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Most Innovative Companies

Universal Music Group

Universal Music Group, which is composed of such famed labels as Capitol and Def Jam, has played an active role in leading the music industry through a period of unprecedented digital transformation. In addition to boasting chart-toppers like Ariana Grande and Drake on its roster, Universal’s landmark 2018 deal with Taylor Swift guarantees profits to artists should it sell its stock in Spotify, while another agreement with Elton John includes brand management and licensing alongside the singer’s upcoming tour. Meanwhile, Universal has set up outposts in countries like Nigeria and China, signing and introducing consumers to new artists like Vanessa Mdee, Kris Wu, and the K-pop girl group sensation Black Pink, which will be featured at Coachella in 2019. Add to that a new first-refusal deal with Lionsgate—buoyed by the success of the Golden Globe-winning film Bohemian Rhapsody, whose titular track became the most-streamed song of the 20th century—to produce artist-focused movies and TV. Universal’s parent company, Vivendi, has signaled that it will sell at least half of the organization, resulting in a $33.3 billion valuation by Deutsche Bank.

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headquarters: Santa Monica, California