Paul McCartney surprises crowd at Capitol Music Group gathering

McCartney was part of a live WTF podcast with Marc Maron

Capitol Music Group (CMG) Chairman and CEO Steve Barnett hosted what has become one of the music industry’s most-notable yearly events, the company’s 5th Annual Capitol Congress, on Wednesday, August 8th at the ArcLight Theatre in Hollywood. During the day-long gathering, CMG’s superstar and developing artists presented their forthcoming music and projects to the company’s staff, its international affiliates, entertainment industry representatives from around the world and influential consumer and trade media.

The event kicked-off with opening addresses from Universal Music Group Chairman and CEO Sir Lucian Grainge, who spoke of the music industry’s tremendous growth and CMG’s evolution since relaunching in late 2012, and Barnett, who spoke of the innovative steps CMG has taken over the past year.

A highlight of the day’s events was a surprise appearance by Paul McCartney, who received CMG’s first Capitol Icon award and was interviewed live by Marc Maron for a very special edition of his WTF Podcast. During the interview, McCartney delved into the creation of his forthcoming Egypt Station album, regaled the rapt audience with stories from his days with the Beatles, and discussed his enduring influence and relevance in a remarkable career that spans six decades. In addition, Lyft and Capitol Records teased an upcoming partnership in support of Egypt Station.

Red-hot hip-hop trio Migos also surprised attendees, joining Kevin “Coach K” Lee and Pierre “Pee” Thomas – the founders of the Atlanta-based Quality Control Music (QC) – and fellow QC artists Lil Yachty, Lil Baby and Yung Miami of City Girls for a presentation of awards and certifications by Motown Records President Ethiopia Habtemariam. Migos’ latest album, Culture II, was spotlighted for selling more than three million adjusted albums globally, including 4.5 billion streams. QC’s CEO Pee teased more projects coming from the label, “even before the end of the year.”

Habtemariam also unveiled footage from a forthcoming and definitive Motown documentary, Hitsville: The Making of Motown – directed by Gabe Turner and Ben Turner of Fulwell 73 – which will chronicle the label’s historic rise through new and exclusive interviews with the company’s founder, Berry Gordy, and key artists, songwriters, producers and executives who contributed to one of America’s greatest and most inspiring success stories. The film will be released next year. Habtemariam then moderated a panel, titled Culture: The New Mainstream, which included a discussion of Motown’s enduring influence. The panel featured Shawn Gee, CEO of Live Nation, Urban; Chace Johnson, manager of artists A$AP Rocky and Playboy Carti; Dion “NoID” Wilson, EVP of CMG and President of Artium; Kevn “Coach K” Lee, COO of Quality Conrol Music; Kristen Fraser, the founder of PVTL.

During previous Capitol Congresses, CMG has paid tribute to artists and albums that have tremendously impacted music and popular culture and greatly added to the company’s historic legacy. This year, rapper, entertainer and entrepreneur MC Hammer was honored for his albums Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em and Too Legit To Quit, which are largely responsible for nearly 50 million albums sold during the artist’s career. His enduring contributions were explored in an on-stage interview with journalist and Universal Music Enterprises executive Andre Torres.

A new and groundbreaking partnership between CMG and advertising leader Havas, both part of Vivendi, was announced during Capitol Congress by Paul Marobella, Chief Executive Officer, and Jason Peterson, Chief Creative Officer, of Havas Creative, North America. They revealed that The Annex – a unique cultural network powered by Havas – will launch Annex Tower Creative within CMG’s iconic Capitol Tower in Hollywood. The arrangement between the two Vivendi companies is a powerful one that will create unique opportunities for CMG and The Annex by utilizing their industry expertise and relationships within music, entertainment, art, content and fashion to create innovative brand partnerships and campaigns with the artists across CMG’s multiple labels. The first such partnership was revealed today – between rapper and singer Lil’ Yachty and Conagra Brands’ Chef Boyardee line of pasta products – that will include a music video launching soon.

Currently celebrating its 50th anniversary, BBC Radio 1 remains as culturally significant and influential as at any time in its storied history. In an interview with CMG’s EVP of Global Marketing Robbie McIntosh, BBC 1’s Head of Music Chris Price and its Controller Ben Cooper discussed the pivotal role the station has played in music, entertainment and popular culture since its launch in 1967.

In honor of Bill Hearn, the beloved and longtime head of Capitol Christian Music Group who passed away in December, CMG’s Barnett and Brian Nolan, announced the formation of The Bill Hearn College Scholarship Fund to benefit students within the Compton School District’s Dominquez High School who will be attending college.

At Congress, Barnett, Nolan and Hearn’s widow, Charmion Gustke Hearn, presented the first scholarship check to Julia Vallejo, who will be attending the University of California at Irvine this fall. This scholarship fund is an extension of the CMG’s Bonus Tracks program with Dominguez High School that teaches students about jobs and responsibilities within the music industry through in-person seminars at the school with CMG executives.

Additionally joining Barnett, Grainge and the hundreds of specially-invited attendees were an array of CMG artists who presented new and forthcoming projects, including platinum singer and songwriter Troye Sivan, who premiered his new single, “Animal”; platinum rapper NF, who was honored for more than 3 million adjusted albums sold, including 3.5 billion streams; R&B vocalist and rising star Queen Naija, who was introduced by noted music producer and CMG Executive Vice President Dion “NoID” Wilson before performing her new single, “Medicine”; hugely-popular social media influencer Loren Gray, who introduced a video presentation demonstrating the reach and enthusiasm of her 20-million-strong fan network; and brand-new capitol signing, singer and songwriter Fletcher, who premiered her new single with a live performance of “Undrunk.”

The day’s attendees and artists were joined by hundreds of additional guests at a star-studded gala held that evening at CMG’s iconic Capitol Tower in Hollywood. Guests at the gala enjoyed cocktails created with Martell cognacs.

Author: Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.