Mushroom Group chairman Michael Gudinski and Sony Music Australasia’s chairman/CEO Denis Handlin head up the Australian contingent in a newly published roll-call of the most powerful music executives outside the United States.
Billboard Magazine shines a light on the 53 executives who are “driving industry success” in its International Power Players survey, which this year is led XL Recordings owner Richard Russell, the man who signed Adele.
Hits and growth were big themes in Handlin’s world in 2016, notes Billboard. Handlin, an industry legend who also chairs ARIA and has served with Sony Music for 47 years, the longest for any employee with the music major, saw his company score six No. 1 albums during the year. Gudinski is also coming off another “hot streak” which continues through 2017 his company Frontier Touring promoting soldout tours for Bruce Springsteen and Justin Bieber (who played his first stadium shows in Australia).
Joining Gudinski and Handlin on the list are Charles Caldas, the Australian-born CEO of Merlin, the independent music community’s digital rights agency, and George Ash, the Sydney-based New Zealander who serves as president of Universal Music Asia Pacific.
The highlighted execs were identified for their importance to the music business outside the United States, across all sectors, from recording to digital, touring, publishing, trade groups and agencies.
Few would argue with the top billing for Russell, the DJ, producer and exec who launched XL in 1989 as a specialist dance and electronic music label, and guided the early years of Prodigy. XL has released albums from Radiohead, Dizzee Rascal, M.I.A. and currently boasts a roster featuring FKA twigs, Sampha, The xx and others.
Adele is — by taking into account her ticket and album sales, and social media clicks — the biggest music star on the planet. Her first tour of Australia and New Zealand was a blockbuster as she smashed venue records on both sides of the Tasman en route to 600,000 ticket sales from just eight stadium shows. Her third album, 25, was the best-selling LP in the world for two successive years and has clocked up an estimated 30-million-plus combined sales.
To top it all off, she was the only woman to crack the top 20 of the recently-published Sunday Times Rich List, raking in an estimated £40 million in 2016, more than another other British artist.
Read Billboard’s International Power Player list here.