“Behind the Music” Episode 3

Its already week three (how did that happen?) of my London adventure. While I reflect back on my time at Universal Music Group, it’s not only on the work I’ve been doing but the people with whom I’ve been spending my time with that makes Havas Lofts a remarkable experience.

My coach during my time here at UMG is the amazing Ross in Commercial Affairs. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this department (coming from a creative agency I was not), Commercial Affairs is the group that spans the company’s international business activities, which is composed of four segments: operations, partnerships, e-commerce and development.

During my time here, Ross kicked off my experience by not only introducing me to commercial affairs but to the music industry overall, and paired me with different members of his team to do a deeper dive in the four key components of the department. In addition to having Ross as my coach, I received two additional day-to-day mentors:

Nadir, who is readily available to answer any and all questions (and who humours me by telling me about his career on the rise in the music industry, which is riveting).

And Ali — who’s answered all my questions AND let me join in on her morning runs after showing me the ropes at the office.

Not to stop there, I’ve learned from Alex that operations is truly the beating heart of the commercial organisation, implementing and executing Universal’s international commercial strategy.

From Lindsay and her all-star stream team, I dove into understanding how they manage relationships with all major global digital partners — think Spotify, Apple music, and Amazon Music Unlimited (and many more).

Through my time spent with Adam and Robin, they introduced me to the world of music and e-commerce (i.e Amazon) and partner campaigns, and how the complexities and opportunities within this space have changed over time with the shift from brick and mortar retail to physical and digital product.

And with the development team, I learned the sophisticated processes by which they mine data to create and drive business and brand building ideas across the organisation.

The imperative international role of Commercial Affairs in the organisation is even demonstrated through the office decor!

Universal Music Office

In closing, the legendary Glastonbury music festival is this weekend — so naturally my team is gearing up to attend as both music lovers and industry professionals.

The festival features some of my favourite UMG artists such as Katy Perry, Halsey, and Lorde. Plus a celebration of entertainment beyond music — I didn’t realise the Glastonbury Festival is also a five-day spectacular of contemporary performing arts — dance, comedy, theatre, circus, cabaret, and other arts.



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