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DAVE WINS 2019 MERCURY PRIZE
The British rapper is honored. (9/20a)
REVENUE CHART: POST BREAKS THE BANK
Malone's big payday. (9/20a)
HITS LIST
TAKES A FALL
The usual suspects break out their autumn wardrobes. (9/20a)
GREEN ON RED
Billie Joe keeps rockin'. (9/20a)
GREEN ON RED
Punk-pop goes the weasel. (9/20a)
MORE RAINMAKERS
The players who made it happen.
WHAT ABOUT THOSE LEAKS?
Even funnier in French.
RIHANNA'S ETA
And about $50m in funding.
THE BUNDLE BUNGLE
When will the rules change?
Blighty Beat
UNIVERSAL U.K.: SELINA WEBB
11/20/18

EVP, Universal Music, U.K.

Selina Webb was elevated into David Joseph’s senior leadership team in early 2016 after nearly 20 years at Universal Music. That started in the late ’90s, when, after editing British trade mag Music Week, Webb was hired by 
Lucian Grainge as Director of Press for Polydor Records. After assembling an award-winning media team at Polydor, she become Senior Director of Communications for UMUK in 2010. In her EVP role, Webb is actively involved in all strategic issues at the company, and she has an expanded brief to lead wider industry relations. We talked to her about Universal’s impressive new King’s Cross offices, and a few big-picture issues.


What does the move to King’s Cross say about the future of UMUK? Does this mark a new era?
It feels that way. It’s the people, not the building, who make the culture of a company, but there’s a genuine excitement about being in such a vibrant and creative part of town. Walking out the door here, we’ve got the world-leading art school Central Saint Martins one way, with Google the other, in an area which is different from our last in pretty much every way. As much as we loved our hardware-store neighbours at the back end of Kensington, King’s Cross feels like it’s in the middle of the action—being here is already bringing new opportunities. We’re soon going to have pretty much all our U.K. labels as well as Universal Music Publishing under one roof for the first time. So, yes, it is a new era and a huge testament to our teams that the transition has been such a smooth one so far.

From where you sit, what are the biggest challenges in today’s music business?
Cutting through all the noise with a new artist is daunting, the biggest challenge for sure, but I’m feeling a lot more optimistic that greatness can and will find its way through—you just have to keep the faith and all the plates spinning longer. Easy when you say it [laughs]. It’s a positive that we’re no longer dependent on a yes or no from a such narrow group of media gatekeepers, but there are no shortcuts in today’s business. More than ever, we’re nowhere without truly brilliant artists and songs. Alongside the expertise, ideas and inventiveness, our marketing and creative teams need to tell our artists’ stories, not just at home but globally. The spotlight is firmly back on A&R and genuine artist development.

What is key to the continued success of the British music industry in today’s global and streaming-led world?
In a word? Britishness. We are a melting pot of culture and creativity, and the best of our innovative, eccentric, genre-pushing and above all cool artists have always reflected that. Musical homogeneity has been tending to rule in streaming, but I’d like to think that won’t continue as subscriber bases continue to broaden and diversify. In the meantime, our incredible artists are out there finding and inspiring new audiences across the world.

What is the most exciting thing about British music right now?
The fact our new artists are finding global audiences from day one. Just one example, but seeing a U.K. hip-hop artist, Ramz, with a track about a London tube station stream globally and go to #1 in Germany showed what the possibilities are. We have some brilliant artists coming through who are already tapping into the global Universal Music network, making connections, telling our artists’ stories and growing their audiences not just in the traditional key markets but truly around the world.