meta-scriptDaniel Ek On Spotify, Community And Music's Future |
Daniel Ek


Daniel Ek On Spotify, Community And Music's Future

Prior to his Entertainment Law Initiative Luncheon keynote during GRAMMY Week, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek talks Spotify, sharing and the dawn of music's new "golden age"

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am

Following Spotify's launch in the United States in July 2011, company CEO and co-founder Daniel Ek summarized his music streaming service's consumer appeal at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Colo.

"Ownership is great but access is the future," said Ek. "People just want to have access to all of the world's music."

A little more than six months later, Spotify has enjoyed an impressive period of growth. In September, Spotify partnered with social media giant Facebook in an effort to help users access, discover and share more music. With Facebook integration, users can see what their friends are listening to and share playlists and song recommendations instantly.

In November, the company launched Spotify Apps, offering listeners a more immersive music experience. For example, when streaming a particular artist's track, a user can access a Songkick app and see if the artist is performing in their town.

Most recently, Spotify surpassed the 10 million active user plateau.

It's all a part of a future predicated on access, but it also speaks to the communal aspect of music, a concept Ek believes in wholeheartedly. "We look at the sharing of music as really, really important for our business," he says.

In advance of his keynote address at the GRAMMY Foundation's Entertainment Law Initiative Luncheon & Scholarship Presentation on Feb. 10, Ek previewed some of his keynote topics while discussing the present and future of Spotify, and why we are entering a "golden age" for music.


It's been about a year since we last met. How are things going with you lately?
I've got a bit of a sore throat right now, if you're asking about me personally, but Spotify is doing fantastic. That's always great.

Can you give us a preview of what you intend to discuss at the GRAMMY Foundation's Entertainment Law Initiative Luncheon?
There's a lot of interesting debate going on now about streaming, and I like that it's become more about streaming, and not what's free or not. But what I really want to talk about is the future. We have this debate about where it is right now, but I still think streaming is really in its infancy, and I want to outline the future of what that looks like — what it will actually mean for the music industry. What would it mean for how to promote an act? Or for revenues?

We're at a time now when more and more people are saying, "Hey, actually, this is working," and we've got two-and-a-half million paying customers and that number is growing very, very quickly, and it keeps accelerating. Personally speaking, I am more bullish on the future of the music industry than ever before, and I think we're kind of entering a golden age in music.

What will that golden age look like?
First, I think we're talking about a world where, I believe, most of it will be access. There will be ownership as well. I think the total amount of revenues back to the industry is going to grow. We've paid over $200 million to rightsholders already, and it's still in the early days. So for me, part of it is talking about the growth story of how we get the music industry back to where it used to be, and probably even past that.

The second part is, in a world where music is really about you listening to music and your friends discovering it from you, what does that mean about how we break acts and promote acts? Spotify, up until now, hasn't really done a great job of helping that, but you're going to see us doing more and more to break acts and try to really promote them as well. Looking at Spotify today and fast-forwarding three years to 2015: Where's the music industry? Where's Spotify, and what does this mean to a band, manager or label? I think it's exciting times.

Creating a record is really about three core components. The first thing is creating the actual record. It used to be really expensive to do that and now, really, anyone can record a record, even [in] their own homes. The second piece is that it used to be really expensive distributing the record, and now with iTunes, Spotify and other services, distributing another digital copy basically doesn't cost anything.

But the funny thing is, marketing used to be kind of simple in the old days. You used to be able to just put it on the radio or MTV, and it just worked. If it was a good song, the record started selling based on that. Today, the media landscape is much more fragmented. MTV's not about music anymore, and radio is even hard[er] to break through. There are tons of radio channels, and most of them play stuff people already know.

So, marketing an act today is really, really, really expensive. If it went from being a broadcast medium of just getting it out there to everyone, to a social medium, where music is discovered through friends, what does that mean for the marketing of music? I think that's [another] core component of getting this to work.

