UMG boss talks DSPs: ‘We’re 80 to 85% of their retention’


Universal Music Group’s chairman and CEO Sir Lucian Grainge has been talking at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia + Technology Conference 2022. He hailed the potential growth that remains in the music streaming market; described his company as “a sort of experimenter in chief” for new digital models; and suggested that economic headaches will be just “wobbles” for the music industry rather than a full-blown crisis.

However, another comment from MBW’s writeup of his speech interested us most.

While Grainge said the obvious warm words about partnerships with streaming services (“inevitably very constructive… I don’t see this as a thing of a zero-sum game or balance of power”) he also delivered a not-so-coded warning to DSPs as well. “We know that we are at least 80% to 85% of the acquisition pull of all the DSPs. We’re 80 to 85% of their retention,” he said. “Consumers, me, you, us, don’t want a subscription which gives you either white noise or something to go to sleep to, or an act that you’ve never heard of.”

A reminder that UMG – and rightsholders more generally – would like DSPs to see their music and artists not as a commodity, but as a key driver of their subscription businesses.

Written by: Stuart Dredge