Universal Norway boss Petter Singsaas exits major after 22 years

There’s been another big change at an international office of Universal Music Group.

Petter Singsaas has led Universal Music Norway for 22 years, making him the longest-serving major label head in Norwegian music history.

MBW has learned that Singsaas will leave this role ‘under mutual agreement’ on September 1.

After this date, the exec will launch a JV with Universal that will operate in areas including Recording, Publishing, Management, Corporate events and Bookings.

Singsaas is at least the sixth UMG territory boss to go this year, following the departure of Pascal Negre in France (replaced by Olivier Nusse), Randall Abrahams in South Africa (replaced by Sipho Dlamini), Hannes Eder in Austria (replaced by Cornelius Ballin) and José Eboli in Brazil (replaced by Paulo Lima) – plus the exit of two UMPG heads, with Bob Aird (Australia) retiring and Paul Connolly (UK) being replaced by Mike McCormack.

UMG completed the restructuring of Universal Music Group International in Q1, with around 50 jobs affected. The major’s territory bosses now report directly into Universal HQ in Santa Monica.

per sundin Universal

“Petter came to me approximately a year ago telling me he wanted to leave… we tried to talk him into staying, but his decision was final.”

Per Sundin, UMG

An internal memo sent to UMG staff confirming Singsaas’s exit has been obtained by MBW.

It reads: “For all of you who know Petter, you know about his unique A&R skills, the incredible number of artist signings he has achieved, and how he has contributed to the careers of an endless number of national and international artists and stars.

“During this time with Universal Music Norway, Petter has not only served as the embodiment of our company, but he has also served as a globally respected ambassador of the entire Norwegian music industry. His contributions to Norway’s strong standing in the global music business are impressive, to say the least.”

In 2015, Universal Music Norway recorded its most successful market performance in history.

In the memo, Per Sundin, Managing Director of Universal Music Sweden/Senior Vice President Nordic Region, says: “Petter came to me approximately one year ago telling [me] that he wanted to leave the company during 2016. We tried to talk him into staying, but his decision was final.

“Petter has shown true leadership through his years as Head of Norway and always delivered more than expected. He also stepped up early in the development of new artists and their music, both domestic and international. Petter’s career has been nothing short of phenomenal.


“Petter is a brilliant networker and a wise manager.”

Frank Briegmann, UMG

“His great knowledge and interest, his reputation as an early adopter, but most importantly his fantastic skill to find, nurture, develop and break new artists has put Norway on the map as the break-out market for both domestic and international artists.

“Thank you Petter for all your hard and dedicated work and great achievements at Universal Music.”

Frank Briegmann, President & CEO Central Europe Universal Music and Deutsche Grammophon, adds: “Petter has been an institution for many years and I am glad that, as part of my international work, we have been able to collaborate even closer together.

“I know him as a brilliant networker and a wise manager. So I am particularly happy that we will be able to continue our cooperation under these new conditions.

“I want to thank Petter for his long commitment to the success of our artists and the company, and I wish him the best of luck and our joint venture a successful future and many great projects.“

Norway’s recorded music business grew by 6.9% in 2015 to NOK 646m ($74.3m).

In the first half of this year, it grew again, with H1 2016 up 7.8% on the prior year’s six-month result.

According to the IFPI, Norway enjoyed the second-biggest per capita annual spend from music fans in 2015 – with its citizens shelling out an average of $20.30 on recorded music across the year.

It was overtaken by the UK in the league table, which is now at No.1 with a $21.10 per capita spend.Music Business Worldwide

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