Speaker Profile

Berman Steve

Job TitleVice Chairman

Company NameInterscope Geffen A&M (USA)

About

It’s not at all an exaggeration to say that the music business is in Steve Berman’s blood. His maternal grandfather, Si Waronker founded Liberty Records, one of the most successful independent labels of the post-World War II period. His uncle Lenny was the head of Warner Bros. during some of the label’s most storied years. When Steve was still in high school and other kids were doing paper routes and bagging groceries, Berman, as he is called by his colleagues, went to work in the mailroom at Warner. “It was what I was born wanting to do,” he says. This uncommon focus has served Berman well. For the past 25 years he has worked at one of the world’s most successful and vibrant record labels, Interscope Geffen A&M, rising to his current position as Vice Chairman in 2010.

“My grandfather encouraged me to patient and loyal, to not go for instant gratification in my career,” says Berman. That advice paid off in spades when, in 1991, after a stint at WEA, passing up opportunities to leave the Warner organization for a competitor for a bigger title and more money, Berman was asked to join a meeting with Jimmy Iovine and Ted Field, the creative talent and the capital respectively behind the start-up, Interscope Records. They were looking for a young executive who could help guide them through the Warner system. Instantly, Berman knew that’s where he wanted to be. He was hired to head up the label’s marketing and sales efforts.

Interscope Records changed the paradigm in the music industry. Steeped in the philosophy deeply held by Iovine of giving seminal artists complete creative control, Interscope played a key role in developing some of the world’s most important artists – Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Tupac Shakur, Eminem, No Doubt, Nine Inch Nails, Lady Gaga, and many others.

Berman was there for the birth of them all, evolving into a go-to marketing guru for emerging and established artists alike. And more than a quarter of a century into his tenure at the label, notwithstanding his iconic appearance as a character on a number of Eminem’s biggest albums, he’s flown below the radar, eschewing interviews and profiles.

“I was taught very early in my career something that has served us very well at Interscope. ‘It’s all about the artist. Always has been, always will be.’”

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Interscope Records changed the paradigm in the music industry. Steeped in the philosophy deeply held by Iovine of giving seminal artists complete creative control, Interscope played a key role in developing some of the world’s most important artists – Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Tupac Shakur, Eminem, No Doubt, Nine Inch Nails, Lady Gaga, and many others.


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