MUSIC MOGUL DOUG MORRIS WAS HONORED WITH 2,399th STAR ON THE HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME with guest speakers including will.i.am and Mary J. Blige
at 6259 Hollywood Boulevard off of Vine Street on
Tuesday, January 26, 2010.
Doug Morris is the Worldwide Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Universal Music Group. In this position, he continues to be the most influential music executive in the industry, responsible for guiding the overall global activities of the world's largest music company. Universal Music Group encompasses the development, marketing, sales and distribution of recorded music through a network of subsidiaries, joint ventures and licensees in 77 countries around the world. Universal Music Group's businesses also include the industry's largest global music publishing operation, Universal Music Publishing Group.
Under his direction, UMG is rapidly evolving from a record company into a full-fledged music entertainment company, from simply being vendors to active partners with businesses looking to use music as the foundation of their products and services. Over the past several years, UMG has been an industry leader in effectively leveraging core assets to create lucrative new revenue streams, forging precedent-setting deals with YouTube, Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Nokia, MySpace, imeem, MOG, BuzzNet and Last.fm, among many others. Add to that UMG's over 30% market share for 2009, leading the market for the 12th consecutive year, with best-selling albums from such superstars as Lady Gaga, U2, Black Eyed Peas and Kanye West, along with successful newcomers Rihanna and Justin Bieber, and you can see why UMG is considered the music industry's most successful music company.
A graduate of Columbia University, Morris began his music career as a songwriter for music publisher Robert Mellin, Inc. His credits include the Chiffons' 1966 hit "Sweet Talkin' Guy" and producing such hit records as Brownsville Station's "Smokin' in the Boys Room." Morris joined Laurie Records in 1965 as a writer and producer and was eventually named Vice President and General Manager. Later, he launched his own label, Big Tree Records, which was distributed and eventually acquired by Atlantic Records in 1978. At this time Morris was named President of ATCO Records, beginning a 17-year association with Warner Music.
In 1980, Morris was appointed President of Atlantic Records and assumed the position of Co-Chairman and Co-CEO (with Ahmet Ertegun) of the Atlantic Recording Group in 1990. At Atlantic, Morris played a key role in transforming the label into the number one company within the Warner Music Group and the premier company within the music industry. As part of his strategy for growth, Morris revamped the division labels into completely autonomous units (each supporting a variety of imprints); established co-venture deals with such renowned labels as Interscope, Rhino, and Matador; and created Time Warner Audiobooks in partnership with Warner Books. He also established Atlantic Nashville, launched EastWest Records and created A*Vision Entertainment, a leading home entertainment unit. Morris was promoted to President and Chief Operating Officer of Warner Music U.S. in 1994 and, soon after, was named Chairman.
Morris began his association with the MCA Music Entertainment Group (now Universal Music Group) in July 1995 by forming the joint venture, Rising Tide Entertainment. Upon Morris' appointment as Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group in November 1995, the joint venture became wholly owned by Universal Music Group and was re-named Universal Records. The full-service label, under the direction of Morris, quickly became one of the industry's most successful start-up recording companies.
Leading Universal Music Group, Morris has energized the company by attracting and recruiting many of the music industry's most talented executives. With the acquisition of PolyGram in 1998, Morris was directly involved with the restructuring and integration process to create the world's largest music company. Since then, Universal Music Group has continued to dominate the musical charts as the industry's leader, setting new records for revenues and market share in the U.S. and on a global basis.
Throughout his career, Morris has worked in many different capacities with some of the most popular and influential artists of the past four decades, including The Rolling Stones, Phil Collins, Pete Townsend, Led Zeppelin, Stevie Nicks, Bette Midler, Tori Amos, INXS, Mariah Carey, Jay-Z, Stevie Wonder and U2, among many others.
Under Morris' direction, UMG has recently garnered a 33% increase in digital sales, with overall revenues growing while much of the rest of the industry has declined. Bold acquisitions of BMG Music Publishing and Sanctuary have fueled growth in music publishing and merchandising, with digital sales and higher licensing fees off-setting the decline in physical sales. UMG is the market share leader in every major genre, including Latin, Rap, R&B, Soundtracks, Top-Sellers, Jazz, Classical, Country, Alternative, Deep Catalog, Catalog and Rock.
Morris' groundbreaking digital strategies led him to become the first media executive to monetize online music videos, essentially helping to create the music video-on-demand market online. By offering MP3s, UMG's leader helped launch both Amazon and Wal-Mart's new digital music stores. Under Morris' direction, UMG continues to lead the industry in digital albums and singles sold worldwide, with four of the top 5 digital albums to date, the most viewed YouTube channel, registering over 3.6 billion streams and growing, and the best-selling mastertone artist of all time in chart-topper Akon. Recently, Morris partnered with Google to launch VEVO, the new premium music video and entertainment service. Within its first month of launch, VEVO had an unprecedented 35,395,000 unique visitors, making it the #1 music destinations on the internet, according to comScore. In doing so, VEVO beat out such popular music sites as MySpace Music, AOL Music and MTV Networks Music.
Moreover, UMG's Universal Music Publishing Group is now the world's largest music publisher after its $2 billion acquisition of BMG Music Publishing, and Universal Music Group Distribution created a successful indie arm in Fontana and entered the filmed entertainment arena with Vivendi Entertainment, a full-service company that provides distribution services including theatrical releasing, home entertainment, digital delivery and television. Universal Music Latin Entertainment has become the biggest Latin music company since acquiring Univision Music Group, and UMG's acquisition of Sanctuary Group has provided the company with management and booking expertise, as well as a lucrative merchandising and artist service division in Bravado, which features products from such clients as Kanye West, Gwen Stefani, Beyonce, Elton John, Guns N' Roses, Metallica, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Iron Maiden, Alicia Keys, Kelly Clarkson, Christine Aguilera and Eminem, among many others. UMG has also entered the burgeoning business of classical music artist management and production, forming Universal Music Classical Artists Management & Productions, in order to develop careers, create distinctive live events and build long-lasting brands
Morris serves on the Board of Directors of The Robin Hood Foundation and The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, as well as a Director of The Rock -N- Roll Hall of Fame. In 2003, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) awarded Morris with the President's Merit Award, honoring his consistent creative commitment to artistic and entrepreneurial excellence and longstanding support for the music and world communities. Morris also serves on the Vivendi Management Board, and is a member of the Board of Directors of CBS Corporation and leading gamer Activision Blizzard, the latter formed after Vivendi's acquisition of Activision. His latest honor is being named the City of Hope's Spirit of Life Award recipient for 2008.