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Warner Music Digital Boss Michael Nash Jumps to Universal Music

Michael Nash will oversee the world's biggest music label in its negotiations with Spotify and YouTube.

Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Universal Music Group, the world’s biggest music label, has a new executive heading up its digital business: Michael Nash, who until this week was doing the same thing for rival label Warner Music Group.

Michael NashThe move is significant because Universal is in the midst of negotiating a distribution deal with Spotify, the world’s biggest digital music subscription service, and is beginning to negotiate with Google’s YouTube, the world biggest music service, period.

Nash will be the point man in those deals, and will try to convince both companies to cut back on the amount of free music they offer their users.

Nash is a longtime industry veteran who spent years running digital for Warner, left, then returned this summer as an adviser, and it was unclear whether he’d stick around for the long-run.

Rob Wells, Universal’s longtime head of digital, left in February, and Universal ended up dismantling much of the group he had run. Many industry observers predicted that Wells’s spot would eventually be filled by Michael Lang, a digital deal maker Universal had brought in as a consultant, and who still has that role there.

Nash’s hire is part of a larger reorg by Universal CEO Lucian Grainge, who announced the move this morning.

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