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UNIVERSAL U.K.: NICKIE OWEN
11/28/18

Co-President, International Marketing, UMUK

Nickie Owen, who was promoted to Co-President of International Marketing at Universal Music U.K. in February, started her career in artist management. She then spent seven years in international at EMI, where she worked on global campaigns for Laura Marling, Robbie Williams, Bryan Ferry, Blur, Babyshambles and The Kooks. Since joining Universal in 2014, Owen has played a key role in campaigns for Florence + the Machine, Mumford & Sons, Take That, Liam Payne and Sam Smith.

During her time in the business, the growth and global nature of streaming has had a huge impact on the industry at large. How has the transition changed the work Owen does in raising the profile of U.K. talent worldwide? “The speed in which we do it has changed. We are now setting up artists and campaigns internationally at the same time as the U.K. But we have to be mindful of the fact that, although the world is deemed more global than ever before, we still need to create strategies that allow a local connection to an artist, whether that’s with playlists, radio, press or live.”

According to Owen, a plus side of the global nature of streaming is increased opportunities for discovery. “It has allowed us opportunities for discovery that may not have been there before,” she points out, “with tracks being given exposure on playlists and local playlist editors discovering new music ahead of the consumer.” However, there’s also downside in the dominance of local repertoire. “The biggest playlists in the world are dominated by domestic repertoire, especially in non-Anglo markets,” she says. “Our challenge is to understand where these opportunities are and deliver on them.”

Is she hopeful for the future of British music on the global map? “British music always has been culturally important on the global stage, and its heritage influences so many artists across the world,” Owen asserts. “This will never change, and its influences will continue to touch new artists as catalogue dominates discovery across streaming platforms. The most exciting thing about British music right now to me still remains its diversity; you only need to look at the dynamic nature of the charts to see its real depth.”