Much has been made in both the pro-Spotify and more conspiratorial press about the Swedish streaming service’s decision to hire Jonathan Prince last year.
Prince is Spotify’s Global Head Of Comms and Public Policy, and used to work within the Presidential administration of Bill Clinton.
It’s not a hug leap, therefore, to assume that Prince has brought his lobbying skills and connections to Spotify in order to convince those in Washington DC to back the firm’s agenda: namely, the unfettered growth of the freemium model and, for good measure, the scrutiny of Apple’s ambitions in music.
Now Prince has a fellow-ex Clinton aide lobbying for a party within the music business.
It’s a company whose own ideology has occasionally clashed with Spotify – and, indeed, one still locked in licensing re-negotations with Daniel Ek’s firm as you read this..
Universal Music Group (UMG) has hired Eric Berman as Executive Vice President of Public Affairs, effective immediately.
Like Prince at Spotify, he will have responsibility for public policy and government relations globally.
“ERIC HAS AN ASTUTE APPRECIATION FOR HOW TO ADVANCE PUBLIC POLICY IN THE BEST INTEREST OF MUSIC INDUSTRY STAKEHOLDERS.”
WILL TANOUS, UMG
Berman will report jointly to Jeffrey Harleston, General Counsel and Executive Vice President of Business & Legal Affairs at UMG, and Will Tanous, Executive Vice President of Communications.
“Eric is the rare professional who truly lives at the intersection of public policy and business,” said Harleston.
“He has a proven judgment that can only come from the kind of diverse real-life experiences he has had at the highest levels of government, politics and business.”
Tanous added, “After working together for years, we are fortunate to have Eric join UMG.
“As a trusted adviser to our executive team, he has demonstrated a perceptive understanding of the challenges facing our industry, a keen vision for how to seize the opportunities before us and an astute appreciation for how to advance public policy in the mutual best interest of all of our industry’s stakeholders.”
Berman has more than a decade of experience working with clients in the music industry in his role at the public relations firm Kekst and Company, where he worked since 1997.
As co-Head of Kekst’s Public Affairs practice, he served companies across a range of industries – from entertainment and technology, to finance, retail, energy and more – helping navigate a wide variety of business, regulatory and policy matters across the U.S. and internationally.
Prior to his time at Kekst, Berman worked for nearly ten years in the worlds of public policy and politics, including positions in the White House under President Bill Clinton, at the Democratic National Committee and on Capitol Hill, as well as senior roles in several political campaigns, including the 1992 Clinton-Gore campaign and other elections around the country.
Berman serves on the Board of Directors of the international non-profit, Search for Common Ground, and he is on the Board of Trustees of Congregation Rodeph Sholom in New York.