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Biography: Doug Morris
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"I think that everyone who is going to really move up has got to go through some trauma...I'm much more respected in my new job, than I was as the head of the Warner Group, because I survived being thrown out the window, going splat on the concrete, and walking..."

– Doug Morris,
Universal Music Group
 

Biography: Doug Morris

Episode 408:
THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT!:
New Ways to Enjoy TV, Movies, and Music


Featured Guest:
Doug Morris, Chairman and CEO
Universal Music Group

Doug Morris is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Universal Music Group. In this position, he is responsible for guiding the overall global activities of the world's largest music company. Universal Music Group encompasses the development, manufacturing, marketing, sales and distribution of recorded music through a network of subsidiaries, joint ventures and licensees in 77 countries around the world. Universal Music Group's businesses also include one of the industry's largest global music publishing operations.

A graduate of Columbia University, Mr. Morris began his music career as a songwriter for music publisher Robert Mellin, Inc. His credits include writing the Chiffons' 1966 hit “Sweet Talkin' Guy” and producing such hit records as Brownsville Station's “Smokin' in the Boys Room.” Mr. Morris joined Laurie Records in 1965 as a writer and producer and was eventually named Vice President and General Manager. Later, he launched his own label, Big Tree Records, which was distributed and eventually acquired by Atlantic Records in 1978. At this time Mr. Morris was named President of ATCO Records, beginning his 17-year association with Warner Music.

In 1980, Mr. Morris was appointed President of Atlantic Records and assumed the position of Co-Chairman and Co-CEO (with Ahmet Ertegun) of the Atlantic Recording Group in 1990. At Atlantic, Mr. Morris played a significant role in transforming them into the number one company within the Warner Music Group and a premier company within the music industry. As part of his strategy for growth, Mr. Morris revamped the division labels into completely autonomous units (each supporting a variety of imprints); established co-venture deals with such renowned labels as Interscope, Rhino, and Matador; and created Time Warner Audiobooks in partnership with Warner Books. He also established Atlantic Nashville, launched EastWest Records with Sylvia Rhone and created A*Vision Entertainment with Stuart Hersch.

Mr. Morris was promoted to President and Chief Operating Officer of Warner Music U.S. in 1994 and, soon after, was named Chairman.

Mr. Morris began his association with the MCA Music Entertainment Group (now Universal Music Group) in July 1995 by forming a joint venture New York City-based full service record label. Upon Mr. Morris' appointment as Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group in November 1995, the joint venture became wholly-owned by Universal and was re-named Universal Records. Universal Records, under the direction of Mr. Morris, has become one of the industry's most successful start-up record labels.

Since joining the Universal Music Group, Mr. Morris has re-energized the company by attracting and recruiting some of the music industry's most talented executives. With the acquisition of PolyGram in 1998, Mr. Morris was directly involved with the restructuring and integration process to create the world's largest music company. Since then, the Universal Music Group has continued to grow as the industry's leader, becoming the first company to earn over $1 billion in EBITDA and setting new records for market share in the U.S. and on a global basis.

Throughout his career, Mr. Morris has worked with some of the most popular and influential artists of the past four decades including The Rolling Stones, Phil Collins, Pete Townsend, Led Zeppelin, Stevie Nicks, Bette Midler, Tori Amos, INXS, Erykah Badu, and Juvenile.

Mr. Morris serves on the Board of Directors of The Robin Hood Foundation and The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, as well as a Director of The Rock Roll Hall of Fame. In 2003, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) awarded Mr. Morris with the President's Merit Award, honoring his consistent creative commitment to artistic and entrepreneurial excellence and longstanding support for the music and world communities.

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