Nov 16, 2017 Christine Osazuwa
Jonathan has seen a lot during his 20+ year tenure in the music industry. “Now it seems that we’ve moved from being pummeled by the waves of technology to capturing the energy of those waves to power our business,” he said during his keynote at NY:LON Connect conference in 2016. His willingness to embrace new technology has led him from an engineering intern at Unique Studios in New York, to managing top producers like J Dilla & Pete Rock, to his current role at Universal Music Group, a role he took on in May 2016.
With tenures at telco company, Nokia; music start-up MixRadio and both Warner Music and Universal Music, Jonathan gravitates to roles where success hinges on bringing multiple players together so everyone can prosper. At NY:LON Connect in 2016, he said “If we’re going to continue to meet the challenges of technological change, we’re going to need to develop a deeper culture of trust – between artists and labels and publishers and managers and digital services and entrepreneurs.”
Trust is something Jonathan has worked to build while the industry has changed. During his time at Warner Music, as Executive VP of Digital Strategy & Business Development, Jonathan was instrumental in forming that company’s partnership with SoundCloud, which was SoundCloud’s first deal with the big three labels. Jonathan also ran a global team responsible for partnership negotiations with Apple, Google/YouTube and Spotify, securing Warner Music’s place in the broader transition to streaming.
Jonathan’s passion for music has led him to question the direction of the industry as we now know it, while also embracing its benefits, noting in a 2015 interview with Digit that “Algorithms are wonderful at delivering specific recommendations but what they can’t do is tell a story.” As data and algorithms continue to influence and, in some areas, rule the industry, we’re excited to hear on the Slush Music stage how these and other trends continue to affect Jonathan’s work as a digital strategist.
Our mission at Slush Music is to encourage these discussions and question the status quo. That is why the role of speakers such as Jonathan is crucial, because the value he places on music, artists and listeners supersedes the platform, the technology and the data. As Jonathan once said, “Music is the message of our humanity.”
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