Sony Music CEO Rob Stringer is set to make a triumphant homecoming to the U.K. next week to receive the country’s prestigious Music Industry Trusts Award on Nov. 6. The event raises money for the BRIT Trust, which supports the BRIT School and industry charity Nordoff Robbins. Previous winners have included Chris Blackwell, Annie Lennox and Roger Daltrey, among others.Ahead of the honor, Stringer sat for a number of interviews with the British press, including the Times of London, GQ...
From a life-changing concert in London by The Clash to running the second biggest music company in the world, Rob Stringer has been known for most of his adulthood as a consummate “record man” and the rare lifer to have spent the whole of his career at one company: Sony Music.
Stringer started out in his native Great Britain, working in marketing at Sony predecessor CBS Records in the mid-80s and rising to managing director of Epic Records in 1992. Less than a decade later, he would be running Sony’s UK operations working with such acts as George Michael, Jamiroquai and Sade.
In 2006, he made the proverbial jump over the pond to head Columbia Records, the storied nearly 130-year-old label that’s home to Bruce Sprinsgteen, Bob Dylan, Barbra Streisand, and Beyonce. But it was Adele who, under Stringer’s watch, shattered sales records to become the biggest artist of the last decade.
At the same time, Stringer saw through key deals with Simon Cowell’s Syco (incubator for One Direction, Grace Vanderwaal and Susan Boyle), superstar DJs Calvin Harris and Daft Punk, and the release of David Bowie’s final album.
He’s had a few stumbles – namely ill-fated hires – but they’re far outweighed by accomplishments and ahead-of-the-curve signings like Leon Bridges, Haim, and Hozier.
With a reputation for speaking the same language as artists, and known to share a drink (or two or five) with creatives and colleagues alike, Stringer bridges the old guard with the new – logging historic sales while at the same time, seeing streaming revenues impact the bottom-line with a 57% gain in operating income year over year, according to Sony financials from its first fiscal quarter of 2017. Not even a year into his post as CEO, there is much still to come.