That's a really good point. I guess we're also seeing that with some of the audio ads within Spotify, which are clips of songs.
Hopefully, I'll also be able to go into some interesting things we've seen [during my address], especially with Facebook, where there are acts like Foster The People who kind of blew up on the service, really, because friends started discovering [them] from other people. That's a great story for us, to show, "Look, this works. People discovered it not just through radio, where they didn't have much promotion, but because friends kept recommending and listening to it, so their friends, in turn, discovered it."

Is that part of the decision to require a Facebook login on Spotify, because you see the social sharing as so important?
We look at the sharing of music as really, really important for our business. We've found that the more social our users are — i.e., they're sharing music — the faster they grow their own music library. [And] the faster they grow their music library, the faster they become paying customers. That's really the rationale for us — not really the marketing side, but we feel that the combination of [Facebook and Spotify] is a positive thing.

I remember when we first met in New York, years ago, and you said that you wanted to create a legal version of the sort of experience that people have in the P2P version. My favorite thing about Napster was searching for one rare band that I loved. If someone had that, then I trusted them, and knew that I was going to like anything else they had.

It seems like you have succeeded in translating that to a legal music service, so congratulations on that.
Yes, we've done that. Right now, it's skewed more toward your friends. What we want to make it skew toward is you discovering other people with great music taste as well.

Are there any misunderstandings about Spotify that you'd like to clear up?
I feel, to an extent, that we're a victim of our own success. What I mean by that is, especially if you look at the media, Spotify is seen as this gigantic company, the size of [Apple's] iTunes, which is not really true. We're really starting up here, and that's how we feel about it. If you look at a country like the U.S., there's sub-1 percent of the population that's even using any legal streaming service. I think that sometimes people perceive us as being a lot larger than we are, and that's an important point to make.

[Another] point I want to make is that this is a very, very different model than just selling a record. Everyone talks about volume, and what this means in terms of numbers, and I don't think it's comparable. In the world today, there are 500 million people listening to music online. Out of them, there's only a very small portion who are avid iTunes customers, which we look at today as being the majority of the digital music ecosystem. So the way we're approaching this is, we want to reach the 500 million people, of whom the vast majority aren't really using iTunes.

I'd also like to address people who think they'll gain sales by not being on Spotify. There's not a shred of data to suggest that. In fact, all the information available points to streaming services helping to drive sales.

Album unit sales [were] up in the U.S. in 2011, the year Spotify launched, for the first time since 2004. More than a dozen albums which debuted at number one have been available on Spotify at launch.

Spotify users are the exact same people [who] used to listen to music every day on YouTube, whose entire music collection was pulled off BitTorrent sites. By offering them a compelling music service that allows them to discover hundreds of new artists, not just their favorites pulled from YouTube or [pirated], we're seeing millions move back to listening to music legally after years of being left out in the cold.

They're helping pay a ton of money back to the industry. You're talking 10 million active users, 2.5 million subscribers — most of them paying $120 a year, which is double the amount of your average iTunes user.

Do you really want to hold back your album from people who are finally paying for music again? If you think that by doing so you're getting them to buy your album on a CD, or as an album download, again, there's absolutely no evidence to back that theory up. Your album's getting shared en masse over BitTorrent, over YouTube. It's there, right now — but you decide that it's the paying, loyal music fans that should lose out. It makes no sense.

Another thing I want to mention: When someone creates a Spotify playlist, and they put an album or songs in there, they don't just play them once. What actually happens is they keep repeatedly playing them. What I think is interesting, and what we do here, [is that] the sales cycle of that record is anywhere from four to 12 weeks in most typical cases. With Spotify, we keep seeing the effect up to 25, 35 [weeks], or even a year.

So when looking at the effect a certain record release has, one in the world of Spotify has to look not just at the first 12 weeks, but actually look at six months, and probably even a year after, because it keeps playing. And every time someone plays a song, we pay the music industry.

