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UNIVERSAL U.K.: REBECCA ALLEN
11/20/18

President, Decca Records

Rebecca Allen has spent nearly two decades at Universal Music U.K., during which time she’s risen from Director of Media at Universal Classics & Jazz to President of Decca. She has a musical background, having studied at the Trinity College of Music in London, before starting her career at the BBC, where she worked with the Symphony Orchestra and Proms.

Since taking the helm of Decca, Allen has signed legendary film composer Ennio Morricone and Norwegian songstress Aurora, and helped develop the growing U.K. country music scene with the success of The Shires, who have two Top 3 albums. In addition, she’s brought jazz to a wider audience with Gregory Porter and Melody Gardot, while championing young classical stars such as Jess Gillam, Sheku Kanneh-Mason—who performed at the Royal Wedding—and Milos. Artists she works closely with today also include Rod Stewart, Andrea Bocelli, The Lumineers, Ludovico Einaudi and Alfie Boe.

Decca’s year culminates with Si, Bocelli’s recently released, U.K. and U.S.-chart-topping, “career-defining album,” which features duets with Ed Sheeran and Dua Lipa, as well as his youngest son, Matteo. Projects into 2019 and beyond include new music from “innovator, disruptor and rounded musician” Jacob Collier.

According to Allen, the biggest challenge in today’s music business lies in cutting through the noise. “Our world just got very noisy. With so much access to music, it can sometimes make it impossible to find the gems, so it is crucial within our business to create music that rises to the top, to curate and create narratives that help cut through,” she says. “It is vital to focus on the excellence of the artists and to not get drawn into the business of saturation.”

Allen remains confident that the U.K. business will continue to do that through “its ability to lead, disrupt and differentiate. The history of the British music business is filled with stories of artists breaking the mould, and today is no different. Our audiences welcome individuality, and our commercial partners respond.

“We must also remember that in the U.K., 30% of our business is still physical and that we have a fantastic indie business and a robust HMV. We are open to business with everyone, and we are open to servicing all consumers, however you choose to listen to music.

“Within the Universal family, there are so many reasons to feel positive about the future,” Allen continues. “It honestly feels like a defining moment for so many of our artists. Our A&R is focussed on finding uniqueness, our commercial partners are committed to supporting great talent, and British music is uniquely positioned to cut through the excess of noise.”