Awards Business News

Grammy gala to celebrate Branson’s music achievements

By | Published on Friday 20 January 2012

Richard Branson

Virgin Group’s Richard Branson will be honoured at a pre-Grammy Awards bash next month, receiving the Recording Academy’s President Merit Award at the Pre-Grammy Gala dinner hosted by the Academy and veteran US record industry exec Clive Davis.

Organisers of the Gala say Branson has been chosen for the honour, which has previously gone to the likes of Herb Alpert, Ahmet Ertegum and Berry Gordy, “in recognition of his significant contributions to the music industry and the impact his efforts have had on music and the business of music”.

Of course Branson has been out of the music business for sometime now, having sold Virgin Records to EMI in 1992, second label venture V2 to Universal in 2007, and the Virgin Megastore to its management the same year (a clever move assuring it was Zavvi and not a Virgin brand that went under two years later).

Nevertheless, the Virgin name is still often associated with music, partly because EMI continues to use the Virgin name for one of its labels, and the Branson-controlled Virgin Group does still have interests in music radio in some parts of the world.

And some wonder if, in order to win regulator approval for its acquisition of the EMI record company, Universal might not propose selling off the old Virgin Records labels, and who knows, perhaps Branson would fancy another adventure in the record business.

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