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A TASTE OF RAINMAKERS II:
JOHN JANICK

Billie Eilish inspires Justin Lubliner, Steve Berman, Sir Lucian Grainge and Janick to give peace a chance.

In this excerpt from Rainmakers II, we tell the story of John Janick’s meteoric rise from starting a label out of his dorm room to being Lucian Grainge’s choice to succeed Jimmy Iovine at the helm of Interscope. It’s turned out to be a shrewd move indeed: 2019 has been one of the best year’s in Interscope’s history, paced by Billie Eilish’s massive debut album, with 2.36m YTD, while the company is #2 in marketshare with 9.7% overall and 10.2% in streaming share.


“John Janick has consistently shown why he is widely regarded as one of the most talented, innovative and entrepreneurial executives in the music business today and will be a key player in the future generation of industry leaders. He is the ideal executive to be writing the next chapter in IGA’s illustrious history.”

Those were the words uttered by UMG overlord Sir Lucian Grainge when he announced the then-36-year-old executive’s promotion to Chairman/CEO of Interscope Geffen A&M back in 2014. Two years earlier, Grainge had handpicked Janick as Jimmy Iovine’s eventual successor at the helm of the company Iovine had steered to consistent dominance for more than two decades. What’s more, Jimmy was all-in on Janick as the ideal choice to carry on Interscope’s considerable legacy—the charismatic Iovine recognizing the thoughtful, low-key Janick as an entrepreneurial kindred spirit.  

Janick’s stratospheric ascent wasn’t exactly a shocker. At the typically awkward and confusing age of 18 years old—when most college kids are “finding themselves” and buckling under the anxiety of a quarter-life crisis—the Starke, Miss., native was making music history. As the story goes, Janick started the now-famous indie Fueled by Ramen with friend and Less Than Jake drummer Vinnie Fiorello out of his dorm room at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

In 1998, FBR released Jimmy Eat World’s eponymous EP, as much a game-changer for the label as it was for the Arizona-based band. Five years later, Janick scored his next breakthrough with the release of Fall Out Boy’s Take This to Your Grave, which would go on to become the group’s first gold album. “A few years in, I kept seeing flyers for this band from Chicago called Fall Out Boy,” Janick recalled in an interview with Entrepreneur. “I remember thinking, ‘That name is so horrible.’ But when I finally checked them out, they were so good. I gave them a call and signed them immediately over the telephone, just based on their music and vibes… Fall Out Boy obviously went on to have multiple platinum albums—they were our first really big success.”

It was his artist-first heart, along with the signature chance-taking gut of a true entrepreneur and remarkable intuition—specifically, the ability to stay ahead of the curve with a nose for trends before they happen—that cemented Janick’s space in the upper echelon. “I tried to emulate Interscope as a small indie label in Florida,” he explained in a 2017 HITS interview. “When you think about the history of Interscope, you think about Dr. Dre and No Doubt and Nine Inch Nails and Lady Gaga and Eminem—the list goes on and on. It’s all these artists who don’t fit into a box, who have this vision.”

Read the full profile here.

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