Universal Music UK has launched The Square, an in-house agency at the major.
As exclusively revealed in the latest issue of Music Week, The Square will be led by MD Jack Fryer, who steps up from his role as senior director of strategic planning. He reports to Commercial & Creative Services Division MD David Hawkes.
The new division is “aimed at the intersection between big data, human insight, strategy and creativity,” according to Universal Music UK.
The Square aims to build on the foundations of the existing research and planning team to be a partner to creativity across all Universal Music UK’s teams and beyond. As well as working across the entire Universal Music UK portfolio, including Abbey Road Studios and partnerships division Globe, the expertise of The Square will also be available to artists and managers.
Based in Universal Music’s Pancras Square, the seven-strong team has dedicated new resources in the areas of data science, international insight and creative alongside existing expertise in strategy and research.
Joining senior strategists Jon Fell and Simon McMahon, alongside audience researcher Alexandra Dodd, are three new team members with brand and audience backgrounds beyond music: data scientist Lewis Millar, international research and strategist Charlotte Thomson and junior strategist Arslaan Ahmed.
In a significant appointment, creative strategist Helen Kennedy has moved across from a senior marketing role at Virgin EMI to provide the team with a sharpened music perspective.
Jack is an exceptional executive, a truly creative thinker who’s also immersed in the science
Universal Music UK chairman David Joseph said: “Jack is an exceptional executive, a truly creative thinker who’s also immersed in the science, who richly deserves this promotion. His vision is for The Square to be a place that our labels, our managers and our artists come to gain an edge – whether that’s simply about learning something new, shaping a strategy or forging a new idea.”
Hawkes said: “Jack has made a substantial contribution to the wider business since joining us seven years ago. He has a unique ability to think strategically but with phenomenal creative vision. He is building a market-leading team of professionals who will add huge value to the business, across artists, labels, central services and international partners.”
Fryer, who joined Universal Music from EMI in 2013 as head of insight, added: “We want to be a 21st Century service for a 21st Century music company – a little town-square bursting with different kinds of brains and different kinds of skills to benefit our labels and artists. It needs to feel like a collaborative network, not a centralised service.
“Ideas – insightful ideas, strategic ideas, useful ideas, audience ideas, progressive ideas, data-driven ideas, creative ideas, communication ideas, business ideas, innovative ideas – are our currency.”
To read the exclusive interview with Jack Fryer pick up the latest issue – or subscribers can click here.
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