2016 Berklee Honorary Doctorate: Lucian Grainge

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This man is number one in the music industry. Lucian Grainge, born in the northern part of London, United Kingdom, has worked for some of the greatest musicians in the industry, such as Sting, U2, The Rolling Stones, Amy Winehouse, and many others. He is the chairman/CEO of the Universal Music Group (UMG), both for the UK and internationally.

Back in the day when Grainge entered the music business, Maurice Oberstein (chairman of CBS Records) hired Grainge as a publisher for April Music’s A&R department. The British rock band the Psychedelic Furs was the first act he signed. He later became the director of RCA Music Publishing, later setting up PolyGram Music Publishing in 1986 and becoming a member of Polydor as GM of their A&R and business affairs in 1993. He had a big success at Polydor and later was promoted to Managing Director, working with big acts such as Boyzone and Lighthouse Family.

In 2011 he became the chairman and Chief Executive of Universal Music, where he developed a strategy to increase Universal’s digital distribution, international expansion, and market leadership in both recorded music and publishing. Some of the many big names that have been signed during Grainge’s time at Universal are Rihanna, Lady Gaga, and Maroon 5. Between 2010-2012 he was a member of the Management Board of Vivendi SA. Grainge has especially been influential in term of modern technology in the music business; he has partnered with some of the biggest companies in tech, including Apple, Spotify, and Vodafone.

He has also worked to bring music streaming to new heights in China with One-Stop China, a licensed music service. He arranged a partnership between two companies, Bravado and Tommy Hilfiger, and also put together a global strategic partnership with Live Nation. This long list of accomplishments has led to his receiving honorary awards such as the prestigious Music Industry Trusts’ Award in 2008 (presented to him by members of U2), the honor of British Business Ambassador (awarded by Prime Minister of the UK David Cameron) and many other humanitarian and music awards over the years.

His knowledge of today’s music industry is what has led him to top the charts of Billboard’s Power 100 in both 2013 and 2015 — the only person to have won this award  twice. To this day he remains being the chairman and chief executive officer of UMG. On May 5th and 6th, 2016 he will be honored with an honorary Doctorate at Berklee’s Commencement weekend.


          February 10, 2018