This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
2 Music Week 06.08.11 NEWS EDITORIAL

Meet Lucian Grainge: the 2012 music industry’s official rep

Lucian Grainge’s professional history does not paint a portrait of a man who ever wanted to be sweating over billion pound buyouts. Grainge didn’t learn his business acumen on an MBA. He didn’t

get his break thanks to a buddy at the UKTI. And he didn’t - to quote Doug Morris’s beautifully sardonic compliment - become “a killer shark behind little glasses” under the tutelage of sharp- suited City boys. Grainge was a Clash fan who believed he loved music enough

to become a stellar A&R exec. When he decided to call every record company in the industry to badger for a job in the late Seventies, it was Music Week, not Forbes, to which he turned. As it transpired, he was - to use language every bit as dramatically downplayed as that of breakaway indies currently salivating over divestments - not bad at his job. Those taking pot shots at Lucian The Cold-Blooded Suit this week would do well to remember that his commitment brought Amy Winehouse to a wide audience. His first signing? Hold tight, indie detractors, this one may sting: the achingly hip Psychedelic Furs.

“Can Grainge prove to a scrutinous Vivendi that a numerically short but culturally bumper list of assets was worth the princely sum of £1.2bn?”

But with success comes higher expectations, and mutating business responsibility. Just as Grainge has alchemised the superstar dream into reality for the artists he venerates (even by striking industry-leading deals with Apple, Spotify etc.), he has increasingly become the personification of Vivendi’s corporate ambition in music. He has shown himself to be ruthless and visionary; no longer judged on the acts he signs, but by the harsh metric of the stock exchange. As such, he has gone a long way to disproving the theory that the skillset of A&R types is limited to a niche entertainment form. So far, Grainge has run Universal with his admiration for artists

as his engine. It has served him well, particularly against a backdrop of the failures of cartoon ‘money man’ Guy Hands. When Grainge says he’d go through this painful acquisition

process “all over again, time and time again every year”, he is surely speaking as Lucian the music fan - the very same who snapped at investors with tangible rancour last November when stating that “EMI is not a utilities company”. But now comes the acid test. Can Grainge prove to a scrutinous

Vivendi - already one significant top exec down - that a numerically short but culturally bumper list of assets was really worth a princely £1.2bn? Can he demonstrate to tomorrow’s mighty technology

companies that music rightsholders are no longer pushovers; that rather than being a weakness, loving your artists can embolden crucial decisions at the highest level? When Grainge shoved his metaphorical foot in Maurice

Oberstein’s door three decades ago, he nearsightedly hankered to thrive in the record industry. Right now, with the market share he always dreamed of, he pretty much represents it. With the wolves of the new business age so predatorily dismissive of entertainment content’s value, willing him to fail may not bode well for anyone working in the trade he’s conquered. Tim Ingham, Editor

Do you have views on this column? Feel free to comment by emailing


Enter Shikari rule AIM Awards nominations


A IM has

announced the full category

shortlists for the second AIM Independent Music Awards. Enter Shikari lead the pack

with a total of three nominations for Best Live Act, Hardest Working Band and Independent Album of the Year for their third album A Flash Flood of Colour. Alabama Shakes are nominated for Independent Breakthrough Of The Year and Independent Album Of The Year for their album, Boys & Girls. Frank Turner picks up two

nominations for Best Live Act and Hardest Working Act, whilst Madness clock up nominations for PPL Award For Most Played Independent Act and the Special Catalogue Release Of The Year. Enter Shikari said: “It’s an

honour to be nominated for not

one but three awards. Even if we end up walking away with no actual awards, it was nice that the independent world thought of us enough

to nominate us. Bring it on.” Madness said “Just when we

thought we couldn’t top the Jubilee and The Olympics along come two nominations from AIM to knock our socks off.” The Awards also feature

nominations for some of the scene’s less well-known and newer artists including Django Django, Alt-J, Grimes, Poliça, First Aid Kit, Skinny Lister, Rustie, Liars, Future of the Left, The Invisible and Amon Tobin. Eleven of the Awards’

categories are voted for by an expert panel of judges from across the music industry and a further three categories are voted for by the public. Taking place on October 29

2012 at The Brewery in Clerkenwell, London, the

ceremony will be hosted by BBC Radio 1’s Huw Stephens and BBC 6Music’s Steve Lamacq. CEO of AIM Alison

Wenham said of the awards: “We have doubled capacity for this year’s ‘Most Difficult Second AIM Awards’ and the nominations are once again outstanding. These awards will recognise another great year for independents’ creativity and ingenuity, with Ninja Tune and Xtra Mile leading the nominations list. The companies and artists are all so special they should all get a medal, but a decent three course meal and an evening spent amongst friends is a prize in itself.” With Edwyn Collins and

Mute’s Daniel Miller already announced as recipients of the Outstanding Contribution To Music Award and the Pioneer Award respectively, the rest of the winners will be unveiled exclusively at the ceremony.


Best Live Act (voted for by visitors to The Cribs, Dub Pistols, Enter Shikari, The Prodigy, Frank Turner

Independent Breakthrough Of The Year (in association with 7Digital) Alabama Shakes, Alt-J, Django Django, Grimes, Poliça

Hardest Working Band Or Artist 65daysofstatic, Cancer Bats, Enter Shikari, Frank Turner, Skinny Lister

Best Difficult Second Album Admiral Fallow - Tree Bursts In Snow; First Aid Kit - The Lion’s Roar; Speech Debelle - Freedom Of Speech; The Invisible - Rispah; The Skints - Part & Parcel

Independent Album Of The Year (In association with Bird & Bird) Alabama Shakes - Boys & Girls; Enter Shikari - A Flash Flood Of Colour; Liars - Wixiw; Future Of The Left – The Plot Against Common Sense; Rustie - Glass Swords

Best Small Label (in association with Sound Performance) Alcopop! Records, Black Butter Records, Brainfeeder, Pink Mist, Xtra Mile Recordings

Genre Spotlight Award Broadcaster Ft Peggy Seeger - Folksploitation; Lorn - Ask The Dust; Neil Cowley Trio - The Face Of Mount Molehill; Netsky - 2; Wiley - Evolve Or Be Extinct

Independent Entrepreneur Of The Year (in association with The Orchard) Alex Di Savoia - Aardvark Records; Chris Goss / Tony Colman / Tom Kelsey - Hospital Records; Louis Barabbas - Debt Records; Sam Dyson - Distiller Records; Simon Raymonde - Bella Union

PPL Award For Most Played Independent Act Adele, Arctic Monkeys, Caro Emerald, Madness, Travis

Special Catalogue Release Of The Year Amon Tobin - Amon Tobin; Madness - A Guided Tour Of Madness; Can - The Lost Tapes; The 13th Floor Elevators - Music Of The Spheres; Various Artists - The Original Sound Of Cumbia

Independent Label Of The Year (in association with EDC) 4AD, Bella Union, Hospital Records, Hyperdub, Ninja Tune

Indie Champion Award Olli Dutton - Obscene Strategies; Ian Evans - IME Music; Steve Lamacq – BBC 6 Music; Katie Parsons - Kerrang!; Shell Zenner - Amazing Radio

Best Independent Festival (voted for by visitors to In The Woods Festival, Truck Festival, Y Not Festival, Leefest, Bearded Theory

The final tickets and sponsorship packages for the awards are now available. For tickets, visit: For sponsorship enquiries, email

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68