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UNIVERSAL U.K.: JO CHARRINGTON
11/20/18

Co-President, Capitol U.K.

Jo Carrington began her career at London Records in 1992 as a marketing assistant. Following stints at Virgin Records and BMG, she put together and managed boyband Another Level before teaming up with Simon Fuller, and then moving to Epic with Nick Raphael in 2001. At Epic, Charrington achieved success with BRIT Award-winning multi-platinum artists JLS, Lemar and Paloma Faith, as well as signing multi-Grammy winner Imogen Heap.

Following 10 years at Sony, Charrington and Raphael moved to Universal to relaunch London Records, before folding that into a newly founded Capitol Records U.K. While there, Charrington has achieved global success in signing superstar Sam Smith (20m+ album sales), 5 Seconds of Summer, who have three U.S. #1 albums, which all reached Top 3 in the U.K., and Liam Payne (whose debut single is the best-selling solo single from any One Direction member). All in all, Charrington has signed and/or A&R’d 24 platinum or multi-platinum albums across her career.

The continued success of 5SOS with their third album has been a massive highlight for Charrington in 2018. “It’s been incredibly rewarding to be a part of such new highs,” she says. “The band are super-talented and work incredibly hard. We all know that hard work is a big part of what artists have to do—travelling miles, performing to thousands of people—and it is wonderful to see this pay off. Their success is hugely deserved.”

Meanwhile, Sam Smith has been touring the world, playing over 100 sold-out arena dates, and has had another huge global hit with Calvin Harris in long-running #1 “Promises.” He’s also back in the studio working on new music for 2019. Liam Payne’s debut album is in production, and Charrington hints at some “incredible new talent” that will be launched over the next 18 to 24 months.

What does she find most challenging in today’s music business? “It is a challenge to remain relevant to an audience with a shortening attention span who are constantly being bombarded with information,” Charrington answers. “Fortunately, we work for an incredibly innovative global music company who are constantly sharing information and initiatives to help us keep on top of all this. It also keeps what I do interesting—and I love the fact we are still constantly learning.”

The key to staying on top of today’s ever-changing music business is to “keep learning; don’t take anything for granted but focus on what you know is important. Fortunately, the fundamentals do stay the same, which are to find great artists and help them form successful creative partnerships and write great songs. As Berry Gordy says, ‘The song is King.’”

Finally, the most exciting thing about British music right now? “That our best artists can and do compete on a global basis, with more opportunity to connect with their audience than ever before. I think the streaming world gives artists more opportunity, and the best songs do always rise to the top. I’m also optimistic that gender inequality in our industry is being tackled and women are being recognised as brilliant leaders and creatives.”