Barney Wragg Named Managing Director of Really Useful Group

News   Barney Wragg Named Managing Director of Really Useful Group Tony and Oliver Award-winning composer Andrew Lloyd Webber has appointed 38-year-old digital media specialist Barney Wragg as the managing director of the Really Useful Group, the company announced Oct. 11.

In June Lloyd Webber announced plans to separate Really Useful Investments Limited into two companies, one which will oversee the seven West End theatres owned by the Phantom and Cats composer, titled Really Useful Theatres; as well as Really Useful Group, which controls licensing and copyrights. 

Wragg will manage Really Useful Group for Lloyd Webber, who still owns both companies. Wragg's presence will allow the company to expand and further develop its digital presence, while also controlling RUG's numerous copyrights, including music publishing, first class licensing and production, as well as stock and amateur licensing, digital merchandising and artist management. He will assume his full-time duties at RUG Dec. 1.

Wragg currently operates a private management consulting firm for music artists such as Robbie Williams and Kate Bush, as well as The Brit Awards and the competition show "X-Factor." He also introduced "Live from the BRITs," which lets fans download live performances in real time. "X-Factor" has also taken up the practice. 

He previously worked for Universal Music Group and EMI, helping both companies to maximize their digital revenues. During his time at EMI, Wragg was key in negotiating with major digital players such as iTunes, YouTube and Spotify, and was one of the first to support DRM-free downloads, allowing individuals the ability to play digital music on multiple devices and platforms.

"We are delighted that Barney has agreed to join us," Lloyd Webber said in a statement. "He is one of the entertainment industry’s most exciting innovators and an expert in digital media. He has repeatedly demonstrated how new ideas can be combined with traditional forms of entertainment to the benefit of both customers and businesses." RUG chairman Mark Wordsworth added, "The single defining element of Barney’s career has been business development. In his new role Barney will oversee the expansion of ‘Brand Lloyd Webber’ and all of Andrew’s works and creative content into new formats, revenue streams and markets. This is a significant first step in establishing Really Useful Group as a standalone company focused entirely on the management, licensing and exploitation of the incredible body of work that Andrew has created during his lifetime to date and will undoubtedly continue to create in the future."

Wragg's appointment comes as Lloyd Webber recently filmed the Australian production of Love Never Dies, which will see a global in-home video release in the coming months, as well as the special 25th anniversary staging of The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall, which was broadcast live across the globe Oct. 2 and will be released on DVD, Blu-ray, CD and digital download Nov. 14.

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