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A TASTE OF RAINMAKERS:
MAX LOUSADA

The Believer

TO THE MAX: Lousada with Rita Ora, Ed Sheeran and Stormzy

Max Lousada’s ascendancy to the CEO of Recorded Music post at Warner Music Group completed the “Britification” of the three U.S. majors’ leadership. But it was also another indicator that a new generation of leaders had emerged. And Lousada, though young, emphatically embraces the characteristics of a classic “record man.”

Those who met with him at the Chateau Marmont around the time of the 2017 Grammys, before his title was announced, report that the tall, bearded redhead cut an imposing figure, and his engaging persona, easy smile and robust sense of humor made an immediate impression. He asked probing, thoughtful questions about people who worked at WMG, these insiders report, as well as those who didn’t. Here was another British music executive who embraced the proven strategy of selecting a creative exec to head up his company’s content centers, ably assisted by savvy marketing execs. It was clear Lousada was contemplating sweeping changes to the Warner world.

At the time he appeared to be considering an offer for a top Sony post in NYC, but in retrospect he was in the process of negotiating a much bigger job at WMG. Many British ex-pats working for the competition had been saying for months that they were certain he’d be staying at Warner.

“Max is decisive, has 360 vision, has ambition for the company and great people skills,” says Warner Bros. Co-Chairman/COO Tom Corson, who hadn’t met Lousada before talks began to bring him over to WMG. “I think there’s a reason people want to work for him; it feels fresh, like a major move toward the future. He’s a modern leader. He’s not about just getting hits and letting the biz-dev guys figure out the structure of the business. He’s very aware of and interested in new, developing channels and where they fit into our growth equation. He’s impressive, and is building a team of ambitious, forward-thinking and diverse executives.”

“The most powerful thing we have in the music business is a great song, and what I’ve always enjoyed the most about my relationship with Max is that every conversation has been about the records. He’s a record man who truly loves records.”

—Ron Laffitte

“I met Max a long time ago, because of his relationship with Ed Sheeran and my friendship with Ed Sheeran and his manager, Stuart Camp,” recalls Scooter Braun. “We met at a show and completely hit it off; what he’s been able to do in his time at Warner is remarkable. Not only that, but he’s one of the guys who’s at the front of a new generation of leadership in the music industry. He thinks outside of the box and he loves music. I’m happy to see a good guy in a big position.”

“Max is focused, a genius, erratic,” observed Sheeran. “You’re either very, very good at numbers or very good at making art, and he’s good at both. Just keep winning.”

“I haven’t met an artist yet that doesn’t like Max or want to work with him,” Camp told Bloomberg. “Max is the peacemaker and the deciding vote. He has an understanding and wisdom that everyone appreciates.”

“In my humble opinion,” asserts Ron Laffitte, “the most powerful thing we have in the music business is a great song, and what I’ve always enjoyed the most about my relationship with Max is that every conversation has been about the records. He’s a record man who truly loves records.”

“Max is the perfect package: a man of honor and principle with a brilliant mind and a deep love of music,” reads a statement from Warner stalwarts Coldplay.

“Max is brilliant at creating an environment where artists and executives feel backed by a real belief in their abilities,” notes Warner Bros. U.K. President Phil Christie. “That faith helps people achieve things they might otherwise have thought weren’t possible. He has a clear vision for how Warner and its culture should evolve, and it’s a great feeling to be part of the team that’s helping accomplish that on a global scale.”

Read the entire piece in Rainmakers: History of the Music Biz Three.

Read the entire profile here.

 

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