Jody Gerson

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Jody Gerson
EducationBachelor of Arts Northwestern University, The Baldwin School
Occupation(s)Chairman and Chief executive officer of Universal Music Publishing Group, American music executive

Jody Gerson (born 1961 in Philadelphia)[1] is the Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Publishing Group.[2] Upon assuming the role on January 1, 2015, Gerson became the first female CEO of a major music publisher[3] and first chairwoman of a global music company.[4] Gerson also serves on the Executive Management Board for Universal Music Group.[5]


Gerson was raised in a Jewish family[6][7] in the Philadelphia area, where her father owned several nightclubs including the Latin Casino[8] whose performers included artists like Frank Sinatra and Diana Ross.[9] She began her career in music publishing at Chappell Music shortly after graduating from Northwestern University,[10] where she started out making tape copies.[9] After six years at Chappell, she moved to EMI Music Publishing to run the company's east coast office[2] before shifting to head up the company's west coast publishing division in 1991. In January 2008, Gerson left EMI to become US Co-President of Sony/ATV Music Publishing.[10]

In 2015, Gerson joined Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) as Chairman and CEO. Under her leadership,[11] UMPG's annual revenue has more than doubled into 1.8 billion dollars in business.[12]

Gerson has led the signings and extensions of artists and songwriters including the Bee Gees,[13][14] Elton John,[15][14] Carly Simon,[16] Bruce Springsteen,[17] Prince,[18] Taylor Swift,[19] Kendrick Lamar, Drake, Steve Lacy, Bad Bunny, The Weeknd,[12] Billie Eilish,[20] Rosalía,[21] Alicia Keys,[22] Coldplay,[14] Justin Bieber,[14] Jack White,[23] SZA,[14] Quavo,[8] Ariana Grande, H.E.R.,[14] Harry Styles, Jeff Bhasker, Maren Morris,[24] Tierra Whack,[8] Halsey, Demi Lovato, Shawn Mendes, Tobias Jesso Jr., Travis Scott, Joe Jonas, Nick Jonas, Maroon 5, R.E.M., Pearl Jam, Post Malone, and more.[9]

Gerson also led UMPG's acquisitions of the catalogs of Sting, Neil Diamond, Frank Zappa and others.[12] In 2016, she negotiated a deal for UMPG to be the exclusive worldwide publishing administrator for Prince's entire song catalog.[18]

In 2020, Gerson led UMPG's purchase of Bob Dylan's entire songwriting catalog, considered to be the biggest acquisition ever of a single act's publishing rights.[25]

Previous to UMPG,[26] Gerson has signed many successful songwriters throughout her career in music publishing, including Lady Gaga, Norah Jones, Odd Future, Jermaine Dupri, and a then 15-year-old Alicia Keys. Gerson has also played an instrumental role in the careers of Enrique Iglesias, Pharrell Williams, Mac Miller, Pitbull, RedOne, and Dallas Austin, among others.[2]

In addition to her work in music, Gerson produced the movies Drumline and ATL. Drumline is currently being adapted for Broadway. She is also executive producer of VH1's Drumline 2.[2] Gerson executive produced the Emmy-nominated documentary The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart, as well as HBO's Music Box series. She is a board member of the National Music Publishers Association.[27]

Charitable work[edit]

Gerson co-founded the global nonprofit She Is The Music and serves on boards of directors of the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and The National Music Publishers' Association, among others.[12]


On December 3, 2015, Gerson was named 'Executive of the Year' by Billboard Magazine in its Women in Music 2015 issue.[9] In 2016 she was named "Inspiring Woman of the Year" by the March of Dimes, and named to the Variety Power of Women L.A. list.[28][29] She has appeared on the Billboard Power 100 every year from 2016 to 2024.[30][31][32] [33] In 2020, Gerson was named by Billboard as "Executive of the Year", becoming the first music publisher and first woman to receive this honor.[34] Gerson received the Abe Olman Publisher Award at the 51st annual Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Dinner.[35]

In May 2023, Gerson received the ICMP Ralph Peer II Award for Outstanding Contribution to Global Music Publishing.[36] Gerson has appeared on the Variety 500,[37] and Rolling Stone's Future 25.[38]

Personal life[edit]

Gerson is divorced from Seth Swirsky and has three children: Julian (1994), Luke (2002), and Daisy (2004).[9]