I think that is probably the biggest misunderstanding — everyone keeps comparing an apple to what's actually not an apple, but hopefully a tastier fruit.

It seems like that would give musicians an incentive to make music that people want to listen to over and over again, which could be good culturally. It's not just about making a splash.
Yeah! At Spotify, we really want you to democratically win as a musician. We want you to win because your music is the best music. And the only way you can win in the Spotify ecosystem, unless you buy advertising, is by friends recommending [you] to other friends. And they do so by listening to your music. They vote with their hands and feet. I think that's a pretty great thing for an artist that's creating great music.

What's interesting to me, looking at the greatest acts of last year, is that many of those acts are acts that, five or 10 years ago, may not have even had a record deal, but they've grown — [like] one of my favorite bands, Mumford & Sons. I don't know how much [they've] been growing on social [networks], but I can tell you, the reason why I discovered them was someone actually sent me a YouTube clip, and then I started searching for them on Spotify, and I discovered this fantastic band. I guess the point is that in the future, we're getting more and more connected, all over the world, and hopefully that will mean that great music will prevail, because your friends will listen to it and share it with other friends.

The two big areas for growth in digital music seem to be the car and the television. What can you tell us about Spotify's strategy there?
Much like we believe a strength of the CD [was] being ubiquitous — that you can take a CD and put it in any player and just press play — that's how easy we want it to be to play music with Spotify. As more and more devices are getting connected, the base of people who will want to listen to music with those devices will increase, and that's something we're hugely excited [about].

To switch gears for a second, I was very interested to cover what Spotify is doing with apps. You can build desktop apps on Spotify's catalog, iOS apps and now you can build apps within the Spotify desktop client. How significant do you see that ecosystem? Is it going to be a major part of Spotify's growth in the future?
Yeah, we definitely do believe that. There are multiple ways one can look at this, but what we're trying to primarily address is that when it comes to music, we've got 15 or 16 million tracks. I don't even know what the exact number is, but there's an endless amount of music. You could listen your whole life to the Spotify catalog and you probably wouldn't get through a third of it.

What's needed on top of that is curated experiences. Part of that curated experience is people building playlists and sharing those playlists with their friends. But another part is trusted sources — people who tend to be really, really good at music. There are things you can [offer] with music that aren't Spotify's core [competencies], like lyrics, ticketing and other things.

We felt that the Internet really was silent, and that music was missing. We wanted to create a platform to allow people to interact with music, whether that's providing curation, or providing more interesting experiences, or even using that to give you other venues, such as ticketing and merchandising. We think all of those things are super exciting, but they're not our core competency.

We might have 100 or 150 engineers, and that's great, but already now, with the Spotify platform, we've got thousands of engineers working on creating more interesting music experiences. And that's ultimately really good for the music industry, because there are more avenues now to listen to music and interact with music. Ultimately, that's going to make more people care about music and pay for it again.

We've talked a little bit about the royalty payouts. Some people have said from time to time that the payouts are too low, and others point out that with hundreds of millions of dollars changing hands, how can that be low? A few artists are deciding not to have releases on Spotify, so I guess one conclusion to draw would be that it's too difficult to do freemium streaming — to pay what seem like very high royalties in one sense, but, on a per-artist level, some people say it's not very much. How do you see this playing out?
As I said, a lot of people try to compare an apple to another fruit, and as I started out saying, we look at it as us being in our infancy. We haven't even started, really. We're still a really young company. So, ultimately, our view is that the royalty checks we're paying out now — of course we're happy that there's progress being made, but it's still only in its early days, and it will keep growing.

Last year was a great testament to that, [when], in May, we hit [1] million paying customers and at the end of that year, we were at two-and-a-half million. That's a significant increase in customers who are paying 100 bucks a year. And Spotify keeps growing at that pace, if not faster. So I think the royalty checks, as they're combined, will definitely grow.

