Universal Music Group chairman and CEO Sir Lucian Grainge became the first music business executive to win the Cannes Lions Media Person Of The Year award last night (June 21). Sir Lucian picked up the award in recognition of his work as an “innovator who has shaped the future of the media”.
In presenting the award at the ceremony held at the Palais des Festivals, Philip Thomas, CEO, Cannes Lions, hailed Sir Lucian as a champion of new business models and fresh approaches.
“Sir Lucian is widely credited for laying the foundation that has led to the music industry's recent return to growth after nearly a decade of decline," said Thomas. "He's worked with global stars that include the likes of Elton John, Jay Z, Amy Winehouse, ABBA, The Rolling Stones and Queen and during his tenure at Universal Music Group he's transformed the company into a world leader in music based entertainment. Sir Lucian has been described as the great hope for the music business, has been widely praised for his risk taking and innovation, forging partnerships with a wide range of technology and media platforms including Apple, Spotify and Amazon."
After thanking Thomas for his introduction, and his entire Universal Music family, Sir Lucian's acceptance speech – dedicated to his late brother Nigel - pointed out that, while the industry continues to evolve in exciting ways, the quality of the music being released must always remain the key focus.
You can read Sir Lucian's acceptance speech below:
"I am deeply honoured for this award and also that I am the first member of the music industry to be here. That means a great deal to me and all of us.
“No talent scout, no artist, no band, no label, no CEO, no creative executive ever succeeds on their own, and today I'd like to humbly thank those who made it possible for me to stand before you, including obviously, all of our recording artists and our songwriters.
“My incredible team at Universal Music including all our label heads, our A&R team, our CEO's and our broader Vivendi family, in particular Vincent Bolloré, whose support and belief for me and us and the entire team has enabled us to achieve the kind of success and what we are trying to achieve in the transformation of this business.
“As a kid who started out as a talent scout, my job has since changed in many ways. While our labels seek out great new talent, today I scout for brands and digital platforms and new forms of technology as well as great people to collectively work on behalf of our artists.
“Bearing that in mind I am very proud to report that at Universal we're engaging a completely new generation of music lovers around the world on a scale that we've never seen.
“Our business, our connectivity, all that we do has to be about the music, and the quality of the music and the creativity is what connects all of us. That is our key focus.
“At Lions, I have been incredibly inspired by what I've seen and the people I've met, by the diverse talents, even the presentations and the awards that have been given so far this evening... fabulous.
“Everyone's innovation and enthusiasm... that excites me and I'm sure it excites all of us in terms of all the things we can do together, so I thank you for that.
“On one last note, I hope you don't mind. I lost someone in my family last week and this is a big award for me, my older brother Nigel, who was a great music executive, so I'd like to dedicate this award on my behalf to my brother."