The first music executive to be recognised since the award launched in 1999, Grainge has worked with the likes of Abba, Justin Bieber, Elton John and Jay Z during his career which spans almost four decades.
Widely credited for laying the foundation that has led to the music industry’s return to growth after more than a decade of decline, Grainge developed new approaches to the signing and development of recording artists and songwriters, championing innovative business models and creating a wide range of international technology and media partners.
“Through creative drive, passion and outstanding leadership, Sir Lucian has made bold investments in music and technology that helped return the industry to growth, while continuing to foster an environment that puts artists first,” commented Philip Thomas, chief executive officer of Ascential Events, organisers of Cannes Lions.
“During his tenure, Grainge has transformed Universal Music Group into a world leader in music-based entertainment and we’re delighted to honour him as this year’s Media Person of the Year.”
Career highlights include in 2011, Grainge let UMG’s acquisition of EMI, revitalising its Capitol Records brand and, in the process, further strengthening UMG’s position as a global leader in music. Under his leadership, UMG has set numerous records including being the first music company to score all 10 of the top 10 spots on the Billboard Hot 100 list. In 2016, Grainge was knighted in the Queen’s 90th Birthday Honours list.
Of the latest accolade, Grainge commented: “While today’s music industry is virtually unrecognisable from the business I started in, one thing that hasn’t changed is that great artists and great music remain at the heart of everything we do.
“We are proud to demonstrate how traditional media businesses can reinvent themselves in the age of streaming, leverage new technologies and work closely with brand partners to develop exciting opportunities for artists, labels and fans. On behalf of everyone at UMG and all of our recording artists and songwriters, we’re very thankful to Cannes Lions for this honour.”
In addition to UMG, Grainge also serves on the boards of Lionsgate Entertainment and Northeastern University, Boston. Media Person of the Year recognises innovators who have shaped the future of media and will be presented to Grainge on Wednesday 21 June during the Cannes Lions Festival.