John Kennedy (Music)

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"Born in London in 1953 John studied law at Leicester University and attended Guildford Law School qualifying as a solicitor in 1977. John recognized the music industry as being one of the most interesting and demanding business sectors in terms of legal issues in the development of their product and joined Phonogram in 1978 becoming their in-house lawyer. John’s abilities and business development interests resulted in being rapidly promoted to Director of Business Development in 1979.

"In 1983 John moved to CBS UK (now Sony Music) to create their business development division and assumed the role of Business Development and Affairs Director.

"John set up J P Kennedy & Co in 1984 and which he ran full time until 1996. The company specialises in music industry business, representing a large number of successful artists. They represented Creation Records and London Records from their inception. John was appointed legal adviser and trustee for Band Aid, a position he holds to this day. John conducted and won the precedent setting Stone Roses legal case on restraint of trade. The company represented some of the most successful artists, songwriters and independent record companies of the 1980’s and 1990’s.

"The Queen awarded John an OBE in 1995 for his work as a trustee of The Band Aid Trust and Live Aid.

"John was made Chairman and CEO at Polygram UK running music, film, video, record club and distribution operations. Polygram music was, at that stage, market leader and the film division was responsible for marketing and distribution of Working Title films amongst many others. John was uncomfortable with how record promotion was taking place and is credited with ending chart ‘hyping’ in the UK.

"In 1996 John was inducted to the Music Managers Forum Roll of Honour.

"John moved from Polygram to accept the role of Chairman and CEO of newly created Universal Music UK. The largest record company in the UK at that time. Whilst with Universal Music John won Company Chairman of the Year in 1999 and 2000. John was responsible for developing the investment strategy for Universal to launch Mamma Mia (one of the most successful theatrical productions ever). In 2001 John was promoted to President and Chief Operating Officer Universal Music International which, by then, had become the largest and most successful record company in the world.

"In 2001 John was chosen by the Financial Times as number 25 in the top 50 people in the UK “who combine creative flair and business acumen”.

"John joined IFPI as Chairman and CEO in 2004. IFPI is the organization that promotes the interests of the international recording industry worldwide. Its membership comprises over 1450 major and independent companies in more than 75 countries. It also has affiliated industry national groups in 48 countries. IFPI’s mission is to fight music piracy both in it’s commercial and digital forms; promote fair market access and good copyright laws; help develop the legal conditions and the technologies for the recording industry to prosper in the digital era; and promote the value of music in the development of economies, as well as in social and cultural life

"John has been substantially involved in the Band Aid Trust, Live Aid and Live 8 as was co-executive producer of the shows and both the Live Aid and Live 8 DVD’s.

"He has been recognized for his business development skills and was voted No. 2 in the Billboard Power Players - top 20 Global Execs, and for his contribution to the Band Aid projects receiving the “Music Industry Personalities Of The Year” award joint with Bob Geldof and Harvey Goldsmith - Awarded by Midem Music Festival and was awarded Chevallier Des Arts Et Lettres – by the French Government." [1]

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  1. John Kennedy,, accessed July 16, 2010.