Capitol Music Group (CMG), a division of Universal Music Group (UMG), the world’s leading music company, announced that Ashley Newton has been named President of CMG and Executive Vice President of Creative/Special Projects for UMG. The announcement was made by CMG Chairman and CEO Steve Barnett and UMG Chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge, to whom Newton reports in his respective positions. In his newly-created CMG Presidency, Newton will work closely with Barnett and members of his executive team to set the creative direction of the company and oversee management of its day-to-day operations. In his UMG role, Newton will work with Grainge and his executive team on a variety of creative endeavors, including music, film and television projects. Newton will be based in Hollywood at CMG’s iconic Capitol Tower.
Newton’s arrival at CMG reunites him with Barnett who, as Co-Chairman and COO of Columbia Records, appointed Newton to the Columbia Presidency in 2010 and forged a dynamic partnership with him over their three-year span of working together at that company. According to Barnett, “Ashley is one of the most artist-friendly, committed and successful creative executives in music, and a fierce proponent for taste and aesthetics. It’s a testament to his great abilities that his successful artist associations span The Spice Girls to Adele to Kings Of Leon to D’Angelo to Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams. His extensive experience, artist and industry relationships and strong interpersonal skills will be of tremendous value to Capitol Music Group, and everyone in the company joins me in welcoming Ashley to the family.”
Grainge said, “The revitalization of Capitol is no longer an aspiration, it’s a reality. And now, as we embark on Capitol’s next phase of growth, we do so with Ashley Newton, a great addition to the company’s stellar management team led by Steve Barnett. With Ashley, we continue our strategy of having our company’s key positions held by executives with incredible creative track records and with deep artist development experience. As one of the industry’s most respected and accomplished executives, I’m looking forward to Ashley’s contributions at Capitol as well as UMG.”
Newton commented, “Lucian and Steve are true leaders who define excellence within our industry, and we share a philosophy that music must always remain the prevailing priority. They have provided me with the opportunity of a lifetime, and it is a real honor to be joining them and their teams in such multi-faceted roles within the two companies.”
Prior to joining CMG and UMG, Newton was the President of Columbia Records, a position he held since January, 2010. During his time there, Newton signed and worked with many of music’s most commercially successful and critically acclaimed artists, including Daft Punk – whose 2013 release, Random Access Memories, sold 8 million TEAs worldwide and won Grammys for Album Of The Year and Record Of The Year (for the global smash, “Get Lucky”), along with numerous other awards – and Pharrell Williams, whose “Happy” single was the most successful recording of 2014 and whose Girl album was also a huge worldwide hit.
Newton’s enormously successful tenure at Columbia included working with a diverse array of new, developing and established artists, including Adele, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, George Ezra, Haim, Hozier, John Mayer, London Grammar, MGMT and The Neighbourhood. He came to Columbia from RCA Records, having served as Executive Vice President of A&R and helming the A&R for multi-platinum, platinum and gold artists such as The Foo Fighters, Kings of Leon, Velvet Revolver and Ray LaMontagne.
Newton began his A&R career at Island Records in London under the mentorship of founder Chris Blackwell. He went on to become Co-Managing Director of Virgin Records UK, having joined the company as co-owner of venture label Circa Records. Mr. Newton was subsequently appointed Co-President of Virgin Records America and Senior Vice President of A&R of Virgin Music Group Worldwide. At Virgin, he was credited for signing such superstar acts as The Spice Girls, Massive Attack, N.E.R.D., Everything But The Girl, The Chemical Brothers and Neneh Cherry, in addition to working closely with an array of top artists, including Janet Jackson, David Bowie, Gorillaz, Lenny Kravitz, Peter Gabriel, The Verve, D’Angelo, Smashing Pumpkins, Soul II Soul, 30 Seconds to Mars and, foreshadowing even greater success years later, Daft Punk.