Universal Music Publishing Group boss Jody Gerson has been talking about her first six months in the role, including her optimism that industry rows about songwriters’ rights can be solved. “The music industry has not done the best job of presenting a unified front. I think I can help find common ground,” Gerson told Billboard. She added that one of the first changes under her management has been to beef up UMPG’s focus on emerging songwriters in the US.
“The company had really great artists and songwriters, but it was focused on the established ones. UMPG was more about risk management – specifically being risk-averse,” she said. “Our UK office had some of the biggest signings with acts like Coldplay, Mumford & Sons and Florence & The Machine, but the US A&R wasn’t about unproven artists, except for Ethiopia Habtemariam — who heads our urban team and runs Motown. I’m changing that so we can sign new acts and songwriters.” Gerson also sees UMPG putting more effort into content development. “We are not just a licensing company. With my relationships with the TV and film studios, there is no reason we can’t create content based on our catalogue.”