Lucian Grainge, chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group, will be honored by the Songwriters Hall of Fame as the 2018 recipient of the Howie Richmond Hitmaker Award at the organization’s annual induction ceremony in New York on June 14. Inductees at this year’s event include Bill Anderson, Robert “Kool” Bell, Ronald Bell, George Brown & James “JT” Taylor P/K/A “Kool & The Gang,” Steve Dorff, Jermaine Dupri, Alan Jackson, John Mellencamp and Allee Willis.
The Hitmaker award, named after one of the hall’s founders, is presented to an artist or industry “star maker” who has been responsible for a substantial number of hits over an extended period and recognizes the genuine significance of songs and songwriters. Previous honorees include Garth Brooks, Clive Davis, Gloria Estefan, Whitney Houston, Tom Jones, Doug Morris, Phil Ramone, Diana Ross and Seymour Stein.
“While today Sir Lucian runs the world’s leading music company, he began his career nearly 40 years ago as a ‘song plugger’ for April Blackwood Music,” said hall co-chairs Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff. “His career in music publishing continued over the years, including launching Polygram Music Publishing U.K. and building it into one of the biggest publishers. He epitomizes what the Howie Richmond Hitmaker Award represents,”
Hall president and CEO Linda Moran said: “Throughout his rise to the top of the music industry, from ‘song plugger’ to a mega power player and star maker, Sir Lucian has always recognized that it all truly begins with a song and has never ceased championing songwriters.”
Grainge has spent his entire career in the music industry and has signed and worked with many acts, including Abba, Elton John, Migos, Queen, Rihanna, The Rolling Stones, Sam Smith, U2, The Weeknd and Amy Winehouse, among many others. Having spent the first part of his career as a talent scout, Grainge achieved early success with artists including Psychedelic Furs, Eurythmics and the Pet Shop Boys.
Since he took the helm of UMG early in 2010, Grainge has overseen the company’s $1.9 billion acquisition of EMI’s recorded-music division; struck recent licensing deals with YouTube, Spotify and Facebook; and seen the company be valued at $23.5 billion in a recent Goldman Sachs report, among many other accomplishments.
In 2016 he was bestowed with a knighthood by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in the Queen’s 90th Birthday Honours list for accomplishments in the music industry and leadership through its challenging times, contributions to British business and inward investment, as well as his development of innovative business models, technology and media partnerships that have expanded UMG’s global presence. For his service to global creative industries, he was recognized in Britain’s New Years Honors and awarded Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2010.