When Heath Johns left his role as Director of A&R at Universal Music Publishing Australia in January 2016, he had grown restless with his hopes for the music industry.
His move to set up BMG Australia and New Zealand in Sydney has ushered in the 21st century approach the publisher has been succeeding with overseas. Now, over a year into its local existence, Johns sat down with TIO for its Fear At The Top podcast to discuss his local plans for the company, what he sees as BMG’s biggest point of difference, and why he believes the music industry is broken.
During his chat with Seventh Street Media co-founder/CEO Luke Girgis, Johns said he felt like he was on a treadmill during his last few years at Universal, and needed to grow.
“At that point BMG represented a real opportunity for me,” he said during the podcast. “I remember reading an article in Billboard, it must have been early 2009, straight off the back of Spotify’s launch – the same week actually,” he remembered. “I was just so blown away that a company had recognised something that I’d been thinking for a while. I didn’t know that I was right. I didn’t know that anybody else felt the same way, but I would quite often site there at UMA and think ‘why is there a separate A&R publishing person and a separate A&R records person?’
“[…] I understand given the scale of that company you have to segment a lot more,” he added. “But in a Utopian world I felt there was some strength to having an all in one, under one roof operation.”