  1. ^ Laura M. Holson (January 27, 2002). "Bolstering a Career From the Beginning". The New York Times.
  2. ^ a b c d "Jody Gerson Named Head of Universal Music Publishing Group". Billboard. 2014-08-01. Retrieved 2015-03-10.
  3. ^ "Jody Gerson, the first woman to run a major music publishing company, is going into the Philadelphia Music Walk of Fame". Inquirer. Retrieved 2023-09-11.
  4. ^ "UMPG's Jody Gerson to Receive Songwriters Hall of Fame Abe Olman Publisher Award". Billboard. 2020-03-11. Retrieved 2020-03-23.
  5. ^ "Jody Gerson, Chairman and CEO, Universal Music Publishing". Universal Music. Retrieved 2023-09-11.
  6. ^ Gensler, Andy and Halperin, Shirley "Houses of the Holy: Where the Music Biz Celebrates the Jewish High Holidays" Billboard Magazine. September 23, 2014
  7. ^ Hollywood Reporter: "Hollywood's Battles for the Best Bar Mitzvah: $5M Budgets, Justin Bieber and Camels" by Carson Griffith November 11, 2016 |
  8. ^ a b c Amorosi, A. D. (2019-10-23). "Universal Music Publishing Group's Jody Gerson Honored by Hometown of Philadelphia". Variety. Retrieved 2020-03-23.
  9. ^ a b c d e Halperin, Shirley "Women in Music 2015: Jody Gerson Named Executive of the Year" Billboard Magazine. December 3, 2015
  10. ^ a b "NYU Gallatin > Events Calendar > Dean's Roundtable with Jody Gerson > Jody Gerson's Bio". Archived from the original on 2015-01-30. Retrieved 2015-01-30.
  11. ^ "Jody Gerson-led Universal Music Publishing Group is now officially a billion-dollar business". Music Business Worldwide. 2019-02-14. Retrieved 2020-03-23.
  12. ^ a b c d "Jody Gerson to Receive 2023 Ralph Peer II Award From International Music Publishers". Billboard. Retrieved 2023-09-11.
  13. ^ "Bee Gees musical on the way thanks to deal with Universal Music Group". Music Business Worldwide. 2017-11-08. Retrieved 2020-03-23.
  14. ^ a b c d e f "Jody Gerson, Billboard's Power Executive of the Year". Billboard. 2020-01-23. Retrieved 2020-03-23.
  15. ^ "Elton John signs with Universal 'for the rest of his career'". Reuters. 2018-09-21. Retrieved 2020-03-23.
  16. ^ "Carly Simon Signs Global Administration Deal With Universal Music Publishing Group". Billboard. 2018-02-08. Retrieved 2020-03-23.
  17. ^ Halperin, Shirley (2017-07-31). "Bruce Springsteen Signs With Universal Music Publishing". Variety. Retrieved 2020-03-23.
  18. ^ a b "Prince's Estate Signs With Universal Music Publishing". Billboard. 2016-11-02. Retrieved 2020-03-23.
  19. ^ "Taylor Swift Signs With UMPG". Billboard. 2020-02-06. Retrieved 2020-03-23.
  20. ^ "Billie Eilish Lands Co-Publishing Deal With Universal Music Publishing Group". Billboard. 2018-11-09. Retrieved 2020-03-23.
  21. ^ "The world's next pop superstar? Rosalía signs global deal with Universal Music Publishing Group". Music Business Worldwide. 2019-06-04. Retrieved 2020-03-23.
  22. ^ "Alicia Keys Moves Catalog to Universal Music Publishing Group". Billboard. 2019-09-05. Retrieved 2020-03-23.
  23. ^ Trakin, Roy (2017-04-27). "Jack White Signs Worldwide Agreement With Universal Music Publishing Group". Variety. Retrieved 2020-03-23.
  24. ^ "Maren Morris Inks Worldwide Deal With Universal Music Publishing Group". Billboard. 2019-08-01. Retrieved 2020-03-23.
  25. ^ "Bob Dylan Sells His Songwriting Catalog in Blockbuster Deal". The New York Times. Retrieved 2023-09-11.
  26. ^ "Jody Gerson Jumps From Sony/ATV to Universal, Becomes Highest Ranking Woman in Publishing". The Hollywood Reporter. August 2014. Retrieved 2020-03-23.
  27. ^ "NMPA". NMPA. 2014-05-13. Archived from the original on 2015-02-06. Retrieved 2015-03-10.
  28. ^ "Power of Women L.A. Impact Report". October 11, 2016.
  29. ^ "March of Dimes Raises $1.4 Million at 6th Annual Celebration of Babies®: A Hollywood Luncheon".
  30. ^ DiGiacomo, Frank (2023-02-02). "Billboard's 2023 Power 100: Executives List Revealed". Billboard. Retrieved 2023-05-25.
  31. ^ Billboard Staff (2022-01-26). "The 2022 Billboard Power List Revealed". Billboard. Retrieved 2022-01-26.
  32. ^ "No. 8: Jody Gerson | Power 100". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  33. ^ Karp, Hannah (2024-01-31). "Billboard 2024 Power 100 List Revealed". Billboard. Retrieved 2024-02-01.
  34. ^ "Jody Gerson of Universal Music Publishing Group: Executive of the Year". Billboard. Retrieved 2020-02-05.
  35. ^ "UMPG's Jody Gerson to Receive Songwriters Hall of Fame Abe Olman Publisher Award". Billboard. 2020-03-11. Retrieved 2020-03-12.
  37. ^ "Jody Gerson - Variety500". Variety. Retrieved 2023-09-11.
  38. ^ "Future 25: Jody Gerson, CEO of Universal Music Publishing Group". Retrieved 2023-09-11.