Sony Music's 4th Floor Creative president Cassandra Gracey has spoken of her ambition to break artists globally in her role at the creative and strategy hub.
The Australian-born executive made the switch to Sony to head up the then freshly launched department in 2018 after a near 20-year stint in management at First Access Entertainment, where she worked with the likes of Sugababes, Conor Maynard, Iggy Azalea, Rita Ora and Ellie Goulding.
Groundbreaking 4th Floor projects have included Little Mix’s LM5: The Tour Film and Peloton workouts featuring their music; Mark Ronson’s Pieces Of Us, the first interactive music video shot using Instagram’s Spark AR; the world’s first streaming-influenced merchandise collection for Bring Me The Horizon; Paloma Faith’s partnership with Skoda; and podcasts with George Ezra and Robbie Williams.
Gracey is also excited by the potential offered by the emerging domestic talent on Sony's UK roster such as Tom Grennan, Headie One, Cat Burns, Koffee, Mimi Webb and Declan McKenna, which feeds into her ultimate goal.
“I really look forward to helping an artist break on a global scale," said Gracey, speaking in the latest issue of Music Week. "When I see Dua Lipa, I’m like, ‘What an incredible record, what an incredible career.’ That’s where I want to help some of our artists get. It just takes a long time because you’re building an audience."
If we weren't evolving constantly, 4th Floor wouldn't exist
Cassandra Gracy, 4th Floor Creative
Gracey oversees all of the creative disciplines – comprising brands, sync, insight, creative and digital - across Sony Music UK.
“The breadth of what I get to do is just so exciting to me, because I love learning," she said. "I honestly believe I have the best job in the whole music business. My remit is so broad, I get to do so many things that I really am passionate about.
“Our job is to help make the artist stand out. It’s really the attention economy, because we’re not just competing for streams, but against gaming, Netflix, YouTube, TikTok and everything else. Our job is to help with the strategy and to educate, because these platforms are coming thick and fast. No one was saying the word ‘TikTok’ when I entered Sony, and yet there could easily be another [platform] in two to four years’ time.
“If we weren’t evolving constantly, 4th Floor wouldn’t exist. We should be learning continually. We are the people that are having to set the strategy and learn for the artists, the company and the management, and then educate. My team is inspiring. I’ve got people aged from 19 to 66 and they have got all the ideas, whereas I’m good at curating. I’m good at choosing what’s best, but life gives you ideas. I’ve got three kids who are constantly giving me ideas.”
We need to keep bringing up female presidents. We need to keep nurturing female A&Rs... As president, that's my job too – to bring up your females
Cassandra Gracey, 4th Floor Creative
Gracey also discussed the progress made on gender equality at the senior level of the music business.
"We can be proud of the change," she said. "But I’m working with the BPI on a women’s study at the moment and I learned on one of the calls that meaningful change takes 17 years.
“We need to keep bringing up female presidents. We need to keep nurturing female A&Rs. Being a label president is hard work and maybe it isn’t for everybody, but the opportunity should be presented. [Sony Music UK] has an A&R academy to help bring more females into A&R. And I’m sure all the majors and lots of other businesses have similar programmes to help increase their diversity and inclusion. Every company should have to commit to that. As president, that’s my job too – to bring up your females."
And having been named Businesswoman of the Year at the 2021 Music Week Women In Music Awards, Gracey reiterated her hopes that the industry can transition towards a "People In Music Awards" in the coming years.
“I think we should commit, as a business, that  should be our last Women In Music Awards and we should have People In Music Awards from 2026," she said. "When I went into boardrooms 20 years ago when I moved to London, there was no diversity, no women. It’s not like that anymore – you walk into the boardrooms now and they are diverse.
"There is still more change to come and we have more work to do, but I truly acknowledge that it takes time.”
Subscribers can read the full Music Week Interview with Cassandra Gracey here.