Doug Morris to Receive an Honorary Doctorate at 2015 Berklee Commencement

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Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow and Honoree Doug Morris at the Pre-GRAMMY Gala and Salute To Icons Honoring Doug Morris on Jan. 30 at The Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Doug Morris has had an ideal career in the music business by anyone’s standards; the current CEO of Sony Music has held important positions at nine different record labels, pioneered avenues for the online music market, and has produced and written classic songs and musicals that have enjoyed overwhelming success. Morris is currently No. 7 on the Billboard 2015 Power 100 List.

Doug Morris began his career after graduating Columbia University as a songwriter and producer for Robert Mellin, Inc., as part of Laurie Records in 1965. Morris wrote “Sweet Talkin’ Guy” for The Chiffons in 1966, and in 1973 produced “Smokin’ In The Boys Room” for Brownsville Station. After working his way up, he soon became Vice President and General Manager of day-to-day operations at Laurie. This position would propel his career towards the foundation of his own label, Big Tree Records, which became part of Atlantic Records in 1978. Morris then became president of Atlantic through heading up Atco Records and working closely with Ahmet Ertegun, one of the founders of Atlantic. After ten years of being Atlantic Record’s president, Morris became co-CEO and co-chairman with Ahmet Ertegun in 1990.

After being an important part of making Atlantic one of Warner’s top record labels, Morris was named Chief Operating Officer of Warner Music U.S. in 1994. A year later, Morris left Warner Music for MCA Music Group, which became Universal Records when he was appointed Chairman and CEO. In 1996 Universal Records was renamed Universal Music Group (UMG). That same year, Doug Morris received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Morris remained CEO of UMG until 2011, when he moved to Sony Music, as Chairman and CEO. As soon as Morris arrived, he began a restructuring of the labels under Sony; RCA was separated from Jive, and both became their own entities. Columbia/Epic were also split, and L.A. Reid was appointed Chairman and CEO of Epic Records. In the midst of all his movement in the music industry, Morris became a pioneer in monetizing online music videos by founding VEVO. When VEVO was launched, it instantly became the number one destination for on-demand music videos on the internet. In 2013 Morris co-produced the four-time Tony Award-winning musical, Motown: The Musical.

Today, Sony Music encompasses Columbia, RCA, Epic, Legacy, Arista, Masterworks, Vested In Culture, Provident, and many more entities. Doug Morris has proven himself to be a music industry icon. As president of Laurie Records, Big Tree Records, Atco Records, Atlantic Records, Warner Music, MCA, Universal Music Group, and Sony Music, in that order, Morris has pioneered the way business is done for artists across the world. It is safe to say that Doug Morris has paved new ways for the music industry, artists, and writers today.

 

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          February 11, 2017