But I also want to kind of caution people. We get a lot of media attention. People think we're actively seeking that media attention, and in most instances, we're not. People just like the product so much that they like to write about it. I find this when I meet artists. They actually think we're a lot larger than we are. I say, "Look, we're not, really. We're roughly 10 million users in countries where, in total, there are 600 million people. And out of them, at least 250 million are listening to music online, so we're actually a very small part of this right now."

I want to add that my home country, Sweden, where Spotify has grown to scale — if you look at the artists now, the vast majority of the artists are getting between 50 and 60 percent of all their income from Spotify. And I think that's what's going to happen when this model gets to scale. And the music industry [in Sweden] is growing.

The latest thing with Spotify and Facebook is this ability to listen to the same thing at the same time, which I think is a fantastic feature. It makes music not only something between a person, an MP3 player and a pair of headphones. Over the long term, is this going to become a mainstream activity, or is it just for people like me who use the latest stuff and get a kick out of it?
Our approach is that we don't know. With that said, we think music is the most social thing there is, and we think people want to interact with music. The background on that feature is that it was actually built by Facebook, which we think is cool. One of the engineers there showed it to me one time when I came to visit, and he was like, "What do you think about this?" I said, "This is awesome, you should just release it."

The coolest thing is that he could build that feature because Spotify is a platform, so he could interact with our APIs, create it, and put it on the [Facebook] service. We didn't actually interact that much to get this done, but it was one of the things that the Facebook folks were really passionate about, and I think — I hope, and I believe — that there will be 10 other projects similar to this around the Web right now, where people build cool, interesting experiences.

Two weeks ago, someone [who] created the Spotify app Soundrop released their own iOS app. So now, all of a sudden, I have a room where I'm walking around and people talk about music, where they vote for which track will come next. It's kind of a social radio. And that was built by two guys in Oslo. I guess the answer is that we don't know what will work or not, but we're thrilled that people want to innovate around it.

So, do you still find time to play guitar?
(Laughs) I do! I actually bought a travel guitar, and that guitar is really cool. You can actually fold the guitar, and you can plug headphones into it, but it's acoustic, or semi-acoustic. So I do [play] more, actually, than I did last year.

( Editor Eliot Van Buskirk has covered and occasionally anticipated music and technology intersections for less than 15 years at a number of outlets including Wired, CNET, and McGraw-Hill, and regularly appears on NPR. He plays the bass and rides a bicycle.)

Follow for our inside look at GRAMMY news, blogs, photos, videos, and of course nominees. Stay up to the minute with GRAMMY Live. Check out the GRAMMY legacy with GRAMMY Rewind. Explore this year's GRAMMY Fields. Or check out the collaborations at Re:Generation, presented by Hyundai Veloster. And join the conversation at Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Michael Kushner and Julie Greenwald
Michael Kushner and Julie Greenwald attend the 26th Annual Entertainment Law Initiative Gala

Photo: Alberto Rodriguez/Getty Images for The Recording Academy


Inside The 2024 Entertainment Law Initiative Gala: Fierce Advocates Reflect & Honor Their Careers

Held days before the 2024 GRAMMYs the Entertainment Law Initiative was a chance for the bold-faced names of the industry — including keynote speaker Michelle Jubelirer and honoree Michael Kushner — to toast each other and their essential craft.

GRAMMYs/Feb 6, 2024 - 08:42 pm

It was at a rollicking Guns N Roses concert in Philadelphia in the late 1980s when Michelle Jubelirer, the Chair and Chief Executive Officer of Capitol Music Group, first knew she wanted to forge her life in music. 

"They were my first real concert and I can still remember and feel that excitement and energy emanating from the stage and absolutely ripping through the crowd," Jubelirer, the keynote speaker at Friday's Entertainment Law Initiative, said. "20,000 people and five performers, all together as one. That visceral feeling is difficult to convey into words, but the rush never left me and I’m always looking for even a glimmer of that feeling."

