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News January 31, 2018

UMPG’s Jody Gerson: ‘I won’t knowingly sign an artist who has committed a violent crime’

UMPG’s Jody Gerson: ‘I won’t knowingly sign an artist who has committed a violent crime’

When Universal Music Publishing Group’s chairman/CEO was tapped for Billboard‘s much-discussed Power 100, she was of course asked what her post-#metoo strategy was.

Jody Gerson, who has increased UMPG revenue by 27% since taking the role in January 2015, used the platform to make a pledge:

“I will not knowingly sign an artist to UMPG who has committed a violent crime against women — or anybody else,” she said.

It’s a marked step forward for the music industry; as the first woman to assume a chairman role at Universal Music Publishing Group, Jody Gerson has vowed to use her ‘power’ to empower.

“I don’t feel, in my position, that [behavior is] OK,” she told Billboard. “And I will take a hard-line position. Listen, there are people who make mistakes and I meet them and I feel like maybe I could change their lives, but in general, what I can do is I can be true to what I believe in. And I get to choose who we want to sign and who we don’t want to sign. And with everything I do, there has to be a level of integrity.”

Elsewhere in her interview with Billboard, Gerson said she hopes to help create equal opportunity for people, “regardless of gender, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc.”

Gerson has been working with the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, which is developing targeted, research-based solutions to tackle inequality.

“[The initiative] will really look at our business, but it will also figure out how to help people, how to get people in the door,” she said. “So for me personally, it’s not only important to identify that we need to do better in our hiring practices. We need to do better in training young people to succeed in whatever roles in which they want to succeed in.

“Because not everybody knows how to work in a corporate environment,” she added. “Not everybody even knows these jobs are available. So outreach has to be important.”

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


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