Over the weekend, the Los Angeles Times published an extensive feature on Universal Music Group Chairman Lucian Grainge, asking "Can this man save the music business?" The article praises Grainge's recent moves, such as the acquisition of EMI and UMG's entries into the digital marketplace.
The feature also reveals that UMG Global Digital Business Chief Rob Wells and Grainge are discussing a new digital music service that would allow for unlimited song downloads for $20/month, allowing users to keep all the songs they download even after their subscription ends. According to the Times, Grainge suggested the program begin with testing in Europe.
The paper also notes that under Grainge, UMG has further branched out into African countries using bundled digital music services with smartphones. "We're bundling music into markets where we've never been able to monetize anything," Grainge said. He also adds that when it comes to UMG expanding its relationships in the digital realm, it all comes down to "Technology and talent: That's what I'm trying to do. Merge talent and technology."
Speaking to the Times, Irving Azoff said, "He's the great hope for the music business. He started as a song plugger and a publishing guy. He understands the entire worldwide record business. And he gets technology. He understands that's the future of the business."
Grainge sums up his current viewpoint, saying, "We have literally thousands of people around the world whose responsibility, task, joy, is to get as much music to as many fans in as many ways as possible. Music has been around a thousand years, and it's going to be around for another thousand years. Human beings like rhythm. That's why there is a future. It's never going away."
You can read the entire L.A. Times feature on Lucian Grainge here.