Richard Griffiths and Harry Magee, co-founders of Modest! Management, will be honored at the 2019 Music Industry Trusts Award gala scheduled to be held in London on November 4. The two industry veterans represent the Spice Girls, Niall Horan, 5 Seconds of Summer, Little Mix, Allison Moyet and Olly Murs, among other acts.
The prestigious U.K. honor was in previous years bestowed upon CAA’s Emma Banks, Sony Music CEO Rob Stringer, Universal Music Group chairman Sir Lucian Grainge, Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun and The Who’s Roger Daltrey, among others. Griffiths and Magee are the first managers to receive the MITs Award. The ceremony, which benefits the charities BRIT Trust and Nordoff Robbins, is in its 28th year and is sponsored by PPL, SJM Concerts and Spotify.
Griffiths’ music career started in the mid-1970s when he was the first international agent for AC/DC. He soon segued to record labels where, as A&R for Island Records, he signed the Buggles of “Video Killed The Radio Star” fame. Throughout the 1980s, he managed Ultravox, ran Virgin Music Publishing and signed Tears for Fears, Culture Club and Pet Shop Boys, and founded the U.S. division of Virgin Music.
He moved to the U.S. to take the position of president of Epic Records in New York, working with Oasis, Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine and Korn, and returned to the U.K. to collaborate with Simon Cowell, signing Westlife and helping create Syco Music and Television while at BMG. In 2001, Griffiths was tasked with launching the U.K. arm of management company The Firm, where he and Magee worked with Enrique Iglesias and Linkin Park, among others.
Magee is also an alumnus of BMG, joining the company in 1989 as Arista Records’ head of marketing and working with the likes of Lisa Stansfield and Whitney Houston in the U.K. He later became managing director of Big Life Records (Yazz, The Orb, Naughty By Nature) and general manager of A&M Records (Sting, Bryan Adams, Sheryl Crow and Soundgarden).
Moving to RCA in 1998, Magee too linked up with Cowell and his acts Westlife and Five, while also working released by Natalie Imbruglia, Foo Fighters and Annie Lennox. In 2001, Magee joined Griffiths at The Firm’s U.K. outpost.
Modest! was formed in 2003 and started working with One Direction in 2010 after the group competed on “The X Factor.” 1D went on to worldwide success and its individual members have each seen solo success as well. One such alum, Niall Horan, said of Griffiths and Magee: “I struggle to know where to even start…. What incredible men these two are. I’ve been working with Richard and Harry for nearly ten years now and if it wasn’t for them I don’t know if we all would have had half of the success we did. … On a personal note, I know they’ve worked their arses off for me and I can put it all down to the kind of relationship I share with them. They are basically like my uncles. We’ve been all over the world together, laughed together mostly, cried together at times but most importantly had many great nights on the wine together ahahah. I’d do anything for these men and I can comfortably say that they would do the same for me.”
Said David Munns OBE, chairman of the MITS Award committee: “Richard and Harry have been at the forefront of the British music industry for over forty years. Individually and as the founders of Modest! they have continually set the benchmark in management and have led countless artists to huge success. Honouring two artist managers is a first for the MITS and we’re proud for them both to join the illustrious recipients list. We look forward to a fantastic awards night.”