Rob Dicken


Madness Discography - Rob Dicken


Nickname: Rob

Full Name: Robert Dicken

Date of Birth: 07/01/1950

Place of Birth: East Ham, London


Rob Dickins CBE (born July 1950, East Ham, London) is a British music industry executive, who currently holds a number of trustee and consultant positions in music and the arts in the United Kingdom. Dickins began his music industry career at Warner Music UK.

Dickins grew up in East Ham and in the surrounding suburbs. His father Percy was a saxophonist and pianist and one of the founders of the NME, who started the first British Record Charts at the paper in November 1952. He attended Ilford County High School for Boys, before going on to Loughborough University, graduating with an undergraduate degree in Politics, Sociology, and Russian. While at university, Dickins was chair of the Folk Club, the Film Society, and the Entertainments Committee. He also served as Social Secretary of the Students Union.

After graduating in 1971, Dickins joined Warner Bros Music Publishing and was appointed Managing Director in 1974, and International Vice President of the company in 1979. His UK signings included Prince, Nile Rodgers & Bernard Edwards (Chic), Neil Young, and Joni Mitchell, and his signings for the World company included Vangelis, Sex Pistols, Whitesnake and Madness.

In 1983, Dickins became the Chairman of Warner Music UK (a division of Warner Music Group), and remained in that role until December 1998. During his time there, the company became one of the most profitable in the UK.

His first signing, Howard Jones, sold 4 million records, whilst US artists such as Prince, Foreigner, ZZ Top, and Madonna also contributed to the Warner recovery. Artists such as Tracy Chapman, Paul Simon’s Graceland, R.E.M. and Alanis Morissette broke first in the UK, resulting in multi-million albums. He brought Seal, Simply Red, Vangelis, Mike Oldfield, Enya, and Cher to the UK label, and in 1997-98 Warner added Mark Morrison, Shola Ama, Catatonia, and Cleopatra to the UK roster. Dickins also acquired the recording catalogues of The Smiths and The Pogues for Warners.

In July 2000, Dickins was appointed as a trustee of the Victoria and Albert Museum, where he also is a director of V&A Enterprises, the museum’s commercial arm. Dickins was re-appointed as a trustee of the museum in October 2004 for a further three years. He was a founding trustee of Youth Music, a charitable foundation which helps provide access to music-making for young people, particularly in socially deprived areas. This foundation received a £1.3 million contribution from the BRIT Trust due to Dickins’ participation in the Abbamania fund-raising project. In July 2002 Dickins was appointed chair of the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green.

Within the music industry Dickins has chaired the PR Committee and the Brit Awards Committee. He also served on the council of the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) from 1983 to 2002, and was chair of the council from 1986 to 1988, dealing with the 1988 Copyright Act. During this period the Brit School of Performing Arts was initiated. He became chair of the council again in 1997 and in 1999. He agreed to a fourth period as chair of the BPI (2000–2002), the first person to hold the post four times. He is a trustee of the Brit Trust, the record industry’s charitable organisation. In 1999, Dickins was elected Chairman of the BPI Classical Committee. He simplified the classical charts, and organised the inaugural Classical Brit Awards TV show.


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