Christopher Roberts (Universal Music)
accomplished pianist, composer, producer in New York
A native of Portland, Oregon, Chris Roberts attended Lewis and Clark College where he majored in Music History and German Literature. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts, Mr. Roberts ran an independent music store in Portland, establishing one of the first stand-alone classical music sections, offering music appreciation classes, and staging in-house classical piano performances. Innovative approaches to retailing and representing classical, jazz, and pop artists defined much of Chris Roberts’ career as the head of Classics and Jazz for Universal Music Group International. Chris Roberts joined Universal Music Group after it acquired Polygram Records, where he served as President of the Classics and Jazz Division.
Assuming the same role for Universal, Mr. Roberts oversaw some of the most famous labels in recording history, including Deutsche Grammophon, Decca, Verve, and Philips. Taking over Universal Music Group International’s Classics and Jazz Division during a rapidly changing period in the recording industry, Chris Roberts applied visionary strategies that helped Universal Music Group International establish itself as the largest music company in the world. Looking for ways to expand sales of CDs in light of the competition from digital downloads, Chris Roberts launched the Decca Broadway imprint, releasing soundtracks and cast recordings from popular Broadway shows and films.
Mr. Roberts was responsible for Universal Music Group International entering the direct-to-the-consumer digital market, creating iClassics and DG Web Shop, the online platform for Deutsche Grammophon. In 2008, Chris Roberts co-founded Universal Music Classical Management and Productions (UMCMP), making Universal Music the only full-service music company in the world. UMCMP creates, packages, and promotes live concerts and television projects for Universal Music Group International artists. The leadership and vision Chris Roberts brought to the recording industry served as the subject of a case study by the Harvard Business School. In 2010, Mr. Roberts launched Robisong Consultants, providing creative and strategic planning for classical musicians.