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Universal Music UK launches in-house agency The Square, Jack Fryer promoted to Managing Director

Universal Music UK has launched The Square, an in-house agency aimed at the intersection between big data, human insight, strategy and creativity. 

Led by Jack Fryer, who steps up from senior director of strategic planning to become managing director of the new division, 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. 

Based in Universal Music’s Pancras Square HQ and reporting to Commercial & Creative Services Division MD David Hawkes, Fryer’s seven-strong team has been bolstered by dedicated new resource 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 strong brand and audience backgrounds beyond music: data scientist Lewis Millar, international research and strategist Charlotte Thomson and junior strategist Arslaan Ahmed. Creative strategist Helen Kennedy meanwhile has moved across from a senior marketing role at Virgin EMI to provide a sharpened label perspective.  

Tasked with 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. 

Universal Music UK chairman David Joseph says: “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.” 

David Hawkes says, “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, international and business partners.” 

Fryer, who joined Universal Music from EMI in 2013 as Head of Insight, adds: “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.” 

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