Jubelirer was speaking to a like-minded group of superstars of their craft, who had gathered in a lush ballroom at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel days before the 2024 GRAMMYs. Affectionately referred to by one attendee as "lawyer prom," the Entertainment Law Initiative was a chance for the bold-faced names of the industry from a disparate array of labels and companies, to toast each other and their essential craft, an all-important and sometimes unsung cog in the music industry machine. 

At the event, Jubelierer, who has helped guide the careers of artists ranging from Best New Artist GRAMMY nominees Ice Spice and Troye Sivan to Sam Smith, reflected on her long path to chasing that "Guns N Roses feeling." And while her current position has her at the helm of Capitol Records, she built her career on a foundation of law. 

Raised by a single mother in rural Pennsylvania, she followed in the footsteps of her late father and entered law school. "I had zero connections in music or entertainment," she explained.  "I cold-called (the entertainment law giant) Alan Grubman to ask for advice, he said to get a job at the best law firm I could."

Eventually, Jubelirer spoke of becoming an attorney for SONY Music and later, the first woman to run Capitol Records in its nearly century-long history. "I only wish such a gender-based fact was not worth mentioning, our business would be in a much better place," she said to applause. "I want to lift the next generation of female artists, executives and attorneys." 

2024 Entertainment Law Initiative Writing Contest winner Olivia Fortunato (center) receives her scholarship award from ELI Executive Committee member Stephanie Yu and 2023 winner Aron Lichtschein

2024 ELI Writing Contest winner Olivia Fortunato (center) receives her scholarship award from ELI Executive Committee member Stephanie Yu and 2023 winner Aron Lichtschein┃Alberto Rodriguez

Being a fierce advocate for the people one believes in was a recurring theme.

Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. who opened up the proceedings by noting, "Just before I got here, I was testifying to the House Judiciary committee to pass legislation to protect artists' name, likeness and voice," he said. "We ask everyone to engage with your clients and push them to understand why this issue affects them, and to use their voices to make change happen."

Julie Greenwald, Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of Atlantic Music Group, also feted Michale Kushner, the EVP of Business and Legal Affairs and General Council, this year’s recipient of the Entertainment Law Initiative Service Award. 

"It has not only been a pleasure but an honor, you have been our moral compass," Greenwald said before a video rolled of some of the music industry’s most important names, from Atlantic Co-Chairperson Craig Kallman to executive Jason Flom, musing about the impact Kushner made on all of their lives and careers. "There is not a fairer human being and no bigger advocate for artists than Michael Kushner."

"The record company lawyers who entered the music business in the 80s and survived into the today are truly fortunate," said Kushner in his acceptance speech. "We were witness to the joys of CD boom, file sharing and then industry’s return to growth with the arrival of streaming. We had to think about new ways to approach the business, but it didn't change the fundamental reason why we want to be in the business: we still believe in the magic and power of music."

It’s that power of music that Jubelirer was referring to. "But for the artists in the music business, it’s not a coincidence that the ones who are adept at the business side of things [are the ones who have the most success]," she noted. "And giving them Don Passman’s book is not enough," Jubelirer stated, alluding to the author’s legendary tome All You Need to Know About the Music Business.

"Career-wise, we are nothing without artists and anyone who thinks otherwise is either delusional, egomaniacal or both," said Jubelirer. "I hope it's clear, every moment of every day is all about artists and fulfilling my promises to them."

Jubelirer also shared with attendees a promise she made with herself upon joining Capitol: "The day I stop changing the record company more than it was changing me, would be the day I’d walk away," she said, adding that she regularly evaluates her purpose.   

"I am keenly aware that the role I play in an artist's career can have impactful and long lasting  effects. I feel immense responsibility and gratitude to the talented human beings who have trusted me to such a degree," she continued.

But for Jubelirer, it naturally always goes back to that aforementioned Guns N Roses feeling. "No matter where I find myself in this business, I will always approach my relationships with artists as an advocate, protector and fan."

