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 LOUSADA AMPED OVER STRAT AWARD

Warner Music U.K. walked away with four Music Week Awards in London on 4/26, while WMG CEO Recorded Music Max Lousada was honored with the top gong of the evening, The Strat Award. Introduced to the stage by Dua Lipa, the well-liked exec gave an impassioned speech on the future of the music biz, which you can read below.

The rest of those who worked on the Ed Sheeran campaign were celebrated with manager Stuart Camp being named Manager of the Year, while Atlantic Records won Record Company of the Year as well as best Artist Marketing Campaign for ÷.

Live promoter Kilimanjaro, who worked on Sheeran’s current tour, were named Live Music Promoter of the Year and other Warner wins included Sales Team of the Year and Promotions Team for Warner Bros. Records.

UMG label Polydor was crowned with the A&R Award while Universal Music Globe took the Music & Brand Partnership gong for the FIFA and Biq Shaq campaign. Caroline International was best Label/Artist Services company. 

Sony Music Commercial Group won Catalogue Marketing Campaign for George Michael and Sony/ATV was Publisher of the Year. 


But back to Max. “Fifteen years ago when I started at Atlantic Records, I had the privilege of hanging out with Ahmet Ertegun, who was the founder and a legendary vision maker,” started Lousada. “Bizarrely enough, he was a great friend and drinking buddy of Tony Stratton-Smith, who inspired this award. When I was thinking about what I wanted to say, I came across this line of Ahmet’s that I think Tony would have really liked. He said, ‘It’s a great life, this life of music. I never imagined I could earn a living doing something I enjoyed so much.’ That’s exactly how I feel. All I ever wanted to do as a kid was share the latest LP or talk about the next mixtape. I saw the power music had when it brought people together and I was totally sold. 

“This life in music has given me some incredible experiences, some intense highs and some devastatingly crushing lows. It’s the promise of jeopardy in every artist signing, the thrill of seeing the act get the wins they deserve and the heartbreak when they don’t. 

“This is no place for passengers. You have to love it, you have to be committed to the act, you have to believe in the song. You have to have real faith and this generation of music people have seen their faith tested more than most. We have kept the lights on during the long dark decade of decline and it took conviction, and an unshakeable belief that what we do really matters. 

“It’s not just in the tough times we need to keep that going, but it’s in the good times too because now there is this new confidence radiating throughout our business. The digital age means that music is everywhere for everyone, the global opportunities for our artists are unprecedented, but it doesn’t mean we can relax. 

“In fact it means the complete opposite. Because when the prize gets bigger, so does the competition. Right now, people are running at this space, people with big plans and deep pockets, people who see music as a vehicle, rather than a vocation. Don’t get me wrong, I’m super-excited about the ways technology helps music find new experiences and new audiences, but it would be truly tragic if along the way we lost the magic, the alchemy, the minor miracles and the cool accidents that happen as dedicated, talented people pursue their passions. So I just wanted to use this platform to celebrate all the people for whom music is not a game, it’s the prize. Everyone who has made music their life and in doing so has changed mine and millions of others. 

“Firstly I want to thank all the artists, not just the ones I’ve been lucky enough to work with, but the creators who put their thoughts and feelings on show for the world, the musicians, songwriters, engineers and producers who enthral us and entertain us. It’s been a pleasure to serve you.

“I want to shout out their tireless champions; the managers, radio stations, media, retail and promoters, as well as our respected colleagues at Sony and Universal, and of course the mighty independent community — home to some of the most exciting talent. Everyone in this equation plays a huge part in preserving the unique richness of our cultural landscape and amplifying the artistic voice that is this great british music scene. 

“I couldn’t stand here tonight and I wouldn’t want to without acknowledging that it’s our collective responsibility for making sure this music industry becomes more diverse, and more inclusive. It’s the only way we’re going to raise a new crop of music lovers, risk takers, trouble makers and people who take music in a revolutionary direction we can’t even imagine. This isn’t about me or you, we’re just taking care of this industry for the next generation. Just like Ahmet and Stratton did for us.” Lousada ended with a nod to those he’s worked with over the years, including Korda Marshall, Nick Phillips, Christian Tattersfield, Len Blavatnik, Steve Cooper, the Warner teams around the world and his London labels, as well as his sister, wife and kids. 

 

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