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Grammy week officially kicked off on Wednesday, when the Recording Academy’s Producers and Engineers wing hosted its annual fete in West Los Angeles’ iconic Village Studios honoring Quincy Jones, but today’s true power players turned out en masse for the big reveal of Billboard’s “Power 100” issue at Hollywood’s Redbury Inn on Thursday night.
At the top of the list: Universal Music Group chairman Lucian Grainge, who in 2012 orchestrated the buyout of EMI, shuffled the UMG executive decks and brought manager Scooter Braun into the fold along with his own label, Schoolboy Records.
“It’s very neat,” said Grainge, a CBE, of the honor, adding, “It’s not all about me; I’ve had an amazing team within Universal that I’m very proud of.”
Also receiving a round of applause at the podium was industry veteran and Sony Music’s chief creative officer Clive Davis, who was honored with the first-ever Musical Visionary Award, which will heretofore be known as the Clive Davis award.
But while Grainge was enthusiastic about the future of the business, telling the A-list crowd gathered, “There are many more opportunities in the future than threats we’ve had to endure in the past” and “I’ve always invested in music and will always continue to,” Davis was more reflective. “I never, ever thought that music would become my profession, no less my passion,” said Davis, who also alluded to portions of his autobiography, which is due out on Feb. 16.
Among those who came out to toast both men was a veritable who’s who of the music industry, including Republic’s Monte Lippman, Recording Academy president Neil Portnow, American Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe, songwriter Diane Warren, BET’s Debra L. Lee, legendary manager Irving Azoff, Glassnote’s Daniel Glass, Warner-Chappell’s “Big” Jon Platt and THR and Billboard’s own CEO Ross Levinsohn, among others.
Later, on the other side of town, a group of some 150 industry insiders gathered for the third-annual Friends ‘N’ Family dinner, held at Beverly Hills restaurant Scarpetta. Co-host Mark Beaven of AAM introduced the night — which had previously been held in “various backyards with police raids and party crashers” — with a positive note, telling his guests, “We have a business that’s starting to come back” and pointing out that Apple just sold its 25 billionth download.
The comment elicited enthusiastic cheers from those assembled, who included managers Peter Katsis and Seth Friedman, attorney Peter Paterno, RCA president Tom Corson and CEO Peter Edge, Universal’s Tom Whalley, electronic artist Paul Oakenfold, songwriter Evan Bogart and more. The group hosts its 16th-annual FNF blowout at Paramount Studios on Friday night with performances by Carly Rae Jepsen and DJ sets by Oakenfold, Samantha Ronson, Dallas K, and Melanie Fiona.
Pictured (from left): Lucian Grainge, Clive Davis and Billboard’s Bill Werde.
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