Higdon Exits UMPG

Pat Higdon

Pat Higdon has exited his role as President of Universal Music Publishing Group, Nashville. “After almost 12 years at UMPG, it’s time for me to move on,” he told MusicRow. “I wish continued success to all the talented writers and staff. I’ve gone fishing for a few days but will be back in the game soon.”

He can be reached at [email protected]

A new head of the Nashville operation has not been named.

During Higdon’s tenure, UMPG Nashville scored recent hits including “You and Tequila,” “Hello World,” “Roll With It,” “Barefoot Blue Jean Night,” “Bleed Red,” “Undo It,” “Mama’s Song,” “Temporary Home,” “Hillbilly Bone,” “Take a Back Road,” and “A Little Bit Stronger.”

In May 2009, Higdon was promoted to President. By then he had already been heading the Nashville office for 10 years, and held the title of Executive Vice President/General Manager.

The list of top writers that have trusted the songman with their careers include Don Schlitz, Josh Turner, Dave Loggins, Troy Verges, Rivers Rutherford, Lori McKenna, Ray Scott, Radney Foster, Shooter Jennings, Monty Powell, Matraca Berg, Anders Osborne, Gary Harrison, Troy Seals, Shawn Camp, JT Hodges and many more.

In his position with Universal, Higdon managed a catalog spanning from the 1940’s Folk/Blues of the Delmore Brothers, the 1950’s and 1960’s classics of Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Buddy Holly, country classics from Webb Pierce, Brenda Lee, Mel Tillis, and the works of Bob McDill, Pat Alger, Mel Tillis, Marijohn Wilkin, Stephanie Bentley, Gary Burr, Troy Verges, Craig Wiseman, Emmylou Harris, Marcus Hummon, and many more.

A Nashville native, Higdon broke into the music industry in the early ‘70s as a recording engineer at Nashville’s Woodland Sound before moving to Cedarwood Publishing. He then spent seven years with MCA Music, rising to MCA’s Vice President of Nashville operations. In the late ’80s, he moved to Warner/Chappell Music, where he served as Senior Director of Creative Services. In 1989 Higdon founded Patrick Joseph Music as a joint venture with Warner/Chappell. He established a similar relationship in 1992 with Los Angeles-based Windswept Pacific Entertainment. Following that success, he was tapped by UMPG.

Higdon’s exit is the latest in a series of major changes at the publishing giant. In April 2011 David Renzer exited his post as Chairman & CEO after a 15-year tenure at the company. In October 2011 Evan Lamberg was promoted to President of UMPG, North America. In his new role, Lamberg leads North American operations for the company, which includes Pop, Urban, Country, Latin, Christian/Gospel and Canadian divisions. He is based in UMPG’s Santa Monica headquarters. He reports to Zach Horowitz, Universal Music Group President & COO, and Lucian Grainge, UMG Chairman & CEO. Grainge has held his current post since longtime UMG chairman and CEO Doug Morris exited for a similar role at Sony Music in January 2011.

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Sarah Skates has worked in the music business for more than a decade and is a longtime contributor to MusicRow.

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