Steve Barnett to lead Capitol Music Group


On Monday, Universal Music Group named Steve Barnett as chairman and chief executive of Capitol Music Group.

The long-expected move will take Barnett away from his current position as chief operating officer and co-chairman of Columbia Records. He will oversee a roster of Capitol-affiliated labels including Capitol Records, Virgin Records, the electronica-centric Astralwerks, jazz stalwart Blue Note and the Capitol Studios, among others.

Capitol Music Group’s stable of currently active major artists includes Katy Perry, Norah Jones and Ryan Adams, along with the catalogs of veterans including Van Morrison, the Beach Boys and, of course, its greatest prize, the Beatles.


“As we begin to invest in and revitalize EMI globally, the Capitol Music Group, including Virgin, will play a central role in our creative and commercial initiatives. And there is no one better to spearhead this than Steve,” said Lucian Grainge, chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group, in a statement. “His entrepreneurial approach and intuitive ability to build, strengthen and transform artists into powerful global brands has resulted in remarkable success. I’m confident that under his leadership, a new and reinvigorated Capitol will provide the kind of environment needed for artists to develop, resulting in more opportunity than ever before.”

Barnett’s tenure at Columbia included major releases from artists including Adele, whose “21” was by far the best selling album of 2011, One Direction, Beyoncé, Jack White and Foster the People. His appointment is reported to be the one of several forthcoming new hires to jump-start the iconic but financially battered label group. His office will be based out of the Capitol Records tower in Hollywood.


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