It’s official: Martin Bandier is stepping down as CEO and chairman of Sony/ATV Music Publishing next year.
The leak last week of Jon Platt’s planned departure from Warner/Chappell led to immediate speculation that he would be taking the top job at Sony/ATV. Platt confirmed his departure in a memo, praising Warner/Chappell employees while urging them to “put songwriters first” going forward.
Guy Moot, Sony/ATV president of worldwide creative and UK MD, has also been in the frame for the top job - Moot shared a Music Week cover with Bandier and sync supremo Brian Monaco earlier this year. But the timing of Bandier’s departure now suggests the top job at Sony/ATV will go to Platt, who previously worked with Bandier at EMI Music Publishing for 17 years.
Sony Corp declined to confirm the reports of Platt's move.
Bandier’s memo to staff at Sony/ATV confirmed that he will leave in March 2019.
“I can say without hesitation that my time here has been the absolute highlight of my career, and I am extremely proud of everything that we have achieved together,” he wrote.
In his dozen years heading up Sony/ATV, the industry veteran has taken the publisher to No.1 in the market shares, overseen the transition to streaming and secured songwriters to the roster such as Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Ed Sheeran and Pharrell Williams.
The company recently completed a year at No.1 on the US Hot 100 based on its share of songwriting.
“Being and staying No. 1 is not a beauty contest, and we have grown into this position by being the best across the board — creatively, administratively and financially,” said Bandier.
While not yet disclosing plans for any new job, Bandier gave no suggestion of retirement plans.
“I look forward to sharing what’s ahead for me with you soon,” he said.
The memo is in full below.
I want to let you know that I am planning to leave Sony/ATV at the end of my contract in March of next year, after what will have been 12 incredible years with the company. I can say without hesitation that my time here has been the absolute highlight of my career, and I am extremely proud of everything that we have achieved together.
On this journey, we have grown from being ranked the world’s fourth biggest music publisher to becoming the clear No. 1. As I have always said, being and staying No. 1 is not a beauty contest, and we have grown into this position by being the best across the board — creatively, administratively and financially. This was underpinned by our most recent financial year, which was our best ever.
During my time here, I have had the pleasure to get to know and work with so many talented songwriters, including Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Ed Sheeran, Pharrell, Pink, Sting, Carole King, Smokey Robinson, Berry Gordy and Sara Bareilles. The list could go on and on, but there are simply too many phenomenal writers to mention everyone by name. I am nonetheless proud to have advocated for all of them.
Further, it is remarkable to think that when I first joined Sony/ATV in 2007 the company had never won an ASCAP or BMI Pop Publisher of the Year award. It was not long thereafter that we won ASCAP Publisher of the Year, and I remember how proud Michael Jackson (who then still owned half of Sony/ATV) was that we had received this major award. Since then, I am pleased to say that Sony/ATV and our writers have won many other Songwriter and Publisher of the Year titles, as well as many other honors all over the world.
Of all the awards and achievements that have occurred during my time here, however, there are two personal highlights. One is winning a GRAMMY, becoming the first ever publisher to receive the President’s Merit Award. The other is the incredible success of the school that I endowed to Syracuse University. The Bandier Program has become one of the leading music business schools in the United States, and I am encouraged and proud to know that the students who have graduated from it are now working at many of the best companies in our industry. Thanks to them, I know that the future of the music business is in terrific hands.
It is also important to note that, while we have been successful in growing our business and maintaining our position as the largest music publisher in the world, we have never lost sight of the fact that our priority is to fight tirelessly on behalf of our songwriters and to ensure that they are fully compensated for their work, both by streaming companies and other music services that use their songs. Rankings matter, but our songwriters and their music matter the most. I think we have made great progress in that regard, and I will continue that fight for songwriters after I leave Sony/ATV.
I would also like to thank Sony for giving me the opportunity to lead this company through the music industry’s complex and ever-changing landscape, and at a time when representing the rights of songwriters has never been more important and necessary. It has been incredibly satisfying to grow the company to be the leading music publisher in the world, and I am confident that Sony/ATV and its writers are set for even more successes in the future.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for everything that you have contributed to Sony/ATV during my time here. It has been an amazing experience working with you. And we still have six more exciting months together, in what is already proving to be another great year for Sony/ATV and our songwriters. I am determined that, as great as last year was for us, this one will be even better.
I look forward to sharing what’s ahead for me with you soon, and I’ll be following all of your successes long after I have left.