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SONY U.K.: NICOLA TUER
11/20/18

COO, Sony Music, U.K. & Ireland

After starting her career in music as a record-store manager, Nicola Tuer joined Sony Music’s sales department in 1995. She worked her way up and was promoted to SVP of sales after the merger of Sony and BMG in 2005. Later, as EVP of the whole company, her remit expanded to cover catalogue, sync, licensing and Sony Music Ireland. She was named Chief Operating Officer for the U.K. label after the departure of Nick Gatfield in 2014. When announcing the new title, Edgar Berger praised her “competitive spirit, commercial acumen and passion for music.” In short, she’s seen it all, and her current job is to make sure Sony Music U.K. is match fit for what comes next.


You’ve worked at Sony since 1995—having witnessed the changes the music business has gone through during that time; how would you describe the state of it today?
The record business is growing again, but the landscape is nothing like it was before. Our business model has been reshaped by new technology, but just as significantly, the culture within the industry has also completely changed. When I started out in sales, things were different; there was a kind of culture where you either sunk or swam, and that was entirely down to you. We are in a new era. Diversity and respect in the workplace is no longer “maybe nice to have,” it’s a must-have. This allows us, as a company, to have the widest possible voice. Having a diverse range of people and creating an environment that allows each of them to be heard is crucial.

From where you sit, what are the biggest challenges in today’s music business?
Recorded music is at its strongest point in over a decade, and it’s continuing to grow, but it’s also more competitive than ever before. We can no longer afford to think of ourselves as being just a part of the music business—we’re now in the attention business. What we’re competing for is a share of people’s time.

What is key to the continued success of the British music industry in today’s global and streaming-led world, and what role does Sony U.K. play in that?
We always need to be on with constant activity to maintain interest. Changing tech means having to adapt quickly, to learn, grow and get ahead of what is coming next. Our industry is also now one that’s incredibly data-heavy. The key thing is to be able to see the pictures that the numbers paint—knowing how to use the wealth of information we have at our disposal.

What is the most exciting thing about British music right now?
This industry has always been about finding and growing talent. That’s integral to our business, to foster talent in each and every person companywide, not just our artists. It’s important to remember that the fundamentals of what we do haven’t changed. Technology and strategies may evolve, but it still all comes back to the music itself. Music is ingrained in British life—we’ve always had the highest music consumption per capita—and British music has always resonated across the globe. With a global industry boom, it’s a very exciting time to be working in British music.