Jay Frank, Streaming Strategist and UMG Executive, Passes Away at 47

Jay Frank was senior vice president global streaming for Universal Music Group, which he joined in 2015.

It was there that he developed innovative approaches to using data and analytics to improve the way music performs on popular streaming platforms, such as Spotify and Apple Music.

Frank was battling cancer — unbeknownst to many.  On Sunday, he sadly lost that battle at age 47.

Lucian Grainge, chairman and CEO Universal Music Group, issued a statement in reaction to Frank’s death. He said that Frank had left “an immense legacy,” and indicated that his work affected how the major label markets artists and music in the era streaming. He further added that Frank was a “loving father and husband,” and that they send their “deepest condolences” to all who loved him.

Frank’s work in digital music predated his time at Universal — in fact, it likely led to his UMG gig.   In the earlier days digital music, Frank had stints at Yahoo! Music and CMT, where early-stage strategies were being developed.  In 2011, Frank founded a digital-only record company called DigSin as well as a digital music marketing firm named DigMark. Before that, he established Futurehit Inc., which attempted to forecast how well songs would perform commercially.

He was also an author who focused on music, specifically the interplay between new technologies and creativity.   One his titles, FutureHit.DNA, focuses on more format-friendly techniques to gain traction on platforms like Spotify.  That includes techniques like shorter intros and quicker chorus arrivals, with a more trigger-happy listener in mind.  That approach garnered some criticism, though ‘album track’ intros the past are mostly dead — Frank was just saying it out loud.

Surviving Frank is his mother Pamela, his wife Linda and his daughter Alex.  We haven’t heard about funeral details, but will share if they’re shared with the broader community.  Jay Frank will be missed.