Wednesday, January 26, 2022

The Top 50 Music Executives of All Time


Top 100

Here’s the top 50 music executives. The record companies with which they were associated are shown in parentheses after each name. This list, as always with DMDB lists, was determined by an aggregation of multiple lists.

See other lists of Acts/Music Makers by Categories.

1. Berry Gordy, Jr. (Motown)
2. Sam Phillips (Sun)
3. Leonard Chess (Chess)
4. Clive Davis (Columbia, Arista)
5. David Geffen (Asylum, Geffen, DGC, Dreamworks SKG)
6. Herb Alpert (A&M)
7. Ahmet Ertegun (Atlantic)
8. Jerry Wexler (Atlantic)
9. Nesuhi Ertegun (Atlantic)
10. Jac Holzman (Elektra, Nonesuch)

11. Jim Stewart (Stax)
12. Jimmy Iovine (Interscope)
13. Antonio “L.A.” Reid (LaFace, Arista, Def Jam Island, Epic)
14. Irving Azoff (manager for Christina Aguilera, Bon Jovi, the Eagles, Dan Fogelberg, Journey, Maroon 5, No Doubt, Steely Dan, and Van Halen)
15. Mo Ostin (Verve, Reprise, Warner Bros., DreamWorks SKG)
16. Jerry Moss (A&M)
17. Dr. Dre (Death Row, Aftermath)
18. Tommy Mottola (Sony Music)
19. Phil Chess (Chess)
20. Rick Rubin (Def Jam, American Recordings, Columbia)

21. Milt Gabler (Commodore, Decca)
22. Bill Graham (concert promotor, Fillmore Auditorium)
23. Arif Mardin (Atlantic, Manhattan)
24. Clarence Avant (Venture, Sussex)
25. Seymour Stein (Sire, Warner Bros.)
26. Chris Strachwitz
27. Norman Granz (Clef, Norgran, Down Home, Verve, Pablo)
28. Goddard Lieberson (Columbia)
29. Kenneth Gamble (Philadelphia International)
30. Leon Huff (Philadelphia International)

31. Chris Blackwell (Island)
32. Puff Daddy/P. Diddy (Bad Boy Entertainment)
33. Art Rupe (Speciality)
34. Suge Knight (Death Row)
35. Lou Pearlman (Trans Continental)
36. Syd Nathan (King)
37. Mathew Knowles (manager of Destiny’s Child)
38. Swizz Beatz (Full Surface)
39. Neil Bogart (Casablanca, Boardwalk)
40. Rick Hall (FAME Studios)

41. Willie Mitchell (Hi, Waylo)
42. Simon Cowell (Pop Idol, American Idol)
43. Kanye West (Roc-A-Fella)
44. Smokey Robinson (Motown)
45. Scooter Braun (School Boy Records, Raymond-Braun Media Group)
46. Jerry Ross (Heritage)
47. Jay-Z (Roc-A-Fella)
48. R. Kelly (Rockland)
49. Madonna (Maverick)
50. Miles Copeland III (I.R.S.)

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First posted 5/24/2017; last updated 1/26/2022.

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