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28.09.12 Music Week 11

I think in terms of the approach to the roster there are similarities, but culturally there are big differences. I mean Roger Faxon and Marty are very different people. Roger’s very knowledgeable and methodical, he

brought a lot of systems and updates to the company – and I wouldn’t say anything negative about that. The biggest problem we’ve all got in this industry, though, is growing, and if you don’t grow the business we’re all going to be in a constant spiral of consolidation. I got in this business to have hits and grow businesses and employ people.

Are you saying that post-merger, in order to grow, you need a slightly different culture to the one that existed at EMI? Very politely, yes, perhaps. In terms of organisations, systems, management structures, Roger’s very, very good at that, but I’m not sure it prompted change. The way things were set up maybe didn’t accommodate an entrepreneurial spirit, possibly. With Marty things get done much more quickly.

So post-merger you see more opportunities? Yeah, it will be a very different culture. I’ll relish it.

Obviously the deal went through quite quickly, but there were some sacrifices made in terms of catalogue and artists. How do you feel about those divestments? Well listen, Virgin Music alone is the hits of the Eighties; they’re the songs I grew up with. It’s a great catalogue, such great stuff. So, anyone who thinks we’re not giving up enough: trust me, it hurts. Whether it’s a hand, an arm, a leg, or what, it definitely hurts. And I think it’s an amazing one- time opportunity for someone out there.

The nature of the deal means that the conflation of the two companies is rather complicated, I guess? We’ve got two separate ownerships and within these walls, to some extent, you need to ring fence them, so you can see how they’re performing, what assets are worth what etc. But to the outside world it will be one company and I view it as one team. Anybody that says ‘them’, I tell off. We’re one entity it is just the most incredible

roster, not because it’s going to be enormous – EMI had a very tidy line-up and so did Sony/ATV – but it’s very powerful. Not only have we got incredible album artists, but unlike a lot of our competitors, we saw two or three years ago that the business was becoming more songwriter driven, more hit driven, more collaboration driven and when you put the likes of Paul Epworth, Stargate, Emeli Sandé, Justin Park, Seer... and the way you can put these artists together, it’s formidable and it’s the way the business is going.

What are you particularly excited to finally be working with from the Sony catalogue? Well, there’s these guys called The Beatles, I think there’s a future for them... But gosh there are so many: TMS are great, I saw Ed Sheeran live recently and what an amazing writer and performer he is, I mean honestly the list goes on. And what gets interesting is when you start putting people together, the world is so collaborative these days and we’ve now got a whole other bunch of people to link up and create hits and have fun.

Traditionally EMI has been the number one publisher in the singles market whilst Universal have been number one in albums. Next year would you expect to be number one in both? Yes.

By some distance? I’m not going to quote distance. I mean it’s a funny business; when Universal and BMG got together, everybody said that was it. And then that young lady Adele came along and made fools of everyone.

Can we talk about your role? At EMI you were pan-European head of A&R and excelled at matching different writers, artists, producers and remixers from different territories... Because that’s the way the world works now and we are going to apply that system and those principles here, albeit structurally in a slightly different way, because we will have local MDs. You can’t put music in boxes anymore. If

something’s good it will be around the world in seconds and no one cares where it comes from. We’ll be working with each other and if you sign to your local publisher in Belgium or Sweden, you will see us and feel us, we’re going to take the opportunities, we’re going to carry on connecting people, we certainly can’t concentrate on our own territories.

To round things off, what would your message be to the staff? I want to tell them that we’ve got a one-time opportunity to build the best publishing company in the world. Also: hang in there, it’s going to be amazing and exciting. It hasn’t been the easiest summer, it’s hard work, but if I look to the future I get very excited. We’re going to be part of the best company and we’re going to do new things. We’re also going to have a lot of fun.

And for artists? They’re going to get a better service, the two businesses complement each other, just the other day I had an artist in here enthusing about our LA film department. There are real synergies. I’d also say that we will never be complacent, we’re constantly trying to up our game. I want to have a concise roster and I want to know all our artists. Plus, internationally we’re set up to deliver like no other.

And to the industry, particularly those who opposed the deal and thought it would be bad for smaller artists? I think through generations, the image hasn’t changed. People still think record companies are evil, they’re lazy, that we’re fat cats, that we have long lunches... I haven’t had a long lunch in years! It’s all wrong. I love working with independent labels, the biggest success story of the last 18 months has been an independent label, but it’s also easier to put music out yourself these days. The industry is fractured. Roles are changing and boundaries are shifting and as publishers we have a bigger part to play in development alongside managers, everything’s changing.

“We’ve got a one-time opportunity to build the best publishing company in the world. Hang in there, it’s going to be amazing and exciting” GUY MOOT

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