Gene Rumsey, a veteran music enterprise government who held high posts at the Capitol-EMI and later Harmony label teams, died Jan. 1 at age 67.
Rumsey died at dwelling in Westlake Village, Calif. The reason for demise was most cancers, after a 13-year wrestle with the illness.
Within the latter a part of his profession, Rumsey had held a number of distinguished titles at Harmony Music Group after leaving EMI to affix the corporate in 2003, together with normal supervisor/COO; chief label officer and chief advertising and marketing officer; and president, Status.
Rumsey helped take Harmony from $13 million in income, the tough annual revenue at the time he joined in 2003, to greater than $100 million 5 years later, in keeping with the corporate.
The exec is remembered by firm insiders as being “intimately concerned” in considered one of Harmony’s biggest triumphs — the Ray Charles duets assortment “Genius Loves Firm,” which dominated the 2005 Grammys with eight awards, together with album and file of the yr, a uncommon sweep for a set aimed at a extra mature viewers, as most of Harmony’s output has been.
Rumsey was additionally instrumental in forging and/or rising Harmony’s relationships with Amazon, Costco and Starbucks — particularly the Hear Music three way partnership with Starbucks, when the coffeehouse chain began promoting third-party product in 2009, which included the signing of Paul McCartney as a Hear Music artist.
In 2007, he instructed Fortune about increasing the so-called grownup market. “In my days at a significant label, it was about radio, VH1 and MTV,” he stated then. “Now the crucial drivers for an organization centered on the grownup shopper and releasing high quality music are CBS Sunday Morning, NPR, and PBS. PBS is our MTV.”
In 2013, Harmony once more had an enormous Grammy presence, profitable eight awards that yr, together with a shock victory for Esperanza Spalding over Justin Bieber. “The truth that we’re profitable in these different classes past jazz isn’t an haphazard accident,” Rumsey stated in a post-Grammys interview with Billboard. “We’re sticking to a plan to concentrate on the grownup market, which we really feel is underserved. We’ve a deal with on that market and we have now expanded the musical vary however we keep true to concentrate on that buyer.”
Previous to being employed by Norman Lear to affix Harmony, Ramey held titles at EMI within the ‘90s and early 2000s. He presided over gross sales and advertising and marketing campaigns for tasks starting from the Beatles’ “1” biggest hits assortment to the “Now! That’s What I Name Music” collection, which he helped introduce to America.
Rumsey began his music profession working at Wee Three Data in Philadelphia within the early ’70s. Relations recall an early triumph of salesmanship — self-salesmanship — when Rumsey was ordered to chop his hair as a situation of being employed, which didn’t sit nicely with the younger worker, who was nonetheless moonlighting in a band. The exec-to-be was capable of “appeal the proprietor” and get a singular exemption for his longer hair.
He joined Capitol Data as a merchandiser within the Eighties, left to affix Schwartz Bros, as a gross sales rep, then returned to Capitol in that position. He finally moved from Chicago and New York to L.A. as he was elevated to department supervisor for Capitol-EMI Distribution on his approach up the chief ladder.
Relations recall that considered one of Rumsey’s “mantras” was “No music, no life,” with a near-photographic recall of music launch dates and the non-public circumstances round those who made it clear his love of the medium went nicely past enterprise concerns.
Rumsey is survived by his spouse, Kathy; daughters Colleen Ponsot (Douglas) and Kelly McMahon (Nicholas); stepdaughters Shannon O’Connor and Lauren O’Connor; a sister, Mary Sharon Rumsey; and his former spouse, Marie Provenzano.