2024 GRAMMYs: See The Full Winners & Nominees List

Entertainment Law Initiative

Image courtesy of the Recording Academy


Recording Academy Entertainment Law Initiative Awards Writing Contest Scholarships For 26th Annual Entertainment Law Initiative During GRAMMY Week 2024

The Recording Academy Entertainment Law Initiative has announced the winner and runners-up of its annual ELI Writing Contest who will be recognized at the 26th Annual Entertainment Law Initiative during GRAMMY Week 2024.

GRAMMYs/Jan 26, 2024 - 02:59 pm

The Recording Academy Entertainment Law Initiative has revealed the winner and runners-up of its annual ELI Writing Contest who will be honored during the 26th Annual Entertainment Law Initiative GRAMMY Week Event.

Co-sponsored by the American Bar Association, the ELI Writing Contest sends forth law students to identify and research a current legal issue in the music industry and outline a proposed solution in an essay. The winning paper is published in the ABA's journal, Entertainment & Sports Lawyer.

A $10,000 scholarship is awarded to the winner, a $2,500 scholarship is awarded to two runners-up, and a mentor session with a leading entertainment attorney is given to all three. The winner will also receive tickets to attend the 66th GRAMMY Awards, MusiCares Person of the Year, and the ELI Event.

The winners and runners-up are below:


Olivia Fortunato, J.D. Candidate
Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
New York, NY
Paper Title: "Post-Mortem Right of Publicity and Technological Advancements"


Matthew Citron, J.D. Candidate
UCLA School of Law
Los Angeles, CA
Paper Title: "BMI's For-Profit Model and Consent Decree Regulation"


Emily Cohen, J.D. Candidate
Duke University School of Law
Durham, NC 
Paper Title: "A 'Perfect Storm' For Reworking The Copyright Test"

The 2024 Entertainment Law Initiative Service Award will also be presented to Atlantic Records Executive Vice President of Business & Legal Affairs and General Counsel, Michael Kushner at the event. This accolade is awarded to an attorney who has demonstrated commitment to advancing and supporting the music community through service. Capitol Music Group Chair & Chief Executive Officer Michelle Jubelirer will deliver the keynote address at the luncheon.

The Recording Academy established the Entertainment Law Initiative in partnership with the nation's most prominent entertainment attorneys to promote discussion and debate around compelling legal matters and trends in the ever-evolving music industry.

The ELI GRAMMY Week Event is the premier annual gathering of entertainment attorneys to celebrate the achievements of their own practitioners, hear from legal thought leaders, and support students who are pursuing careers in music law.

Keep checking for news about the Entertainment Law Initiative!

2024 GRAMMY Nominations: See The Full Nominees List

Photo of (L-R): Atlantic Records' Executive Vice President of Business & Legal Affairs and General Counsel Michael Kushner and Capitol Music Group Chair & Chief Executive Officer Michelle Jubelirer
(L-R): Atlantic Records' Executive Vice President of Business & Legal Affairs and General Counsel Michael Kushner and Capitol Music Group Chair & Chief Executive Officer Michelle Jubelirer

Photo (L-R): Jimmy Fontaine; Michael Fulton


26th Annual Entertainment Law Initiative To Honor Atlantic Records' Michael Kushner During GRAMMY Week 2024 Ahead Of The 2024 GRAMMYs

The 2024 Entertainment Law Initiative will also feature Capitol Music Group Chair & Chief Executive Officer Michelle Jubelirer as the keynote speaker.

GRAMMYs/Nov 15, 2023 - 02:00 pm

On Fri, Feb. 2, 2024, the Recording Academy Entertainment Law Initiative will return to the Beverly Wilshire Hotel for its annual GRAMMY Week Event to honor Atlantic Records' Executive Vice President of Business & Legal Affairs and General Counsel, Michael Kushner. He will be presented with the 2024 Entertainment Law Initiative Service Award, given each year to an attorney who has demonstrated a commitment to advancing and supporting the music community through service. Capitol Music Group Chair & Chief Executive Officer Michelle Jubelirer will deliver a keynote address at the event.

