One of the UK’s most respected major music executives, Max Lousada, has been promoted to the global top tier of Warner Music Group.
Lousada, currently Chairman & CEO of Warner Music UK, is officially becoming CEO, Recorded Music for Warner Music Group from October 1.
The promotion will see Lousada split his time between London and New York, while overseeing all of Warner’s recorded music teams – including Atlantic, Warner Bros., Parlophone, Warner Music Nashville, Global Catalog/Rhino and Warner Classics, as well as WMG’s international Recorded Music affiliates and WMG’s Artist & Label Services divisions, WEA and ADA.
Reporting to WMG CEO Steve Cooper, Lousada will continue to lead Warner Music UK alongside his new worldwide responsibilities.
He is Warner Music Group’s first dedicated CEO of recorded music since Lyor Cohen, who left the major in 2012.
The confirmation of Lousada’s new deal puts an end to any speculation that he may leave Warner for a rival major music company.
The exec is rumored to have been on Rob Stringer’s shortlist as a potential new boss at Columbia Records in New York.
Former Columbia chief Stringer became CEO of Sony Music Entertainment on April 1, and now has the tricky task of finding someone to succeed him in the role.
“It was obvious from when I first met him that Max had an amazing music brain; his passion and knowledge is second-to-none and he has been responsible for so many artists’ success stories.”
Steve Cooper said: “With WMG breaking more superstars and leading the industry’s transition to streaming, this is the perfect time to appoint a proven leader to turbocharge the success of our Recorded Music division.
“Max’s wide-ranging achievements make him the natural choice. Since taking over the helm of Warner Music UK, he has continued to build his reputation for identifying and developing world-class artistic and executive talent.
“At the same time, he’s transformed our UK operation, with an inspired vision of a truly progressive music company in the 21st century. He’s the consummate music man, always exploring what we can do differently to benefit our artists, their fans, our people and our partners. I’m looking forward to working with Max as he leads our outstanding Recorded Music management team.”
Len Blavatnik, Founder & Chairman of Access Industries, said: “Max has developed Warner Music UK into the premier home for British artists and a center of music innovation. WMG’s artists and our global Recorded Music operations will greatly benefit from his creative thinking and artist development expertise.”
Max Lousada was named Warner Music UK CEO in 2013, stepping up from his role as Chairman of Atlantic UK – where his roster included Ed Sheeran, Paolo Nutini, James Blunt, Plan B, Damien Rice, Birdy and Rudimental.
“Max’s wide-ranging achievements make him the natural choice. Since taking over the helm of Warner Music UK, he has continued to build his reputation for identifying and developing world-class artistic and executive talent. ”
Long-time Asylum/Atlantic signing Ed Sheeran said today: “It was obvious from when I first met him that Max had an amazing music brain; his passion and knowledge is second-to-none and he has been responsible for so many artists’ success stories. I am so happy for him that this is being recognised with this new role.”
Over the past three calendar (2013-2016) years, under Lousada’s stewardship, Warner Music UK has increased its market share in singles and albums (including all definitions of ‘albums’) more than any other UK major – by 3.9% in singles, by 3.3% in artist albums AES, and in all albums AES by 3.5%.
In the same period, it was the only UK major to grow in ‘pure’ artist album sales terms (ie. physical and digital purchases only) – by 4.1%.
As Warner Music UK boss, Lousada has also integrated Parlophone into the major’s setup following WMG’s acquisition of the ex-EMI label group for £487m in February 2013.
One big Parlophone success story has been Coldplay, who were recently named the biggest-selling band in the world by the IFPI following the release of A Head Full of Dreams.
The group said in a statement: “Max is the perfect package: a man of honour and principle with a brilliant mind and a deep love of music.”
“Max is the perfect package: a man of honour and principle with a brilliant mind and a deep love of music.”
Ed Sheeran has this year smashed records around the world with the release of ÷ (Divide), while his single “Shape of You” is the longest running No.1 for a British artist since the early ‘90s.
Other recent highlights of Lousada’s reign at Warner Music UK include the emergence of Clean Bandit, whose single Rockabye recently spent nine weeks at No.1, and Jess Glynne – whose debut album was among the UK’s Top 10 bestsellers for two years in a row.
Max Lousada said: “I came to Warner because it’s always been such a fantastic melting pot of independent spirits uniting to champion artists that change culture and make music that matters. Fourteen years later, that ethos is as strong as ever, so I’m delighted to have the opportunity to build on those foundations with my extremely gifted partners around the world.
“Together, we’ll continue to create an environment where talent has the support and the freedom to flourish, where we empower our artists and our people to be true pioneers, and where we inspire audiences to be as excited about music as we are. I would like to thank Len and Steve for their tremendous support.”
Lousada began his music industry career straight out of college, founding his own distribution company, In A Silent Way.
In 2000, he became the European Managing Director for the influential New York-based hip-hop label Rawkus Records, where he worked with artists such as Mos Def, Black Star, Talib Kwali and Pharoahe Monch.
In 2002, he joined Mushroom Records as Head of A&R, signing ambient dance act Zero 7 and overseeing releases from acts such as Muse, Ash, Garbage and DJ Paul Oakenfold. .
Following Warner Music UK’s acquisition of Mushroom Records in 2003, Lousada became Head of A&R at Atlantic UK, rising to President, before being named Chairman in 2009.Music Business Worldwide