Universal Music Group (UMG) receives the “Peace Prize in Ukraine”

Deputy Prime Minister Olha Stefanishyna presents the Ukrainian Peace Prize to UMG leader Frank Briegmann. Photo credit: Olivier Matthys/Universal Music Group

Universal Music Group (UMG) received the “Peace Prize in Ukraine” for its “support for humanitarian relief efforts in the region” as well as “the historic role of music in promoting peace”.

UMG, which earlier this year became the first Big Three label to cease operations in Russia, today officially revealed that it has been awarded the Ukraine Peace Prize. Presented by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the honor went to Universal Music’s Chief Executive Officer for Central Europe and Deutsche Grammophon, Frank Briegmann, the company said.

Olha Stefanishyna, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, presented the award (along with a personalized plaque) to Briegmann at the Universal Music Belgium headquarters in Brussels. Those involved took one of the resulting photos as they stood in front of a collection of vinyl records (Olivia Rodrigo’s Acid among them) and a screen displaying the UMG logo.

Universal Music’s Senior Vice President of Public Affairs for Europe, Robbert Baruch, was also present for the awards ceremony, as seen in the images, as was Universal Music Belgium’s Managing Director, Patrick Guns , and the CEO of Universal Music Benelux, Kees Van Der Hoeven.

Addressing her government’s decision to award the prize to Universal Music Group, Deputy Prime Minister Stefanishyna said, “Ukraine is grateful to Universal Music for its continued support. The company was one of the first to support Ukraine and join the sanctions against Russia.

“UMG is the first music company in the world to receive such an award. Since the start of the full-scale invasion, Universal Music has proven that they are true friends of Ukraine and that the sphere of entertainment and culture should not stay away from the war.

Meanwhile, Universal Music took the opportunity to tout some of the initiatives it is said to have launched to support Ukraine, such as donations to several NGOs focused on emergency aid in the region and coordination with the Metropolitan Opera for the release of A concert for Ukraine. (This latest live album shares only one name with the separate charity show featuring Ed Sheeran and others.)

Finally, in terms of the programs and businesses in which UMG has been involved to help the nation of approximately 44 million people, top brass highlighted a series of charity concerts (which took place in several countries) and the re-recording of “Russians” by Sting.

The funds for the new iteration of the 1985 track are going to a Ukrainian “volunteer storage center”, Universal Music has reported. Universal Music Publishing Group bought Sting’s catalog for $300 million seven months ago.

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