UK: Island Records founder Chris Blackwell is officially the most influential music industry figure of the last 50 years, writes David Davies. The Academy Music Group (AMG) was among the other winners at this year’s Music Week Awards, which took place in central London earlier this month.
As previously reported on PSN-e (click here), the special award for most influential industry executive was devised to mark 50 years of Music Week, which is part of the same UBM publishing group as Pro Sound News Europe.
Chris Blackwell (pictured) was chosen from a field of 20 leading industry figures past and present, among them former EMI Music chairman/CEO Tony Wadsworth, promoter Harvey Goldsmith and late, legendary Led Zeppelin manager Peter Grant.
As the founder of Island Records, Blackwell played a pivotal role in establishing the careers of many influential acts, including Bob Marley & The Wailers, John Martyn, Nick Drake and King Crimson. Blackwell also developed the influential Jamaican music label Mango Records and, more recently, the media entertainment company Palm Pictures. The award was collected on Blackwell’s behalf by former Island Records executive Nick Stewart.
In further recognition of the legendary Island label, former head of press Rob Partridge was acknowledged with a posthumous accolade, the Strat. During his long career as an in-house and independent PR, the widely-respected Partridge helped to nurture the careers of acts including Tom Waits and U2.
Other awards at this year’s event went to Polydor (Record Company of the Year), XL (Independent Record Company of the Year), BBC Radio 2 (National Radio Station of the Year), AEG Live’s Rob Hallett (Concert Promoter of the Year) and Xenomania (Producer of the Year).
There was also recognition for AMG, whose O2 Academy Brixton was named Music Venue of the Year. The company also had two other venues – O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire and O2 Academy Leeds – in contention for the award.
“It’s always an enormous honour to be recognised within the industry and the last time Brixton won this award it was a joint accolade with Shepherd’s Bush over ten years ago,” noted AMG CEO John Northcote.
In other AMG news, the company recently acquired a majority share in ABC Glasgow. Occupying four floors on the city’s Sauchiehall Street, the ABC incorporates two live music venues: ABC (1,362 capacity) and ABC 2 (350 capacity). Regular Music and PCL remain onboard as shareholders.
For AMG, the move further enhances its presence in Scotland’s largest city, where it already owns and operates the 2,500-capacity O2 Academy Glasgow.