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The leading global music execs of 2019



According to the IFPI Global Music Report 2019, the global music market grew by 9.7% in 2018. It was marked as the fourth consecutive year of growth. Figures released in the IFPI report show total revenues for 2018 to be US$19.1 billion.

In terms of the world’s biggest music markets, the U.S. retains its long-held position at number one, followed by Japan. The U.K moves into third place, overtaking Germany. France remains fifth and South Korea is sixth. Having broken into IFPI’s top ten global rankings for the first time last year, China is now the seventh largest market internationally with around 33 million subscribers to streaming services. The rest of the top ten is made up of Australia, Canada, and Brazil.

The music industry is ideated and run by the music executives. From competitive indie record labels to Korean bands breaking records, these executives have designed the global music industry in the past year. The penetration of regional music to the global mainstream, the music industry has become an unpredictable powerhouse thanks to the leading executives of the industry.


Top 5 Global Music Executives

Variety lately released their International Music Impact Report: The Power Players Across the World. The report lists major music executives in the world today. The list includes 26 Music Executives worldwide.

1. Williard Ahdritz

Global music execs

Willard Ahdritz founded Kobalt in 2000.  He wanted to make the music industry transparent and rewarding for the music makers. Kobalt’s collection has grown 30% over the past fiscal year to a record $494 million, with $600 million anticipated for next year. AWAL (Artists Without a Label) also grew 50% in revenue. Artists, including the Wombats, Lauv and Little Simz, as well as a partnership with Glassnote, drove the division’s revenue jump. It was reported that Lauv had 2.2 billion global streams.

It represents some of the world’s greatest artists like Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl, Beck and Childish Gambino. As of now, more than 40% of the top 100 songs and albums in the U.S. and U.K. is represented by Kobalt Music Group.


2. Bang Si-Hyuk

Global music execs

CEO and executive producer of Big Hit Entertainment, Bang Shi Hyuk a lyricist himself has taken Korean Pop Culture overseas. Founded in the year 2005, Big Hit label includes artists like BTS, Tomorrow X Together, and soul ballad singer, Lee Hyun. Fortunately, due to BTS’ record-breaking expansion in business, Big Hit has received the best record in both rate of return and the size of business in 2017-18.

On March 2019, Big Hit disclosed that their Operating Profit in 2018 increased 97% from its previous year making a jump of 64.1 billion Korean won ($56.72 million). They also collected revenue of 214 billion KRW ($189.38 million), a 132% on-year gain. Big Hit’s 2018 net income was 50.2 billion KRW ($44.41 million), up 105% year-on-year.


3. Stu Bergen

Global music execs

Stu Bergen has been the man behind the expansion of global recorded music business outside of the U.S and the U.K. The revenue gains overseas are particularly in Japan. The focus on streaming has helped find success for artists like Aimyon and Twice. WEA Corporation, the company’s global distribution and artists and label services arm, as well as ADA, provides worldwide services to independent labels and artists has also been under his control.

The music company’s revenue surpassed $1.2 bn for the first quarter which is up by 15% from the company’s first quarter in 2018. Warner Music Group enjoyed the increase in revenue from $1.045 bn in the corresponding period in the prior year, while also seeing net income rise to $86 mn from $5 mn.

4. Emma Banks, Chris Dalston, Mike Greek, Marlene Tsuchii

global music

CAA’s music division marked its 35th anniversary last January. The American Talent based agency, with annual revenue over $500 million and 2,000 employees is driven by 190 music-division clients who headline at theatres, arenas, amphitheatres or stadiums, including and outside of North America. Artists like Ed Sheeran, Harry Styles, Ariana Grande, Bon Jovi, Sam Smith, One Republic etc. are some of the artists under Creative Artists Agency.

Classified as operating in the agents & managers for artists, it also caters to athletes, entertainers & other public figures from the industry. In 2018, according to the agency, artists represented by CAA generated up to $5 billion in revenue. Ariana Grande’s “Sweetener” trek, sold 1 million-plus ticket meanwhile, Enrique Iglesias went on to selling out 25 arenas across Europe.


5. Charles Caldas

global music

Merlin, the global digital rights agency with 800+ members, represents 20,000 indie record labels across 62 countries. To date, Merlin has licensed all leading new generation digital music services. to ensure that independent music is appropriately represented and valued in the digital market.

Merlin is owned and controlled by a not-for-profit foundation, supervised by a member-elected board. It works to represent the wider independent label community and provide better service at a low cost. The total distribution to Merlin’s Japanese independent record label members has increased by over 200% year-on-year. Last year, Merlin delivered more than a half-billion dollars to its members.


Check the entire International Music Impact Report: The Power Players Across the World here.




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Aakanksha Sharma

Author: Aakanksha Sharma

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