The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity named Sir Lucian Grainge, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Universal Music Group (UMG), as the 2017 Media Person of the Year at the annual Festival. Grainge is the first music executive to be recognised since the award launched in 1999.
Media Person of the Year recognises innovators who have shaped the future of media. The award will be presented to Grainge at a ceremony on Wednesday, 21 June 2017, during the Festival.
During a career spanning nearly four decades in the music business, Grainge signed and worked with many global stars, including ABBA, Justin Bieber, Elton John, Jay Z, Katy Perry, Queen, Rihanna, The Rolling Stones, Sam Smith, U2 and Amy Winehouse.
Widely credited for laying the foundation that has led to the music industry’s return to growth after more than a decade of decline, Grainge developed new approaches to the signing and development of global recording artists and songwriters and championed innovative business models and created partnerships with a wide range of international technology and media partners.
Philip Thomas, CEO of Ascential Events, organisers of Cannes Lions, said, “Through creative drive, passion and outstanding leadership, Sir Lucian has made bold investments in music and technology that helped return the industry to growth, while continuing to foster an environment that puts artists first. During his tenure, Grainge has transformed Universal Music Group into a world leader in music-based entertainment and we’re delighted to honour him as this year’s Media Person of the Year.”
Grainge commented, “While today’s music industry is virtually unrecognizable from the business I started in, one thing that hasn’t changed is that great artists and great music remain at the heart of everything we do. We are proud to demonstrate how traditional media businesses can reinvent themselves in the age of streaming, leverage new technologies and work closely with brand partners to develop exciting opportunities for artists, labels and fans. On behalf of everyone at UMG and all of our recording artists and songwriters, we’re very thankful to Cannes Lions for this honour.”
In 2011, Grainge led UMG’s successful acquisition of the recorded music assets of the legendary British music company EMI, revitalizing its iconic Capitol Records, and, in the process, further strengthening UMG’s position as the global leader in music. Under his leadership, the company set numerous creative records including being the first music company to score all 10 of the top 10 spots on the Billboard Hot 100.
In 2016, Grainge was knighted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in the Queen’s 90th Birthday Honours list for accomplishments in the music industry and leadership through its challenging times, contributions to British business and inward investment.
Grainge also serves on the boards of Lionsgate Entertainment Corp., a premier next generation global content leader, and Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts.