Universal Music Group leans into e-commerce with new executive hire

Brahm Buck

Universal Music Group said Tuesday that it is looking to expand its e-commerce business under new hire Richelle Parham. The world’s biggest music company, which represents the likes of Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Billie Eilish and Post Malone, is expected to be spun off by parent company Vivendi and go […]

Universal Music Group said Tuesday that it is looking to expand its e-commerce business under new hire Richelle Parham.

The world’s biggest music company, which represents the likes of Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Billie Eilish and Post Malone, is expected to be spun off by parent company Vivendi and go public by the end of 2021. UMG, which is valued at $36.4 billion, said in February that the IPO would take place on the Euronext NV exchange in Amsterdam.

According to a source close to the company, part of UMG’s growth strategy is to forge direct relationships with its music fans through social media, live streaming, content creation and selling merchandise, among other things.

And that’s where Parham comes in.

A former chief marketing officer of eBay, Parham joins the company in the newly created role of president of e-commerce and business development. She will report to UMG’s chairman and chief executive, Sir Lucian Grainge, who said the exec will play a “key role in advancing” the firm’s global strategy as it plans to go public this fall.

Richelle Parham is UMG's new president of e-commerce and business development.
Richelle Parham is UMG’s new president of e-commerce and business development.
Getty Images

“Richelle’s proven leadership and expertise in consumer marketing, audience growth, business development and direct-to-consumer initiatives will be a valuable resource for our artists and drive our vision of a holistic fan-centric program that complements our partner platforms,” Grainge said.

Parham, who worked at eBay from 2010 to 2015 — most recently served as managing director of investment firm WestRiver Group — has led investments in e-commerce start-ups. She is also a board member of Best Buy, e.l.f. Beauty, Lab Corp, and until 2018, Scripps Networks.

Universal Music Group building exterior
Universal Music Group is looking to forge direct relationships with fans as part of a new global strategy.
AFP via Getty Images

“As one of the world’s most innovative and strategic companies in any industry, UMG possesses an incredibly talented leadership team, a global footprint, iconic labels and publishing company, as well as other music businesses,” she said. “Together these elements form an unparalleled opportunity for a consumer-demand-driven e-commerce business that goes far beyond traditional distribution channels.”

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