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Sony Unites Recorded Music and Publishing Under One Company

Sony has created Sony Music Group, an umbrella for both its recorded-music operation — Sony Music Entertainment — and its publishing company — Sony/ATV — under SME chief Rob Stringer, according to an internal document obtained by Variety. The move will take effect on Aug. 1.

A source close to the situation tells Variety that the move is an effort by Sony President/CEO Kenichiro Yoshida to streamline operations and increase interaction between the two companies, although the source noted that they will remain very independent units.

The move comes just three months after Jon Platt took over as chairman/CEO of Sony/ATV Music Publishing from longtime boss Martin Bandier in a surprise move. While there were rumors before Platt’s arrival that he would be reporting to Stringer, he initially reported in to Yoshida, and the Sony chief’s memo states that Platt “will retain the authority and responsibility he currently has with respect to the operation of the music publishing business.”

Stringer has enjoyed a successful tenure at the helm of Sony Music in the two years since he took over from longtime chairman Doug Morris, with big releases from Camila Cabello, Lil Nas X, Tyler, the Creator, Travis Scott and Khalid and many others. The source stressed that this move is an operational one.

The memo follows in full below:

Dear Colleagues,

As part of Sony’s business goals to increase collaborations across its entertainment units, be closer to creators and unlock more strategic opportunities, I’d like to inform you that effective August 1, we are bringing together Sony’s recorded music and music publishing businesses outside of Japan to create a new Sony Music Group. I have asked Rob Stringer to take on the role of Chairman of this new Group, in addition to his current duty as CEO of Sony Music Entertainment.

The purpose of this new Group is to further strengthen and solidify Sony’s position as a leader in the music industry and create new value for the company. This unification will help us foster a higher level of collaboration between our recorded music and music publishing businesses, while respecting and maintaining the independence and unique culture of each organization. Under this new structure, Jon Platt, Chairman and CEO of Sony/ATV Music Publishing, will report to Rob. Jon will retain the authority and responsibility he currently has with respect to the operation of the music publishing business.

The rise of streaming services alongside other changes in the market has transformed our music business and created more opportunities for growth than ever before. As a result, we felt it was particularly important at this juncture for Sony to take proactive steps to sustain its leadership position in the music industry by accelerating the collaboration and value creation between our world-class recorded music and music publishing businesses to strengthen our value to artists, songwriters and business partners.

While Sony Music Entertainment Japan will remain a separate entity, reporting to me, I would like for the new Sony Music Group and SMEJ to continue and further strengthen their collaboration in the spirit of One Sony.

It’s been 51 years since Sony entered the music business through a joint venture of CBS Sony Records in 1968. And, with the acquisition of EMI Music Publishing in 2018, Sony has become an even stronger music company.

I have the utmost respect and trust in Rob and Jon who are outstanding leaders with enormous industry expertise and have the strong support of their employees, artists and songwriters. Working together, and with your help, I am confident they will lead Sony Music Group to a new level of success, remaining the world’s most artist and songwriter-friendly music company, and further strengthening and securing our legacy for the future.

Kenichiro Yoshida
President and CEO
Sony Corporation

More to come …

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