, Verve Label Group, will depart and continue to run his artist management and strategic marketing company RPM Productions.
In making the announcement, Sir Lucian Grainge, Chairman and CEO, Universal Music Group, said, “Dickon is an extraordinarily creative leader with an open-minded approach to identifying artists and then marketing them in groundbreaking ways. I’ve personally witnessed his success for two decades, dating to our work together to ensure classics and jazz were highly present in contemporary music. Most recently he has placed our classics and jazz artists and composers at the center of the streaming revolution. I look forward to accelerating our efforts by unifying these teams under a single global strategy so we can deliver the greatest possible success for our artists.”
Grainge added, “I’d like to thank Danny for helping to revitalize Verve and bringing some extraordinary artists into the UMG family. We look forward to working with him in the future.”
Bennett said, “Being the CEO and president of Verve Label Group has been a remarkable experience and an incredible opportunity. I’m proud to be able to say that the company is now the leading Jazz and Classical label in the U.S. It has been an honor to work with Sir Lucian Grainge and Michele Anthony, along with the whole UMG family, and I’m thankful for the privilege of being able to build an amazing roster of new artists as well as a talented team of creative professionals who share my passion for the music.”
Stainer said, “Classical and jazz are amongst the musical wonders of the world. Streaming has opened a flood of discovery and has further enabled us to ensure our artists have a global reach. The developing international success of Max Richter, Gregory Porter, Lang Lang, Jacob Collier and Sheku Kanneh-Mason, among others, has demonstrated that we need to work with a seamlessly coordinated global approach achieves the greatest results possible on behalf of our exceptional artists.”
Verve Label Group is home to the historic Verve and Impulse labels, and the US home to world-famous labels Deutsche Grammophon, Decca and ECM, with a storied roster and catalogue which includes Diana Krall, John Coltrane and Ella Fitzgerald, as well as up-and-coming artists J.S. Ondara, Shabaka Hutchings, Ezinma and City of the Sun.
The move to further internationalize Verve follows a significant year of global success for Universal Classics and Jazz worldwide in 2018 including Andrea Bocelli’s first-ever U.S. and U.K. No. 1 album on Decca, the continued global growth of Deutsche Grammophon composer Max Richter and the emergence on the international stage of Decca’s young British cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason. Releases in 2019 include superstar pianist Lang Lang and the world’s foremost steaming composer, Ludovico Einaudi. Other highlights include the success of ground-breaking artists such as Mercury KX’s Ólafur Arnalds (Iceland) and Deutsche Grammophon’s Joep Beving (Netherlands).
Super-serving the classical community through new signings such as Norwegian soprano Lise Davidsen and award-winning pianist Víkingur Ólafsson, and amplifying global jazz greats, from ECM’s iconic artists to Blue Note France’s international star Gregory Porter, underscore the vibrancy of UMG’s contemporary classical and jazz roster.
Alongside pioneering new partnership opportunities with artists, exemplified by Decca Publishing, a new company for composers of new music and scores, 2018 also saw the launch of Deutsche Grammophon’s exceptional 120th anniversary celebrations, which will be followed in 2019 by ECM’s 50th, Blue Note’s 80th, and a landmark 90th for Decca. Blue Note Records in the US continues to operate as part of Capitol Music Group.