"Michael's dedication to the music industry and his service to the Academy's Entertainment Law Initiative make him an exceptionally deserving recipient of the ELI Service Award," said Harvey Mason jr., CEO of the Recording Academy. "We look forward to celebrating his accomplishments at the 26th Annual ELI GRAMMY Week Event, and hosting Michelle – a trailblazing woman in music – as the keynote speaker as we gather with the professionals and students making an impact in entertainment law."

"We're pleased to be honoring Michael, who has dedicated so much time to our ELI program, and to welcome Michelle as our keynote speaker at the 2024 ELI GRAMMY Week Event," said Neil Crilly, Managing Director of Industry Leader Engagement & Chapter Operations at the Recording Academy. "Our Executive Committee should take immense pride in its year-round efforts to support our peers in entertainment law and bring this esteemed program to fruition."

The recipient of the Service Award is selected each year by ELI's Executive Committee, which serves to support the program in crediting deserving leaders in the entertainment law community as well as mentoring aspiring professionals in the field. ELI's 2023-24 Executive Committee is comprised of a diverse group of influential figures in entertainment law whose combined expertise spans the depth of the industry.

The ELI GRAMMY Week Event will also celebrate the winner and two runners-up of the Entertainment Law Initiative Writing Competition, co-sponsored by the American Bar Association, which challenges students in Juris Doctorate and Master of Laws programs at U.S. law schools to research a pressing legal issue facing the modern music industry and outline a proposed solution in a 3,000-word essay. A $10,000 scholarship is awarded to the author of the winning paper, and a $2,500 scholarship is awarded to two runners-up, and the winning paper will be published in the ABA's journal Entertainment & Sports Lawyer

The winner will also receive travel and tickets to Los Angeles to attend the 66th Annual GRAMMY Awards, MusiCares Person of the Year and the ELI GRAMMY Week Event. The contest is open to JD and LLM candidates at U.S. law schools and students have until Jan. 3, 2024 to enter the contest. See official rules, detailed prize packages and deadlines at

Individual tickets and a limited number of discounted student tickets to the ELI GRAMMY Week Event will go on sale in late November.

Media RSVP for the ELI GRAMMY Week Event is mandatory, and space is limited. Please email to RSVP.

GRAMMY Week culminates with the 2024 GRAMMYs, officially known as the 66th GRAMMY Awards, which will return to Los Angeles' Arena on Sun, Feb. 4, 2024, and will broadcast live on the CBS Television Network and stream live and on-demand on Paramount+ at 8-11:30 p.m. ET/5-8:30 p.m. PT.


Michael Kushner is Atlantic Records' EVP, Business & Legal Affairs and general counsel.  He heads up the company's Business & Legal Affairs, Contract Administration and A&R Administration departments. 

Michael began his music career at PolyGram Records in 1987. In 1994, Michael joined sister company Philips Media as SVP, Multimedia Music. In 1996, Michael joined Crave Records, Mariah Carey's joint venture label with Sony Music, and when that label was absorbed into Sony, he joined Sony Wonder as SVP, Business Development. Michael joined Island Def Jam as its head of Business & Legal Affairs in 1999, and then joined Atlantic Records in his current role, which he has held since 2001.

In 2019, Michael was honored by the T.J. Martell Foundation with its Lifetime Music Industry Award, and currently serves as a board member. Since 1987, Michael has served as a founding board member of Bang on a Can, a NYC-based music organization dedicated to commissioning, performing and teaching adventurous new music, and is currently the board president.    

Michael is a graduate of Franklin & Marshall College, where he received his BA in English literature. He earned his JD degree at Columbia.


Michelle Jubelirer is Chair & Chief Executive Officer of Capitol Music Group (CMG), having been appointed to that position in December 2021. As one of the highest-ranking women executives in the entertainment industry, Jubelirer is the first woman to lead Capitol in its 80-year history and was the first woman to be named both Chair and CEO of a major label group within the music industry. CMG's portfolio of labels includes the flagship, Capitol Records, Astralwerks, Blue Note Records, Capitol Christian Music Group, Motown Records, and Priority Records.

