Blavatnick Rock’s Richest

Warner Music Group chief Len Blavatnik is worth $16.8 billion and is the richest man in the UK music industry, according to The Sunday Times’ Rich List published May 18.

Three years ago Blavatnik’s Access Industries paid the equivalent of $3.3 billion for the world’s third-largest music company, Ukrainian-born Blavatnick, who made big money out of chemicals, telecommunications, media and real estate before buying WMG, replaced former Zomba Records chief Clive Calder when he first qualified for the list by owning a UK property.

Calder, who’s now second in the music biz list with $2.3 billion, was briefly supplanted at the top in 2010 by former WMG boss Edgar Bronfman.

He bounced back in 2011 when Bronfman moved back to New York and left what had been a temporary home in London. The only other (sterling) billionaire is theatre impresario Sir Cameron Mackintosh.

The man behind such touring productions as “Cats,” “The Phantom of the Opera” and “Les Miserables” is worth $1.68 billion. The entrepreneurs who’ve made their money out of TV rather than music, such as Simon Fuller and Simon Cowell, are worth $642 million and $504 million respectively.

Apart from mega-selling acts such as Paul McCartney ($1.2 billion), U2 ($720 million), Elton John ($470 million), Mick Jagger ($362 million), Sting ($303 million) and Roger Waters ($270 million), the main live music business people to make the Top 20 on the industry list were Ministry Of Sound chief Lord Palumbo and Irish live music entrepreneur Denis Desmond.

Lord Palumbo is reckoned to be worth $421 million. Desmond – who heads Irish promoter MCD and a major share of Festival Republic and Academy Music Group – and his partner Caroline Downey are reckoned to have $257 million.