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UNIVERSAL'S HIP TO BE SQUARE

Making their office unreachable for HITS employees to come bother them at Universal’s U.K. HQ, are,m from left, Simon McMahon, Lewis Millar, Alexandra Dodd, Jack Fryer, Arslaan Ahmed, Helen Kennedy, Jon Fell and Charlotte Thomson.

Universal Music U.K. has launched an in-house agency, The Square, aimed at uniting big data, strategy and creativity. Senior Director of Strategic Planning Jack Fryer steps up to Managing Director to lead the division.

The Square aims to be a “partner to creativity” across all Universal Music U.K.’s teams as well as to artists and managers. 

 “Jack is an exceptional executive, a truly creative thinker who’s also immersed in the science, who richly deserves this promotion,” Universal Music U.K. chairman David Joseph said.

“His vision is for The Square to be a place that our labels, our managers and our artists come to gain an edge—whether that’s simply about learning something new, shaping a strategy or forging a new idea.”

Fryer's seven-strong team includes senior strategists Jon Fell and Simon McMahon alongside audience researcher Alexandra Dodd. Three new team members have been hired: data scientist Lewis Millar, international research and strategist Charlotte Thomson and junior strategist Arslaan Ahmed. Creative Strategist Helen Kennedy has moved across from a Senior Marketing role at Virgin EMI to provide a label perspective. 

The team is based within Universal Music’s Pancras Square HQ and reports to Commercial & Creative Services Division MD David Hawkes.

Fryer, who joined Universal Music from EMI in 2013 as Head of Insight, noted, “We want to be a 21st Century service for a 21st Century music company—a little town-square bursting with different kinds of brains and different kinds of skills to benefit our labels and artists. It needs to feel like a collaborative network, not a centralised service.”

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