Senior Director, Business Development (A&R)

  • Universal Music Group
  • New York, New York
  • Jul 03, 2024
Full time Marketing

Job Description

We are UMG, the Universal Music Group. We are the world’s leading music company. In everything we do, we are committed to artistry, innovation and entrepreneurship. We own and operate a broad array of businesses engaged in recorded music, music publishing, merchandising, and audiovisual content in more than 60 countries. We identify and develop recording artists and songwriters, and we produce, distribute and promote the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful music to delight and entertain fans around the world.

We are seeking a dynamic Senior Director, Business Development (A&R) to join the Commerce team (inclusive of A&R, Licensing, Retail & Tour/VIP) based in New York, New York. This individual will be primarily focused on identifying, assessing, negotiating, and ultimately steering the client merchandise deals through execution.  This role requires developing and maintaining strong relationships in the music community at the highest levels both within Universal Music Group and beyond. 

The Senior Director will be instrumental in collaborating closely with our artists/clients and label partners.

The role requires the Senior Director to deliver full-service support in an expansive range of categories. This includes working closely with our legal and finance teams to complete the deal.  Then work closely with and keep updated our commercial and brand management teams within Bravado.  You would also work closely with senior management at the labels including label heads as well as legal and marketing departments. 

The Senior Director will be instrumental in helping to create a path for client growth, revenue diversification, and long-term company value.

Ideal candidates for this role are experienced leaders in the music industry with strong relationships and a track record of successfully negotiating deals that will drive both a healthy top and bottom line for the company. 

The ideal candidates will be creative thinkers and highly organized decision-makers that will help drive strategies that focus on growth, diversification and adding value to our artist roster.

How you’ll CREATE: 

  • Candidate needs to be expert in the deal making process and have highly developed negotiation skills to ensure that we are competitive, adaptable and creative

  • Take a lead role in overseeing deals, collaborating closely with Head of Commerce to ensure healthy artist portfolio/roster through continuous assessment and analysis.

  • Lead and negotiate deals with precision, leveraging insights and market analysis to drive favorable outcomes, while maintaining ongoing dialogue to facilitate the progress.

  • Manage and track all conversations, negotiations, assigning deal numbers for clarity and organization, ensuring seamless flow of communication.

  • Cultivate strong relationships with key stakeholders, artists and artist managers, label executives and colleagues, while understanding political dynamics and navigating the complexities of a highly matrixed environment.

  • Leverage music and merchandise industry relationships and contacts to facilitate deal negotiations and stay current of market dynamics and competitor activities.

  • Understand and have general knowledge of the retail, VIP, licensing & Tour/VIP business model, competition, and overall landscape to explicitly drive strategies to expand reach.

  • Diligently track deal points using specialized shareable and editable tools. i.e. MS Excel tables calculations.

  • Demonstrate expertise in contract & deal analysis and artist obligations, with a keen understanding of profit and loss statements and financial principles.

Bring your VIBE: 

  • Identify and assess the health of current artist roster for revenue and brand expansion.

  • Identify competitive advantages for both our Artist and business in our deal structures that will grow the brand and drive revenue.

  • Discover and develop new opportunities to leverage our artist intellectual property, grow their brand reach and maximize their revenue potential.

  • Diligently partnering with legal to prep and ensure the accuracy and completeness in documentation to supported informed decisions making by the investment committee on all deal in their review and approval.

  • Partner, lead and facilitate challenging discussions with attorneys, artists/artist managers and internal business partners, demonstrating a solid grasp of the merchandise and music business all while maintaining strong rapport.

  • Collaborate and partner with brand management teams to evaluate and analyze new artist relationships that are being signed, ensuring there is alignment with revenue opportunity objectives.

  • Identify and assess and project key deal points with precision, leverage comprehensive analysis to inform strategic decision making with artists, managers and labels.

  • Fluency in Spanish is an asset to enhancing communicating and relationships with emerging and new artists and partners.

