'Musical wonders of the world': Dickon Stainer leads global push for UMG's Verve Label Group

'Musical wonders of the world': Dickon Stainer leads global push for UMG's Verve Label Group

Universal Music Group (UMG) has announced plans to unite its classical and jazz repertoire under a new global management structure at Verve Label Group.

The move is designed to capitalise on worldwide growth in the consumption of classical and jazz repertoire. Verve Label Group will be based in New York.

Dickon Stainer, president and CEO of Universal Classics and Jazz, will take charge of Verve Label Group, with the aim of piloting its new era.

The new role is in addition to his existing responsibilities overseeing the division including Deutsche Grammophon and the Decca Label Group. Stainer – who recently starred alongside Decca President Rebecca Allen and hit artist Michael Ball on the cover of Music Week – will divide his time between New York and London.

Graham Parker, president, Universal Music Classics US, will report directly to Stainer, while Danny Bennett, current president & CEO, Verve Label Group, departs to run artist management and strategic marketing company RPM Productions.

Sir Lucian Grainge, chairman and CEO, Universal Music Group, said: “Dickon is an extraordinarily creative leader with an open-minded approach to identifying artists and then marketing them in ground-breaking ways. I've personally witnessed his success for two decades, dating to our work together to ensure classics and jazz were highly present in contemporary music. Most recently he has placed our classics and jazz artists and composers at the centre of the streaming revolution. I look forward to accelerating our efforts by unifying these teams under a single global strategy so we can deliver the greatest possible success for our artists.”

Dickon is an extraordinarily creative leader

Sir Lucian Grainge, Universal Music Group

Grainge added: “I’d like to thank Danny for helping to revitalize Verve and bringing some extraordinary artists into the UMG family. We look forward to working with him in the future.”

Stainer said: “Classical and jazz are amongst the musical wonders of the world. Streaming has opened a flood of discovery and has further enabled us to ensure our artists have a global reach. The developing international success of Max Richter, Gregory Porter, Lang Lang, Jacob Collier and Sheku Kanneh-Mason, among others, has demonstrated that we need to work with a seamlessly coordinated global approach achieves the greatest results possible on behalf of our exceptional artists.”

Bennett said: “Being the CEO and president of Verve Label Group has been a remarkable experience and an incredible opportunity. I’m proud to be able to say that the company is now the leading Jazz and Classical label in the US. It has been an honour to work with Sir Lucian Grainge and Michele Anthony, along with the whole UMG family, and I’m thankful for the privilege of being able to build an amazing roster of new artists as well as a talented team of creative professionals who share my passion for the music.” 

Verve Label Group has Verve and Impulse under its umbrella, and is the American home to Deutsche Grammophon, Decca and ECM. Its roster and catalogue includes Diana Krall, John Coltrane and Ella Fitzgerald, as well as up-and-coming artists JS Ondara, Shabaka Hutchings, Ezinma and City Of The Sun.

Andrea Bocelli scored his first UK No.1 with Decca release Si last year. The record also topped in America. Ludovico Einaudi releases seven-record project Seven Days Walking this year.

The Group also counts Norwegian soprano Lise Davidsen, Víkingur Ólafsson, ECM’s roster and Blue Note France’s Gregory Porter.

Deutsche Grammophon launched its 120th anniversary celebration in2018, while in 2019 ECM turns 50, Blue Note hits 80, and Decca is 90, as celebrated by Music Week’s recent cover.

Blue Note Records in the US continues to operate as part of Capitol Music Group.

Subscribers can read our interview with Allen and Stainer in full here, while Q&As with Decca’s star acts are here.

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