Mike Smith was appointed Managing Director of Warner/Chappell Music UK, part of the global music publishing arm of Warner Music Group, in 2016. He oversees all of the music publisher’s operations in the UK.
Under his leadership, Warner/Chappell UK has been at the epicentre of the urban music revolution in Britain. Chappell songwriters Dave, Skepta and Stormzy have picked up Ivor Novello Awards for their writing and stormed the charts. Others including J Hus, Steel Banglez and Swifta Beater have been at the forefront of the urban scene.
Smith has not just focused on urban music however, with the company adding a diverse list of other songwriters to its roster including Alexander Armstrong, Andy Partridge, Birdy, Crispin Hunt, Fred Ball, George Moore, Josh Record, Kloe, Liam Gallagher, Linnea Södahl, Louise Redknapp, Mac & Phil, Manic Street Preachers, Matt Clifford, Miranda Cooper, New Hope Club, Odunsi (The Engine), Reuben James, Roy Stride, Siobhan Fahey, Tom Zanetti and The Vamps.
The company has put huge efforts into maximising its songwriters’ music in sync deals, placing songs in adverts by leading brands such as Audi, Coca Cola and Nike, and in culturally relevant film and TV programmes including Black Mirror, Peaky Blindersand Blue Planet II. This was recognised when Warner/Chappell was named Publisher of the Year at the Music Week Sync Awards.
Smith has enjoyed a career in the music industry stretching back over three decades. He began his career as a talent scout for MCA Music Publishing in 1988, where he signed artists such as Blur.
In 1992, he began a 14-year stint at EMI Music Publishing, where he progressed to the position of Head of A&R. His signings included Elastica, Supergrass, Doves, The Beta Band, Gorillaz, The White Stripes, The Libertines, Scissor Sisters, Arcade Fire and Arctic Monkeys. He also worked with artists such as Robbie Williams, PJ Harvey, The Verve and Beth Orton.
In 2006, Smith was appointed Managing Director of Columbia Records UK. He signed artists including Mark Ronson, Calvin Harris, Glasvegas, Band of Horses, Gossip, Katy B, Madeon, MGMT, Ryan Adams, Miike Snow, The Civil Wars and The Vaccines. He also worked with artists including Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Foo Fighters, Kasabian and Kings of Leon.
Smith became President of Mercury Records in 2012, overseeing the signing of The Strypes, Duke Dumont, Iggy Azalea, Slaves and The Vamps. He was named President of Virgin EMI when the label was formed the following year, going on to sign The Chemical Brothers, The Libertines and Squeeze.
Since 2010, Smith has been a trustee of the charity New Deal of The Mind, which works to encourage job creation within the creative industries. He is also recognised for his paintings and sketches of musicians, with exhibitions of his work around the country, including Richard Goodall Gallery in Manchester and Somerset House in London.
In 2016, Smith won the inaugural Sir George Martin Award at Music Business Worldwide’s A&R Awards. The award recognises an A&R executive with a track record of fostering meaningful artist and songwriter relationships, who has garnered widespread respect amongst the creative community.