Universal lures Columbia’s Steve Barnett to head up Capitol in US

Steve Barnett has been named Chairman & CEO of Capitol Music Group at Universal – which acquired the iconic brand as part of its buyout of the EMI Music business earlier this year.

Based in Los Angeles, at the iconic Capitol Records Tower, British exec Barnett wil report into Lucian Grainge, Chairman & CEO of UMG.

Barnett will be responsible for the overall management of the division which includes Capitol Records, Virgin Records, Blue Note, Astralwerks, Harvest, Capitol Christian Music Group, Caroline and the Capitol Studios.

The Capitol Music Group features such superstar artists as Katy Perry, 30 Seconds To Mars, The Beatles,  Norah Jones, Aaron Neville, Alice in Chains, A Fine Frenzy, Ryan Adams, Amos Lee and Emeli Sandé (for the US), among many others.

Barnett moves over from his role as Co-Chairman & COO of Columbia Records. Columbia’s US market share rose consistently throughout his tenure, resulting in a 50% increase in current market share (27% overall) between 2009 and 2012.

“As we begin to invest in and revitalize EMI globally, the Capitol Music Group, including Virgin, will play a central role in our creative and commercial initiatives. And there is no one better to spearhead this than Steve,” stated Mr. Grainge.

“His entrepreneurial approach and intuitive ability to build, strengthen and transform artists into powerful global brands has resulted in remarkable success.  I’m confident that under his leadership, a new and reinvigorated Capitol will provide the kind of environment needed for artists to develop, resulting in more opportunity than ever before.”

“Throughout my career in music, I’ve always been keenly aware of EMI’s impact on the world’s culture, so I could not be more excited and grateful for the opportunity Lucian has given me to build the Capitol Music Group into an exceptional record company,” added Mr. Barnett.

“I greatly appreciate his confidence in me, and I will work tirelessly to create a welcoming and supportive home for great artists while carefully tending the hugely important catalogue that defines the Capitol legacy.”

“It was not an easy decision to leave such a successful company as Columbia, with its incredibly talented artists and the team of people who work so hard on their behalf,” continued Barnett.   “However, I know that the label is in great hands and I wish them all the best in the future as I move on to my new company home.”

At Columbia, Barnett presided over highly successful campaigns for some of music’s most important developing and established artists, including Adele, Beyoncé, John Mayer, Jack White, The Shins, One Direction, Maxwell, Foster The People, J. Cole and Britain’s Got Talent superstar Susan Boyle.

He first joined Sony Music‘s Epic Records in 1996 as Senior Vice President, International, rising to Senior Vice President Worldwide Marketing for the label in 1997.  He served as Executive Vice President/ General Manager for four years after that, rising to label President in 2004. He was appointed Co-Chairman and COO of Columbia in 2005.Music Business Worldwide

Related Posts