Jody Gerson is the CEO and Chair of Santa Monica-headquartered Universal Music Publishing Group.
Gerson joined UMPG in 2015, having previously operated as Co-President of Sony/ATV Music Publishing.
In doing so, she became the first woman to run and chair a major global music company.
Jody Gerson: Career History
Jody Gerson began her career at Warner/Chappell Music, working there for six years.
After a successful stint at Warner/Chappell, Gerson joined EMI Music Publishing as Head of their East Coast publishing unit. After managing this unit for three years, Gerson was tasked with revamping EMI’s stalled West Coast publishing division. She led EMI’s West Coast division for seventeen years, constructing a roster of songwriters which proved to be both commercially and critically acclaimed.
Gerson signed acts such as Alicia Keys and Norah Jones. Alicia Keys–who was fourteen-years-old when signed by Gerson–secured five Grammy Awards and sold 10,000,000 copies with her debut album. Norah Jones likewise won five Grammy Awards for her album Come Away with Me.
After twenty years at EMI, Gerson moved to Sony/ATV Music Publishing to serve as Co-President. She signed and managed artists including Pharrell Williams, Enrique Iglesias, Mac Miller, and Pitbull. In one of her first moves at Sony, Gerson signed the unknown Lady Gaga who would later become one of the most globally renowned artists.
Six years after joining Sony/ATV, Gerson relocated to UMPG to assume the role of Chairman and CEO in 2015. Since then, Gerson has led UMPG to increase revenues by 76% and has played a key role in signing new artists and purchasing the catalogs of aging artists. Artists signed by Gerson include Kendrick Lamar, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, and Harry Styles. She also led the acquisition of Bob Dylan’s songwriting catalog for an estimated $300 million dollars.
Jody Gerson: Professional Philosophy
In all of Jody Gerson’s previous positions, she continuously worked for Martin Bandier. As reported by Music Business Worldwide, Gerson stated that she “took the [UMPG] job after being in the music business for about 25 years, working for basically the same person through various companies.” When renegotiating her contract at Sony/ATV to become the sole President, Bandier “just wouldn’t do it.”
Instead of following Bandier as she had done for a quarter-century, Gerson was done being the “loyal good girl” and decided to “take [her] power” by moving to UMPG.
In doing so, Gerson noted that she was fighting against the male-dominated status quo of the executive ranks in the music industry. Instead of replicating how men have run music companies, Gerson has made it her mission to “[identify] women…who can succeed and excel,” while also “making sure we change the culture so that they also have full lives.”Music Business Worldwide