Among her many achievements since taking the reins of CMG, Jubelirer has led the charge to develop and guide rapper Ice Spice—the industry's biggest breakout artist in two years—to global superstardom, formulated the strategy behind the biggest global single of Sam Smith's career, the Grammy Award-winning "Unholy," and brought Paul McCartney back to CMG, resulting in the artist's first solo #1 album debut and his best-selling album in more than a decade.

Prior to joining CMG in 2013 as Chief Operating Officer and later COO & President, Jubelirer was partner in one of the industry's most highly regarded law firms – King, Holmes, Paterno & Berliner. She began her career as a mergers and acquisitions attorney at New York's Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in 1999 before joining Sony Music in 2003.

She is active in social and cultural issues, especially as a longtime and vocal advocate for women's reproductive rights. She recently completed a six-year term on the Planned Parenthood Federation of America Board of Directors and is currently serving on the board of the UCLA Herb Albert School of Music. 

How The Entertainment Law Initiative Tackles Today’s Leading Law Issues & Fosters The Next Generation Of Legal Innovators

Kendrick Lamar GRAMMY Rewind Hero
Kendrick Lamar

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic


GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016

Upon winning the GRAMMY for Best Rap Album for 'To Pimp a Butterfly,' Kendrick Lamar thanked those that helped him get to the stage, and the artists that blazed the trail for him.

GRAMMYs/Oct 13, 2023 - 06:01 pm

Updated Friday Oct. 13, 2023 to include info about Kendrick Lamar's most recent GRAMMY wins, as of the 2023 GRAMMYs.

A GRAMMY veteran these days, Kendrick Lamar has won 17 GRAMMYs and has received 47 GRAMMY nominations overall. A sizable chunk of his trophies came from the 58th annual GRAMMY Awards in 2016, when he walked away with five — including his first-ever win in the Best Rap Album category.

This installment of GRAMMY Rewind turns back the clock to 2016, revisiting Lamar's acceptance speech upon winning Best Rap Album for To Pimp A Butterfly. Though Lamar was alone on stage, he made it clear that he wouldn't be at the top of his game without the help of a broad support system. 

"First off, all glory to God, that's for sure," he said, kicking off a speech that went on to thank his parents, who he described as his "those who gave me the responsibility of knowing, of accepting the good with the bad."

Looking for more GRAMMYs news? The 2024 GRAMMY nominations are here!

He also extended his love and gratitude to his fiancée, Whitney Alford, and shouted out his Top Dawg Entertainment labelmates. Lamar specifically praised Top Dawg's CEO, Anthony Tiffith, for finding and developing raw talent that might not otherwise get the chance to pursue their musical dreams.

"We'd never forget that: Taking these kids out of the projects, out of Compton, and putting them right here on this stage, to be the best that they can be," Lamar — a Compton native himself — continued, leading into an impassioned conclusion spotlighting some of the cornerstone rap albums that came before To Pimp a Butterfly.

"Hip-hop. Ice Cube. This is for hip-hop," he said. "This is for Snoop Dogg, Doggystyle. This is for Illmatic, this is for Nas. We will live forever. Believe that."

To Pimp a Butterfly singles "Alright" and "These Walls" earned Lamar three more GRAMMYs that night, the former winning Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song and the latter taking Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (the song features Bilal, Anna Wise and Thundercat). He also won Best Music Video for the remix of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood." 

Lamar has since won Best Rap Album two more times, taking home the golden gramophone in 2018 for his blockbuster LP DAMN., and in 2023 for his bold fifth album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.

Watch Lamar's full acceptance speech above, and check back at every Friday for more GRAMMY Rewind episodes. 

10 Essential Facts To Know About GRAMMY-Winning Rapper J. Cole