With digital becoming a bigger part of Universal Music Group’s revenues in all parts of the world, the company is promoting Rob Wells to president of Global Digital Business, a new position. For Wells, formerly SVP for digital, this is a formal expansion of what he’s essentially been doing: striking partnerships and finding other ways of distributing its music. By giving him the “global” title, Wells is charged with making deals wherever he can find them.
He will have his work cut out for him the next few months, as discussions about several deals are likely to be made or broken. UMG, along with all the other major record labels, are waiting for more details from Apple (NSDQ: AAPL), which has been fairly quiet about plans for a streaming service since acquiring (and shuttering) LaLa. Things have also been moving slow on Google’s mobile music offering. Lastly, there’s not much movement on Spotify’s movement to the U.S. But expectations are high at the record company, one source says, that these deals could become more of a reality by the new year.
In the meantime, UMG has made at least a dozen hires on the digital side over the past few months. Considering the declining sales of physical CDs, it’s not surprising. Wells was early digital hire at UMG. He started in 2000 as Universal Music UK as Division Director of Digital Services. He was later promoted to his last post four years ago.