On April 1, Cindy Mabe officially started her role as Chair & CEO of Universal Music Group Nashville. She steps into the position Mike Dungan held for more than a decade until he retired at the end of March.
On her first day as Chair & CEO, Mabe sent a memo to her UMG Nashville team, outlining her vision for the future of the company. In the memo obtained by MusicRow, Mabe laid out four of her goals: continuing to sign outstanding country music artists, dramatically expanding partnerships with independent labels and entrepreneurs, broadening UMG Nashville’s scope to include film and TV and collaborating closely with label colleagues around the world. Mabe’s full memo is below.
During her tenure at UMG, Mabe has helped guide and grow the careers of some of country music’s biggest stars, including Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Jordan Davis, Mickey Guyton, Sam Hunt, Alan Jackson, Parker McCollum, Reba McEntire, Kacey Musgraves, Jon Pardi, Chris Stapleton, George Strait, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Brothers Osborne and Little Big Town, among countless others. She has earned multiple honors, including the Country Music Hall of Fame’s Louise Scruggs Memorial Forum Award and the SOURCE Hall of Fame Award.
She is one of Music Row’s most esteemed executives. Mabe became Nashville’s highest-ranking woman label executive in 2014 when she was appointed as UMG Nashville President, and she makes history again by becoming the first woman to serve as Chair & CEO of a Nashville-based major label group.
Read Mabe’s memo to UMG Nashville below.
Good morning team!
We have worked alongside each other and in the trenches together for a while now but today is my first day as Chair and CEO of UMG Nashville. It’s a responsibility that I do not take lightly. To succeed Mike—a mentor and one of the most accomplished executives in the history of Nashville—is humbling. And to be surrounded by our incredible, world class artists and to be working alongside you, the best team in Country music, and with Lucian’s unwavering support, is an honor that gives me a great sense of pride, responsibility and excitement.
It is with that sense of excitement, I want to share with you my vision of how we’re going to build on the incredible work that we’ve done together and position this company for creative and commercial growth in what is a rapidly changing and expanding market. This is the next era of Universal Music Group Nashville!
First, we’re going to continue to sign and develop the best artists in Country music. Our roster reflects what we value the most: GREAT ARTISTS. And with those artists we will push the boundaries and reach of Country music and widen our artistic lens by signing and developing artists who have important stories to share and who shape our culture no matter where they are from and whomever they are influenced by. Country is—and will remain—a genre of deep roots grounded in great storytelling and truth that incorporates creative influences across music styles and genres and fans everywhere have shown us they are open to what our evolving genre has to offer. From Nashville to the world.
Second, we will dramatically expand our partnerships with independent labels and entrepreneurs. The marketplace is in flux with innovation. Inspiration and new ideas are coming from everywhere. Much of that innovation is coming from the independent sector, but by the same token there is so much more they could do if they partnered with us in key areas. Universal Nashville will actively take a role to position ourselves as the best partners to expand their growth and help develop and support these artists.
Third, we will broaden our storytelling to include film and TV. While we are the leaders in recorded music, I want us also to lead in the music-based film and TV space. Our artists stories are powerful and not linear and so the means of telling their stories should have a wide reach. This means growing our presence in audiovisual to develop our Country culture and our artists stories in film and television.
Finally, we will collaborate even closer (and more creatively) with our label colleagues around the world where we can leverage each other’s strengths to break artists who are either signed to their rosters or ours. There’s so much more we can do together.
In my excitement, I wanted to give you a glimpse of what the next era of Universal Nashville is going to look like. I’ll be sharing more about all of these areas in the coming weeks and months, but I wanted you to get a sense of where we’re headed and how excited I am to be working with all of you in this next chapter.
Our future starts today. Let’s build it together!
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