A holiday letter from Lucian Grainge, CEO of Universal Music Group, to the company’s staff has been published on the web. In it, Grainge thanks his employees for contributing to what has been another banner year for the record label.

“As the driving force in our industry, relentlessly focused on the future, we often fail to take even a moment to celebrate what we’ve accomplished, and I’d like to do that now,” Grainge writes. “Therefore, let’s pause for just such a moment, to take stock and share a few highlights of how astonishing this year has been.”

He proceeds to point out that, over the course of the year, Universal had an artist atop the five biggest music platforms (Amazon, Apple, Deezer, Spotify and YouTube) and furthermore that each platform had a different Universal artist at the top, namely Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, J Balvin, Post Malone and Daddy Yankee. In 2019 Universal also had (among other things):

  • Four of the Top 5 US debut albums
  • The No. 1 song on Apple for more than 60% of the year
  • The No. 1 song on Spotify each week for the first 39 weeks of the year
  • The Top 4 tracks on Spotify globally
  • Four of the Top 5 global albums on Spotify
  • Four of Spotify’s Top 5 most-streamed artists of the decade 

Grainge credits Universal’s culture of innovation, independence and unity for its enormous success.

“We think and act like entrepreneurs, questioning the status quo, standing apart from the crowd, not taking ‘no’ for an answer, anticipating the disruptive forces just around the corner and then finding ways to deal with them not as threats but opportunities,” he writes. “Creative contrarians to the max, we push. While our labels and other businesses have significant autonomy and, as a result, are highly competitive even with each other, they are guided by one overriding principle: we are stronger together.”

Founded in 1934, Universal is one of the three largest labels in the industry, along with Sony Music and Warner Music Group.

Read Grainge’s end-of-year letter in full here.

Published by Seth Graham

Eat. Sleep. Music. Is there anything else?