  • Focus on unlocking hidden value and incremental opportunities to help our artists grow.

  • Explore untapped markets and opportunities for artist merch acquisition by focusing on key audiences and competitors.

  • Discover and develop new opportunities to leverage our artist intellectual property, grow their brand reach and maximize their revenue potential.


  • Analytical and understands business revenue models, market trends, financial data and deal structures.

  • Experience in assessing opportunities, identifying risks and making informed business decisions especially during negotiations.


  • Demonstrated expertise in negotiation, deal preparation, active listening for understanding, persuasive influence and creative conflict resolution.

  • Understanding of how to reach a mutually beneficial agreement and securing favorable terms.

Strategic Thinking

  • Experience thinking strategic and ability to execute with detail & organization in high demanding environments. 

  • Understanding of how to develop long term plans to achieve business objectives, increase revenue and identify opportunities maximizing deal value

Financial Acumen

  • Understanding of financial statements, profitability metrics, and valuation methods for assessing deal feasibility and evaluating investment opportunities.

Relationship Building

  • Deep awareness in building relationships with key stakeholders and artists including internal partners fostering trust, collaboration and long -term connections.

  • Ability to adapt in changing market conditions, artist needs and dynamics of the music and merchandise business.

  • Strong problem-solving skills to address challenges, overcome obstacles and find creative solutions to complex issues involving key stakeholders.

  • Demonstrated empathy and interpersonal diplomacy skills for productive relationships.

Attention to Detail

  • Conduct thorough due diligence, reviewing analysis and ensuring accuracy in deal documentation and projections to mitigate risk, maximize potential and protect company/artist interests.

  • Great communication skills, written and oral, interpersonal and group settings, highly organized and detail oriented.

Other Keys to Success

  • Deep awareness and interest in merchandise, latest fashion trends, particularly “streetwear” and urban fashion trends and knowledge of contemporary and urban music

  • Responsible for representing the company in meetings, at shows and on calls with management and bands/brands.

  • Overseeing special projects for the department as necessary.

  • Create and presentations for clients, retail sales, brand partnerships, and collaboration opportunities.

  • Minimum 10-15 years in business development, deal analysis, negotiations and brand building.

  • Microsoft office suite, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook

Perks Playlist:

  • Be part of an entrepreneurial, global organization that values authenticity, drive, creativity, relationships, and a competitive spirit

  • Comprehensive medical, dental, vision, and FSA options, as well as:

    • 100% coverage for out-patient mental health services

    • Wellbeing reimbursements for fitness classes, spa treatments, meal services, travel, and so much more (up to $720/year)

    • A lifetime fertility support allowance of $30,000 to plan participants

    • Student Loan Repayment Assistance and Tuition Reimbursement

    • 100% immediately vested 401(k) match on the first 5% of your contribution on eligible compensation

  • Variety of ways to prioritize much-needed time away from work including:

    • Flexible Paid Time Off (PTO) for exempt employees

    • 3-weeks PTO for non-exempt employees

    • 2-weeks paid Winter Break

    • 10 Company Holidays (including Juneteenth and Wellbeing Day)

    • Summer Fridays (between Memorial Day and Labor Day)

    • Generous paid parental leave for every type of parent

Check out our full overview of benefits on the Perks Playlist page of the career site.

Disclaimer: This job description only provides an overview of job responsibilities that are subject to change.

Universal Music Group is an Equal Opportunity Employer

We are an E-Verify employer in Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah.

For more information, please click on the following links.

E-Verify Participation Poster: English / Spanish

E-Verify Right to Work Poster: English | Spanish

Job Category:


Salary Range:

$105,435 - $252,120

The actual base salary offered depends on a variety of factors, which may include, as applicable, the qualifications of the individual applicant for the position, years of relevant experience, specific and unique skills, level of education attained, certifications or other professional licenses held, and the location in which the applicant lives and/or from which they will be performing the job.  All candidates are encouraged to apply.