Capitol Music Group Marks Second Annual Capitol Congress with Artist Performances

Getty Images/Courtesy of Capitol Music Group
Barnett presents Sam Smith with plaque commemorating his selling more copies than any debut album by a U.K. male artist.

Neil Diamond, Sam Smith and 5 Seconds of Summer were among those on hand, with signing of Mary J. Blige announced.

Capitol Records congratulated itself on a job well done yesterday at the company's Second Annual Capitol Congress at the Arc-Light Theatre and then at the label's iconic Capitol Tower in Hollywood before an audience of artists, executives and industry notables.

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Capitol Music Group chairman and CEO Steve Barnett hosted the celebration, which began at the ArcLight Theatre, during which the labels' domestic and international teams were presented with CMG's priorities for the coming months and celebrated the ongoing rebirth of the fabled label. CMG has increased its market share by more than 25 percent in the past 12 months and has risen to No. 2 in label group rankings from the No. 5 position it held only a year ago (according to Nielsen SoundScan).

Universal Music Group chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge opened the day-long event via satellite, welcoming more than 350 attendees and congratulating them for the company's achievements in artist development, as well as the remarkable growth in marketshare over the past year. Barnett then encapsulated CMG's progress in his opening remarks, exclaiming, "What a difference a year makes!" He congratulated the attendees from all over the world "who play a daily role in the company's success and have helped to build CMG into a company that is now a viable home for artists at every level: from brand-new and developing artists to established superstars and legends."

In 2014, CMG is the only label group to have two of the Top 5 Breakthrough Artists this year in pop and soul singer Sam Smith and band phenomenon 5 Seconds of Summer (according to Nielsen SoundScan). CMG has also signed an array of global superstars over the past year that spans the musical spectrum, including Neil Diamond, Morrissey, Beck, and as announced during the Congress, Mary J. Blige.

Capitol Congress attendees also heard from Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, who in an interview with UMG President, Global Digital Business Rob Wells, recounted his company's growth and success, and spoke of his vision for the future in the midst of the music industry's transition from a physical/download-based economy to one built on streaming.

Visits and performances by CMG artists highlighted the Congress, as CMG worldwide success stories Sam Smith and 5 Seconds of Summer showed to thank the company for its support. Capitol recording artist Neil Diamond was introduced by Barnett, as an artist "who for nearly every person in this room, has been a part of the soundtrack of your life!" The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, who has sold 128 million records worldwide and achieved 72 multiplatinum, platinum and gold awards, premiered two new tracks from his forthcoming Capitol debut. Barnett also announced the signing of Blige, who addressed the crowd from a studio in London where she is working on her debut for the company.

Last night, the company held a celebratory dinner in the outdoor courtyard of the iconic Capitol Tower in Hollywood for nearly 2,000 company staffers, industry representatives and artists.

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During the day's presentations at the ArcLight Theatre in Hollywood, the company heard from CMG senior executives Barnett; evps Greg Thompson and Michelle Jubelirer; evp international, Capitol Music Group, Robbie McIntosh; svp sales, Capitol Music Group, Ron Spaulding; chief financial officer Geoff Harris; UMG chairman and CEO Grainge; seventeenfifty Capitol Creative Labs svp Kate Denton; UMG international chairman and CEO Max Hole; UMG evp and CFO Boyd Muir; UMG evp and general counsel Jeff Harleston; UMG president of global digital business Wells; president of Universal Music Enterprises Bruce Resnikoff; UMG head of strategic operations Barak Moffitt; Capitol Records svp of A&R Mike Flynn; Virgin Records CCO and evp Ron Fair and general manager Ashley Burns; Harvest Records general managers Piero Giramonti and Jacqueline Saturn; Blue Note president Don Was; Astralwerks gm Glenn Mendlinger; Capitol Christian Music Group president and CEO Bill Hearn; I.R.S. Nashville president John Grady; Caroline president Dominic Pandiscia; and Electromagnetic Recordings president T Bone Burnett.