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A TASTE OF RAINMAKERS II: STEVE BARNETT

In this excerpt from our series profiling industry ballers, we look at the Capitol Music Group chieftain's U.K. connections.

Barnett has benefited from his longstanding relationship with Modest! Management’s Richard Griffiths, one of Barnett’s most important influencers. “I had known Steve as a manager from about 1977,” the manager of One Direction, 5 Seconds of Summer and Niall Horan recalls. “We worked very closely together on Gary Moore, who I signed to first Virgin Music Publishing and then to the label I had at Virgin called Ten. We enjoyed great success together, especially internationally.”

“When I was at Epic,” Griffith adds, “it was a classic situation of being a big New York-based company that thought the world revolved around them. Which was essentially true, but I felt we needed a much bigger presence around the world. Steve was managing AC/DC but was clearly wanting something new. We were just sitting in my office chatting one day, and I said, ‘Why don’t you come here and run international?’ and he said OK. It was that simple. He made an immediate impression. As the success of Epic grew with Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine, Korn, Celine Dion and of course Michael Jackson, I needed someone to work closely with me in New York, so Steve became GM and essentially ran the day-to-day of the label.”

Barnett still maintains his U.K. connections and travels regularly to Europe, as CMG has become the go-to landing spot for UMG’s U.K. labels. The benefits of that synergy between the U.S. and U.K. CMG properties, along with Barnett and his experience in the U.K., has paid dramatic dividends.

“From the minute I met Steve, many years ago now,” Sam Smith tells us, “I completely fell in love with his drive and passion and kindness. I am so lucky to have his support and friendship. He has taught me so much and continues to teach me so much.”

Read the entire profile here.

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