Capitol Music Group’s Steve Barnett announces retirement05 November 2020 - Press release
Jeff Vaughn and Michelle Jubelirer tapped to lead company
Iconic company revitalized over Barnett’s eight-year run at helm of Capitol
Barnett announced his long-planned decision to the full company this morning, in conjunction with Universal Group Chairman & CEO Sir Lucian Grainge. The two also jointly announced the promotion of Jeff Vaughnand Michelle Jubelirer to serve as CMG’s next leaders. Vaughn, currently President of Capitol Records, will become CMG Chairman and CEO, and current CMG COO Jubelirer will serve as CMG’s President and COO.
According to Steve Barnett, “This has been an incredible journey, and I’ve been tremendously fortunate to work with such amazing people along the way. I am indebted to Lucian for his unwavering belief in me and for his unreserved support for our efforts these entire eight years. To say that I will always be grateful to him is truly an understatement. Michelle was the first to join me at CMG and has been my partner in revitalizing the company and creating an environment where artists and our employees could thrive. From the moment Jeff joined us, I knew he’d quickly make his mark on Capitol, and I’m certain that he and Michelle are the perfect team to guide CMG into the future. My appreciation extends to Boyd Muir and my many friends at UMG who have been there for me and my team these past eight years. I thank you all.”
Sir Lucian Grainge, Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group, said, “When we acquired EMI, Capitol was a gem that had lost its luster. Under Steve’s leadership, Capitol has been rebuilt into one of music’s greatest homes for artist and employee talent. It’s a fitting crown to Steve’s incredible five-decade career. To assure that Capitol’s next chapter is equally successful, we have appointed two gifted executives to lead the company . On behalf of the entire UMG family, I congratulate Jeff and Michelle on their well-deserved promotions and I especially want to thank Steve for making Capitol shine bright once again and wishing him a wonderful retirement with Nancy and the children.”
Barnett was named to his post by Grainge in November 2012 after the latter and UMG acquired EMI Records earlier that year. The pair formulated a roadmap for the newly-minted Capitol Music Group that centered on a multi-label approach—consisting of Capitol Records, Motown Records, Astralwerks, Capitol Christian Music Group (CCMG), Blue Note Records and Caroline—that became integral to the company’s revitalization and ascent to its industry- and culture-leading statures. Barnett and Grainge quickly relocated the company’s headquarters from New York back to its historic Hollywood home, and completed a multi-year renovation of its iconic Capitol Tower and historic Capitol Studios, in advance of the company’s 75th anniversary celebration in 2017.
Under Barnett’s leadership, CMG’s focus on artist development resulted in 32 breakout artists that have generated 93 million global and 60 million U.S. adjusted albums to date. During Barnett’s tenure, the company introduced such recently minted superstars as Sam Smith, Halsey, Lewis Capaldi, NF, Niall Horan, Queen Naija, Troye Sivan, Hillsong United and Maggie Rogers to the cultural landscape, resulting in some of the most successful releases of this decade.
Forging important partnerships has also been key to CMG’s success; Motown’s innovative alliance with Atlanta-based Quality Control Music, has resulted in the rise of global superstars such as Lil Baby, Migos, City Girls and Lil Yachty
The company’s independent distribution and label services arm, Caroline, offered artists and boutique labels the option of retaining their independence, while providing them the resources of a major label operation. This approach has resulted in hugely successful partnerships with labels such as 10K Projects whose artists include Surfaces, Internet Money, Trippie Redd and iann dior. Other successful partnerships with artists and labels include Surf Mesa through CMG’s Astralwerks label, SHAED through Photo Finish and independent band Judah & The Lion.
Barnett and CMG helped superstars such as Paul McCartney, Katy Perry and Beck achieve new career heights, while highly competitive acquisitions of the complete music catalogs of McCartney, Bee Gees, Neil Diamond and ABBA burnished the company’s reputation as a steward of popular music’s most important legacies.