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News May 29, 2019

Michael Gudinski, Denis Handlin, Rachel Kelly among Billboard’s International Power Players 2019 List

Senior Journalist, B2B
Michael Gudinski, Denis Handlin, Rachel Kelly among Billboard’s International Power Players 2019 List

George Ash, Michael Coppel, Michael Gudinski, Denis Handlin and Rachel Kelly lead the Australasian contingent in Billboard’s latest roll-call of the most powerful music executives around the globe.

With global music sales soaring, thanks chiefly to the booming popularity of streaming platforms, Billboard explains, these are among executives “who are driving the industry’s success outside the U.S.”

All told, more than 50 execs feature in the International Power Players List for 2019, published early Wednesday.

It’s the first time on the list for Kelly, who launched Downtown Music in Australia last February and immediately got down to business. In its first year, the independent music company’s Sydney-based arm enjoyed successes with The Teskey Brothers, Stella Donnelly and John Butler Trio, whose latest LP Home blasted to No. 1 on the ARIA Albums Chart. The country’s geographical isolation “somehow works in our favour,” she tells Billboard. “Independent artists are thriving.”

downtown staff with stella donnelly signing

Australia is “one of the top live touring markets in the world,” says Coppel, whose concert promoting giant posted sellouts in 2018 from Cher, Taylor Swift, Kevin Hart and Roger Waters, and helped Pink shift upwards of 600,000 tickets.

Denis Handlin

Elsewhere in the report, Handlin, Sony’s longest-serving executive worldwide at 49 years (including 35 years leading the Australian business), says the company has invested “millions” in the Asia-Pacific region in recent years, including A&R-driven joint ventures like dance label Liquid State.

Fellow industry legend Michael Gudinski told of how his promoter Frontier Touring now wields “more artillery” after reuniting with Michael Chugg and forming a joint venture with AEG Live.

michael chugg michael gudinski

Across the Asia-Pacific region, UMG artists and labels enjoyed a record year by market share, chart share, platform share and other metrics, said Ash, the only New Zealander to crack the annual list, while Simon Robson, president, Warner Music Asia, pointed to China as a critical piece to his company’s fortunes.

The International Power Players list is led this year year by Team Drake, comprising Drizzy’s manager and the OVO team of Mr. Morgan, Noah “40” Shebib and Noah “40” Shebib, who are recognized for together guiding the Canadian hip-hop star’s “global domination” and top ranking on the IFPI’s list for best-selling artists for 2018.

Read Billboard’s International Power Player list here.

This article originally appeared on The Industry Observer, which is now part of The Music Network.


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