Time was if you wanted to make money out of music, you’d need to have at least some musical knowledge and ability to help you get there. Such rules no longer apply – these days, instead of being a songwriter, performer or producer who actually does something, you essentially just need to know who or what to cling onto, so you can make money off their hard work.
And such is the case with Universal Music Group’s boss Lucian Grainge, pictured far right above. He has never written a single song in his life. His talents have always been in finding other people who could do what he couldn’t. Ever since his career in record labels startedout in the late 1970s as A&R at April Music, his trade has been either finding talented people or managing them.
Some might say this is a talent in itself. And they’re not entirely wrong. Ever since he was put in managerial positions, starting with Polydor Records in 1997, those labels have always been in a better shape when he left than when he arrived. He’s obviously doing something right.
But let’s be honest – the amount of money Grainge is paid is obscene. This year, he looks set to earn around £150million. At a time when artists are complaining that streaming simply doesn’t pay their bills, such pay just looks crass. The Intellectual Property Office in the UK previously worked out songwriters were paid roughly the same amount for their work in 2019.
In other words, Grainge’s pay for this year is about the same as all songwriters – and there are many thousands of them – in the UK are going to collectively receive.
If that doesn’t tell you how utterly warped, twisted and heavily slanted towards majors that streaming is, then frankly I’m not sure what will…