Universal Music Group chairman and CEO Sir can cross off another entry from his bucket list. The veteran executive was named ’ Media Person of the Year at a ceremony held at Palais des Festivals in Cannes, France on June 21.
Among the industry names in attendance were UMG’s Michele Anthony, Mike Tunnicliffe, Andrew Kronfeld, Olivier Robert-Murphy, and Olivier Nusse, along with Jeffrey Katzenberg, Ron Howard, Lang Lang, Michael Kassan, Jamie N Commons, Casey Wasserman, Peter Rice, Glassnote Records’ Daniel Glass, and iHeartRadio’s Bob Pittman.
Grainge received the award from Philip Thomas, CEO of Cannes Lions, who noted that he was, “The first music executive to be honored since this award was first introduced in 1999, which says much about the convergence of entertainment with marketing and advertising.” Thomas hailed Grainge’s work with such artists as Elton John, Jay Z, Amy Winehouse, ABBA, The Rolling Stones, and Queen, and his time at UMG, describing the honoree as “the great hope for the music business … widely praised for his risk taking and innovation.”
In accepting the award, Grainge dedicated the honor to his late brother, . Read Grainge’s full speech below:
“Thank you very much for that, and thank you Philip, I am deeply honored for this award and also that I am the first member of the music industry to be here. That means a great deal to me and all of us.
No talent scout, no artist, no band, no label, no CEO, no creative executive ever succeeds on their own, and today I’d like to humbly thank those who made it possible for me to stand before you, including obviously, all of our recording artists and our songwriters.
My incredible team at Universal Music including all our label heads, our A&R team, our CEOs and our broader Vivendi family, in particular Vincent Bolloré, whose support and belief for me and us and the entire team has enabled us to achieve the kind of success and what we are trying to achieve in the transformation of this business.
As a kid who started out as a talent scout, my job has since changed in many ways. While our labels seek out great new talent, today I scout for brands and digital platforms and new forms of technology as well as great people to collectively work on behalf of our artists.
Bearing that in mind I am very proud to report that at Universal we’re engaging a completely new generation of music lovers around the world on a scale that we’ve never seen.
Our business, our connectivity, all that we do has to be about the music, and the quality of the music and the creativity is what connects all of us. That is our key focus.
At Lions, I have been incredibly inspired by what I’ve seen and the people I’ve met, by the diverse talents, even the presentations and the awards that have been given so far this evening…fabulous.
Everyone’s innovation and enthusiasm…that excites me and I’m sure it excites all of us in terms of all the things we can do together, so I thank you for that.
On one last note, I hope you don’t mind. I lost someone in my family last week and this is a big award for me, my older brother Nigel, who was a great music executive, so I’d like to dedicate this award on my behalf to my brother.”